Friday Morning Manna May 17, 2019
Nathaniel Fajardo email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Humanity of Christ: What was It? (Continued from last week)
No. 6: The Indispensable Role of the Holy Spirit
“The Holy Spirit, which proceeds from the only-begotten Son of God, binds the human agent, body, soul, and spirit, to the perfect, divine-human nature of Christ.”
How many church creeds specifically declare that it is the Holy Spirit that binds the true believer, i.e., body, mind, soul and spirit to the perfect divine-human nature of Christ? How many of those still debating this issue will give this saving truth the attention it fully deserves and bring it into their discussions? Into their set of beliefs? Into their moral character-building?
If this truth regarding this specific role of the Holy Spirit is not emphasized, all the scholarly dissertations and discussions on what nature Christ partook will invariably end up in the same arena of confusion and controversy. It should ever be remembered that the Holy Spirit, as the Third Person in the Godhead is verily Christ’s personal presence in the hearts of true believers. He is Christ’s only vicegerent, the appointed Comforter “another” of Christ, Teacher, Guide; the One who convinces the mind and convicts the conscience, reveals the spiritual meaning of the literal word to those who search “as for hid treasure,” brings all things to remembrance and the Sealer of the characters of the saints on earth for eternity. John 14: 26; 16: 7-14; Eph. 4: 30; 1:13. We imperil our souls if we grieve the Holy Spirit away by denying Him His appointed role and authority to bind us to the divine-human nature of Christ. No one else can do this. Not even angel Gabriel much less any dead saint. Since God the Father is in Christ, if we grieve the Holy Spirit then we grieve Christ and the Father as well for “these three are one.” 1 John 5:7.
No. 7. The two Adams had no propensities to sin or evil
“We should have absolutely no doubt as to the sinlessness of Christ’s human nature.”
“And the angel answered and said unto her. The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:35.
“The humanity of Christ is called ‘that holy thing.’”- Ibid Signs of the Times, Jan. 16, 1896.
“There should not be the faintest misgivings in regard to the perfect freedom from sinfulness in the human nature of Christ.”- Ibid, Ms 143, 1897.
“Christ did not possess the same sinful, corrupt, fallen disloyalty we possess.” –Ibid, Ms 94, 1893; Selected Messages, vol.3, p. 131.
“There were no corrupt principles in the first Adam, no corrupt propensities or tendencies to evil. Adam was as faultless as the angels before the throne.”- Letter 191, 1899; E.G. White Bible Commentary, vol. 1, p. 1083.
“Man was the crowning act of the creation of God, made in the image of God, and designed to be a counterpart of God . . . .Man is very dear to God, because he was formed in His won image.. . . Man came from the hand of God perfect in every faculty of mind and body; in perfect soundness, therefore in perfect health. . . . Created to ‘the image and glory of God,’ Adam and Eve had received endowments not unworthy of their high destiny. . . they bore in outward resemblance the likeness of their Maker.” – Ibid, My Life Today, p. 126.
“It is not correct to say, as many writers have said, that Christ was like all children. He was not like all children. Many children are misguided and mismanaged. But Joseph, and especially Mary, kept before them the remembrance of their child’s divine Fatherhood. Jesus was instructed in accordance with the sacred character of His mission. His inclination to right was a constant gratification to His parents. . . . No one, looking upon the childlike countenance, shining with animation, could say that Christ was just like other children.He was God in the human flesh. When urged by His companions to do wrong, divinity flashed through humanity, and He refused decidedly.”- Youth’s Instructor, Sept. 8, 1898; E.G. White Bible Commentary, vol. 5, pp. 1116, 1117.
NOTE: Since we just celebrated Mother’s Day last Sunday, and following the same line of thought that it was Mary, in particular who kept before Joseph and Jesus the Child’s divine Fatherhood,” I must share a powerful message revealing the importance of mothers as magnified by the higher and nobler perspective of the inspired pen—that the mother’s priceless opportunity, which Mary clearly fulfilled to the fullest human capacity, is greater than that of the world’s greatest and most honored artist, sculptor, author or musician!
“There is a God above, and the light and glory from His throne rests upon the faithful mother
as she tries to educate her children to resist the influences of evil.
No other work can equal hers in importance. She has not, like the artist, to paint a form of beauty upon canvas, nor, like the sculptor, to chisel it from marble.
She has not, like the author, to embody a noble thought in words of power, nor like the musician, to express a beautiful sentiment in melody. It is hers, with the help of God to develop, in a human soul, the likeness of the divine. The mother who appreciates this will regard her opportunity as priceless.” – E. G. White, Ministry of Healing p. 377.
Thus, all mothers who do such as Mary did, become priceless, too! A Jewish proverb says, “One mother achieves more than a hundred teachers.” Solomon said of godly mothers: “Her children arise and call her blessed.” Prov. 31: 28. E. G. White magnifies this: “The day of God will reveal how much the world owes to godly mothers. When the judgment shall sit, and the books shall be opened; when the ‘well done’ of the great Judge is pronounced, and the crown of immortal glory is placed upon the brow of the victor, many will raise their crowns in the sight of the assembled universe, and pointing to their mothers say: ‘She made me all I am through the grace of God. Her instruction, her prayers, have been blessed to my eternal salvation.” – Ibid, Signs of the Times, July 1, 1886.
Now, back to our main topic:
The propensity factor. – The human nature of Adam upon his creation, made in the likeness and image of the Creator, had no propensity to or for sin. The same is true of Jesus Christ, the second Adam at His incarnation. The sinlessness of their respective human natures and their being subject to temptation with the possibility of yielding is what is common between the humanity of Adam and Christ. This cannot be denied or downplayed: while propensity was not the reason why Adam sinned but because of the supreme power of the will—the governing power in the human nature—wasn’t yet fully developed and hence had to be tested (and we know he failed the simple test), propensity became a powerful factor in the struggle to resist temptation, particularly 6,000 years after the fall with its accumulated consequences of sin coursing through heredity, environment, and nurture.
As apostle Paul clearly explains in Romans 5: 12-21, it was death, not sin that passed on (or “spread”) to all men” because of one man’s (Adam’s) sin.” Man immediately became subject to death, where, before the fall he enjoyed life as long as he partook of the fruit of the tree of life, sort of a conditional immortality. But sin brought on the paradox of mortality: the moment he is born he begins to die. Sin is not inherited; tendencies are, and are further exacerbated and strengthened by bad influences beginning in the prenatal stages and onwards in nurture—surroundings, upbringing, training, and discipline. Again, in itself, temptation is not sin; yielding to it is. Even unfavorable surroundings are not an excuse; such will never pass muster in the impartial judgment. Christ, our Example grew up in Nazareth, a town proverbial for its wickedness in His time, to precisely debunk this idea and expose its fallacy.
As Paul says, “Where sin abounds, grace much more abounds.” Rom. 5: 20. Sin and grace cannot coexist. There is perfect enmity between them; their principles are completely antagonistic to each other. There is a death struggle between them. In one word, Grace is the power of God imparted to the sinner to save him from sinning. Rom. 1: 5, 16; cf. Matt. 1:21.
Question: Who do we allow or choose to exert more influence us, intellectually and spiritually– Christ? or Satan? God’s Word or man’s word? Whom do we choose to yield our five senses to? Who do we believe is more powerful between these two contending powers? If Christ, then God’s grace in Christ—if we understand what grace is designed to accomplish in the plan of salvation–is infinitely more powerful than the greatest temptation, weakness, evil habit, wrong practice or propensity to sin. By grasping this simple and plain truth alone, Satan’s stronghold in the soul is broken. This is what “By grace are ye saved, not by works” means.
No. 8. Christ was truly tempted like all human nature was and is tempted
“Temptation is no temptation unless there is a possibility of yielding.”
“Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. . . . Therefore, in all things He had to made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” Heb. 2:14, 17, 18.“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Heb. 4: 15, N.K.J.V.
“Christ was actually tempted, not only in the Wilderness, but all through His life. In all points He was tempted as we are, and because He successfully resisted temptation in every form, He gave us a perfect example.” –E. G. White, Christ Tempted as We Are, p. 4.
“The enticements which Christ resisted were those that we find so difficult to withstand.” – Desire of Ages, p. 116.
“Temptation is resisted when man is powerfully influenced to do a wrong action and, knowing that he can do it, resists by faith, with a firm hold upon divine power. This was the ordeal through which Christ passed.” – E.G. White Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1082.
Much of our Savior’s untold sufferings in His human nature which almost all church doctrines are strangely silent on is the suffering He endured in constantly resisting to yield to Satan’s temptations, particularly the greatest one of tapping into His divinity to save Himself. What other human nature can suffer more where temptation is concerned? None whatsoever!
How did Christ in His Human nature fight Satan with his constant temptations? Under the terms of the everlasting covenant He made with the heavenly council of the Godhead “before the foundation of the world” to become man’s substitute and surety if and when he fell, He could not resort to His divinity when “tempted in all points as we are tempted.” He, like every fallen son and daughter of Adam should, had to rely absolutely and implicitly by faith upon the love and power of the Father, thus demonstrating as the second Adam that fallen man can overcome Satan’s temptations “even as Christ overcame” (Rev.3: 21).”
“The first Adam fell; the second Adam held fast to God and His word under the most trying circumstances, and His faith in His Father’s goodness, mercy, and love did not waver for one moment. ‘It is written was His weapon of resistance, and it is the sword of the Spirit which every human being is to use [see Eph. 6: 17; cf. Heb. 4: 12, 13]. ‘Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me’—nothing to respond to temptation. On not one occasion was there a response to his manifold temptations. Satan found nothing in Him to encourage his advances.”- Letter 8, 1895; E.G. White Bible Commentary, vol. 5, pp. 1130.
Paul says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Rom. 3:23. The gospel prophet declared centuries earlier, “All we like sheep have gone astray.” Isa. 53:6. Jesus was the only sinless humanity that was tempted as all mortals are tempted, who did not fall. He could have fallen like the first Adam but not once did He yield to any temptation, not even in thought. Indeed, “It is a mystery that is left unexplained to mortals that Christ could be tempted in all points as we are, and yet be without sin.” However, have sinned is not the same as continuing in or to sin. The former is past; the latter are current and future. In between is the will.
The term sinner refers to the state of man after the fall. Sinful and fallen described that nature. It in no way suggests that because of that nature, sinning, as in disobeying is inevitable, or as the Babylonian doctrine asserts (see Hislop’s “Two Babylons”) that “sin is a necessity” of the sinful human nature. Countless still misread and thus misinterpret Rom. 6: 23 and Isa. 53:6, and others like these. (To be continued next week)