Christ Spans the Gulf of Sin - Part 1
A sermon by
Ellen G. White delivered at
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is" (1 John 3:1, 2).
From the commencement to the close, this chapter is full of precious lessons of instruction. We are to make the Bible the man of our counsel, and instead of taking from it that which we think will sustain us in our own opinions, we are to see in it the lessons of instruction God has given for us. There is truth for us in this Word, and that truth we must dig for as for hidden treasure.
We may search for the truth as those have in past ages, thinking that we have a flood of light and yet only comprehend a small portion of the real instruction, the efficiency, and the fullness contained in the Scriptures. But when we search with our heart and mind put to the utmost test, we shall know for ourselves what we must do that we may have eternal life, for in the Bible there is something to meet the wants of each one. An invisible Instructor will be by our side, and we will find that the Author of this Word is not only the Author but the Finisher of our faith. His Word standeth fast from everlasting to everlasting, and we want to learn from it lessons of eternal interest.
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God" (1 John 3:1). We cannot find words to express the love of God, but He calls upon us to behold it. "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." "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up" (John 3:14).
It is not because God has given His Son that He loves the world, but because He loved the world He gave His Son, "that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." As you connect yourself with Jesus Christ you connect yourself with eternal life. His life is in you; you are hid with Christ in God, "and when Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory" (Col. 3:4).
We have seen enough of what the world calls perfection to know that all such is valueless, "for the earth is corrupt under the inhabitants thereof." But if we hide our life in Christ, we are the happiest mortals on the face of the earth. We have a faith that works by love and purifies the soul, for Christ is the purifier and the cleanser of everyone. Is Christ to you the first, the last, and the best in everything? If He is, you have a hope that goes beyond the dark shadows which, like a pall of death, cover the world; your hope is cast within the veil. You do not drift hither and thither, but have a firm foundation, even Christ Jesus.
The gospel was first proclaimed in Eden. "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" (Gen. 3:15). But through ages of sin the image of God was almost obliterated from the earth. Satan said, Humanity cannot keep the law of God. I can take their minds and mold and fashion them so that they will not regard the law of God.
But God looked down upon our earth, and seeing that the time had come, Christ the King of glory was born a helpless babe in Bethlehem. He who is from everlasting, and who is enshrouded in light unapproachable, He who fills all heaven with the train of His glory, looks upon sin as the only hateful thing that there is in our world, and yet He consented that His only begotten Son, sinless and holy, should take the sin of the world upon Himself.
Leaving the royal courts of heaven, Christ came to our world to represent the character of His Father, and thus help humanity to return to their loyalty. The image of Satan was upon men, and Christ came that He might bring to them moral power and efficiency. He came as a helpless babe, bearing the humanity we bear. "As the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same" (Heb. 3:14). He could not come in the form of an angel, for unless He met man as man, and testified by His connection with God that divine power was not given to Him in a different way to what it will be given to us, He could not be a perfect example for us.
He came in humility, in order
that the humblest being upon the face of the earth could have no excuse
because of his poverty or ignorance, and say, Because of these things
I cannot obey the law of Jehovah. Christ clothed His divinity with humanity,
that humanity might touch humanity; that He might live with humanity,
and bear all the trials and afflictions of man. He was tempted in all
points like as we are, yet without sin. In His
After Christ had been placed in the tomb, Roman guards were stationed round to protect His body. But a mighty angel from the court of heaven parted the darkness from his track, and descended to where the Son of God lay. When his light fell on the guards, they fell as dead men to the earth. But if the light from one angel caused men to fall to the earth as dead, Christ could not have come with even that glory. He took humanity that we, by partaking of His nature, might receive the impress of Jehovah, and stand as witnesses before men and angels, and before the whole army of the powers of darkness, of the efficacy of a crucified Saviour.
Humility marked the path of Christ from the manger to the cross. He was a man in this small atom of a world, yet He conquered the power of Satan and released humanity from his grasp. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me," He said, "because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised" (Luke 4:18).
Step by step Christ descended the path of humility, pursued by the enemy. He wrestled not against "flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" Eph. 6:12. This is our work, and therefore the exhortation is given, "Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand" (verse 12). In our fight we are barricaded by the ten commandments. "If ye do them," says Christ, "ye shall live in them."
Christ entered the tomb that man might pass through the tomb and rise with a resurrection-life. He burst the fetters of the tomb, and over the rent sepulcher of Joseph He proclaimed, "I am the resurrection and the life." And when the last trump shall sound, the Lifegiver will open the prison houses and those who have fallen asleep in Christ will come forth to a glorious immortality.