3. Meeting the Law’s Demands

By John Thiel, Walking in the Light of 1888 Conference, Study 3, mp3

As we open our heart to the message of Christ and His righteousness, Christ our righteousness, there are some mysteries which unfold. Apostle Paul expresses it; he says that he is the minister according to the dispensation of God, which is given him, to fulfill the word of God;

Colossians 1:26 [Even] the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27 To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

The marginal reading renders it: Christ among you.

Colossians 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

Here is this announcement of a mystery that the apostles and all other apostles thereafter are given the duty to convey—the mystery that hath been hid from ages. It has been poorly understood throughout the ages, but now is made manifest. A mystery is not understood as manifest; it is something that is hidden. But under the gospel presentation it is no longer a mystery; it is something that is manifest. Because, notice:

Colossians 1:27 …God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles;”

And what are these glorious riches? They are Christ in you, the hope of glory. We have been exploring this Christ in us, the hope of glory, during this conference to this point in time; and it has been unfolding.

The mission of Christ, so dimly understood, so faintly comprehended, that called Him from the throne of God to the mystery of the altar of the cross of Calvary, will more and more unfold to the mind, and it will be seen that in the sacrifice of Christ are found the spring and principle of every other mission of love. {HP 319.2}

This is an interesting statement which I have practised in my presentation of God’s word, hoping that this statement would come true to the people I share it with, that they might see that in the sacrifice of Christ are found the spring and principle of every other mission of love. Paul says, “I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” Why? Because in only uplifting Him like that, every other mission of love is going to be unfolded. And that is precisely what is written in the Spirit of Prophecy; she says that the atonement is the great central truth around which all the other truths cluster.

The sacrifice of Christ as an atonement for sin is the great 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. {Ev 190.1}

Every truth in the word of God must be studied in the light of the incarnation of Jesus Christ and of the great atonement that He has made. Why? Because there lies the spring of every other mission of love. So whether we study the prophecies, the reforms of life, the Ten Commandments; whatever we want to study in the Bible, every truth from Genesis to Revelation, we will find it all in its true appreciation in upholding these messages that we are here contemplating. They will all fall into the picture perfectly. Now with Christ in you, with Christ among us, Christ in us, what is in you?

If Christ Is in Me, What Is in Me?

Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

So what is the answer to the question? If Christ is in you, what is in you? Even the righteousness of God.

Meeting the Law’s Demands

Did you notice verse 21?

Romans 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

The law did not produce the righteousness of God in me. What is it that produces the righteousness of God in us? It is the faith and the life of Jesus Christ. But although I went about it without succeeding to keep the law, the law witnessed that this was acceptable; that the righteousness of God is found via another path. It couldn’t be found by trying to keep the Ten Commandments. It was found through Jesus Christ. And as it is found through Jesus Christ the law stands by and says, Yes, it’s in harmony with me. The law lays demands, and those demands have to be met, and in Jesus Christ in us the law’s demands are met.

The condition of eternal life is now just what it always has been,–just what it was in Paradise before the fall of our first parents,–perfect obedience to the law of God, perfect righteousness. If eternal life were granted on any condition short of this, then the happiness of the whole universe would be imperiled. The way would be open for sin, with all its train of woe and misery, to be immortalized. {SC 62.1}

So here we come with our sinful condition and we say, Well, then I can’t have eternal life. When I read those words for the first time, I thought to myself, Where is this going?

It was possible for Adam, before the fall, to form a righteous character by obedience to God’s law. But he failed to do this, and because of his sin our natures are fallen and we cannot make ourselves righteous. Since we are sinful, unholy, we cannot perfectly obey the holy law. We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God. {SC 62.2}

So as I read on, my heart sinks. There’s nothing. Now comes that little word: But

But Christ has made a way of escape for us. {Ibid.}

Follow carefully. The law and eternal life demands perfection, and we have all failed. Not one of us is exempt. But Christ has made a way of escape.

He lived on earth amid trials and temptations such as we have to meet. He lived a sinless life. He died for us, and now He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness. If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. {Ibid.}

This is forensic. That is what forensic means. Legally you are righteous. That is a hard one to get your head around. “But I’ve broken the law.” Yes, but what does it say? If you give yourself to Jesus, He will take your illegal behaviour, and for His sake you are accounted righteous, legally.

Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned. {Ibid.}

This is what you are in Christ Jesus. Just as if you had never sinned.

Now comes the consideration of this entire message. The law is satisfied. Legally you are as if you have not sinned. But more than this,

More than this, Christ changes the heart. He abides in your heart by faith. You are to maintain this connection with Christ by faith and the continual surrender of your will to Him; {SC 62.3}

What am I to do? Maintain my connection with Christ and continually surrender to Him.

…and so long as you do this, He will work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure. … Then with Christ working in you, you will manifest the same spirit and do the same good works –works of righteousness, obedience. {Ibid.}

This is for us to seek to livingly absorb. These are letters on a page; but we need to let them become living epistles in our life. So far in the line-up of our subjects we have beheld the marvelous light of Christ in His atonement with us. We have seen Him in the position of a condemned sinner; and we have observed that as He was in that position, He suffered exactly like we would have to suffer in the second death. And as we have seen Him, it was to convey to us His righteousness. Here is the summary of everything that we have seen so far:

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he [God] hath made him [Christ] [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

He clothed himself in our filthy garments, that we might wear the spotless robe of his righteousness, which was woven in the loom of heaven. {ST, May 30, 1895 par. 4}

He was made to be sin for us, so that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. This is a summary. This beautiful language is like a song in our ears, and we must have the constant words of this ringing in our ears. We have to repeat it many times. This beautiful music must play in our minds all day long, just like the world does. Satan does it really well. He surrounds them constantly with rock music, with the worldly music. As you go into the shops, it is there all day long. That is a symbol of us hearing the music of Christ our righteousness all day long until it becomes part of us, so we become captivated, and our psyche is affected by this constant sound of wonderful love. And as this sound of God’s wonderful love envelops me all day long, I become captivated, and the soul dwells in heavenly places. I am made righteous in Him.

The joy and gratitude that comes from this is enchanting. But there is something else around us; we are still living on Satan’s enchanted ground. And as we are rejoicing in this wonderful joy that we can hardly comprehend, but that we have been illumined by—we know it is a reality; God said so, and it is so—it is a sound of heavenly music. And as we listen to that heavenly music, there are little gaps in between sometimes, maybe for some people lots of times; and what do we hear on Satan’s enchanted ground? We are going to hear it loud and clear in the time of Jacobs’s trouble, and I think we’re getting pretty close to that. You are probably hearing it many times more now than in the past. Satan’s music is this:

Satan’s Music

As Satan accuses the people of God on account of their sins, the Lord permits him to try them to the uttermost. {GC 618.3}

Have you heard it said that, If anything comes to you, it’s come through Christ first? If Christ didn’t want you to get it, you wouldn’t get it. But here Christ and God permit Satan to try us to the uttermost; and he accuses the people of God on account of their sins.

Their confidence in God, their faith and firmness, will be severely tested. {Ibid.}

Do I really believe that when God says my sins are in the depth of the sea they are there? That will be severely tested. Satan will be permitted to put his glasses on our eyes.

As they review the past, their hopes sink; for in their whole lives they can see little good. They are fully conscious of their weakness and unworthiness. Satan endeavors to terrify them with the thought that their cases are hopeless, that the stain of their defilement will never be washed away. He hopes so to destroy their faith that they will yield to his temptations and turn from their allegiance to God. {Ibid.}

So we are to hear the constant sound that Jesus was made to be sin for us so we might be made the righteousness of God in Him, and then comes this other music, and God permits it. Stop to think for a moment. Next time you feel overwhelmed by your sinfulness, remember, it’s a test to see whether you are going to believe that God has already done away with your sins by your confession and repentance through Jesus Christ. And what are you to answer those suggestions of his? How are you to answer them?

Satan may tell you many times that you are a sinner; but you can answer: True, I am a sinner; but Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. {5T 629.1}

This is how you answer him. That is a direct counsel by Inspiration. And as you keep on getting the overwhelming waves of Satan’s attacks that he is permitted to bring upon you, and you continually apply this answer in the beauty of what we are contemplating, there is an ever-escalating relief and joy and comfort that comes from that experience. It’s meant to be exactly the opposite to where Satan wants you to go.

Satan Will Remind You of Your Past Sins

Every time Satan says to you, “Look at you; look at that experience. Remember that back there?” And not only “Remember that you’ve done it;” but, “Look at the murk of your experience that is written in your memory box.” You know what it’s like when your past sins come up before you. It’s not just the memory of them; it is an actual living thing. Have you dreamt of your past sins sometimes? It’s like you are living it all over again. How can you say it’s not there? God says it’s not there. You see, you can have these memories erased and Satan plays them back to you; but if you choose to focus on Jesus, they don’t exist. Satan is a very good technician. He can play around with a computer very well. And what has been erased he can put back on again. You have washed in the blood of the lamb, it has been erased from your mind; you are praising God because you’ve been baptised and your past sins are all in the grave; and then he comes along and wants to play them back to you again by installing the virus. But as he does so, your ever-escalating joy is, Oh, praise the Lord. Yes, I’m a sinner, but look; he’s reminding me of my deep dependence on my Lord.

Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us?

If someone comes along and attacks me, I have a little giggle in my heart: My God has protected me from this. God is for me; He has said so. Whatever anybody says, sorry. But Satan comes along and says, “But you’ve done this.” “Of course I have, but it’s been washed; it’s not there anymore.” And the memory plays it back, but no; joy, gratitude. Why? Because

Romans 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all,

If this is what He did with His Son for me,

Romans 8:32 …how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

What does that include? God’s righteousness.

Romans 8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? [It is] God that justifieth. 34 Who [is] he that condemneth?

Who is Satan?

The devil, who is he? He is a defeated foe. He is just grappling hard to make sure that you will go down to hell with him; that’s all. But he is going down to hell to be destroyed. And He wants to take as many people as he can with him. He is just frantic. And he can see you that are not going to go with him, so he is the one who condemns, but he is a useless instrument. He is already defeated.

Romans 8:34 [It is] Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Whatever you want to dream of.

Romans 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels [nor Satan], nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Is Christ in you? Then that is “in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Nothing shall separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Overwhelming gratitude? Doesn’t that make you thrill within? And you dare hardly do so, dare you? You have this funny little gut feeling inside that tells you, But just a moment, I’m still… Give it up. Don’t hold onto that feeling. The law is perfectly satisfied with this righteousness of Christ. The gratitude is just so precious when we really take it and believe it.

Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Those words are so precious. Through our Lord Jesus Christ—constantly remembering everything that is in Jesus Christ. So there is perfect peace.

Romans 5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Hope is not something you see, is it? But is it real? Something you don’t see that God has said is real: can you see heaven? You can’t; but you know it’s there. For example, I know that Germany exists. I didn’t see it for a long time, and I wondered whether anything had changed from when I was a child there. Then when I finally went back, I thought to myself: Oh, it’s still there. But there are some people who have never been to Germany, and they don’t know it exists; they don’t see it. Is heaven there? You’ve never seen it. But do we know it’s there? How do you know? Because of the declaration that it exists. It is just like looking at a map, and you see it on the map, there is Germany. The Bible is a map, and it tells us that there is heaven there, and God is there, and the throne is there, and the angels are there. So I have hope in everything that Jesus did two thousand years ago, that through the Holy Spirit He makes happen imperceptibly to us. We can’t see it, but it’s happening; and I have hope and I rejoice in that hope—absolute gratitude—and the law is perfectly satisfied with the unseen reality.

Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Because the demands of the law are met in Jesus Christ, therefore the law can say, Yes, I’m happy with that; I am witnessing that in Jesus Christ there is no sin. And as I through the faith of Jesus embrace this, then the demands of the law are met in me, because Jesus was me. If I believe it, I am part of Jesus, and the law is a witness of it—legally, forensically, expiationally.

In Living Reality

But what about livingly hereafter? Is that also witnessed by the law that we can be without sin? What is it in reference to our ongoing life? It is now spelt out not only forensically, but in living reality, as we read before: More than this. This is what we want to explore now.

Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. 6:1 What shall we say then?

If I have been totally, forensically, expiationally released, and wherever sins abounds, grace much more abounds,

Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

What happened because of the law? It killed me. It killed Jesus. And Jesus is in me, and I in Jesus; we are both dead, and we were raised to a newness of life together, and the law says, I am satisfied; the condemnation has been met. And now, being dead with Him, shall I go on sinning? God forbid, how should I, being dead to sin? Should I live any longer therein? Self-explanatory, isn’t it?

Romans 6:7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

What was I to reckon in the first place? That all my sin is gone as I surrender myself to the wonderful story of His love. How? Because I died, I was crucified with Christ; I was Him, and He was me, and we both died together. And now that my sin is gone, if I take that and make it my music every day, then I am now alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord, and I reckon it to be so.

Romans 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members [as] instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

If I am dead with Christ, how will I go on living? As Christ was raised up from death, we are raised up to a new life; and my life so thrilled through and through that all my sins are gone, as I really believe it and I reckon it to be so, then I reckon from then onwards to continue to be dead to sin, so that it will no longer reign. What is sin? The transgression of the law. So instead of my sinful flesh being used by sin, I will no longer let my flesh be an instrument of unrighteousness unto sin. But I yield myself unto God, because I am alive from the dead and my members are instruments of righteousness unto God, because sin shall not have dominion over you. You are not under the law, but under grace.

The law is no longer condemning you, you see. You are no longer under the law. And you don’t have to shrivel up under the condemnation of the law all the time; because every time you shrivel up under the condemnation of the law, you will sin. You will sin, because you will keep on condemning yourself and you will lose your temper; and you will do something stupid, and that is sinning. We understand. I must have the song going through my heart and mind and being all the time; and as that happens, I am rendering in harmony with the song— dead in Christ and resurrected. And as I am dead and sin comes along and Satan comes along, I say: Go away. And as I am full of gratitude, I will let the gratitude cause me to continue to obey.

Romans 3:21 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

How do we establish the law? The following scripture tells us how. Remember, the law held us in condemnation. We are dead now because of that.

Romains 7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not [in] the oldness of the letter.

The law changes its tone when you are dead, because the law has condemned you, and you are raised a new creature; and now the law says softly, Thou shalt not. This is the spirit of the law. “You will remember.” That’s the spirit of the law; and it is very broad. It comes into every facet of our life. Thy commandment is exceeding broad, says the psalmist. Jesus magnified the law. This leads us to Galatians.

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God,

That means I am going to do exactly what Jesus did. He never sinned. This is the newness of spirit and not the oldness of the letter. What does the Spirit do? He takes of Jesus and shows it to me. That’s it. And He keeps on showing it to me. What is the newness of spirit in literal living experience? We are to live not in the oldness of the letter, but in newness of spirit. What is it? This is the reason why there is no condemnation in the ongoing life:

The Flesh Is Now an Instrument of Righteousness, Not Corruption

Romans 8:1 [There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Remember what we do now with the flesh? That flesh is now the instrument of righteousness, not the instrument of corruption. It is an instrument of the Spirit.

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

The letter has been taken away, the Spirit comes into action; what is that action?

Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and as a sacrifice for sin [margin], condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

I don’t ever want to hear anyone say again, But my flesh made me do it. If you say that, you are saying, Jesus isn’t strong enough within me. So every time you are tempted and bitterly tried by some ugly nasty little piece of Satan’s sophistry, rejoice that you are redeemed from sin. Don’t carry about the burden that, Oh, this is too hard. Don’t carry that burden. You have been released from that burden. Now in Jesus Christ you rejoice, and a life of gratitude will sustain you, as it sustained Jesus Christ by His faith. He who was living in the likeness of sinful flesh condemned sin in the flesh. What does that mean? He crucified it. I am crucified with Christ; I die daily. The moment that the flesh rises up, don’t regard it as yours; it’s dead. Let it sink in.

How Can You Do It?

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

What does it say? Let. Why does it say let? Because Jesus has taken your sins and He has replaced it with His righteousness. He has replaced it with Himself. So let it, believe it. Let Him do it. Let the Holy Spirit. Don’t hold Him back and try to battle yourself. Every moment of everyday take Him in. And as you do that, what is that mind? Let this mind be in you:

2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

Remember our wonderful Father? Here was Jesus dying with your and my sins, and the Father did not reject Him. He doesn’t reject you either as you break together with Jesus. A humble, broken and contrite heart He will not despise. This is the knowledge of God and the knowledge of Jesus our Lord going through it;

2 Peter 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

What is given us through this knowledge?

2 Peter 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Isn’t that beautiful? What is the new mind? What is the mind of Jesus? It is the divine nature. That divine mind operating in me as it did in Jesus is going to give me the victory over every sin. Let me cite the whole exercise on this subject as A. T. Jones presented it in his 1895 sermons. This is essential to help us understand:

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,” who emptied Himself. That mind must be in us in order for us to be emptied, for we cannot of ourselves empty ourselves. Nothing but divinity can do that. That is an infinite thing. Can the mind of Satan empty itself of self? No. Can the mind that is in us, that minding of self, empty itself of self? {February 25, 1895 ATJ, GCB 330.1}

You know, ego-centrism. Can that minding of self empty itself of self? It’s an impossibility.

No. Self cannot do it. Jesus Christ, the divine One, the infinite One, came in His divine person in this same flesh of ours and never allowed His divine power, His personal self, to be manifested at all in resisting these temptations and enticements and drawings of the flesh. {Ibid.}

He never permitted His divine self to save Him from those temptations. He emptied Himself of that power. He only had the mind that He exercised.

What was it, then, that conquered sin there and kept Him from sinning? It was the power of God the Father that kept Him. Now where does that touch us? Here. We cannot empty ourselves, but His divine mind comes into us and by that divine power we can empty ourselves of our wicked selves and then by that divine power the mind of Jesus Christ, of God the Father, comes to us and keeps us from the power of temptation. Thus Christ, emptying His divine self, His righteous self, brings to us the power by which we are emptied of our wicked selves. {Ibid. 330.2}

His mind emptied Himself of His righteous self so that we can, with that mind, empty ourselves of our wicked selves.

And this is how He abolished in His flesh the enmity and made it possible for the enmity to be destroyed in you and me. {Ibid.}

Do you see that? I know it takes close thinking, and I know too that when you have thought upon that and have got it clearly, then the mind cannot go any further. {Ibid. 330.3}

It boggles you: I can’t go any further. What do I do here?

There we come face to face with the mystery of God itself, and human, finite intellect must stop and say, That is holy ground. That is beyond my measure. I can go no further. I surrender to God. {Ibid.}

Christ depended in the Father all the time. Christ Himself, who made the worlds, was all the time in that sinful flesh of mine and yours which He took. He who made the worlds was there in His divine presence all the time, but never did He allow Himself to appear at all or to do anything at all that was done. That was kept back, and when these temptations come upon Him, He could have annihilated them all with the assertion–in righteousness of His divine self. {Ibid. 330.5}

He could have done that.

But if He had done so, it would have ruined us. To have asserted Himself, to have allowed Himself to appear, even in righteousness, would have ruined us, because we who are only wicked never would have had anything before us then but the manifestation of self. {Ibid.}

If Jesus had manifested His own righteousness, then we would have been justified as Pharisees.

Set before men who are only wicked, manifestation of self, even in divine righteousness, as an example to be followed and you simply make men that much more confirmed in selfishness and the wickedness of selfishness. {Ibid.}

Because Jesus was an example.

Therefore, in order that we in our wicked selves might be delivered from our wicked selves, the divine One, the holy One, kept under, surrendered, emptied all the manifestation of His righteous self. And that does accomplish it. He accomplished it by keeping Himself back all the time and leaving everything entirely to the Father to hold Him against these temptations. He was Conqueror through the grace and power of the Father, which came to Him upon His trust and upon His emptying Himself of self. {Ibid.}

And how could He do that but by the divine mind?

There is where you and I are now. There is where it comes to you and me. We are tempted, we are tried, and there is always room for us to assert ourselves and we undertake to make things move. There are suggestions which rise that such and such things are “too much for even a Christian to bear,” and that “Christian humility is not intended to go as far as that.” Someone strikes you on the cheek or breaks your wagon or tools or he may stone your tent or meetinghouse. Satan suggests, “Now you send those fellows up. You take the law to them. Christians are not to bear such things as that in the world; that is not fair.” You answer Him: “That is so. There is no use of that. We will teach those fellows a lesson. {Ibid. 330.6}

Yes, and perhaps you do. But what is that? That is self-defense. That is self-replying. No. Keep back that wicked self. Let God attend to the matter. “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” That is what Jesus Christ did. He was spit upon; he was taunted; he was struck upon the face; his hair was pulled; a crown of thorns was put upon his head and in mockery the knee was bowed, with “Hail King of the Jews.” They blindfolded Him and then struck Him and cried: “Prophesy, who is it that smote thee?” All that was put upon Him. And in His human nature He bore all that, because His divine self was kept back. {Ibid. 330.7}

You know how the song goes? He could have called ten thousand angels; but He didn’t even need them. He could have simply exerted His divine self.

Was there any suggestion to him, suppose you, to drive back that riotous crowd? to let loose one manifestation of His divinity and sweep away the whole wicked company? {Ibid. 331.1}

Sister White writes that one ray of light would have smashed them all down..

Satan was there to suggest it to Him, if nothing else. What did He do? He stood defenseless as the Lamb of God. There was no assertion of His divine self, no sign of it–only the man standing there, leaving all to God to do whatsoever He pleased. He said to Pilate: “Thou couldst have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above.” That is the faith of Jesus. And that is what the prophecy means when it says, “Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” {Ibid.}

This is what it means.

We are to have that divine faith of Jesus Christ, which comes to us in the gift of the mind which He gives. That mind which He gives to me will exercise in me the same faith it exercised in Him. So we keep the faith of Jesus. {Ibid.}

So then there was He, by that self-surrender keeping back His righteous self and refusing ever to allow it to appear under the most grievous temptations–and the Spirit of Prophecy tells us that what was brought upon Him there in the night of His betrayal were the very things that were the hardest for human nature to submit to. {Ibid. 331.2}

Someone just has to have a go at you, and what do you do? Satan had a go at Him, and what did He do? The hardest thing for human nature to submit to was what He bore.

But He, by the keeping back of His divine self, caused human nature to submit to it by the power of the Father, who kept Him from sinning. And by that means He brings us to that same divine mind, that same divine power, that when we shall be taunted, when we shall be stricken upon the face, when we shall be spit upon, when we shall be persecuted as He was–as shortly we shall be–that divine mind which was in Him being given to us will keep back our natural selves, our sinful selves and we will leave all to God. {Ibid.}

You know, I’m a German, and I have had to practise this very much. If I was to let lose my German nature on any of you, pity you. But when we will leave all to God, what will be our experience?

Then the Father will keep us now in Him, as He kept us then in Him. {Ibid.}

He will keep us now, as He kept Jesus then, us in Him.

That is our victory and there is how He destroyed the enmity for us. And in Him it is destroyed in us. Thank the Lord! {Ibid.}

Don’t you love it? This is the 1888 message. Here we understand now from that the reading of Ephesians 2:8-10. When we have the mind of Jesus which does not exert self; the following scripture becomes a living reality.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

You see, you can’t boast. There is no self there.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

We were what? Created in Christ Jesus unto good works. The mind of Jesus relied on the Father to do everything in Him; and if we in Him are in that situation, then the good works were created in Christ Jesus in me. That is how we meet the demands of the law. Meeting the demands of the law can never be done by the exercise of self. It can only be done through the divine mind that we gain by the beautiful knowledge of Christ and His righteousness; and now, with the gratitude and the appreciation of the faith of Jesus, I rely totally on the Father to work in me. Nothing of self. I will meet the demands of the law.

And if we are His workmanship, consider carefully the attitude that we will have to others. As we read, we are His workmanship; He, God, is the Master Worker.

No master workman looks at a piece of work He is doing, as it is half finished, and criticizes that and begins to find fault with that. There may be faults about it, but it is not finished yet. And while He works on it to take away all the faults still He looks at it as it is in His finished purpose, in His own original plan, in His own mind. {February 27, 1895 ATJ, GCB 367.9}

Imagine yourself as a carpenter molding a piece of timber, and cutting it to a certain size. At the moment it looks all ugly, there is nothing there; but you have a picture in your mind that this piece of wood is going to come out as a beautiful sculpture. This is what God doing with you and me; but there are all sorts of ugly areas still there, so He looks at it in His finished purpose in His own original plan, in His own mind.

It would be an awful thing if the wondrous Master Workman of all were to look at us as we are half finished and say, That is good for nothing. No, He doesn’t do that. He looks at us as we are in His eternal purpose in Christ [without sin], and goes on with His wondrous work. You and I may look at it and say, “I don’t see how the Lord is ever going to make a Christian out of me and make me fit for heaven or anything else.” That may be so as we see it. And if He looked at us as we look at ourselves and if He were as poor a workman as we, that would be all there could be of it; we could never be of any worth. But He is not such a workman as we and therefore He does not look at us as we see ourselves. No. He looks at us as we are in His finished purpose. Although we may appear all rough, marred, and scarred now, as we are here and in ourselves, He sees us as we are yonder in Christ. {Ibid. 368.1}

He is the Workman. And as we have confidence in Him, we will let Him carry on the work, and as He carries it on, we will look at it as He sees it. Has He not given us an example of His workmanship? {Ibid. 368.2}

What was it?

God has set before us in Christ His complete workmanship in sinful flesh. {Ibid.}

Are you there yet? No; but this is where you will end up when He is finished with you. He is going to have you exactly as Jesus is.

In Christ He has completed it and set it there at His right hand. Now He says to us, “Look at that. That is what I am able to do with sinful flesh. Now you put your confidence in me and let me work and you watch and see what I am going to do. You trust my workmanship. Let me attend to the work and you trust me, and I will carry on the work.” It is the Lord doing it all. It is not our task at all. {Ibid.}

And as we take that to our personal self, let us make sure that we have compassion on others too.

Amen.

Posted on April 8, 2010, in 1888 Message, Walking in the Light of 1888 (Conference) and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. We are free!!! The truth has made us free !!!

    Like

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