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An independent SDA Ministry
Proclaiming the 3 angels Messages and

   Abiding in the Father and His Son

 
 

Let The Dead Speak

July 2011 Issue

By ITH Ministries

God has given me light regarding our periodicals. What is it?--He has said that the dead are to speak. How?--Their works shall follow them. We are to repeat the words of the pioneers in our work, who knew what it cost to search for the truth as for hidden treasure, and who labored to lay the foundation of our work. They moved forward step by step under the influence of the Spirit of God. One by one these pioneers are passing away. The word given me is, Let that which these men have written in the past be reproduced. Review and Herald - May 25, 1905

This month's articles.

E. J. Waggoner - Christ and His Righteousness - Pt 1

A.G. Daniells - Christ Our Righteousness - Pt 1

 

E.J. Waggoner

Christ and His Righteousness

Part 1 of 3

Introduction

In the first verse of the third chapter of Hebrews we have an exhortation which comprehends all the injunctions given to the Christian. It is this: Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus. To do this as the Bible enjoins, to consider Christ continually and intelligently, just as He is, will transform one into a perfect Christian, for by beholding we become changed.

Ministers of the gospel have an inspired warrant for keeping the theme, Christ, continually before the people and directing the attention of the people to Him alone. Paul said to the Corinthians, I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2), and there is no reason to suppose that his preaching to the Corinthians was different in any respect from his preaching elsewhere. Indeed, he tells us that when God revealed His Son in him, it was that he might preach Him among the heathen (Gal. 1:15, 16), and his joy was that to him grace had been given to preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. Eph. 3:8.

But the fact that the apostles made Christ the burden of all their preaching is not our sole warrant for magnifying Him. His name is the only name under heaven given among men whereby we can be saved. Acts 4:12. Christ Himself declared that no man can come unto the Father but by Him. John 14:6. To Nicodemus He said, And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:14, 15.

This lifting up of Jesus, while it has primary reference to His crucifixion, embraces more than the mere historical fact; it means that Christ must be lifted up by all who believe in Him, as the crucified Redeemer, whose grace and glory are sufficient to supply the world's greatest need; it means that He should be lifted up in all His exceeding loveliness and power as God with us, that His Divine attractiveness may thus draw all unto Him. See John 12:32.

The exhortation to consider Jesus and also the reason therefore, are given in Heb. 12:1-3: 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. It is only by constantly and prayerfully considering Jesus as He is revealed in the Bible that we can keep from becoming weary in well-doing and from fainting by the way.

Again, we should consider Jesus because in Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Col. 2:3. Whoever lacks wisdom is directed to ask of God, who gives to all men liberally and upbraids not, and the promise is that it shall be given him, but the desired wisdom can be obtained only in Christ. The wisdom which does not proceed from Christ and which does not as a consequence lead to Him is only foolishness, for God, as the Source of all things, is the Author of wisdom; ignorance of God is the worst sort of foolishness (see Rom. 1:21, 22) and all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid in Christ, so that he who has only the wisdom of this world knows, in reality, nothing. And since all power in heaven and in earth is given to Christ, the apostle Paul declares Christ to be the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Cor. 1:24.

There is one text, however, which briefly sums up all that Christ is to man and gives the most comprehensive reason for considering Him. It is this: But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. 1 Cor. 1:30. We are ignorant, wicked lost. Christ is to us wisdom, righteousness, redemption. What a range! From ignorance and sin to righteousness and redemption. Man's highest aspiration or need cannot reach outside the bounds of what Christ is to us and what He alone is to us. Sufficient reason this why the eyes of all should be fixed upon Him.

How Shall We Consider Christ?

But how should we consider Christ? Just as He has revealed Himself to the world, according to the witness which He bore concerning Himself. In that marvelous discourse recorded in the fifth chapter of John, Jesus said, For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son; that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father which hath sent Him. Verses 21-23.

To Christ is committed the highest prerogative, that of judging. He must receive the same honor that is due to God and for the reason that He is God. The beloved disciple bears this witness, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1. That this Divine Word is none other than Jesus Christ is shown by verse 14: And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.

The Word was in the beginning. The mind of man cannot grasp the ages that are spanned in this phrase. It is not given to men to know when or how the Son was begotten; but we know that he was the Divine Word, not simply before He came to this earth to die, but even before the world was created. Just before His crucifixion He prayed, And now, O Father, glorify thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was. John 17:5. And more than seven hundred years before His first advent, His coming was thus foretold by the word of inspiration: But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity. Micah 5:2, margin. We know that Christ proceeded forth and came from God (John 8:42), but it was so far back in the ages of eternity as to be far beyond the grasp of the mind of man.

Is Christ God?

In many places in the Bible Christ is called God. The Psalmist says, The mighty God, even the Lord [Jehovah], hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence; a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people. Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare His righteousness; for God is judge Himself. Ps. 50:1-6.

That this passage has reference to Christ may be known 1) by the fact already learned, that all judgment is committed to the Son, and 2) by the fact that it is at the second coming of Christ that He sends His angels to gather together His elect from the four winds. Matt. 24:31. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence. No. For when the Lord Himself descends from heaven, it will be with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God. 1 Thess. 4:16. This shout will be the voice of the Son of God, which will be heard by all that are in their graves and which will cause them to come forth. John 5:28, 29. With the living righteous they will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, ever more to be with Him, and this will constitute our gathering together unto Him. 2 Thess. 2:1. Compare Ps. 50:5; Matt. 24:31, and 1 Thess. 4:16.

A fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him for when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, it will be in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thess. 1:8. So we know that Ps. 50:1-6 is a vivid description of the second coming of Christ for the salvation of His people. When He comes it will be as the mighty God. Compare Habakkuk 3.

This is one of His rightful titles. Long before Christ's first advent, the prophet Isaiah spoke these words of comfort to Israel, For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Isa. 9:6.

These are not simply the words of Isaiah; they are the words of the Spirit of God. God has, in direct address to the Son, called Him by the same title. In Ps. 45:6 we read these words, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; the scepter of Thy kingdom is a right scepter. The casual reader might take this to be simply the Psalmist's ascription of praise to God, but when we turn to the New Testament, we find that it is much more. We find that God the Father is the speaker and that He is addressing the Son, calling Him God. See Heb. 1:1- 8.

This name was not given to Christ in consequence of some great achievement, but it is His by right of inheritance. Speaking of the power and greatness of Christ, the writer to the Hebrews says that He is made so much better than the angels, because He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. Heb. 1:4. A son always rightfully takes the name of the father; and Christ, as the only begotten Son of God, has rightfully the same name. A son, also, is, to a greater or less degree, a reproduction of the father; he has to some extent the features and personal characteristics of his father; not perfectly, because there is no perfect reproduction among mankind. But there is no imperfection in God, or in any of His works, and so Christ is the express image of the Father's person. Heb. 1:3. As the Son of the self- existent God, He has by nature all the attributes of Deity.

It is true that there are many sons of God, but Christ is the only begotten Son of God, and therefore the Son of God in a sense in which no other being ever was or ever can be. The angels are sons of God, as was Adam (Job 38:7; Luke 3:38), by creation; Christians are the sons of God by adoption (Rom. 8:14, 15), but Christ is the Son of God by birth. The writer to the Hebrews further shows that the position of the Son of God is not one to which Christ has been elevated but that it is one which He has by right. He says that Moses was faithful in all the house of God, as a servant, but Christ as a Son over His own house. Heb. 3:6. And he also states that Christ is the Builder of the house. Verse 3. It is He that builds the temple of the Lord and bears the glory. Zech. 6:12, 13.

Christ Himself taught in the most emphatic manner that He is God. When the young man came and asked, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? Jesus, before replying to the direct question, said, Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but One, that is, God. Mark 10:17, 18. What did Jesus mean by these words? Did He mean to disclaim the epithet as applied to Himself? Did He mean to intimate that He was not absolutely good? Was it a modest depreciation of Himself? By no means, for Christ was absolutely good. To the Jews, who were continually watching to detect in Him some failing of which they might accuse Him, He boldly said, Which of you convinceth me of sin? John 8:46. In the whole Jewish nation not a man could be found who had ever seen Him do a thing or heard Him utter a word that had even the semblance of evil, and those who were determined to condemn Him could do it only by hiring false witnesses against Him. Peter says that He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth. 1 Peter 2:22. Paul says that He knew no sin. 2 Cor. 5:21. The Psalmist says, He is my Rock and there is no unrighteousness in Him. Ps. 92:15. And John says, Ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins, and in him is no sin. 1 John 3:5. Christ cannot deny Himself, therefore He could not say that He was not good. He is and was absolutely good, the perfection of goodness. And since there is none good but God, and Christ is good, it follows that Christ is God and that this is what He meant to teach the young man.

It was this that He taught the disciples. When Philip said to Jesus, Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us, Jesus said to him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? John 14:8, 9. This is as emphatic as when He said, I and my Father are one. John 10:30. So truly was Christ God, even when here among men, that when asked to exhibit the Father He could say, Behold Me. And this brings to mind the statement that when the Father brought the First-begotten into the world, He said, And let all the angels of God worship Him. Heb. 1:6. It was not simply when Christ was sharing the glory of the Father before the world was that He was entitled to homage, but when He came a Babe in Bethlehem, even then all the angels of God were commanded to adore Him.

The Jews did not misunderstand Christ's teaching concerning Himself. When He declared that He was one with the Father, the Jews took up stones to stone Him, and when He asked them for which of His good works they sought to stone Him, they replied, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. John 10:33. If He had been what they regarded Him, a mere man, His words would indeed have been blasphemy, but He was God.

The object of Christ in coming to earth was to reveal God to men so that they might come to Him. Thus the apostle Paul says that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself (2 Cor. 5:19), and in John we read that the Word, which was God, was made flesh. John 1:1,14. In the same connection it is stated, No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him (or made Him known). John 1:18.

Note the expression, the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father. He has His abode there, and He is there as a part of the Godhead, as surely when on earth as when in heaven. The use of the present tense implies continued existence. It presents the same idea that is contained in the statement of Jesus to the Jews (John 8:58), Before Abraham was, I am. And this again shows His identity with the One who appeared to Moses in the burning bush, who declared His name to be I AM THAT I AM.

And, finally, we have the inspired words of the apostle Paul concerning Jesus Christ, that it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell. Col. 1:19. What this fullness is which dwells in Christ, we learn from the next chapter, where we are told that in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Col. 2:9. This is most absolute and unequivocal testimony to the fact that Christ possesses by nature all the attributes of Divinity. The fact of the Divinity of Christ will also appear very distinctly as we proceed to consider:

Christ As Creator

Immediately following the oft-quoted text which says that Christ, the Word, is God, we read that all things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. John 1:3. Comment cannot make this statement any clearer than it is, therefore we pass to the words of Heb. 1:1-4, God...hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high; being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

Still more emphatic than this are the words of the apostle Paul to the Colosians. Speaking of Christ as the One through whom we have redemption, he describes Him as the One who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature; for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him; and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. Col. 1:15-17.

This wonderful text should be carefully studied and often contemplated. It leaves not a thing in the universe that Christ did not create. He made everything in heaven and everything on earth. He made everything that can be seen and everything that cannot be seen--the thrones and dominions and the principalities and the powers in heaven, all depend upon Him for existence. And as He is before all things and their Creator, so by him do all things consist or hold together. This is equivalent to what is said in Heb. 1:3, that He upholds all things by the word of His power. It was by a word that the heavens were made, and that same word holds them in their place and preserves them from destruction.

We cannot possibly omit in this connection Isa. 40:25, 26: To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number; he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth. Or, as the Jewish translation more forcibly renders it, from him, who is great in might, and strong in power, not one escapeth. That Christ is the Holy One who thus calls the host of heaven by name and holds them in their place is evident from other portions of the same chapter. He is the One before whom it was said, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. He is the One who comes with a strong hand, having His reward with Him; the One who, like a shepherd, feeds His flock, carrying the lambs in His bosom.

One more statement concerning Christ as Creator must suffice. It is the testimony of the Father Himself. In the first chapter of Hebrews, we read that God has spoken to us by His Son; that He said of Him, Let all the angels of God worship him that of the angels He saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire, but that He says to the Son, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Thy kingdom. And God says further, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of thine hands. Heb. 1:8-10. Here we find the Father addressing the Son as God, and saying to Him, Thou hast laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Thy hands. When the Father Himself gives this honor to the Son, what is man, that he should withhold it? With this we may well leave the direct testimony concerning the Divinity of Christ and the fact that He is the Creator of all things.

A word of caution may be necessary here. Let no one imagine that we would exalt Christ at the expense of the Father or would ignore the Father. That cannot be, for their interests are one. We honor the Father in honoring the Son. We are mindful of Paul's words, that to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him (1 Cor. 8:6); just as we have already quoted, that it was by Him that God made the worlds. All things proceed ultimately from God, the Father; even Christ Himself proceeded and came forth from the Father, but it has pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell, and that He should be the direct, immediate Agent in every act of creation. Our object in this investigation is to set forth Christ's rightful position of equality with the Father, in order that His power to redeem may be the better appreciated.

Is Christ a Created Being?

Before passing to some of the practical lessons that are to be learned from these truths, we must dwell for a few moments upon an opinion that is honestly held by many who would not for any consideration willingly dishonor Christ, but who, through that opinion, do actually deny His Divinity. It is the idea that Christ is a created being, who, through the good pleasure of God, was elevated to His present lofty position. No one who holds this view can possibly have any just conception of the exalted position which Christ really occupies.

The view in question is built upon a misconception of a single text, Rev. 3:14: 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. This is wrongly interpreted to mean that Christ is the first being that God created--that God's work of creation began with Him. But this view antagonizes the scripture which declares that Christ Himself created all things. To say that God began His work of creation by creating Christ is to leave Christ entirely out of the work of creation.

The word rendered beginning is arche, meaning, as well, head or chief. It occurs in the name of the Greek ruler, Archon, in archbishop and the word archangel. Take this last word. Christ is the archangel. See Jude 9; 1 Thess. 4:16; John 5:28, 29; Dan. 10:21. This does not mean that He is the first of the angels, for He is not an angel but is above them. Heb. 1:4. It means that He is the chief or prince of the angels, just as an archbishop is the head of the bishops. Christ is the commander of the angels. See Rev. 19:19-14. He created the angels. Col. 1:16. And so the statement that He is the beginning or head of the creation of God means that in Him creation had its beginning; that, as He Himself says, He is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Rev. 21:6; 22:13. He is the source whence all things have their origin.

Neither should we imagine that Christ is a creature, because Paul calls Him (Col. 1:15) The First-born of every creature for the very next verses show Him to be Creator and not a creature. For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created by Him, and for Him and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. Now if He created everything that was ever created and existed before all created things, it is evident that He Himself is not among created things. He is above all creation and not a part of it.

The Scriptures declare that Christ is the only begotten son of God. He is begotten, not created. As to when He was begotten, it is not for us to inquire, nor could our minds grasp it if we were told. The prophet Micah tells us all that we can know about it in these words, But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity. Micah 5:2, margin. There was a time when Christ proceeded forth and came from God, from the bosom of the Father (John 8:42; 1:18), but that time was so far back in the days of eternity that to finite comprehension it is practically without beginning.

But the point is that Christ is a begotten Son and not a created subject. He has by inheritance a more excellent name than the angels; He is a Son over His own house. Heb. 1:4; 3:6. And since He is the only- begotten son of God, He is of the very substance and nature of God and possesses by birth all the attributes of God, for the Father was pleased that His Son should be the express image of His Person, the brightness of His glory, and filled with all the fullness of the Godhead. So He has life in Himself. He possesses immortality in His own right and can confer immortality upon others. Life inheres in Him, so that it cannot be taken from Him, but having voluntarily laid it down, He can take it again. His words are these: Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. John 10:17, 18.

If anyone springs the old cavil, how Christ could be immortal and yet die, we have only to say that we do not know. We make no pretensions of fathoming infinity. We cannot understand how Christ could be God in the beginning, sharing equal glory with the Father before the world was and still be born a babe in Bethlehem. The mystery of the crucifixion and resurrection is but the mystery of the incarnation. We cannot understand how Christ could be God and still become man for our sake. We cannot understand how He could create the world from nothing, nor how He can raise the dead nor yet how it is that He works by His Spirit in our own hearts; yet we believe and know these things. It should be sufficient for us to accept as true those things which God has revealed without stumbling over things that the mind of an angel cannot fathom. So we delight in the infinite power and glory which the Scriptures declare belong to Christ, without worrying our finite minds in a vain attempt to explain the infinite.

Finally, we know the Divine unity of the Father and the Son from the fact that both have the same Spirit. Paul, after saying that they that are in the flesh cannot please God, continues: But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Rom. 8:9. Here we find that the Holy Spirit is both the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ. Christ is in the bosom of the Father being by nature of the very substance of God and having life in Himself. He is properly called Jehovah, the self-existent One and is thus styled in Jer. 23:56, where it is said that the righteous Branch, who shall execute judgment and justice in the earth, shall be known by the name of Jehovah-tsidekenu--THE LORD, OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Let no one, therefore, who honors Christ at all, give Him less honor than He gives the Father, for this would be to dishonor the Father by just so much, but let all, with the angels in heaven, worship the Son, having no fear that they are worshiping and serving the creature instead of the Creator.

And now, while the matter of Christ's Divinity is fresh in our minds, let us pause to consider the wonderful story of His humiliation.

God Manifest in the Flesh

And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. John 1:14.

No words could more plainly show that Christ was both God and man. Originally only Divine, He took upon Himself human nature and passed among men as only a common mortal, except at those times when His Divinity flashed through, as on the occasion of the cleansing of the temple or when His burning words of simple truth forced even His enemies to confess that never man spake like this man.

The humiliation which Christ voluntarily took upon Himself is best expressed by Paul to the Philippians. Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being originally in the form of God counted it not a thing to be grasped [that is, to be clung to] to be on an equality with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, becoming in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross. Phil. 2:5-8, Revised Version, marginal reading.

The above rendering makes this text much more plain than it is in the common version. The idea is that, although Christ was in the form of God, being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His Person (Heb. 1:3), having all the attributes of God, being the Ruler of the universe, and the One whom all Heaven delighted to honor, He did not think that any of these things were to be desired, so long as men were lost and without strength. He could not enjoy His glory while man was an outcast, without hope. So He emptied Himself, divested Himself of all His riches and His glory, and took upon Himself the nature of man, in order that He might redeem him. And so we may reconcile Christ's unity with the Father with the statement, My Father is greater than I.

It is impossible for us to understand how Christ could, as God, humble Himself to the death of the cross, and it is worse than useless for us to speculate about it. All we can do is to accept the facts as they are presented in the Bible. If the reader finds it difficult to harmonize some of the statements in the Bible concerning the nature of Christ, let him remember that it would be impossible to express it in terms that would enable finite minds to grasp it fully. Just as the grafting of the Gentiles into the stock of Israel is contrary to nature, so much of the Divine economy is a paradox to human understanding.

Other scriptures that we will quote bring closer to us the fact of the humanity of Christ and what it means for us. We have already read that the Word was made flesh, and now we will read what Paul says concerning the nature of that flesh: 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 for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Rom. 8:3, 4.

A little thought will be sufficient to show anybody that if Christ took upon Himself the likeness of man in order that He might redeem man, it must have been sinful man that He was made like, for it is sinful man that He came to redeem. Death could have no power over a sinless man, as Adam was in Eden, and it could not have had any power over Christ, if the Lord had not laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Moreover, the fact that Christ took upon Himself the flesh, not of a sinless being, but of a sinful man, that is, that the flesh which He assumed had all the weaknesses and sinful tendencies to which fallen human nature is subject, is shown by the statement that He was made of the seed of David according to the flesh. David had all the passions of human nature. He says of himself, Behold I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Ps. 51:5.

The following statement in the book of Hebrews is very clear on this point:

For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. [For verily not of angels doth He take hold, but He taketh hold of the seed of Abraham. Revised Version.] Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted. Heb. 2:16-18

If He was made in all things like unto His brethren, then He must have suffered all the infirmities and been subject to all the temptations of His brethren. Two more texts that put this matter very forcibly will be sufficient evidence on this point. We first quote 2 Cor. 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.

This is much stronger than the statement that He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh. He was made to be sin. Here is the same mystery as that the son of God should die. The spotless Lamb of God, who knew no sin, was made to be sin. Sinless, yet not only counted as a sinner but actually taking upon Himself sinful nature. He was made to be sin in order that we might be made righteousness. So Paul says to the Galatians that God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. Gal. 4:4,5.

In that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted. For we have not a High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Heb. 2:18; 4:15, 16.

One more point and then we can learn the entire lesson that we should learn from the fact that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. How was it that Christ could be thus compassed with infirmity (Heb. 5:2) and still know no sin? Some may have thought, while reading thus far, that we were depreciating the character of Jesus by bringing Him down to the level of sinful man. On the contrary, we are simply exalting the Divine power of our blessed Saviour, who Himself voluntarily descended to the level of sinful man in order that He might exalt man to His own spotless purity, which He retained under the most adverse circumstances. His humanity only veiled His Divine nature, by which He was inseparably connected with the invisible God and which was more than able successfully to resist the weaknesses of the flesh. There was in His whole life a struggle. The flesh, moved upon by the enemy of all righteousness, would tend to sin, yet His Divine nature never for a moment harbored an evil desire nor did His Divine power for a moment waver. Having suffered in the flesh all that men can possibly suffer, He returned to the throne of the Father as spotless as when He left the courts of glory. When He lay in the tomb, under the power of death, it was impossible that he should be holden of it, because he knew no sin.

But someone will say, I don't see any comfort in this for me. To be sure, I have an example, but I can't follow it, for I haven't the power that Christ had. He was God even while here on earth; I am but a man. Yes, but you may have the same power that He had if you want it. He was compassed with infirmity, yet He did no sin, because of the Divine power constantly dwelling within Him. Now listen to the inspired words of the apostle Paul and learn what it is our privilege to have:

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:14-19.

Who could ask for more? Christ, in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, may dwell in our hearts so that we may be filled with all the fullness of God. What a wonderful promise! He is touched with the feeling of our infirmity. That is, having suffered all that sinful flesh is heir to, He knows all about it and so closely does He identify Himself with His children that whatever presses upon them makes a like impression upon Him and He knows how much Divine power is necessary to resist it, and if we but sincerely desire to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, He is able and anxious to give to us strength exceeding abundantly, above all that we ask or think. All the power which Christ had dwelling in Him by nature, we may have dwelling in us by grace, for He freely bestows it upon us.

Then let the weary, feeble, sin-oppressed souls take courage. Let them come boldly unto the throne of grace, where they are sure to find grace to help in time of need, because that need is felt by our Saviour in the very time of need. He is touched with the feeling of our infirmity. If it were simply that He suffered eighteen hundred years ago, we might fear that He had forgotten some of the infirmity, but no, the very temptation that presses you touches Him. His wounds are ever fresh, and He ever lives to make intercession for you.

What wonderful possibilities there are for the Christian! To what heights of holiness he may attain! No matter how much Satan may war against him, assaulting him where the flesh is weakest, he may abide under the shadow of the Almighty and be filled with the fullness of God's strength. The One stronger than Satan may dwell in his heart continually and so, looking at Satan's assaults as from a strong fortress, he may say, I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me.

 

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A.G. Daniells

Christ Our Righteousness

Part 1 of 3

Foreword 

At a meeting of the members of the Ministerial Association Advisory Council, held in Des Moines, Iowa, Oct. 22, 1924, it was – 

“Voted, That Elder Daniells be asked to arrange for a compilation of the writings of Mrs. E. G. White on the subject of justification by Faith.” 

With the co-operation of my associates in the office of the Ministerial Association, I undertook the task designated. 

In harmony with the primary purpose of providing a “compilation of the writings of Mrs. E. G. White on the subject,” exhaustive research was made through all the writings of the Spirit of prophecy as held in must by us as a people, in bound volumes and also in printed articles appearing in the files of our denominational papers, covering a period of twenty-five years from 1887 to 1912. So vast was the field of study opened up, so marvelous and illuminating the hidden gems of truth which came to light, that 1 became amazed and awed at the solemn obligation resting upon me, of rescuing these gems from their obscurity, and placing them, in a cluster of brilliancy and beauty, where they would win rightful recognition and acceptance in the glorious finishing of the work entrusted to the remnant church. 

Seeking advice and counsel from my colleagues, I sent out advance sections of the manuscript for careful reading and suggestion. The response from fellow laborers in all sections of the North American field has been of a most encouraging and appreciative nature, and urgency in completing the work has been emphasized. A suggestion made by a number of fellow ministers has led to the preparation of a chapter on the subject of righteousness by faith from the Bible standpoint as an introduction to the compilation from the writings of the Spirit of prophecy. This, it is believed, will give Scriptural authority and permanence to the theme which is of such vital importance to God's people at this time. 

The word of God clearly portrays the way of righteousness by faith; the writings of the Spirit of prophecy greatly amplify and elucidate the subject. In our blindness and dullness of heart, we have wandered far out of the way, and for many years have been failing to appropriate this sublime truth. But all the while our great Leader has been calling His people to come into line on this great fundamental of the gospel, – receiving by faith the imputed righteousness of Christ for sins that are past, and the imparted righteousness of Christ for revealing the divine nature in human flesh. 

In order to make this compilation of the greatest value, it seemed necessary to do more than merely bring together a long series of miscellaneous, detached statements. Appropriate arrangement and combination were necessary, and the chronological order was important; also, the circumstances and issues concerning which particular statements were made, should be rightly understood. Unless these considerations were recognized, the compilation might prove confusing and wearisome. 

A careful, connected study of the writings of the Spirit of prophecy regarding the subject of righteousness by faith, has led to the settled conviction that the instruction given presents two aspects: primarily, the great, amazing fact that by faith in the Son of God, sinners may receive the righteousness 

of God; and secondarily, the purpose and providence of God in sending the specific message of receiving the righteousness of God by faith to His people assembled in General Conference in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the year 1888. This latter aspect cannot be disregarded by Seventh-day Adventists without missing a most important lesson that the Lord designed to teach us. It is this conviction that has made it seem necessary to include in the compilation the instruction given concerning the experiences and developments connected with and following the Minneapolis Conference. 

The major portion of our membership today has been raised up since these experiences came to us. They are unacquainted with them; but they need the message; also the lessons which those experiences were designed to teach. Hence the necessity of reproducing a portion, at least, of the instruction then given, and accompanying the same with a brief explanation of what took place. 

Those who have full confidence in the gift of the Spirit of prophecy to the remnant church, will place great value upon the compilation of statements herein furnished. Only a few of them have ever been reproduced since they first appeared in the columns of the Review and Herald. The most of them dropped out of sight with the current number of the Review in which they appeared. In no other document have all of these been brought together in systematic and chronological form, as here presented. May these messages do their appointed work in the lives of all who read these pages. Wondrous is the blessing Heaven is waiting to bestow! A. G. D. 

"Clad in the armor of Christ's righteousness, the church is to enter upon her final conflict."-Mrs. E. G. White. 

"On Christ's coronation day He will not acknowledge as His any who bear spot or wrinkle or any such thing. But to His faithful ones He will give crowns of immortal glory. Those who would not that He should reign over them will see Him surrounded by the army of the redeemed, each of whom bears the sign, the Lord our righteousness." - Mrs. E. G. White. 

 

CHAPTER ONE – Christ Our Righteousness 

Christ our righteousness is the one sublime message set forth in the Sacred Scriptures. However varied the forms and phrases in which this message may be unfolded and presented, yet always, from every point of the circle, the central commanding theme is, Christ our righteousness. 

The account of creation reveals the marvelous wisdom and power of Christ, by whom all things were created. Col. 1:14-16. The sin of the first Adam, with all its awful consequences, is related in order that Christ, the last Adam, may be hailed as Redeemer and restorer. Rom. 5:12-21. Death with all its terrors is set before us, that Christ may be exalted and glorified as the Life-giver. 1 Cor. 15:22. The disappointments, sorrows, and tragedies of this life are recounted, that Christ may be sought as the great comforter and deliverer. John 16:33. Our sinful, corrupt natures are presented in lurid colors, that Christ may be appealed to for cleansing, and may in very deed be unto us "the Lord our righteousness." 

Thus it is throughout the Sacred Volume, – every phase of truth unfolded, points in some way to Christ as our righteousness. 

But righteousness as a distinct, well-defined subject of vital importance, occupies a large place in the word of God. Its source, its nature, the possibility of its being obtained by sinners, and the conditions upon which it may be secured, are set forth in great clearness in that original, authoritative textbook on righteousness. 

Of the source of righteousness, we read: "O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto Thee” Dan. 9:7. "The Lord is righteous in all His ways." Ps. 145:17. "Thy righteousness is like the great mountains." Ps. 36:6. "Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness." Ps. 119:142. "The righteous Lord loveth righteousness." Ps. 11:7. "There is no unrighteousness in Him." Ps. 92:15. 

Regarding the nature of righteousness, the Scriptures are most explicit. It is set forth as the very opposite of sin, and is associated with holiness, or godliness. "Awake to righteousness, and sin not." 1 Cor. 15:34. "That ye put away, as concerning your former manner of life, the old man, which waxeth corrupt after the lusts of deceit; and that ye be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, which after God hath been created in righteousness and holiness of truth." Eph. 4:22-24, R. V. "The fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth." Eph. 5:9. "Follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness." 1 Tim. 6:11. "All unrighteousness is sin." 1 John 5:17. 

Perhaps the finest and most inspiring statement regarding righteousness in all the word of God is the following concerning Christ: "Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows." Heb. 1:9. 

This places righteousness as the antithesis, the direct opposite, of iniquity, or sin. 

Thus the word declares that God is the source of righteousness, and that it is one of His divine, holy attributes. The supreme question regarding the righteousness of God, the question of the deepest interest and consequence to us, is our personal relation to that righteousness. Is righteousness in any degree inherent in human nature? If so, how may it be cultivated and developed? If not, is there any way of obtaining it? If so, by what means, and when? 

To the mind untaught and unenlightened by the word of God, this is a great, dark, baffling problem. In endeavoring to solve it, man has surely "sought out many inventions." But uncertainty and confusion regarding our relation to the righteousness of God are quite unnecessary, for the true situation is clearly stated in the Scriptures of truth. 

The Scriptures declare that "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23); that we are "carnal, sold under sin" (Rom. 7:14); that "there is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3: 10); that in our flesh there "dwelleth no good thing" (Rom. 7:18); and finally, that we are "filled with all unrighteousness- (Rom. 1:29). This clearly answers the question as to whether righteousness is in any degree inherent in human nature. It is not. On the contrary, human nature is filled with unrighteousness. 

But in this same word we find the good, glad news that God has provided a way by which we may be cleansed from our unrighteousness, and be clothed and filled with His perfect righteousness. We find that this provision was made and revealed to Adam as soon as he fell from his high and holy estate. This merciful provision has been understood and laid hold of by fallen, unrighteous men and women from the very beginning of the fierce, unequal conflict with sin. This we learn from the following testimonies recorded in the Scriptures: 

1. In one of His sermons, Christ refers to the second son of Adam, and speaks of him as “righteous Abel.” Matt. 23:35. And Paul declares that Abel "obtained witness that he was righteous." Heb. 11:4. 

2. “The Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before Me in this generation.” Gen. 7:1. Again: "Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God." Gen. 6:9. 

3. "Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." Rom. 4:3. 

4. "And delivered righteous Lot, sore distressed by the lascivious life of the wicked (for that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their lawless deeds)." 2 Peter 2:7, 8, R. V. 

5. Of Zacharias and Elisabeth, living just before the birth of Christ, it is said: "They were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless." Luke 1:6. 

6. The apostle Paul declares that the Gentiles to whom he had preached the gospel had "attained to righteousness." Rom. 9:30; 6:17-22. 

Thus it is seen that from the promise made to Adam, to the close of apostolic times, there were men and women all along the way who laid hold of the righteousness of God and had the evidence that their lives were pleasing to Him. 

Upon What Conditions? 

How was this accomplished? Upon what conditions was this wonderful transaction wrought? Was it because the times and conditions in which these men and women lived were favorable to righteousness? Or was it due to the special and superior qualities inherent in those who reached the high tablelands of godliness? 

All the records of the times and of individuals give a negative answer. They were people with natures like our own, and their environment “vexed” their righteous souls from day to day. 2 Peter 2:7, 8. They obtained the priceless blessing of righteousness in the one way, the only way, it has been possible for any human being to secure it since Adam sinned. 

The way of being made righteous is given great prominence in the New Testament. The clearest and fullest exposition is found in the epistle of Paul to the Romans. At the very beginning of his argument the apostle declares: “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. . . . For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” Rom. 1:16, 17. 

It is the gospel that reveals to men the perfect righteousness of God. The gospel also reveals the way that righteousness may be obtained by sinful men, namely, by faith. This is presented at greater length in the following statement: 

"By the deeds [the works] of the law there shall no flesh be justified [accounted righteous] in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law [works of the law] is manifested, being witnessed [approved, accepted] by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe." Rom. 3:20-22. 

In the first part of this statement, the apostle shows the part which the law takes in the problem of justification. "By the law is the knowledge of sin." The knowledge of sin; not the deliverance from sin. The law points out sin. In so doing it declares the whole world to be guilty before God. Romans 3. But the law cannot deliver from sin. No effort of the sinner to obey the law can cancel his guilt or bring to him the righteousness of God. 

That righteousness, Paul declares, is "by faith of Jesus Christ: ... whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation [an atoning sacrifice] through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God." Rom. 3:22-25. 

It is through faith in the blood of Christ that all the sins of the believer are canceled and the righteousness of God is put in their place to the believer's account. O, what a marvelous transaction! What a manifestation of divine love and grace. Here is a man born in sin. As Paul says, he is “filled with all unrighteousness”. His inheritance of evil is the worst imaginable. His environment is at the lowest depths known to the wicked. In some way the love of God shining from the cross of Calvary reaches that man's heart. He yields, repents, confesses, and by faith claims Christ as his Saviour. The instant that is done, he is accepted as a child of God. His sins are all forgiven, his guilt is canceled, he is accounted righteous, and stands approved, justified, before the divine law. And this amazing, miraculous change may take place in one short hour. This is righteousness by faith. 

Having made these clear, forceful statements as to the way of being made righteous, the apostle then illustrates the truth declared by a concrete case. He takes the experience of Abraham as an example. 

"What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?" Rom. 4: 1. 

Anticipating his answer, we reply: Abraham had found righteousness. But how - by what method? Paul 

tells us: “If Abraham were justified [accounted righteous] by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.” Rom. 4:2. Made righteous by works is a suggestion, a proposal, - if such a thing could be. Is that the way by which to obtain righteousness? "What saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it [his belief] was counted unto him for righteousness." Rom. 4:3. This statement settles forever the way by which Abraham obtained God's righteousness. It was not by works; it was by faith. 

Abraham's Way the Only Way 

Having settled the question as to how Abraham secured the righteousness of God, Paul proceeds to show that that is the only way any one else can obtain righteousness. 

"To him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." Rom. 4:5. 

What kindness! What great compassion! The Lord, who is “righteousness in all His ways,” offers His own perfect righteousness to any and every poor, weak, helpless, hopeless sinner who will believe what He says. Read it again: "To him that worketh not, but believeth on Him, his faith is counted for righteousness." 

So important, so fundamental is this way of righteousness that the apostle goes on through this entire chapter to restate and repeat and press home to all what he has made so clear in few words. Here are some of his statements: 

"Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works." Rom. 4:6. 

"We say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness." Rom. 4:9. 

"And being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offenses [sins], and was raised again for our justification [righteousness]." Rom. 4:21-25. 

This clear-cut, positive statement reveals to every lost soul for all time the only way from sin and guilt and condemnation to righteousness and deliverance from condemnation and death. With this agree all the other statements of the Scriptures regarding this great problem of being made righteous. 

The three words “righteousness by faith” express the most wonderful transaction in this material world which the human intellect can grasp. They express the greatest gift that God, in His infinite plenitude, could bestow upon mankind. The great fact expressed by this phrase of three words, has been studied, expounded, and rejoiced in by millions during past ages, and it is still the theme of the most sublime interest and importance to the human family. 

Reviewing these statements, we find: 

That the law of God demands righteousness from all who are under its jurisdiction. But through 

transgression all have made themselves incapable of rendering the righteousness which the law demands. What, then, is the sinner to do? His transgression of God's righteous law has made him unrighteous. This has brought him under the condemnation of that law. Being condemned, the penalty of his transgression must be paid. The penalty is death. He owes a debt that demands his life. He is under a condemnation that he can never remove. He is facing a penalty he can never escape. What can he do? Is there any way out of this dark, hopeless situation? Yes, there is. 

“The righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed [approved and accepted] by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe.” Rom. 3:21, 22. 

This reveals the way of meeting the demands of the law, and emphatically states that the only way of doing so is by faith. To the natural, unilluminated mind, this solution of the dark problem is a mystery. The law requires obedience; it demands righteous deeds in the activities of life. How can such demands be met by faith instead of by works? The answer is given in plain words: "Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation [an atoning sacrifice] through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God." Rom. 3:24, 25. 

What a marvelous solution of the awful problem of sin! Only our infinite, all-wise, and compassionate Father could and would provide such a solution. Only inspired writings could reveal it. And this way of making a sinner righteous is found only in the untainted gospel of Christ. 

“By faith he [the sinner, who has so grievously wronged and offended God] can bring to God the merits of Christ, and the Lord places the obedience of His Son to the sinner's account. Christ's righteousness is accepted in place of man's failure.” Review and Herald, Nov. 4, 1890. 

Christ came to this world as our Redeemer. He became our substitute. He took our place in the conflict with Satan and sin. He was tempted in all points as we are, but never sinned. He loved righteousness and hated iniquity. His life of perfect obedience met the highest demands of the law. And O, the wonder and the marvel of it is that God accepts Christ's righteousness in the place of our failure, our unrighteousness! 

In this divine transaction, "God receives, pardons, justifies.... and loves him [the sinner] as He loves His Son." –Ibid. No wonder Paul proclaimed to the whole world that it was the love of Christ which constrained him in his arduous labors, and that he counted it a great privilege and joy to suffer the loss of all things, that he might gain Christ and stand clothed in His righteousness, which is imputed to the sinner through faith. 

Thus is explained just how faith takes the place of works and is accounted righteousness. This wonderful truth should be perfectly dear to every believer; and it must become personal experience. It should enable us to cease from our own works, efforts, and struggles, and to enter into calm, trusting, living faith in the merits, the obedience, the righteousness of Christ. These we may present to God in the place of our failures. We should joyfully accept the pardon and justification granted, and should now experience the peace and joy which such a marvelous transaction is able to bring to our hearts. 

"Therefore being justified [accounted righteous] by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Rom. 5: 1. 

Many Have Missed the Way 

How strange and how sad that this simple, beautiful way of righteousness seems so hard for the natural, carnal heart to find and accept! It was a great sorrow to Paul that Israel, his kinsmen according to the flesh, missed the way so fatally. He said: "Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law." Rom. 9:31, 32. 

On the other hand, "the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith." Rom. 9:30. 

And now the apostle reveals the real secret of Israel's failure: "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law [the one to whom the law points] for righteousness to every one that believeth." Rom. 10: 3, 4 

Finally, the apostle closes his exposition of this sublime theme with these assuring words: "But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Rom. 10:8-10. 

"Righteousness by faith" is not a theory. People may hold a theory about it, and at the same time be “ignorant of God's righteousness and going about to establish their own righteousness.” “Righteousness by faith” is a transaction, an experience. It is a submitting unto “the righteousness of God.” It is a change of standing before God and His law. It is a regeneration, a new birth. Without this change there can be no hope for the sinner, for he will remain under the condemnation of God's changeless, holy law; its terrible penalty will still hang over his head. 

How very essential it thus appears that we come to know, by clear, positive experience, that this great, vital transaction called "righteousness by faith" has been wrought in our hearts and lives by the power of God. Only then can we truly pray our Lord's prayer, addressing, "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name." 

"This name is hallowed by the angels of heaven, by the inhabitants of unfallen worlds. When you pray, 'Hallowed be Thy name,' you ask that it may be hallowed in this world, hallowed in you. God has acknowledged you before men and angels as His child; pray that you may do no dishonor to the 'worthy name by which ye are called.' God sends you into the world as His representatives. In every act of life you are to make manifest the name of God. This petition calls upon you to possess His character. You cannot hallow His name, you cannot represent Him to the world, unless in life and character you represent the very life and character of God. This you can do only through the acceptance of the grace and righteousness of Christ." – "Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing," P.158. 

CHAPTER TWO – A Message of Supreme Importance 

In 1888 there came to the Seventh-day Adventist Church a very definite awakening message. It was designated at the time as “the message of Righteousness by Faith”. Both the message itself and the manner of its coming made a deep and lasting impression upon the minds of ministers and people, and the lapse of time has not erased that impression from memory. To this day, many of those who heard the message when it came are deeply interested in it and concerned regarding it. All these long years they have held a firm conviction, and cherished a fond hope, that someday this message would be given great prominence among us, and that it would do the cleansing, regenerating work in the church which they believed it was sent by the Lord to accomplish. 

Among the influences which have led to this conviction is the divine witness borne to the proclamation of the message of Righteousness by Faith as it was set forth at the time of the General Conference held in the city of Minneapolis, Minn., in the year 1888. From the very first, the Spirit of prophecy placed the seal of approval upon the message and its presentation at that time. In the plainest and most positive language we were told that the Lord was leading and impelling men to proclaim this definite message of Righteousness by Faith. Of that epochal Conference, and the men who gave the specific message, it is declared: 

"The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people.... This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. Many had lost sight of Jesus. They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family. All power is given into His hands, that He may dispense rich gifts unto men, imparting the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless human agent. This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel's message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure." – " Testimonies to Ministers," pp. 91, 92. 

Every sentence in this comprehensive statement is worthy of most careful study. Let us briefly analyze it: 

1. A Most Precious Message. – "The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people." 

2. The Object. – "This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world." 

3. The Scope. – 

a. "It presented justification through faith in the Surety." 

b. "It invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God." 

4. The Need. – 

a. “Many had lost sight of Jesus” 

b. "They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His 

changeless love for the human family." 

5. The Resources. – 

a. "All power is given into His hands," 

b. “That He may dispense rich gifts unto men,” 

c. "Imparting the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless human agent." 

6. Extent. – "This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world." 

7. What It Really Is. – "It is the third angel's message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud cry, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure." 

It is difficult to conceive how there could be any misunderstanding or uncertainty regarding the heavenly endorsement of this message. It clearly stated that the Lord sent the message, and that He led the minds of the men who were so deeply engrossed by it and who proclaimed it with such earnestness. 

It should be borne in mind at this time that the course taken by the messengers in subsequent years has nothing to do with the positive statement, oft repeated, that they were led by the Lord to declare this fundamental truth of the gospel to His people at that particular time. 

Not only was it in the purpose of God to set this message to Righteousness by Faith before His church; it was to be given to the world. And finally, it is declared to be the "third angel's message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure." It is evident that the application of this message was not limited to the time of the Minneapolis Conference, but that its application extends to the close of time; and consequently it is of greater significance to the church at the present time than it could have been in 1888. The nearer we approach the great day of God, the more imperative will be the need of the soul-cleansing work which that message was sent to do. Surely we have every reason for a new, more whole- hearted study and proclamation of that message. 

God's messages and providences are always great with meaning. They are always necessary for the accomplishment of the particular work with which they are connected. He orders them for the fulfillment of His purposes. They cannot be set aside. They cannot fail. Sooner or later they will be understood, accepted, and given their proper place. Therefore it must be expected that the message of Righteousness by Faith, which came so definitely to the church in 1888, will be accorded a dominant place in the closing period of the great movement with which we are connected. 

CHAPTER THREE – Preparatory Messages 

The Bible account of God's dealings with His people is full of most helpful instruction for the remnant church. It shows that through the centuries He has had but one unchangeable, eternal purpose. He has allowed nothing to defeat that purpose. In all the crises and developments that have arisen, He has been in control. He has foreseen the perils lurking along the way, and has sent warnings to His people to guard and protect them. When they have needed messages to awaken, inspire, and regenerate them, He has raised up messengers to give the messages. The great exodus movement from Egypt to Canaan, the history of Samuel and Israel, of David and the kingdom he was chosen to establish, and the tragic experiences of Jeremiah in the kingdom of Judah, and its overthrow and captivity, - all are illustrations of this. 

In the records of these great crises we find that God's messages to the people were of a twofold character: First, they pointed out the deceptions into which His people were being led, and warned them of the serious results which would come unless they returned to Him; second, they revealed most clearly just what was needed to help them, and gave assurance that he would not only supply all their needs, but would also inspire and 

empower them to lay hold of the proffered help if they would but choose it with the whole heart. Nothing was lacking on the Lord's side to meet fully every deception and peril by which Satan sought to ruin the people and the cause. 

The developments and experiences connected with the coming of the message of Righteousness by Faith, in 1888, bear striking similarity to the experiences which came to the people of God in olden times. It is well to give most careful consideration to the messages of the Spirit of prophecy just preceding the Minneapolis Conference of 1888. 

The Message of 1887 

The testimonies of the Spirit of prophecy which were received during the year 1887 gave warning of danger. They named again and again a specific evil, a deception into which the church was falling. That deception was pointed out as the fatal mistake of drifting into formalism; the substitution of forms, ceremonies, doctrines, machinery, and activities for that heart experience which comes alone through fellowship with Christ Jesus our Lord. Throughout the entire year this specific danger was kept before ministers and people by messages which appeared in the Review and Herald. In order that the seriousness of the situation at that time may be realized and the warnings better understood, we quote a few paragraphs, giving the date of publication: 

1. "It is possible to be a formal, partial believer, and yet be found wanting, and lose eternal life. It is possible to practice some of the Bible injunctions, and be regarded as a Christian, and yet perish because you are lacking in essential qualifications that constitute Christian character." – Review and Herald, Jan. 11, 1887. 

2. Two weeks later another message declares: "The observance of external forms will never meet the great want of the human soul. A mere profession of Christ is not enough to prepare one to stand the test of the judgment. – Review and Herald, Jan. 25, 1887. 

3. Three weeks following this it was clearly stated: "There is too much formality in the church. Souls are perishing for light and knowledge. We should be so connected with the Source of 

light that we can be channels of light to the world.... Those who profess to be guided by the word of God, may be familiar with the evidences of their faith, and yet be like the pretentious fig tree, which flaunted its foliage in the face of the world, but when searched by the Master, was found destitute of fruit." – Review and Herald, Feb. 15, 1887. 

4. Two weeks thereafter came another of like import: "The Lord Jesus, on the Mount of Olives, plainly stated that 'because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.' He speaks of a class who have fallen from a high state of spirituality. Let such utterances as these come home with solemn, searching power to our hearts.... A formal round of religious services is kept up; but where is the love of Jesus? Spirituality is dying. . . . Shall we meet the mind of the Spirit of God? Shall we dwell more upon practical godliness, and far less upon mechanical arrangements? – Written March 1, 1887; appears in "Testimonies." Vol. V, pp. 538, 539. 

On and on throughout the entire year messages continued to come telling us that formality was coming into the church; that we were trusting too much in forms, ceremonies, theories, mechanical arrangements, and a constant round of activities. Of course these messages were true, and they should have made a profound impression. But formalism is most deceptive and ruinous. It is the hidden, unsuspected rock upon which, through the centuries, the church has so often been well-nigh wrecked. Paul warns us that the “form of godliness” without the power of God will be one of the perils of the last days, and admonishes us to turn away from the deceptive, bewitching thing. Over and over again, and through various channels, God sends warnings to His church to escape the peril of formalism. 

It was precisely this perilous deception against which the Spirit of prophecy gave repeated warning in 1887; and it was to save us from its full results that the message of Righteousness by Faith was sent to us. 

This movement is of God. It is destined to triumph gloriously. Its organization is Heaven indited. Its departments are the wheels within the wheels, all skillfully linked together; but they are incomplete and partial without the Spirit within the wheels giving power and speedy results. These wheels are composed of men and women. God baptizes men and women rather than movements; and when men receive the power of the Spirit into their lives, then the beautiful machinery moves speedily forward on its appointed task. This must be realized individually before it can be realized collectively. How imperative, then, our need of God's provision! 

But not alone came the warnings against the substitution of theories, forms, activities, and the machinery of organization. With these warnings came a direct, powerful, positive message telling exactly what should be done to save us from the situation into which we were drifting. The entire message cannot be reproduced here because of its length. However, a few excerpts will convey some idea of its serious import, and of the hope it held out to the church if the instruction were heeded: 

Greatest and Most Urgent Need 

"A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs. To seek this should be our first work. There must be earnest effort to obtain the blessing of the Lord, not because God is not willing to bestow His blessing upon us, but because we are unprepared to receive it.... There are persons in the church who are not converted, and who will not unite in earnest, prevailing prayer. We must enter upon the work individually. We must pray more, and talk less. Iniquity abounds, and the people must be taught not to be satisfied with a form of godliness without the spirit and power.... 

"We have far more to fear from within than from without. The hindrances to strength and success are far greater from the church itself than from the world.... 

There is nothing that Satan fears so much as that the people of God shall clear the way by removing every hindrance, so that the Lord can pour out His Spirit upon a languishing church and an impenitent congregation. If Satan had his way, there would never be another awakening, great or small, to the end of time. But we are not ignorant of his devices. It is possible to resist his power. When the way is prepared for the Spirit of God, the blessing will come. Satan can no more hinder a shower of blessing from descending upon God's people than he can close the windows of heaven that rain cannot come upon the earth. Wicked men and devils cannot hinder the work of God, or shut out His presence from the assemblies of His people, if they will, with subdued, contrite hearts, confess and put away their sins, and in faith claim His promises. Every temptation, every opposing influence, whether open or secret, may be successfully resisted, 'not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.' 

"What is our condition in this fearful and solemn time? Alas, what pride is prevailing in the church, what hypocrisy, what deception, what love of dress, frivolity, and amusement, what desire for the supremacy! All these sins have clouded the mind, so that eternal things have not been discerned." – Review and Herald, March 22, 1887. 

What a solemn message, and yet how full of tender, helpful counsel! What hope is held before the church if she will but sincerely heed it! How sad that this great message passed with the annual files of the Review, to lie buried so long! Is it not time to bring again this message clearly and force fully to the attention of the church, as Ezra brought forth the forgotten book of the law of Moses and read the instruction it contained to Israel? 

The Remedy to Be Applied 

As the year closed, a message came, pointing clearly and positively to the only remedy for the evils so earnestly and repeatedly set before us during the entire year. That remedy, we are told, is union with Christ Jesus the Lord. 

"There is a wide difference between a pretended union and a real connection with Christ by faith. A profession of religion places men in the church, but this does not prove that they have a vital connection with the living vine. . . . When this intimacy of connection of communion is formed, our sins are laid upon Christ, His righteousness is imputed to us. He was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. The power of evil is so identified with human nature that no man can overcome except by union with Christ. Through this union we receive moral and spiritual power. If we have the Spirit of Christ, we shall bring forth the fruit of righteousness....A union with Christ by living faith is enduring; every other union must perish. Christ first chose us, paying an infinite price for our redemption; and the true believer chooses Christ as first and last, and best in everything. But this union costs us something. It is a relation of utter dependence, to be entered into by a proud being. All who form this union must feel their need of the atoning blood of Christ. They must have a change of heart. They must submit their own will to the will of God. There will be a struggle with outward and internal 

obstacles. There must be a painful work of detachment, as well as a work of attachment. Pride, selfishness, vanity, worldliness, - sin in all its forms- must be overcome, if we would enter into a union with Christ. The reason why many find the Christian life so deplorably hard, why they are so fickle, so variable, is, they try to attach themselves to Christ without first detaching themselves from these cherished idols." - Review and Herald, Dec. 13,1887. 

This message takes us into the very heart of the gospel - union with Christ. No man can overcome sin except by this union. By union with Christ, our sins are laid upon Him, and His righteousness is imputed to us. This is reality, not form nor ceremony. It is not church membership, nor assent of the intellect to theory and dogma. Union with Christ is a satisfying reality in all that pertains to the Christian life. In this lies our security. This was our great need in 1887, and to lead us into that experience the Lord sent the message of Righteousness by Faith. 

The Messages of 1888 

As we pass into the year 1888, the positive remedial messages which began in 1887 were continued, growing in clarity and force, as will be observed. The true way is clearly set forth, the only way that gives genuine sincerity, reality, and victory. This true way is through fellowship with our risen Lord. Note the following ringing words: 

The Only True Way 

“Without the presence of Jesus in the heart, religious service is only dead, cold formalism. The longing desire for communion with God soon ceases when the Spirit of God is grieved from us; but when Christ is in us the hope of glory, we are constantly directed to think and act in reference to the glory of God.” – Review and Herald, April 17,1888. 

We should study the life of our Redeemer, for He is the only perfect example for men. We should contemplate the infinite sacrifice of Calvary, and behold the exceeding sinfulness of sin and the righteousness of the law. You will come from a concentrated study of the theme of redemption strengthened and ennobled. Your comprehension of the character of God will be deepened; and with the whole plan of salvation clearly defined in your mind, you will be better able to fulfill your divine commission. From a sense of thorough conviction, you can then testify to men of the immutable character of the law manifested by the death of Christ on the cross, the malignant nature of sin, and the righteousness of God in justifying the believer in Jesus on condition of his future obedience to the statutes of God's government in heaven and earth." – Review and Herald, April 24,1888. 

Our Redeemer, His atoning sacrifice for us, the malignant nature of sin, the righteousness of Christ to be received by faith, - in the serious contemplation and full acceptance of these vital truths of the gospel are to be found pardon, justification, peace, joy, and victory. 

A Startling Message 

Following the pointing out of the only true way, there came a startling message that must have been designed of the Lord to lead His people to sense their peril and step quickly into the way of security: 

"The solemn question should come home to every member of our churches, How are we 

standing before God, as the professed followers of Jesus Christ? Is our light shining forth to the world in clear, steady rays? Have we, as a people, solemnly dedicated to God, preserved our union with the Source of all light? Are not the symptoms of decay and declension painfully visible in the midst of the Christian churches of today? Spiritual death has come upon the people that should be manifesting life and zeal, purity and consecration, by the most earnest devotion to the cause of truth. The facts concerning the real condition of the professed people of God, speak more loudly than their profession, and make it evident that some power has cut the cable that anchored them to the Eternal Rock, and that they are drifting away to sea, without chart or compass." – Review and Herald, July 24, 1888. 

Some power, it is declared, had cut the cable that anchored the church to the Eternal Rock, and its members were drifting away to sea without chart or compass. What situation could be more alarming than this? What more convincing reason could be given to show the need of turning with all the heart to Him who alone is able to hold us fast? 

Back to Safe Anchorage 

Next came a message telling just what was necessary in order to repair the cable the enemy had cut, and thus bring us back to safe anchorage. Read it with care: 

“It is not enough to be familiar with the arguments of the truth alone. You must meet the people through the life that is in Jesus. Your work will be made wholly successful if Jesus is abiding with you, for He has said, 'Without Me ye can do nothing.' Jesus stands knocking, knocking at the door of your hearts, and yet, for all this, some say continually, 'I cannot find Him.' Why not? He says, 'I stand here knocking.' Why do you not open the door, and say, 'Come in, dear Lord'? I am so glad for these simple directions as to the way to find Jesus. If it were not for them, 1 should not know how to find Him whose presence I desire so much. Open the door now, and empty the soul temple of the buyers and sellers, and invite the Lord to come in. Say to Him, 'I will love Thee with all my soul. I will work the works of righteousness. I will obey the law of God.' Then you will feel the peaceful presence of Jesus.” – Review and Herald, Aug. 28,1888. 

The Climax of the Preparatory Message 

Just a few weeks before the General Conference assembled at Minneapolis, the Lord sent the following message as an impressive climax to all the instruction that had been coming on this one great theme month after month for nearly two years: 

"What is the work of the minister of the gospel? It is to rightly divide the word of truth; not to invent a new gospel, but to rightly divide the gospel already committed to them. They cannot rely upon old sermons to present to their congregations; for these set discourses may not be appropriate to meet the occasion or the wants of the people. There are subjects that are sadly neglected, that should be largely dwelt upon. The burden of our message should be the mission and life of Jesus Christ. Let there be a dwelling upon the humiliation, self-denial, meekness, and lowliness of Christ, that proud and selfish hearts may see the difference between themselves and the Pattern, and may be humbled. Show to your hearers Jesus in His condescension to save fallen man. Show them that He who was their surety had to take human nature, and carry it through the darkness and the fearfulness of the malediction of His Father, because of man's transgression of His law; for the Saviour was found in fashion as a man. 

"Describe, if human language can, the humiliation of the Son of God, and think not that you have reached the climax, when you see Him exchanging the throne of light and glory which He had with the Father, for humanity. He came forth from heaven to earth; and while on earth, He bore the curse of God as surety for the fallen race. He was not obliged to do this. He chose to bear the wrath of God, which man had incurred through disobedience to the divine law. He chose to endure the cruel mockings, the deridings, the scourging, and the crucifixion. 'And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death;' but the manner of His death was an astonishment to the universe, for it was 'even the death of the cross.' Christ was not insensible to ignominy and disgrace. He felt it all most bitterly. He felt it as much more deeply and acutely than we can feel suffering, as His nature was more exalted, and pure, and holy than that of the sinful race for whom He suffered. He was the Majesty of heaven; He was equal with the Father. He was the commander of the hosts of angels, yet He died for man the death that was, above all others, clothed with ignominy and reproach. O that the haughty hearts of men might realize this! O that they might enter into the meaning of redemption, and seek to learn the meekness and lowliness of Jesus." Review and Herald, Sept 11, 1888. 

This instruction is directed especially to ministers - the teachers in Israel: 

1. They were to rightly divide the word of truth. 

2. They were not to invent a new gospel, but to rightly set forth the gospel already committed to them. 

3. They were not to continue to preach their “old sermons” to the people, as these “set discourses” might not be appropriate to meet the wants of the people. 

4. They were to dwell largely upon subjects that had been sadly neglected. 

5. The burden of their message should be the mission and life of Jesus Christ. 

The concluding paragraph furnishes a comprehensive outline of this sublime theme - the mission and life of Christ. 

In Retrospect 

At this distance it does seem as if all these direct, clear-cut, solemn messages should have made a more profound impression upon the minds of all the ministers. It would seem that they would have been fully prepared to listen to and drink in the timely, inspiring message of revival, reformation, and recovery that was presented with such clearness and in such sincere earnestness by the messenger whom the Lord raised up to deliver the message. The appropriation of the perfect righteousness of Christ by deceived, sinful hearts was the remedy the Lord sent. It was just what was needed. Who can tell what would have come to the church and the cause of God if that message of Righteousness by Faith had been fully and wholeheartedly received by all at that time? And who can estimate the loss that has been sustained by the failure of many to receive that message? Eternity alone will reveal the whole truth regarding this matter.