In heaven Satan had declared that the sin of Adam revealed that human beings could not keep the law of God, and he sought to carry the universe with him in this belief. Satan’s words appeared to be true, but Christ came to unmask the deceiver. He came that through trial and dispute of the claims of Satan in the great conflict, He might demonstrate that a ransom had been found. The Majesty of heaven would undertake the cause of man, and with the same facilities that man may obtain, stand the test and proving of God as man must stand it.
Christ came to the earth, taking humanity and standing as man’s representative, to show in the controversy with Satan that he was a liar, and that man, as God created him, connected with the Father and the Son, could obey every requirement of God. Speaking through His servant He declares, “His commandments are not grievous.” [I John 5:3.] It was sin that separated man from his God, and it is sin that maintains this separation.
What a sight was this for heaven to look upon. Christ, who knew not the least moral taint or defilement of sin, took our nature in its deteriorated condition. This was humiliation greater than finite man can comprehend. He was the Majesty of heaven, but in the divine plan He descended from His high and holy estate to take humanity, that humanity might touch humanity, and divinity, combined with humanity, take hold upon divinity.
God was manifest in the flesh. He humbled Himself. What a subject for thought, for deep, earnest contemplation; so infinitely great that He was the Majesty of heaven, and yet He stooped so low without losing an atom of His dignity or glory! Christ stooped to poverty and to the deepest abasement and humiliation among men. [II Corinthians 8:9; Matthew 8:20 quoted.]
Christ submitted to insult and mockery, contempt and ridicule. He heard His message, which was fraught with love and goodness and mercy, misapplied and misstated. He heard Himself called the prince of the devils because He testified to His Sonship with God. The circumstances of His birth were divine, but by His own nation, those who had blinded their eyes to spiritual things, it was regarded as a blot and a stain. But these insinuations and charges were but a small part of the abuse He endured in His life. There was not a drop of bitter woe which He did not taste, not a part of the curse which He did not endure, that He might bring many sons and daughters to God.
When we contemplate the fact that Jesus was on this earth as a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; that in order to save fallen man from eternal ruin He left His heavenly home, we should lay in the dust all our pride. This fact should put to shame all our vanity, and reveal to us our sin of self-sufficiency. Behold Him making the wants, the trials, the grief and suffering of sinful man His own. Can we not take home the lesson that God endured these sufferings and bruises of soul in consequence of sin?
By taking upon Himself man’s nature in its fallen condition, Christ did not in the least participate in its sin. He was subject to the infirmities and weaknesses of the flesh with which humanity is encompassed, “that it might be fulfilled that was spoken by the prophet Esaias, Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses.” [Matthew 8:17.] He was touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and was in all points tempted like as we are. And yet He was without a spot.
There should not be the faintest misgivings in regard to the perfect freedom from sinfulness in the human nature of Christ. Our faith must be an intelligent faith, looking unto Jesus in perfect confidence, in full and entire faith in the atoning sacrifice. This is essential that the soul may not be enshrouded in darkness. This holy Substitute is able to save to the uttermost, for He presented to the wondering universe perfect and complete humility in His human character, and perfect obedience to all the requirements of God. Divine power is placed upon man, that he may become a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. This is why repenting, believing man can be made the righteousness of God in Him.
The purity and holiness of Christ, the spotless righteousness of Him who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth, was heaven’s light in contrast with satanic darkness. In Him was a perpetual reproach upon all sin in a world of sensuality and sin.
The enmity referred to in the prophecy in Eden was not to be confined merely to Satan and the Prince of life. It was to be universal. Satan and his angels were to feel the enmity of all mankind. [Genesis 3:15 quoted.] The seed of Satan is wicked men, who resist the Spirit of God, and who call the law, as did their father the devil, a yoke of bondage. “Sin is transgression of the law,” said Christ. “He that committeth sin is of the devil.” [I John 3:4, 8.]
The enmity put between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman was supernatural. With Christ the enmity was in one sense natural; in another sense it was supernatural, as humanity and divinity were combined. And never was the enmity developed to such a marked degree as when Christ became a resident of this earth. Never before had there been a being upon the earth who hated sin with so perfect a hatred as did Christ. He had seen its deceiving, infatuating power upon the holy angels, causing them to revolt, and all His powers were enlisted against Satan. In the purity and holiness of His life, Christ flashed the light of truth amid the moral darkness with which Satan had enshrouded the world. Christ exposed his falsehoods and deceiving character, and spoiled his corrupting influence.
It was this that stirred Satan with such an intense hatred of Christ. With his hosts of fallen beings he determined to urge the warfare most vigorously; for there stood One in the world who was a perfect representation of the Father, and in His character and practices was a refutation of Satan’s misrepresentations of the character of God.
It was the purity and sinlessness of Christ’s humanity that stirred up such satanic hatred. His truth revealed their falsehoods. Satan saw God, whom he had charged with the attributes which he himself possessed, revealed in Christ in His true character—a compassionate, merciful God, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to Him in repentance and have eternal life.
Intense worldliness has been one of Satan’s most successful temptations. He designs to keep the minds and hearts of men so completely filled with worldly attractions that there will be no room for heavenly things. He controls the minds of men in their love of the world. The inordinate attachment to earthly things eclipses the heavenly, and puts the Lord out of the sight and understanding of men. False theories and false gods are cherished in the place of the true.
Men are dazed and charmed with the glitter and tinsel of the world. They are so attached to the things of earth that they will commit any sin in order to gain some worldly advantage. Satan thought to overthrow Christ on this point. He thought that the humanity of Christ would be easily overcome by his temptations. [Matthew 4:8, 9 quoted.]
But Christ was unmoved; and He used only the weapons justifiable for human beings to use—the word of Him who is mighty in counsel, “It is written.”
Had there been the least taint of sin in Christ, Satan would have bruised His head. As it was, he could only touch His heel. Had the head of Christ been touched, the hope of the human race would have perished. Divine wrath would have come upon Christ as it came upon Adam. Christ and the church would have been without hope. But Christ “knew no sin.” He was the Lamb “without blemish and without spot.” [II Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 1:19.] Manuscript Releases, vol. 16, 115–119.