The Value of Salvation

As a people, Seventh-day Adventists, to a degree that is sometimes incomprehensibly difficult to understand or appreciate, have a library of prophetic writings that give the ardent seeker a clear understanding of God’s will and thorough guidance in fulfilling that will in their daily lives. However, in providing that understanding and guidance, the reader sometimes encounters passages that cause varying degrees of puzzlement. Such is the case with the testimony entitled “The Sufferings of Christ.”

This extremely enlightening testimony is found in volume two of the Testimonies beginning on page 200, and provides an in-depth look at Christ’s suffering as well as a wealth of uplifting clarity on the plan of salvation.

The testimony begins with this statement: “In order to fully realize the value of salvation, it is necessary to understand what it cost.” The testimony then explains that cost as the sufferings experienced by our Saviour when He left the glories of heaven and assumed the likeness of man.

The unfathomable nature of this sacrifice is a recurring theme in the Spirit of Prophecy, but it is quite succinctly explained in this passage from The Desire of Ages, 131:

“Never can the cost of our redemption be realized until the redeemed shall stand with the Redeemer before the throne of God. Then as the glories of the eternal home burst upon our enraptured senses we shall remember that Jesus left all this for us, that He not only became an exile from the heavenly courts, but for us took the risk of failure and eternal loss. Then we shall cast our crowns at His feet, and raise the song, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.’ Revelation 5:12.”

Even though our understanding of Christ’s sacrifice and suffering will not be complete until we stand before the throne, inspired writings provide abundant insight into the suffering He experienced while paying the penalty for man’s sin. However, in providing that insight, there are occasional statements that, as stated earlier, provoke a bit of uncertainty on first reading.

Continuing with this statement from this testimony: “Christ consented to die in the sinner’s stead, that man, by a life of obedience, might escape the penalty of the law of God.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 200, 201

A question that might come to mind from this statement is: If one is obedient, why is there a need for Christ to die? By definition, obedience eliminates transgression. Doesn’t obedience to the law do away with the requirement for the second death?

Or perhaps one has progressed in the path of sanctification to the point of having achieved in his sphere the equivalent level of perfection that God possesses in His sphere. This principle is given in volume four of the Testimonies, 591:

“The perfection of God’s work is as clearly seen in the tiniest insect as in the king of birds. The soul of the little child that believes in Christ is as precious in His sight as are the angels about His throne. ‘Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.’ As God is perfect in His sphere, so man may be perfect in his sphere. Whatever the hand finds to do should be done with thoroughness and dispatch. Faithfulness and integrity in little things, the performance of little duties and little deeds of kindness, will cheer and gladden the pathway of life; and when our work on earth is ended, every one of the little duties performed with fidelity will be treasured as a precious gem before God.”

Even though this achievement may be the case with a given individual, it does not negate the fact that we are descendants of Adam and have inherited his sinful nature. This is made very clear at least a half dozen times in Romans 5, where Paul acknowledges that “by one man sin entered into the world.” (See Romans 5:12–21.) That one man, of course, was our first father, and as a child of Adam, having inherited his sinful nature, I have a sinful nature at birth, even though no sinful act would have been committed at that specific point in time. Paul confirmed the death sentence our inherited nature casts upon us in his first letter to the Corinthians when he wrote “… in Adam all die.” 1 Corinthians 15:22

Therefore, even though one may have achieved a certain level of sanctification, the sinful nature and corrupt heart for which an atonement must be offered remains.

There is another statement in the original testimony cited that provokes a question directly illustrating the value of salvation and the suffering that Christ endured:

“Taking human nature fitted Christ to understand man’s trials and sorrows and all the temptations wherewith he is beset.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 201

We concede that Christ is omniscient. That being true, should He not understand “man’s trials and sorrows and all the temptations wherewith he is beset” without having to experience them firsthand?

Common sense dictates that of course He knows. Then why did Christ have to take human nature? Was it solely so that He could gain an understanding of man’s condition? Perhaps it was so that man could know without doubt that Christ Himself experienced and therefore understands our temptations and sorrows, having experienced them Himself in His humanity.

One might be tempted to say that Christ never experienced the untimely death of a child, the sufferings of a beloved spouse, an overdue mortgage, or any of a myriad other trials, but He did indeed suffer physically and emotionally far more than any human ever will. It can be asserted that He experienced this suffering in both His humanity and in His divinity, and perhaps more in the latter. By God’s grace, anything that we might experience pales in comparison with the extreme physical, mental, and spiritual nature of Christ’s sufferings.

A clearer explanation of why Christ had to incur suffering is provided as we continue examining our subject testimony.

“Angels who were unacquainted with sin could not sympathize with man in his peculiar trials. Christ condescended to take man’s nature and was tempted in all points like as we, that He might know how to succor all who should be tempted.

“… As the sinless One, His nature recoiled from evil. He endured struggles and torture of soul in a world of sin. His humanity made prayer a necessity and privilege. He required all the stronger divine support and comfort which His Father was ready to impart to Him, to Him who had, for the benefit of man, left the joys of heaven and chosen His home in a cold and thankless world. Christ found comfort and joy in communion with His Father. Here He could unburden His heart of the sorrows that were crushing Him. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.

“As the Son of God bowed in the attitude of prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, the agony of His spirit forced from His pores sweat like great drops of blood. It was here that the horror of great darkness surrounded Him. The sins of the world were upon Him. He was suffering in man’s stead as a transgressor of His Father’s law. Here was the scene of temptation. The divine light of God was receding from His vision, and He was passing into the hands of the powers of darkness. In His soul anguish He lay prostrate on the cold earth. He was realizing His Father’s frown. He had taken the cup of suffering from the lips of guilty man, and proposed to drink it Himself, and in its place give to man the cup of blessing. The wrath that would have fallen upon man was now falling upon Christ. It was here that the mysterious cup trembled in His hand.

“We can have but faint conceptions of the inexpressible anguish of God’s dear Son in Gethsemane, as He realized His separation from His Father in consequence of bearing man’s sin. He became sin for the fallen race. The sense of the withdrawal of His Father’s love pressed from His anguished soul these mournful words: ‘My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.’

“The sword of justice was now to awake against His dear Son. He was betrayed by a kiss into the hands of His enemies, and hurried to the judgment hall of an earthly court, there to be derided and condemned to death by sinful mortals. There the glorious Son of God was ‘wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities.’ He bore insult, mockery, and shameful abuse, until ‘His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.’

“Who can comprehend the love here displayed!” Ibid., 202–207

And who can truly comprehend the suffering of body, mind, and spirit endured by our Redeemer to provide sinful man an escape from the penalty of transgressing the law?

Truly, “Worthy is the Lamb.”

[All emphasis supplied.]

 John R. Pearson is the office manager and a board member of Steps to Life. He may be contacted by email at:

Bible Study Guides – “Made Him to be Sin for Us”

January 15, 2000 – January 21, 2000

Memory Verse

“For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21.

Study Help: Selected Messages, Book 1, 392–394.


“‘He saved others; Himself He cannot save.’ (Mark 15:31.) It is because Christ would not save Himself that the sinner has any hope of pardon or favor with God. If, in His undertaking to save the sinner, Christ had failed or become discouraged, the last hope of every son and daughter of Adam would have been at an end. The entire life of Christ was one of self-denial and self-sacrifice; and the reason that there are so few stalwart Christians is because of their self-indulgence and self-pleasing in the place of self-denial and self-sacrifice.” This Day With God, 236.

“Despised and Rejected”

1 How was Jesus received by those He came to save? John 1:11.

note: A literal translation of this verse might read: “He came unto His own home and His own people received Him not.”

“The Jews were privileged with the presence of Christ manifested in the flesh. This inestimable blessing which God bestowed upon them should have called forth their devout acknowledgements. But in blind prejudice they refused the mercies offered them by Jesus. His love was lavished upon them in vain, and they regarded not His wondrous works. Sorrow fled at His approach; infirmity and deformity were healed; injustice and oppression shrunk ashamed from His rebuke; while death and the grave humbled themselves in His presence and obeyed His commands. Yet the people of His choice rejected Him and His mighty miracles with scorn. The Majesty of Heaven came unto His own, and His own received him not.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 19.

2 What reception for Jesus did the prophet Isaiah foretell? Isaiah 53:2, 3.

note: “This chapter should be studied. It presents Christ as the Lamb of God. Those who are lifted up with pride, whose souls are filled with vanity, should look upon this picture of their Redeemer, and humble themselves in the dust. The entire chapter should be committed to memory. Its influence will subdue and humble the soul defiled by sin and uplifted by self-exaltation. Think of Christ’s humiliation. He took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin. He took our sorrows, bearing our grief and shame. He endured all the temptations wherewith man is beset. He united humanity with divinity: a divine spirit dwelt in a temple of flesh. He united Himself with the temple. ‘The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,’ because by so doing He could associate with the sinful, sorrowing sons and daughters of Adam.” Youth’s Instructor, December 20, 1900.

“He Learned Obedience”

3 How are we shown that Christ is our example in obedience? Hebrews 5:8, 9.

note: “If we would be partakers with Christ of His glory, we must also be willing to share with Him in His humiliation.…We should not murmur if we are called upon to share the suffering part of religion. There are many who do not feel averse to suffering, but they do not exercise simple, living faith. They say they do not know what it means to take God at His word. They have a religion of outward forms and observances. It is painful to see the unbelief that exists in the hearts of many of God’s professed followers. We have the most precious truths ever committed to mortals, and the faith of those who have received these truths should correspond to their greatness and value.” Review and Herald, March 5, 1889.

4 How great was Christ’s struggle against temptation? Hebrews 5:7.

note: “Jesus came to bring moral power to combine with human effort, and in no case are His followers to allow themselves to lose sight of Christ, who is their example in all things. He said, ‘For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified through the truth.’ Jesus presents the truth before His children that they may look upon it, and by beholding it, may become changed, being transformed by His grace from transgression to obedience, from impurity to purity, from sin to heart-holiness and righteousness of life.” Review and Herald, December 22, 1891.

“He Hath Borne Our Griefs”

5 What reason was given by men for the sufferings of Christ? Isaiah 53:4; Matthew 27:39–46.

note: See Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 155, 156.

6 What was the real reason for Christ’s sufferings? Isaiah 53:5, 6.

note: “Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. ‘With His stripes we are healed.’” The Desire of Ages, 25.

“Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?”

7 What was the worst aspect of Christ’s sufferings? Matthew 27:46; Psalm 22:1.

note: “The spotless Son of God took upon Himself the burden of sin. He who had been one with God, felt in His soul the awful separation that sin makes between God and man. This wrung from His lips the anguished cry, ‘My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me?’ Matthew 27:46. It was the burden of sin, the sense of its terrible enormity, of its separation of the soul from God—it was this that broke the heart of the Son of God.” The Faith I Live By, 101.

8 Why was Jesus willing to undergo this sense of separation from His Father? Romans 5:8.

note: “The value of a soul, who can estimate? Would you know its worth, go to Gethsemane, and there watch with Christ through those hours of anguish, when He sweat as it were great drops of blood. Look upon the Savior uplifted on the cross. Hear that despairing cry, ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’ Mark 15:34. Look upon the wounded head, the pierced side, the marred feet. Remember that Christ risked all. For our redemption, heaven itself was imperiled. At the foot of the cross, remembering that for one sinner Christ would have laid down His life, you may estimate the value of a soul.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 196.

“This Man Hath Done Nothing Amiss”

9 How are we shown that Christ’s innocence was obvious to many? Luke 23:4, 14, 15, 39–41, 47.

note: “ Many had flocked to the crucifixion from curiosity, and not from hatred toward Christ. Still they believed the accusations of the priests, and looked upon Christ as a malefactor. Under an unnatural excitement they had united with the mob in railing against Him. But when the earth was wrapped in blackness, and they stood accused by their own consciences, they felt guilty of a great wrong. No jest or mocking laughter was heard in the midst of that fearful gloom; and when it was lifted, they made their way to their homes in solemn silence. They were convinced that the charges of the priests were false, that Jesus was no pretender; and a few weeks later, when Peter preached upon the day of Pentecost, they were among the thousands who became converts to Christ.” The Desire of Ages, 770.

10 How did even Judas show his conviction that Christ was innocent? Matthew 27:3, 4.

note: See The Desire of Ages, 722.

“In All Points Tempted As We Are”

11 What assurance do we have that, though Jesus shared our common humanity and was made to be sin for us, He was without sin? Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:21, 22.

note: “Christ came to this world to reveal God’s character as it really is. He is the perfect representation of the Father. His life of sinlessness, lived on this earth in human nature, is a complete refutation of Satan’s charge against the character of God.” Bible Training School, October 1, 1902.

12 What was Christ’s purpose in being made sin for us? 2 Corinthians 5:21.

note: “Christ has made every provision for the sanctification of His church. He has made abundant provision for every soul to have such grace and strength that he will be more than a conqueror in the warfare against sin. The Savior is wounded afresh and put to open shame when His people pay no heed to His word. He came to this world and lived a sinless life, that in His power His people might also lead lives of sinlessness. He desires them by practicing the principles of truth to show to the world that God’s grace has power to sanctify the heart.” Atlantic Union Gleaner, January 17, 1906.

Seeing in a New Dimension

How would you describe something to someone who has never seen it or felt it? Some of you are acquainted, no doubt, with mathematicians or physicists who tell us that there is a fourth dimension. Some even say there is a fifth dimension. How would you describe this to someone who can only see, understand, and feel three dimensions, and cannot understand a fourth or fifth one? The best way I know to describe it is to look at history and see times when the human race saw things that they had never seen before.

Some years ago, a wonderful instrument was invented. It is called a microscope. As men started looking in the microscope, eventually they found that there were tiny creatures that people had never seen before. People did not know that these little creatures even existed. We soon
discovered that these tiny creatures could make people sick, so we developed a new theory because of what we had seen.

We had seen something in a new dimension, a micro-dimension, that we had not seen before. Because of what we had seen, we had a new experience of what reality was, and we developed a new theory about disease. We developed a theory about what made people sick, and we called it the germ theory, and these little creatures, we called germs.

In the nineteenth century, scientists, like John Harvey Kellogg and others, talked to people about germs, and this germ theory changed the practice of medicine and dentistry and all the health professions. It did not just change our theory about why people were sick; it changed our theory about the prevention of disease, preparation and preservation of food, sanitation, housekeeping, and how to manage buildings and premises.

In the nineteenth century people had to be convinced that it was really true. So the professors, who were giving lectures on health education, would take a microscope with them. They put the microscope up in front and inserted a slide. The most common little creature, a one-celled organism called an amoeba, would be on that slide. People would come up and look at it through the microscope and watch
it move about.

Some people still were not convinced. One lady looked in the microscope, saw the amoeba, and she said, “I still do not believe it!” Sometimes it is very difficult to see in a new dimension, because when you see in a new dimension, you are seeing something that is totally different, or totally foreign, to what you have always believed was reality.

Christ, An Imposter?

The Bible talks about seeing in a new dimension. You can read about a man who had an experience where he saw something in a dimension he had never seen before. He had been told that Jesus Christ was an imposter and an enemy. The Jews said that the disciples had stolen His body away while the soldiers were sleeping and that the resurrection was a myth.

He was told that these Christians were all deluded and were deceiving the world, and if he was going to save the church, he had to kill them and get them out of the way. He was in the process of doing just that. In fact, Scripture tells us that he was breathing murder against the Christians. He had letters from the High Priest and he was going to Damascus to have the Christians arrested and put in prison.

But on the way he had an experience. He saw something that he had never seen before. Scripture says a great light shone around him, and he looked, and he saw a Being that was brighter than the sun. That Being had nail prints in His hands and in His feet. It was the Being that he had been told was stolen away while the soldiers slept, and this did not look like a corpse. It was brighter than the sun and It spoke to him. (See Acts 9:3–6.)

He was so afraid. He asked the Lord, “What do you want me to do?” The Lord told him the way he was going was the hard way, and He told Paul to go down to Damascus, and it would be shown him what he was to do.

A Change in Plans

We do not know how long that experience lasted, whether it was just a few seconds or a few minutes. But from that experience, Paul was never the same again, because he had seen everything in a different dimension, in a different light. He was on his way to take the Christians as prisoners. He considered them his enemies, but after his experience, he considered them his brothers and friends.

The people whom he was going to try to kill, he was now going to try to save. The people whom he had hated, he now loved. The people whom he had scorned, he delighted to be in their company. You see, it changed everything in his life. When you see something in a new dimension, it changes everything; the way you feel, the way you think, the way you act, the way you talk, everything!

After that experience, as the apostle Paul traveled all over the world, he would tell people what it was that had changed his life. He told the Jews about it. (See Acts 22.) He told King Agrippa about it. He would repeat over and over again what had happened to him. He was an enemy, one who was going to kill and destroy the Christian Church—until he saw something in a new dimension.

The crucified One appeared to him, brighter than the sun, with the nail prints still in His hands. From that time on, everything was changed in his life. The book of Philippians describes his experience before and after he saw Christ. In this Scripture, Paul describes three things that he saw. This is what they were: “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Philippians 3:3.

Let us examine this statement for just a moment. The Jews said, “We are the circumcision,” but Paul wrote to the Christians and said, “No, we are the real circumcision.” The Jews said, “We are the church.” The apostle Paul wrote to the Christians and said, “No, they are not. We are the church, the Christians, we are the circumcision. We are the people of God.”

“Not the circumcision made with hands, but the circumcision of Christ to the cutting away of sin from the life.” (See Colossians 2:11.) He said, “We are the true church, the circumcision that is made without hands. We worship God in the spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Though, I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” Philippians 3:3–6.

I Was Blind, But Now I See

This is what happened to him after he saw the vision, after he saw in another dimension, on the Damascus road. He had all these things. He was sure that he was saved because he had the right lineage, he had the right religion, he had gone through the right rituals, he belonged to the right race, he belonged to the right group, he was an educated man and he was a wealthy man.

He had all these things, but after he had that vision on the Damascus road, everything he had, he considered worthless. “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things for loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if by any means I may attain to the resurrection of the dead.” Philippians 3:7–11.

Paul said there was a time when he had everything. From the Jewish point of view, he did have everything. He was probably one of the youngest members of the Sanhedrin, the governing body of the Jewish nation. He says of himself, “I was a Hebrew of the Hebrews.” He belonged to the social elite; he was a Pharisee, the people that the Jews looked up to the most. He was respected and honored.

These Three Things I Desire

When Paul saw the crucified One, he said he considered all of that as rubbish. “I have lost it all and it is not worth anything. All I want to do is gain Christ. There are three things that I want.” (See Philippians 3:7–11.) After he had that vision, he was willing to lose everything else, but there were three things that he wanted.

  1. He wanted to have the righteousness that is of faith in Christ, not just righteousness because he had kept the law, the kind that he had when he was a Pharisee. He did not want that anymore. He wanted a new kind of righteousness, the righteousness that is of faith, the righteousness from Christ.
  2. He wanted to know Him and the power of His resurrection.
  3. He wanted to know the fellowship of His sufferings.

Three things. We will look at the third one first.

Fellowship With His Suffering

Do you know anything about the fellowship of suffering? Maybe we do not want it yet because we have never had the vision that Paul had. Maybe we have never seen in a new dimension. Until we see in a different dimension than the people of this world see, we will not want the fellowship of Christ’s suffering. But Paul did. He said “I want to know Him.”

If you are really going to know someone, you have to know how they feel. Can you know how someone feels if you have never felt it? When Jesus was here, He suffered for you and me. Are we ever going to understand that?

We will never understand it fully, but if we never have any suffering ourselves, we will not understand it at all. Paul wanted to understand; he wanted to know Him. If he was going to know Him, he knew he would need to have fellowship with His sufferings. Does that mean we must be burned at the stake, put on a rack and get stretched apart, or get thrown to the lions? No! Those things could certainly be included, but every single person that is in the kingdom of heaven will have had fellowship in Christ’s sufferings, but not all will have been martyred.

“Those who reign with Christ in His kingdom must have a fellowship in His suffering. Every defect in character condemned by the law of God, must through the grace of Christ, which is freely given to every soul who desires it, be overcome. Every hereditary and cultivated tendency to evil must be seen, subdued, and cleansed, that the soul temple may become fit for the indwelling of the Spirit of God. The divine will must be accepted, and the human will brought into harmony with God, though it cause bitter agony and tears.” The Signs of the Times, in July 18, 1895.

What is the bitter agony and tears mentioned here? It is bringing our stubborn will into harmony with the will of God. When we do that, the result is fellowship in suffering. Mrs. White says, “Traits of character that are offensive to God are often very dear to man, and are cherished as virtues. How blind is humanity unless the light of heaven is accepted and cherished!” Ibid.

Paul wanted to have fellowship with Him; he wanted to know Him and have fellowship with His sufferings. Paul knew his stubborn will must be surrendered to Christ’s will, even if it caused bitter agony and tears. If we are going to have fellowship with Him in glory, we must have fellowship with Him in suffering.

The Righteousness of Christ

But Paul also said he wanted another kind of righteousness. “I was alive without the law once.” He thought one time he was righteous because he was a Pharisee. He says, “As far as the righteousness, which is of the law, I was blameless. I was perfect.” Philippians 3:6.

But after he saw in another dimension, he realized he did not have any righteousness at all. He went from being perfect, to having no righteousness at all in just a few minutes. Have you ever had that happen to you? In fact, he wrote to the Romans, “I know that in my flesh there is no good thing.” I do not have anything. (See Romans 7:18.) So now, not only did he want to have fellowship in suffering, he wanted a different kind of righteousness.

What is this righteousness that he was talking about? “We can be fitted for heaven only through the work of the Holy Spirit upon the heart; for we must have Christ’s righteousness as our credentials if we would find access to the Father. In order that we may have the righteousness of Christ, we need daily to be transformed by the influence of the Spirit, to be a partaker of the divine nature.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 374.

If you are going to have the righteousness of Christ, it must be imparted to you by the Holy Spirit so that your mind is transformed, as Paul says in Romans 12. Have you received the Holy Spirit? Remember what Jesus said to Nicodemus. “Unless you receive the Holy Spirit, there is no chance that you will be saved.” (See John 3:5.) It is the Holy Spirit that makes us a partaker of the divine nature.

The apostle Paul saw that he could keep the law perfectly his whole life, but that would not save him. You see, if we could keep the law perfectly and earn our own salvation, then Jesus would not have needed to die on the cross. Paul saw that he had to have an experience. He had to receive the Holy Spirit, which he had not received.

He claimed to be absolutely perfect, yet he was going to a city to murder the saints! He saw that he was all undone and he was the one who was responsible for that. It is the same thing that happened with the Jews. Remember the Pharisees? They considered themselves to be the chosen of God and perfect, yet they murdered the Son of God.

When we bring our lives to complete obedience to the law of God, regarding God as our supreme Guide, and clinging to Christ as our hope of righteousness, God will work in our behalf. This is a righteousness of faith, a righteousness hidden in a mystery of which the worldling knows nothing, and which he cannot understand. Sophistry and strife follow in the train of the serpent; but the commandments of God diligently studied and practiced, open to us communication with heaven, and distinguish for us the true from the false.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1118.

This is what constitutes righteousness by faith!

The Power of His Resurrection

Let us look closely at the third thing Paul wanted. In Philippians 3:10, he says, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection.”

The first time you read that, you may say, “Well, that means that he was hoping that after he died, he would be raised from the dead when Jesus comes again. That would be included, but he is talking about a lot more than the resurrection that will occur at Christ’s Second Coming. He is talking about something that he wants to know right now. How can you know the power of the resurrection right now?

In The Desire of Ages, 209, 210, Mrs. White quotes Philippians 3:10. Then she says, “That spirit of life in Christ Jesus, ‘the power of His resurrection,’ sets men ‘free from the law of sin and death.’ (Philippians 3:10; Romans 8:2). The dominion of evil is broken, and through faith the soul is kept from sin.”

How is the soul kept from sin? It is the power of His resurrection. The dominion of Satan, the dominion of sin is broken in the life and, through the power of the resurrection, the soul is kept from sin. That is what Paul wanted to know right then. How about you? How about me? Do we know the power of His resurrection? Have we seen it? What is it?

Let us look at something that is a most fundamental point. There could never have been a resurrection until there was a crucifixion. Does that make sense? Christ was not resurrected until He was first crucified.

Tell Them the Story

To understand the resurrection you have to understand the crucifixion. Here is a gem for the parents. Here is a story to tell to your children. Ellen White wrote this in The Signs of the Times, April 8, 1889. She said to parents concerning their children, “Tell them the blessed story of the cross of Calvary. This is the great, central theme of all wisdom.” Would you like your children to become spiritually wise? Tell them the story of the cross of Calvary. After Paul had seen his vision, he wrote to a church in Corinth, “If anybody thinks he is wise, let him become a fool so that he might become wise.” Concerning the apostles, he said, “We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are honored, but we are despised.” Sometimes we get too smart for ourselves. Ellen White wrote about this. She says, “I want to say to my brethren, Shall we humble our hearts before God and be converted? Shall we put off all the self-sufficiency and the lifting up of ourselves, and come down at the foot of the cross? The lower we lie at the foot of the cross the more clear will be our view of Christ.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, 57.

Where? If we get low at the foot of the cross, then we will begin to see Christ. And then she says, “For just as soon as we begin to lift ourselves up and to think that we are something, the view of Christ grows dimmer and dimmer and Satan steps in so that we cannot see Him at all.” Ibid.

If we are going to see what Paul saw, we are all going to have to be humble. We are going to have to come to the foot of the cross. We will not think of ourselves as intelligent, wise or self-sufficient. “We should take our fitting place in humble penitence at the foot of the cross. We may learn the lessons of meekness and lowliness of mind as we go up to Mount Calvary, and looking upon the cross, see our Saviour in agony, the Son of God dying, the just for the unjust. Behold Him who could summon legions of angels to His assistance with one word, a subject of jest and merriment, of reviling and hatred. He gives Himself a sacrifice for sin. When reviled, He threatened not; when falsely accused, He opened not His mouth. He prays on the cross for His murderers. He is dying for them.” That I May Know Him, 62.

The Lesson of the Cross

Have you seen the new dimension? Ellen White says this is the first lesson that we need to learn. It is good to learn Bible doctrine and something about prophecy. We also need to know what the law of God says, since Christ had to die on the cross because we broke that law. There are many other lessons that we need to learn, but the lesson of the cross is number one. This is what will enable us to see everything and everybody in a new dimension.

When Paul had this vision, when he saw this light, and the Lord spoke to him, it was just for a few minutes, but it changed everything in his life. Before, he had hatred for those Christians. After that, his hatred was gone. It changed the way he thought. It changed the way he felt. It changed the way he acted. It changed the way he spoke. It changed the expression on his face. It changed everything in his life.

Would you like to be changed like that? If you can see what he saw, you will see in a new dimension and everything will be changed. Just like he records in Philippians, “Everything that I thought was so important before, I realize now that it is rubbish compared with this.”

“Lift the cross and deny self. Control yourself. Then there will be an opportunity for Christ to let His mind be in you. Your words will be sweet and pure.” (Would you like every word that you speak to be sweet and pure? If you see this, that is what will happen.) “You will give no place to the enemy by giving way to evil thinking and evil speaking,— his most successful means of keeping the church in a weak, unconverted state.” Australian Union Conference Record, April 15, 1905. This is what will happen to us if we see in a new dimension.

When you see what Paul saw, it not only changes what you say, it changes your very thoughts, the way you think.

Who Killed Jesus?

After Paul saw this vision, he wrote to the Christians and told them there was danger. You see, the Christians all thought that it was the Jews who had crucified Christ. Paul said, “Oh, no, it is not just the Jews. We are the ones who crucified Him, by our sins.”

Do you believe that just the Jews crucified Christ, or do you believe that Christ went to the cross because of what you and I have done? The reason we do not understand is because we have not seen in a new dimension yet. If you understand from God’s point of view—you see from God’s point of view; and He understands the past, the present, and the future.

God knew all about you when Jesus was here. He took all of your sins, and all of the sins of everybody that would ever live in the world, and He laid them on Christ at Calvary. He did not go to Calvary just for the Jews, or for the people in the Old Testament, He went to Calvary for you and for me. Paul said we, as Christians, can crucify Him again. He taught this throughout the New Testament. I imagine when people first heard that doctrine they were absolutely shocked. “How could we crucify Him again? I would not crucify Him again, I am a Christian. I call Him my Lord and Master.” Yet, Paul said you can crucify Him again. He talked to the Hebrews extensively about this. The apostle John, who wrote the book of Revelation, said that when Jesus would come again, He would come with clouds and every eye is going to see Him, also those that pierced Him. (See Revelation 1:7.)

Lest you think that this refers only to the Jews, although they are included in this statement, look at Zechariah 12:10. “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me Whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.”

Do you understand that? The people of God are going to see Him whom they have pierced and they are going to mourn and grieve over what they have done to Him. You may say to yourself, “I was not the one with the hammer.” No, but we only talk that way because we have never seen in another dimension.

The Hammer in Your Hand

We do not realize that when we sin we bring the identical, same kind of pain to the heart of God that Jesus suffered on the cross. Again in Education, 263, Mrs. White talks about how we can crucify Him.

Once you see in that dimension, it changes everything. It changes your whole outlook about sin, does it not? You realize that if you do it, you are going to hurt the One that loves you the most. “‘They also which pierced Him.’ These words apply not only to the men who pierced Christ when He hung on the cross of Calvary, but [also] to those who by evil-speaking and wrong-doing are piercing Him today.” The Signs of the Times, January 28, 1903.

Are there people piercing Him today? Yes! How are they doing it? By their evil-speaking and wrongdoing. “Daily He suffers the agonies of the crucifixion. Daily men and women are piercing Him by dishonoring Him, by refusing to do His will.” Ibid.

Do you want to see things in a different dimension so that sin will become hateful and hideous to you, so that you will never want to do it again? If you see what Paul saw, that is what will happen. When we see what he saw, instead of evil-speaking and wrongdoing, piercing Him, we will do the following: “It is our duty to help those who are downcast. Recollect what their privileges are, and do not talk of the difficulties, but go right to them and try to bind up the broken hearted.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, 103.

Where are these broken hearted people you and I are supposed to bind up? “These are right in the church all around us. Never have an idea that you know more than your brethren do, but just keep humble. It was this spirit of evil surmising that brought all the weakness into the Jewish nation.” Ibid.

We have to come to the foot of the cross and we have to see things that we did not see before. When that happens, the same thing will happen to us that happened to the apostle Paul.

Friends and Enemies

Here is an amazing fact about Jesus. As you study the life of Christ, it appears that He does not know the difference between His friends and His enemies. He treats them all the same. Ellen White wrote, “Can you stand under the shadow of the cross and there talk your crosses, your darkness, your wicked feelings? Can you do it? Dare you do it? You never dare to do it when standing under the shadow of the cross.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, 208.

You see, our problem is that we have somebody difficult with whom to deal. Do you know who that difficult person is? It is me! That is the person I have the most trouble with, me! “Self is the most difficult thing we have to manage. In laying off burdens, let us not forget to lay self at the feet of Christ. Hand yourself over to Jesus, to be molded and fashioned by Him, that you may be made vessels unto honor. Your temptations, your ideas, your feelings, must all be laid at the foot of the cross. Then the soul is ready to listen to words of divine instruction. Jesus will give you water to drink of the water which flows from the river of God. Under the softening and subduing influence of His spirit, your coldness, and listlessness will disappear.” The Upward Look, 218.

Oh, friends, what you and I need, what the Christian church needs, what Adventists need, what the historic Adventists need, what the revival and reformation movement needs, is to see in a different dimension. Then, all of a sudden, all of the troubles that we think we have will disappear.

What really happens to a person when they start to look at the cross of Calvary and start to think through the spiritual meaning of what they are looking at? A lot of Christians know the story. They have crosses hanging from their rear-view mirrors and in their homes, and all over the place, but they do not know the spiritual meaning of the story.

Redemption is a process by which a human soul is trained for heaven. It means a knowledge of Christ. After Paul saw that, he said in Philippians 3, “All I want is just to know Him. I want to know the power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His sufferings. I just want to know Him, that is all. Everything I had before is junk.”

“It means emancipation from ideas, from habits and practices, that have been gained in the school of the prince of darkness. The soul must be delivered from the feelings and practices which are opposed to loyalty to God.” Signs of the Times, January 17, 1895.

Are you being delivered day by day from wrong thoughts and feelings? If you are starting to see in a different dimension, it will happen.

Oh, what a change it would make if we could see our spouses, our children, and our fellow church members in a different dimension. “We are here to learn submission to the divine will, or we shall not be able to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Those who are corrupt in their sympathies, that have never had the divine touch, never can sing the song of the redeemed. They would be unhappy in heaven.” Ibid.

If you do not have the Divine touch, if you do not see in a different dimension, (what Paul saw), if you never come to the cross of Calvary in your mind to study its spiritual meaning, the Lord cannot take you to heaven because you would not enjoy it. You would be unhappy in heaven. “They would feel that they were inharmonious elements.” Ibid.

We must have this experience, friends. We must pray for it and say, “Lord, help me to see what Paul saw. Help me to see what the cross means, and to experience it. Not just as a story, but as a change in my life so that I see everything and everybody differently.”

Seeing with New Eyes

Steven Colby, the famous author, tells of an experience that he had on a subway in New York. One Sunday morning he was riding on the subway. People were sitting quietly; some of them reading newspapers, and some were lost in thought. Some even had their eyes closed. It was very calm and very peaceful. Then suddenly a man and his children entered the subway car. The children were so loud and so rambunctious that instantly the whole climate changed.

This man came in with these unruly children and sat down right next to Mr. Colby. The man just sort of hung his head, closed his eyes and he seemed totally oblivious to what his children were doing. The children were yelling and were throwing things. They were even grabbing people’s newspapers. It was very disturbing, and everybody in the subway car was getting very irritated.

Yet the man sitting next to Mr. Colby just sat there with his eyes closed, doing absolutely nothing. It was difficult not to feel irritated. It was difficult not to be angry at this man who had no control over his children who were disrupting everybody in the whole car. He could not believe this man could be so insensitive as to let his children run wild and do nothing about it, taking no responsibility at all.

It was easy to see that everybody in the whole car was irritated. Just like people get in the church sometimes. Mr. Colby thought he was exercising an unusual amount of patience and restraint, but finally he thought, “I have to do something.” So he turned to this man, “Sir, your children are really disturbing a lot of people. I wonder if you could control them a little more?”

The man raised his head a little bit and opened his eyes as if he had just come to consciousness for the first time, and he said softly, “Oh, you are right. I should do something about it. We just came from the hospital where their mother died about an hour ago. I do not know what to think, and I guess they do not know how to handle it either.”

Mr. Colby said he was changed instantly. All of sudden he was not irritated any more. He felt so sad. He changed his speech, he changed his words, he changed his thoughts, and he changed his feelings instantly. Why? Because now he saw this man and his children in a different dimension.

If you and I are gong to go to heaven, we are going to have to see Jesus on the cross. We are going to have to see a vision that is going to change our dimension of thinking so that we see each other, our spouses, our children, our fellow church members in a different dimension than we have seen them before.

Do you want to see and experience reality in a different dimension so that you will be Christ-like in every situation? We have to have more than a storybook religion if we are going to go to heaven. We have to actually be converted and see each other in a different dimension. Let each one of us pray that we might have that experience today.

Inspiration – A Friend to the Friendless

“You who are tempted and tried and discouraged, look up. A divine Hand is reached toward you. The hand of the Infinite is stretched over the battlements of heaven to grasp your hand in its embrace. The mighty Helper is nigh to help the most erring, the most sinful and despairing. His great heart of love is yearning with deep and tender compassion over those who are careless and neglectful of their eternal interests.

Individual Care, Love, and Sympathy

“Let us remember that Jesus knows us individually, and He cares for each one as though there were not another soul on the face of the earth. He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He knows the wants of each of his creatures, and reads the hidden, unspoken grief of every heart. If one of the little ones for whom He died is injured, He sees it; for He is acquainted with all that is misunderstood and misrepresented by man.

“Christ has weighed every human affliction, every human sorrow. He bears the weight of the yoke for every soul that yokes up with Him. He knows the sorrows which we feel to the depth of our being, and which we can not express. If no human heart is aroused in sympathy for us, we need not feel that we are without sympathy. Christ knows; and He says, ‘Look unto me and live.’ [See Isaiah 45:22.]

“All the paternal love which has come down from generation to generation through the channel of human hearts, all the springs of tenderness which have opened in the souls of men, are but a tiny rill to the boundless ocean, when compared with the infinite, exhaustless love of God. Tongue can not utter it; pen can not portray it. You may study that love for ages; yet you can never fully comprehend the length and the breadth, the depth and the height, of the love of God in giving his Son to die for the world. Eternity itself can never fully reveal it.

Fellowship in Suffering

“Christ is affected as His weakest follower is affected. The sympathy of Christ is such that He can not be an indifferent spectator of His children’s sufferings. Not a sigh is breathed, not a pain felt, not a grief pierces the soul, but the throb vibrates to the Father’s heart.

“As a faithful Physician, the world’s Redeemer has His finger upon the pulse of the soul. He marks every beat; He takes note of every throb. Not an emotion thrills it, not a sorrow shades it; not a sin stains it, not a thought or purpose passes through it, with which He is not acquainted. Christ feels the woes of every sufferer. When evil spirits rend a human frame, Christ feels the curse. When fever is burning up the life current, He feels the agony.

Talking with God

“God is bending from His throne to hear the cry of the oppressed. To every sincere prayer He answers, ‘Here am I.’ The prayer that ascends from a broken and contrite heart is never disregarded; it is as sweet music in the ears of our heavenly Father: for He waits to bestow upon us the fulness of His blessing.

“The prayer of the sincere heart offered in faith will be heard in heaven. It may not be grammatical; but if the heart is in it, it will ascend to the sanctuary where Jesus ministers, and He will present it to the Father without one awkward, stammering word, graceful and perfect through His merit; for His righteousness refines and ennobles it, and makes it acceptable before the Father.

Our Best Motives and Efforts

“When it is in the heart to obey God, when efforts are put forth to this end, Jesus accepts this disposition and effort as man’s best service and He makes up for the deficiency with His own divine merit; for He is the source of every right impulse.

“Through the merits of the Redeemer, the Father looks upon us with tender compassion, and speaks to us hopefully the language of forgiveness and love, for Christ was treated as we deserve that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness in which we had no share.

Our Best Interests in View

“God does not require us to give up any thing that it is for our best interest to retain. In all that He does, He has the well being of His children in view. Would that all who have not chosen Christ might realize that He has something vastly better to offer them than they are seeking for themselves! For the more we know God, the more intense will be our happiness, and the lips that are willing to speak, though unclean, will be touched with the living coals and purified. They will be enabled to speak words that will burn their way to the soul.”

The Oriental Watchman, December 1, 1901.

“I appeal to all our brethren and sisters to bear in mind the words of Christ, ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.’ [Matthew 25:40.] Jesus, the world’s Redeemer, gave His precious life to save fallen man; every son and daughter of Adam is His purchased possession. He paid the infinite price, the ransom money in His own precious life, to redeem man; therefore He identifies His interest with suffering humanity. He requires every man to be interested for his fellow-man, making the word of God his standard of duty. With meekness and lowliness of heart we are to show reverence and love to Him who hath bought us, giving His own life, that ‘whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have eternal life.’ [John 3:16.] Then let love and tender regard toward our fellow-men be ever revealed, not merely in words, but in deeds.

“The children of the heavenly King, should represent the character of the Ruler of the heavenly kingdom. They should cultivate unity and love for one another, each member of the royal family loyally representing the principles of the government of God. Jesus Christ was sent of God; in His character and life He represented every principle of the law of God. What are the two great principles of that law?—Love to God and love to our neighbor. We are to cherish a warm, deep, abiding interest in one another, an unfeigned respect for our brethren and sisters. We are none of us to set ourselves up as critics, to discern defects in those with whom we associate, and then engage in a work of cannibalism, tearing to pieces the reputation of those who may be more precious in the sight of God than we are. Evil-thinking and evil-speaking are a great offense in the sight of God, and those who do these things are not born of the Spirit, but of the flesh.

“The sad thing in our churches to-day, is that Jesus is misrepresented in the character of those who profess to be His followers. Many claim to believe in and love Jesus, while they do neither. They advocate the law of God, but are transgressors of its precepts. The first four commandments require supreme love to God. Parents, children, wife, husband, houses, lands, or any other earthly treasure, whether of friends or property, are not to be loved selfishly, and thus become an idol to divert the mind, the time, the service, from God. He that loves and serves mammon, cannot love and serve God supremely. When friends and relations are loved with inordinate affection, they are taking the place in the heart where God should be. ‘Ye, therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.’ ‘Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.’ ‘Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.’ [II Peter 3:17; I John 2:15; James 4:4.] Here idolatry is plainly revealed, as existing in those who claim to worship God. The pure, refined, ennobling love is buried up by the love of carnal things. This the True Witness represents as a fearful loss in experience and character-building—the loss of the first love. ‘Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place except thou repent.’ [Revelation 2:5.] The True Witness sends forth this warning. Mercy and the love of God are the attributes of His throne. While claiming to be the subjects of the kingdom of God, and yet refusing to be converted from their selfish love, their stern, iron will, their own perverse ways, many are constantly bearing a false testimony of Jesus Christ. . . .

“Let the people of God have root in themselves because they are planted in Jesus Christ. There must be no strife for supremacy. Let every one seek God for himself, and know for himself that the truth of God is the sanctifier of soul, life, and character. Let all feel that it is their duty and privilege to speak those things in the church which will edify. No one should try to sermonize, but with hearts filled with the love of God, let each one have something to say that will not savor in the least of self-exaltation, of questions that will cause dissension; but let each one present lessons from the life of Christ, and represent none of self, but all of Jesus.

“To every man is given his work. One man cannot do the work for which another man has been trained and educated. But the work of every man must begin at the heart, in the character, by surrendering the soul to God, and by co-operating with divine agencies. The root must be holy, or there will be no holy fruit. All are to be workers together with God, and self must not appear. The Lord has entrusted talent and capabilities to every individual, and those who are most highly favored with opportunities and privileges, are under the heaviest obligations to God. Those who are represented as having but one talent have their work to do. By diligent trading, not with pounds, but with pence, they are diligently to employ their ability, determined not to fail nor be discouraged. Those who faithfully trade upon their one talent will hear the gracious commendation given them with as full heartiness as those who have been gifted with many talents, and who wisely improve them, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things.’ He who had but one talent, had an influence to exert, and his work was needed. In perfecting his own character, he was exerting an influence that helped to perfect the character of those who had larger responsibilities, who were in danger of building themselves up, and of neglecting some important little things, which that faithful man with his one talent was regarding with diligent care. By his diligence and unwearied, faithful efforts, he gave lessons worthy of imitation to those who, from outward appearance, seemed to be greatly his superiors. Our various trusts are proportioned to our various abilities. –

“Christ can give His peace to those only who surrender their will and their way to his method and plans. Restless cravings and heart-burnings bring no joy, no happiness, but only sadness and misery to the soul. He who cherishes them, views all things in a distorted light, and thinks that others who do not view matters as he does, do not appreciate his individual importance and worth. We may be complete in Jesus Christ only as we are emptied of self. When our life is hid with Christ in God, self is lost, submerged in the breadth, length, depth, and height of infinite love. Let the burden of every soul be to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.”

The Home Missionary, December 1, 1894.

Bible Study Guides – The Suffering Servant

February 15, 2009 – February 21, 2009

Key Text

“He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5.

Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 741–757; “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 974.


“We must not shrink from the depths of humiliation to which the Son of God submitted in order to raise us from the degradation and bondage of sin to a seat at His right hand.” That I May Know Him, 65.

1 What did John the Baptist understand about the promised Messiah? How was God’s glory revealed? Isaiah 40:5; John 1:14.

Note: “Alone in the silent night he [John the Baptist] read God’s promise to Abraham of a seed numberless as the stars. The light of dawn, guilding the mountains of Moab, told of Him who should be as ‘the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds.’ II Samuel 23:4. And in the brightness of noontide he saw the splendor of His manifestation, when ‘the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.’ Isaiah 40:5.

“With awed yet exultant spirit he searched in the prophetic scrolls the revelations of the Messiah’s coming—the promised seed that should bruise the serpent’s head; Shiloh, ‘the peace giver,’ who was to appear before a king should cease to reign on David’s throne. Now the time had come. A Roman ruler sat in the palace upon Mount Zion. By the sure word of the Lord, already the Christ was born.” The Desire of Ages, 102, 103.

2 How did Christ reveal the Father? John 1:18; 17:25, 26.

Note: “By coming to dwell with us, Jesus was to reveal God both to men and to angels. He was the Word of God—God’s thought made audible. In His prayer for His disciples He says, ‘I have declared unto them Thy name’—‘merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth’—‘that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.’ [John 17:26; Exodus 34:6; John 17:26.] But not alone for His earthborn children was this revelation given. Our little world is the lesson book of the universe. God’s wonderful purpose of grace, the mystery of redeeming love, is the theme into which ‘angels desire to look,’ [I Peter 1:12] and it will be their study throughout endless ages. Both the redeemed and the unfallen beings will find in the cross of Christ their science and their song. It will be seen that the glory shining in the face of Jesus is the glory of self-sacrificing love. In the light from Calvary it will be seen that the law of self-renouncing love is the law of life for earth and heaven; that the love which ‘seeketh not her own’ [I Corinthians 13:5] has its source in the heart of God; and that in the meek and lowly One is manifested the character of Him who dwelleth in the light which no man can approach unto.” The Desire of Ages, 19, 20.

3 How did Christ respond to the abuse heaped upon Him by sinful men? Isaiah 50:4–6; 52:14; 53:3–7.

Note: “It was to bring the bread of life to His enemies that our Saviour left His home in heaven. Though calumny and persecution were heaped upon Him from the cradle to the grave, they called forth from Him only the expression of forgiving love.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 71.

4 How did the prophecy of Isaiah 53:12 meet its fulfillment? Luke 22:37; 23:33. What effect does this have upon each one of us? John 3:14–16; 12:32.

Note: “Christ on the cross, not only draws men to repentance toward God for the transgression of His law—for whom God pardons He first makes penitent—but Christ has satisfied justice; He has proffered Himself as an atonement. His gushing blood, His broken body, satisfy the claims of the broken law, and thus He bridges the gulf which sin has made. He suffered in the flesh that with His bruised and broken body He might cover the defenseless sinner. The victory gained at His death on Calvary broke forever the accusing power of Satan over the universe, and silenced his charges that self-denial was impossible with God and therefore not essential in the human family.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 974.

5 What encouraged Christ to endure the torments of His trial and crucifixion? Isaiah 53:11.

Note: “What sustained the Son of God in His betrayal and trial? He saw of the travail of His soul and was satisfied. He caught a view of the expanse of eternity and saw the happiness of those who through His humiliation should receive pardon and everlasting life. He was wounded for their transgressions, bruised for their iniquities. The chastisement of their peace was upon Him, and with His stripes they were healed. His ear caught the shout of the redeemed. He heard the ransomed ones singing the song of Moses and the Lamb.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 43, 44.

6 How should Christ’s suffering and death affect our lives on a practical, daily basis? Romans 6:10, 13; Galatians 6:14.

Note: “The cross of Calvary appeals in power, affording a reason why we should love Christ now, and why we should consider Him first, and best, and last, in everything. We should take our fitting place in humble penitence at the foot of the cross. We may learn the lessons of meekness and lowliness of mind as we go up to Mount Calvary, and, looking upon the cross, see our Saviour in agony, the Son of God dying, the Just for the unjust. Behold Him who could summon legions of angels to His assistance with one word, a subject of jest and merriment, of reviling and hatred. He gives Himself a sacrifice for sin. When reviled, He threatened not; when falsely accused, He opened not His mouth. He prays on the cross for His murderers. He is dying for them. He is paying an infinite price for every one of them.” That I May Know Him, 65.

7 What is one of the greatest needs of every individual? Isaiah 26:3; 48:18; Psalm 40:7, 8.

Note: “Those who take Christ at His word, and surrender their souls to His keeping, their lives to His ordering, will find peace and quietude. Nothing of the world can make them sad when Jesus makes them glad by His presence. In perfect acquiescence there is perfect rest. The Lord says, ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.’ Isaiah 26:3. Our lives may seem a tangle; but as we commit ourselves to the wise Master Worker, He will bring out the pattern of life and character that will be to His own glory. And that character which expresses the glory—character—of Christ will be received into the Paradise of God. A renovated race shall walk with Him in white, for they are worthy.” The Desire of Ages, 331.

8 How did Jesus fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 26:3 for us? Matthew 11:28–30.

Note: “As through Jesus we enter into rest, heaven begins here. We respond to His invitation: Come, learn of Me, and in thus coming we begin the life eternal. Heaven is a ceaseless approaching to God through Christ. The longer we are in the heaven of bliss, the more and still more of glory will be opened to us; and the more we know of God, the more intense will be our happiness. As we walk with Jesus in this life, we may be filled with His love, satisfied with His presence. All that human nature can bear, we may receive here.” The Desire of Ages, 331, 332.

9 What is the position of Jesus Christ in our spiritual building? Isaiah 28:16; I Corinthians 3:10, 11; Ephesians 2:20.

Note: “Human power and human might did not establish the church of God, and neither can they destroy it. Not on the rock of human strength, but on Christ Jesus, the Rock of Ages, was the church founded, ‘and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’ Matthew 16:18. The presence of God gives stability to His cause. … God’s glorious work, founded on the eternal principles of right, will never come to nought.” Prophets and Kings, 595, 596.

10 What does Christ, the Rock, do to us if we accept Him, and what does He do to us if we reject Him? Luke 20:17, 18.

Note: “To those who believe, Christ is the sure foundation. These are they who fall upon the Rock and are broken. Submission to Christ and faith in Him are here represented. To fall upon the Rock and be broken is to give up our self-righteousness and to go to Christ with the humility of a child, repenting of our transgressions, and believing in His forgiving love. And so also it is by faith and obedience that we build on Christ as our foundation. … Without this connection, no man can be saved. Without the life of Christ in us, we cannot withstand the storms of temptation. Our eternal safety depends upon our building upon the sure foundation.” The Desire of Ages, 599.

“Christ is coming, and Christ is to be revealed in you, if you will only allow His image to be revealed in you. Fall on the Rock and be broken. … You want to break in pieces before God your pride, yourself, your folly, your wickedness, your dishonesty, your corruption of heart, your licentiousness, your impurity.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, 212.

“And on ‘whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.’ [Matthew 21:44.] The people who rejected Christ were soon to see their city and their nation destroyed. Their glory would be broken, and scattered as the dust before the wind. And what was it that destroyed the Jews? It was the rock which, had they built upon it, would have been their security. It was the goodness of God despised, the righteousness spurned, the mercy slighted. Men set themselves in opposition to God, and all that would have been their salvation was turned to their destruction.” The Desire of Ages, 600.

Additional Reading

“Christ has left us a perfect, sinless example. His followers are to walk in His footsteps. If they are not transformed in character, they can never dwell with Him in His kingdom. Christ died to elevate and ennoble them, and those who retain hereditary tendencies to wrong can not dwell with Him. He suffered all that it is possible for human flesh to suffer and endure, that we might pass triumphantly through all the temptations Satan may invent to destroy our faith.

“In Christ is our only hope. God has daily victories for His people to gain. … By His heavenly gifts the Lord has made ample provision for His people. An earthly parent can not give his child a sanctified character. He cannot transfer his character to his child. God alone can transform us. Christ breathed on His disciples, and said, ‘Receive ye the Holy Ghost.’ [John 20:22.] This is the great gift of heaven. Christ imparted to them through the Spirit His own sanctification. He imbued them with His power, that they might win souls to the gospel. Henceforth Christ would live through their faculties, and speak through their words. They were privileged to know that hereafter He and they were to be one. They must cherish His principles and be controlled by His Spirit. They were no longer to follow their own way, to speak their own words. The words they spoke were to proceed from a sanctified heart, and fall from sanctified lips. No longer were they to live their own selfish life; Christ was to live in them. … He would give to them the glory that He had with the Father, that He and they might be one in God.

“Young men and young women should realize that to be one with Christ is the highest honor to which they can attain. … Consecrate all that there is of you—soul, body, and spirit—to the Lord. Yield every power you have to the control of the Holy Spirit.” Sons and Daughters of God, 294.

“Isaac was a figure of the Son of God, who was offered a sacrifice for the sins of the world. God would impress upon Abraham the gospel of salvation to man. In order to do this, and make the truth a reality to him as well as to test his faith, He required him to slay his darling Isaac. All the sorrow and agony that Abraham endured through that dark and fearful trial were for the purpose of deeply impressing upon his understanding the plan of redemption for fallen man. He was made to understand in his own experience how unutterable was the self-denial of the infinite God in giving His own Son to die to rescue man from utter ruin. To Abraham no mental torture could be equal to that which he endured in obeying the divine command to sacrifice his son.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 369.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

The Power of Christ’s Healing Love

Have you ever been hurt to such a degree that you act and make decisions without considering the possible results or outcome? Many people, amazingly even Christians, have fallen into such predicaments. I recently met a young lady who found herself in such a situation. As I made my way down the hillside on the way home, I saw a young woman walking toward the main road and offered her a ride. We began chatting in the car and she told me she was on her way to the local Catholic Church. As it was the Sabbath day, I had expected her to say she was going to a Seventh-day Adventist Church, and we began to talk about the difference between the two religions. As the conversation progressed I learned that she had, at one time, been a Seventh-day Adventist but had renounced Adventism after a disappointment suffered at the hands of the church where she had been a member. Her grandmother had become sick and no one from the church where she was a member, and regular attendee, made the effort to go and visit her. As she related the story to me, I could see the hurt still reflected in her teary eyes and I could hear the pain and disappointment in her voice! This had been the turning point in her life, and as a result, she explained, her Sabbath was now Sunday, and she felt happy and accepted by her Catholic church family.

What Cecile experienced transcended pain, it was caused by a lack of Christ’s divine love on the part of her church, and as a consequence of their behavior she responded out of the depth of her hurt. She had chosen the path of alienation, separation and rejection in response to what she had received.

It is a human response to withhold our love and shut ourselves away from those who hurt us, when instead, we should base our behavior on that of our Lord Jesus. He, our example in all things, never withheld his affection and love even from those who offended or hurt him.

“To love as Christ loved means to manifest unselfishness at all times and in all places, by kind words and pleasant looks. These cost those who give them nothing, but they leave behind a fragrance that surrounds the soul. The effect can never be estimated. Not only are they a blessing to the receiver, but to the giver; for they react upon him. Genuine love is a precious attribute of heavenly origin, which increases in fragrance in proportion as it is dispensed to others.” Letters to Young Lovers, 16.

“Christ’s love is deep and earnest, flowing like an irrepressible stream to all who will accept it. There is no selfishness in His love. In this heaven-born love is an abiding principle in the heart, it will make itself known, not only to those we hold most dear in sacred relationship, but to all with whom we come in contact. It will lead us to bestow little acts of attention, to make concessions, to perform deeds of kindness, to speak tender, true, encouraging words. It will lead us to sympathize with those whose hearts hunger for sympathy.” Ibid., 17.

While we should not needlessly expose ourselves to danger, at the same time we should not withhold our love from our enemies or from those who hurt us. We must remember that it is divine to continue giving of ourselves and our love to those who have hurt us. To love as Christ loved, this is our challenge as Christians and as a church. In the words of William Penn, Founder of the State of Pennsylvania, we are reminded that, “Love is the hardest lesson in Christianity but, for that reason, it should be most our care to learn it.” The New Dictionary of Thought, 375.

We may direct our minds to Him who has suffered more hurt than any mortal has or will ever suffer, for “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities.” Isaiah 53:5. The Bible shows that “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” John 1:11. “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Isaiah 53:3. Incredibly, in spite of the hurt, wounds, pain, tears, rejection and lack of love that we as humans demonstrate to Jesus, our beloved Savior continues to remind us, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3.

It is no wonder George Matheson, the hymn writer, exclaimed, “O love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee.” It is no wonder Horatius Bonar penned these words, “O love of God, How strong and true! Eternal and yet ever new, uncomprehended and unbought, beyond all knowledge and all thought. O love of God, how deep and great, far deeper than man’s deepest hate; self-fed, self-kindled like the light, changeless, eternal, infinite. We read Thee best in Him who came to bear for us the cross of shame; sent by the Father from on high, our life to live, our death to die.”

Compared to the love God has shown us, our profession of Christianity and love for each other can only ever be a superficial and shallow representation. We must have Christ’s love reflected in us in order to share the hope of salvation with the world.

The Vulnerability of Love

True godly love is vulnerable and is always seeking for restoration and reconciliation. Yet, through the words of the English poet Martin Tupper, it can be seen that in spite of its vulnerability, “Love is the weapon which Omnipotence reserved to conquer rebel man when all the rest had failed. … There is not one human in a million, nor a thousand men in all earth’s huge quintillion whose clay heart is hardened against love.” Even while suffering on the cross Jesus demonstrated his Godly love and forgiveness in His prayer to His Father asking Him to forgive those who had bitterly hurt Him. He never stopped loving. He was able to continue loving in the face of hostility and antagonism because the love which he possessed, and which we as Christians should possess, is not earthly nor human, but God’s divine love shining through us. Human love is conditional, but the love of God survives in the face of rejection and allows us to continue loving even those who hurt us. “Love is of God. The unconverted heart cannot originate nor produce this plant of heavenly growth, which lives and flourishes only where Christ reigns.” Testimonies, vol 2, 135.

It is easy, as Christians, to use the excuse of having been hurt so badly and so often and draw into ourselves and forget about people as a way of dealing with challenges, instead of taking the example of Christ. Did Jesus stop loving those who had hurt him? The apostle Paul answers, “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another.” Romans 13:8. He further counsels, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21. The Roman Emperor and philosopher Marcus Antonius said, “It is the duty of men to love even those who injure them.” The New Dictionary of Thought, 375. Through the example Jesus gave us through His life on earth, we are shown that all men are entitled to our love, even those who are not our friends and those who hurt us.

Christ’s Principles of Love

We can examine two important aspects of Christlike love from the perspective of Jesus’ life. He suffered the most painful and humiliating treatment that could be inflicted on a human, and in spite of it all He was able to love His tormenters. In the first place His love builds a wall that surrounds the soul, and secondly His love has a healing power.

When we let the wall of Christ’s love surround our soul, it protects us from human pain and gives us the power to love and forgive those who hurt us. Speaking of this divine love, the wise man declares, “He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.” Song of Solomon 2:4. From the pen of inspiration we read that, “The souls of those who love Jesus will be surrounded with a pure, fragrant atmosphere.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, 34.

Ellen White also tells us, “The activity of Satan’s army, the danger that surrounds the human soul, calls for the energies of every worker. But no compulsion shall be exercised. Man’s depravity is to be met by the love, the patience, the long-suffering of God.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 237. The love of God which surrounds the soul forms a bulwark, a defense which neutralizes Satan’s negative elements that bombard the soul, thus allowing us to find peace in Christ. “Everyone who truly loves God will have the spirit of Christ and a fervent love for his brethren. The more a person’s heart is in communion with God, and the more his affections are centered in Christ, the less will he be disturbed by the roughness and hardships he meets in this life.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 483, 484. This was the love that Christ lived and demonstrated in His time on earth. His divine love preserves the soul through the storms and crises that may arise on our spiritual journey, giving us the strength to face negative people and situations. It surrounds the soul as a wall of protection against human pain and damage allowing us to love the offender and pray as Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34. When this divine principle is implemented in our lives, it is impossible to seek revenge because it is a love that neutralizes every ugly, evil, and satanic thing which threatens the soul. Ellen White tells us, “The heart in which love rules will not be filled with passion or revenge, by injuries which pride and self-love would deem unbearable.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 168, 169. When we learn to love as Christ loved, we are strengthened through Him and able to respond with love to those whose hurtful deeds attack us in the Devil’s attempt at discouragement.

Love’s healing power kept Christ in health of body, mind and spirit even though, “There was never one who walked among men more cruelly slandered than the Son of man. He was derided and mocked because of His unswerving obedience to the principles of God’s holy law. They hated Him without a cause. Yet He stood calmly before His enemies, declaring that reproach is a part of the Christian’s legacy, counseling His followers how to meet the arrows of malice, bidding them not to faint under persecution.

While slander may blacken the reputation, it cannot stain the character. That is in God’s keeping. So long as we do not consent to sin, there is no power, whether human or satanic, that can bring a stain upon the soul. A man whose heart is stayed upon God is just the same in the hour of his most afflicting trials and most discouraging surroundings as when he was in prosperity, when the light and favor of God seemed to be upon him. His words, his motives, his actions, may be misrepresented and falsified, but he does not mind it, because he has greater interests at stake. Like Moses, he endures as ‘seeing him who is invisible.’ ” Reflecting Christ, 366.

Divine love has the power to preserve and heal the one who possesses it, and this is how Christ was preserved in spite of all the hurt and rejection he sustained while on earth. He was daily vitalized by this plant of heavenly origin by being in constant connection with His Father—the source of true love. Ellen White says, “Only the love that flows from the heart of Christ can heal. Only he in whom that love flows, even as the sap in the tree or the blood in the body, can restore the wounded soul.

“Love’s agencies have wonderful power, for they are divine. The soft answer that ‘turneth away wrath,’ the love that ‘suffereth long, and is kind,’ the charity that ‘covereth a multitude of sins’ (Proverbs 15:1; I Corinthians 13:4, R.V.; I Peter 4:8, R.V.)—would we learn the lesson, with what power for healing would our lives be gifted! How life would be transformed, and the earth become a very likeness and foretaste of heaven!” Education, 114.

God shows us that as we connect ourselves to him through surrender to Jesus Christ, we are endowed with divine love—the fruit of the Holy Spirit. This divine principle preserves and heals us from the evils that encompass our soul, keeping us focused on His love, and in turn allowing us to love even our enemies. This love towards our enemies and those who have hurt us also provides healing for them in the way David says: “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3. “The law of the Lord [is] perfect, converting the soul.” Psalm 19:7. “The word employed, (converting) Meshibah, (Psalm 19:7) is used of restoring from disorder and decay, from sorrow and affliction, from death. The Law, by instructing men, restores them from moral blindness to the light which is theirs by nature, and, as a further consequence, in many cases, restores them from sin to righteousness.” Pulpit Commentary, vol. 8, 129.

When asked which of the commandments was the greatest, the Savior clearly showed us that the foundation of the law is love, saying, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second [is] like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:37–40. Jesus also states in John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” In the keeping of the commandments we connect to a continual supply of the medicine of God’s divine love.

In the words of Ellen White, “When the gospel is received in its purity and power, it is a cure for the maladies that originated in sin. The Sun of Righteousness arises, ‘with healing in His wings.’ Malachi 4:2. Not all this world bestows can heal a broken heart, or impart peace of mind, or remove care, or banish disease. Fame, genius, talent—all are powerless to gladden the sorrowful heart or to restore the wasted life. The life of God in the soul is man’s only hope.

“The love which Christ diffuses through the whole being is a vitalizing power. Every vital part—the brain, the heart, the nerves—it touches with healing. By it the highest energies of the being are roused to activity. It frees the soul from the guilt and sorrow, the anxiety and care, that crush the life forces. With it come serenity and composure. It implants in the soul, joy that nothing earthly can destroy,—joy in the Holy Spirit,—health-giving, life-giving joy.” Ministry of Healing, 115. Christ was constantly healed by the power of God’s love and when we surrender fully and completely to him, we too will receive the vitalizing energy that can heal us from the buffeting of man and demons.

Love’s Forgiveness

The principle of forgiveness is embedded in divine love and is fully exemplified by God the Father and Jesus Christ. God made a covenant with humanity in order to forgive us—the offenders. “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.” John 3:16. This covenant of forgiveness is possible only through divine love. No human being can ever, or will ever, forgive another human being without having first experienced the love of God. If we have not fully surrendered to Christ in acceptance of the love He offers, we are not able to follow His example and forgive those who have hurt or offended us. Jesus says, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” John 13:34. Consequently, what we see displayed by the brethren in church, at home, and at work is love controlled by our human limits; a love that flourishes until one is hurt and then changes into resentment, anger and bitterness. Divine love is a wall that protects us from the toxic elements of sin so that they cannot harm the soul and makes forgiveness a joy and a delight. “Love is the fruit that is borne on the Christian tree, the fruit that is as the leaves of the tree of life for the healing of the nations.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 187.

This love protects the soul no matter how deep the wound, and prevents us from displaying unchristlike qualities. As human beings it is to be expected that we sometimes feel pain and sadness, yet by demonstrating the love of Christ through tribulation, we become divine agents for positive spiritual change in the lives of fellow human beings. The Holy Spirit supervises this process of transformation, thus establishing reconciliation between man and God, as well as between man and man.

A New Commandment

In His words to the disciples Jesus says to us, “A new commandment I give unto you.” John 13:34. “Why was this called ‘a new commandment’? The disciples had not loved one another as Christ had loved them. They had not yet seen the fullness of the love that He was to reveal in man’s behalf. They were yet to see Him dying on the cross for their sins. Through His life and death they were to receive a new conception of love. The command to ‘love one another’ was to gain a new meaning in the light of His self-sacrifice. In the light shining from the cross of Calvary they were to read the meaning of the words, ‘As I have loved you, that ye also love one another.’ ” The Review and Herald, June 30, 1910.

In conclusion we read the words of the disciple, John,

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” I John 4:7–12.

Pastor Ivan Plummer ministers through the Emmanuel Seventh Day Church Ministries in Bronx, New York. He may be contacted by telephone at: 718-822-3900.

Pen of Inspiration – The Discipline of Suffering

All who in this world render true service to God or man receive a preparatory training in the school of sorrow. The weightier the trust and the higher the service, the closer is the test and the more severe the discipline.

Study the experiences of Joseph and of Moses, of Daniel and of David. Compare the early history of David with the history of Solomon, and consider the results.

David in his youth was intimately associated with Saul, and his stay at court and his connection with the king’s household gave him an insight into the cares and sorrows and perplexities concealed by the glitter and pomp of royalty. He saw of how little worth is human glory to bring peace to the soul. And it was with relief and gladness that he returned from the king’s court to the sheepfolds and the flocks.

When by the jealousy of Saul driven a fugitive into the wilderness, David, cut off from human support, leaned more heavily upon God. The uncertainty and unrest of the wilderness life, its unceasing peril, its necessity for frequent flight, the character of the men who gathered to him there—“everyone that was in distress, and everyone that was in debt, and everyone that was discontented” (1 Samuel 22:2)—all rendered the more essential a stern self-discipline. These experiences aroused and developed power to deal with men, sympathy for the oppressed, and hatred of injustice. Through years of waiting and peril, David learned to find in God his comfort, his support, his life. He learned that only by God’s power could he come to the throne; only in His wisdom could he rule wisely. It was through the training in the school of hardship and sorrow that David was able to make the record—though afterward marred with his great sin—that he “executed judgment and justice unto all his people” (2 Samuel 8:15).

The discipline of David’s early experience was lacking in that of Solomon. In circumstances, in character, and in life, he seemed favored above all others. Noble in youth, noble in manhood, the beloved of his God, Solomon entered on a reign that gave high promise of prosperity and honor. Nations marveled at the knowledge and insight of the man to whom God had given wisdom. But the pride of prosperity brought separation from God. From the joy of divine communion Solomon turned to find satisfaction in the pleasures of sense. Of this experience he says:

“I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards: I made me gardens and orchards: … I got me servants and maidens: … I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts. So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem. … And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labor. … Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labor that I had labored to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun. And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done.”

“I hated life. … Yea, I hated all my labor which I had taken under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:4–12, 17, 18).

By his own bitter experience, Solomon learned the emptiness of a life that seeks in earthly things its highest good. He erected altars to heathen gods, only to learn how vain is their promise of rest to the soul.

In his later years, turning wearied and thirsting from earth’s broken cisterns, Solomon returned to drink at the fountain of life. The history of his wasted years, with their lessons of warning, he by the Spirit of inspiration recorded for after generations. And thus, although the seed of his sowing was reaped by his people in harvests of evil, the lifework of Solomon was not wholly lost. For him at last the discipline of suffering accomplished its work.

But with such a dawning, how glorious might have been his life’s day had Solomon in his youth learned the lesson that suffering had taught in other lives!

Education, 151–154.

Positions Reversed

Millions of God’s people have been persecuted and killed, both in ancient and in modern times. But the time is coming when the position of the oppressors and the persecuted will become completely reversed. Those who have been persecuted will receive their eternal inheritance, and those who have been the oppressors will be raised to receive their doom. On which side will you be? Each one of us will either be on one side or the other. How do you know on which side you will be?

The book of Revelation clearly predicts that as we approach the end of the world, the entire world will be deceived, but God’s children will not be deceived. This is spoken of over and over again in the latter chapters of the book of Revelation. Not only will the whole world be deceived, but the book of Revelation tells us that they will be deceived by evil spirits. The devil is the chief evil spirit, and he is the one who deceives the whole world in the last days by means of miracles. Read Revelation 13:13–17 and Revelation 16:13, 14.

People are also going to be induced to build an image to the beast. They will be commanded to worship this image, and if you do not worship this image, it will be decreed that you be killed. In Revelation 13:15, it says, “He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.”

Verses 16 and 17 continue: “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”

If you do not worship the beast or receive his mark, you will not be able to buy or sell. This is very serious. When the powers of this world declare that you must worship God by worshiping the image to the beast, you must remember that the Ten Commandments say that you are not to worship any image. In Exodus 20:4–6, it says, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” This is clear instruction not to worship any image.

When the powers of this earth say that you must worship the image, or be killed, what is God going to do? The answer is given in Revelation 14:9–12: “Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.’ Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”

Notice, God says that if you worship the beast and his image and receive his mark, you are going to receive of His wrath, undiluted. In other words, it will be unmixed with mercy. This has never happened before. All judgments of God in the world, up to the present time, have been mingled with mercy.

We are living in the day of mercy, the day of grace, called in the Bible, the day of salvation, as you can read in Isaiah 49:8: “Thus says the Lord: ‘In an acceptable time I have heard You, and in the day of salvation I have helped You; I will preserve You and give You as a covenant to the people, to restore the earth, to cause them to inherit the desolate heritages.’ ”

It is the acceptable time, a day of salvation for the person who has been sinning. When a person is sinning, he has been following the devil, because he who sins is of the devil (I John 3:8). During this time, a person who has been living in sin, following the devil, can decide to repent, to turn around, to be converted, and follow Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour.

If we follow Jesus Christ, we are to walk as He walked. He lived a holy life. We are to learn to live the way He lived. We are living in that day of grace, but the day of grace will not last forever.

When the world rejects the third angel’s message, as stated in Revelation 14:9–12, the day of grace will come to an end, and God’s wrath will be poured out. A description of this is found in Revelation 22:11, 12. It says, “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still. And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.”

The time is coming when you won’t be able to turn around. You won’t be able to forsake your life of sin and follow the Lord Jesus. Whatever condition you are in, you are going to stay that way. You are either saved or lost, and you are going to stay that way. You might be lost today, but we are not yet living in the time when probation is closed, so you still have the opportunity to turn around. You could choose to turn and follow the Lord Jesus. But when probation is closed, it will be too late for you to turn around. It will be too late to change your mind. You will either be saved or lost. And when that happens, then will be what the Bible calls, “the day of His wrath.”

Remember, the third angel’s message tells us that those who do not listen to this will receive God’s wrath unmixed with mercy, unmingled. What is God’s wrath? In Revelation 15:1 it says, “Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete.” If you reject the third angel’s message, then when probation closes, you will receive the wrath of God, and it is contained in the seven last plagues. “So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.” Revelation 16:2.

Those who reject the Three Angels’ Messages will receive the seven last plagues, which are God’s unmingled wrath. They do not just receive the first plague; they receive the second, the third, the fourth, the fifth, the sixth, and when the seventh plague is poured out, life in this world, as we know it, will come to an end.

Notice what it says in Revelation 16, starting with verse 17: “Then the seventh angel [this is the seventh plague] poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, ‘It is done!’ ” Notice, it is over now! “And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great.” Verses 18–21.

Then the second coming of Christ will occur; the day and hour for the coming of Jesus will be announced from heaven [see “My First Vision,” Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White (1922), 57–61], and when Jesus comes, it says in the Bible, every eye will see Him (Revelation 1:7). Jesus said to His disciples, before He left them, “If I go away, I am going to prepare a place for you, and I am going to come again, and I am going to receive you to Myself” (John 14:2, 3).

The apostle Paul described this wonderful, exciting event in I Thessalonians 4:16, 17. He said, “The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

The Bible says, concerning God’s children, that, “They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:16, 17.

In this world, in all ages, the chosen of Jesus Christ have been educated and disciplined in the school of trial. God’s children walk in narrow paths on this earth. Jesus said it is a narrow way that leads to the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 7:14). God’s children, in this world, are purified in the furnace of affliction, and for Jesus’ sake, God’s children have endured opposition and hatred. The children of our Lord have followed Jesus through conflicts, trials terrible, and through self-denial, and they have experienced bitter disappointments. However, by their own painful experience, they have learned the evil of sin and of its power, its guilt, and its woe, and they look upon sin with abhorrence. A sense of the infinite sacrifice that the God of heaven made to cure sin will keep us humble forever. And it will fill our hearts with gratitude and praise for the One Who offered His life on Calvary’s cross to save us from sin and death.

If we are partakers of Christ’s sufferings here, we will be partakers of His glory in the future. The heirs of God, when Jesus comes in the clouds of heaven, will come from hovels, dungeons, scaffolds, mountains, deserts, from the caves of the earth and also from the caverns of the sea. In this world, as Paul says in Hebrews 11, they were destitute, afflicted, and tormented, because they followed Jesus. Millions of people have gone down to the grave, loaded with infamy, because they steadfastly refused to listen to the deceptive claims of Satan that had taken the world captive. By human tribunals they have been judged to be the vilest of criminals, but when Jesus comes, the Bible says, “God Himself is Judge.” Psalm 50:6.

At that time, the decisions of this earth will be reversed. The Bible tells us that the rebuke of His people He will take away. “He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces; the rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; for the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 25:8.

Isaiah 62:12 says, “And they shall call them The Holy People, the Redeemed of the Lord; and you shall be called, Sought Out, a City Not Forsaken.” And also, “Proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes ….” That is talking especially about people who have been burned at the stake. “The oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:2, 3.

No longer will God’s children be feeble, afflicted, scattered, oppressed and tormented. From now on, the Bible says in I Thessalonians 4:17, they will “always be with the Lord.” They will stand before the throne of God, clad in richer garments than anyone in this world has ever worn. They will have crowns that are more glorious than any monarch of this world wears. The days of pain and weeping will be forever ended. The King of Glory will have wiped away every tear from every face. Every cause of grief will have been removed. They will wave palm branches and pour forth a song of praise, clear, sweet, and harmonious. In fact, the song of praise they will sing is recorded in the Bible in Revelation 7:10, 12. This is what it says they will sing: “Crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ … saying: ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever.’ ”

Are you going to be in that throng singing that song? In this world we can only begin to understand the wonderful theme of Redemption. With our finite comprehension, we may consider most earnestly the shame, the glory, the life, the death, the justice, and the mercy that meet in the cross.

With the utmost stretch of our mental powers, we cannot grasp the full significance of the plan of salvation or the cross of Jesus Christ. People in this world dimly comprehend the length and breadth and depth and height of redeeming love. The plan of salvation will not be completely understood, even when we are taken to heaven. It will take eternal ages for us to understand the love, the mercy and grace of God. Your happiness will be constantly increasing. You cannot afford to miss this.

The cross of Jesus Christ will be the science and the song of the redeemed throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. Never will it be forgotten that He Whose power created and upheld unnumbered worlds in space—the Beloved of God, the Majesty of Heaven, the One Whom cherubim and seraphim delighted to adore, that Person—humbled Himself, to uplift fallen man. He came to this world and bore the guilt and shame of sin and the hiding of His Father’s face, until the woes of a lost world broke His heart and crushed out His life.

As we look upon Christ glorified, we will remember Christ crucified. The idea that the Maker of all the worlds, the arbiter of all destinies, should lay aside His glory and humiliate Himself from love to man, will always excite the wonder and adoration of the universe.

The Bible asks, “What do you conspire against the Lord? … affliction will not rise up a second time.” Nahum 1:9. The plan of salvation will work a permanent cure to the rebellion and disobedience of sin. As the nations of the saved look upon their Redeemer and see the eternal glory of the Father shining in His countenance, as they behold His throne, which is from everlasting to everlasting, and they know that His kingdom is to have no end (Daniel 7), they will break forth into a rapturous song.

We are told in Revelation 5:11–13 what heaven’s inhabitants are going to declare: “I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!’ And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: ‘Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!’ ”

The mystery of the cross explains all other mysteries. When we look at the light that streams from Calvary, then the attributes of God that used to fill us with fear and awe begin to appear beautiful and attractive, because we see that mercy and tenderness and parental love blend with holiness, justice and power. While we behold the majesty of God upon His throne, high and lifted up, we will see in His character the gracious manifestations and comprehend, as never before, the significance of that endearing term by which Jesus taught us to address Him Who is in heaven, “Our Father.”

It is going to be seen, in the future, that God the Father, the One Who is infinite in wisdom, could devise no plan for the salvation of fallen man except the sacrifice of His Son. The compensation for this sacrifice is the joy of peopling the earth with ransomed beings, holy, happy and immortal. Jesus asked of His Father, in the Garden of Gethsemane, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39. And, the chief priests, when Jesus was on the cross, spoke the words inspired of them by the devil, “If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.” Matthew 27:42. Jesus could have come down from the cross. Jesus could have walked away from the Garden of Gethsemane. He could have left this world to perish in its guilt. But, because He did not walk away, because He did not come down from the cross, because He died on the cross to pay the price of sin, He has the authority and the right to forgive your sins, to cleanse you from all unrighteousness, if you confess them (I John 1:9). He has the right to give to you the gift of eternal life.

If we follow Jesus, we must obey His law; we must follow Him in holy living, but our obedience has nothing to do with merit. All merit for eternal life is of grace, none of works. Paul said, “For by grace you have been saved through faith … not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8, 9. It is a gift, but it is a gift that can be given only to those who are fit to receive it.

There are going to be some wonderful consequences of the Saviour’s conflict with the powers of darkness. It is going to be joy to the redeemed, redounding to the glory of God throughout all eternity. The big question is, Are you going to participate in this great salvation?

We do not comprehend what it means, because we do not live very long. How many people do you know who are over a hundred years old? We do not live very long in this world, but if you are saved, if you are redeemed, if you are taken to the Father’s house, you will then be given a life that measures with the life of God. You will be alive, not just a hundred years from now, not just a thousand years from now, not just ten thousand years from now; you will have a life that will never end. Can you comprehend the value of a gift like that? If you are given life that will last forever, that would have more value than you could write down or compute. It has infinite value.

The value of your soul is so great that the Father saw fit to send His Son to this world, to pay the price for your sins so that you could be restored and redeemed. The value of the soul is so great, that the Father is satisfied with the price that is paid. Not only is the Father satisfied with the price that is paid, but Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for your sins, will also be satisfied with the price paid. Notice what it says in Isaiah 53:11, 12: “He shall see the travail [labor] of His soul, and be satisfied. … Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

Jesus will be satisfied. He wants to take you to that place and give to you eternal life. The question is, Will you let Him do it? Will you choose to be His disciple, to follow Him today, in obedience and holy living?

[Bible texts quoted are NKJV translation.]

Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Free Seventh-day Adventist Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by email at:, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

Joy in Suffering

She was born in southeast New York, on March 24, 1820, and died in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on February 12, 1915, having lived ninety-five years.

Being blinded when six weeks old through an improper medical treatment, she was able, however, to distinguish between day and night. She never considered blindness a handicap, but rather a blessing and always insisted that blind people can accomplish almost everything sighted people can.

She lived a normal, happy childhood and wrote, “I could climb a tree like a squirrel and ride a horse bareback.”

Early in life, she began memorizing the Bible and eventually could repeat, by rote, the entire Pentateuch, all four Gospels, many of the Psalms, all of Proverbs, as well as the entire books of Ruth and Song of Solomon. She stated at the close of her life, “The Holy Book has nurtured my entire life.”

She spent twelve years as a pupil in the New York Institution for the Blind and served as a teacher there from 1847 to 1858, teaching language and history and was known for her musical abilities as well as a talent for writing poetry. She had a fine soprano voice as well as being accomplished in playing the guitar, harp, piano, and organ. Being well-versed in the great classics of music, she wrote some tunes for her texts but generally did not want them used, for she felt that they were too complicated for ordinary people to sing.

She married a blind musician and teacher from the school, Alexander Van Alstyne, in 1858, but very little is told of this marital relationship or of Mr. Van Alstyne other than that he was known as a very capable organist in the New York area. The Van Alstynes had a child born the following year, who evidently died in early infancy. This event was something that Fanny Crosby would never discuss with anyone throughout her life.

Fanny Crosby was very small in appearance, less than five feet tall, and she weighed no more than one hundred pounds. She was said to have been a physically unattractive person—a long face, prominent front teeth with a gap between them, thick, wavy hair parted in the middle and pulled backward in curls that hung to the shoulders and always the dark, rectangular glasses obscuring her sightless eyes. Yet, when she spoke, it is said that there was an unusual charisma about her, as her face lit up with an expression that gave her great charm and attractiveness.

Though always devout and religious from childhood, on November 20, 1850, Fanny Crosby had a dramatic conversion experience at a Methodist revival meeting. “My very soul was flooded with celestial light … for the first time I realized that I had been trying to hold the world in one hand and the Lord in the other.” Years later, when speaking of her November conversion experience, she said, “The Lord planted a star in my life and no cloud has ever obscured its light.” (Adapted from 101 Hymn Stories by Kenneth W. Osbeck, Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, 239–240.)

This woman, Frances Jane Crosby, had every reason to be unhappy, discouraged, sad and complaining. Having lived a life of misfortune from infancy spanning ninety-five years, she had not much reason to be joyful, yet she led a most outstanding evangelistic/gospel ministry for the better part of her life.

“In the period of 1870 to her death in 1915, it is estimated that Fanny Crosby wrote between 8,000 and 9,000 gospel hymn texts—more than any other known hymn writer. The majority of her lasting favorites were written in her mid-life during the decade of the 1870s. These include such popular hymns, still found in our hymnals, as “Safe in the Arms of Jesus”; “Blessed Assurance”; “Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior”; “Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross”; “I Am Thine, O Lord”; “All the Way My Savior Leads Me”; “Close to Thee”; “Praise Him, Praise Him”; “To God Be the Glory,” and “Rescue the Perishing.” Fanny Crosby’s favorite motto was, ‘I think life is not too long, and therefore I determine that many people will read a song who would not read a sermon.’ ” Ibid., 237.

“Saved by Grace” was one of the choice, later hymns written by Fanny Crosby in 1891, when she was seventy-one years of age. It goes like this:

Some day the silver cord will break,
And I no more as now shall sing;
But O the joy when I shall wake
Within the palace of the King!

Chorus –

And I shall see Him face to face,
And tell the story – Saved by grace;
And I shall see Him face to face,
And tell the story – Saved by grace.

Saved by grace, saved by grace! I am convinced that this was the propelling force in the life of Fanny Crosby that kept her ministering for God for the greater part of her life in spite of the unfortunate set-backs, the trials, the obstacles and crippling situations that plagued her.

To be able to say with absolute conviction:

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

Refrain –

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight.
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

The “Blessed Assurance” is the joy that anchors the Christian and keeps him steadfast in any given situation. This is the seeming paradox of the Christian experience, that in the midst of trials and very discouraging situations he/she can be joyful!

For many, many Christians there is something that is destroying their joy, and that something is trial. “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:2–4.

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” I Peter 4:12–16.

David confesses that, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” Psalm 119:71.

“When trials come to us, let us not dwell upon the greatness of the difficulties and feel that we cannot have joy in the Lord. It is true we will have changes of feelings. There will come to us times of discouragement and depression. But shall we live by feeling or by faith? When our brethren and friends speak unadvisedly, and cause us grief, let us not be cast down. Let us remember that we are in a world of trial and grief, of sorrow and disappointment. When these experiences come to us, they should drive us to Christ. If they do not, we meet with loss.” The Upward Look, 252.

When tempted to give up under discouragement and difficulty, let us study the life and experiences of Christ. He had to contend against the powers of darkness that He might not be overcome. We have the same battle to fight, the same victories to win. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. It is our privilege to lay hold on the strength of One who is able to save unto the uttermost all that come unto God by Him. He invites you to present your case at the throne of grace, and cast your helpless soul on Him.

The purging is not pleasant, but let us remember that Christ came to our world and took humanity that He might bear the afflictions that humanity must bear and be an example of faithful endurance under every form of trial. God wants us to realize that we are a part of the great human family, and that we must bear its tests. Let your humanity lay hold of divinity. Go to the footstool of God’s grace, and say, “Lord, I hang my helpless soul on Thee. Help me to control my speech. Teach me to overcome.” Christ will give you a spirit of overcoming. “They overcame him,” we read, “by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.” Revelation 12:11.

Why should we not sink under trials?

“Trials are Christ’s workmen to perfect the Christian graces. … These tests are not to sink the believers’ faith, but raise it equal to the occasion, that unto all it may be made to appear more precious than gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire. Every trial permitted is designed to exalt the truth to a higher appreciation, that praise to God alone shall be upon the lips of the true disciple of Christ. And the growth in grace is to the honor and glory of God at the appearing of Jesus Christ, ‘whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you’ (I Peter 1:8–10).” Ibid., 324.

“We grieve the Spirit of Christ by our complaints and murmurings and repinings. We should not dishonor God by the mournful relation of trials that appear grievous. All trials that are received as educators will produce joy. The whole religious life will be uplifting, elevating, ennobling, fragrant with good words and works.” God’s Amazing Grace, 325.

Ponder these words: “So far from causing grief, persecution should bring joy to the disciples of Christ, for it is an evidence that they are following in the steps of their Master.

“While the Lord has not promised His people exemption from trials, He has promised that which is far better. He has said, ‘As thy days, so shall thy strength be.’ ‘My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Deuteronomy 33:25; II Corinthians 12:9. If you are called to go through the fiery furnace for His sake, Jesus will be by your side even as He was with the faithful three in Babylon. Those who love their Redeemer will rejoice at every opportunity of sharing with Him humiliation and reproach. The love they bear their Lord makes suffering for His sake sweet.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 30.

There is no real joy in disobedience.

“Man is doing the greatest injury and injustice to his own soul when he thinks and acts contrary to the will of God. No real joy can be found in the path forbidden by Him who knows what is best, and who plans for the good of His creatures. The path of transgression leads to misery and destruction; but wisdom’s ‘ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.’ Proverbs 3:17.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 600.

David’s prayer after his great sin.

“Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free spirit.” Psalm 51:12.

“The sweetest joy comes to man through his sincere repentance toward God because of the transgression of His law, and faith in Christ as the sinner’s Redeemer and Advocate.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 481.

Three things that constitute the greatest joy.

“To honor Christ, to become like Him, to work for Him, is the life’s highest ambition and its greatest joy.” Education, 296.

“In view of what Christ has done for us, and what He suffered for sinners, we should, out of pure, disinterested love for souls, imitate His example by sacrificing our own pleasure and convenience for their good. The joy set before Christ, which sustained Him in all His sufferings, was the salvation of poor sinners. This should be our joy, and the spur of our ambition in the cause of our Master. In so doing we please God, and manifest our love and devotion to Him as His servants.” Sons and Daughters of God, 150.

Why is it so necessary that we experience this joy that comes from knowing Christ?

Because we are planning to make heaven our home and “Heaven is full of joy. It resounds with the praises of Him who made so wonderful a sacrifice for the redemption of the human race. Should not the church on earth be full of praise? Should not Christians publish throughout the world the joy of serving Christ? Those who in heaven join with the angelic choir in their anthem of praise must learn on earth the song of heaven, the keynote of which is thanksgiving.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 244.

A well known chorus goes like this,

I have the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, down in my heart, down in my heart.
I have the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, down in my heart to stay.
I know the devil doesn’t like it but it’s down in my heart, down in my heart, down in my heart.
I know the devil doesn’t like it but it’s down in my heart, down in my heart to stay.

Is the joy of the Lord your strength? Do you have the joy of the Lord down in your heart?

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” Hebrews 12:1–3.

Pastor Ivan Plummer ministers through the Emmanuel Seventh Day Church Ministries in Bronx, New York. He may be contacted by telephone at: 718-882-3900.

The End of War and Injustice

By Michael C. Wells

The End of War and InjusticeThroughout history, one of the prominent activities of nations has been conquest and war. Men have desired power over their fellow men since Cain, the first son of Adam, slew his brother, out of jealousy. He desired the blessing that his brother received from God, but was not willing to follow the conditions of obedience and humility that God required. His selfishness caused him to hate his brother and eventually to kill him. One day, he, and all who treat others unjustly, will face the judgment of God, Who will set up His court to try all that have dwelt on the earth.

A grand judgment is being held as you read this book. The magnificence of this court is only surpassed by the glory and majesty of the Judge. Daniel records this in Daniel 7: 9,10. “I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire; a fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him, a thousand thousands ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.” This judgment will put an end to all the injustice man has done to his fellow man. Why, then, did God allow these things to take place in the beginning? Where did this controversy start, and why is there so much injustice and war in the world today? These are legitimate questions. The Bible tells us all about the origin of the greatest war ever fought anywhere.

The Origin of Suffering

It all began before the earth was created. In the heavenly courts, next to the throne of God, stood an angel who possessed great beauty and wisdom. He was a leader of angels and the “covering cherub.” He stood with his wings spread over the heavenly throne where the Lord God sat. Ezekiel 28: 14 describes him this way: “You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of the fiery stones.” The God of heaven had established this angel in a position of great honor in His kingdom. He had created him to be one of the leading angels in heaven. God had created him for service and praise. “You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created . . .” verses 12, 15. This angel’s name was Lucifer. Not only was he intelligent and beautiful, but he could sing like no other.

Unfortunately, terrible changes started to occur in Lucifer. He became dissatisfied with his position. As the covering cherub, Lucifer could go no higher. He stood next to God, but he was not satisfied. He wanted to be part of the inner circle. He wanted to become “as God,” to be part of the counsel with Christ. Lucifer became jealous of Christ and the relationship He had with the Father and believed that he was just as qualified to give counsel as Christ. His dissatisfaction led him to murmur about his misfortune to some of his fellow angels, causing them to doubt God’s fairness. It is inconceivable that a created being, like Lucifer, would exalt himself above his Creator, yet that is exactly what he tried to do.

Isaiah 14: 12– 14 describes this sad event. “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High. ’”

Using the King of Tyre to represent Lucifer, Ezekiel writes of his fall: “Because your heart is lifted up, and you say, ‘I am a God, I sit in the seat of gods, in the midst of the seas, ’ yet you are a man, and not a God, though you set your heart as the heart of a God . . . there is no secret that can be hidden from you! With your wisdom and your understanding you have gained riches for yourself, and gathered gold and silver into your treasuries; by your great wisdom in trade you have increased your riches, and your heart is lifted up. . . . You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at you.” Ezekiel 28: 2– 5,15– 17.

The first war did not start here on planet Earth, as many people believe, but originated in heaven. As Lucifer (now called Satan, which means deceiver and accuser) rallied his angels to battle for his so called “rights,” Michael (which means “one who is like God,” or another name for Christ), and His angels fought against this once glorious angel. “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and His angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Revelation 12: 7– 9.

Satan’s Plan for Our Earth

Satan lost the first battle and was cast out of heaven to the earth. His mission ever since has been to turn the people of this earth against the God of heaven, by convincing them, with his deceitful lies, that God is unjust and unfair. In Revelation it is written, “therefore rejoice, O heaven, and you who dwell in them!” But to the earth, John the Revelator warns, “woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” Revelation 12: 12. If mankind had heeded the warning God gave to them in the beginning, if they had recognized the immense fairness of God, and how His truth brings happiness, they would never have fallen to the deceit of Satan. Yet, even to this day, mankind has a hard time believing God and His infinite wisdom.

Rebellion spread across the earth as Satan went forth to deceive the nations. He encouraged pride in the hearts of men and caused them to covet wealth and power. God’s people were even snared in the traps of Satan as he used lust to cause the downfall of the sons of God. We can read in Genesis 6 how the sons of God looked upon the beauty of the daughters of Cain and took them as wives. No doubt they thought they could convert them to God’s way, yet just the opposite happened. Soon God’s people were becoming as corrupt as the descendants of Cain. The “thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6: 5. They became so wicked that God decided that the only way to purify the earth was to destroy it with water. God started over with mankind, but found again that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Jeremiah 17: 9.

The result of the first sin in heaven was the spread of greed, pride and selfishness. This resulted in war, poverty and the suppression of people. Kings were set who ruled without mercy or compassion. Misery became the handmaiden of injustice, and poverty the result of war.

Maybe you wonder why God allowed such things to take place? Why didn’t God just wipe Satan from existence? We can turn that question around and look at it from a different perspective. Why doesn’t God just wipe us out of existence as soon as we sin? God made provision for the sinner through Christ, His Son. It is written that He was “slain from the foundations of the world.” (Revelation 13: 8.) He made that same provision for Satan. God could have stopped him anytime, but that would have given weight to the allegations of the adversary. Satan was alleging that the God of heaven was unfair, a dictator who set up unjust laws that need not be followed. If God had disposed of the devil immediately, the angels of heaven would not have followed God out of love and admiration, but out of fear of the penalty of disobedience. He had to let sin come to full fruition before the entire universe could see where Satan’s doctrine would lead, and the true nature of sin. Satan could have turned from his course, back toward God and forgiveness, but instead he turned his heart inward and rejected the counsel of the Holy Spirit to repent and be forgiven. Now the last stronghold of sympathy for Satan is confined to this earth. Except for the inhabitants of our earth, the whole universe has seen his true character.

Satan set himself on a path to bring pain and suffering to all mankind. He used wars of his own creation, in which he controlled all sides, in order to fulfill his mission— the greatest amount of suffering for the greatest number. He is out to destroy you and me by deception and enticement into sin. When he had accomplished the seduction of Eve in the garden, and Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, because they rejected God’s law of love, Satan devoted his life to bringing misery and hatred to all of their off- spring.

God Reveals His Plan

God, on the other hand, had a plan to bring Satan and sin to an end. He saw far into the future and developed a plan to bring salvation to everyone who would receive the free gift He was to offer. He saw the rise and fall of nations, and the course that each man would take. He gives us free choice to live as we want, but He is ever at hand to guide and lead if we will submit to His will. He wants to bring happiness and peace to those who will allow Him to work in their lives.

Since God knows the end from the beginning, He sent a prophecy to His servant Daniel, to explain His ultimate plan. In Daniel 7, we see four beasts coming out of the sea, one like a lion, one like a bear, another like a leopard, and the last, a beast too hideous for Daniel to describe.

As we begin to study this prophecy, we must remember that prophecy is given in signs and symbols. Revelation 1: 1 says, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John.”

Notice that these beasts come from the sea. Since many terms are symbolic, we must look for the meaning of each symbol in the Bible, for the Bible interprets itself. What does water represent in Bible prophecy? Revelation 17: 15 says, “Then he said to me, ‘The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are people, multitudes, nations, and tongues.” Here we see that water represents many nations and languages that have come together, a continent of many different countries with multitudes of people. So then, these beasts were to arise from an already populated area.

These beasts represent kingdoms according to Daniel 7: 23. “Thus he said, ‘The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, trample it and break it in pieces. ’”

In Daniel 2, we see the same kingdoms depicted in the dream, of the image, of King Nebuchadnezzar. Just as Babylon was symbolized by the head of gold, so this first beast, a lion, also represents Babylon. (If you research the history of Babylon, you will find that this symbol is very appropriate, for they often used lions to represent themselves.) The second beast that came from this same region, and that conquered Babylon, was Medo- Persia. It is represented by a bear, because of its slow, but powerful, army. It crushed Babylon, in 539 BC, when Belshazzar, then Emperor of Babylon, defied and mocked the God of heaven. God sent a prophecy, the handwriting on the wall, to show him his soon coming demise. That very night Belshazzar was slain and Darius the Mede became conqueror of the most powerful kingdom in the known world. In Daniel 7: 5, we see that the bear is lifted up on one side. This represents the predominant authority of the Persian part of the alliance over the Medes. The Persian Empire went forward and conquered all the territory of Babylon, including Lydia and Egypt. The three ribs, in the mouth of the bear, depict these three territories.

God continued His prophecy of war and conquest in verse 6. Daniel saw that another great warrior was to arise from this region who would conquer so quickly that he was represented as a leopard. A leopard is known for its sleekness and speed as well as its great agility and strength in the attack. This describes the conqueror of the Persian Empire to the letter. Almost everyone has heard of Alexander the Great. At age 33, Alexander had conquered not only the territory that Persia had obtained but had also expanded his territory into Europe. His kingdom was divided when, after a successful campaign, he indulged too heavily in alcohol, at a wedding, and died. His kingdom was divided into four sections and became weak after a time. The four heads represent the four kingdoms of divided Greece.

The Dreadful and Terrible Beast

After the Grecian Empire, God shows Daniel a kingdom so vicious, so terrifying, so malevolent, that no beast could adequately describe it. The fourth beast was a “dreadful and terrible” beast, “exceedingly strong.” “It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.” Daniel 7: 7. As we look at history, it is not hard to figure out what kingdom enslaved Greece and the rest of the world. It brought in what we call the “Iron Age.” It was the Roman Empire.

Rome did indeed trample the known world into residue under its feet. Rome built roads all over the empire so that its armies could move more freely and quickly. It devoured and fed on the spoils of other nations, and it became the master of the world. From 168 BC to 476 AD Rome held the world in the palm of its hand. It became wealthy from the tribute that it received from other nations.

Rome was originally set up as a republic, with a senate and court system similar to ours in the United States, but eventually it became a dictatorship. The freedoms of the Roman citizens were taken away gradually until only a word of condemnation could cause one the loss of his life. Greed took hold of the empire and it became the most brutal and cruel monarchy the world has ever known, even to this day.

Rome is known for the development of methods of torture. The cross was one of its crowning achievements. Men could remain alive for days under this form of excruciating torture. During Nero’s reign, Christians were made into living candles and set on fire to give light for the arena. People were slaughtered by the sword and by animals, for the enjoyment of the people. Barbarism knew no limits.

When Rome began to fall in 351 A. D., the kingdom was eventually divided into ten kingdoms. The ten horns of this beast represented ten tribes or kingdoms. These kingdoms became what we know today as Europe. They were the Franks (France), Anglo- Saxons (England), Alemanni (Germany), Suevi (Portugal), Visigoths (Spain), Burgundians (Southern France), Lombards (Switzerland), Ostrogoths (the area of Greece and also moved to conquer Italy), Heruli (Italy), and the Vandels (Northern Africa).

In Daniel 7: 8, 20, 24, we see a little horn (kingdom) who destroys three of the original kingdoms. This was done when the Heruli, Ostrogoths, and the Vandels were eliminated. This little horn power was to speak “great words against the Most High” and “persecute the saints of the Most High.” Daniel 7: 25. This is a religious power that will try to bring the whole world under its authority, dictating religious values and worship under penalty of death! (See Revelation 13: 4– 8,15.) This power has been around for many centuries, and is emerging again, not only as a religious power, but with quite a lot of political leverage, also.

We can see by looking at identifying marks of the little horn in Daniel 7 and the beast in Revelation 13 that these are the same power. We already notice that in Daniel 7: 25, the little horn speaks pompous (blasphemous) words against the Most High. In Revelation 13: 6, we see the beast also has a mouth that speaks blasphemy. Both the little horn and the beast also persecute the saints (Daniel 7: 25; Revelation 13: 7) and both continue for 1260 years.

In Bible prophecy, a day equals a year. (See Numbers 14: 34 and Ezekiel 4: 6.) When the Bible speaks of a time (one year), times (two years), and half a time (half a year) it is speaking of three and a half years. In the Bible times a year was 360 days. So by using this criteria, we can multiply 3 ½ by 360 and we get 1260 days. A day for a year brings us to 1260 years. In Revelation 13: 5, we have 42 months. By using this same rule and multiplying 42 by 360, the answer again is 1260. So in both Daniel and Revelation we can find several identifying marks that show that this is the same power.

It is the grievous sins of this power that will bring great judgment on its head. It has a blasphemous name on its head (Revelation 13: 1). The Bible definition for blasphemy is to claim to forgive sin, and to claim to be equal with or to be God. Jesus made these claims (which was His right as Sovereign of the universe) in Mark 2: 7 and John 8: 58, but for a earthly power or man to make such a claim will bring great judgment to him. We already saw that he would persecute (kill) the saints (God’s people), and that he would cause the world to “marvel and follow the beast.” “So they worshipped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying ‘Who is like the Beast? Who is able to make war with him? ’” Revelation 13: 3,4. Can you imagine God not judging such a power with the ultimate sentence? “God is jealous, and the Lord avenges; the lord avenges and is furious. The Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies.” Naham 1: 2.

How Will You Be Judged?

God is sitting up a judgment and declares that this message should be proclaimed to all the world. “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come and worship Him who made heaven and the earth, the sea and springs of waters.” Revelation 14: 7. In Daniel 7: 26, we see that when the court is seated, this little horn power (or beast power as described in Revelation 13) will have its dominion taken away and will be consumed and destroyed forever. All who have followed this false religious power will pay the price with him. This little horn (or anti- christ) is the earthly agent of Satan who comes with the power of Satan, yet God is setting up a judgment that will bring him to utter ruin. How do we avoid this condemnation and the destruction that will follow? What exactly will be the evidence presented in this judgment, for or against us? It will be the very thoughts we have thought, the deeds we have done, and God will judge our hearts.

God Himself is the judge, not any human being. We are never to judge the motives of a person. This is left to God alone. Paul writes about this very subject: “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts . Then one’s praise will come from God.” “But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother. For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” I Corinthian 4: 5; Romans 14: 10. When we judge our brother, we are actually judging ourselves. “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment.” “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 12: 36; 7: 1– 3,5.

Judgment of the motives belongs to God. We cannot read the heart as God does. We may think that the people around us have rejected God and His counsel, yet, only God truly knows the heart of another. We are here to give encouragement and support to those who are suffering under the attacks of Satan. “Your words are to soothe, not harass. Let your hearts be filled with love for souls. With a deep, tender interest, work for those around you. If you see one making a mistake, go to him in the way Christ has pointed out in His Word, and see if you cannot talk the matter over with Christlike tenderness. Pray with him, and believe that the Saviour will show the way out of the difficulty.” Evangelism, 637, by Ellen G. White.

Yet this does not discount the fact that you and I will one day be judged by the God of heaven. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” II Corinthians 5: 10. This judgment will take place in the heavenly courts, as we read in Daniel 7: 9,10. As the angels gather around, the books are brought out (the Book of Remembrance and the Book of Life) and the Ancient of Days is seated along with the rest of the court.

The Law of Liberty

God’s court of justice is a court of law. The government of God is based around a system of immutable laws that govern the conduct of each person in His kingdom. These laws cannot be changed. They are perpetual; they do not end. These same laws will be the standard by which we will be judged in the judgment. This is called the law of liberty. This does not mean we have liberty to break God’s law, but that we are freed, or given liberty, from sin when we keep God’s law. In James 2: 8– 12, we are shown that this law of liberty spoken of is none other than the Ten Commandments. God says through James: “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumbles in one point, he is guilty of all. . . . So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.”

God is ever so fair in His judgments. That is why only He can be our Judge. “There is one Lawgiver and Judge, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?” James 4: 12 NAB. Jesus warns us not to fear man, for what can man do to us if we are the Lord’s? “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10: 28. Only the Lord has power over our eternal destiny. Only He can give us eternal life or eternal death. The price for sin, which is death, must be paid either by ourselves or by the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross. Jesus will stand up as the Defense Attorney for all those who have been faithful. He will bring His blood before the Father as the price that was paid for the sins of each person who has given himself or herself fully to Him.

This, then, will be the theme of the judgment. Have our sins been covered with the blood of Jesus? Have we allowed Him to take our lives and shape them? Are we overcoming sin by the blood of the Lamb of God? “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” Romans 6: 23; I John 1: 7.

Man has a duty to perform before the judgment closes. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring ever work into the judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.” Ecclesiastes 12: 13,14. Jesus will bring every work into judgment, whether good or bad. The kingdoms, we read about in Daniel 7, will all be judged by the standard of the Royal Law, the Ten Commandments.

The wicked will receive their just reward from heaven. As we read in Revelation 20: 12,13, “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works .” The cases of each person will be brought before God’s throne and all will receive their sentence. The ungodly will pay with their lives for the misdeeds that they participated in on this earth. “Then Death and Hades [the grave] were cast into the lake of fire, this is the second [and final] death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20: 15.

God shows Daniel that when the little horn, the religious power which thinks “to change times and law,” puts forth its power to persecute God’s people for the last time, God will bring it to its knees. Judgment will be executed against the wicked and the righteous will be delivered by the power of the Lamb from the hands of injustice and persecution. Jesus will stand up and gather His people to Himself.

More Than a Profession

Obviously, Jesus will not defend those who do not love Him and follow Him, but what about those who claim to be His people? Jesus warned us that not all who claim to be His people will be saved. Look at what He says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, ’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your Name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your Name? ’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” Matthew 7: 21– 23.

In the judgment, it is not enough to invoke the name of Jesus, we must do His will and obey His commandments. Satan’s agents will use “power, signs, and lying wonders,” but Jesus says that this is not a sign that we are His people. The only true test of fellowship with Him, the only standard to be used in the judgment, will be whether we keep His commandments out of a true love for Him. Those who do not will be told, “Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”

With our cases soon to come up for judgment, how are we to prepare? Paul says, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?— unless you are disqualified.” II Corinthians 13: 5. Every one of us must give an account of ourselves to God at the day of final judgment. God has been keeping a record of each person’s life. This information will be used in the judgment to see whether we truly are one of God’s people. Our recorded life will be put into contrast with God’s law. It will not only show those things we have done in the body, but also if we have let Jesus cover our sins with His blood. It will show whether we have overcome sin in our lives through the power of God’s Holy Spirit.

Those who have overcome will have their sins blotted from the books. Those who have not overcome, who only have a profession of faith and not the corresponding works, will be blotted out of the Book of Life. “But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness, which he has done, shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die.” “And the Lord said to Moses, whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.” “But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live.” “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” Ezekiel 18: 24; Exodus 32: 33; Ezekiel 18: 21,22; Revelation 3: 5.

Salvation is a free gift, yet we cannot receive it unless we come to Jesus, as He requires, not as we think is appropriate. God makes the rules, not us. He requires the combination of faith and works to prove we are truly His people. Have you given everything over to Him? Are you holding back part of your heart that is reserved for sin? Sin is the transgression [breaking] of God’s law. (I John 3: 4.) If we have not given all to the Lord, our whole heart, mind, and soul, we have given nothing at all. We cannot be partially God’s and partially of the world. We cannot let our ideas and desires dictate to us the path we will follow, for that path will lead to destruction. God is bringing an end to war and injustice, and the case of each human being alive today will very soon be brought to final judgment. Will you give all to Jesus today? Will you submit to His authority and work with His grace to transform your life? Will Jesus say to you in the judgment, “Well done faithful servant,” or will He say, “Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness”? The court is being seated and the Ancient of Days is ready to look through the books to see who will be called by His Name. Where will you be found?


  • Grosboll, John, God Predicts Your Future.
  • Popovic, John, Alexander the Great— From history to eternity.
  • White, E. G., Patriarchs and Prophets.
  • White, E. G., Evangelism.

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