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,
This month's articles.
J. Waggoner - Christ and His Righteousness - Pt 1
A.G. Daniells - Christ Our Righteousness - Pt 1
Christ and His Righteousness
Part 1 of 3
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
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,
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
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
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:
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
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
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,
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,
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:
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
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
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.
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
the mighty God. Compare
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,
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
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
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,
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,
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
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
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
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
I AM THAT I AM.
And, finally, we have the
inspired words of the apostle Paul concerning Jesus Christ, that
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
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.
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
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,
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
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
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
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
The Scriptures declare that
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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. [
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
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
was made flesh and dwelt among us. How was it that Christ could be
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.
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.
Return to Menu
Christ Our Righteousness
Part 1 of
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
With the co-operation of my
associates in the office of the Ministerial Association, I undertook the task
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
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
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
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.
CHAPTER ONE – Christ Our
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
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
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.
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.
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;
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
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
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,
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
"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
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
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
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.
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
"Even as David also describeth
the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works." Rom.
"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
Reviewing these statements, we
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
“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,
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,
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:
Many Have Missed the
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,
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,
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
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
"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,"
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
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
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
4. The Need.
a. “Many had lost sight of
b. "They needed to have their
eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His
changeless love for the human
5. The Resources.
a. "All power is given into His
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
CHAPTER THREE –
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
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
The Message of
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,
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.
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,
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,
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
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
"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
"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
"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
The Remedy to Be
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
"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
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.
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
The Messages of
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
The Only True
“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
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.
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,
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
Back to Safe
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
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
"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
"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
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.