Friday Morning Manna                             June 28, 2019

Nathaniel Fajardo                                   email: natfajardo777@yahoo.com

Does Imparted Divine Nature Make Man Divine?

First, while the originator of sin—Lucifer, and the nature of original sin–self-seeking, are revealed, the origin of sin itself or a reasonfor its existence are not, or at least, not yet this side of the resurrection morning while yet in the mortal flesh. Notice the following:

      “It is impossible to explain the origin of sin, or to give a reason for its existence. It is an intruder for whose existence no reason can be given. It is mysterious, unaccountable; to excuse it; is to defend it. Could it be excused, could a cause be shown for its existence, it would cease to be sin. Our only definition of sin is that given in the word of God; it is ‘the transgression of the law [1 John 3: 4].’” – Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, p. 316, 1884.    

      “Sin originated in self-seeking. Lucifer, the covering cherub, desired to be first in heaven. He sought to gain control of heavenly beings, to draw them away from their Creator, and to win their homage to himself. Therefore, he misrepresented God, attributing to Him the desire for self-exaltation. With his own evil characteristics he sought to invest the loving Creator. Thus he deceived angels. Thus he deceived men. He led them to doubt the word of God, and to distrust His goodness. Because God is a God of justice and terrible majesty, Satan caused them to look upon Him as severe and unforgiving. Thus he drew men to join him [and his fallen angels] in rebellion against God, and the night of woe settled upon the world. . . .

      “The plan for our redemption was not an afterthought, a plan formulated after the fall of Adam. [Rather] it was a revelation of ‘the mystery which hath been kept in silence through times eternal’ (Rom. 16: 25, R.V.). It was an unfolding of the principles that from eternal ages that had been the foundation of God’s throne. From the beginning, God and Christ knew of the apostasy of Satan, and of the fall of man through the deceptive power of the apostate. God did not ordain that sin should exist, but He foresaw its existence, and made provisions to meet the terrible emergency. . . .

     “Since Jesus came to dwell with us, we know that God is acquainted with our trials, and sympathizes with our griefs. Every son and daughter of Adam may understand that our Creator is the friend of sinners. For in every doctrine of grace, every promise of joy, every deed of love, every divine attraction is presented in the Savior’s life on earth, we see ‘God with us’ [Emmanuel, Matt. 1: 23].” – Desire of Ages, pp. 21-24.

When fallen man “partakes of the divine nature” does he become “divine”?     

One of the greatest deceptions since the apostasy is to misunderstand the plan of salvation and in so doing misapply its provisions, often ending up toying with one of the greatest deceptions of the father of lies. What is it? that man can become “like gods.” It is not arbitrary nor accidental that the first of all commandments given to man (the same that governs the angels and the unfallen worlds) was, “Thou shalt have no other gods before of Me.” When the angels were created there were no other gods except the Godhead. It was Lucifer, a created being, who later coveted  “to be like God and exalt his throne above the stars. ” When Adam and Eve were created, after the angels were, there were no other gods but the same God who created the angels before them. It was fallen Lucifer who tempted Eve first with: “If you eat of the forbidden fruit you shall be like gods knowing good and evil.”

This is also why the first of the nine other commandment beginning with “Thou shalt not”  (only  the fourth begins with “Remember”) forbids the worship of other gods, self-worship included: it is the first of all sins, that started in heaven, and the first of all deceptions, starting in Eden–the  desire/appetite for self-exaltation, of making oneself equal to or God Himself. Such was the “great apostasy,” “the falling away” of the church, “revealing the “man of sin,” the “son of perdition,” “the lawless one.” See 2 Thess. 2: 1-12. This apostasy is one of the definitive identifying marks of who the antichrist and beast of Bible prophecy.

Lest those who celebrate the New Testament Lord’s Supper that forever replaced the Old Testament Passover (which is but proper) forget: there was a dispute among the Twelve just before Christ’s betrayal and crucifixion: who would be “the greatest” in the kingdom!

These very first called-out-ones of the Christian Era who Christ would appoint to set up His church founded upon Himself as its Cornerstone (certainly not Peter), miserably failed to understand, up to that critical point, what Christ’s kingdom on earth was about, even if they were willing to follow Him to death. His disciples were yet unprepared to become His apostles. Together with the rest of the Jewish nation, they still clung to the misconception that a literal Solomonic theocratic earthly kingdom would be restored by the Messiah. They had to be first disabused of this error. Only then could they enter Christ’s spiritual kingdom of righteousness where His law is written no longer in lifeless stone or merely of the ceremonial, legalistic “letter” but in the living hearts and minds–the genuine Christian saints of the New Covenant.

The corrosive sin of craving to be “the greatest” was also what necessitated the foot-washing service—symbolizing a higher cleansing, without which they were unprepared to partake of the emblems of His broken body and spilt blood that “shows the Lord’s death till He comes.”  

       “On the journey through Galilee, Christ had again tried to prepare the minds of His disciples for the scenes before Him. He told them that He was to go to Jerusalem to be put to death and rise again. And He added the strange and solemn announcement that He was to be betrayed into the hands of His enemies. The disciples did not even now comprehend His words. Although the shadow of a great sorrow fell upon them, a spirit of rivalry found a place in their heartsThey disputed among themselves which should be accounted the greatest in the kingdom. This strife they thought to conceal from Jesus. . . . Jesus read their thoughts, and He longed to counsel and instruct them. But for this He awaited a quiet hour, when their hearts should be open to receive His words.” – E. G. White, Desire of Ages, p. 432.   

      “When Christ and His disciples were alone in the house, while Peter was gone out to sea, Jesus called the others to Him, and asked, “What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way?’ The presence of Jesus, and His question, put the matter in an entirely different light from that in which it had appeared to them while they were contending by the way. . . . Jesus  had told them that He was to die for their sake, and their selfish ambition was in painful contrast to His unselfish love.” . . . 

     “But although He had spoken so plainly of what awaited Him, His mention of the fact that he was soon to go to Jerusalem again kindled their hope that the kingdom was about to be set up. This had led to questioning as to who should fill the highest offices. On Peter’s return from the sea, the disciples told him of the Savior’s question, and at last one ventured to ask Jesus, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’  . . . . 

     “The strife for the highest place was the outworking of the same spirit which was the beginning of the great controversy in the worlds above, and which had brought Christ from heaven to die. There rose up before Him a vision of Lucifer, ‘Son of the morning,’ in glory surpassing all the angels that surround the throne, and united in closest ties to the Son of God. Lucifer had said, ‘I will be like the Most High’ (Isa. 14: 12, 14); and the desire for self-exaltation had brought strife into the heavenly courts, and had banished a multitude of the hosts of God. Had Lucifer really desired to be like the Most High, he would never have deserted his appointed place in heaven; for the spirit of the Most High is manifested in unselfish ministry. Lucifer desired God’s power, but not His character. He sought for himself the highest place, and every being who is actuated by his spirit will do the sameThus alienation, discord, and strife will be inevitable. Dominion becomes the prize of the strongest. The kingdom of Satan is a kingdom of force; every individual regards every other as an obstacle in the way of his own advancement, or a steppingstone on which he himself may climb to a higher place. ” – Ibid, pp. 435, 436.

       “On this last evening with His disciples, Jesus had much to tell them. . . . As He looked into their faces, the words of warning and comfort were stayed upon His lips . . . .  The glances they cast upon each other told of jealousy and contentionThere was ‘a strife among themwhich of them should be accounted the greatest.’ This contention, carried on in the presence of Christ, grieved and wounded HimThe disciples clung to their favorite idea that Christ would assert His power, and take His position on the throne of DavidAnd in heart each still longed for the highest place in the kingdom. . . . . The request of James and John to sit on the right and left of Christ’s throne had excited the indignation of others. That the two brothers should presume to ask for the highest position so stirred the ten [other disciples] that alienation threatened. . . .

      “When the disciples entered the supper room, their hearts were full of resentful feelings. Judas pressed next to Christ on the left side; John was on the right. If there was a highest place, Judas was determined to have it, and that place was thought to be next to Christ. And Judas was a traitor. [so was Lucifer!]. Another cause of dissension had arisen. At a feast it is customary for a servant to wash the feet of the guests, and on this occasion preparation had been made of the service . . . . but there was no servant present. But each of the disciples, yielding to wounded pride, determined not to act of a servant. All manifested stoical unconcern, seeming unconscious there was anything for them to do. By their silence they refused to humble themselves. . . .Their selfish spirit filled Him with sorrow, but He entered into no controversy with them regardless their difficulty. Instead He gave them an example they would never forget. . . He had a full consciousness of His divinity; but He had laid aside His royal crown and kingly robes, and had taken the form of a servant. One of the last acts of His life on earth was to gird Himself as a servant, and perform a servant’s part.”- Ibid, pp. 644, 645.

Christ came to make men partakers of the divine nature and what it means:

    “’The prince of this world cometh,’ said Jesus, ‘and hath nothing in Me.’ John 14: 30. There was nothing in Him that responded to Satan’s sophistry. He did not consent to sin. Not even by a thought did He yield to temptation. So it may be with usChrist’s humanity was united with divinity; He was fitted for the conflict by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit [at His baptism]. And He came to make us partakers of the divine nature. So long as we are united to Him by faith, sin no more has dominion over us. [Rom. 6]. God reaches for the hand of faith in us to direct it to lay fast hold upon the divinity of Christ, that we may attain to perfection of character.”

       “And how this is accomplished, Christ has shown us. By what means did He overcome in the conflict with Satan? By the word of God. Only by the word could He resist temptation. ‘It is written,’ He said. And unto us are given ‘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.’ 2 Pet. 1: 4. Every promise of God’s word is ours. ‘By every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God’ [Matt. 4: 4; Deut. 8: 3] we are to live. When assailed by temptation, look not to circumstances or to the weakness of self [of fallen human nature], but to the power of the word. All its strength is yours. ‘Thy word,’ says the psalmist, ‘have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.’ Ps. 119: 11. ‘By the word of Thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.’ Ps. 17: 4.”- Desire of Ages, p. 123.   

Men partake of the divine nature by being conformed to the divine image. – See Rom. 12: 2 and 8: 29 first.“By this brightness [on Moses’s face from communing with God atop Mt. Sinai], God designed to impress upon Israel the sacred, exalted character of His law, and the glory of the gospel revealed through Christ. While Moses was in the mount [for 40 days/nights], God revealed to him, not only the tables of the law, but also the plan of salvation. He saw that the sacrifice of Christ was prefigured by all the types and symbols of the Jewish age; and it was the heavenly light streaming from Calvary, no less than the glory of the law of God, that shed such a radiance upon the face of Moses. That divine illumination symbolized the glory of the dispensation of which Moses was the visible mediator, a representative of the one true Intercessor. It testifies that the closer our communion with God, and the clearer the knowledge of His requirements, the more fully we shall be conformed to the divine image, and the more readily do we become partakers of the divine nature.

     “Moses was a type of Christ. [see Heb. 3: 1- 6] As [ancient] Israel’s [human] intercessor veiled his countenance, because the people could not endure to look upon its glory, so Christ, the divine Mediator, veiled His divinity with humanity when He came to earth. Had He come with the brightness of heaven, He could not have found access to men in their sinful state. They would not have endured the glory of His presence. Therefore, He humbled Himself, and was made ‘in the likeness of sinful flesh’ [Rom. 8: 3] that He might reach the fallen race, and lift them up.”- Patriarchs & Prophets, p. 330. 

Sanctification: Work of the Holy Spirit in Implanting Christ’s Nature in Fallen Humanity. – “The sanctification of the soul by the working of the Holy Spirit is the implanting of Christ’s nature in humanity. Gospel religion is Christ in the life,–a living, active principle. It is the grace of Christ revealed in the character and wrought out in good works.”- Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 384.

Passions but not the Pollutions. Temptation is no temptation unless there is the possibility of yielding. Christ was truly “tempted in all points like as men are tempted yet without sin.” His humanity possessed “like passions” of “the likeness of sinful flesh” so He could feel, sympathize and be merciful to the very depths of fallen man’s plight, but not the pollutions of sinful flesh that result from sinning; for, not even in thought did He once yield to Satan’s temptations!

(Continued next week)