biblesky.jpg

 

Why God Permits the Effects of Sin to Run its Course

 

 

 

Click to go to our Home Page


 

 

 

 

One of Satanís prime arguments in causing disbelief in God, is to prompt the question: ďWhy would a just and benevolent God permit babies to die? Why would an all loving God permit the catastrophes we witness in the world? I personally know a very intelligent individual who voices such doubts to his wife and four children. What blood this man is going to have on his back if he continues in his present course!

My wife and I once met a man who was vehemently bitter against God because his beloved wife died with cancer. He cursed the very suggestion that a loving God would permit such a thing to happen to him. He would become enraged at the mention of God and Christianity. We both got the distinct feeling that if he thought he could get away with it he would kill anyone who merely mentioned God and religion. What should be our response to such individuals? Indeed, why does an all-loving, self-sacrificing God permit sin and its ravages to proliferate in this world?

God has shown this writer that many of us humans are all as stiff-necked and stubborn as was Pharaoh! Even after Pharaoh witnessed the prophesied miracles of God, he never did yield his mind and soul to a belief in the God of the Hebrews. That is a mystery to behold!

The Lord has made it clear to this writerís mind that we would never be convinced of the evil of sin and its results if God intervened to alleviate or curb its pernicious effects on humanity and the angelís who mutinied with Lucifer. Try to grasp how in the name of all that is real and trueóman would ever be convinced of the effects of sin and desire to overcome sin if God stepped in and prevented its effects on man.

We know through inspiration that even some higher being angels were convinced of Satanís arguments concerning all these issues. We know that at least a third of the angelís yielded their minds to such doubts and mutinied with Satan. So we know that if even angels would come to doubt Godís dealings with sin, we can surely expect that lesser beings, mankind, is even more prone to the same temptation to unbelief in the provisions of God.

It has been my experience with such doubting individuals that they imbibe such doubtings in an effort to stifle their conscience in order to pursue a selfish course of their own devising. In other words, they love sin and want to pursue it with a certain of self-deceiving, self-comforting murmuring against God. But what are the options for such a course? Where is hope for anything other than a relatively short stint on this earth which cannot have much meaning if this is all there is to life and the meaning of it? I always ask the unbeliever what his/her options are, and I have never received any satisfactory response! The best option I can conceive of is that some sins are pleasurable for a time, but the wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, who did it all, concluded that all such pleasure is vanity and what will one do in the end thereof? So sin is not worth the consequences when weighed with eternal life and it even leads to very undesirable results in this life! So such sin-pursuing, selfish individuals lose out on the best of both worlds!

I have been prompted by the Holy Spirit to realize that many who pursue a course as above described, believe that they will pursue their own sinful desires for the present and jump on the proverbial band-wagon if and when certain prophesied events materialize to a degree that they are finally left without room for doubt. But Ellen White clearly stated that all room for doubt will never be removed. We must believe from a motive of love and faith that works by the indwelling self-sacrificing love of Christ. The closing events will require such character that the Christian will be ready and willing to lay down his/her life, and that type of character is not developed over night! Such foolish-virgin types are found without the oil of grace (character) in their lives. They will seek it too late.

It is interesting to consider the different responses of humans to tragedies in their lives. Ellen White was certainly a good woman of God, and she was the chosen vessel of the Holy Spirit gift to Godís church. Yet, she experienced the death of two of her children, Henry and Herbert White! Just think about that, while considering that most folk would think such a thing was a curse by God, or due to bad karma; or punishment for some sin in the life. While others would pursue the course we have discussed aboveódetermining in their minds that no loving, benevolent God would permit such a catastrophe in their lives, we know that Ellen White never gave countenance to such doubts and her loss did not result in her doubting and disbelief in God. Why? Why do some respond as Ellen White did, and others lose it and come to hate and disbelieve in God?

I have already alluded that some use such experiences as an excuse to pursue a course of imbibing the sin(s) they love. Others donít possess the spiritual discernment required to see the necessity of God permitting the natural results of sin to accrue in order to convince man of the evil of sin and the justice of His dealings with the sin problem. Say a prayer of thankfulness to God if you do see this absolute necessity! Say a prayer to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob if you see the absolute necessity of Godís law where two or more created beings accrue! Say a prayer to the God of David if you love His law as David did and meditate on how that law protects the every vital interest of every created being! There are myriad who do not discern these things of Godís truth and His character of self-sacrificing love that provided the very best course for all His created beings and that sin is a self-destructive course!

As stated, even angels who are higher than man have questioned Godís justice, and some to the point of total rebellion against God! It is difficult for the human mind to imagine how such exalted beings (as Lucifer certainly was) could ever question Godís justice, especially when Lucifer sat in on the very counsels of God. All we can charge it to is total selfishness and desire for power. There is a commonality amongst Satanís followers and that is the quest for power and control over others ofGodís creationóover ALL of His creation(s). Man has become bold in referring to himself as god or a god. This seems unfathomable to those who have committed themselves to their rightful position in relation to God.

Let us prayerfully consider some of the further instruction of the Holy Spirit on this issue via Ellen White:

 

September 24, 1901 Without Excuse.

Mrs. E. G. White.

 

†††† The question is often asked, How is the existence of sin reconcilable with the government of a wise, merciful, and omnipotent God. Why was sin permitted to take up its abode in the earth to cause suffering and discord? {RH, September 24, 1901 par. 1}

†††† It certainly was not God's purpose that man should be sinful. He created him pure and noble, with no bias to evil. He placed him in the garden of Eden, surrounding him with every inducement to remain true to his allegiance. He placed His law around him as a safeguard. {RH, September 24, 1901 par. 2}

†††† There is no excuse for sin. It will be the final condemnation of Lucifer and his angels that when God shall ask, "Why have ye done this?" they will be able to assign no reason. And when at the last great day sinners are confronted with their sins, and are asked, "Why did you transgress?" every mouth will be stopped. The sinful will stand speechless before God. {RH, September 24, 1901 par. 3}

†††† Evil originated with Lucifer, who rebelled against the government of God. Before his fall he was a covering cherub, distinguished by his excellence. God made him good and beautiful, as near as possible like himself. Of him it is written, "Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee." But self-exaltation entered his heart. Inspiration records the charge against him: "Thine heart wast lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness." "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend unto heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit." {RH, September 24, 1901 par. 4}

†††† When God placed Adam in Eden, He told him that he might eat of the fruit of every tree in the garden save one, the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Thus Adam's obedience was to be tested. God left him free to obey or disobey. He could have held him back from touching the forbidden fruit, but had He done this, Satan would have been sustained in saying that God's rule was arbitrary. Adam was left perfectly free. {RH, September 24, 1901 par. 5}

†††† Looking upon the sinless pair in Eden, Satan saw an opportunity for carrying on the work which he had begun in heaven. Entering the garden in the disguise of a serpent, he told Eve that God was mistaken, that the fruit of the forbidden tree would not bring death, but wisdom. "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." They fell under the temptation, and disobeyed God. Henceforth they could not live in Eden. God drove them forth, placing at the gate of the garden a flaming sword, which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. {RH, September 24, 1901 par. 6}

†††† Through all the ages Satan's work has been the same,--to make of none effect the law of God, to lead men and women to transgress the divine commands. God requires of human beings today what He required of Adam,--perfect obedience. Satan strives to lead them to mistake darkness for light, and error for truth. He tells them that God has abrogated His law, and that all they have to do is to believe. Were this so, Satan would have accomplished on earth what he attempted to do in heaven, and he would therefore be entitled to the throne as ruler of the universe. But today, as in the beginning, his assertions are false. God's law is unchangeable; and though by human beings it has been slighted, scorned, and rejected, it will ever stand as firm as the throne of Jehovah. {RH, September 24, 1901 par. 7}

†††† Many cherish the false hope that God will change to suit their sinfulness. But He who rules the world in wisdom and love is a God who changes not. He governs the world in omnipotence, and all that His love inspires He will execute. Now, as ever, the only way in which we can gain admittance into heaven is by conforming to His standard of righteousness. {RH, September 24, 1901 par. 8}

†††† Of His law God says, "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward." {RH, September 24, 1901 par. 9}

†††† Satan declared that human beings could not keep the law. Christ has proved this statement false. He came to this earth, and lived among men the law of God. He died on the cross to bear witness to the unchanging character of the law. This law had been broken, and only by the offering of Christ's blood could the penalty be paid. {RH, September 24, 1901 par. 10}

†††† Christ came as a man, that He might meet men where they are. Had He come in all His glory, human beings could not have endured the sight. "Though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich." He planted the cross between heaven and earth, and when the Father beheld the sacrifice of His Son, He bowed before it in recognition of its perfection. "It is enough," He said. "The atonement is complete." {RH, September 24, 1901 par. 11}

†††† Could the law have been changed, Christ need not have died. But it was impossible for God to change. The penalty of transgression must be borne. Therefore, that the human race might not perish, the Son of God came into this world to live in our behalf a life of perfect obedience, and by the sacrifice of himself to meet the demands of justice. {RH, September 24, 1901 par. 12}

†††† See the Saviour, sinless and undefiled, yet bearing the penalty of sin. Why?--That we might be spared. "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." God could not do more than He has done for us. He has left us without excuse. {RH, September 24, 1901 par. 13}

 

June 4, 1901 Sin and Its Results.

Mrs. E. G. White.

 

†††† The question is asked, How is the existence of sin reconcilable with the government of a wise, merciful, and omnipotent God? Why was sin permitted to enter heaven? Why was it permitted to take up its abode on the earth to cause discord and suffering? {RH, June 4, 1901 par. 1}

†††† It certainly was not God's purpose that man should be sinful. He made Adam pure and noble, with no tendency to evil. He placed him in Eden, where he had every inducement to remain loyal and obedient. The law was placed around him as a safeguard. {RH, June 4, 1901 par. 2}

†††† Evil originated with the rebellion of Lucifer. It was brought into heaven when he refused allegiance to God's law. Satan was the first lawbreaker. {RH, June 4, 1901 par. 3}

†††† God created Adam, and placed him in the garden of Eden. He told him that if he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he must surely die. Satan came to our first parents in the disguise of a serpent, and tempted them to disobey, telling them that if they ate the forbidden fruit, they would be as gods. They yielded to him. Thus sin entered the world. {RH, June 4, 1901 par. 4}

†††† God had power to hold Adam back from touching the forbidden fruit; but had He done this, Satan would have been sustained in his charge against God's arbitrary rule. Man would not have been a free moral agent, but a mere machine. {RH, June 4, 1901 par. 5}

†††† The law was given to man in Eden, "when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy." But sin entered the world. And during their years of bondage, the children of Israel lost sight of the commandments. God delivered His people from bondage, and from Mount Sinai proclaimed to them His law. Look at this law. It is God's holiness made known. It is an expression of God's goodness; for it makes known what the Creator expects from His creatures. {RH, June 4, 1901 par. 6}

†††† The law of God is immutable. Were it otherwise, no confidence could be placed in his government. God rules the world in omnipotence, and all that His love inspires He will execute. He who rules the world in wisdom and love is a God who changes not. He does not abolish today that which He enforced yesterday. {RH, June 4, 1901 par. 7}

†††† Through all the ages Satan's work has been the same, -- to make of none effect the law of God. He has infatuated men and women, leading them to mistake darkness for light, and error for truth. He began this work in heaven, and ever since, he has been trying to deceive. He tells men and women that God has abrogated all law, and will now open the gates of heaven to transgressors. He declares that his expulsion from heaven was a severe and uncalled-for action, and that those he led in rebellion may now enter into heaven; for his effort to abrogate the law has been successful, and God's government has been changed. But were this so, Satan would have done on earth that which he attempted to do in heaven, and he would therefore be entitled to the throne of heaven as the chief ruler. {RH, June 4, 1901 par. 8}

†††† Those who accept Satan's reasoning are terribly deceived. They accept a position which has no true foundation. God is unchangeable. He is satisfied with nothing short of perfect obedience. Perfection is the only title which will gain admittance to heaven. The law is the only standard of character. {RH, June 4, 1901 par. 9}

†††† The law of God and the law of Caesar have come into collision, and will come into collision again. The question we have to answer is, Shall we obey God, or Caesar? A great movement is now on foot to put the first day of the week in the place of the day God has sanctified and blessed. Satan works under a guise of religion, and guided by him, the professed Christian world will be very zealous in working against the law of God. Satan is leading men and women to complete the ruin he began in heaven. He is willing for the world to declare that the calamity by land and sea and the destruction by flood and fire, are because Sunday is desecrated. Herein lies his deception. He is well pleased when men and women exalt Sunday; for he has been working for centuries to place the first day of the week where the seventh should be. Of those who so zealously carry out the enemy's designs, God will inquire, "Who hath required this at your hand?" "To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams." {RH, June 4, 1901 par. 10}

†††† Men say in regard to the Sabbath, It makes no difference what day we keep, provided we keep the seventh part of time. How dare they substitute the word of man for the word of God? How dare they lead their fellow men away from obedience to the Creator? The Sabbath is God's memorial of creation, and had it always been observed, there would never have been an infidel or an atheist in our world. {RH, June 4, 1901 par. 11}

†††† Let man with his human theories step aside. Let the divine voice be heard, saying, "Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: . . . it is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever." {RH, June 4, 1901 par. 12}

†††† Many commit themselves to a course that insults the Spirit of God, and that in the face of the convictions of conscience. They make a free choice of the wrong side. They rebel against God. Mercy is despised, and justice defied. They become spiritually palsied, not because they cannot submit to God, but because they will not. Their feet are set in the way of the froward, and they have no desire to turn back. {RH, June 4, 1901 par. 13}

†††† The flood which came upon the old world proclaimed the verdict, Incurable. The overthrow of Sodom declared the existence of a far-reaching corruption beyond the hope of recovery. Christ declared, "As it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be in the days of the Son of man." "Come out from among them, and be ye separate," is the call, "and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters." {RH, June 4, 1901 par. 14}

†††† The law of God is made void, and God calls upon us to stand in defense of the truth. Satan is a powerful general. He had a long experience in the heavenly courts, and he knows how to mingle right sentiments and principles with evil. He knows how to misapply and wrest the Scriptures. Herein lies the power of his deception. Thus he deceives men, and seeks to obliterate the line of demarcation between believers and unbelievers. God calls for faithful Calebs, who will stand firmly and steadfastly at their post of duty. {RH, June 4, 1901 par. 15}

†††† Our work is aggressive. We need the heavenly anointing, that our spiritual eyesight may be clear. We are living in the last remnant of time. Truth is now to be sought for as hidden treasure. The commandments of men have taken the place of the commandments of God. The Lord calls upon His workmen to watch and work and pray. Precious truths are to be recovered from the human traditions under which men have buried them. God desires His people to show a constantly increasing interest in the things of eternity. He desires us to value more highly the favor of His friendship. Let us not become Satan's agents to belittle the solemn, important truth which we profess to believe. Let us not show an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God. {RH, June 4, 1901 par. 16}

†††† God did not give His only begotten Son to die on the cross of Calvary in order that man might have liberty to transgress His law. He did not pay such an expensive price to make His law null and void. The falsehood that Christ died to abrogate the law originated with the enemy of all good. By giving His life for the life of the world, Christ placed the immutability of the law of God beyond controversy. His death on the cross is an indisputable testimony that not one jot or tittle of the law shall ever fail. Hear the words of the Saviour, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven." The disobedient will never find entrance there. "But whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." {RH, June 4, 1901 par. 17}

†††† God weighs every man in the balances of the sanctuary. In one scale there is placed the perfect, unchangeable law, demanding continuous, unswerving obedience; if in the other there are years of forgetfulness, of selfishness, or rebellion and self-pleasing, God says, "Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting." But Christ has made it possible for us to keep the law. He lived on this earth a life of perfect obedience, that His righteousness might be imputed to us. To us is given the glorious assurance that though we have fallen through disobedience, we may, through the merits of the Son of God, hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant; . . . enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."

 

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† -

{RH, June 4, 1901 par. 18}

Chap. 1 - Why was Sin Permitted?

†††† "God is love." 1 John 4:16. His nature, His law, is love. It ever has been; it ever will be. "The high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity," whose "ways are everlasting," changeth not. With Him "is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." Isaiah 57:15; Habakkuk 3:6; James 1:17. {PP 33.1}

†††† Every manifestation of creative power is an expression of infinite love. The sovereignty of God involves fullness of blessing to all created beings. The psalmist says:

 

†††††† "Strong is Thy hand, and high is Thy right hand.

†††††† Righteousness and judgment are the foundation of Thy throne:

††††††† Mercy and truth go before Thy face.

††††††† Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound:

††††††† They walk, O Lord, in the light of Thy countenance.

††††††† In Thy name do they rejoice all the day:

††††††† And in Thy righteousness are they exalted.

††††††† For Thou art the glory of their strength: . . .

††††††† For our shield belongeth unto Jehovah,

††††††† And our king to the Holy One."

††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††Psalm 89:13-18, R.V. [ IN THIS

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† TEXT AND IN SOME OTHER BIBLE

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† QUOTATIONS USED IN THIS BOOK THE

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† WORD "JEHOVAH" IS EMPLOYED INSTEAD

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† OF "LORD," AS RENDERED IN THE

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† AMERICAN SUPPLEMENT TO THE REVISED

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† VERSION.] {PP 33.2}

 

†††† The history of the great conflict between good and evil, from the time it first began in heaven to the final overthrow of rebellion and the total eradication of sin, is also a demonstration of God's unchanging love. {PP 33.3}

†††† The Sovereign of the universe was not alone in His work of beneficence. He had an associate--a co-worker who could appreciate His purposes, and could share His joy in giving happiness to created beings. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God." John 1:1, 2. Christ, the Word, the only begotten of God, was one with the eternal Father--one in nature, in character, in purpose--the only being that could enter into all the counsels and purposes of God. "His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6. His "goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." Micah 5:2. And the Son of God declares concerning Himself: "The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I was set up from everlasting. . . . When He appointed the foundations of the earth: then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him: and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him." Proverbs 8:22-30. {PP 34.1}

†††† The Father wrought by His Son in the creation of all heavenly beings. "By Him were all things created, . . . whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him." Colossians 1:16. Angels are God's ministers, radiant with the light ever flowing from His presence and speeding on rapid wing to execute His will. But the Son, the anointed of God, the "express image of His person," "the brightness of His glory," "upholding all things by the word of His power," holds supremacy over them all. Hebrews 1:3. "A glorious high throne from the beginning," was the place of His sanctuary (Jeremiah 17:12); "a scepter of righteousness," the scepter of His kingdom. Hebrews 1:8. "Honor and majesty are before Him: strength and beauty are in His sanctuary." Psalm 96:6. Mercy and truth go before His face. Psalm 89:14. {PP 34.2}

†††† The law of love being the foundation of the government of God, the happiness of all intelligent beings depends upon their perfect accord with its great principles of righteousness. God desires from all His creatures the service of love--service that springs from an appreciation of His character. He takes no pleasure in a forced obedience; and to all He grants freedom of will, that they may render Him voluntary service. {PP 34.3}

†††† So long as all created beings acknowledged the allegiance of love, there was perfect harmony throughout the universe of God. It was the joy of the heavenly host to fulfill the purpose of their Creator. They delighted in reflecting His glory and showing forth His praise. And while love to God was supreme, love for one another was confiding and unselfish. There was no note of discord to mar the celestial harmonies. But a change came over this happy state. There was one who perverted the freedom that God had granted to His creatures. Sin originated with him who, next to Christ, had been most honored of God and was highest in power and glory among the inhabitants of heaven. Lucifer, "son of the morning," was first of the covering cherubs, holy and undefiled. He stood in the presence of the great Creator, and the ceaseless beams of glory enshrouding the eternal God rested upon him. "Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering. . . . Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee." Ezekiel 28:12-15. {PP 35.1}

†††† Little by little Lucifer came to indulge the desire for self-exaltation. The Scripture says, "Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness." Ezekiel 28:17. "Thou hast said in thine heart, . . . I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. . . . I will be like the Most High." Isaiah 14:13, 14. Though all his glory was from God, this mighty angel came to regard it as pertaining to himself. Not content with his position, though honored above the heavenly host, he ventured to covet homage due alone to the Creator. Instead of seeking to make God supreme in the affections and allegiance of all created beings, it was his endeavor to secure their service and loyalty to himself. And coveting the glory with which the infinite Father had invested His Son, this prince of angels aspired to power that was the prerogative of Christ alone. {PP 35.2}

†††† Now the perfect harmony of heaven was broken. Lucifer's disposition to serve himself instead of his Creator aroused a feeling of apprehension when observed by those who considered that the glory of God should be supreme. In heavenly council the angels pleaded with Lucifer. The Son of God presented before him the greatness, the goodness, and the justice of the Creator, and the sacred, unchanging nature of His law. God Himself had established the order of heaven; and in departing from it, Lucifer would dishonor his Maker and bring ruin upon himself. But the warning, given in infinite love and mercy, only aroused a spirit of resistance. Lucifer allowed his jealousy of Christ to prevail, and became the more determined. {PP 35.3}

†††† To dispute the supremacy of the Son of God, thus impeaching the wisdom and love of the Creator, had become the purpose of this prince of angels. To this object he was about to bend the energies of that master mind, which, next to Christ's, was first among the hosts of God. But He who would have the will of all His creatures free, left none unguarded to the bewildering sophistry by which rebellion would seek to justify itself. Before the great contest should open, all were to have a clear presentation of His will, whose wisdom and goodness were the spring of all their joy. {PP 36.1}

†††† The King of the universe summoned the heavenly hosts before Him, that in their presence He might set forth the true position of His Son and show the relation He sustained to all created beings. The Son of God shared the Father's throne, and the glory of the eternal, self-existent One encircled both. About the throne gathered the holy angels, a vast, unnumbered throng--"ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands" (Revelation 5:11.), the most exalted angels, as ministers and subjects, rejoicing in the light that fell upon them from the presence of the Deity. Before the assembled inhabitants of heaven the King declared that none but Christ, the Only Begotten of God, could fully enter into His purposes, and to Him it was committed to execute the mighty counsels of His will. The Son of God had wrought the Father's will in the creation of all the hosts of heaven; and to Him, as well as to God, their homage and allegiance were due. Christ was still to exercise divine power, in the creation of the earth and its inhabitants. But in all this He would not seek power or exaltation for Himself contrary to God's plan, but would exalt the Father's glory and execute His purposes of beneficence and love. {PP 36.2}

†††† The angels joyfully acknowledged the supremacy of Christ, and prostrating themselves before Him, poured out their love and adoration. Lucifer bowed with them, but in his heart there was a strange, fierce conflict. Truth, justice, and loyalty were struggling against envy and jealousy. The influence of the holy angels seemed for a time to carry him with them. As songs of praise ascended in melodious strains, swelled by thousands of glad voices, the spirit of evil seemed vanquished; unutterable love thrilled his entire being; his soul went out, in harmony with the sinless worshippers, in love to the Father and the Son. But again he was filled with pride in his own glory. His desire for supremacy returned, and envy of Christ was once more indulged. The high honors conferred upon Lucifer were not appreciated as God's special gift, and therefore, called forth no gratitude to his Creator. He gloried in his brightness and exaltation and aspired to be equal with God. He was beloved and reverenced by the heavenly host, angels delighted to execute his commands, and he was clothed with wisdom and glory above them all. Yet the Son of God was exalted above him, as one in power and authority with the Father. He shared the Father's counsels, while Lucifer did not thus enter into the purposes of God. "Why," questioned this mighty angel, "should Christ have the supremacy? Why is He honored above Lucifer?" {PP 36.3}

†††† Leaving his place in the immediate presence of the Father, Lucifer went forth to diffuse the spirit of discontent among the angels. He worked with mysterious secrecy, and for a time concealed his real purpose under an appearance of reverence for God. He began to insinuate doubts concerning the laws that governed heavenly beings, intimating that though laws might be necessary for the inhabitants of the worlds, angels, being more exalted, needed no such restraint, for their own wisdom was a sufficient guide. They were not beings that could bring dishonor to God; all their thoughts were holy; it was no more possible for them than for God Himself to err. The exaltation of the Son of God as equal with the Father was represented as an injustice to Lucifer, who, it was claimed, was also entitled to reverence and honor. If this prince of angels could but attain to his true, exalted position, great good would accrue to the entire host of heaven; for it was his object to secure freedom for all. But now even the liberty which they had hitherto enjoyed was at an end; for an absolute Ruler had been appointed them, and to His authority all must pay homage. Such were the subtle deceptions that through the wiles of Lucifer were fast obtaining in the heavenly courts. {PP 37.1}

†††† There had been no change in the position or authority of Christ. Lucifer's envy and misrepresentation and his claims to equality with Christ had made necessary a statement of the true position of the Son of God; but this had been the same from the beginning. Many of the angels were, however, blinded by Lucifer's deceptions. {PP 38.1}

†††† Taking advantage of the loving, loyal trust reposed in him by the holy beings under his command, he had so artfully instilled into their minds his own distrust and discontent that his agency was not discerned. Lucifer had presented the purposes of God in a false light--misconstruing and distorting them to excite dissent and dissatisfaction. He cunningly drew his hearers on to give utterance to their feelings; then these expressions were repeated by him when it would serve his purpose, as evidence that the angels were not fully in harmony with the government of God. While claiming for himself perfect loyalty to God, he urged that changes in the order and laws of heaven were necessary for the stability of the divine government. Thus while working to excite opposition to the law of God and to instill his own discontent into the minds of the angels under him, he was ostensibly seeking to remove dissatisfaction and to reconcile disaffected angels to the order of heaven. While secretly fomenting discord and rebellion, he with consummate craft caused it to appear as his sole purpose to promote loyalty and to preserve harmony and peace. {PP 38.2}

†††† The spirit of dissatisfaction thus kindled was doing its baleful work. While there was no open outbreak, division of feeling imperceptibly grew up among the angels. There were some who looked with favor upon Lucifer's insinuations against the government of God. Although they had heretofore been in perfect harmony with the order which God had established, they were now discontented and unhappy because they could not penetrate His unsearchable counsels; they were dissatisfied with His purpose in exalting Christ. These stood ready to second Lucifer's demand for equal authority with the Son of God. But angels who were loyal and true maintained the wisdom and justice of the divine decree and endeavored to reconcile this disaffected being to the will of God. Christ was the Son of God; He had been one with Him before the angels were called into existence. He had ever stood at the right hand of the Father; His supremacy, so full of blessing to all who came under its benignant control, had not heretofore been questioned. The harmony of heaven had never been interrupted; wherefore should there now be discord? The loyal angels could see only terrible consequences from this dissension, and with earnest entreaty they counseled the disaffected ones to renounce their purpose and prove themselves loyal to God by fidelity to His government. {PP 38.3}

†††† In great mercy, according to His divine character, God bore long with Lucifer. The spirit of discontent and disaffection had never before been known in heaven. It was a new element, strange, mysterious, unaccountable. Lucifer himself had not at first been acquainted with the real nature of his feelings; for a time he had feared to express the workings and imaginings of his mind; yet he did not dismiss them. He did not see whither he was drifting. But such efforts as infinite love and wisdom only could devise, were made to convince him of his error. His disaffection was proved to be without cause, and he was made to see what would be the result of persisting in revolt. Lucifer was convinced that he was in the wrong. He saw that "the Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works" (Psalm 145:17); that the divine statutes are just, and that he ought to acknowledge them as such before all heaven. Had he done this, he might have saved himself and many angels. He had not at that time fully cast off his allegiance to God. Though he had left his position as covering cherub, yet if he had been willing to return to God, acknowledging the Creator's wisdom, and satisfied to fill the place appointed him in God's great plan, he would have been reinstated in his office. The time had come for a final decision; he must fully yield to the divine sovereignty or place himself in open rebellion. He nearly reached the decision to return, but pride forbade him. It was too great a sacrifice for one who had been so highly honored to confess that he had been in error, that his imaginings were false, and to yield to the authority which he had been working to prove unjust. {PP 39.1}

†††† A compassionate Creator, in yearning pity for Lucifer and his followers, was seeking to draw them back from the abyss of ruin into which they were about to plunge. But His mercy was misinterpreted. Lucifer pointed to the long-suffering of God as an evidence of his own superiority, an indication that the King of the universe would yet accede to his terms. If the angels would stand firmly with him, he declared, they could yet gain all that they desired. He persistently defended his own course, and fully committed himself to the great controversy against his Maker. Thus it was that Lucifer, "the light bearer," the sharer of God's glory, the attendant of His throne, by transgression became Satan, "the adversary" of God and holy beings and the destroyer of those whom Heaven had committed to his guidance and guardianship. {PP 39.2}

†††† Rejecting with disdain the arguments and entreaties of the loyal angels, he denounced them as deluded slaves. The preference shown to Christ he declared an act of injustice both to himself and to all the heavenly host, and announced that he would no longer submit to this invasion of his rights and theirs. He would never again acknowledge the supremacy of Christ. He had determined to claim the honor which should have been given him, and take command of all who would become his followers; and he promised those who would enter his ranks a new and better government, under which all would enjoy freedom. Great numbers of the angels signified their purpose to accept him as their leader. Flattered by the favor with which his advances were received, he hoped to win all the angels to his side, to become equal with God Himself, and to be obeyed by the entire host of heaven. {PP 40.1}

†††† Still the loyal angels urged him and his sympathizers to submit to God; and they set before them the inevitable result should they refuse: He who had created them could overthrow their power and signally punish their rebellious daring. No angel could successfully oppose the law of God, which was as sacred as Himself. They warned all to close their ears against Lucifer's deceptive reasoning, and urged him and his followers to seek the presence of God without delay and confess the error of questioning His wisdom and authority. {PP 40.2}

†††† Many were disposed to heed this counsel, to repent of their disaffection, and seek to be again received into favor with the Father and His Son. But Lucifer had another deception ready. The mighty revolter now declared that the angels who had united with him had gone too far to return; that he was acquainted with the divine law, and knew that God would not forgive. He declared that all who should submit to the authority of Heaven would be stripped of their honor, degraded from their position. For himself, he was determined never again to acknowledge the authority of Christ. The only course remaining for him and his followers, he said, was to assert their liberty, and gain by force the rights which had not been willingly accorded them. {PP 40.3}

††† So far as Satan himself was concerned, it was true that he had now gone too far to return. But not so with those who had been blinded by his deceptions. To them the counsel and entreaties of the loyal angels opened a door of hope; and had they heeded the warning, they might have broken away from the snare of Satan. But pride, love for their leader, and the desire for unrestricted freedom were permitted to bear sway, and the pleadings of divine love and mercy were finally rejected. {PP 41.1}

†††† God permitted Satan to carry forward his work until the spirit of disaffection ripened into active revolt. It was necessary for his plans to be fully developed, that their true nature and tendency might be seen by all. Lucifer, as the anointed cherub, had been highly exalted; he was greatly loved by the heavenly beings, and his influence over them was strong. God's government included not only the inhabitants of heaven, but of all the worlds that He had created; and Lucifer had concluded that if he could carry the angels of heaven with him in rebellion, he could carry also all the worlds. He had artfully presented his side of the question, employing sophistry and fraud to secure his objects. His power to deceive was very great. By disguising himself in a cloak of falsehood, he had gained an advantage. All his acts were so clothed with mystery that it was difficult to disclose to the angels the true nature of his work. Until fully developed, it could not be made to appear the evil thing it was; his disaffection would not be seen to be rebellion. Even the loyal angels could not fully discern his character or see to what his work was leading. {PP 41.2}

†††† Lucifer had at first so conducted his temptations that he himself stood uncommitted. The angels whom he could not bring fully to his side, he accused of indifference to the interests of heavenly beings. The very work which he himself was doing, he charged upon the loyal angels. It was his policy to perplex with subtle arguments concerning the purposes of God. Everything that was simple he shrouded in mystery, and by artful perversion cast doubt upon the plainest statements of Jehovah. And his high position, so closely connected with the divine government, gave greater force to his representations. {PP 41.3}

†††† God could employ only such means as were consistent with truth and righteousness. Satan could use what God could not--flattery and deceit. He had sought to falsify the word of God and had misrepresented His plan of government, claiming that God was not just in imposing laws upon the angels; that in requiring submission and obedience from His creatures, He was seeking merely the exaltation of Himself. It was therefore necessary to demonstrate before the inhabitants of heaven, and of all the worlds, that God's government is just, His law perfect. Satan had made it appear that he himself was seeking to promote the good of the universe. The true character of the usurper and his real object must be understood by all. He must have time to manifest himself by his wicked works. {PP 42.1}

†††† The discord which his own course had caused in heaven, Satan charged upon the government of God. All evil he declared to be the result of the divine administration. He claimed that it was his own object to improve upon the statutes of Jehovah. Therefore God permitted him to demonstrate the nature of his claims, to show the working out of his proposed changes in the divine law. His own work must condemn him. Satan had claimed from the first that he was not in rebellion. The whole universe must see the deceiver unmasked. {PP 42.2}

†††† Even when he was cast out of heaven. Infinite Wisdom did not destroy Satan. Since only the service of love can be acceptable to God, the allegiance of His creatures must rest upon a conviction of His justice and benevolence. The inhabitants of heaven and of the worlds, being unprepared to comprehend the nature or consequences of sin, could not then have seen the justice of God in the destruction of Satan. Had he been immediately blotted out of existence, some would have served God from fear rather than from love. The influence of the deceiver would not have been fully destroyed, nor would the spirit of rebellion have been utterly eradicated. For the good of the entire universe through ceaseless ages, he must more fully develop his principles, that his charges against the divine government might be seen in their true light by all created beings, and that the justice and mercy of God and the immutability of His law might be forever placed beyond all question. {PP 42.3}

†††† Satan's rebellion was to be a lesson to the universe through all coming ages--a perpetual testimony to the nature of sin and its terrible results. The working out of Satan's rule, its effects upon both men and angels, would show what must be the fruit of setting aside the divine authority. It would testify that with the existence of God's government is bound up the well-being of all the creatures He has made. Thus the history of this terrible experiment of rebellion was to be a perpetual safeguard to all holy beings, to prevent them from being deceived as to the nature of transgression, to save them from committing sin, and suffering its penalty. {PP 42.4}

†††† He that ruleth in the heavens is the one who sees the end from the beginning--the one before whom the mysteries of the past and the future are alike outspread, and who, beyond the woe and darkness and ruin that sin has wrought, beholds the accomplishment of His own purposes of love and blessing. Though "clouds and darkness are round about Him: righteousness and judgment are the foundation of His throne." Psalm 97:2, R.V. And this the inhabitants of the universe, both loyal and disloyal, will one day understand. "His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He." Deuteronomy 32:4. {PP 43.1}

 

December 1, 1908 Redemption

Mrs. E. G. White

†††† God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son." He gave Him not only to live among men, to bear their sins, and die their sacrifice: but He gave Him to the fallen race. Christ was to identify Himself with the interests and needs of humanity. He who is one with God has linked Himself with the children of men by ties that are never to be broken. Jesus is "not ashamed to call them brethren"; our sacrifice, our advocate, our brother, bearing our human form before the Father's throne, and through eternal ages, one with the race He has redeemed,--the Son of man. And all this was done that man might be uplifted from the ruin and degradation of sin, that he might reflect the love of God, and share the joy of holiness. {BTS, December 1, 1908 par. 1}

†††† The price paid for our redemption, the infinite sacrifice of our heavenly Father in giving His Son to die for us, should give us exalted views of what we may become through Christ. As the inspired apostle John beholds the height, the depth, the breadth of the Father's love toward the perishing race, he is filled with adoration and reverence; and failing to find suitable language in which to express this love, he calls upon the church and the world to behold it. "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the Sons of God." What a value this places upon man! Through transgression, the sons of men become subjects of Satan. Through faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ, the sons of Adam may become the Sons of God. By assuming human nature, Christ elevates humanity. Fallen men are granted another trial, and are placed where, through connection with Christ, they may indeed become worthy of His name, "sons of God." {BTS, December 1, 1908 par. 2}

†††† Such love is without a parallel. Children of the heavenly King! Precious promise! Theme for the most profound meditation! The amazing love of God for a world that did not love Him! The thought has a subduing power upon the soul, and brings the mind into captivity to the will of God. The more we study the divine character in the light of the cross, the more we see mercy, tenderness, and forgiveness, blended with equity and justice, and the more clearly we discern innumerable evidences of a love that is infinite, and a tender pity surpassing a mother's yearning sympathy for her wayward child.

 

†††††† "Every human tie may perish,

†††† Friend to friend unfaithful prove,

†††††† Mother's cease their own to cherish,

†††† Heaven and earth at last remove;

 

--but no change, can attend Jehovah's love. {BTS, December 1, 1908 par. 3}

 

†††† But to make known to man the love of God and to bring them to share His grace,--even this was not the only purpose of the Saviour's life of suffering and death of shame. Results of yet deeper significance, of infinitely greater extent, flow from the sacrifice of the Son of God. By the death of Christ not only man is set free from Satan's power, and uplifted from the pit of ruin, but the justice and mercy of God, and the immutability of His law, are vindicated before the universe. {BTS, December 1, 1908 par. 4}

†††† The government of God is not, as Satan would make it appear, founded upon a blind submission, an unreasoning control. It appeals to the intellect and the conscience. "Come now, and let us reason together," is the Creator's invitation to the beings He has made. Isa. 1:18. God does not force the will of His creatures. He can not accept an homage that is not willingly and intelligently given. {BTS, December 1, 1908 par. 5}

†††† He desires that all the inhabitants of the universe shall be convinced of His justice in the final overthrow of rebellion and the eradication of sin. He purposes that the real nature and direful effects of sin shall be clearly manifested to the end that all may be assured of the wisdom and justice of the divine government. {BTS, December 1, 1908 par. 6}

Chap. 38 - The Temptation of Christ

[THIS

ARTICLE APPEARED IN THE REVIEW

AND HERALD, JULY 28, 1874.]

†††† Christ was not in as favorable a position in the desolate wilderness to endure the temptations of Satan as was Adam when he was tempted in Eden. The Son of God humbled Himself and took man's nature after the race had wandered four thousand years from Eden, and from their original state of purity and uprightness. Sin had been making its terrible marks upon the race for ages; and physical, mental, and moral degeneracy prevailed throughout the human family. {1SM 267.1}

†††† When Adam was assailed by the tempter in Eden he was without the taint of sin. He stood in the strength of his perfection before God. All the organs and faculties of his being were equally developed, and harmoniously balanced. {1SM 267.2}

†††† Christ, in the wilderness of temptation, stood in Adam's place to bear the test he failed to endure. Here Christ overcame in the sinner's behalf, four thousand years after Adam turned his back upon the light of his home. Separated from the presence of God, the human family had been departing, every successive generation, farther from the original purity, wisdom, and knowledge which Adam possessed in Eden. Christ bore the sins and infirmities of the race as they existed when He came to the earth to help man. In behalf of the race, with the weaknesses of fallen man upon Him, He was to stand the temptations of Satan upon all points wherewith man would be assailed. {1SM 267.3}

†††† Adam was surrounded with everything his heart could wish. Every want was supplied. There was no sin, and no signs of decay in glorious Eden. Angels of God conversed freely and lovingly with the holy pair. The happy songsters caroled forth their free, joyous songs of praise to their Creator. The peaceful beasts in happy innocence played about Adam and Eve, obedient to their word. Adam was in the perfection of manhood, the noblest of the Creator's work. He was in the image of God, but a little lower than the angels. {1SM 268.1}

Christ as the Second Adam

†††† In what contrast is the second Adam as He entered the gloomy wilderness to cope with Satan singlehanded! Since the Fall the race had been decreasing in size and physical strength, and sinking lower in the scale of moral worth, up to the period of Christ's advent to the earth. And in order to elevate fallen man, Christ must reach him where he was. He took human nature, and bore the infirmities and degeneracy of the race. He, who knew no sin, became sin for us. He humiliated Himself to the lowest depths of human woe, that He might be qualified to reach man, and bring him up from the degradation in which sin had plunged him. {1SM 268.2}

†††† "For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings" (Heb. 2:10). {Heb. 5:9; 2:17, 18 quoted.} {1SM 268.3}

†††† "For we have not an 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" (Heb. 4: 15). {1SM 268.4}

†††† Satan had been at war with the government of God, since he first rebelled. His success in tempting Adam and Eve in Eden, and introducing sin into the world, had emboldened this arch foe, and he had proudly boasted to the heavenly angels that when Christ should appear, taking man's nature, He would be weaker than himself, and he would overcome Him by his power. He exulted that Adam and Eve in Eden could not resist his insinuations when he appealed to their appetite. The inhabitants of the old world he overcame in the same manner, through the indulgence of lustful appetite and corrupt passions. Through the gratification of appetite he had overthrown the Israelites. He boasted that the Son of God Himself who was with Moses and Joshua was not able to resist his power, and lead the favored people of His choice to Canaan; for nearly all who left Egypt died in the wilderness. Also the meek man, Moses, he had tempted to take to himself glory which God claimed. David and Solomon, who had been especially favored of God, he had induced, through the indulgence of appetite and passion, to incur God's displeasure. And he boasted that he could yet succeed in thwarting the purpose of God in the salvation of man through Jesus Christ. {1SM 268.5}

†††† In the wilderness of temptation Christ was without food forty days. Moses had, on especial occasions, been thus long without food. But he felt not the pangs of hunger. He was not tempted and harassed by a vile and powerful foe, as was the Son of God. He was elevated above the human. He was especially sustained by the glory of God which enshrouded him. {1SM 269.1}

Terrible Effects of Sin Upon Man

†††† Satan had succeeded so well in deceiving the angels of God, and in the fall of noble Adam, that he thought that in Christ's humiliation he should be successful in overcoming Him. He looked with pleased exultation upon the result of his temptations and the increase of sin in the continued transgression of God's law for more than four thousand years. He had worked the ruin of our first parents, and brought sin and death into the world, and had led to ruin multitudes of all ages, countries, and classes. He had, by his power, controlled cities and nations until their sin provoked the wrath of God to destroy them by fire, water, earthquakes, sword, famine, and pestilence. By his subtlety and untiring efforts he had controlled the appetite and excited and strengthened the passions to so fearful a degree, that he had defaced, and almost obliterated the image of God in man. His physical and moral dignity were in so great a degree destroyed, that he bore but a faint resemblance in character, and noble perfection of form, to dignified Adam in Eden. {1SM 269.2}

†††† At the first advent of Christ, Satan had brought man down from his original, exalted purity, and had dimmed the fine gold with sin. He had transformed the man, created to be a sovereign in Eden, to a slave in the earth, groaning under the curse of sin. The halo of glory, which God had given holy Adam, covering him as a garment, departed from him after his transgression. The light of God's glory could not cover disobedience and sin. In the place of health and plenitude of blessings, poverty, sickness, and suffering of every type were to be the portion of the children of Adam. {1SM 270.1}

†††† Satan had, through his seductive power, led men through vain philosophy to question and finally to disbelieve in divine revelation and the existence of God. He could look abroad upon a world of moral wretchedness, and a race exposed to the wrath of a sin-avenging God, with fiendish triumph that he had been so successful in darkening the pathway of so many, and had led them to transgress the law of God. He clothed sin with pleasing attractions to secure the ruin of many. {1SM 270.2}

†††† But his most successful scheme in deceiving man has been to conceal his real purposes, and his true character, by representing himself as man's friend and a benefactor of the race. He flatters men with the pleasing fable that there is no rebellious foe, no deadly enemy that they need to guard against, and that the existence of a personal devil is all a fiction. While he thus hides his existence, he is gathering thousands under his control. He is deceiving them, as he tried to deceive Christ, that he is an angel from Heaven doing a good work for humanity. And the masses are so blinded by sin that they cannot discern the devices of Satan, and they honor him as they would a heavenly angel, while he is working their eternal ruin. {1SM 270.3}

 

The Christian Life

 

†††††††† Sermon by Mrs. E. G. White in the Tabernacle, April 14, 1901

†††††††††††† (General Conference session, Battle Creek, Michigan.)

 

†††† "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. {1SAT 318.1}

†††† "The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness, If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness" (Matt. 6:19-23). {1SAT 318.2}

†††† Christ is the light of the world. In all that we do, let us walk in this light. In the Word of God our work is laid out before us. Let us not think that the Lord has given us talents to use in whatever way we please. Our talents are given us to hold in trust for Him. Our money is His. In its use we are to remember that Christ gave His precious life that we might have a probation in which to make a suitable preparation for the future life. "Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Cor. 6:19-20). {1SAT 318.3}

†††† This present life is our time of test and trial. God placed Adam and Eve in the beautiful garden of Eden, saying to them, "Of every tree in the garden thou mayest freely eat." But there was one prohibition. "Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:16,17). God wished to test and try the beings He had made, to see if they would be loyal and true to Him. {1SAT 318.4}

†††† In this prohibition Satan saw a chance to misrepresent God. Disguised as a serpent he came to Adam and Eve, saying, The reason God has forbidden you to eat of that fruit is because He knows that if you do eat of it, you will be as gods. You will become wise. And they did become wise--wise in knowing the evil which God meant them never to know. {1SAT 319.1}

†††† After Adam and Eve had yielded to the tempter, the covering of light, their garment of innocence, was taken from them. "The eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons." In the past they had been glad to see their Creator when He came to walk and talk with them. Now in their sinfulness they were afraid to meet Him. Hearing the voice of God in the garden, they "hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou; and he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked and hid myself." "Who told thee that thou wast naked?" God asked. "Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?" Then Adam did that which it is natural for all human beings to do. He threw the blame on someone else. "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me," he said, "she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." (See Gen. 3:7-12). {1SAT 319.2}

†††† God told Adam that because of his disobedience the ground should be cursed. "In sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth unto thee. . . . In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Gen. 3:17-19). {1SAT 320.1}

†††† The floodgates of woe were opened upon our world. All nature must feel the effects of sin. But God did not leave Adam without a ray of hope. He gave him the promise which ever since has brightened the pathway of the faithful. He said to the serpent, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" (Gen. 3:15). {1SAT 320.2}

†††† Good and evil are set before us. Which are we choosing? Are we serving and glorifying self, losing sight of the light of the world, or are we denying self and following the Redeemer? Christ is the propitiation for our sins. Laying aside His royal robe and kingly crown, He stepped from His high command, and clothed His divinity with humanity. For our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. (See 2 Cor. 8:9). {1SAT 320.3}

†††† To us has been given the privilege of laying up treasure in heaven. This we may do by following Christ. He came to our world to demonstrate to the universe that man, his eyes fixed upon God, can be an overcomer. Thus was fulfilled the promise that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. Christ humiliated Himself to stand at the head of humanity, that we might be heirs to an immortal inheritance in the kingdom of glory. {1SAT 320.4}

†††† When Christ came to John for baptism, John refused to baptize Him, saying, "I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?" "Suffer it to be so now," Christ said, "for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness." (See Matt. 3:14,15). Provision has been made that when man repents and takes the steps requisite in conversion, he shall be forgiven. When he is baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, these three great powers are pledged to work in his behalf. And man on his part, as he goes down into the water, to be buried in the likeness of Christ's death and raised in the likeness of His resurrection, pledges himself to worship the true and living God, to come out from the world and be separate, to keep the law of Jehovah. {1SAT 321.1}

†††† When Christ bowed on the banks of Jordan and offered up prayer to heaven, it was in our behalf that He prayed. And as He prayed, the heavens were opened, and the glory of God like a dove of burnished gold rested upon Him, while from the highest heaven was heard a voice, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 3:17). This is heaven's pledge in behalf of humanity. Christ's prayer was offered for us. We are accepted in the Beloved. What an incentive this should be to us to strive earnestly and perseveringly to please our Saviour, to live so that He shall not have died for us in vain! {1SAT 321.2}

†††† Think of the possibilities and probabilities before us. We can have all the strength of heaven; for when God gave Christ to our world, He gave all heaven. The Saviour's long human arm encircles the race, while with His divine arm He grasps the throne of the Infinite. We are sinful, but Christ is sinless, and through Him we may stand on vantage ground with God. "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). There is no excuse for any man or woman to lose eternal life. Everyone can gain heaven, but God will not force anyone to accept the provisions He has made. God forces no one to obey. Neither does He place anyone in a position where he will be tempted above that he is able to bear. {1SAT 321.3}

†††† We have everything to be thankful for. Never ought Christians to move along like a band of mourners in a funeral train. God does not require this of His followers. He does not ask them to spread sackcloth and ashes under them. "Is it such a fast that I have chosen?" he asks; "a day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day unto the Lord?" God tells us what kind of a fast He has chosen. "Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?" This is the fast he wishes us to observe. "Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?" (Isa. 58:5-7). In these words our duty is outlined. God shows us where we should place our treasures. As we follow in the path of self-denial and self-sacrifice, helping the needy and suffering, we shall lay up treasure before the throne of God. {1SAT 322.1}

†††† The advantage this will be to us is shown in the following words: {1SAT 322.2}

†††† "Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, 'Here I am'" (Isa. 58:8,9). Here is shown action and reaction. As we impart the goods the Lord has lent us in trust, we receive more to impart, and blessing comes to us. As we take hold upon Christ as a personal Saviour, we are enabled to do "all things." {1SAT 323.1}

†††† Christ is not dead. He has proclaimed over the rent sepulcher of Joseph, "I am the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25). Satan has thrown his dark shadow across our pathway, but let not our faith falter. Rather, let it cleave through the shadows to the place where Christ sits as our Intercessor. Satan is trying to hide the light of heaven from us, but he cannot do this if we will cling to the mighty One. Call upon the Lord, and He will answer, "Here am I." Cooperate with God in striving against the enemy. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and be determined that you will be temperate in all things. {1SAT 323.2}

†††† Remember that there is a world to save. We are to act our part, standing close by the side of Christ as His co-laborers. He is the head; we are His helping hand. He designs that we, by doing medical missionary work, shall undo the heavy burdens and let the oppressed go free. Let us not close our eyes to the misery around us or our ears to the cries of distress which are continually ascending. Christ is the greatest missionary the world has ever known. He came to uplift and cheer the sorrowing and distressed, and in this work we are to cooperate with Him. {1SAT 323.3}

†††† Intemperance is seen on every side. What are you doing to overcome it? What are you doing to baffle the efforts of the enemy? Are you standing for the right as did Daniel in the courts of Babylon? He was tempted, but he would not swerve from the principles of right. He refused to partake of the food and wine from the king's table, and requested that he and his companions be allowed a simpler diet. His request was granted, and ten days' trial revealed that the Hebrew youth possessed health and fairness of countenance which were not possessed by those who had eaten of the food from the king's table. Let us be Daniels in this world of temptation and trial, standing steadfastly for the right because it is right. {1SAT 324.1}

†††† "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Matt. 6:24). If you center your thoughts upon the world, you will be worldly; you cannot help but be. But if you weave into your life the principles of heaven, keeping your attention fixed on Christ, you will be prepared for association with the angels. Remember that God wants you to bring Christ into your business transactions just as surely as into the house of prayer. He wants us to bear the testimony that in a world corrupted by sin, human beings can live untainted by worldliness. He wants us to show that we are standing under the bloodstained banner of prince Emmanuel. He does not tell us that the path to heaven is a smooth one. He takes us to an eminence and shows us the powers of darkness arrayed against us. But He tells us that more than men are in the army fighting on the side of right. "Be of good cheer," he says, "I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). {1SAT 324.2}

†††† After assuring us that we cannot serve two masters, Christ says, "Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment" (Matt. 6:25). What we need is the robe of Christ's righteousness. Christ says that He will take away our sins, and cover us with His righteousness. {1SAT 325.1}

†††† Fathers and mothers, God has placed the younger members of His family under your care. Are you fitting them to live that life which measures with the life of God? Are you teaching them by example to hide the life with Christ in God, to believe in Him, to love Him? God said of Abraham, "I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment" (Gen. 18:19). Now, as then, this is what God requires from parents. He wants them to educate their children in such a way that when they go forth into the world, they will resist the temptations which beset them on every side. {1SAT 325.2}

†††† Parents, God desires you to make your family a sample of the family in heaven. Guard your children. Be kind and tender with them. Father, mother, and children are to be joined together with the golden links of love. One well-ordered, well-disciplined family is a greater power in demonstrating the efficiency of Christianity than all the sermons in the world. When fathers and mothers realize how their children copy them, they will watch carefully every word and gesture. {1SAT 325.3}

†††† Educate your children from their babyhood to be cheerful and obedient. Teach them to help you. Tell them that they are a part of the firm, and that you need their help, so that you will be spared to care for them. "Oh," say some mothers, "my children bother me when they try to help me." So did mine, but do you think I let them know it? Praise your children. Teach them, line upon line, precept upon precept. This is better than reading novels, better than making calls, better than following the fashions of the world. We shall go through this life but once. We cannot afford to fail of reaching the goal for which Christ has told us to strive. {1SAT 325.4}

†††† Do you teach your children to pray? It pays to be a praying household. The world is given up to horse racing and games. Are you teaching your children to run with patience the race for the crown of life? Those who run in the races of this world are temperate in all things, knowing that if they succeed they must keep the powers of the body in the best condition. How important, then, that those who are running the race for immortality be temperate in all things, that they may serve God acceptably. {1SAT 326.1}

†††† Close the windows of the soul earthward and open them wide heavenward. If you let the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness flood the soul temple, you will not be cross or irritable in your home. If you put away from you tobacco and liquor and all that tends of intemperance, the Lord will help you to be cheerful and serene. He does not want us to live on the flesh of animals. He has something better for us--fruits and grains. He wants us to be strictly temperate. He wants us to teach our children to be temperate, to practice self-denial. {1SAT 326.2}

†††† Let us make straight paths for our feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. If we allow our children to associate with evil companions, they will by beholding become changed. They will lose the sense of repulsion to evil. Let us do all in our power to keep them from the evil that is in the world. Some years ago, while rowing on Lake Goguac with my husband, we saw a beautiful lily. I asked my husband to get it for me, and to pluck it with as long a stem as he could. He did so, and I examined it. In the stem was a channel through which flowed the nourishment best suited to the development of the lily. This nourishment it took, refusing the vileness with which it was surrounded. It had a connection with the sand far below the surface, and from there drew the sustenance which caused it to develop in its loveliness. {1SAT 326.3}

†††† Christ says, "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these" (Matt. 6:28,29). No artist can produce the beautiful tints which God gives to the flowers. "Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?" (Matt. 6:30). {1SAT 327.1}

†††† Nature is our lesson book. Christ used the objects of nature to impress truth on the minds of His hearers. Let us point our children to these things. When they are impatient and fretful, take them into the garden, and teach them the lessons found in the flowers and fruits. {1SAT 327.2}

†††† "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or Wherewithal shall we be clothed? . . . for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" (Matt. 6:31-34). {1SAT 327.3}

†††† Let us do all we can to show our children that there is a heaven to win and a hell to shun. Let us teach them to strive for everlasting life. And remember that you will not help them by scolding. This stirs up the worst passions of the human heart. Make home pleasant. Be kind and gentle, but at the same time, be firm, requiring obedience. {1SAT 328.1}

†††† I have brought up children who by others were pronounced incorrigible. I never struck them a blow. I won their love and their confidence. They knew that I would ask them to do nothing but what was for their happiness. I did not whip them, knowing that this would not make them righteous. Prayer was my strength. Bring your children up in the admonition of the Lord, and you have fitted them to work in the church, you have fitted them to go forth into missionary fields, you have fitted them to shine in the courts of the Lord. {1SAT 328.2}

†††† Parents, do not try to follow the ever-changing fashions of this degenerate age. It does not pay. At the last day God will ask you, "What have you done with my flock, my beautiful flock?" (See Jer. 13:20.) How will you answer Him if you have betrayed your trust? For Christ's sake I beseech you to guard your children. Do not be cross or hasty. Give them happy things to think of. {1SAT 328.3}

†††† Christ gave His life for our children and for us, because He desired us to form characters after the divine similitude, that we may enter in through the gates into the holy city, and hear from the divine lips the benediction, "Well done, good and faithful servant, . . . enter thou into the joy of thy Lord" (Matt. 25:23). Do you not want to hear these words? Strive with all the power God has given you to gain the crown of everlasting life, that you may cast it at the feet of the Redeemer, and touching the golden harp, fill all heaven with rich music. God help you to gain eternal life, that you may see His face.--Ms. 31, 1901. {1SAT 329.1}