Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And He led them out as far as to Bethany, and He lifted up His hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.” [Luke 24:45–53.]
What has prevented this promise of the gospel from being fulfilled in all who believe in Christ? Why has not the truth of the living God filled the hearts of the church-members with power, that it may be carried to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples? Why has not the plan of divine benevolence, with its saving, restoring qualities, brought a much larger number to the standard of loyalty to God? The reason is the unfaithfulness of those who have a knowledge of the truth. They have not fulfilled the commission given them by Christ. They have not taken the truth to those who are in the darkness of error. Their selfishness has placed the candlestick of truth under a bushel.
As in the Days of Noah
The condition of the world today is represented by the condition of the world in Noah’s day. Then, we read, “the earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.” “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. . . . And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. . . . Behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and everything that is in the earth shall die. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.” [Genesis 6:11, 12, 5, 6, 13, 17, 18.]
The forms of wickedness existing in Noah’s day are current in the world today. God’s word declares: “As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” [Matthew 24:37–39.]
Noah was given a message to give to the antediluvians. But they scorned his warning. So today the message that God has sent to be given to the world will be rejected. But this message must be given. The people of God are to make every other interest secondary to its proclamation.
Every Provision Made
Every provision has been made for the salvation of the fallen race. All power has been given to Him who offered himself as a sacrifice for the redemption of every son and daughter of Adam. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” [John 1:12.]
Christ came to this world and stood before men with the hoarded love of eternity. The whole ocean of divine love was flowing forth from its great center. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit were working in behalf of man. Every power in the heavenly universe was put into activity to carry forward the plan of redemption. The cross of Calvary was erected, and while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. The Just suffered for the unjust, that He might become the justifier of all who believe in Him. He took human nature upon himself, that He might be a partaker with us in all our temptations. He clothed His divinity with humanity, that by enduring the agony of the cross, He might make His soul an offering for sin.
Christ died to save a selfish world from the sure consequences of selfishness. He has opened His heart in love and pity and sympathy for the whole world. He invites fallen beings to come to Him and receive full and free forgiveness. His character stands before the heavenly universe free from every taint of selfishness. He has made a complete sacrifice to bring to men and women that benevolence which dwells in His own heart. He has sent His Holy Spirit to impress the mind and heart, to lead men to love their fellow men as Christ has loved them.
Infinite benevolence is pouring out all its treasures for the saving of souls from sin, that man may be made one with God. God calls upon human agencies to co-operate with Him in the carrying out of His great purpose. The Lord has given to His people the privilege of carrying forward in the earth the work which He did while here. He calls upon us to co-operate with Him in restoring and saving our fellow men. Christ desires, by the fullness of His power, so to strengthen His Church that the whole world will be encircled with an atmosphere of grace.
Unite with Christ
God wants those who have accepted the truth and have identified themselves with His chosen people, elect and precious, to unite with Christ in His work of drawing men, women, and children to the cross of Calvary. Behold the Man who said, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” [John 10:11.] He arose from the dead, and over the rent sepulcher of Joseph proclaimed, “I am the resurrection and the life. I was dead, but behold, I am alive for evermore.”
The cross teaches the lesson of self-sacrifice. As by faith men behold the royal Sufferer, the conviction comes to them that the sure result of sin is death. Let the believing soul stand beside the cross of Calvary, and with a heart swelling with grateful love, cry, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!” [John 1:29.] Behold Him! Say it with heart and soul and voice. Induce the sinner to look. When his gaze is arrested, amazed at such wonderful condescension, he steps nearer, and learns of the Saviour the lesson all must learn,—the lesson of meekness and lowliness. The believing soul sees Jesus as He is, and beholding, is changed into His image. The experience of those who are truly converted testifies that God is the author of eternal salvation, and that the grace of Christ is wisdom and power.
Ellen G. White (1827–1915) wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles and 40 books during her lifetime. Today, including compilations from her 50,000 pages of manuscript, more than 100 titles are available in English. She is the most translated woman writer in the entire history of literature, and the most translated American author of either gender.