We can not know God and Jesus Christ until we search the Scriptures. In this Word we find out why it was necessary for Christ to leave His high command in heaven, to separate Himself from the angelic family, laying off His royal robe and kingly crown, and clothing His divinity with humanity. For our sake He became poor, that by His poverty He might make many rich, securing for them eternal riches. That He might work in our behalf, He came to live among fallen humanity, in a world marred by sin and misery.
Adam listened to the temptation of Satan. He believed a lie, and thus greatly dishonored God. He had not a semblance of excuse for transgressing; and his disobedience changed his relation to God. The law can in no case pardon the transgressor. It can only condemn the guilty. Adam had to meet God over His broken law. His fatal disobedience brings out with clear prominence that of which the apostle writes, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”
Man’s happiness must always be guarded by the law of God. In obedience only can he find true happiness. The law is the hedge which God has placed about His vineyard. By it those who obey are protected from evil. In transgression Adam became a law to himself. By disobedience he was brought under bondage. Thus a discordant element, born of selfishness, entered man’s life. Man’s will and God’s will no longer harmonized. Adam had united with the disloyal forces, and self-will took the field.
By Christ the true standard is presented. He made it possible for man to be once more united with God. He came to take the sentence of death for the transgressor. Not one precept of the law could be altered to meet man in his fallen condition; therefore Christ gave His life in man’s behalf, to suffer in his stead the penalty of disobedience. This was the only way in which man could be saved, the only way in which it could be demonstrated that it is possible for man to keep the law. Christ came to this earth and stood where Adam stood, overcoming where Adam failed to overcome. He is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.
But while the death of the Son of God saves all who repent, it speaks death to those who will not receive Christ as a personal Saviour. That which is life to the believer is death to the impenitent transgressor. The new and living way is seen and followed by those who receive Christ as their Redeemer. But upon those who refuse to accept His sacrifice, is passed the sentence of eternal death.
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God…. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned…. Even so by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” Adam’s fall in the Garden of Eden caused all to sin; but in the Garden of Gethsemane Christ drank the bitter cup of suffering and death, that whosoever believes in Him may not perish, but have everlasting life.
Before the foundation of the world, Christ pledged His word that He would give His life as a ransom if man turned from his allegiance to God. He revealed His love by humbling Himself, stooping from heaven to work among fallen, disorderly, lawless human beings. Of himself man could not possibly cope with the enemy. Christ offers Himself and all He has, His glory, His character, to the service of those who return to their loyalty and keep the law of God. This is their only hope. Christ says definitely, I came not to destroy the law. It is a transcript of God’s character, and I came to carry out its every specification. I came to vindicate it by living it in human nature, giving an example of perfect obedience.
As Christ took upon Him this work, He saw all it would bring,—His betrayal (because of envy, pride, and love of money) by a professed follower, His trial in the judgment-hall, the scourging, the cruel death. He had led the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage into the land of Canaan. He had now come to lead them from spiritual bondage into the city of God. But they rejected Him, and delivered Him up to death. He came to His vineyard to receive the fruit thereof, but those who should have welcomed Him, said, “This is the Heir; come, let us kill Him, and let us seize on His inheritance.”
Looking down the future, Christ saw the return that would be made for His love. He saw Himself condemned to suffer the punishment only inflicted on those most deeply sunken in crime. He saw Himself, in His humiliation, hanging on the cross, while priests and rulers looked on with exultation, saying in mockery: “He saved others; Himself He can not save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.”
Christ looked down through the ages, and saw His humiliation carried into every successive generation. He heard the false testimony that He died to abrogate the law. He saw that to multitudes this error would be more palatable than the truth. The carnal mind “is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” He saw the natural mind, true to the enmity of its character, daily enacting afresh the scenes of Calvary, even down to the close of this earth’s history. He saw that some would show indifference and contempt to the law of God, while others would go to greater lengths in their hatred of it, tearing down its precepts by their falsehoods and ingenious arguments. He saw that the law would be trampled upon and dishonored until God would arise to punish the inhabitants of the earth.
Knowing all this, Christ bore the penalty of transgression. He was crucified and buried, but He broke the fetters of the tomb, and over the rent sepulcher of Joseph He proclaimed, “I am the resurrection, and the life.” He was in possession of the great gift of eternal life, and He gave gifts unto men. He sent His message of mercy and pardon to all who would receive Him as the world’s Redeemer. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” He has paid the price for every son and daughter of Adam, and He is abundantly able to save all who accept Him as the Sin-bearer.1The Signs of the Times, June 13, 1900
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|1.||↑||The Signs of the Times, June 13, 1900|