The Signs of the Times


April 25, 1892

The Purpose and Plan of Grace


The purpose and plan of grace existed from all eternity. Before the foundation of the world it was according to the determinate counsel of God that man should be created, endowed with power to do the divine will. But the defection of man, with all its consequences, was not hidden from the Omnipotent, and yet it did not deter him from carrying out his eternal purpose; for the Lord would establish his throne in righteousness. God knows the end from the beginning; “known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.” Therefore redemption was not an afterthought—a plan formulated after the fall of Adam—but an eternal purpose to be wrought out for the blessing not only of this atom of a world but for the good of all the worlds which God has created. ST April 25, 1892, par. 1

The creation of the worlds, the mystery of the gospel, are for one purpose, to make manifest to all created intelligences, through nature and through Christ, the glories of the divine character. By the marvelous display of his love in giving “his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” the glory of God is revealed to lost humanity and to the intelligences of other worlds. The Lord of heaven and earth revealed his glory to Moses, when he offered his prayer to Jehovah in behalf of idolatrous Israel, and pleaded, “Show me thy glory.” And the Lord said: “I will make all my goodness to pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.... And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock.” “And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty.” Moses was hidden in the cleft of the rock when the glory of the Lord was revealed to him, and it is when we are hidden in Christ that we obtain some view of the majesty and love of God. ST April 25, 1892, par. 2

The prayer of Moses was heard and answered, and we also may present our earnest petitions to God, and receive of his grace and power. Jesus has said: “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name; ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” The promises of God are not yea and nay, but yea and amen in Christ. If we would importune God, laying before him our needs in simplicity, with unfaltering confidence, in the name of Christ, we should receive of the abundance of the blessing of God. Tell the Lord exactly what you want in the way of spiritual blessings; and you need not fear to lay before him your temporal needs and perplexities. He has said: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” He has said: “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” “Him that cometh to me I will in nowise cast out.” ST April 25, 1892, par. 3

It is the privilege of every follower of Christ to behold the glory of God, to understand his goodness, and know that he is a God of infinite mercy and love. Jesus has said, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Jesus came to reveal the Father, to make his glory known before the children of men. No one was excluded from the privileges of the gospel. Jesus stooped from infinite greatness, from indescribable glory, and assumed the nature of man, and to him who had known such exaltation, who had suffered such humiliation, the rank and caste and distinctions of human society seemed trivial and unworthy. The exaltation of the great had no influence upon his mind. Christ had come to deliver man from the terrible power of the enemy, and to him who had so great a mission to accomplish, poverty and humiliation, discomfort and reproach, seemed insignificant. When one came to Christ, thinking that the Saviour was to establish a temporal kingdom and would have honors to bestow upon those who advocated his cause, Jesus said, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head.” Jesus made the worlds; for “without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.... He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” ST April 25, 1892, par. 4

Indulgence and ease and luxury were unknown to the Son of God. Had he presented himself to the world in worldly pomp and state, it would have been out of harmony with his lowly birth and humble life. Jesus chose to take the position of the lowly, and not the state of those who had power and wealth and influence. He did not design that outward display should attract men to him; the power of celestial truth was to be the drawing power. Sinless and exalted by nature, he consented to take the habiliments of humanity, to become one with the fallen race. In the nature of man he took the risk of meeting the temptations of the fallen angel, permitting himself to be tried on every point wherewith man was tempted. ST April 25, 1892, par. 5

Satan gloried in the opportunity of thus besieging the Son of God. Because he had taken upon him the nature of man, Satan deemed that the victory was certain, and with every malignant device in his power, he strove to overcome Christ. The issues at stake were beyond the comprehension of man, and the steadfast resistance of Christ to the temptation of the enemy brought the whole confederacy of evil to war against him. In an unpitying confederacy, men and evil angels united their forces, and arrayed themselves against the Prince of peace. The temptations that assailed Christ were as much more intense and subtle in their character than those which assail man as his nature was purer and more exalted than is the nature of man in its moral and physical defilement. In his conflict with the prince of darkness in this atom of a world, Christ had to meet the whole confederacy of evil, the united forces of the adversaries of God and man. ST April 25, 1892, par. 6

How Satan and his angels triumphed as they discovered that the Son of God had taken upon him the nature of man, and had come to be man's substitute, to engage in the conflict in his behalf. ST April 25, 1892, par. 7

The human family had been overpowered by the deceptions of the enemy; for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God, and it was the enemy's hope that Christ also would be a victim to his seductive wiles; but at every point he met the tempter and put him to flight. Christ was the conqueror over the powers of darkness. We do not comprehend the infinite condescension of Christ in consenting to war with the enemy, or the infinite risk he ventured in engaging in the great controversy in our behalf. ST April 25, 1892, par. 8

The mystery of the gospel had been spoken in Eden when the lost pair were first in the guilt of transgression, for God said to the serpent, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” If Satan could have touched the head with his specious temptations, the human family would have been lost; but the Lord had made known the purpose and plan of the mystery of grace; for “God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” ST April 25, 1892, par. 9