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Character development is said to be the most important work ever entrusted to human beings. During the next hour we will explore both our privilege and our responsibility to become Christ-like in character. Join us now for this powerful time of personal renewal as Pastor Stephen Wallace takes us “From Glory to Glory.”

Thank you for coming. It’s a privilege to continue in our study entitled “From Glory to Glory,” a seminar on the principles of Christian character development. We are in the midst of considering the ultimate revelation of God’s glory, and that is in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. You remember we listed seven ways, seven places, in which God revealed His glory to us. Top on the list was Jesus Christ, who the Scripture refers to, as “the brightness of His Father’s Glory.” {Heb 1:3} We told you, that we were just going to note that in passing, the fact that Christ was the ultimate revelation of God’s glory; because we would come back and devote several studies to the revelation of God’s glory in Jesus Christ. Those are the studies that we are in right now. We started them last night and we are going to continue tonight, and we will stay focused on the ultimate revelation of God’s glory; just as long as God’s Spirit indicates and leads.

Tonight’s study – as you see from the printout – is quite lengthy, and so I’m going to hurry into the material. But, we must never be too pressed to pause and invite God’s Spirit to come into our hearts. Amen? God forbid, my dear friends, that we be so presumptuous, as to proceed without inviting the Holy Spirit to give us that spiritual discernment, that we do not have by nature – but that by grace, is available. Indeed, I want to assure you that our asking for the Holy Spirit, is not done, so that we can convince the Father to give us something that He is hesitant to give us; but if we coax Him long enough, and plead hard enough, He’ll finally do it. Oh no, a thousand times no… The Father longs to pour out His Spirit upon His children. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} In fact as the Bible says, even more than we as parents who love our children, delight in giving them good gifts; He delights in giving us the Holy Spirit. {Lk 11:13} So then, why do we ask? It is to prepare our own hearts to receive what the Father longs to give, by acknowledging our need and exercising our free will – choosing to allow Him to give us, what He wants to give us. “Ask and it shall be given.” {Mat 7:7} So please, join me again as is our practice on your knees, for a few moments of silent prayer; and as you pray for yourself, please pray for me.

My Father in Heaven, in the name of the Jesus Christ, the Lord our Righteousness; I come in my own behalf and in behalf of my blood-bought brothers and sisters here. First of all, to thank You for the privilege of belonging to You, being your sons and daughters. We thank You for the infinite price that has been paid to make that possible. We are so grateful that because of Jesus – our Elder Brother – we are acceptable in Your sight, and we have access to Your infinitely righteous throne. We come with a holy boldness, hearing You say of Jesus, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” And knowing that You include us in and with Him, that gives us confidence to come to You tonight; and ask You that You would graciously pour out upon us, Your Holy Spirit. You know how desperately I need Your Spirit, Father. I want to lift up Jesus tonight. The fullness of Your glory has been revealed in Him, the Word made flesh. Father, I am acutely aware of my inadequacies when it comes to trying to do justice, to the beauty of Jesus. Human thoughts and human language fall so far short of doing justice to the One who is all together lovely, the Chiefest among ten thousand. But Father, I pray that You would condescend to use an earthen vessel, and by the power of Holy Spirit, take the inadequacy of human thought and human language; and by a miracle of grace, please let Jesus be lifted up tonight. I claim His promise, “I, if I be lifted up will draw all unto Me.” In beholding Jesus, may we be changed… into the likeness of what we behold. Please grant this prayer, for I ask it in Jesus’ name and for His sake. Amen.

You picked up your new insert upon entering tonight, I trust; and we are now on page 17, lesson 9. Welcome, welcome. The title of this lesson: “The Brightness of His Glory.” Hebrews 1:3. We studied that remarkable Hebrew poem last night. You remember, don’t you? A poem not because the phrases rhyme, but poetry the way Hebrews made poetry. Parallelism: saying the same thing, but in a different way. The two lines of that beautiful poem, describe very clearly how Christ fulfilled His mission to reveal God’s glory to man. The first line: “Who being the brightness of His glory.” The second: “the express image of His person.”

“The brightness of His glory” – that tells us that Christ was the undiminished outshining of His Father’s character. He wasn’t just a faint reflection. He was the brightness, the undiminished outshining of His Father’s glory; and remember, of course, “glory” means “character.”

Then, the second line: “The express image of His Father.” Somebody encourage me, what’s the Greek word that’s translated “express image?” “Khar-ak-tare, khar-ak-tare.” Used once in the New Testament, right here in this poem. It’s from this Greek word that we get our English word “character,” and scores of other languages get the same word; and that’s a very interesting word – we did a word study on it.

What I want to consider with you tonight, is how it is possible for Jesus Christ to be the brightness of His Father’s glory, – the express image of His person – while being a man… While being a man… You see, it’s imperative to understand that this poem refers to Christ incarnate. In the context of Hebrews, that’s made clear. One could argue, that this would rightly describe Christ before the incarnation. As He was at the right hand of the throne of God, surely He was “the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person.” But my dear friends, I insist that this poem applies to Christ incarnate. Inspiration confirms this for us. Youth Instructor, November 21, 1895: “Looking upon Christ in the flesh…” What are we talking about? Christ incarnate, Christ as a man. “Looking upon Christ in the flesh, we look upon God in humanity, and see in Him the brightness of divine glory, the express image of God the Father.” What language is she clearly using? The language of Hebrews 1:3, and using it in reference to Christ in the flesh, Christ incarnate.

The Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 2, page 9: “He was in the express image of His Father, not in features only, but in perfection of character.” He is the brightness of His Father’s character. As we noted earlier – but I must note again, because it’s so significant – if Christ is the brightness of His Father’s character, then, He must reveal an infinitely perfect character. For by definition, the character perfection of God would be, what? …infinite, without measure. Did Christ reveal such? Absolutely. Again inspiration confirms it. Testimonies, Volume 6, page 60: “The life of Christ revealed an infinitely perfect character.” How perfect was the character that the life of Christ revealed, my friends? How perfect? Infinitely perfect. It was, indeed, the brightness of His Father’s glory.

Now, how can that possibly be? Can that be said of any of Adam’s fallen descendants? Absolutely, most emphatically no. What must be said of all of us? Romans 3:23: “All have sinned and,” what? “…fall short of the glory…” So, obviously there’s something significantly different between the fallen descendants of Adam and Jesus Christ, isn’t there? He is the brightness of His Father’s glory. All of us fall short of the glory. Are we together?

Let me ask another question and this is a little more challenging. “The brightness of His Father’s glory,” could that be said even of Adam before the fall? Could it be said of Adam before the fall? A little courage… I’ve got a mixed response here and that’s good. We’re stirring up your minds and getting you to think. My dear friends, listen to this remarkable statement. Patriarchs and Prophets, page 45: “Man was to bear God’s image, both in outward resemblance and in character. Christ alone is ‘the express image’ of the Father; but man was formed in the,” what? “…likeness of God. His nature was in harmony with the will of God. His mind was capable of comprehending divine things. His affections were pure; His appetites and passions were under the control of reason. He was holy and happy in bearing the image of God and in perfect obedience to His will.” Obviously, she is talking about Adam before the fall. Yet please notice that Adam before the fall, in his sinless state, was still only in the what? “…the likeness of God.” Whereas the second Adam is the, what? “…the express image.” Isn’t that interesting? In other words, Jesus Christ incarnate is far more perfect a revelation of the character of God than even sinless Adam was. Yes.

Again I ask the question, how can it be? How can Christ, though a man, be the brightness of His Father’s glory? …the express image of His person? The answer to that question lies, in part, in the fact that Christ was not only a man, He was also God. In part, I repeat, the answer to that question: How could Christ, though a man, be the brightness of His Father’s glory? lies in the fact that He was not only a man, but He was also God. How much God was He? A hundred percent God. How much man was He? A hundred percent man. I know that 200 percent doesn’t make mathematical sense, but my dear friends, that’s the mystery of the incarnation. That’s the mystery of the incarnation.

Please know and consider with me, the fact that Christ – the brightness of His Father’s glory – was fully man and fully God, at the same time. Philippians 2:5 and following: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the,” what? “…likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Now please know, that when Paul says that He came in “the likeness of men,” and was “found in appearance as a man,” he is not telling us that Jesus was just pretending to be a man, and just took a human apparition. He was actually man. But my dear friends, it says “likeness of men,” because He was not only man, He was also, what? …God.

You see, the word “likeness” is a word that you use when you want to indicate that there are similarities but you also want to allow for differences. Does that make sense? …and when Paul says that He is in “the likeness of men,” he’s not saying, that He’s not really a man, but he’s saying He’s not just a man, He’s also God. You see, this verse… is, I think, better translated in the Revised Version. In fact, Spirit of Prophecy quotes the Revised Version when it quotes this verse in Desire of Ages, page 22. Note it carefully: “Christ, ‘being in the form of God counted it not a thing to be grasped to be on an equality with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men.'” Interesting… In the New King James and in the King James it says: “did not consider it robbery to be equal with God.” But the Revised Version said, that Christ “counted it not a thing to be grasped, to be on an equality with God.” You see, Christ was perfectly equal with God. Amen?

But He loved us so much that He was willing to let go of that, and assume the humble position of a man in order to save us. This is radically opposite from the character of Satan, isn’t it? Satan, a creature, says: “I will be like the most high God.” He seeks to grasp divinity. Whereas Christ, the Creator – the divine Son of God – lets go of divinity, to save the creature. You’ve got to love a God like that. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} Radically opposite. We have on display here the 2 characters: the character of Satan and the character of Christ. One seeking to usurp divinity. One being willing to let go of the divine prerogatives and privileges of divinity to be a man – in order to save man. But not just a man, a man who was going to be despised and rejected {Is 53:3}; a man born in poverty, without even a place to lay His head {Mat 8:20} …that He could call His own. You’ve got to love a Lord like that, my friends. You’ve got to love a Lord like that.

But please know, that when Scripture says, “He emptied Himself,” {Phil 2:7} it is not suggesting that Christ gave up His divinity when He became a man. It is telling us that He relinquished all of the privileges and prerogatives of His divine form and office, and assumed the humble state of a human being. Note how inspiration speaks to this. In reference to Christ, Colossians 2:9: “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead,” how? “bodily.” That’s in reference to Christ incarnate. “In Him dwelt,” what? “…all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” So, when He became incarnate, He didn’t empty Himself of divinity. No indeed; He was filled with divinity bodily. We can be filled by faith. “But faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” {Heb 11:1} Christ was filled bodily.

That is why you could actually see, on occasion, in-dwelling divinity. There were several instances in Christ’s experience in which divinity flashed through humanity. {DA 590.4} That’s because that human tent was in-dwelt how? …bodily. Let’s go back to the type, the sanctuary on the Sinai desert floor, the type of Christ incarnate as we studied last night. It was built, so that God could, what? …in-dwell it. “Let them make Me a sanctuary, that I might,” what? “…dwell among them;” {Ex 25:8} and God actually in-dwelt that tent, and His in-dwelling presence was manifested in the Shekinah aura that enveloped it. So, it was with the anti-type. So, was with the anti-type; He was in-dwelt bodily.

Review and Herald, June 15, 1905: “He, Christ, veiled His divinity with the garb of humanity, but He did not part with His divinity.” Are we all clear? He did not part with His divinity. Yes, He assumed humanity, but He still retained what? …divinity. Reading on: “A divine-human Savior, He came to stand at the head of the fallen race, to share in their experience from childhood to manhood.” Here’s another precious insight regarding the fact that He was not only man, but fully God. Bible Commentary, Volume 5, page 1113: “Was the human nature of the Son of Mary changed into the divine nature of the Son of God? No; the two natures were mysteriously blended in one person – the man Christ Jesus. In Him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. When Christ was crucified, it was His human nature that died. Deity did not sink and die; that would have been impossible.”

My dear friends, when we contemplate the fact that, it was the infinite, eternal, omnipotent, divine, person of the Godhead, – that chose to be born a little helpless baby to human peasant parents – it is absolutely beyond comprehension. That condescension, that sacrifice, that willingness to empty Himself, is a beautiful revelation of the character – the glory of God. Remember He says, “If you’ve seen Me, you’ve,” what? “…you’ve seen the Father.” {Jn 14:9}

Youth’s Instructor, November 21, 1895: “The more we think about Christ’s becoming a babe here on earth, the more wonderful it appears. How can it be that the helpless babe in Bethlehem’s manger is still the divine Son of God?” Amazing, isn’t it? “Though we cannot understand it, we can believe that He who made the worlds, for our sakes became a helpless babe. Though higher than any of the angels, though as great as the Father on the throne of Heaven, He became one with us. In Him God and man became one, and it is this fact that we find the hope of our fallen race.”

So in part, the answer to our question – “How could Christ though a man, be the brightness of His Father’s glory?” – lies in the fact that He was not only a man, but He was also God. But my friends, the answer to our question also lies in the fact that He was unique, even as a man.

Now bless your hearts, right here is where I am acutely aware that we are moving into controversial territory; and I have been wrestling all day, believe me. By the way, I am preparing these printouts during the day, and I’ve been wrestling with whether or not to broach this topic. But there have been some conversations, and as I have prayerfully considered this, the Lord has impressed me that we are to go ahead and address this issue. My dear friends, it is absolutely imperative that we have a correct understanding of the humanity of Jesus Christ, as well as the fact that He was divine. I don’t think there’s anyone in this church that does not recognize that Christ had a divine nature. But, there is a significant diversity in this beloved church of ours, regarding the human nature of Jesus Christ; and therein, lies the controversy. As I mentioned, last night I believe it was, I want to weep when I see how un-christlike we can get… talking to each other about the nature of Christ. God help us… And there’s great division amongst us. Now, if this were just a side issue, I would certainly be willing to ignore it. But is it a side issue? When you’re talking about Jesus Christ, is it a side issue, my friends? Far from it.

Jesus Christ is the heart and core of the whole plan of salvation. What we do with Him takes the whole plan with it. Did you get that? What we do with Christ, takes the whole plan with it. This is why we have, even amongst us as people, some very radically different understandings of even the plan of salvation. Because we have some very different, radically different understandings regarding Him – in whom we have salvation – Jesus Christ, in the area of His humanity… in the area of His humanity. Now my friends, having made those comments, work with me please. I don’t know what your preconceptions are in this matter, but please, would you be willing to set those aside?

You see, we are going to be approaching holy ground here. Remember when Moses was out on the Sinai desert herding sheep? He saw, what? …a burning bush and he was curious; and he started to come to observe it, and what did the Lord say? “Take off your shoes, this is,” what? “…holy ground.” {Ex 3:5} Do you realize that inspiration tells us specifically that that burning bush was a type of Christ incarnate? {DA 23.2} A type of Christ incarnate – A lowly little bush filled with what? …fire. Now, it wasn’t so strange that a bush was burning. Moses has seen bushes burn before. But what was absolutely remarkable, indeed miraculous, about this bush, is that it wasn’t consumed; and what is so miraculous about the incarnation, is that the in-dwelling divinity and the infinite glory of divinity, did not consume the human tent in which it dwelt. You see, God’s glory is as, a what? …a consuming fire to sin. {Heb 12:29} Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} …and yet, here God’s infinite glory is in-dwelling a human body, and yet, the human body is not consumed. We are about to contemplate that mystery of all mysteries {6BC 1082.6} and we need to, what? …take off our shoes, and that includes taking off the shoes of preconception; and we need to be humble and teachable in our spirit. {GC 599.1} Do I hear an amen? {Amen} We need to allow inspiration to instruct our understanding, rather than vice versa. Do you hear what I’m trying to warn you about? It is so easy for us to come with our preconceptions to the study of God’s Word and then force them on inspiration, and make inspiration support our preconceptions. Can you do that? Yes, you can… and if you cut and paste just right, and pick and choose just right; you can get inspiration to support just about anything. Do you hear what I’m telling you? My dear friends, God help us take the advice and set aside shoes of self-sufficiency, and our own philosophies and preconceptions; and come with a teachable spirit to consider this mystery of mysteries. Are you willing to that? Good.

Romans 8:3. This humanity that Christ assumed, what does this verse inform us regarding it? “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the,” what? “…the likeness of sinful flesh…” Now please notice my dear friends, please notice, that Paul intentionally, and very precisely, and carefully, uses the word “likeness” here. Paul does not say, “for what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in sinful flesh.” He didn’t say that… He didn’t say that He had been sent in sinful flesh. He said that He was sent in the, what? “…in the likeness of sinful flesh.” Now, is it significant that he puts that word “likeness,” in there? Yes it is, and by the way, this is the same word, “likeness,” that we noted over here in Philippians 2; when He came “in the likeness of men.” Are you following this? “Likeness” is a word that you use when there are similarities, but there are also, what? …differences. When He came as a man, was He just a man? No. He was also what? …God. That’s why it says, He was “in the likeness of men,” and had the “appearance” of man, because He was also, what at the same time? …God. Now that same word, the same author, Paul, uses here in this verse when he says, He came “in the likeness of sinful flesh.” “Likeness” allows for similarities, communicates that there are similarities, but allows for what? …differences, differences.

Now my dear friends, it’s important at this point for us to consider, what happened to human nature at the fall. There are two consequences of sin upon human nature, that I want you to recognize with me… please – two. The first we could describe this way: Man became infected with sin. Man became what? …infected with sin. Now, what is it that infected the human heart at the fall? It was selfishness, precisely. Remember how inspiration defined it? Selfishness took the place of love. {SC 17.1} Now, is selfishness sin? Come on, a little courage – Is selfishness sin? Absolutely. Remember: “Under the heading of selfishness comes every other sin.” {4T 384.3} Selfishness is the essence of all sin. Selfishness is the spirit that comprehends all sin. Precisely as love is to obedience, selfishness is to disobedience. Selfishness is the spirit of Satan, just as love is the Spirit of Christ. When selfishness took the place of love in human nature, human nature became infected with sin. Are you with me? Infected with sin… infected by sin… and it caused a moral derangement of man’s whole being, called “depravity.” {Mar 153.4} OK? Man was infected with sin, and he became, what? …depraved. All of his faculties, which before the fall were exercised to gratify and glorify God, governed by love; after the fall, governed by selfishness, – are now exercised to gratify and glorify self. There is a fundamental moral derangement. He has a bent towards evil {2MR 269.1}, a propensity to self-gratification, self-glorification. That is being infected with sin. OK? That is one of the consequences of the fall.

Follow, there is another. As a consequence of the fall, man was also affected by sin. He was, what? …he was affected by sin. Sin caused him, for example, to be severed from access to the tree of life. {Gen 3:22} Are you following this? …and he no longer then, had that marvelous provision whereby his life energies were renewed, and he began to deteriorate. He became subject to mortality. This is not sinful itself; it is the consequence of sin. These are the innocent infirmities that result from sin. It’s not a sin to be mortal; it is the consequence of sin. It is sinful to be depraved. Are you understanding what I’m trying to nuance for you here?

As infected with sin, man became subject to immorality. As affected by sin, man became subject to mortality. Is that helpful?

As infected by sin, man became depraved. As affected by sin, man began to deteriorate.

As infected, all of the function of his powers were deranged. As affected, all of his powers and faculties diminished in their strength. Is this helpful?

Are you seeing what I’m trying to nuance for you here? These, we call innocent infirmities, which are the consequence of sin; these, we will call sinful propensities, which are due to sin itself. Is that clear?

Now… Adam before the fall was neither infected with sin nor affected by sin. He had neither sinful propensities nor innocent infirmities. He had absolutely no bent towards evil, and he had no proneness to decay and mortality – neither of them. After the fall he has both. Are you following this? He has both.

Now, the second Adam, Jesus Christ – what is it that He assumes? …that makes Him what Paul says, “in the likeness of sinful flesh?” What does He assume? He assumes all of the deterioration, but none of the depravity. Are you with me? Did you see what I tried to explain there? Christ took a nature that had been weakened. Had been, what? …weakened by 4,000 years. {DA 117.1} Now, the most obvious dimension was His physical stature. Was He 15-plus feet tall, like Adam was? Inspiration gives us a pretty good insight into how tall Adam was, approximately 15 feet. {1SP 24.2} By the way, to be well proportioned at that altitude, you’ve got to weigh about 2,500 pounds. That was a marvelous specimen, my friends. But look what happened to human race after the fall. You can see what happens to the lifespan of the race, especially after the flood and meat – by the way – is introduced into the dietary. {PC 1.3} We just plummet. Now, when the second Adam comes, is He 15 feet tall? No. He’s a head taller than the average man, inspiration tells us, but He certainly isn’t as tall as Adam was. Why? Because He had assumed human nature that was subject to 4,000 years of deterioration. Are you following this? His physical nature was deteriorated by 4,000 years. Now, would that also have affected that physical organ called “the brain”? Would it? Why yes, of course! Therefore, His mental capacities are, what? …diminished. When you diminish the mental faculties, what is the highest function of the mental faculties? It’s the spiritual nature, and that too is diminished. So, Christ assumes “the likeness of sinful flesh” in that He takes the deterioration of 4,000 years. Is He subject to mortality? Is Christ subject to mortality? Yes, He is. He’s subject to mortality. He has all of the innocent infirmities.

But my dear friends, is He subject to immorality? Does He have the depravity? Does He have the selfishness? Absolutely most emphatically, He does not. He does not. Now, why is this so important? My dear friends, if Christ had assumed any of the selfishness, which is sin itself, He would have thereby, been sinful in Himself; and if He is in any way sinful in Himself, He can no longer be our substitute. Are you with me on this? He has to be absolutely sinless in order to be hanging on the cross for your sins and mine. If in any way He is sinful, then who is He on the cross for? Who is He on the cross for? He is on the cross for Himself. Please understand this. Please understand this. Bible Commentary, Volume 5, page 1131: “In taking upon Himself man’s nature in its fallen condition,” In its what? …fallen condition – 4,000 years of deterioration – “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 bare our sicknesses.’ He was touched with the feelings of our infirmities, and was tempted in all points like as we are. And yet He,” what? “…He ‘knew no sin.’ He was the Lamb ‘without blemish and without spot.’ …We should have no misgivings in regard to the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ.”

Now, that’s a pretty clear statement, isn’t it? “We should have no misgivings in regard to the” what, my friends? The relative sinlessness? No. The what? “…the perfect sinlessness” – of the human character of Christ? Is that was she’s saying? No, “of the human…” what? “…nature of Christ.” By the way, why should we have no misgivings? Because if we have any misgivings regarding the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ, we have no assurance that we have a substitute that either has a righteousness sufficient to meet the law in our behalf, or who can die for our sins, rather than His own. So, it’s imperative that we “have no misgivings regarding the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ.”

Now, we can gain a very significant insight into the human nature of Christ, by listening in on what He says to the Father, just prior to becoming incarnate, just prior to assuming that body that was prepared for Him. {Heb 10:5} We go to Psalm 40 to listen in, on that conversation. By the way, I’m authorized to do this, because in Hebrews, chapter 10, Paul quotes from this very passage; and he quotes it as the words of Christ just prior to assuming that body that has been prepared for Him. You can do a further study on that if you choose to. Psalm 40. What does He say to the Father? “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; My ears You have opened; Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require. Then I said, ‘Behold, I come; in the scroll of the Book it is written of Me.'” Where is He coming? He is coming to planet Earth, to assume that body that has been prepared for Him – to be born a babe in Bethlehem’s manger. What does He say to the Father? Verse 8: “‘I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is,'” where? “‘…within My heart.'” Now, when Christ became a man, my brother, sister, whose law was in His heart? The law of God. Please understand that. The law of God was in His heart. The law of love was the law that governed that human heart of Christ incarnate.

You see, again that’s confirmed by looking at the sanctuary, which is, remember; a type of Christ incarnate. What law was written upon those tables of stone? Was it the law of selfishness? …like is written on all of our hearts as a natural inheritance? No, it was the law of, what? …it was the law of love. Listen. Steps to Christ, page 61: “…if the love of God dwells in us, our feelings, our thoughts, our purposes, our actions, will be in harmony with the will of God as expressed in the precepts of His holy law… Righteousness is defined by the standard of God’s holy law, as expressed in the ten precepts given on Sinai… Jesus said of Himself before He came to earth, ‘I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.'” That’s what we just read, Psalm 40:8. Now listen: “And just before He ascended again to heaven He declared, ‘I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.'” {Jn 15:10} In other words, through the whole duration of the human life of Christ incarnate, what law was not only written upon His heart? But, what law was He continually in perfect obedience to? …the law of God, the law of love. This is precisely why, my dear friends, Jesus Christ was a perfect revelation of the character of God – from the very beginning. This is also why Jesus Christ never had to be converted. Did Christ have to be converted? Did He have to go to the foot of the cross, like all of us do and cry out, “Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right Spirit within me”? {Ps 51:10} Did He have to do such a thing? No Did He have to be born again? No. Why? Because at His natural birth, He had the law of God written upon His heart. Are you understanding this? You see, His birth, please understand… was unique. He was the only begotten {Jn 1:14}, the uniquely begotten – “monogenes” {Strong’s #3439} is the Greek word – the uniquely begotten Son of God.

Luke gives us an insight into His unique position, as far as conception and birth is concerned. Luke 1:35: “And the angel answered and said to her,” Who’s He speaking to? …Mary. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, therefore also that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” Interesting. What is Jesus at birth, called? “That Holy One.” My dear friends, can that be said of any other human being? …at birth, come on now, can it? Not accurately. We are by nature children of wrath. {Eph 2:3} What does David confess of all of us? “Behold I was brought forth in iniquity and in sin my mother conceived me.” {Ps 51:5} Why are we born in a state of sin? Because we are conceived by sinful parentage.

But here is a Unique One. He is conceived by whom, folks? Brothers, sisters, who? …The Holy Spirit. Therefore, at birth He is, what? …He is holy. The Holy Spirit wouldn’t conceive anything but that which is holy. He is holy because He’s conceived by the Holy Spirit; and that unique birth and conception, makes Him a unique child. This is why Jesus, even growing up, never manifested any sinful behavior; even before the age of accountability – even before He knew the difference between right and wrong, per se. He still was always a perfect revelation of His Father… …a perfect revelation of the Father. Listen to this remarkable statement. Youth’s Instructor, September 8, 1898: “No one, looking upon the childlike countenance, shining with animation, could say that Christ was just like other children. He was God in human flesh. {1 Tim 3:16} When urged by His companions to do wrong, divinity flashed through humanity” – as a child we’re talking about – “…and He refused decidedly. In a moment He distinguished between right and wrong.” Why? Because the law of God was written upon His heart. Reading on: “…and placed sin in the light of God’s commands, holding up the law as a mirror which reflected light upon wrong.” Remarkable, isn’t it?

Jesus wasn’t just like all other children. Now, what other insight do we get from this conversation between the Son of God and His Father; just prior to becoming incarnate? He says, “I delight to do Your will.” I, what? “…I delight to do Your will.” You see, please understand that the human will of Jesus Christ – right from the very beginning of His human pilgrimage – was perfectly submitted to, and in harmony with, the will of God; and I don’t say that, on my own authority. In fact my dear friends, I dare say nothing to you on my own authority. Listen. Signs of the Times, October 29, 1894: “He, Jesus Christ, began life,” He what? “He began life.” When do you begin life? Pause here.

When do you begin life? Wow, we’re in another controversial topic here, aren’t we? As if we don’t have enough on our plate already. Well, the whole abortion issue is, you know, got us really arguing over when life begins. We can all agree at least at birth, right? You begin life at least at birth. Personally, I believe it’s before that… it’s at conception.

But please note here, what inspiration is telling us. “He began life, passed through its experiences, and ended its record with a,” what? “…a sanctified human will.” My dear friends, the will is the governing power in the nature of man – the power of decision, the power of choice. Can that be said of any other human being that’s ever been born on the face of the earth, of fallen parentage? Do we begin life with a sanctified human will? Do we? No! “The carnal mind is,” what? “…enmity against God.” “It is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed,” what? “…can be!” {Rom 8:7} That’s the condition all of us are born in. In a condition of rebellion. Our will is in rebellion against the law of God. Why? Because it’s tyrannized by the law of selfishness. That’s why we have natural enmity against God and His law.

Obviously, Jesus is somewhat different than all the rest of us, isn’t He? Are we all together on this? Jesus “began life, passed through its experiences, and ended its record with a sanctified human will.” But listen to the next sentence; and this is where the challenge comes, dear friends. “He was tempted in all points like as we are, and yet because He kept His will surrendered and sanctified, He never bent in the slightest degree toward the doing of evil, or toward manifesting rebellion against God.” Very interesting! Profound insight here. Please grasp it. Christ began life with a, what? …a sanctified human will; and yet, having no bent, not even the slightest degree towards evil, having never come close to manifesting rebellion towards God; what is it that we are told He experienced? …temptation. Not only temptation, but “He was tempted in all” things, what? “…like as we are.” Oh, here’s the same word, used by the same author – this time in Hebrews, the word what? “Like.” Like. Interesting… Three times Paul uses, “like” when he’s talking about Christ incarnate.

The first time he says, He’s like men. {Phil 2:7} The next time he says, He’s “in the likeness of sinful flesh.” {Rom 8:3} Now, we are told that He’s “tempted in all points like as we are.” {Heb 4:15}

Now, that word “like,” remember, it is one you use when you want to indicate that there are similarities; but you also want to allow for what? …differences, differences… My dear friends, we are getting into some very, very interesting material now. Hang on. We’re setting up the groundwork for our part two; our next study shortly. Hebrews 4:15 is where the statement that Paul makes is found. “For we have not a High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points,” was what? “…in all points tempted like as we are, yet,” what? “…without sin.”

Now, right here is our challenge. How can Christ be tempted in all things like as we are, yet be without, what? …sin. Now please note, that Paul doesn’t mean that He was just without having committed sin; that’s not really… Yes that’s true, He never committed sin. But Paul is saying, He had no sin. He was without sin – capital S I N. The root of sin, which is what? …selfishness. You see, please understand that the sinlessness of Christ is absolute. It’s complete. It comprehends His whole being. Note how Scripture spells it out. 1 Peter 2:22. It says, “Who committed no sin.” Jesus did what? …He “committed no sin.” In other words, He is sinless in behavior, in word and act. Are you following this? Secondly, in 2 Corinthians 5:21 it says, He what? “…He knew no sin.” What are we talking about there? Sinlessness of character, in thought and feeling; and thirdly, what are we told regarding the sinlessness of Christ? 1 John 3:5: “And in Him there,” what? “…there is no sin.” Now, what level are we at? Sinlessness in nature. In the realm of His very spirit and desire He was what? …He was sinless. My dear friends, the challenge though, is how is it possible for Him, – being perfectly sinless – to still have been tempted in all points, what? …like as we are. We are going to turn our attention to the answer to that question… after a short break. Would you stand for prayer, please?

Father in Heaven, Thank you so much for the infinite glory that Jesus revealed, even though a man. And Father, when we see that He was the express image of You and the brightness of Your glory, we rejoice in that fact. But Father, we also want to recognize that even though, He was infinitely glorious and the divine Son of God, He was still sympathetic with us, and able to identify with us; and we can identify with Him. “For we have not a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses,” but One who “has been tempted in all points like as we are.” Help us to understand how this can be as we continue in our study. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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