The Mighty and Inspiring Conflict

By Ellen G. White

The coming of Christ to our world was a great event, not only to this world, but to all the worlds in the universe of God. Before the heavenly intelligences He was to take upon Himself our nature, to be tempted in all points like as we are, and yet to leave an example of perfect purity and unblemished character. . . .

In His conflict with the prince of darkness in this atom of a world, Christ had to meet the whole confederacy of evil, the united forces of the adversary of God and man; but at every point He met the tempter, and put him to flight. Christ was conqueror over the powers of darkness, and took the infinite risk of consenting to war with the enemy, that He might conquer him in our behalf. . . .

He humbled Himself to pass through man's experiences, and He would not turn aside from the plan by which salvation could come to man. Knowing all the steps in the path of His humiliation, He refused not to descend step by step to the depths of man's woe, that He might make expiation for the sins of the condemned, perishing world. What humility was this! It amazed the angels. Tongue can never describe it. Pen can never portray it. The imagination can not take it in. Sinless and exalted by nature, the Son of God consented to take the habiliments of humanity, to become one with the fallen race. The eternal Word consented to be made flesh. God became man.

But He stepped still lower; He humbled Himself to bear insult, reproach, accusation, and shameful abuse. In the world which He had made, which was sustained by the word of His power there seemed to be no room for Him. He had to flee from one place to another until His life work was accomplished. He was betrayed by one of His followers, and denied by another. He was mocked and taunted. He was crowned with thorns, and forced to bear the burden of the cross.

He was not insensible to ignominy and contempt; He submitted to it, but He felt its bitterness as no other being could feel it. Pure, holy, and undefiled, He was yet arraigned as a criminal before the eyes of the world. From the highest exaltation the adorable Redeemer took step after step in the path of humiliation. He consented to die in the sinner's stead, that by a life of obedience man might escape the penalty of the law.

He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death. And what a death! It was the most shameful, the most cruel,--the death upon the cross as a malefactor. He died not as a hero in the eyes of men, loaded with honors; He died as a condemned criminal, suspended between the heavens and the earth--died a lingering death, exposed to the tauntings and revilings of a debased and profligate mob. . . .

He expired on the cross exclaiming, "It is finished," and that cry rang through every world, and through heaven itself. The great contest between Christ, the Prince of life, and Satan, the prince of darkness, was practically over, and Christ was conqueror. His death answered the question as to whether there was self-denial with the Father and the Son.

Through the death of Christ a door of hope was opened for fallen man. Man was under sentence of death for the transgression of the law of God. He was under condemnation as a traitor, as a rebel; but Christ came to be his substitute, to die as a malefactor, to suffer the penalty of the traitors, bearing the weight of their sins upon His divine soul. He descended lower and lower, till there were no lower depths of humiliation to sound, in order that He might lift up those who would believe in Him, and cleanse the guilty from moral defilement, and impart to them His own righteousness. He died to make an atonement, to redeem, cleanse, restore, and exalt man to a place at His right hand. . . .

As a member of the human family He was mortal, but as God He was a fountain of life to the world. He could have withstood the advances of death and refused to come under its dominion, but voluntarily He laid down His life that He might bring life and immortality to light. He bore the sin of the world, endured the penalty, yielded up His life as a sacrifice, that man should not eternally die. Contrast His suffering and humiliation with the riches of His glory, with the wealth of praise pouring forth from immortal tongues, with the anthems of adoration, with the homage of millions of holy angels in the heights of the sanctuary, and seek to comprehend what manner of love inspired the heart of Jesus.

How much has God loved the race of men?--Look to Calvary. As you behold Jesus upon the cross, does not the heinous character of sin appear? It was sin that caused the death of God's dear Son, and sin is the transgression of the law. Says the prophet: "Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But 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. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. . . . It pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities."

When the sinner realizes that Christ died for him, that He might impute His righteousness unto him, he magnifies the love of God in providing the plan of salvation. . . .How the wondrous provision of the plan of God for the salvation of men widens and exalts our ideas of the love of God! How it binds our hearts to the great heart of infinite love! How it makes us delight in His service, as our hearts respond to the drawing of His loving-kindness and loving mercy!

John calls upon men to behold the marvelous love of God. He exclaims: "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. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure." Those who are true, who are pure, who love and obey the words of God, will be counted children of the heavenly King, members of the royal family, heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ.

Originally published in Signs of the Times, January 5, 1915.





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