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In our last two studies we have been considering where we stand as a fallen race in relation to the demands of the law. And we have been considering what we need in light of our standing before a broken law. We came to the conclusion that we need both one who has absolute sinlessness and one who has infinite righteousness. And now we are considering how it is that in Jesus Christ we find both. This morning we considered how He, being absolutely sinless in every sense of the word, could take all of our sinfulness upon Him. Now we need to consider how His infinite righteousness meets the infinite standard in our behalf. {Audio starts from this point:} But before we proceed with our study, again, please join me on your knees asking for God’s Spirit to be with us.

Father God, in Jesus’ name I come before you confident that you hear. Not because we deem ourselves worthy of an audience but because Jesus is worthy, and we come in and through our Intercessor, our Mediator. We thank you for His gracious provision whereby our prayer might be acceptable to you. And Father, we have again the request to make for your Spirit to be poured out upon us. Lord, we are very aware of the earthiness of our vessel, especially when it comes to the study of your word. We are so weakened and damaged by sin that in our own resources we are unable to rightly discern the truth as it is in Jesus, to rightly appreciate and value it. So Father, we pray for the supernatural, quickening power of your Spirit to energize, vitalize our minds with all of our rational and intellectual faculties. And Father, we pray as well that you would quicken our mortal bodies. I know I need this. I need to be quickened that I might be able to proclaim the truth with that strength of body, mind and spirit that alone can do it justice. Oh, Lord, work a miracle, I pray. Take full possession of me. I am yours by creation, by redemption and by my own choice. You have every right to own me fully, and I pray that you would do so just now for the sake of Jesus and for the sake of His bride, that He might be glorified and that she might be edified. This is my prayer in Jesus’ name.

The key statement in our studies, the last two, regarding the verdict of the law has been the statement in the morning watch book, In Heavenly Places, page 156: “Man weighed against God’s holy law is found wanting. We are enlightened by the precepts of the law, but no man can by them be justified. Weighed and found wanting is our inscription by” what? “By nature.” Weighed and found wanting is our inscription by nature. Therefore, if we are to be justified unto life eternal, we must find a substitute who by nature is not weighed and found wanting. And we have one in the person of Jesus Christ. He not only has absolute sinlessness, but he has infinite righteousness, both of which we need, if we are to be justified unto life eternal.

Again this morning we considered the fact that He had absolute sinlessness, which allowed Him to be our Sinbearer. It is only His perfect innocence that made it possible for Him to receive upon Himself our sinfulness. And for what purpose did He take that load of guilt upon Himself, that load that crushed His very life and broke His heart? For what purpose? II Corinthians 5:21, and the title of this study is, “The Righteousness of God in Him.” And it’s found in the second half of that text. The first half we focused on this morning. Let’s look at the second half just now.

II Corinthians 5:21: “For he made him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become” what? “The righteousness of God” where? “In him.” What do we need in order to stand just before the infinite standard? We need the righteousness of God. Where are we going to find such? In Him. And brothers and sisters, it was precisely that we might have such that He took our sins and suffered the penalty for them.

Desire of Ages, page 25. I love this statement. “Christ was treated as we deserve that we might be treated as he deserved. He was condemned for our sins in which he had no share that we might be justified by his righteousness in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours that we might receive the life which was his. With his stripes we are healed.” But here, right here, brothers and sisters, is the vitally important point regarding the humanity of Christ. If Christ was condemned on account of something He was in Himself, then we must be justified on account of something that we are in ourselves. He was condemned for our sins in which He had no share that we might be justified by His righteousness in which we had no share.

You see, the reason I make this point is because of a growing and increasingly popular position or teaching on the nature of Christ that suggests that He took our sinful, condemned nature–He had it from birth. He took it for the purpose of having it condemned at the cross. But the problem is that, if indeed He was condemned for what He was in Himself on the cross, then this statement hardly holds true. He was condemned for our sins in which He had no share. And by virtue of the second half of that statement, “that we might be justified by his righteousness in which we had no share,” we would also have to conclude that we are somehow justified on the basis of something that we are in ourselves. And, of course, that is the essence of Roman Catholicism.

No more is the righteousness that justifies me mine, brothers and sisters, than the sin which condemned Christ His. The righteousness that justifies me is entirely the righteousness of another, imputed or reckoned to me, just as the sin that condemned Christ was entirely the sin of another, namely, you and I, imputed or reckoned to Him. But is this just legal gymnastics? Is this a juggling of accounts to make things come out even? Oh, no. It was the penal demands of justice being carried out in reality. The innocent was truly standing in the stead of the guilty and taking upon Himself, by choice, the full demands of penal justice against a guilty race. We ask, But how can we know that God indeed imputed our sins to Christ, and condemned Him thereby, and that Christ indeed accepted that condemnation? How can we know that?

Answer: Irrefutable evidence that will stand up in the court, He died our death. He actually died. There was nothing faked about that death. It was very real. And it was because the condemnation for our sins was fully expiated on His head. Our death was imparted to Him because our sins were imputed to Him. But what about the other side of the equation. “He made him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God” where? In Him. We must also ask: How can we know that God indeed has imputed Christ’s righteousness to us and justified us thereby, and that we have indeed accepted the justification?

Answer: Irrefutable evidence that will one day have to stand up in court: We live His life. His life is being imparted to us because His righteousness has been imputed to us. Brothers and sisters, just as death was proof that our sins condemned Christ, sanctification is proof that Christ’s righteousness justifies us. If there were no proof, it would indeed be just legal gymnastics, just a juggling of accounts. But the fact that He died our death and we live His life is proof positive that, indeed, His righteousness is imputed to us as our sins were imputed to Him.

How important it is for us to remember, though, that we are justified unto life eternal now and always because of what He has done, and not because of what we are in ourselves. If we are ever deserving of justification, then eternal life cannot be a grace gift, but rather, wages that we have earned. We would be then righteous by what? Works.

Desire of Ages, page 25. Let’s don’t forget it. “He was condemned for our sins in which he had no share.” Not even inbred sin. “That we might be justified by his righteousness in which we had no share.” Note the tense there. In which we had no share. But after the point of justification, what does He do? He imparts His righteousness to us. He shares it with us. But brothers and sisters, we must recognize that that righteousness that He imparts to us is not the basis of our justification but rather the fruit or the consequence of our justification.

Our Savior, in His humanity, must be free from any sinfulness, not only to die a substitutionary death for us but to have an infinite righteousness to offer in our behalf. You see, we are in our fallen state incapable of rendering to the law the obedience that it requires. You recall the statement in Steps to Christ, page 62. It was possible for Adam before the fall to form a righteous character by obedience to God’s law. But he failed to do this. And because of his sin our natures are fallen, and we cannot make ourselves righteous. Since we are sinful, unholy, we cannot perfectly obey the holy law. We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God.

But brothers and sisters, if Christ is just like we are in nature, He has the same problem, doesn’t He? He, too, is sinful, unholy, and cannot perfectly obey the holy law. He, too, has no righteousness of His own with which to meet the claims of the law of God. Manuscript 31, 1911: “God declares there is none righteous, no, not one. All have the same sinful nature. All are liable to make mistakes. No one is perfect. The Lord Jesus died for the erring that they might be forgiven. It is not our work to condemn. Christ did not come to condemn but to save.” Why is there none righteous, no, not one? Did you hear it? All have the same sinful nature. If Christ had the same sinful nature, what would be the verdict regarding Him? There is none righteous, no, not one. We must then recognize that Christ is exempt from the sinfulness of our nature.

Please recognize that I am not saying that He did not take our nature as it was affected and deteriorated after 4000 years of sin. And we will establish this clearly. As far as every other aspect of His nature is concerned, He took the nature of Adam after the fall. But as far as sinlessness is concerned, He took the nature of Adam before the fall. Only as He did such could He have a righteousness equal to the infinite standard.

I read from Great Controversy, page 471, in regards to our condition. “There can be no self-exaltation, no boastful claim to freedom from sin on the part of those who walk in the shadow of Calvary’s cross. Those who live nearest to Jesus discern most clearly the frailty and sinfulness of humanity, and their only hope is in the merit of a crucified and risen Savior.” In spite of, brothers and sisters, our condition that has rendered us incapable of providing the law with what it requires, the law still makes the same requirement of us. Let’s be sure we recognize this.

Review and Herald, November 1, 1882: “The Lord requires no less of the soul now than he required of Adam in paradise before he fell, perfect obedience, unblemished righteousness.” The requirement of God under the covenant of grace is just as broad as the requirement He made in paradise, harmony with His law, which is holy, just and good. God requires of His children perfect obedience. If we stop there, what hope would we have in light of the fact that our nature has been rendered incapable of perfect obedience. We would have no hope. But listen, I read on. “In order to meet the requirement of the law, our faith must grasp the righteousness of Christ, accepting it as our righteousness.” There is our hope.

Mount of Blessings, page 55: “God offered them in his son the perfect righteousness of the law. If they would open their hearts fully to receive Christ, then the very life of God, his love would dwell in them, transforming them into his own likeness. And thus through God’s free gift, they would possess the righteousness which the law requires.” So that we might have that infinite righteousness the law required, He became incarnate, brothers and sisters.

Pacific Union Recorder, October 8, 1903: “He came to this earth and stood at the head of humanity to work out for you and for me a faultless character by obedience to God’s law.” Did he succeed? Indeed.

Testimonies, volume 6, page 60: “The life of Christ reveals an infinitely perfect character.

Again, Testimonies, volume 5, page 739: “In his nobility of character, in his mercy and tender pity, in his love and goodness, he stands before us as the embodiment of divine perfection, the image of the invisible God.” Here’s the point, here’s the key point regarding the nature he had to have in order to accomplish such a task. First, He had to have a human nature that as far as sinlessness is concerned was like Adam’s before the fall. Secondly, He had to have a divine nature. For only with such could He have an infinitely righteous character. Only with such could He be the embodiment of divine perfection. Only with such could He be perfect, even as His Father in heaven was perfect. And only with such, brothers and sisters, does He have a righteousness that meets the infinite standard. And praise God, He had what we need, and in Him we have all that the law requires.

Selected Messages, volume 1, page 396: “By his perfect obedience, he has satisfied the claims of the law, and my only hope is found in looking to him as my substitute and surety, who obeyed the law perfectly for me. By faith in his merits, I am free from the condemnation of the law. He clothes me with his righteousness which answers all the demands of the law. I am complete in him who brings in everlasting righteousness.”

Another precious statement that is a favorite of mine. Selected Messages, volume 1, page 367: “Righteousness is obedience to the law. The law demands righteousness and this the sinner owes to the law. But he is incapable of rendering it. The only way in which he can attain to righteousness is through faith. By faith he can bring to God the merits of Christ, and the Lord places the obedience of his son to the sinner’s account. Christ’s righteousness is accepted in place of man’s failure and God receives, pardons, justifies the repentant believing soul, treats him as though he were righteous, and loves him as he loves his son.” This is how faith is accounted righteousness. And the pardoned soul goes on from grace to grace, from light to greater light. Oh, what a precious, precious gospel truth that is.

But, having given that due emphasis and due weight, please note that that is not all the advantage for us through the imputed righteousness of Christ. Not only does Christ’s imputed righteousness stand us just in the sight of an infinitely righteous God, but Christ’s imputed righteousness enables us to obey God’s law.

Review and Herald, September 27, 1881. And brothers and sisters, this truth right here and where we are moving into in our study at this point is what is often overlooked in the realm of justification, and the imputed righteousness of Christ. Please hear what this concept is. “After the fall it had been impossible for man with his sinful nature to render obedience to the law of God. Had not Christ, by the offer of his own life, purchased the right to lift up the race where they could once more work in harmony with its requirement.” Did you hear that? Christ came to offer — by the offer of his own life, he purchased the right to lift up the race where they could once more work in harmony with the requirements of the law. Again, same concept.

Bible Echoes, April 16, 1894: “There is perfect harmony between the law of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. I and my Father are one, says the great teacher. The gospel is the good news of grace or favor by which man may be released from the condemnation of sin, and enabled to render acceptable obedience to the law.” Now, it’s that second aspect that is often overlooked in our discussion of the imputed righteousness of Christ. The gospel is the good news of grace or favor by which man may be released from the condemnation of sin and enabled to render acceptable obedience to the law. The gospel points to the moral code as a rule of life. That law by its demands for undeviating obedience is continually pointing the sinner to the gospel for pardon and peace.

Do you see how the law and the gospel work? They are in perfect harmony with each other. The gospel points to the moral code as a rule of life. The moral code says, holier still. The moral code says, you fall short. Do we despair? No, the moral code sends us fleeing where? To the foot of the cross. And we confess our shortfall and we receive forgiveness. But then what does Christ do? He sends us back to the law and he says, holier still. And what does the law do? It sends us back to Christ. And that is Christian growth.

Bible Echoes, September 6, 1897: “Christ humbled himself to take upon him our nature, that by his own humiliation and suffering and sacrifice, he might become a stepping stone to fallen man, that they might climb up upon his merits and that through his excellence and virtue, their efforts to keep God’s law might be accepted by him.” How are our efforts to keep God’s law made acceptable? Only as we climb up upon his merits. That through his excellence and his virtue our efforts to keep God’s law might be accepted by Him.

Again, Review and Herald, August 4, 1874: “His (Christ’s righteousness) he would impute to man and thus raise him in moral value with God so that his efforts to keep the divine law would be acceptable.” So brothers and sisters, the imputation of Christ’s righteousness was not only that we might be justified thereby but it was also so that our efforts to keep the law might be what? Acceptable to God. But I ask you, Is this acceptable obedience that we are enabled to render in any way meritorious? Absolutely and most emphatically, no.

Faith and Works, page 19: “There is not a point that needs to be dwelt upon more earnestly, repeated more frequently, or established more firmly in the minds of all than the impossibility of fallen man meriting anything by his own best good works. Salvation is through faith in Christ alone.” The obedience, brothers and sisters, that is the result of the imparted righteousness of Christ, that sanctified life, is the fruit not the basis of our right standing with God. Not at any point can our obedience have any part in gaining our right standing with God. It is never meritorious. It can never earn anything for us. It can never put God in our debt. Why?

Four reasons. Consider them with me. Four reasons why even the obedience of the Spirit-filled, sanctified, born-again Christian can never be meritorious. Luke 17:10: “So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say” what? ” We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.” Can a servant put his master in debt to him by doing his duty? No, he cannot.

Review and Herald, January 29, 1895: “Our acceptance with God is sure only through his sin-pardoning love. When we have done all that it is possible for us to do, we are to count ourselves as unprofitable servants. We deserve no thanks from God. We have done only what it was our duty to do, and our works could not have been performed in the strength of our own sinful natures.” That takes us to the second reason why even the good works of the born-again Christian, under the power, enabling grace of the Holy Spirit, are not meritorious.

Turn with me to I Chronicles 29:14. And here is a precious truth. Oh, this text should be underlined in your Bible, if it isn’t already. “But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer so willingly as this?” This is David speaking. Listen to the last half of this text, and here’s the key point. “For all things come from you and of your own we have” what? “Given you.” If we can offer God anything that can be called good in any way, where did we get it? From Him. Can we put God in our debt by giving him back what He has given us in the first place? That’s absolutely absurd. If I give you ten dollars, and then you give me a dollar back, and come along later and say, You owe me a dollar, does that make sense? Absolutely not.

I Corinthians 4:7 states the same truth but in a slightly different way. And brothers and sisters, this all has much to do with the nature of Christ, so bear with me. “For who makes you different from another and what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you glory as if you had not received it?” Oh, brothers and sisters, one of the worst sins is to take God’s gift and try to use it to rob Him of his glory, and his glory is to save by his grace alone unworthy, undeserving sinners. And if we take that gracious gift and try to deserve and earn our salvation, we are taking his gifts and robbing him of his glory.

The third reason why even our best good works as born-again Christians are not meritorious is Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and continue to come short of the glory of God.” In other words, even our best good works are still not equal to the infinite standard. I read again, Sanctified Life, page 81: “But he who is truly seeking for holiness of heart and life delights in the law of God, and mourns only that he falls so far short of meeting its requirements.”

I ask you though, what is the cause of his shortfall? Is it a rebellious will? No, the born-again Christian has a will that is submitted to the lordship of Christ. What is the cause then of his shortfall? Turn with me to Galatians 5:16: “I say then, walk in the spirit and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh; for the flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary to one another.” But what is the result? “So that you do not do the things that you wish.” Now please recognize with me that that truth that we do not do the things that we wish holds true for both, a sense, for both the desires of the flesh and the desires of the spirit.

Why do we not do the things that the flesh wishes? Because the Spirit opposes. But what do we not do the things that the spiritual nature wishes? Because the flesh opposes. There is this opposition factor that hinders, that limits us from doing what we would really like to do. Our prayer is the one that Jesus taught us, “Thy will be done on earth as it is” how? “In heaven.” The true Christian wants to do God’s will as it is done in heaven. Is there any opposition, is there any lower corrupt nature that opposes the fulfillment of God’s will amongst the angelic hosts? Is there? No. Their obedience is free from any hindrance or opposition.

But what about us? There is this lower corrupt nature that resists. And so he who delights in the law of God mourns only that he what? He falls so far short of meeting its requirements. This is why even his best good works cannot be meritorious. When, brothers and sisters, will we be able to do God’s will on earth as it is in heaven? When the earth is made new. Then there will be no hindrance, no limitation.

I read from Education, page 309. Listen closely. “In our life here, earthly, sin-restricted though it is, the greatest joy and the highest education are in service. And in the future state, untrammeled by the limitations of sinful humanity” — did you get that? “In the future state, untrammeled” — do you know what “untrammeled” means? Unfettered, unbound, unrestricted, unlimited. “And in the future state, untrammeled by the limitations of sinful humanity, it is in service that our greatest joy and highest education are found. Witnessing and ever, as we witness, learning anew the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you the hope of” what? “Glory.”

And what does Paul say in Romans 8? Turn with me there. Romans 8. Let’s pick it up at verse 23. Well, better yet, verse 20. “For the creation was subjected to” what? “Futility.” What is “futility”? Frustration, yes. A certain limitation that keeps it from fulfilling what its intended purpose is. The creation was subjected to futility. And who does this include? Man. “Not willingly but because of him who subjected it in hope, because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” Verse 23: “For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.” Verse 23: “And not only they but we also who have the” what? “The first-fruits of the spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our” what? “Our body.” What is he talking about here? He’s talking about that dimension of our being which still is sinful by nature, and which still limits and hinders, restricts the fulfillment of our spiritual desires.

Verse 24: “For we were saved in this hope but hope that is seen is not hope for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, then we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” What is it that we eagerly wait for? The redemption of our bodies. That is our blessed hope. And brothers and sisters, when that becomes our experience, then we will be able to obey the law and its requirements perfectly.

I read from Signs of the Times, June 9, 1881: “Our earthly life, however long, honored or useful it may be, is but childhood, frail, imperfect and underdeveloped.” Isn’t that a humbling thought? “Manhood with its full, perfect, glorious development will come when freed from the taint of sin we stand among the redeemed throng. Then we shall enjoy a life which measures with the life of God, and through everlasting ages we shall go on increasing in wisdom and knowledge.” Oh, I long for that time, don’t you? I long for that time when I don’t fall so miserably short of what even I would like to be for my Lord. And think of what the Lord wants me to be for Him. It far exceeds our fondest dreams.

Fourth reason why creature merit, even the best things that a born-again Christian can do, never can earn our right standing with God. Romans 6:23. You know it. “The wages of sin are death but the gift of God is eternal life.” Can you earn a gift? You cannot.

Steps to Christ, page 61: “We do not earn salvation by our obedience, for salvation is the free gift of God to be received by faith, but obedience is the fruit of faith.” It’s the fruit, not the root. Though our obedience, brothers and sisters, is in no way meritorious, is it essential to our salvation? Absolutely. Though we cannot earn salvation with it, we will never know salvation without it, for without holiness no man shall see God. The obedient, sanctified or holy life is never our title to heaven, but it is our what? Our fitness for heaven. And in order to get to heaven, we need both the title and a fitness.

Manuscript 80, 1890: “Christ is the sinner’s only hope. By his death he brought salvation within the reach of all. Through his grace all may become loyal subjects of God’s kingdom. Only by his sacrifice could salvation be brought within man’s reach. This sacrifice has made it possible for men and women to fulfill the conditions laid down in the councils of heaven.” What are these conditions? Listen. “Christ came to this earth and lived a life of perfect obedience that men and women, through his grace, might also live lives of perfect obedience. This is necessary to their salvation. Without holiness no man shall see God.” What is necessary to our salvation? But what kind of obedience? Perfect obedience. But wait a minute, haven’t we established that in our fallen state, we have rendered ourselves incapable of perfect obedience? Listen. How then can we offer God perfect obedience? By enabling grace–in other words, by the work of the Holy Spirit within us, and by forgiving grace. By the work of our Intercessor at God’s right hand.

Please follow me. Both are necessary to make our obedience acceptable. This is an important concept to grasp. First of all, enabling grace. Review and Herald, December 15, 1896: “Obedience or disobedience decides every man’s destiny. Those who obey God are counted worthy to share his throne, while those who disobey will be forever lost. But sin has weakened our powers of obedience, and in our own strength we can never obey God. Knowing this, God sent Jesus to our world to live his law. Only the mind that is trained to obedience to God can do justice to his divine claims. And God gave Christ up to humiliation and suffering, to be afflicted with all temptations wherewith humanity is afflicted, that in his strength we might be enabled to keep his law.”

What must we have to obey? His strength, enabling grace. But I ask you, Is enabling grace sufficient to perfectly obey God’s law? Don’t get trapped. Is our Spirit-inspired obedience perfect? Is it acceptable to an infinitely righteous God? Not unless, brothers and sisters, it passes through the Intercessor and is made acceptable by forgiving grace. We need both in order to have our obedience acceptable to God. Not only enabling grace but forgiving grace. Oh, please consider this with me.

In Selected Messages, volume 1, page 344, this truth is brought out so clearly. And proceeding this paragraph, it is brought out that the Holy Spirit brings, by its indwelling presence, brings us to serve God, to pray to God, to praise God. Listen though to what follows: “The religious services, the prayer, the praise, the penitent confession of sin ascend from true believers as incense to the heavenly sanctuary.” What are we talking about here? We’re talking about Spirit-inspired obedience. These are the best things that true believers can do. Is that clear? The religious services, the prayer, the praise, the penitent confession of sin ascend from true believers as incense to the heavenly sanctuary. But passing through the corrupt channels of humanity, they are so defiled that unless purified by blood they cannot be of value with God.”

Is enabling grace all that we need? No. These things were performed with enabling grace, the power of the Holy Spirit. And yet what is their condition? They are so defiled that unless purified by blood they cannot be of value with God. Why? Because of rebelliousness, because of a will that is refusing to submit to the lordship of Jesus Christ? No, these are true believers. What is the cause of this defiled condition of the obedience of true believers? What is the cause? Did you hear it? “But passing through the corrupt channels of humanity, they are so defiled that unless purified by blood they cannot be of value with God.” I read on. “They ascend not in spotless purity, and unless the intercessor who is at God’s right hand presents and purifies all by his righteousness, it is not acceptable to God. All incense from earthly tabernacles must be moist with the cleansing drops of the blood of Christ. He holds before the Father the censor of his own merits in which there is no taint of earthly corruption.”

Do you see the implications of this truth regarding the nature of Christ? “He holds before the Father the censor of his own merits in which there is no taint of earthly corruption. He gathers into this censor the prayers, the praise, the confessions of his people and with these he puts his own spotless righteousness. Then perfumed with the merits of Christ’s propitiation, the incense comes up before God holy and entirely acceptable. Then gracious answers are returned.” Brothers and sisters, this is why when even the most sanctified Christian prays, whose name must he pray in? The name of Jesus. Because that prayer, indited by the Holy Spirit, as it leaves his lips is so defiled, passing through the corrupt channel of humanity, that it cannot be accepted by God except two things be done to it. His blood cleanse it and his righteousness be added to it.

I ask you, Did Jesus Christ need such a provision? Did he pray in anyone’s name? Is this condition due to having committed sin? It’s due to our being a corrupt channel, brothers and sisters. And when did we become a corrupt channel? Review and Herald, April 16, 1901: “Satan prevailed on Adam to sin. Thus at its very source human nature was corrupted.” When was human nature corrupted? At its very source. We are born corrupt channels and we will remain corrupt channels until when? This corruptible puts on incorruption, and this mortal puts on immortality.

Brothers and sisters, until that point, we need an Intercessor, don’t we, in order for our prayers, our religious services, our praise to be accepted by the Father. Now, granted, at the close of probation we don’t have an Intercessor, but what of our eternal destiny at that point? It is already determined, praise God, and it’s his business to get us through that time. Please recognize the only possible conclusion. Jesus Christ was not a corrupt channel as all the rest of us are.

Can we come to any other conclusion? I submit not. If we call Christ by nature just what we are, then he by nature was a corrupt channel, and he needs an intercessor. Was there one for him? No, he is the Intercessor. And brothers and sisters, if he were a corrupt channel, his obedience would have been inadequate to meet the infinite standard of the law, just as ours is. The only thing that makes our obedience acceptable is the blood which cleanses its defilement and the righteousness which compensates for its shortfall. Jesus Christ needed no such provision because he was not a corrupt channel. His services were acceptable to the Father without an intercessor. “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.”

Where is this truth taught in scripture? This vitally important truth regarding the necessity of both blood and righteousness being added to our obedience, where is it taught? It’s taught in the sanctuary service. Very clearly it is taught in the sanctuary service. Note, for instance, Exodus 28:36: “You shall also make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it like the engravings of a signet, Holiness to the Lord. And you shall put it on a blue cord that it may be on the turban. It shall be on the front of the turban.” Verse 36. “So it shall be on Aaron’s forehead that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the” what? Isn’t that remarkable? “That Aaron may bear the inquiry of the holy things, which the children of Israel hallow in all their holy gifts, and it shall always be on his forehead that they may be accepted before the Lord.” What might be accepted? The holy things. But what’s the only thing that makes them accepted? That perfect holiness of the High Priest. And who did Aaron represent? Jesus Christ.

Also, in the sanctuary service the altar of incense and the daily sacrifice. I read Patriarchs and Prophets, page 353: “Before the veil of the most holy place was an altar of perpetual incense, before the holy an altar of continual atonement.” What was necessary? Perpetual incense and continual atonement. By blood and by incense God was to be approached, symbols pointing to the mediator through whom sinners may approach Jehovah and through whom alone mercy and salvation can be granted to the repentant, believing soul.

Testimonies to Ministers, page 93: “As the high priest sprinkled the warm blood upon the mercy seat while the fragrant cloud of incense ascended before God, so while we confess our sins and plead the efficacy of Christ’s atoning blood, our prayers are to ascend to heaven fragrant with the merits of our Savior’s character.

Again, Patriarchs and Prophets, 353: “The incense ascending with the prayers of Israel represent the merits and intercession of Christ. His perfect righteousness, which through faith is imputed to his people, and which can alone make the worship of sinful beings acceptable to God.” It makes the what? The worship. What higher thing can we do as Christians other than worship God? And yet this is only what? Only acceptable by the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. Oh, this is a humbling truth, brothers and sisters, isn’t it? Praise God for the Intercessor.

Here is a remarkable statement that I like to consider in this context: Son and Daughters of God, page 22: “There is an inexhaustible fund of perfect obedience accruing from his obedience. In heaven his merits, his self-denial and self-sacrifice, are treasured as incense to be offered up with the prayers of his people. As the sinner’s sincere, humble prayers ascend to the throne of God, Christ mingles with them the merits of his own life of perfect obedience.”

No wonder the servant of the Lord writes these words in Great Controversy, page 489–remarkable words–“The intercession of Christ in man’s behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was his death upon the cross.” Brothers and sisters, we must have an acceptable obedience. That is essential. That is part of the requirement. Not only must we have Christ’s righteousness imputed to us unto justification, which is our title, but we must come to have an acceptable obedience in order to have a fitness. What is it that is absolutely essential for us to have such an acceptable obedience? It is the intercessory work of Jesus Christ. By His merits which have purchased for us the gift of the Holy Spirit to bring enabling grace, we can obey Him. But then by those same merits, He imputes to that obedience that which is necessary to make up for its shortfalls. And with His blood He cleanses us. Then and only then is it acceptable to the Father. Praise God for such a provision to make up for our deficiencies due to our sinful, fallen state.

Faith and Works, page 195: “Jesus loves his children. Even if they err, he keeps his eye upon them and, when they do their best, calling upon God for his help, be assured the service will be accepted although imperfect.” Oh, brothers and sisters, I don’t know about you but that thrills this man. I am so painfully aware, especially when it comes to presenting these precious truths, of the imperfection of my very best efforts. But I praise God that because of the Intercessor my poor feeble, faulty attempts are acceptable to God. Cleansed by His life and with His righteousness added to them, my service is acceptable to God. “Jesus loves his children even if they err. He keeps his eye upon them. And when they do their best, calling upon God for his help, be assured the service will be accepted although imperfect. Jesus is perfect. Christ’s righteousness is imputed unto them and he will say, Take away the filthy garments from him and clothe him with change of raiment. Jesus makes up for our unavoidable deficiencies.”

But my brother, my sister, please recognize, what is it that He makes up for? The unavoidable deficiencies. Does He propose to make up for the avoidable ones? No. That is our job in His strength. But when we have done all we can in His strength, there are still what? Deficiencies. They are unavoidable at that point but they are still there. Deficiencies. Do you see how this truth, understood clearly, can protect us from legalism? Because we’re daily reminded that even our best falls far short and has deficiencies. Can you see how this truth–and we were considering this in another study–protects us as well from Antinomianism? Because those deficiencies that are covered are only what? Unavoidable deficiencies. Do you see, brothers and sisters, how this truth as well forces us to come to the conclusion that in a very basic, fundamental way our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, as a man, was different than we are? He could not have been a corrupt channel for then His obedience would have had unavoidable deficiencies. And pray tell, who was there to make up the difference for Him? No one. He has to be in this very essential regard, He has to be different. He has to be different as far as sinfulness is concerned. He cannot be sinful in nature in the sense that He would have something that would render Him corrupt or defiled or tainted because, were He any of those things, He would be in the same condition we are, unable to offer the law what it requires.

Faith and Works, page 50, in closing. Precious, precious truth. “When it is in the heart to obey God, when efforts are put forth to this end, Jesus accepts this disposition and effort as man’s best service and makes up with the deficiency with his own divine merit. But he will not accept those who claim to have faith in him and yet are disloyal to the Father’s commandments.” Brothers and sisters, He is our righteousness but He is the Lord our righteousness. If He is to be or righteousness, He must be our Lord. If we reject Him as our Lord, can we claim Him as our righteousness? We cannot. But when we accept Him as our Lord and in His strength do our best to please Him, we even then will be painfully aware of faults and defects, of an obedience that falls far short of what we ourselves would desire, but do we despair? No, we do not. We cling to Christ, and we accept from Him His righteousness, which justifies us, and we look to Him as our Intercessor who by His blood and His righteousness makes even our imperfect obedience acceptable to the Father.

My brother, my sister, with such provision, how can we possibly fail? We cannot. Let us pray.

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

HP 156 “Man weighed against God’s holy law is found wanting.  We are enlightened by the precepts of the law, but no man can by them be justified.  Weighed and found wanting is our inscription by nature.

2 Cor 5:21 “For He made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God, in Him.”

DA 25 “Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserved.  He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share.  He suffered the death which was ours that we might receive the life which was His.  With His stripes we are healed.”

SC 62 “It was possible for Adam Before the fall to form a righteous character by obedience to God’s law.  But he failed to do this, and because of his sin, our natures are fallen, and we cannot make ourselves righteous.  Since we are sinful, unholy, we cannot perfectly obey the holy law.  We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God.”

Manuscript 31, 1911 “God declares ‘there is none righteous, no, not one’ (Rom 3:10).  All have the same sinful nature.  All are liable to make mistakes.  No one is perfect.  The Lord Jesus died for the erring that they might be forgiven.  It is not our work to condemn.  Christ did not come to condemn but to save.”

GC 471 “There can be no self-exaltation, no boastful claim to freedom from sin on the part of those who walk in the shadow of Calvary’s cross.  Those who live nearest to Jesus discern most clearly the frailty and sinfulness of humanity, and their only hope is in the merit of a crucified and risen Savior.”

RH Nov 1, 1882 “The Lord requires no less of the soul now than He required of Adam in paradise before he fell, perfect obedience, unblemished righteousness.  In order to meet the requirement of the law, our faith must grasp the righteousness of Christ, accepting it as our righteousness.”

MB 55 “God offered them in His Son the perfect righteousness of the law.  If they would open their hearts fully to receive Christ, then the very life of God, His love would dwell in them, transforming them into His own likeness.  And thus through God’s free gift, they would possess the righteousness which the law requires.”

PUR Oct 8, 1903 “He came to this earth and stood at the head of humanity to work out for you and for me a faultless character by obedience to God’s law.”

6T 60 “The life of Christ reveals an infinitely perfect character.”

5T 739 “In His nobility of character, in His mercy and tender pity, in His love and goodness, He stands before us as the embodiment of divine perfection, the image of the invisible God.”

1SM 396 “By His perfect obedience, He has satisfied the claims of the law, and my only hope is found in looking to Him as my substitute and surety, who obeyed the law perfectly for me.  By faith in His merits, I am free from the condemnation of the law.  He clothes me with His righteousness which answers all the demands of the law.  I am complete in Him who brings in everlasting righteousness.”

1SM 367 “Righteousness is obedience to the law.  The law demands righteousness and this the sinner owes to the law, but he is incapable of rendering it.  The only way in which he can attain to righteousness is through faith.  By faith he can bring to God the merits of Christ, and the Lord places the obedience of His Son to the sinner’s account.  Christ’s righteousness is accepted in place of man’s failure and God receives, pardons, justifies the repentant believing soul, treats him as though he were righteous, and loves him as He loves His Son.  This is how faith is accounted righteousness, and the pardoned soul goes on from grace to grace, from light to greater light.”

RH Sep 27, 1881 “After the fall, it had been impossible for man, with his sinful nature, to render obedience to the law of God, had not Christ, by the offer of His own life, purchased the right to lift up the race where they could once more work in harmony with its requirement.”

Bible Echoes Apr 16, 1894 “There is perfect harmony between the law of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ.  ‘I and My Father are One’ (John 10:30), says the great Teacher.  The gospel is the good news of grace or favor by which man may be released from the condemnation of sin, and enabled to render acceptable obedience to the law.”

Bible Echoes Sep 6, 1897 “Christ humbled Himself to take upon Him our nature, that by His own humiliation and suffering and sacrifice, He might become a stepping stone to fallen man, that they might climb up upon His merits and that through His excellence and virtue, their efforts to keep God’s law might be accepted by Him.”

RH Aug 4, 1874 “His (Christ’s) righteousness He would impute to man and thus raise him in moral value with God, so that his efforts to keep the divine law would be acceptable.”

FW 19 “There is not a point that needs to be dwelt upon more earnestly, repeated more frequently, or established more firmly in the minds of all than the impossibility of fallen man meriting anything by his own best good works.  Salvation is through faith in Christ alone.”

Luke 17:10 “So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say we are unprofitable servants.  We have done what was our duty to do.”

RH Jan 29, 1895 “Our acceptance with God is sure only through His beloved Son, and good works are but the result of the working of His sin-pardoning love.  When we have done all that it is possible for us to do, we are to count ourselves as unprofitable servants.  We deserve no thanks from God.  We have only done what it was our duty to do, and our works could not have been performed in the strength of our own sinful natures.”

1 Chron 29:14 “But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer so willingly as this?  For all things come from You and of Your own we have given You.”

1 Cor 4:7 “For who makes you different from another and what do you have that you did not receive?  Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you glory as if you had not received it?”

Rom 3:23 “For all have sinned and continue to come short of the glory of God.”

SL 81 “But he who is truly seeking for holiness of heart and life delights in the law of God, and mourns only that he falls so far short of meeting its requirements.”

Gal 5:16 “I say then, walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh; for the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary to one another.  So that you do not do the things that you wish.”

Matt 6:10 “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Ed 309 “In our life here, earthly, sin-restricted though it is, the greatest joy and the highest education are in service.  And in the future state, untrammeled by the limitations of sinful humanity, it is in service that our greatest joy and highest education are found–witnessing, and ever as we witness, learning anew, ‘the riches of the glory of this mystery’, ‘which is Christ in you the hope of Glory.’” (Col 1:27)

Rom 8:20-25 “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; (21) because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  (22) For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.  (23) And not only they, but we also who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.  (24) For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope, for why does one still hope for what he sees?  (25) But if we hope for what we do not see, then we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”

ST June 9, 1881 “Our earthly life, however long, honored or useful it may be, is but childhood, frail, imperfect and underdeveloped.  Manhood with its full, perfect, glorious development will come when freed from the taint of sin we stand among the redeemed throng.  Then we shall enjoy a life which measures with the life of God, and through everlasting ages we shall go on increasing in wisdom and knowledge.”

Rom 6:23 “The wages of sin are death but the gift of God is eternal life.”

SC 61 “We do not earn salvation by our obedience, for salvation is the free gift of God to be received by faith, but obedience is the fruit of faith.”

Manuscript 80, 1890 “Christ is the sinner’s only hope.  By His death He brought salvation within the reach of all.  Through His grace all may become loyal subjects of God’s kingdom.  Only by His sacrifice could salvation be brought within man’s reach.  This sacrifice has made it possible for men and women to fulfill the conditions laid down in the councils of heaven.  Christ came to this earth and lived a life of perfect obedience that men and women, through His grace, might also live lives of perfect obedience.  This is necessary to their salvation.  Without holiness no man shall see God.”  (Heb 2:14).

RH Dec 15, 1896 “Obedience or disobedience decides every man’s destiny.  Those who obey God are counted worthy to share His throne, while those who disobey will be forever lost.  But sin has weakened our powers of obedience, and in our own strength we can never obey God.  Knowing this, God sent Jesus to our world to live His law.  Only the mind that is trained to obedience to God can do justice to His divine claims, and God gave Christ up to humiliation and suffering, to be afflicted with all temptations wherewith humanity is afflicted, that in His strength we might be enabled to keep His law.”

1SM 344 “The religious services, the prayers, the praise, the penitent confession of sin ascend from true believers as incense to the heavenly sanctuary.  But passing through the corrupt channels of humanity, they are so defiled that unless purified by blood they can never be of value with God.  They ascend not in spotless purity, and unless the Intercessor Who is at God’s right hand presents and purifies all by His righteousness, it is not acceptable to God.  All incense from earthly tabernacles must be moist with the cleansing drops of the blood of Christ.  He holds before the Father the censor of His own merits in which there is no taint of earthly corruption.  He gathers into this censor the prayers, the praise, the confessions of His people and with these He puts His own spotless righteousness.  Then perfumed with the merits of Christ’s propitiation, the incense comes up before God wholly and entirely acceptable.  Then gracious answers are returned.”

RH Apr 16, 1901 “He (Satan) prevailed on Adam to sin.  Thus at its very source human nature was corrupted.”

Matt 3:17 “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.”

Ex 28:36,8 “You shall also make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it like the engravings of a signet, Holiness to the Lord.  And you shall put it on a blue cord that it may be on the turban.  It shall be on the front of the turban. (38) So it shall be on Aaron’s forehead that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel hallow in all their holy gifts, and it shall always be on his forehead that they may be accepted before the Lord.”

PP 353 “Before the veil of the most holy place was an altar of perpetual intercession before the holy, an altar of continual atonement.  By blood and by incense God was to be approached, symbols pointing to the Mediator through Whom sinners may approach Jehovah and through Whom alone mercy and salvation can be granted to the repentant, believing soul.”

TM 92,3 “As the high priest sprinkled the warm blood upon the mercy seat while the fragrant cloud of incense ascended before God, so while we confess our sins and plead the efficacy of Christ’s atoning blood, our prayers are to ascend to heaven, fragrant with the merits of our Savior’s character.”

PP 353 “The incense ascending with the prayers of Israel represent the merits and intercession of Christ.  His perfect righteousness, which through faith is imputed to His people, and which can alone make the worship of sinful beings acceptable to God.”

SD 22 “There is an inexhaustible fund of perfect obedience accruing from His obedience.  In heaven His merits, His self-denial and self-sacrifice, are treasured as incense to be offered up with the prayers of His people.  As the sinner’s sincere, humble prayers ascend to the throne of God, Christ mingles with them the merits of His own life of perfect obedience.”

GC 489 “The intercession of Christ in man’s behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was His death upon the cross.”

3SM 195, 196 “Jesus loves His children, even if they err… He keeps His eye upon them and, when they do their best, calling upon God for His help, be assured the service will be accepted, although imperfect.  Jesus is perfect.  Christ’s righteousness is imputed unto them, and He will say, ‘Take away the filthy garments from him and clothe him with change of raiment’ Jesus makes up for our unavoidable deficiencies.”

FW 50 “When it is in the heart to obey God, when efforts are put forth to this end, Jesus accepts this disposition and effort as man’s best service and He makes up for the deficiency with His own divine merit.  But He will not accept those who claim to have faith in Him and yet are disloyal to the Father’s commandments.”

😉

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