The sacrifice of Christ as an atonement for sin is the truth around which all other truths cluster. In order to be rightly understood and appreciated, every truth in the word of God, from Genesis to Revelation, must be studied in the light that streams from the cross of Calvary. The truth as it is in Jesus can be experienced, but never explained. Its height and breadth and depth passes our knowledge. This light comes from the pan of inspiration. Moreover, we may task our imagination to the utmost, and then we shall see only dimly the outlines of a love that is unexplained. In other words, love is the term that describes all in all. For that is as high as heaven, but that stooped to the earth to stamp the image of God on all mankind.
Not in this life shall we comprehend the mystery of God’s love in giving His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. The work of our Redeemer on this earth is and ever will be a subject that will put to the stretch our highest imagination. An individual may tax every mental power in order to understand this mystery. But one’s mind will become faint and weary. The most diligent searcher will see a boundless and shore-less sea.
Does this sound complicated to you. Yet it is possible for us to see all that we can bear of the divine compassion.
We shall understand God’s compassion just in proportion as we appreciate His sacrifice for us
This is unfolded to the humble and contrite soul. As we search the word of God in humility of heart the grand theme of redemption will open to our research. It will increase in brightness as we behold it. Furthermore, as we desire to grasp it, its height and depth will ever increase. It would be well to spend a thoughtful hour each day reviewing the life of Christ from the manger to Calvary. We should take it point by point. Let the imagination vividly grasp each scene, especially the closing ones of His earthly life. We should contemplate His teachings and sufferings, and the infinite sacrifice made by Him for the redemption of mankind. Thus we may strengthen our faith, quicken our love, and become more deeply imbued with the spirit which sustained our Savior.
Our life is to be bound up with the life of Christ
Those who have put on Christ will relate their experience, tracing step by step the leading of the Holy Spirit in their:
- hungering and thirsting for the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ whom He has sent
- searching results of the Scriptures
- soul agony
- hope in the words of Christ to them – Thy sins be forgiven thee.
It is unnatural for any to keep these things secret. Those who are filled with the love of Christ will not do so. All who receive the gospel message into the heart will long to proclaim it. The heaven-born love of Christ must find expression. As they make known God’s grace, more of the grace of Christ will be imparted to them.
The great storehouse of the truth as it is in Jesus
- The written word
- The book of nature
- Experience in God’s dealing with human life
The written word
It is the written word that most clearly reveals the knowledge of God to fallen man. The word of God includes the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as well. Christ declared that the truths of the Old Testament are as valuable as those of the New. He was as much man’s Redeemer in the beginning of the world as He is today. Before He clothed His divinity with humanity and came to our world, the gospel message was given as from generation to generation faithful messengers proclaimed the Coming One. Christ was the foundation of the Jewish system of sacrificial offerings, the great anti-type of all their religious service.
One is not complete without the other
Ever since the first promise of redemption was spoken in Eden, the life, character, and the mediatorial work of Christ have been the study of human minds. The blood shed as the sacrifices were offered pointed to the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. All the typical offerings were fulfilled in Jesus. The truth in Him is the riches of the Old Testament as:
- manifested to the patriarchs
- symbolized in the sacrificial service
- portrayed in the law
- revealed by the prophets
Of Christ’s life, death and intercession, which prophets had foretold, the apostles were to go forth as witnesses. In order to preach the gospel in its fullness, they must present the Savior not only as revealed in His life and teachings, but as foretold by the prophets of the Old Testament.
Christ in His teaching presented old truths as He shed upon them a new light. A flood of light and spirituality was brought in by His explanation. And He promised that the Holy Spirit will enlighten the disciples, that the Word of God should be ever unfolding to them.
In every age there is a new development of truth
The old truths are all essential. New truth is not independent of the old, but an unfolding of it. It is only as the old truths are understood that we can comprehend the new. For instance, when Christ desired to open to His disciples the truth of His resurrection, He began at Moses and all the prophets and expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24:27. it is the light which shines in the fresh unfolding of truth that glorifies the old. One who rejects or neglects the new does not really possess the old. For him or her it loses its vital power and becomes but a lifeless form.
As we near the close of this world’s history, the prophecies relating to the last days especially demand our study. The last book of the New Testament scriptures is full of truth that we need to understand. Satan has blinded the minds of many, so that they have been glad of any excuse for not making the Revelation their study. But Christ through His servant John has here declared what shall be in the last days. He says – Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein. Revelation 1:3.
The book of nature
Natural science is a treasure house of knowledge from which every student in the school of Christ may draw. There will come to us a new perception of truth as we study:
- the beauty of nature
- its lessons in the cultivation of the soil
- the growth of the trees
- all the wonders of earth and sea and sky
Of Christ it is written: In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. John 1:4. Before the entrance of sin, Adam and Eve in Eden were surrounded with a clear and beautiful light, the light of God. This light illuminated everything which they approached. There was nothing to obscure their perception of the character or the works of God. But when they yielded to the tempter, the light departed from them. In losing the garments of holiness, they lost the light that had illuminated nature. No longer could they read it aright. They could not discern the character of God in His works. So today man cannot of himself read aright the teaching of nature. Unless guided by divine wisdom, one exalts nature and the laws of nature above nature’s God.
This is why mere human ideas in regard to science so often contradict the teaching of God’s word. But for those who receive the light of the life of Christ, nature is again illuminated. In the light shining from the cross, we can rightly interpret nature’s teaching. The book of nature and the written word shed light upon each other. Both make one better acquainted with God by teaching him or her of His character and of the laws through which He works.
The experience of the psalmist is the experience that all may gain by receiving God’s word through nature and through revelation. He says:
Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through Thy work:
I will triumph in the works of Thy hands. Psalms 92:4
Experience in God’s dealing with human life
In daily doing the words of Christ, it becomes a pleasure to do his will. Christ came to our world to live out the law of God, and to be our pattern in all things. He placed himself between the mercy-seat and the vast number of heartless worshipers who were full of display, pride, and vanity. By His lessons of truth, which were eloquent with simplicity, he impressed the people with the necessity of spiritual worship. His lessons were impressive, beautiful, and weighty with importance. On the other hand, they were yet so simple that a child could understand them. The truth he presented was so deep that the wisest and most accomplished teacher could never exhaust it. It was with this kind of teaching that the Lord Jesus exposed the weakness and brought to confusion the theories of the most learned.
The greatest possible evidence
The Lord has purchased His people for Himself. He has manifested His love toward them by shedding His blood and yielding His life on Calvary. He came down to our world to redeem us, to betroth and marry us to himself by an eternal covenant. The marriage union is taken as a symbol of the sacred and enduring character of the relation that exists between Christ and his church. He says:
I will betroth thee unto me forever; Hosea 2:19, and again, I am married unto you. Jeremiah 3:14.
The Lord, infinite in power and wisdom, has declared –For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 54:5. Everything that will serve for the best good and the highest interest of the people of God will be provided.
The Lord, who knows all, will make known the very things that are for the best interests of his children. When He veils the events of the future, it is only because He loves us, and would work out our highest good. Should He permit us to see the future mapped out before us, some would be distracted by anticipating coming sorrows. Others would be self-confident and daring, and the very good that our heavenly Father intended to bring about by his all-wise providence, would be thwarted and frustrated.
The system of tithing
The special system of tithing was founded upon a principle which is as enduring as the law of God. It was a blessing to the Jews, else God would not have given it them. So also it will be a blessing to those who carry it out to the end of time. True liberality in the follower of Christ identifies his or her interest with that of their Master. In God’s dealing with the Jews and His people to the end of time, He requires systematic benevolence proportionate to their income.
The plan of salvation was laid by the infinite sacrifice of the Son of God. The light of the gospel shining from the cross of Christ rebukes selfishness and encourages liberality and benevolence. Worldliness and covetousness are eating out the vitals of God’s people. They should understand that it is His mercy which multiplies the demands for their means.
Christ said: If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? Luke 16:11. The spiritual health and prosperity of the church is dependent in a great degree upon her systematic benevolence. It increases love for the souls of our fellow men. For by self-denial and self-sacrifice we are brought into a closer relation to Christ, who for our sake became poor.
The more we invest in the cause of God to aid in the salvation of souls, the closer to our hearts will they be brought. To the active workers Christ has addressed these words: Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Matthew 28:20. Let us bound our life with the life of Christ. Thus we will draw constantly from Him, partaking of Him the living Bread that came down from heaven.
The present truth
The testimony of Christ, a testimony of the most solemn character, is to be borne to the world. All through the book of Revelation there are the most precious and elevating promises. Moreover, there are also warnings of the most fearfully solemn import. Here is no guesswork, no scientific deception. Here are the truths that concern our present and future welfare.
Final atonement and investigative Judgment
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us,
what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 1 Peter 4:17
In the typical service, only those who had come before God with confession and repentance, and whose sins, through the blood of the sin-offering, were transferred to the sanctuary, had a part in the service of the day of atonement. So in the great day of final atonement and investigative Judgment, the only cases considered are those of the professed people of God. The judgment of the wicked is a distinct and separate work, and takes place at a later period.
If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17
Through the power of Christ souls that have borne the likeness of Satan have become transformed into the image of God. This change is in itself the miracle of miracles. A change wrought by the Word. It is one of the deepest mysteries of the Word. We cannot understand it. We can only believe, as declared by the Scriptures – it is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27.
Christ’s likeness in us is a practical truth. I am not merely a thing that God loves, made to be left the sport of Satan’s temptations. I am a child of God, begotten unto a lively hope, big with immortality and full of glory. We are to dwell in God, and God in us. Purity in us is like purity in God. Love in my heart is a living principle, like the love in the heart of God. All the treasures of heaven are at my command because I am redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.
The Laodicean Message
And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. Revelation 314-21.
The Lord is coming soon. The watchmen on the walls of Zion are called upon to awake to their God-given responsibilities. God calls for watchmen who, in the power of the Spirit, will give to the world the last warning message. He calls for watchmen who will arouse men and women from their lethargy, lest they sleep the sleep of death.
In the search after truth they are to depend upon God, not upon human intelligence, the great men whose wisdom is foolishness with God. Through His own appointed channels the Lord will impart a knowledge of Himself to every seeker. The truths of redemption are capable of constant development and expansion. Though old, they are ever new, constantly revealing to the seeker for truth a greater glory and a mightier power.
This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent. John 17:3.
Why is it that we do not realize the value of this knowledge? Why are not these glorious truths glowing in our hearts, trembling upon our lips, and pervading our whole being?
In giving us His word, God has put us in possession of every truth essential for our salvation. As the life of Christ and the character of His mission are dwelt upon, rays of light will shine forth more distinctly at every attempt to discover truth. Each fresh search will reveal something more deeply interesting than has yet been unfolded. The subject is inexhaustible. The study of the incarnation of Christ, His atoning sacrifice and mediator work, will employ the mind of the diligent student as long as time shall last. Thus looking to heaven with its unnumbered years he will exclaim, Great is the mystery of godliness.
The themes of redemption will employ the hearts and minds and tongues of the redeemed through the everlasting ages. They will understand the truths which Christ longed to open to His disciples, but which they did not have faith to grasp. Forever and forever new views of the perfection and glory of Christ will appear. Through endless ages will the faithful Householder bring forth from His treasure things new and old.
- COL 125-134; MH 462; 3T 403-405; ST, Aug, 1889; 8T 302; GC88 480; AA 476; – The Ellen G. White Estate
- King James Version (KJV) Bible – BibleGateway
- Image courtesy – Pixabay
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