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Our series is entitled: “Our Sinless Yet Sympathetic Saviour,” and we are studying the all-sufficiency of the Word made flesh to be both sinless Substitute and sympathetic Elder Brother and valid Example for the fallen race. Our study has been taking us, so far, through the consideration of what he had to be in order to be our sinless Substitute. We need to start at this point to consider what he had to be in order to be our sympathetic Elder Brother and valid Example.

{Audio starts from this point:} Our last study, entitled “The Word Was Made Flesh,” took us to Philippians 2 and there we considered carefully the expression: “in the likeness of men.” He came in the likeness of men, but was that all? No, he came in the likeness of sinful flesh. And that’s the title of our study tonight: “In the Likeness of Sinful Flesh.” And my brothers and sisters, again, if we are to have a right understanding of the truth as it is in Jesus, we must have the Spirit of truth working in our behalf, because spiritual things are only what? Spiritually discerned. May I also remind you, as I remind myself, that if we are to rightly understand the truth, we must come to consider it with a humble and contrite and teachable spirit. There are those of us, I’m sure, who have convictions regarding the significance of this expression, he came in the likeness of sinful flesh. Maybe we have held these convictions for a long time. But all of us, myself included, need to be willing to test our conclusions, our convictions with the word of God and be willing to make changes. God forbid that pride of opinion should keep us from seeing the truth, or perhaps from seeing a balancing aspect of the truth that we haven’t seen before. So, as we pray, and I will give you opportunity to do that with me, please pray not only for the outpouring of God’s Spirit, but pray for a teachable and humble and contrite heart. Shall we kneel.

Father God, in Jesus’ name, I come before you, rejoicing in the privilege of being your son and I come to praise you in my own behalf, and in behalf of my brothers and sisters for the gracious adoption that is ours in Jesus. It is so good to belong to you, Father, to be your blood-bought children. Jesus, I thank you for paying the price that has made it possible for us to be not only your brothers and sisters but God’s sons and daughters. What a precious privilege! Especially when we realize how much it cost you. Thank you, Jesus. And Father, we acknowledge to you that we are needy children. We have such a limited, sin-damaged capacity to come to know and appreciate the truth. So Father, we pray that through the energizing power of your Spirit you would quicken, ennoble and enable our mental and spiritual faculties to get glimpses of truth as it is in Jesus, that in beholding him who is the truth we might be changed into his lovely likeness. Father, this can only be by the Spirit for we cannot be changed except by the Spirit, nor can we behold except by the Spirit. So Lord, pour out your Spirit upon us, I pray, as we open your word just now. Give us that teachable and contrite spirit, that humility, that is essential if we are to bow and submit human reason and human ideas and human preconceptions to the authority of your word. Oh, Lord, take full possession of this earthen vessel, I pray. By a miracle of grace, through the power of your Spirit, help me to present the truth in such a way as to not distort or misrepresent it, Father. Oh, protect me, I pray, from any such thing. Take full possession of my faculties of mind, body and spirit. Take my tongue, Lord, for Jesus’s sake and for the sake of his bride, use me just now. I ask it in your name, Jesus. Amen.

If he had just come in the likeness of men, as we studied yesterday, that would have been condescension enough, wouldn’t it? But listen, Manuscript 67, 1898: “In itself the act of consenting to be a man would be no act of humiliation were it not for the fact of Christ’s exalted pre-existence and the fallen condition of man.” It was a remarkable condescension because he was the eternal God, to become one with finite creatures. But what makes that condescension even greater is the fact that he not only became one with finite creatures, but he became one with finite creatures who were in a fallen condition. He not only became then, in the likeness of men, he came to take a nature that was in the likeness of sinful flesh.

Turn with me to Romans. You’re familiar with the verse, but let’s read it. Romans 8:3: “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did, by sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin” or as the King James puts it: “for sin,” which is the Greek expression, for a sin offering. “For sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.” Now, in the likeness of sinful flesh. Remember our discussion regarding the word “likeness”? We use the word likeness when there is an aspect of sameness, as well as an aspect of difference. Right? That is why we use the word likeness. As we discuss the word likeness of men, in that phrase the word likeness is used is used because Paul wants us to know that Christ was fully human. That is the aspect of sameness. But he also wants us to know that he’s what? Fully divine. Therefore, there is the difference aspect and that’s why he uses the word likeness of men. And we developed that clearly from the context in our last study.

Now, in this expression: “likeness of sinful flesh,” the very same Greek word, which is translated likeness, is used. And we must carefully note this time and allow for both the aspect of sameness and the aspect of difference. What are they? These two consequences upon the human race. Do you recall ‘way back when we noted early on in our series the effect of sin upon man’s nature? There were two basic categories of effects. Do you recall them? What were they? Innocent infirmities and sinful propensities. One had to do with the deterioration of his powers. The other had to do with the derangement of their function. Please note. Innocent infirmities had to do with the deterioriation of man’s powers, of mind, body and spirit. Sinful propensities had to do with the derangement of their function. The one weakened his faculties of mind, body and spirit. The other depraved his faculties of mind, body and spirit.

There is a difference, a distinct difference between depravity and weakness. It is the difference between innocent infirmities and sinful propensities. Listen for these two effects in this statement found in Signs of the Times, March 30, 1904: “Man has fallen. By disobedience he is depraved in inclination and weakened in power.” Did you hear them? Depraved in inclination. What’s that? Sinful propensities. Weakened in power. What’s that? Innocent infirmities. Precisely.

Now, after the fall, both of these conditions are inherent in human nature. This is what we call sinful flesh. If Paul had wanted us to conclude that this was the condition of Christ’s human nature, what would he have said in Romans 8:3? He came in sinful flesh, and then we would have known clearly that there was not an element of difference, but it was only sameness. Right? But he does not want us to come to that conclusion. So what does he say? He says he came in the likeness of sinful flesh. Now, again, likeness is used when there is both an aspect of sameness and an aspect of difference. In what aspect was the human nature Christ assumed the same as ours? It had all our infirmities and weaknesses. In what aspect, however, was it different than ours? It had none of our sinful propensities.

It was deteriorated but it was not depraved. Its powers were weakened but their function was not deranged. Remember our study on the concept of depravity? What was the inspired definition for depravity? Moral derangement. And the essence of depravity is what? Selfishness. When selfishness took the place of love in the man’s heart–and that’s what happened when he sinned–it deranged his whole organism, body, mind and spirit; and all of their functions that were originally in perfect harmony with God’s law and in perfect balance and harmony with each other thereby, became deranged. There was all chaos that broke out. Depravity set in and also deterioration.

Man again, after the fall, is both depraved and deteriorated. But Jesus Christ, who came in the likeness of sinful flesh, took not the depravity, but he did take the deterioration. Likeness of sinful flesh. What does it mean then? Listen. Inspiration says it so clearly. Bible Commentary, volume 5, page 1124: “He took our infirmities. He was not only made flesh but he was made in the likeness of sinful flesh.” Do you see what she’s telling us? What does it mean to be made in the likeness of sinful flesh? It means he took our infirmities. He took our infirmities. He was not only made flesh but he was made in the likeness of sinful flesh. Infirmities, our weaknesses. Yes, he took those. But our sinful propensities and depravity? No, he did not take those. Why? For that itself is sin. That is sin in the flesh. And, Manuscript 77, 1898: “God’s law condemns sin in the flesh.” Is that clear? “God’s law condemns sin in the flesh.” If Christ took it then, where would he have stood in relationship to the law? Under condemnation. Is that not clear?

Do you see why Paul most explicitly states then, that he did not come in sinful flesh but he came in what? The likeness of sinful flesh. Because he does not want us to conclude, as he has just been developing for us in the preceding verses before this one, that Christ had something in him that was under condemnation. If he had sin in the flesh, he was under condemnation for what he was in himself. And if he was under condemnation for what he was in himself, can he be our sinless substitute? Can he go to the cross and be a sin offering for sin in the flesh if he has it himself? Of course not. He has to be personally exempt and free from it in himself if he is going to take the condemnation for it on our account, in our behalf. Is that not clear?

Yes, he not only came in the likeness of men, brothers and sisters. He came in the likeness of sinful flesh, but let’s always allow for both aspects of the word likeness. Inspiration consistently does. Listen. Review and Herald, January 7, 1904: “The Saviour came to the world in lowliness and lived as a man among men. On all points except sin divinity was to touch humanity.” On all points what? Except sin, divinity was to touch humanity. Does this exemption, this except sin, include inbred sin? Yes, it does. Does it include the inborn evil of the natural heart that we have been studying about? Yes, it does. For as inspiration says, he was born, in reference to Jesus, without the taint of sin. Born without the taint of sin. We noted those references in previous studies.

Brothers and sisters, we are hopeless if our Lord is not a man. And we are hopeless if a man is just a man. Praise God, he came in the likeness of men. Equally, brothers and sisters, we are hopeless if our Lord is a man just like us. And we are hopeless if he is a man not at all like us. But we have hope because he is in the likeness of sinful flesh. He is in the likeness of sinful flesh. Enough like us to be our sympathetic Elder Brother and valid Example but, praise God, enough different from us to our sinless Substitute. We need both, don’t we? We need both.

Hebrews 2:17. Here’s our word again. “Therefore in all things he had to be made” what? “Like his brethren.” That’s the same Greek word: “like.” It allows for both sameness and difference. “Therefore in all things he had to be made like his brethren that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that he suffered being tempted, he is able to aid those who are tempted.” Do you see both elements there? The element of difference was essential for him to be the propitiation for the sins of the people, wasn’t it? But the element of sameness was necessary for him to what? For him to suffer being tempted and thereby be able to aid those who are tempted. Do you see that?

What is the element of difference? Youth’s Instructor, October 20:1886: “For our sakes he laid aside his royal robe, stepped down from the throne in heaven, and condescended to clothe his divinity with humility and become like one of us, except in sin.” Become like one of us. Just like one of us? No. Like one of us because there’s an exception. What is it? Sin. To become like one of us except in sin.

Now note, that is in reference to what he becomes in the incarnation, not what he becomes as one who is incarnate already. Do you get the distinction there? In other words, this is in reference to the nature that he assumed, not in reference to how he functioned in that nature. This sin, then, is not sin of deed but sin of what? Nature, that he is exempted from. It’s sin of nature that he is exempted from.

Let’s take a closer look at the infirmities Christ took as one in the likeness of sinful flesh. Inspiration speaks clearly and frequently regarding this aspect of the sameness in the nature, the human nature, of Christ. Weakened in power. . . Listen to what Adam’s sin caused in this realm. Patriarchs and Prophets, page 68: “The days of man would be shortened by his own course of sin. He would deteriorate in physical stature and endurance, and in moral and intellectual power, until the world would be filled with misery of every type.” This aspect, deterioration in physical stature and endurance, and in moral and intellectual power are part of the infirmities that Christ assumed. And it’s important, brothers and sisters, to recognize that he assumed such when the world was at a low point, didn’t he?

Review and Herald, August 29, 1899: “When Christ came to the world, moral power was at a low ebb.” Why did Christ have to wait until the fulness of time? Because he needed to wait until the faculties of man were so damaged and weakened by sin that the race thereafter would not be able to look back at him and say, he had an advantage because the faculties he took are better than mine. If he had come right after Adam’s fall, would he have an advantage over us? Yes. But he came at a low, and there has been a holding action on the human race. This is evidenced by the life span ever since.

Review and Herald, October 11, 1881: “Our Redeemer perfectly understood the wants of humanity. He who condescended to take upon himself man’s nature was acquainted with man’s weakness. Christ lived as our example. He was tempted in all points as we are that he might know how to succor all who should be tempted. He has trodden the path of life before us and endured the severest tests in our behalf. Christ took upon himself our infirmities and, in the weakness of humanity, he needed to seek strength from his Father. He was often found in earnest prayer.” He was on his knees praying for enabling grace because of the weaknesses and infirmities that he had taken upon himself by taking man’s nature 4,000 years after the fall.

But was he ever on his knees praying for forgiving grace? Enabling grace, yes. Forgiving grace, no. Why? Because he never needed it. And yet we are told that we must confess the sinfulness of our what? Our nature. Acts of the Apostles, 561. Men who would rather die than knowingly transgress God’s law do what? They confess the sinfulness of their nature. We pray not only for enabling grace, but for forgiving grace. He was on his knees much for enabling grace. Weakened? Yes, indeed.

Desire of Ages, page 117: “Christ took upon him the infirmities of degenerate humanity.” Very clear. The infirmities of degenerate humanity. Does she say the propensities and tendencies and inclinations of degenerate humanity? No. The infirmities of degenerate humanity. And brothers and sisters, what he took upon himself he in his incarnate person became. The human nature he took upon himself was subject to all the infirmities of degenerate humanity. In this sense he was not only flesh but in the likeness of sinful flesh. But we must bear in mind the difference between infirmities which are part of the innocent consequences of sin and the propensities and sinful tendencies which are part of sin itself, part of man’s depravity, the essence of which is selfishness. This second aspect he did not take.

Signs of the Times, April 17, 1884: “Jesus knows our infirmities and has himself shared our experience in all things but in sin. Therefore, he has prepared for us a path suited to our strength and capacity.” Let’s note carefully as well what inspiration says about what he was exempt from, what he did not take.

I read from Letter 8, 1895. This is to be found in the Bible Commentary but I don’t have the reference. It’s a very controversial letter. It’s one in which Ellen White addresses the nature of Christ more specifically, more directly and more extensively than just about any other place. Listen carefully. “Be careful, exceedingly careful as to how you dwell upon the human nature of Christ. Do not set him before the people as a man with the propensities of sin. He is the Second Adam. The first Adam was created a pure sinless being without a taint of sin upon him. He was in the image of God. He could fall and he did fall through transgressing. Because of sin, his posterity was born with inherent propensities of disobedience. But” exception. “But Jesus Christ was the only begotten Son of” whom? “God. He took upon himself human nature and was tempted in all points as human nature is tempted. He could have sinned, he could have fallen, but not for one moment was there in him an evil propensity. He was assailed with temptations in the wilderness as Adam was assailed with temptations in Eden.” Did Adam have any evil propensities in Eden when he was assailed with temptations? Absolutely not. Nor did Jesus Christ.

And some of us say, Well, wait a minute. How can he be tempted in all things like as we are? Wait, brothers and sisters. Wait. We will study that. But for now let’s recognize that he had no evil propensities. He was just as free of those as Adam was before the fall. Is that clear? Now there are those who argue at some length in an effort to put a different interpretation on this particular passage than we have just done. They argue at some length that propensities of sin refers to those tendencies, or that bent, that is developed only after we consciously sin. And a lot is made of the word “of.” “Do not set him before the people as a man with the propensities of sin.” It’s suggested that these are only developed when we actually, wilfully sin. That argument, however, is disproved very effectively just three sentences further.

Listen. “Because of sin, his posterity was born with inherent propensities of disobedience.” Of disobedience. Are propensities then only something that we develop after we sin or disobey? No. Why? Because they are born with inherent propensities of disobedience. How could they possibly have developed those by wilfully sinning? Is that not clear? That is so clear to me that it amazes me how we can understand it otherwise. Because of sin his posterity was born with inherent propensities of disobedience. These propensities are not something that we only develop as a fallen race when we wilfully sin. It’s something that is ours as a natural inheritance. It’s that inbred sin that we’ve been talking about. That’s what it is. It’s inherited tendencies to evil. It’s ours as a natural inheritance from our fallen, depraved parentage.

So then, we ask, Did Christ have the nature of Adam before the fall? And do you see immediately how it’s impossible to answer that question with a yes or no? If we are talking about the realm of infirmities, what do we have to say? Did Christ have the nature of Adam before the fall? If we are talking about the realm of infirmities, we have to say, no, Christ did not have the nature of Adam before the fall. He had the nature of Adam when? After the fall.

Listen. Manuscript 99, 1903: “Before his fall, Adam was free from the results of the curse. When he was assailed by the tempter, none of the effects of sin were upon him.” None of them. There are two. What are they? Weakened powers and depraved functions. Sinful propensities, innocent infirmities. “When he was assailed by the tempter, none of the effects of sin were upon him.” He had neither. “Christ, the second Adam, came in the likeness of sinful flesh. In man’s behalf he became subject to sorrow, to weariness, to hunger and to thirst. He was subject to temptation, but he yielded not to sin. No taint of sin was upon him.” So he wasn’t like Adam in that he had all of the weaknesses that were the consequence of 4,000 years of deterioration, and yet he was like Adam in that what? No taint of sin was upon him.

So then, in answering that question, Did he have the nature of Adam before the fall, if we’re talking about sinlessness, what must we say? Yes. As far as sinlessness was concerned, he had the nature of Adam before the fall. Youth’s Instructor, June 2, 1898: “He, Adam, was furnished with a holy nature, sinless, pure, undefiled.” A holy nature, sinless, pure, undefiled. Same article. Christ is called the Second Adam. In purity and holiness, connected with God and beloved by God, he began where the first Adam began. How can language be clearer? It’s amazing to me, my brothers, my sisters, how we can be so confused on these issues when the Lord has spoken so clearly? Christ is called the Second Adam in purity and holiness. In powers and capacities? No. “In purity and holiness, connected with God and beloved by God, he began where the first Adam began. Willingly he passed over the ground where Adam fell and redeemed Adam’s failure.”

Now, he began where the first Adam began. When did he begin? He began at conception and birth. He was conceived by the what? The Holy Spirit. And we’ll be addressing that issue, Lord willing, next. And because he was conceived of the Holy Spirit, what was his condition at birth? Bible Commentary, volume 7, page 925: “He was born without the taint of sin, but came into the world in like manner as the human family. He began where the first Adam began, without a” what? “Without a taint of sin.” So as far as sinlessness is concerned, he was like Adam before the fall, wasn’t he? So when anyone asks you, from now on, Did Christ take the nature of Adam before the fall or after the fall? You would tell them that that depends upon what aspect of the consequence of Adam’s sin upon his nature you’re talking about. It depends.

Why was this perfect sinlessness of nature essential? Why was it absolutely vital that Christ be exempt from the sinfulness of human nature? Because he came to be our sinless substitute, and he had to have absolute sinlessness in order to die for our sins. And he had to have absolute sinlessness in order to produce for us a righteousness and obedience that was equal to the infinite standard.

Listen. Steps to Christ, 62. We’ve noted it before but let’s note it in this context. “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.” Now, if that was Christ’s condition, he would have had the same incapacity, right? He could not have perfectly obeyed the holy law either. And he would also have been, by nature, under condemnation.

We’ve noted it before, but in this context, Review and Herald, September 17, 1895: “Human nature is depraved and is justly condemned by a holy God.” Did he have, then, a depraved human nature? No. Do we have a depraved human nature? Yes. Does it become depraved only when we choose to sin? No. It is naturally depraved. And we have studied that before and we cannot take the time to document it or study it now.

Patriarchs and Prophets, page 373. This is why Christ had to be different in this aspect of sinfulness. “The apostle Paul clearly presents the relation between faith and the law under the new covenant. He says, ‘Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid. Yea, we establish the law. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh”–and listen to what she inserts here in this very verse that is a focal point of our study–“‘What the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh–it could not justify man because in his sinful nature he could not keep the law. God sending his son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit.'”

Do you see why Christ has to come in only the likeness of sinful flesh and not in sinful flesh itself? Because, on account of our sinful flesh, what’s the problem? What the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, it could not justify man because, in his sinful nature, he could not keep the law. If Christ had the same sinful nature, he could not keep the law any better than we can. And we are without the sinless Substitute, without one who has a righteousness sufficient to meet the infinite standard. But praise God, he was only in the likeness of sinful flesh. He did not have that same sinful nature that renders up incapable of offering the law that which satisfies its demands.

Listen. Selected Messages, volume 1, page 363: Christ satisfied the demands of the law in his human nature.” It had to be different, didn’t it? Didn’t it have to be different? Why, of course. “Christ satisfied the demands of the law in his human nature.” And then what did he do? I read on: “He bore the curse of the law for the sinner, made an atonement for him, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish. Genuine faith appropriates the righteousness of Christ and the sinner is made an overcomer with Christ. For he is made a partaker of the divine nature and thus divinity and humanity are combined.” But brothers and sisters, how can we have such a faith in Christ that will give us confidence if we attribute to him that which would not only make him a sinful offering but that which would render him incapable of producing a righteousness equal to the standard.

Do you see why I am so concerned that we don’t, in our efforts to make him a sympathetic Elder Brother and valid Example, make him something that makes it impossible for him to be that sinless Substitute, both in life and in death, that we so desperately need? Bible Echoes, January 9, 1899: “In his human nature he maintained the purity of his divine character.”

I read from Bible Echoes, January 16, 1899: “During his life on earth, Christ went about doing good. His sensibilities were most acute, for in him was all that is elevated in mind, exalted in sentiment, and fine and delicate in feeling. In his human nature was seen the perfection of humanity.” In his human nature was seen what? The perfection of humanity. He revealed the perfection of humanity while still having all of our what? Infirmities and weaknesses. What does that tell us? Perfection is not based on the relative strength of human powers, but on their functioning in perfect harmony with the laws God has ordained to govern them. It is not the deterioriation of his faculties, as a result of sin, but the derangement of their function by sin that is responsible for man’s failure to perfectly obey God’s law.

Now, note we’re saying “perfectly obey.” We’re not saying obey. Remember in our study on that passage in Selected Messages, volume 1, page 344: “The religious services, the prayers ascend as incense to the heavenly sanctuary from true believers.” But what is their condition? “Passing through the corrupt channels of humanity, they are so defiled that unless purified by blood, they can never be of value with God.” On that same page, she says: “Oh, that all may see that everything in obedience may be placed upon the glowing fire of the righteousness of Christ.”

We’re not talking about being able to obey. We can obey, praise God. We’re talking about the quality of the obedience. That which renders us incapable of that degree, that excellence of obedience that would be acceptable to God without an intercessory is not our deterioration of faculties. It’s the derangement of their function. Because Jesus had the deteriorated faculties and yet his obedience was what? Perfectly acceptable to the Father. Did he have to pray in anyone’s name? No. Did any blood have to cleanse his religious services and any righteousness be accepted for them in order to be acceptable to God? Why, of course, not.

Christ could perfectly obey and manifest in himself a sinless and perfect humanity. Not because he had faculties that were superior to ours, but because those faculties were not subject to the depravity, moral derangement, that ours are. Their every function was naturally and perfectly in harmony with God’s law from birth. So then, all the faculties of body, mind and spirit in the human nature Christ took upon him when he became incarnate. Though they were diminished in their power, they were not deranged in their function. Innocent infirmities, but no sinful propensities. If he had had that depravity, that derangement, he would have been sinful, and he would not have been an offering for sin in our behalf.

Let me state this in other terms for you just to hopefully clarify the distinction between sinful propensities and innocent infirmities. He was diminished in power but not deranged in function. He took our deteriorated condition but not our depraved condition. Our weakness, but not our wickedness. He was made feeble but not faulty. He possessed all our innocent infirmities but none of our sinful propensities. He took our mortality but not our immorality. He had all our liabilities but none of our sinful tendencies. Note, sinful tendencies. We’ll discuss that in depth later on.

He had our sorrows and our suffering but he did not have our selfishness. Or, we could say, his nature was affected by sin but not infected with sin. Explore that illustration with me just briefly. Say that I had just had the flu. Now, my body has thrown off the virus. I’m no longer infected but I am still affected. I am very much weakened in my constitution on account of having had it. Now, I grant you that there is danger in every illustration. Sin is more than a germ. But let’s contrast the germ of sin, which I would call selfishness, with the germ of the flu. Jesus took a nature that was deteriorated and weakened on account of that disease called sin for 4000 years, but did he take the essence of that disease itself, selfishness? No, he did not. Affected by sin but not infected with sin. And I’m speaking not just of his physical being; I’m speaking of his whole person, for man as a whole.

In the morning watch book, The Faith I Live By, page 87: “By nature we are alienated from God. The Holy Spirit describes our condition in such words as these, ‘Dead in trespasses and sins. The whole head is sick, the whole heart faint. No soundness in it.'” Sick with what? Sick with sin.

Selected Messages, volume 2, page 186: “When sin strikes inwardly, it assails the most noble part of man’s being. It makes terrible havoc with man’s godlike faculties and powers. While physical disease prostrates the body, the disease of selfishness and covetousness blasts the soul.” Christ was not infected by the disease of selfishness.

Ministry of Healing, page 451: “Through sin the whole human organism is deranged, the mind perverted, the imagination corrupted. Sin has degraded the faculties of the soul.” This element of the consequence of sin upon man’s nature Christ did not take, my brothers, my sisters. Most emphatically, he did not take it.

In Letter 69, 1897: “Sin is a disease, a cancer, that is eating away all your prospect of a future holy, happy, sinless life in the heavenly family above.” Isn’t that interesting? Sin is compared to cancer. Did Christ have the cancer of sin? No. Do we have it? Yes. Where do we get it? “From the cross to the crown there is earnest work to be done, there is wrestling with inbred sin.” We have it, but brothers and sisters, for the Christian, that cancer of sin is in what? It’s in remission. He is not letting sin reign in his mortal body. It still remains but it doesn’t what? It doesn’t reign. When is the Master Physician going to perform the surgery and remove its very presence? At glorification. And I don’t know about you, but I can hardly wait. Oh. But in the meantime, praise God, that the Master Physician is able to provide the necessary antidote to stop it in its tracks, to keep it from metastasizing into our character.

Christ’s human nature was affected but not infected by this disease of sin. Manuscript 93, 1893: “He (Christ) humbled himself in taking the nature of man in his fallen condition”–affected–“but he did not take the taint of sin.” Not what? Not infected. Listen again how it’s put. Signs of the Times, June 9, 1898: “In taking upon himself man’s nature in its fallen condition, Christ did not in the least participate in its sin.” Affected, he took it in its fallen condition, but not infected. He did not in the least participate in its sin.

Now, here is an important point. Though he did not take our sin-sickness so as to have it innately, it becomes clear as we understand inspiration, both in scripture and in the Spirit of Prophecy, that he bore it so as to carry it vicariously. I want to say that again. He did not take our sin-sickness so as to have it innately, but he bore it so as to carry it vicariously.

Listen. Bible Commentary, volume 5, page 1131: “In taking upon himself man’s nature in its fallen condition, Christ did not in the least participate in its sin. He was subject to the infirmities and weaknesses by which man is encompassed, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet saying, ‘Himself took our infirmities'”–and what?–“‘bear our sicknesses. He was touched with the feeling of our infirmities and was in all points tempted like as we are, and yet he knew no sin. He was the Lamb without blemish and without spot.'”

That’s a very interesting expression. Matthew uses it from Isaiah, in Matthew 8:17: “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet saying, he himself took our infirmities and he bore our sicknesses.” Note the keywords with me here. They are significant. “Took,” in the Greek, means to take, to get hold of so as to have. Are you with me? What did he take in such a way as to have? Our what? He took our infirmities, our weaknesses. And the Greek word there that is translated infirmities is just that, weakness or infirmity. But note the verb “bore.” In the Greek, that means to bear with the idea of removal. He took the infirmities, he had innately, but he what–the sicknesses? He bore them vicariously. And that word that’s translated, I think, in the King James as what? Sicknesses? Weakness? It is sickness. It means literally unsoundness or sickness.

So, then, that which is the result of being affected by sin, our infirmities, these Jesus took so as to have them innately. But that which is the result of being infected with sin, our sicknesses, these Jesus bore. They were his only vicariously.

Now, why could he only bear them? Because if he had actually had them, he would have been defiled and rendered sinful on account of them. He would have been under condemnation on account of what he was in himself, and he couldn’t have been a sinless sacrifice.

Manuscript 166, 1898: “In his sinlessness, he could bear every transgression.” It was only his perfect sinlessness that allowed him to be our sinless substitute. The only way in which he could bear our sickness and remain the sinless one is vicariously, then. For it is a sin to be sick. What’s the reference on that? Do you happen to recall that? I wish I had that. She says it is a sin to be sick. This holds true not only in the realm of physical sickness but in mental and spiritual sickness as well. Sin has brought sickness to the whole man. Isaiah 1:5, 6 makes that clear.

In no way was Christ sin-sick, in body, mind and spirit. He had perfect health. Sin-weakened, yes, but not sin-sick. Only vicariously did he bear our sicknesses. Note how the Spirit of Prophecy develops this concept. It’s found in Youth’s Instructor, December 29, 1898: “Christ alone was able to bear the afflictions of all the human family. In all their afflictions, he was afflicted.” Listen closely. “He never bore disease in his own flesh, but he carried the sickness of others.” Isn’t that interesting. “He never bore disease in his own flesh, but he carried the sickness of others. When suffering humanity pressed about him, he who was in the health of perfect manhood was as one afflicted with them.”

Do you see how he bore our sicknesses vicariously? Youth’s Instructor, December 29, 1898: “He never bore disease in his own flesh, but he carried the sickness of others pressed about him, he who was in the health of perfect manhood was as one afflicted with them.” Now, could not this same principle, as far as physical sickness is concerned, hold true for mental and spiritual sickness, as well? Why, of course. Do you see how he doesn’t have to have the disease in order to experience the suffering? He carried it vicariously, brothers and sisters.

Reading on, that same article: “In coming to the world in human form, in becoming subject to the law, in revealing to men that he bore their sickness, their sorrow, their guilt, he did not become a sinner.” If he had borne that sickness innately, he would have been what? A sinner. But he didn’t. The very word “bore” means that it was carried vicariously, rather than his innately.

Now, question, and it’s a legitimate one, and it has to be addressed. What about the numerous times that Ellen White uses the words “sinful” and “fallen” to describe the nature that Christ assumed or, as she puts it, took upon himself in becoming incarnate? What does she mean by this expression? Does she, as some suggest, mean that he only took this sinful nature in a vicarious sense? The word is not “bore,” the word is “took.” Though I will certainly allow for a vicarious dimension, it seems to be that she is stating that he actually took what she calls a sinful or fallen nature upon himself. And what he took, he became. What, then, does she mean by this expression “sinful nature” or “fallen nature”?

To come to a correct conclusion, we must note carefully, brothers and sisters, not only the immediate context of such statements–and they are numerous–but the full spectrum of statements that she makes which relate to the issue. We could cite many examples, but let’s note one in particular. Review and Herald, December 15, 1896. And we will use this to help us understand what she means when she uses the expression “sinful nature” or “fallen nature.” Please think clearly and in a focused way with me on this issue. This is very important to understand correctly.

Review and Herald, December 15, 1896, I read: “In him was no guile or sinfulness. He was ever pure and undefiled, yet he took upon him our sinful nature.” I want to read it again. “In him was no guile or sinfulness. He was ever pure and undefiled.” What’s that in reference to? His whole life. He was ever pure and undefiled, ever. Yet he took upon him our what? Our sinful nature. What does she mean? Note a parallel statement that really helps us come to grips with what she means. It’s found in the morning watch book, Amazing Grace, page 165: “Christ, who knew not the least taint of sin or defilement, took our nature in its deteriorated condition.”

Do you see not only the parallel in structure but the parallel in thought between those two statements. Oh, I wish I had a blackboard here or an overhead transparency so that we could see that. But do you see it? First half of first statement: “In him was no guile or sinfulness. He was ever pure and undefiled.” First half of second statement: “Christ who knew not the least taint of sin or defilement.” Do you see the parallel? Second half of first statement: “He took upon him our sinful nature.” Second half of second statement: “Took our nature in its deteriorated condition.”

What, then, does she mean by sinful nature? She means clearly that he took our nature in its deteriorated condition. This expression “sinful nature” is in reference to man’s nature as affected by 4000 years of deterioration. Our nature in every sense of the word except what? Sin. Except sin. If in taking our sinful nature, brothers and sisters, think with me in that first statement; if in taking our sinful nature, which she says that he did, in him was no sinfulness and he was ever pure and undefiled, we can only conclude that what he took was our sinful nature only without sinfulness, inpurity and defilement. Does that not only make sense? I mean if he took it and he still remains sinless and pure and undefiled, then that which he took had to be free of anything that was sinful and impure and defiling. I can’t come to any other conclusion.

And the broad and consistent testimony of what else she writes supports this so clearly. For example, Bible Commentary, volume 7, page 912: “In the fullness of time he was to be revealed in human form. He was to take his position at the head of humanity by taking the nature but not the sinfulness of man.” By taking the what? The nature but not the what? The sinfulness. In other words, sinful nature he took, except its what? Its sinfulness. He took sinful nature as long as we recognize that he didn’t take that element of sin.

Again, Manuscript 143, 1897: “There should not be the faintest misgivings in regard to the perfect freedom from sinfulness in the human nature of Christ.” How can language be more clear, I ask you? So that sinful nature that he took was perfectly free from what? Sinfulness. She is using the expression “sinful nature,” as she uses the expression “fallen nature,” to refer to our nature as affected by sin after 4000 years, but not as what? Infected with sin? Do you see it?

Signs of the Times, June 9, 1898: “We should have no misgivings in regard to the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ.” I don’t know how she could state it more clearly. I really don’t. And we have to take these kinds of statements along with the other statements that say that he took our sinful nature. “We should have no misgivings in regard to the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ.”

Now, that perfect sinlessness. Just in a quick review without all of the extensive documentation that we’ve been doing upon through these several hours of study together. What constitutes the sinfulness of our nature? It’s natural depravity, which is its moral derangement, caused by the essence of depravity, which is what? Selfishness. He doesn’t have any of that. The inborn evil of the natural heart? Not that. The inherited tendencies to evil, which we established from clear parallel is evil itself, that selfish, sinful nature? That’s excluded. Inbred sin? That’s out. Inherent selfishness? That’s out. Inherent corruption? That’s out. If he had that, he’s a corrupt channel. And what’s the condition of his obedience? So defiled that unless purified by blood, it can never be of value with God. Sinful desires and a rebellious will? Those are out, too, for those are sin.

We have established each of those facts carefully as we have studied together. And whether you remember having done that, I’m not sure. But we took careful measures to establish each of those as sin under condemnation. Christ had none of these, brothers and sisters, for had he had any of them, he would have been tainted with sin in his human nature.

Manuscript 93, 1893: “He humbled himself in taking the nature of man in his fallen condition but he did not take the taint of sin.” Note the parallel. He took the human nature in its fallen condition, but he did not take the what? The sin, the taint of sin. He took the fallen condition; in other words, he took the sinful nature without its sinfulness. Are we doing violence to these statements? Does this ring true? Are we honoring what the servant of the Lord has written? I pray that we are. I honestly, brothers and sisters, have wrestled with this so long, trying to come to an understanding that honors what indeed is being said, and I have a confidence that this is truth. I would not dare to present it to you if I didn’t have that settled assurance. I will never stand up and speak to an issue until I have a confidence that it is indeed the truth. And I have a confidence in this matter.

Letter 97, 1898: “He was born without a taint of sin but came into the world in like manner as the human family.” Born without a taint of sin. That is probably one of the most clear statements that she’s ever made regarding Christ’s sinlessness, because it establishes beyond any shadow of a doubt that his sinlessness involved more than his simply not sinning. Why? Because he was born without a taint of sin. This is obviously in reference to his sinlessness of nature.

In Welfare Ministry 287: “Although he possessed a human form, yet he was without a taint of sin.”

Manuscript 93, 1893, again: “The Son of God, who is the express image of the Father’s person, became man’s advocate and redeemer. He humbled himself in taking the nature of man in his fallen condition, but he did not take the taint of sin.” I think we noted that before, didn’t we?

Youth’s Instructor, October 20, 1886. And I share as many of these with you, brothers and sisters, because I want to reassure you that this is consistent–this interpretation that we have given is consistent with the broad spectrum of what she has written on this issue. Youth’s Instructor, October 20, 1886. Listen closely. “For our sakes, he, for our sakes, laid aside his royal robe, stepped down from the throne in heaven and condescended to clothe his divinity with humanity, and became like one of us, except in sin, that his life and character should be a pattern for all to copy, and that they might have the precious gift of eternal life.” He became like one of us, except in sin.

This truth is graphically symbolized in the wilderness in what symbol? Do you recall? When the children of Israel were bitten by those venemous snakes, what was Moses instructed to do? To make a brazen serpent, and to lift it up, and all who looked would what? Would live. Who did that serpent symbolize? Jesus Christ. Listen.

Sons and Daughters, page 222: “What a strange symbol of Christ was that likeness of the serpent which stung them. This symbol was lifted on a pole and they were to look to it and be healed. So Jesus was made in the likeness of sinful flesh. He came as the Sin-bearer.” Now, brothers and sisters, I ask you, it was not a snake on Moses’ staff but a brass likeness of a snake. So, it was not a Savior made with sinful flesh on the cross; it was one who was made in the likeness of sinful flesh on the cross. No more did Christ have sinful flesh than that brazen serpent was actually a snake. He was in the likeness of sinful flesh.

Why did he come in the likeness of sinful flesh? Letter 77, 1893: “Jesus came in the likeness of sinful flesh by a pure and holy life to condemn sin in the flesh. He came to our world to represent the character of God, and it is our work to represent the character of Christ. Brothers and sisters, this is the subject that we will proceed to study. He came in the likeness of sinful flesh to live by a pure and holy life, to condemn sin in the flesh. In what ways did he condemn sin in the flesh? He condemned sin in the flesh both as our Substitute and as our Example. To condemn sin in the flesh as our Substitute, he became an offering for sin and he took all the condemnation for it in our behalf. “And there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and who walk not according to the flesh but according to the spirit.”

But he also condemned sin in the flesh as our Example. And this is why it was essential for him to come in the likeness of sinful flesh. And we will discuss that truth as we continue in our study.

Our conclusion: Likeness of sinful flesh. What does it mean? The statement that we started with. Bible Commentary, volume 5, 1124: “He took our infirmities. He was not only made flesh but he was made in the likeness of sinful flesh.”

Oh, brothers and sisters, I praise God that my Savior is enough like me to be my sympathetic Elder Brother and valid Example, and I praise God that he is enough unlike me to be my sinless Substitute, the Lord my Righteousness. As we look honestly into the depths of our hearts and confess, as the apostles did the sinfulness of our nature, can we not rejoice and be eternally grateful that our Savior is not altogether such a one as we are?

Review and Herald, September 25, 1900: “Not to see the marked contrast between Christ and ourselves is not to know ourselves. He who does not abhor himself cannot understand the meaning of redemption.” Oh, brothers and sisters, I submit that, if we would spend more time beholding the righteousness, the infinite perfection of Christ’s character, we would see more distinctly the depths of our own sinfulness. And then we would never dare to even try to make Christ altogether like we are. Praise God that he’s not for we need a sinless Substitute. But praise God that he is like us enough to be a valid Example. And we’ll study that together as we proceed. Let’s pray.

 

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

 

Manuscript 67, 1898 “in itself the act of consenting to be a man would be no act of humiliation were it not for the fact of Christ’s exalted pre-existence and the fallen condition of man.”

Rom 8:3 “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did, by sending His Own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin (for sin), He condemned sin in the flesh.”

ST Mar 30, 1904 “Man has fallen.  By disobedience He is depraved in inclination and weakened in powers.”

5BC 1124 “He took our infirmities.  He was not only made flesh, but He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh.”

Manuscript 77, 1898 “God’s law condemns sin in the flesh.”

RH Jan 7, 1904 “The Saviour came to the world in lowliness, and lived as a man among men.  On all points, except sin, divinity was to touch humanity.”

Heb 2:17 “Therefore in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.  For in that He Himself has suffered being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.”

YI Oct 20, 1886 “For our sakes He laid aside His royal robe, stepped down from the throne in heaven, and condescended to clothe His divinity with humility and become like one of us, except in sin.”

PP 68 “The days of man would be shortened by his own course of sin.  He would deteriorate in physical stature and endurance, and in moral and intellectual power, until the world would be filled with misery of every type.”

RH Aug 29, 1899 “When Christ came to the world, moral power was at a low ebb.”

RH Oct 11, 1881 “Our Redeemer perfectly understood the wants of humanity.  He who condescended to take upon Himself man’s nature was acquainted with man’s weakness.  Christ lived as our example.  He was tempted in all points as we are, that He might know how to succor all who should be tempted.  He has trodden the path of life before us and endured the severest tests in our behalf.  Christ took upon Himself our infirmities, and in the weakness of humanity, He needed to seek strength from His Father.  He was often found in earnest prayer.”

AA 561 (Men who would rather die than knowingly transgress God’s law) “confess the sinfulness of their nature.”

DA 117 “Christ took upon Him the infirmities of degenerate humanity.”

ST Apr 17, 1884 “Jesus knows our infirmities and has Himself shared our experience in all things but in sin, therefore,  He has prepared for us a path suited to our strength and capacity.”

5BC 1128 (Letter 8, 1895) “Be careful, exceedingly careful as to how you dwell upon the human nature of Christ.  Do not set Him before the people as a man with the propensities of sin.  He is the Second Adam.  The first Adam was created a pure sinless being without a taint of sin upon him, he was in the image of God.  He could fall, and he did fall through transgressing.  Because of sin, his posterity was born with inherent propensities of disobedience.  But Jesus Christ was the only begotten Son of God.  He took upon Himself human nature and was tempted in all points as human nature is tempted.  He could have sinned, He could have fallen, but not for one moment was there in Him an evil propensity.  He was assailed with temptations in the wilderness as Adam was assailed with temptations in Eden.”

Manuscript 99, 1903 “Before his fall, Adam was free from the results of the curse.  When he was assailed by the tempter, none of the effects of sin were upon him.  Christ, the Second Adam, came in the likeness of sinful flesh.  In man’s behalf He became subject to sorrow, to weariness, to hunger and to thirst.  He was subject to temptation, but He yielded not to sin.  No taint of sin was upon Him.”

YI June 2, 1898 “Adam was endowed with a nature, pure and sinless…..Christ is called the Second Adam.  In purity and holiness, connected with God and beloved by God, He began where the first Adam began.  Willingly He passed over the ground where Adam fell and redeemed Adam’s failure.”

7BC 925 “He was born without the taint of sin, but came into the world in like manner as the human family.”

YI June 2, 1898 “He began where the first Adam began.”

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.”

RH Sep 17, 1895 “Human nature is depraved and is justly condemned by a holy God.”

PP 373 “The apostle Paul clearly presents the relation between faith and the law under the new covenant.  He says, ‘Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (Rom 5:1).   ‘Do we then make void the law through faith?  God forbid.  Yea, we establish the law.’ (Rom 3:31)  ‘For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh,’ –it could not justify man, because in his sinful nature he could not keep the law–’God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.’” (Rom 8:3,4)

1SM 363 “Christ satisfied the demands of the law in His human nature.  He bore the curse of the law for the sinner, made an atonement for him, that ‘whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ (John 3:16)  Genuine faith appropriates the righteousness of Christ and the sinner is made an overcomer with Christ, for he is a partaker of the divine nature, and thus divinity, and humanity are combined.”

Bible Echoes Jan 9, 1899 “In His human nature He maintained the purity of His divine character.”

Bible Echoes Jan 16, 1899 “During His life on earth, Christ went about doing good.  His sensibilities were most acute, for in Him was all that is elevated in mind, exalted in sentiment, and fine and delicate in feeling.  In His human nature was seen the perfection of humanity.”

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…. Oh, that all may see that everything in obedience must be placed upon the glowing fire of the righteousness of Christ.”

FLB 87 “By nature we are alienated from God.  The Holy Spirit describes our condition in such words as these, ‘Dead in trespasses and sins.’ (Eph 2:1)  ‘The whole head is sick, the whole heart faint.  No soundness in it.’” (Isa 1:5,6)

2SM 186 “When sin strikes inwardly, it assails the most noble part of man’s being.  It makes terrible confusion and havoc with man’s Godlike faculties and powers.  While physical disease prostrates the body, the disease of selfishness and covetousness blasts the soul.”

MH 451 “Through sin the whole human organism is deranged, the mind perverted, the imagination corrupted.  Sin has degraded the faculties of the soul.”

Letter 69, 1897 “Sin is a disease, a cancer, that is eating away all your prospect of a future holy, happy, sinless life in the heavenly family above.”

RH Nov 29, 1887 “From the cross to the crown, there is earnest work to be done, there is wrestling with inbred sin.”

17MR 24 “He humbled Himself in taking the nature of man in his fallen condition, but he did not take the taint of sin.” (Ms 93, 1893, p. 3)

5BC 1131 “In taking upon Himself man’s nature in its fallen condition, Christ did not in the least participate in its sin.  He was subject to the infirmities and weaknesses by which man is encompassed, ‘that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet saying ‘Himself took our infirmities and bear our sicknesses.’’ (Matt 8:17)  He was touched with the feeling of our infirmities and was in all points tempted like as we are, and yet He ‘knew no sin.’(2 Cor 5:21)  He was the Lamb ‘without blemish and without spot.’” (1 Peter 1:19)

Matt 8:17 “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet saying, He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.”

Manuscript 166, 1898 “In His sinlessness, He could bear every transgression.”

YI Dec 29, 1898 “Christ alone was able to bear the afflictions of all the human family.  In all their afflictions, He was afflicted.  He never bore disease in His own flesh, but He carried the sickness of others.  When suffering humanity pressed about Him, He who was in the health of perfect manhood was the One afflicted with them.  In coming to the world in human form, in becoming subject to the law, in revealing to men that He bore their sickness, their sorrow, their quilt, He did not become a sinner.”

RH DEC 15, 1896 “In Him was no guile or sinfulness.  He was ever pure and undefiled, yet He took upon Him our sinful nature.”

AG 165 “Christ, who knew not the least taint of sin or defilement, took our nature in its deteriorated condition.”

7BC 912 “In the fullness of time He was to be revealed in human form.  He was to take His position at the head of humanity by taking the nature but not the sinfulness of man.”

Manuscript 143, 1897 “There should not be the faintest misgivings in regard to the perfect freedom from sinfulness in the human nature of Christ.”

ST June 9, 1898 “We should have no misgivings in regard to the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ.”

7MR 24 (Manuscript 93, 1893) “He humbled Himself in taking the nature of man in his fallen condition, but He did not take the taint of sin.”

Letter 97, 1898 “He was born without a taint of sin, but came into the world in like manner as the human family.”

WM 287 “Although He possessed a human form, yet He was without a taint of sin.”

Manuscript 93, 1893 “The Son of God, who is the ‘express image’ of the Father’s person, (Heb 1:3) became man’s advocate and redeemer.  He humbled Himself in taking the nature of man in his fallen condition, but He did not take the taint of sin.”

YI Oct 20, 1886 “He, for our sakes, laid aside His royal robe, stepped down from the throne in heaven, and condescended to clothe His divinity with humanity, and became like one of us, except in sin, that His life and character should be a pattern for all to copy, and that they might have the precious gift of eternal life.”

SD 222 “What a strange symbol of Christ was that likeness of the serpents which stung them.  This symbol was lifted on a pole and they were to look to it and be healed.  So Jesus was made in the likeness of sinful flesh.  He came as the sin-bearer.”

Letter 77, 1893 “Jesus came in the likeness of sinful flesh by a pure and holy life to condemn sin in the flesh.  He came to our world to represent the character of God, and it is our work to represent the character of Christ.”

5BC 1124 “He took our infirmities.  He was not only made flesh but He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh.”

RH Sep 25, 1900 “Not to see the marked contrast between Christ and ourselves is not to know ourselves.  He who does not abhor himself cannot understand the meaning of redemption.”

😉

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