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We considered this morning the importance of our attitude as we approached this study. The burning bush {Ex 3:2-3} was a type of the incarnation just as the flame enveloped the bush but the bush was not consumed; so divinity indwelt humanity {ST, March 5, 1896 par. 2; 12MR 391.3}, but humanity was not consumed. A mystery, indeed. A mystery of godliness–God manifest in the flesh. {1 Tim 3:16} We went on to study, to consider together {Audio starts from this point:} why it is so important for us to study carefully and diligently this topic.

(1) The first thing we noted of the four that we outlined for ourselves was that it strengthens the mind and molds the character as little else can possibly do. {1MCP 91.2; 7BC 904.11}

(2) Secondly, a clear, deep, and accurate understanding of this issue is vitally important to protect us from the subtle heresies that abound. Because it is only with an understanding of truth that we can detect error as error, because error is only recognized in contrast to truth. Therefore, it is important for us to understand this truth. And because the errors are increasingly subtle, the heresies are increasingly subtle, that requires an increasingly precise and accurate understanding of the truth. Satan knows much better than to try to deceive with obvious error. If He is going to deceive, if it were possible, the very elect {Mt 24:24}, he has to come up with something that is so close to the truth that He might catch them because of their want of an accurate, precise understanding of the truth. So brothers and sisters as we near the end of time, it becomes increasingly important for us to have a precise and accurate understanding of the truth. Particularly a truth so central and so vitally important as the incarnation. {1SM 244.1}

We pointed out that heresy is not blatant error, but heresy is typically truth taken to an extreme. It starts by, first of all, neglecting a balancing truth, then by actually downplaying that truth, and then eventually it denies that balancing truth. And we gave as an example the heresies in the church’s history regarding the nature of Christ. What are they? First of all that He was divine. Of course, that’s a precious truth. But it became heresy when it was emphasized to the point where it denied His humanity. And then the counter heresy–and this is often how things happen–there is a conscientious group that sees a problem over here with this overemphasis. So what do they do? They go to work and try to counter that overemphasis with their own overemphasis. And in trying to pull these folk out of their heretical ditch, they do what? They fall back into their own. And so there was a strong movement that emphasized the humanity of Christ, which is a precious truth; but when they emphasized it to the point that they denied His divinity, then it became what? Heresy. Now as we pointed out again, and this is still review, our church by and large has maintained a balance in this issue between the divinity and the humanity of Christ; and we can keep out of either of the heretical ditches only as we do maintain that balance.

But there is amongst us now another issue that is threatening to not only divide the church but to cause it to slip into one of two heretical ditches, depended upon which camp we are talking about. And the issue has to do with the human nature that Christ took–His humanity–what humanity was it? This camp, as you recall, their primary concern is that Christ be recognized as our sinless Substitute; and they feel that in order for Him to be such, He must be in a very significant and important sense different than we are. And they have very clear Scripture and Spirit of Prophecy statements to support that concern. And we read them and noted them together. That’s a precious truth, isn’t it? And it has to be emphasized. But we must be careful not to emphasize it to the point where it fails to give due consideration to the balancing truth.

And that’s the primary concern of this camp over here that Christ be recognized as our sympathetic Elder Brother and our Example. And their primary concern is that He be recognized as one like us, otherwise how can He be sympathetic with us? How can He know what it is like to be tempted in all things like as we are? {Heb 4:15} So, they emphasize His likeness to us, and that’s a precious truth, and it must be emphasized. But we get into problems if we overemphasize it to the exclusion of this other precious truth, or if we emphasize it in such a way that makes it impossible to maintain and honor this other truth. And, brothers and sisters, here is our challenge to rightly divide the word of truth {2 Tim 2:15}–to rightly emphasize both precious truths at the same time in a way that is always balanced and in a way that does not negate or counter or oppose the opposite truth. How important it is for us to seek for this balance. Both camps have entirely valid even vitally important truths they strive to proclaim and promote. But where the problem arises is when their favorite truth is pushed to the point of imbalance or presented in such a way (usually inadvertently and unwittingly–I wouldn’t accuse either camps of doing this intentionally or knowingly), but the problem arises when this particular favorite truth is presented in such a way as to deny an equally important, balancing truth. At that point we have heresy.

And heresy on the nature of Christ is devastating and far-reaching in its consequence. Why? Christ is the very center of the whole plan of salvation. {please read: GH, May 1, 1898 par. 2; RH, June 22, 1905 par. 12} And if we do not have a correct understanding regarding Him and His nature, we cannot have a correct understanding regarding the plan of salvation.

And this brings us to the third reason we must study diligently and deeply the mystery of mysteries. And it catches up from where we left of this morning. But before we proceed, let us make sure that we have God’s Spirit guiding our minds in the special way, ok? Would you join me on your knees, please?

Father God, I am so painfully aware just now of the earthiness of this vessel. Oh, how inadequate I am to rightly present the truth as it is in Jesus. In and of myself I have not the capacity to do so. My faculties are so damaged, so weakened by sin, that they are incapable of either understanding or explaining the truth in a way that would do it justice. Father, work a miracle I pray. Please, for Jesus’ sake and for the sake of His precious blood bought Bride I pray that You would posses me by Your Spirit just now and somehow in spite of my deficiencies, my weaknesses may I, Father, present the truth in a way that would not mislead but in a way that would rather lead to Christ. Help us, LORD, in our consideration of the precious mystery of mysteries–God manifested in the flesh–help us to come to know and love and appreciate our LORD more. That we in beholding Him might become more like Him. And in understanding the truth, might experience more fully its power to set us free. {Jn 8:32, 36} LORD, to this end I pray. Grant us the Spirit of Truth just now, in Jesus’ name I asketh, amen.

(3) The third reason we must diligently and deeply study into this mystery of mysteries is that the right understanding of the nature of Christ during His earthly incarnate life is crucial, even essential, to a right understanding of the whole plan of salvation. You see, all other truths take their bearing from Jesus Christ. {11’40”} I read from the pamphlet, The Sufferings of Christ, p. 5: “The Son of God is the center of the great plan of redemption.” {ST August 7, 1879, par. 4} So then where we put Him, if we are consistent, will take the whole plan with it, right? You see that, don’t you? It is therefore very important for us to have a right understanding of the Center of the plan that we might have a right understanding of the whole plan.

{12’21”} In Review and Herald, Aug. 15, 1893: “In Him [Christ] is found the complete system of truth.” {RH August 15, 1893, par. 1} Therefore, if we have a heretical position on the nature of Christ, which we will have if we overemphasize even a precious truth regarding His nature, our whole plan of salvation, the whole system of truth, becomes imbalanced and heretical as well. In fact, it is interesting that as I have talked with many regarding their understanding on the nature of Christ, if I know where they stand on the nature of Christ, I can pretty much tell, without even asking them–know, without even asking them, where they stand on a number of other issues, if they are consistent, that is, within their system. And it only stands to reason that we could do that because He is the center, brothers and sisters, of the whole plan. And the whole plan moves wherever we put Him. And if we take a heretical position with Him, we will end up with a heretical plan of salvation.

And there are two classic heresies regarding the plan of salvation. What are they? We just touched on them this morning. The one is called antinomianism, cheap grace. “Anti’ is against, “nomos” is law. So antinomianism is that teaching that suggests that we can be saved without obedience to God’s law. In fact, it teaches that God’s law has been done away with, and we are saved by grace. And it becomes cheap grace and also is typically involved with “once saved always saved.” Antinomianism. The other heretical plan of salvation, and there are basically only two, is legalism, righteousness by works or our gaining a right to salvation on the basis of our performance.

Do you see how if we overemphasize that precious truth that Christ is our sinless Substitute, if we overemphasize His differentness from us, do you see how we can very easily slip into antinomianism? Do you see how that relates? If Christ is thought of only in terms of being a sinless Substitute, and if He is thought of as being so holy other, so different from us that we really can’t relate to Him, then of course the only basis upon which we are saved is by accepting what He has done for us and forget anything else. That’s cheap grace.

Can you see how an overemphasis on His exemplary life, on His being like us, can easily lead into legalism? Where Christ is primarily thought of as being an Example; and in order to be a valid Example, He is thought of as being just like us. He showed us how to live. We are to live like He did; and if we do, we’ll make it to heaven. But that is what? Legalism. If I get to heaven by matching Christ’s life, I am righteous by works for Christ is the personification of the law. And by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified. {Rom 3:20}

If to us the significance of Christ’s earthly ministry is exclusively or even primarily substitutionary, its exemplary significance will not, indeed cannot, be rightly appreciated or properly accepted and experienced. However, if to us the significance of Christ’s earthly ministry is exclusively or primarily exemplary, it’s substitutionary significance will not, indeed cannot, be rightly appreciated. We must recognize that Christ’s earthly ministry was entirely substitutionary and entirely exemplary.

Some of you might say at this point: “That’s impossible!” But remember we are working with a mystery. Christ was entirely divine, and He was entirely human. Yes, I grant you that’s a mystery. But He was also entirely our Substitute and entirely our Example. The reason that He can be entirely both is this: All that He did for us as our Substitute He did for us as our Example. And all that He did for us as our Example He did for us as our Substitute. This simple truth, kept constantly in mind, can keep us from sliding into either of those two ditches that run along either side of the straight and narrow path that leads to the kingdom. {Mt 7:14}

For constantly bearing in mind that all He did for us as our Substitute He did for us as our Example as well keeps us out of which ditch? The ditch of antinomianism. And constantly bearing in mind that all He did for us as our Example He did for us as our Substitute as well keeps us out of which ditch? The ditch of legalism. Does it make sense what we are saying?

Oh, dear legalist, please realize that everything that Christ did for us as our Example He did for us as our Substitute as well. And only thereby do we have a title to heaven. For only He could do it in such a way that would meet the infinite standard and satisfy the claims of the law and thereby earn right standing with God and eternal life for us.

But, dear antinomian, please realize that everything that God did for us as our Substitute He did for us as our Example as well. And it is only in following that Example, by His enabling grace, that we can and must become like Him and thereby gain a fitness for heaven. When He comes to take us home, it is just important to have a fitness as it is to have a title. Why is it just as important to have a fitness as it is to have a title? {20’48”} Scripture says plainly: “without holiness, no man shall see God.” {Heb 12:14} Christ, brothers and sisters, suffered leaving us an Example that we should follow in His steps.

It is not faith at all but only presumption to claim Christ as our righteousness but reject Him as our Lord–to claim Him as our sinless Substitute but refuse to look to Him as our sinless Example. {AA 562.3} If He is to be our righteousness, He must be our Lord; for He is the Lord our righteousness. {Jer 23:6; 33:16} But you see, if He is to be our Lord, He must be our Righteousness as well. Follow me, please. For if we claim to know Him as Lord in order to produce a righteousness by which to earn right standing with God, we are under law now under grace. Sin is our Lord {Rom 7:14}, and all of our righteousness is as filthy rags. {Is 64:6} Oh, brothers and sisters, please recognize as Paul says that there are only two conditions that we can be in. We are either under grace in Christ or we are under law in sin. {Rom 6:14-15} Paul develops this in those first few chapters of Romans–under grace in Christ or under law in sin.

{22’42”} What the antinomian wants to be is under grace in sin. Do you see what we are saying?

What the legalist wants to be is under law in Christ. Do you see what they have done?

You can only be under grace in Christ or under law in sin. You can’t be under grace in sin, nor can you be under law in Christ.

You see the antinomian wants to be under grace regardless of his own disobedience.

But the legalist wants to be in Christ because of his own obedience. Are you with me?

The antinomian wants his title “the imputed righteousness of Christ that justifies him” to be his fitness as well.

The legalist wants his fitness “the imparted righteousness of Christ that sanctifies him” to be his title. He wants his fitness to be his title.

The antinomian wants his title to be his fitness. And brothers and sisters, can we have it that way? No. We must have both a title and a fitness. {DA 300.1; RH June 4, 1895, par. 7}

Now, what has this to do with the nature of Christ? Well, to do this, to have His title–His fitness as well, the antinomian makes Christ so holy other, so different from himself, that all He really came to do was to live a sinless, substitutionary life for him so that he could be entitled to heaven without a personal fitness. And what the legalist does in relationship to the nature of Christ? He makes Christ so entirely like us that all He really came to do was to live a sinless exemplary life for us. So that we could become entitled to heaven by following His Example because of our fitness.

The Christian must maintain the balance not only regarding the nature of Christ but regarding his understanding of the plan of salvation. For the Christian who is under grace in Christ, this means that Christ’s righteousness imputed [ascribed, attributed] to him justifies him and thereby entitles him to heaven. But it also means that Christ’s righteousness imparted [to grant a share of; bestow] to him sanctifies him and thereby makes him fit for heaven. And to this believer, Christ is recognized not only as having come to live a sinless substitutionary life for us but as having come to live a sinless exemplary life for us as well. The first [Christ as our sinless Substitute] we can claim as a free gift by faith unto justification. The second [Christ as our sympathetic Example] we must behold as our perfect model unto sanctification.

And brothers and sisters, how perfectly Scripture and the Spirit of Prophecy hold up Christ in perfect balance as our sinless Substitute and our sinless Example at the same time. {27’01”} I read from the Spalding Magan Collection, page 149: “Christ’s sympathy was not impaired by His sinlessness.” {SpM 149.2} And is not the converse true? Christ’s sinlessness was not impaired by His being our sympathetic Elder Brother, by His bearing the likeness of sinful flesh? Indeed it is. He is both sinless and sympathetic at the same time. Praise God for such a Saviour. So then, we must recognize that a right understanding on the nature of Christ is not only crucial to our own salvation, essential to keep us out of the ditch of legalism or the ditch of antinomianism, but it is essential as well in order for us to have a correct gospel to preach to the world. {Rev 14:6-7}

(4) And this brings us, brothers and sisters, to the fourth reason, we must study diligently and deeply for a correct understanding of the incarnation. We must study diligently and deeply for there is an urgent need for unity amongst us as a people on this central issue that we might together with one voice proclaim the gospel message to a dying world that needs so desperately to hear it.

{28’41”} Turn with me to 1 Corinthians 1:10: “Now I plead with you brethren by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” Oh, brothers and sisters, how urgently, how desperately we need such a unity. How desperately we need to speak the same things regarding the humanity of Christ.

{29’40”} In Testimonies, vol. 1, 417: “God is bringing out a people and preparing them to stand as one united to speak the same things and thus carry out the prayer of Christ for His disciples.” {Jn 17:20-21; 1T 417.2} Are we going to be such a people? Not until we become united on this central issue in the gospel. I feel deeply on this, brothers and sisters. There are many who suggest that this is just a side issue. There are many who suggest that it’s just a matter of semantics. But no, I am deeply convicted that it is much more than either just a side issue or a matter of semantics. Jesus Christ and His humanity is everything to us. {1SM 244.1} It is the center of the whole plan of salvation {GH, May 1, 1898 par. 2} that is anything but a side issue. And our understanding on it influences our whole understanding of the plan of salvation and will thereby directly influence the gospel that we will proclaim. Nor is it a matter of semantics. It is come to the place where there are actually two totally different doctrines–teachings on the nature of Christ, particularly His human nature. It is not just a matter of semantics, and we must come to unity if we are to carry out the gospel commission. {Mt 28:18-20}

How can we come to the place where we are united and speaking the same thing on this presently very controversial and divisive issue? Listen. {31’58”} I read from Review and Herald February 18, 1890: “If there is a point of truth that you do not understand, upon which you do not agree, investigate, compare Scripture with Scripture, sink the shaft of truth down deep into the mine of God’s Word. You must lay yourselves and your opinions on the altar of God, put away your preconceived ideas, and let the Spirit of Heaven guide you into all truth. {Jn 16:13; RH February 18, 1890, par. 17} Oh, what excellent counsel that is. Brothers and sister, we are proposing to study diligently God’s Word regarding this matter to dig deep, to sink the shaft of truth down into the mine of God’s Word. But how we approach it, what attitude we approach the study of God’s Word with will make all the difference in the world as to whether our study will lead to unity or whether it will only cause us to be more divided in our understanding. Consider with me briefly how we must approach the study of this issue in order that our study might bring unity.

(1) First of all, we must recognize that we are dealing with infinite truth. Thus, we can never fully understand it–never know it all. {33’39”} In Gospel Workers, page 251: “The study of the incarnation of Christ, His atoning sacrifice and mediatorial work will employ the mind of the diligent student as long as time shall last.” {GW 251.1} Is this something that we can know entirely? Oh no. It is an infinite truth, and our recognition of that is important. There is much we can still learn, all of us and myself on the top of the list. {34’13”} 1 Corinthians 13:12: “Now we see in a mirror darkly. [NKJV: “dimly”] But then face to face, now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” {34’35”} Review and Herald August 2, 1906: “My brethren and sisters, make the Scriptures which contain the Alpha and the Omega of knowledge your study. All through the Old Testament and the New there are things that are not half understood.” {RH August 2, 1906, par. 11} Do we know it all? Oh, we certainly don’t. There are things in the Old and New Testament that are not half understood. That’s a very humbling truth, but it is an exciting one, isn’t it?

(2) Secondly as we approach this study, we must acknowledge not only our limited partial understanding but our proneness to misunderstanding as well. This frees us to patiently and humbly wait on the Lord when we come across something in Scripture or the Spirit of Prophecy that doesn’t seem to fit in the framework of our present understanding of the subject. When we do come across an inspired statement either in Scripture or Spirit of Prophecy that appears to contradict our understanding of the truth, we must always recognize that the fault lies in our understanding not in the statement itself. Either our understanding at present is too limited to see how that particular aspect of the truth fits in, in which case we need to wait, or possibly our understanding is incorrect, in which case we need to make changes.

I like to think of this quest for truth for a right understanding of this precious mystery of all mysteries–the incarnation–as putting together a puzzle. How do you go about putting together a puzzle? Typically what I go for are the edge pieces first, right? You need to get your basic framework, and they are the easiest ones to spot. The corners and the straight edge. And then you go for the most distinct and clear parts of the picture, don’t you? You save the massive leaves on the tree to last or the grass in the field or the roof or whatever. You go for the distinct aspects. And if in the process you pick up a piece that doesn’t fit into anything that you presently have, what do you do? You set it aside. If, brothers and sisters, we come across an inspired statement that doesn’t fit or appears to contradict our present understanding, what should we do? Well, what we should do and what we actually do are often two different things, aren’t they? Many times because of an unwillingness to acknowledge our limited understanding and our proneness to misunderstanding, we feel we must immediately deal with the apparent problem.

And typically we do so in one of the following ways: we might ignore the piece and throw it back in the box and forget about it and hope it maybe will go away. And we certainly hope that the other side with the different picture than we have doesn’t find that piece because it appears to support their understanding. Another things that we might do is that we might try to make it fit by getting out our scissors and crayon. In other words, if we can just cut some of the context away and then color it with our own interpretation, we can pound it in and make it fit. This is unfortunately a favorite technique, isn’t it? Thirdly, we might claim that someone else must have slipped a piece in a the box, not the manufacturer. In other words: “That particular statement just can’t be inspired.” Or we might accept it but say that either the manufacturer or someone along the line must have altered it a bit. And we can accept it as inspired, in other words, as long as we recognize that the inspired channel is faulty–you know, not well educated and at times just didn’t choose the right words or maybe borrowed someone else’s words unwisely. We can make it fit as long as we understand what it really ought to say.

And brothers and sisters, if these don’t sound like methods that we use, you’re not aware of how this issue has been dealt with. We certainly have used these methods in dealing with this issue. Brothers and sisters, who do we think we are though if we are trying to make editorial changes and improvements on the Word of God or the Testimony of Jesus just to make it fit our faulty and often very inaccurate understanding of truth. {40’34”} Selected Messages, vol. 1, page 178: “There are those who pick out from the Word of God and also from the Testimonies detached paragraphs or sentences that may be interpreted to suit their ideas, and they dwell upon these and build themselves up in their own positions when God is not leading them. Here is your danger.”{1SM 179.3} God forgive us and God help us to refrain from such practices. If the piece doesn’t fit our picture, brothers and sisters, the problem is with the picture not with the piece.

(3) Thirdly, how must be study God’s Word in order for the study of it to bring us to unity? We must not try to explain what Scripture and Spirit of Prophecy statements mean on the basis of our understanding for our preconceptions but rather allow Scripture and Spirit of Prophecy to explain themselves. Oh such an important principle to honor. And may the Lord help us honor that as we proceed to study. {41’55”} I read from Selected Messages vol. 1, page 42: “The Testimonies themselves will be the key that will explain the messages given as Scripture is explained by Scripture.” {1SM 42.2} To do this, however, we must honor the context, brothers and sisters and we must consider all that has been said on a given issue.

Please recognize that a person can appear to be saying different things because they are addressing different situations. For example, Paul and James using the same illustration, namely Abraham, James uses him to prove that Abraham is justified by faith and works. {Jas 2:23-24} And Paul uses him to illustrate that Abraham is justified by faith without works {Rom 4:1-3} and they appear to be at odds with each other until we recognize who they are addressing. They are not at swords facing each other. They are back to back fighting off different enemies. Paul is fighting off the legalist and James is fighting off the antinomian. And so they are stating the same truth in different ways. This is why it is so important to honor the context of a given statement or text because its context makes a good deal of difference.

This is why it is also important to collect and to gather together the whole spectrum of statements that have been made regarding a given issue–not just a few here and there. And brothers and sisters, this has been something that I have forced myself to do in the study on the nature of Christ. It is a very laborious way of studying. It takes an awful lot of time. But it allows you to come to a conclusion that is balanced, that honors the whole spectrum of statements. I have sat in front of the “laser disc concordance” and some of you know what that is, for scores of hours forcing myself to find and look up every single reference to a given issue. And I don’t come to a conclusion until I gather them all together and consider them all. And I force myself to put off coming to a conclusion until I am comfortable with the whole spectrum of statements. And I will not stand up and take a position on a given issue until my understanding of that issue is compatible with the whole spectrum of statements and Scriptures regarding that issue. You see, I take very seriously my responsibility as a teacher. In fact, I take it so seriously that I have been approaching this study with fear and trembling for weeks–I will confess to you. For months. God forbid that I should say anything that would mislead anybody. I have diligently, I assure you, I have diligently, sought to come to an understanding that honors the full spectrum of truth regarding a given issue.

I assure you that as I speak on this issue, I speak with authority precisely to the degree that I am not the author of my words. Do you hear what I am saying? Brothers and sisters, if I am the author of my words, then I have no right to ask you to even listen to me. Who am I? But if I, as one who has been ordained by God to proclaim the truth, have sat down at the feet of Jesus for thousands of hours (and I am not exaggerating) and sought diligently to understand what He says regarding this issue and then by His enabling grace I pass on that truth to you, then and only then is it authoritative. The only reason I dare to stand here assuming the awesome responsibility of teacher is because I have sat for literally thousands of hours at the feet of Jesus, the Master Teacher, and I come to share with you what He has to say in Scripture and the Spirit of Prophecy regarding the mystery of His incarnation. I come only to pass on to you His Words, not my own. Therefore, I would exhort you to listen, because He is worthy of your undivided attention, not me.

Our general approach, brothers and sisters–and by the way I shall trust Him to make up for my unavoidable deficiencies {3SM 195.4}I recognize, because of the limitations of this earthen vessel, that even an accurate understanding of the truth is prone to be inaccurately presented, but I am pleading with Christ for His Spirit to protect me from any distortion of the truth. And I shall trust Him to do that.

(4) Our general approach–we must constantly bear in mind, brothers and sisters as we study–and this is the fourth way that we must approach this issue–we must constantly bear in mind that the person and the work of Christ are inseparably related and that what He is in His person was directly determined by what He came to do. Now that’s an important point. Did you get it? The person and work of Christ are inseparably related. And what He was in His person, what He was in His nature, was directly determined by what He came to do. So then, in order to come to an accurate conclusion regarding His nature during His earthly ministry, we must first come to understand His purpose for becoming incarnate. Let’s illustrate it this way. If you have a certain job that needs to be done in the mission field, you pick a man who has the qualifications to do it, don’t you? There was a job that had to be done for the fallen race. Jesus Christ in His nature was custom made to accomplish the job. Not vice versa! So often we take a position on the nature of Christ and then we conclude what He came to do. But that’s backwards. Are you with me? We must understand what He came to do. Then that will help us understand what He had to be in order to accomplish it. Let me share with you, then, three basic purposes for Christ’s becoming incarnate:

(1) He came to reveal to us and to the universe what God is like. To reveal His character and to personify His law–a transcript of that character–and to be for us as our Substitute and our Example in life and death all the law of God demands of us, that we by His forgiving and enabling grace through the imputation and impartation of His righteousness might have both a title and fitness for heaven.

In light of that purpose, in nature what did he have to be to accomplish this? That’s what we must ask ourselves.

(2) He came to reveal to us and to the universe what Adam could and should have been. And to be for us all that Adam was to have been but through sin failed to be–the pure and holy representative and noble father of a loyal and obedient race.

In light of that purpose, what did He have to be in nature to accomplish it?

(3) He came to reveal to us what we–though fallen–can become, namely–overcomers. And to provide by living a consistently and completely victorious life a perfect Pattern for us to imitate and to be for us a sympathetic High Priest and Elder Brother acquainted personally with our weaknesses and aware experientially of what it is like to be tempted in all points like as we are.

What did He have to be in nature to accomplish this purpose? Now, brothers and sisters, here is the challenge and please, note it. What we determine He had to be in nature to accomplish one of those three purposes must be something that will allow Him to accomplish the other two at the same time in the same nature. Are you with me? For He perfectly accomplished all three in the same nature. Now, that is where the challenge lies.

It is quite easy if we just take this third purpose–to reveal to us what we though fallen can become, namely overcomers, and to provide by living a consistently and completely victorious life, a perfect Pattern for us to imitate, to be for us a sympathetic High Priest, an Elder Brother acquainted personally with our weaknesses and aware experientially of what it is like to be tempted in all things like as we are. It’s quite easy to come to an understanding regarding His nature that appears to enable Him to do that aspect of His mission, to accomplish that. And indeed the folk over here in this camp, that is the primary focus of their concern regarding Christ’s mission. So the conclusions they come to fit very well with the fulfillment of that purpose. But what they have to remember is that that nature they give Him to accomplish that third purpose also has to enable Him to accomplish the first one. And what was the first one? To be our sinless substitute–to fulfill everything that the law required for us. Am I confusing you, bless your hearts? These folk over here, their primary focus is on that aspect of Christ’s mission–the fact that He came to be our sinless Substitute. So they give Him a nature that they feel is necessary for Him to have in order to fulfill that. But what they often overlook is that that same nature had to enable Him to fulfill this purpose, too. So herein is our challenge, brothers and sisters, to come to an understanding of His nature that allows Him to fulfill all three of those purposes at the same time, for that is what He did. He fulfilled all three of those purposes at the same time.

Oh, brothers and sisters, the vastness of the subject we have undertaken to study, I shrink even now from the task at hand. But by His grace we must not. His grace is sufficient. And He has commanded us to study this issue. {56’41”} Hebrews 3:1: “Therefore holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus.” In the Greek that word “consider” means perceived clearly–understand fully. We are commanded to do this. And all of His biddings are enablings. {COL 333.1} His grace is sufficient. {2 Cor 12:9} But we must have His Spirit.

May I close with an inspired challenge and with an inspired promise. {57’23”} Review and Herald, February 18, 1890, The Inspired Challenge: “Is not this a time when it would be highly proper to fast and pray before God? We are in danger of variance, in danger of taking sides on a controverted point; and should we not seek God in earnestness, with humiliation of soul, that we may know what is truth? {RH February 18, 1890, par. 19} The second is an inspired promise. {57’58”} Review and Herald, November 3, 1904: “All who search the Scriptures with humility of heart will be taught of God.” {RH November 3, 1904, par. 5}

May the Lord help us search the Scriptures with humility of heart that by the gracious help of the Comforter, the divine Teacher, we might come to an understanding, a correct, balanced understanding of this precious and central truth of God’s Word, Christ incarnate. Shall we pray?

Oh Lord, we bow before You so grateful, that though we are weak and frail and limited because of our sin-damaged condition, there is available to us the quickening, energizing power of Your Spirit. Lord, we plead for that power just now. Sin has so damaged our mental and spiritual faculties that the truth is difficult for us to understand. Oh yes, there are simple aspects of the truth that even a child can understand.  But Father as we grow, You want us to grow in our understanding as well.  Forgive us for being too easily content with only a child’s understanding of the truths of Your Word. Help us Lord to stretch and to develop our mental and spiritual faculties as we grapple with the Word, seeking constantly for a better understanding of the truth. Not so that we can just know more intellectually, but so that we can experience more fully the transforming power, the sanctifying, liberating power of the truth. Oh Lord, pour out your Spirit of Truth upon us. You know how desperately I need that power.  I plead for it, Father, not for my own sake but for Christ’s sake, and for the sake of His precious blood-bought sons and daughters here that I have the privilege of studying with.  Thank You that You are gracious and that You long to pour out that Spirit upon us, if we will simply ask believing and in Jesus’ name, which we do now.  So we thank You for hearing and answering our prayer. Amen.

 

 

Quotes from the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy as used in this lesson for your reference. 😉

 

ST Aug 7, 1879 “The Son of God is the center of the great plan of redemption.”

RH Aug 15, 1893 “In Him (Christ) is found the complete system of truth.”

Heb 12:14 “without holiness, no man shall see God.”

SpM page 149 “Christ’s sympathy was not impaired by His sinlessness.”

1 Corinthians 1:10 “Now I plead with you brethren by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”

1 T 417 “God is bringing out a people and preparing them to stand as one, united, to speak the same things and thus carry out the prayer of Christ for His disciples.”

RH Feb 18, 1890 “If there is a point of truth that you do not understand, upon which you do not agree, investigate, compare scripture with scripture, sink the shaft of truth down deep into the mind of God’s Word.  You must lay yourselves and your opinions on the altar of God, put away your preconceived ideas and let the Spirit of Heaven guide you into all truth.”

GW 251 “The study of the incarnation of Christ, His atoning sacrifice and mediatorial work, will employ the mind of the diligent student as long as time shall last.”

1 Cor 13:12 “Now we see in a mirror dimly.  But then face to face, now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”

RH Aug 2, 1906 “My brethren and sisters, make the Scriptures which contain the alpha and the omega of knowledge, your study.  All through the Old Testament and the New, there are things that are not half understood.”

1 SM 179 “There are those who pick out from the Word of God, and also from the Testimonies, detached paragraphs or sentences that may be interpreted to suit their ideas, and they dwell upon these, and build themselves up in their own positions, when God is not leading them.  Here is your danger.”

1 SM 42 “The Testimonies themselves will be the key that will explain the messages given, as Scripture is explained by Scripture.”

Heb 3:1 “Therefore holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession Christ Jesus.”

RH Feb 18, 1890 “ Is not this a time when it would be highly proper to fast and pray before God?  We are in danger of variance, in danger of taking sides on a controverted point, and should we not seek God in earnestness, with humiliation of soul, that we may know what is truth?”

RH Nov 3, 1904 “All who search the Scriptures with humility of heart will be taught of God.”

😉

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Outline of the lesson 2:

1) Four reasons why it is so important for us to study carefully and diligently a mystery of godliness–God manifest in the flesh. {1 Tim 3:16}

1.1) It strengthens the mind and molds the character as little else can possibly do. {1MCP 91.2; 7BC 904.11}

1.2) It is vitally important to protect us from the subtle heresies that abound. {Mt 24:24} Christ is our Sinless Substitute and our Sympathetic Elder Brother at the same time. To over-emphasize either side leads to heresy. Heresy on the nature of Christ is devastating and far-reaching in its consequence.

1.3) The right understanding of the nature of Christ during His earthly incarnate life is crucial, even essential, to a right understanding of the whole plan of salvation. “The Son of God is the center of the great plan of redemption.” {ST August 7, 1879, par. 4}

1.4) There is an urgent need for unity amongst us as a people on this central issue that we might together with one voice proclaim the gospel message to a dying world that needs so desperately to hear it. {1 Cor 1:10; 1T 417.2} We must come to unity if we are to carry out the gospel commission. {Mt 28:18-20}

2) Two classic heresies regarding the plan of salvation. Antinomianism, cheap grace and legalism, righteousness by works. We must recognize that Christ’s earthly ministry was entirely substitutionary and entirely exemplary. The antinomian wants to be under grace regardless of his own disobedience. The legalist wants to be in Christ because of his own obedience.

3) How we must approach the study of this issue in order that our study might bring unity?

3.1) We must recognize that we are dealing with infinite truth. Thus, we can never fully understand it–never know it all. {GW 251.1}

3.2) We must acknowledge our proneness to misunderstanding as well. {1SM 179.3}

3.3) Allow Scripture and Spirit of Prophecy to explain themselves. “The Testimonies themselves will be the key that will explain the messages given as Scripture is explained by Scripture.” {1SM 42.2} Gather together the whole spectrum of statements that have been made regarding a given issue.

4) We must constantly bear in mind that the person and the work of Christ are inseparably related and that what He is in His person was directly determined by what He came to do. Three basic purposes for Christ’s becoming incarnate:

4.1) To reveal to us and to the universe what God is like and to be for us our Substitute and our Example that we by might have both a title and fitness for heaven.

4.2) To reveal to us and to the universe what Adam could and should have been–the pure and holy representative and noble father of a loyal and obedient race.

4.3) To reveal to us what we–though fallen–can become, namely–overcomers. And to provide by living a consistently and completely victorious life a perfect Pattern for us to imitate and to be for us a sympathetic High Priest and Elder Brother acquainted personally with our weaknesses and aware experientially of what it is like to be tempted in all points like as we are.

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