Friday Morning Manna
November 15, 2019
The Purpose of the Christ’s Gospel and Grace
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts [desires], we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who have Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a special people, zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.”Titus 2: 11-15, N.K.J.V.
“The glory, the fulness, the completeness of the gospel plan is fulfilled in this life.” – E G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 420.
What really is the Gospel?
As often as the “gospel” and “grace” are thundered from the pulpits and invoked upon by unnumbered lips in sermon, song, and even dance up and down Christendom, far too many, not including nonbelievers and atheists, so perilously close to the close of earth’s probation in this midnight of earth’s six-thousand history, do not yet fully understand what they really are for, what they are designed to accomplish in the plan of redemption, and its time limit.
How do we know this? Prophets wrote for our time than theirs. The weeping prophet rebuked the chosen people then and now, declaring that the lowly birds knew better than they did where God’s judgments and warnings are concerned, owing largely to the work and messages of false prophets and pastors/shepherds who preach the “prosperity gospel” and “peace-and-safety” messages, 1 Thess. 5: 3; 2 Pet. 3: 1-12; Jer. 10: 21; 12: 10, KJV. etc. Notice:
“Even the stork in the heavens knows her appointed times; and turtle dove, the swift, and the swallow observe the times of their coming. But My people do not know the Judgment of the Lord.” Jer. 8: 7, NKJV.
Jesus instructed His disciples to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” (Matt. 10: 16) “Beware,” He said, “of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” How would they know? He provided them with a simple, non-judgmental, all-encompassing diagnostic tool of discernment: “By their fruits you will know them.” Matt. 7: 16-20. And Paul reminds us that “spiritually things are spiritually discerned.” 1 Cor. 2: 10-16. Jesus provided specifics as well, declaring:
“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear ands the expectation of those things which are coming upon the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken . . . Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Luke 21: 15, 26, 28, NKJV.
The signs of the times are already declaring such in trumpet tones. Will we “lend an ear and hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches”? Look at the steadily worsening state of the churches and religions and the rapidly-deteriorating global state of society and the environment itself. Mankind has become more selfish, intemperate, obsessed with acquiring wealth, power, position and narcissistic recognition and self-worship, whetted and enhanced by social media. They are more anxious, stressed-out (see the latest report of the CDC, etc.), prejudiced, suspicious and scheming towards even against their own people and tribe; hostile, angrier and more war-like in attitude and mentality while ironically demanding for their self-serving interpretation of civil rights and “religious liberties.” Basic decency, honesty, civility, dignity, morality and true spirituality that we once enjoyed (and took for granted), are disappearing by the day replaced by indecency, dishonesty in all its forms, immorality cloaked as “freedom of expression.” Man desperately needs the true gospel!
Gathered and distilled from Genesis to Revelation, here is the simplest, most concise and clearest meaning of the gospel:
“The gospel is a system of practical truths destined to work great changes in human character. If it does not work the transformation in life, in habits, and practice, it is no truth to those who claim to believe it. Man must be sanctified through the truth. And said Jesus, ‘Thy word is truth’ (John 17: 17). Unless the truth of God shall lift up man out of his [natural] depravity, his intemperate and profligate habits, and make him reflect the image of God, he is lost.”- ibid, Letter 14, Mar. 13, 1885/TDG 81.
As apostle Paul clearly declared and defined in Titus 2: 11-15 what the purpose of grace is and what it was designed to fully accomplish in preparing a people ready to meet the coming great God and Savior Jesus Christ in joy and peace, not in “weeping and gnashing of teeth”! The following quotes from the Spirit of Prophecy likewise do not speak of some future time such as close of earth’s probation, much less only at Christ’s second coming. It is speaking of here and now—while you and I are still alive with rational and spiritual minds. “Today, if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” Heb. 4: 7.
“Christ unites in His person the fulness and perfection of the Godhead and the fulness and perfection of sinless humanity. He met all the temptations by which Adam was assailed [from Eden to his death, 930 years later], and overcame these temptations because in His humanity He relied upon divine power. This subject demands far more contemplation than it receives. Christians strike too low. They are content with a superficial spiritual experience, and therefore they have only the glimmerings of light, when they might discern more clearly the wonderful perfection of Christ’s humanity, which rises far above all human greatness, all human power. Christ’s life is a revelation of what fallen human beings may become through union and fellowship with the divine nature . . .
“Men and women frame many excuses for their proneness to sin. Sin is represented as a necessity, an evil that cannot be overcome [one of the papal teachings]. But sin is not a necessity, an evil that cannot be overcome. Christ lived in this world from infancy to manhood, and during that time He met and resisted all temptations by which man is beset. He is a perfect Pattern of childhood, of youth, of manhood.” MS 31, 1911/ FILB 210.
“The life of Christ has shown what humanity can do by being partakers of the divine nature [of Christ, as imparted by the Holy Spirit]. All that Christ received from God we too may have. Then ask and receive. With the persevering faith of Jacob, with the unyielding persistence of Elijah, claim for yourself all that God has promised. Let the glorious conceptions of God possess your mind. Let your life be knit by hidden links to the life of Jesus. . . .
“The Holy Spirit will take the things of God and show them unto you, conveying them as a living power unto the obedient heart. Christ will lead you to the threshold of the infinite. You may behold the glory beyond the veil, and reveal to men the sufficiency of Him who ‘ever liveth to make intercession for us.’” – Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 149.
NOTE: “The glory beyond the veil.”- There are two kinds of glory clearly being spoken of here: 1) The glorious, closing work of Christ as High Priest and Judge of all the earth in the most holy place during this antitypical day of atonement begun in 1844, and 2) the divine character and luminous glory of the Son of God veiled in human flesh and blood nature as the Son of man. Paul wrote:
“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh.” Heb. 10: 19, 20, NKJV.
M.L Andreasen, in his The Book of Hebrews, comments on this verse and what actually took place at Christ’s victorious resurrection, ascension, entrance into the holy places, and presentation of His once-and-for-all sacrifice to the Father. Its acceptance qualified Him to become our once-and-for-all Advocate, Mediator, and merciful High Priest after the order or Melchizedek in the heavenly sanctuary and was signaled and announced on earth by the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the prepared 120 disciples at Pentecost, to act as Christ’s vicegerent on earth. Notice:
“Christ’s way was a new way. He was admitted to the Father’s presence not for a fleeting moment only. Christ went in, and remained there. The blood He carried was not the blood of a dead animal but the blood of a living Personality which had the power of an endless life. The new way was a living way. In virtue of the power of a dedicated life He went in, presented Himself as a living [not dead] sacrifice.
“This was indeed a new way of gaining admittance to the throne of Deity. Compare the high priest who comes tremblingly carrying the blood of a dead bullock or goat, with the Prince of life who presents His blood—His life—as a living reality before God; He who through death has destroyed him [Satan] who had the power of death; who has gained complete victory over all temptation and sin, and now presents His body—the body God prepared for Him—as a fit dwelling for God.
“This entrance that Christ thus gained for us was ‘through the veil, that is to say, His flesh.’ It was though the body in which Christ had wrought out righteousness that He gained entrance to the Father. God had given Him the body, and that same body Christ now presents for inspection. . . . And when His work was done, He presented Himself before God for acceptance. The body given Him of God, the body in which He conquered temptation and gained complete victory; the body in which He suffered and died; the body that could not be held by death; the body in which He rose triumphantly; the body cleansed and purified from every defilement; the temple body which He would raise up in three days; the body in which was fulfilled all that the services for more than a thousand years had prefigured; the cleansed, holy, sanctified, consecrated body in which God’s ideal for man was at last realized—this body Christ presents before the Father, and the Father accepts it, and through it He gains entrance. The Father stands justified, the law is honored, justice and mercy have kissed each other [Ps. 85:10], and heaven rings with praises. Christ has gained access to God ‘by a new and living way’: He has gained access ‘through His flesh.”- The Book of Hebrews, pp. 441-443.
“Everyone who by faith obeys God’s commandments will reach the condition of sinlessness in which Adam lived before transgression. When we submit ourselves to Christ, we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness.” ST July 23, 1902.
“He (Jesus) has kept His Father’s commandments, and there was no sin in Him that Satan could use to his advantage. This is the condition in which those must be found who shall stand in the time of trouble.” – GC 623. See John 15:10; 14: 30.
“We can overcome. Yes—fully, entirely. Jesus died to make a way of escape [1 Cor. 10: 13] for us that might overcome every evil temper, every sin, every temptation, and sit down at last with Him.” 1 T 144.
“In order to let Jesus into our hearts, we must stop sinning.” ST Mar. 3, 1898.
“Christ died to make it possible for you to cease to sin.” RH Aug. 28, 1894.
“To be redeemed means to cease from sin.” RH Sept. 25, 1900
“When we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ, we shall have no relish for sin; for Christ will be working with us. We may make mistakes, but we will hate the sin [not the consequences] that cause the suffering of the Son of God. . . . .All sin may be overcome by the Holy Spirit’s power.” FILB 118.
“Those who do not aim for perfection of character . . . rob God of His glory in the work of saving them, wholly and entirely, from all sin.” MS 42, 1890.
“Christ is ready to set us free from sin, but He does not force the will.” SC 39.
“The Christian is not to retain his sinful habits and cherish the defects of his character; but he is to be renewed in the spirit of his mind after the divine similitude. Whatever may be the nature of your defects, the Holy Spirit will enable you to discern them, and grace will be given you whereby they may be overcome. Through the merits of the blood of Christ you may be ‘a conqueror, yes more than a conquerors’ [Rom. 8: 37].
“The truth must be admitted to the soul [not merely in the intellect], and it will work the sanctification of the character. It will refine, and elevate the life, and fit you for an entrance into the mansions which Jesus has gone to prepare for those who love Him [John 14: 1-3]. Heaven is worth everything to us, and if we lose heaven, we lose all.” Undated MS 51/SD 349.
“Today Satan presents the same temptations that He presented to Christ, [the second Adam], offering us the kingdoms of the world in return for our allegiance. But upon him who looks upon Jesus as the Author and Finisher of his faith [Heb. 12: 2], Satan’s temptations have no power. He cannot cause to sin the one who will accept by faith the virtues of Him who ‘was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin’ [Heb. 4: 15].”SD 349.
(To be continued next week)