SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (EGW)

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Chapter 4

1. See EGW on 2 Corinthians 5:11. 7BC 928.6

9, 11 (see EGW on Proverbs 31:27). The Rest Obtained by Labor—[Hebrews 4:9, 11 quoted.] The rest here spoken of is the rest of grace, obtained by following the prescription, Labor diligently. Those who learn of Jesus His meekness and lowliness find rest in the experience of practicing His lessons. It is not in indolence, in selfish ease and pleasure-seeking, that rest is obtained. Those who are unwilling to give the Lord faithful, earnest, loving service will not find spiritual rest in this life or in the life to come. Only from earnest labor comes peace and joy in the Holy Spirit—happiness on earth and glory hereafter. 7BC 928.7

Let us therefore labor. Speak often words that will be a strength and an inspiration to those who hear. We are altogether too indifferent in regard to one another. We forget that our fellow laborers are often in need of words of hope and cheer. When one is in trouble, call upon him and speak comforting words to him. This is true friendship (Manuscript 42, 1901). 7BC 928.8

12 (see EGW on John 17:17). Cutting Away the Surplus of Self—Practical truth must be brought into the life, and the Word, like a sharp, two-edged sword, must cut away the surplus of self that there is in our characters [Hebrews 4:12 quoted] (Letter 5, 1897). 7BC 928.9

Transforming Power of the Word—The Word makes the proud humble, the perverse meek and contrite, the disobedient obedient. The sinful habits natural to man are interwoven with the daily practice. But the Word cuts away the fleshly lusts. It is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the mind. It divides the joints and marrow, cutting away the lusts of the flesh, making men willing to suffer for their Lord (Manuscript 42, 1901). 7BC 928.10

13. See EGW on Proverbs 16:2; Revelation 3:1-4; 20:12, 13. 7BC 928.11

14 (chs. 3:6, 14; 10:23; see EGW on Revelation 3:3). Questions to Ponder—[Hebrews 4:14 quoted.] What is our profession? We profess to be following Christ. We claim to be Christians. Do we, then, reveal the Christlikeness? Do we serve the Saviour intelligently? Does the love of God continually flow from us to others? Do we, in word and action, confess our Redeemer? Do we conform our lives to His holy principles? Are we pure and undefiled? Christians must hold the beginning of their confidence firm unto the end. It is not enough to profess the faith. There must be a patient endurance of all trials and a brave resistance to all temptations. Faith can be maintained only by bringing the Christian religion to the test of practice, thus demonstrating its transforming power and the faithfulness of its promises (Manuscript 42, 1901). 7BC 928.12

14-16 (chs. 2:17; 7:24-26; Romans 8:34; 1 John 2:1). Phases of Christ's Priesthood—[Hebrews 4:15 quoted.] The Son of God ... has fulfilled His pledge, and has passed into the heavens, to take upon Himself the government of the heavenly host. He fulfilled one phase of His priesthood by dying on the cross for the fallen race. He is now fulfilling another phase by pleading before the Father the case of the repenting, believing sinner, presenting to God the offerings of His people. Having taken human nature and in this nature having overcome the temptations of the enemy, and having divine perfection, to Him has been committed the judgment of the world. The case of each one will be brought in review before Him. He will pronounce judgment, rendering to every man according to his works (Manuscript 42, 1901). 7BC 929.1

15 (ch. 3:14; Matthew 4:1-11; 19:17; John 10:30; 2 Peter 1:4; Revelation 3:21; see EGW on Mark 16:6; John 1:1-3, 14; Romans 5:12-19; Colossians 2:9, 10; 1 John 2:1). No trace of Imperfection in Christ—Those who claim that it was not possible for Christ to sin, cannot believe that He really took upon Himself human nature. But was not Christ actually tempted, not only by Satan in the wilderness, but all through His life, from childhood to manhood? In all points He was tempted as we are, and because He successfully resisted temptation under every form, He gave man the perfect example, and through the ample provision Christ has made, we may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption which is in the world through lust. 7BC 929.2

Jesus says, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” Here is the beginning of our confidence which we must hold steadfast unto the end. If Jesus resisted Satan's temptations, He will help us to resist. He came to bring divine power to combine with human effort. 7BC 929.3

Jesus was free from all sin and error; there was not a trace of imperfection in His life or character. He maintained spotless purity under circumstances the most trying. True, He declared, “There is none good but one, that is, God”; but again He said, “I and my Father are one.” Jesus speaks of Himself as well as the Father as God, and claims for Himself perfect righteousness (Manuscript 141, 1901). 7BC 929.4

The Obedience of a God or a Man?—Christ's overcoming and obedience is that of a true human being. In our conclusions, we make many mistakes because of our erroneous views of the human nature of our Lord. When we give to His human nature a power that it is not possible for man to have in his conflicts with Satan, we destroy the completeness of His humanity. His imputed grace and power He gives to all who receive Him by faith. 7BC 929.5

The obedience of Christ to His Father was the same obedience that is required of man. Man cannot overcome Satan's temptations without divine power to combine with his instrumentality. So with Jesus Christ; He could lay hold of divine power. He came not to our world to give the obedience of a lesser God to a greater, but as a man to obey God's holy law, and in this way He is our example. The Lord Jesus came to our world, not to reveal what a God could do, but what a man could do, through faith in God's power to help in every emergency. Man is, through faith, to be a partaker in the divine nature, and to overcome every temptation wherewith he is beset. 7BC 929.6

The Lord now demands that every son and daughter of Adam, through faith in Jesus Christ, serve Him in human nature which we now have. The Lord Jesus has bridged the gulf that sin has made. He has connected earth with heaven, and finite man with the infinite God. Jesus, the world's Redeemer, could only keep the commandments of God in the same way that humanity can keep them (Manuscript 1, 1892). 7BC 929.7

(Ch. 2:14.) Christ Kept the Level of Humanity—Satan thought that by his temptations he could delude the world's Redeemer to make one bold move in manifesting His divine power.... 7BC 929.8

It was a difficult task for the Prince of life to carry out the plan which He had undertaken for the salvation of man, in clothing His divinity with humanity. He had received honor in the heavenly courts, and was familiar with absolute power. It was as difficult for Him to keep the level of humanity as for men to rise above the low level of their depraved natures, and be partakers of the divine nature. 7BC 930.1

Christ was put to the closest test, requiring the strength of all His faculties to resist the inclination when in danger, to use His power to deliver Himself from peril, and triumph over the power of the prince of darkness. Satan showed his knowledge of the weak points of the human heart, and put forth his utmost power to take advantage of the weakness of the humanity which Christ had assumed in order to overcome his temptations on man's account (The Review and Herald, April 1, 1875). 7BC 930.2

No Particular Adaptation for Obedience—We need not place the obedience of Christ by itself, as something for which He was particularly adapted, by His particular divine nature, for He stood before God as man's representative and was tempted as man's substitute and surety. If Christ had a special power which it is not the privilege of man to have, Satan would have made capital of this matter. The work of Christ was to take from the claims of Satan his control of man, and He could do this only in the way that He came—a man, tempted as a man, rendering the obedience of a man (Manuscript 1, 1892). 7BC 930.3

(2 Corinthians 5:19) God Endured Temptation in Christ—God was in Christ in human form, and endured all the temptations wherewith man was beset; in our behalf He participated in the suffering and trials of sorrowful human nature (The Watchman, December 10, 1907, reprinted from The Signs of the Times, January 2, 1896). 7BC 930.4

15, 16. See EGW on Ephesians 2:18. 7BC 930.5

16. See EGW on Matthew 3:13-17. 7BC 930.6