Sabbath, August 4, 2012
“Now to Him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.” Romans 16:25, 26.
Born of a woman
1. As the seed of the woman, how was the Son of God born into this world? Why did Satan rejoice?
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Galatians 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.
“Satan exulted when Jesus laid aside His power and glory and left heaven. He thought that the Son of God was then placed in his power. The temptation took so easily with the holy pair in Eden that he hoped by his satanic power and cunning to overthrow even the Son of God, and thereby save his own life and kingdom. If he could tempt Jesus to depart from the will of His Father, his object would be gained.” –Early Writings, p. 157.
2. What does it mean that the Son of God would come to this earth as the seed of the woman? What did He lay aside to become a man?
Philippians 2:6, 7 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.
“Jesus was the Commander of heaven, one equal with God, and yet He condescended to lay aside His kingly crown, His royal robe, and clothed His divinity with humanity. The incarnation of Christ in human flesh is a mystery….
“The doctrine of the incarnation of Christ in human flesh is a mystery, ‘even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations.’ It is the great and profound mystery of godliness. ‘The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.’ Christ took upon Himself human nature, a nature inferior to His heavenly nature. Nothing so shows the wonderful condescension of God as this….
“Christ did not make-believe take human nature; He did verily take it.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, pp. 1130, 1131.
3. Why did Christ have to come to this earth as a human being? To what extent did He become like us?
John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.
“… Our Saviour clothed His divinity with humanity. He employed the human faculties, for only by adopting these could He be comprehended by humanity. Only humanity could reach humanity. He lived out the character of God through the human body which God had prepared for Him. He blessed the world by living out in human flesh the life of God….” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 924.
“It would have been an almost infinite humiliation for the Son of God to take man’s nature, even when Adam stood in his innocence in Eden. But Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin. Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were is shown in the history of His earthly ancestors. He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 49.
4. Why did Jesus come to earth and take on Himself a human nature that had been degraded by 4,000 years of sin?
Hebrews 2:15-17 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
“Satan had pointed to Adam’s sin as proof that God’s law was unjust, and could not be obeyed. In our humanity, Christ was to redeem Adam’s failure….
“Satan represents God’s law of love as a law of selfishness. He declares that it is impossible for us to obey its precepts. The fall of our first parents, with all the woe that has resulted, he charges upon the Creator, leading men to look upon God as the author of sin, and suffering, and death. Jesus was to unveil this deception. As one of us He was to give an example of obedience. For this He took upon Himself our nature, and passed through our experiences. ‘In all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren.’ Hebrews 2:17…. And He exercised in His own behalf no power that is not freely offered to us…. His life testifies that it is possible for us also to obey the law of God.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 117, 24.
Example and evidence
5. If the humanity of Christ had been different or had had advantages that we do not have, could He be our example and give evidence that we also can keep the divine law?
John 13:15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.
“Those who claim that it was not possible for Christ to sin, cannot believe that He really took upon Himself human nature. But was not Christ actually tempted, not only by Satan in the wilderness, but all through His life, from childhood to manhood? In all points He was tempted as we are, and because He successfully resisted temptation under every form, He gave man the perfect example, and through the ample provision Christ has made, we may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption which is in the world through lust.” –(MS 141, 1901) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 929.
6. Contrary to Satan’s claim that because of sin we cannot keep God’s law, who provides the evidence that it can be kept? Consider this in relation to the humanity of Christ.
Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.
John 8:46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?
John 14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
“Letters have been coming in to me, affirming that Christ could not have had the same nature as man, for if He had, He would have fallen under similar temptations. If He did not have man’s nature, He could not be our example. If He was not a partaker of our nature, He could not have been tempted as man has been. If it were not possible for Him to yield to temptation, He could not be our helper. It was a solemn reality that Christ came to fight the battles as man, in man’s behalf. His temptation and victory tell us that humanity must copy the Pattern; man must become a partaker of the divine nature.” –(Review and Herald, February 18, 1890) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1082.
7. What does the Bible call those who deny Christ’s human nature?
1 John 4:2, 3 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
2 John 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
“Christ’s overcoming and obedience is that of a true human being. In our conclusions, we make many mistakes because of our erroneous views of the human nature of our Lord. When we give to His human nature a power that it is not possible for man to have in his conflicts with Satan, we destroy the completeness of His humanity. His imputed grace and power He gives to all who receive Him by faith.
“The obedience of Christ to His Father was the same obedience that is required of man. Man cannot overcome Satan’s temptations without divine power to combine with his instrumentality. So with Jesus Christ; He could lay hold of divine power. He came not to our world to give the obedience of a lesser God to a greater, but as a man to obey God’s holy law, and in this way He is our example.” –(MS 1, 1892) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 929.
8. What did Jesus’ life and heavenly office reveal?
Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
“Unless there is a possibility of yielding, temptation is no temptation. Temptation is resisted when man is powerfully influenced to do a wrong action and, knowing that he can do it, resists, by faith, with a firm hold upon divine power. This was the ordeal through which Christ passed. He could not have been tempted in all points as man is tempted, had there been no possibility of His failing. He was a free agent, placed on probation, as was Adam, and as is every man. In His closing hours, while hanging upon the cross, He experienced to the fullest extent what man must experience when striving against sin. He realized how bad a man may become by yielding to sin. He realized the terrible consequences of the transgression of God’s law; for the iniquity of the whole world was upon Him.” –(The Youth’s Instructor, July 20, 1899) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1082.
“Though enduring most terrible temptations, Christ did not fail or become discouraged. He was fighting the battle in our behalf, and had He faltered, had He yielded to temptation, the human family would have been lost….
“What an event was this when Christ placed Himself in the position of Adam, and endured the test where Adam had failed, and by this act placed man on a vantage ground, in favor with God, where he might overcome on his own account through the merits of Jesus. In His name, through His grace, man may be an overcomer, even as Christ was an overcomer. In Christ divinity and humanity were united, and the only way in which man may be an overcomer is through becoming a partaker of the divine nature…. Divinity and humanity are blended in him who has the spirit of Christ.” –Sons and Daughters of God, p. 24.
For review and meditation
“When we want a deep problem to study, let us fix our minds on the most marvelous thing that ever took place in earth or heaven–the incarnation of the Son of God. God gave His Son to die for sinful human beings a death of ignominy and shame. He who was Commander in the heavenly courts laid aside His royal robe and kingly crown, and clothing His divinity with humanity, came to this world to stand at the head of the human race as the pattern-man. He humbled Himself to suffer with the race, to be afflicted in all their afflictions.” –(MS 76, 1903) …
“ ‘As the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same.’ He could not come in the form of an angel; for unless He met man as man, and testified by His connection with God that divine power was not given to Him in a different way to what it will be given to us, He could not be a perfect example for us. He came in humility, in order that the humblest being upon the face of the earth could have no excuse because of his poverty, or ignorance, and say, Because of these things, I cannot obey the law of Jehovah. Christ clothed His divinity with humanity, that humanity might touch humanity; that He might live with humanity and bear all the trials and afflictions of man. He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. In His humanity He understood all the temptations that will come to man.” –(MS 21, 1895) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, pp. 904, 925.
• What is God’s secret that was hidden from the foundation of the world?
• How is the human nature of Christ the same as ours?
• What is the primary difference between our experience and that of Christ?