That We Might Be Partakers of the Divine Nature
Extending the Triumphs of the Cross
The Signs of the Times
October 14, 1897
That We Might Be Partakers of the Divine Nature
"Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue; whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
Our future, eternal happiness depends upon having our humanity, with all its capabilities and powers, brought into obedience to God, placed under the control of Divinity. Many have no real faith in Christ. They say, "It was easy for Christ to obey the will of the Father; for he was divine." But God's Word declares, "He was tempted in all points like as we are." Christ was tempted according to his elevation of mind; but he would not weaken or cripple his divine power by yielding to temptation. In his life on earth he was a representative of what men may become through the privileges and opportunities granted them in him.
In order that the human family might have no excuse because of temptation, Christ became one with them. The only being who was one with God lived the law in humanity, descended to the lowly life of a common laborer, and toiled at the carpenter's bench with his earthly parent. He lived the life which he requires of all who claim to be his children. Thus was cut off the powerful argument of Satan that God required of humanity a self-denial and subjection that he would not himself render. The weapons that Satan designed to use against God, were taken from his hands.
When Satan tempted our first parents in Eden he said, "Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? ... Ye shall not surely die; for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Thus he tried to flatter Eve into believing that they should be raised above the sphere of humanity. But Christ, by the example he has set before us, encourages the human family to be men, obeying the Word of God within the sphere of their humanity. He himself became a man, not a bond-slave to Satan, to work out his attributes, but a man in moral power, obedient to the law of God, which is the transcript of his character.
Christ became a man that he might mediate between man and God. He clothed his divinity with humanity, he associated with the human race, that with his human arm he might encircle humanity, and with his divine arm grasp the throne of Divinity. And this humiliation on his part was that he might restore to man the original mind, the image of God, which he lost in Eden through Satan's alluring temptations, that man might realize that it is for his present and eternal good to obey the requirements of God. Disobedience is not in accordance with the nature which God gave to man in Eden.
The Lord has given Jesus to our world, to a life of suffering and a shameful death, in order to save perishing souls. In the place of punishing the guilty sinner, the Lord allowed his only-begotten Son to suffer the penalty of transgression, that man might have another opportunity, that another probation might be granted him in which to return from his transgression to his loyalty to God. By thus dying for man, Christ has shown that his love for the human family is measureless. And having done this, he will not withhold any facilities, any gift of heaven, that will enable man to accomplish the glorious work of salvation.
God would have us realize that all this was done to counterwork sin and rebellion against him, and bring in everlasting righteousness. Christ is able and willing to save unto the uttermost all that come unto God by him. Through his servant he declares, "For as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." As obedient children, we have the privilege of relationship with God. "If children," he says, "then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ."
God loves his children the same as he loves his only-begotten Son. Then let us have a sense of our relationship to him, and walk circumspectly before the world. This world is our training-place for the world to come. If we would be saints in heaven, we must first be saints on earth. Wherever we are we must bear in mind that we are near to God. If we would only believe that angels of God are constantly around us to protect us from Satan's snares, and to be a present help in every time of need, we would grow strong. Having a sense of our companionship we would do the things that are pleasing in the sight of God. How careful would we be lest our words should offend Christ, whose character we are to represent to the world. We need to meditate and converse on the mercy and love and compassion of God for us. Satan is not at all pleased with such pure, ennobling, and elevating themes, and he draws apart from us. God's promise is, "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you."
Through the moral power Christ has brought to man, we may give thanks unto God, who has made us meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. Through Jesus Christ every man may overcome in his own behalf standing in his own individuality of character. The word comes to him, "Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world." Our whole earthly solace hangs upon him whose mission to earth was to give power unto men.
Christ would have us yoke up with him. "Learn of me," he says, "for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls." Then we shall be overcomers. We "shall see his face," and his name shall be in our foreheads. We shall be his chosen ones on earth, to enjoy the kingdom of his grace; we shall be with him in the heavenly world, to share in the kingdom of his glory. We shall be heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; for he is our portion and our inheritance. We shall be partakers of his divine nature, and one with him in his perfection. We shall have the same life as Jesus; for we are sons and daughters of God.
God has a kingdom awaiting his children whom he has tested and tried in a world marred and corrupted by sin. Mansions are prepared for all who have subjected themselves in obedience to the divine law. Christ declared to his disciples: "In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
Jesus asks no more of men than that they shall follow in his footsteps. He was the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory; but for our sake he became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich. Almost his last words to us are. "Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me." Instead of being sorrowful, your hearts troubled, you should rejoice. For your sake I came into the world. For your sake I have been a disinterested worker in the world. In the future I shall be engaged, just as devotedly, in an important work in your behalf. I came into the world to redeem you; I go away to prepare an abiding place for you in my Father's kingdom. Mrs. E. G. White.
The Review and Herald
January 13, 1903
Extending the Triumphs of the Cross
[Testimony, Volume VII]
Mrs. E. G. White
"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" Romans 8:32.
As this wonderful, priceless Gift was bestowed, the whole heavenly universe was mightily stirred in an effort to understand God's unfathomable love, stirred to awaken in human hearts a gratitude proportionate to the value of the Gift. Shall we, for whom Christ has given his life, halt between two opinions? Shall we return to God only a mite of the capabilities and powers lent us by him? How can we do this while we know that he who was Commander of all heaven laid aside his royal robe and kingly crown, and realizing the helplessness of the fallen race, came to this earth in human nature to make it possible for us to unite our humanity to his divinity? He became poor that we might come into possession of the heavenly treasure, "a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." 2 Corinthians 4:17. To rescue us, he descended from one humiliation to another, until he, the divine-human, suffering Christ, was uplifted on the cross, to draw all men to himself. The Son of God could not have shown greater condescension than he did; he could not have stooped lower.
This is the mystery of godliness, the mystery that has inspired heavenly agencies so to minister through fallen humanity that in the world an intense interest will be aroused in the plan of salvation. This is the mystery that has stirred all heaven to unite with man in carrying out God's great plan.
To human agencies is committed the work of extending the triumphs of the cross from point to point. As the Head of the church, Christ is authoritatively calling upon every one who claims to believe on him to follow his example of self-denial and self-sacrifice in working for the conversion of those whom Satan and his vast army are exerting every power to destroy. God's people are called upon to rally without delay under the blood-stained banner of Christ Jesus. Unceasingly they are to continue their warfare against the enemy, pressing the battle even to the gates. And every one who is added to the ranks by conversion is to be assigned his post of duty. Every one should be willing to be or to do anything in this warfare. When church members put forth earnest efforts to advance the message, they will live in the joy of the Lord, and will meet with success. Triumph always follows decided effort.
Christ, in his mediatorial capacity, gives to His servants the presence of the Holy Spirit. It is the efficiency of the Spirit that enables human agencies to be representatives of the Redeemer in the work of soul-saving. That we may unite with Christ in this work, we should place ourselves under the molding influence of his Spirit. Through the power thus imparted, we may co-operate with the Lord in the bonds of unity as laborers together with him in the salvation of souls. To every one who offers himself to the Lord for service, withholding nothing, is given power for the attainment of measureless results.
The Lord God is bound by an eternal pledge to supply power and grace to every one who is sanctified through obedience to the truth. Christ, to whom is given all power in heaven and on earth, co-operates in sympathy with his instrumentalities,—the earnest souls who day by day partake of the living bread, "which cometh down from heaven." John 6:50. The church on earth, united with the church in heaven, can accomplish all things.
On the day of Pentecost the Infinite One revealed himself in power to the church. By his Holy Spirit he descended from the heights of heaven as a rushing, mighty wind, to the room in which the disciples were assembled. It was as if for ages this influence had been held in restraint, and now heaven rejoiced in being able to pour upon the church the riches of the Spirit's power. And, under the influence of the Spirit, words of penitence and confession were mingled with songs of praise for sins forgiven. Words of thanksgiving and of prophecy were heard. All heaven bent low to behold and to adore the wisdom of matchless, incomprehensible Love. Lost in wonder, the apostles and disciples exclaimed, "Herein is love." 1 John 4:10. They grasped the imparted gift. And what followed?—Thousands were converted in a day. The sword of the Spirit, newly edged with power, and bathed in the lightnings of heaven, cut its way through unbelief.
The hearts of the disciples were surcharged with a benevolence so full, so deep, so far-reaching, that it impelled them to go to the ends of the earth, testifying, God forbid that we should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. They were filled with an intense longing to add to the church such as should be saved. They called on the believers to arouse and do their part, that all nations might hear the truth, and the earth be filled with the glory of the Lord.
By the grace of Christ the apostles were made what they were. It was sincere devotion and humble, earnest prayer that brought them into close communion with him. They sat together with him in heavenly places. They realized the greatness of their debt to him. By earnest, persevering prayer they obtained the endowment of the Holy Spirit, and then they went forth, weighted with the burden of saving souls, filled with zeal to extend the triumphs of the cross. And under their labors many souls were brought from darkness to light, and many churches were raised up.
Shall we be less earnest than were the apostles? Shall we not by living faith claim the promises that moved them to the depths of their being to call upon the Lord Jesus for the fulfillment of his word, "Ask, and ye shall receive"? John 16:24. Is not the Spirit of God to come today in answer to earnest, persevering prayer, and fill men with power? Is not God saying today to his praying, trusting, believing workers, who are opening the Scriptures to those ignorant of the precious truth they contain, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world"? Matthew 28:20. Why, then, is the church so weak and spiritless?
As the disciples, filled with the power of the Spirit, went forth to proclaim the gospel, so God's servants are to go forth today. Filled with an unselfish desire to give the message of mercy to those who are in the darkness of error and unbelief, we are to take up the Lord's work. He gives us our part to do in co-operation with him, and he will also move on the hearts of unbelievers to carry forward his work in the regions beyond. Already many are receiving the Holy Spirit, and no longer will the way be blocked by listless indifference.
Why has the history of the work of the disciples, as they labored with holy zeal, animated and vitalized by the Holy Spirit, been recorded, if it is not that from this record the Lord's people today are to gain an inspiration to work earnestly for Him? What the Lord did for His people in that time, it is just as essential, and more so, that He do for His people today. All that the apostles did, every church member today is to do. And we are to work with as much more fervor, to be accompanied by the Holy Spirit in as much greater measure, as the increase of wickedness demands a more decided call to repentance.
Every one on whom is shining the light of present truth is to be stirred with compassion for those who are in darkness. From all believers light is to be reflected in clear, distinct rays. A work similar to that which the Lord did through his delegated messengers after the day of Pentecost he is waiting to do today. At this time, when the end of all things is at hand, should not the zeal of the church exceed even that of the early church? Zeal for the glory of God moved the disciples to bear witness to the truth with mighty power. Should not this zeal fire our hearts with a longing to tell the story of redeeming love, of Christ and him crucified? Should not the power of God be even more mightily revealed today than in the time of the apostles?