Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Growing in Christ


Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic 
Growing in Christ
Lesson 5: "Growing in Christ"

We have sold ourselves into the servitude of sin and are under "the curse of the law" (Gal. 3:13). We live in "fear of death" with a "lifetime subject to bondage" (Heb. 2:15). As slaves of sin we are daily subjected to the "principalities and powers" of this world (Col. 2:15). We owe an insurmountable legal debt to the universal law of justice as compulsive sinners. We are literally buried in debt. But like the "creditor which had two debtors" and "frankly forgave them both" God has forgiven us "much" (Luke 7:41, 42). We sing, "Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!" The 1888 message helps us appreciate what our redemption cost the Saviour. [1]
"Ye are bought with a price" (1 Cor. 6:20). "The redemption that is in Christ Jesus is the worthiness or the purchasing power of Christ." [2] What is the purchasing power of Christ? He is the One and only "Son" of the Father. The Divine Christ "is life, original, unborrowed, underived." [3] He is the Creator. But the Redeemer must also be one with those redeemed. He "took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men" (Phil. 2:7). The Infinite Son of God is one with us. We have been "purchased" "at infinite cost." [4]
First, Christ has purchased the whole world of sinners by paying their debt of sin. The "grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men" (Titus 2:11). Christ gave "Himself [as] a ransom for all" (1 Tim. 2:6). The word for ransom used here is the compound word "substitute-ransom" and indicates that an exchange actually took place. Waggoner writes that Christ "bought not a certain class, but the whole world of sinners." [5]
Second, Christ has paid our real debt of eternal death by suffering God-forsakenness on the cross. "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law [disobedience to the law], being made a curse for us" (Gal. 3:13). Sin earns the wages of death--the real thing--goodbye to life forever. It was the Torah which taught that anyone hanged on a tree was "accursed of God" (Deut. 21:23).
As the corporate head of the human race Christ satisfied the universal law of justice by His death on behalf of sinners. "Christ exhausted the penalty and provided a pardon." [6] "The fallen race" is "redeemed from the curse of sin." [7] "For all have sinned, ... being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 3:23, 24). With His blood, as our "second Adam," He redeemed, purchased, reclaimed, restored to favor, emancipated, delivered, released from death, liberated, the entire corporate human race.
Third, "principalities and powers" formerly entrenched in our sinful nature, evil habits, and darkness of soul that rendered us incapable of obedience, have been "spoiled," gotten "rid of," defeated (Col. 2:15). Slaves of evil appetites, drugs, and darkness of soul are delivered from these demonic powers that held them captive, says Paul. You are free from all these "principalities" that dragged you down! Like captives conquered in a Roman war they are displayed "openly" as in a triumphal procession of victory.
What was "contrary to us" that was taken "out of the way, nailing it to His cross" (Col. 2:14)? "There is a law which was abolished, which Christ 'took out of the way, nailing it to His cross.' Paul calls it 'the law of commandments contained in ordinances.' This ceremonial law, given by God through Moses, with its sacrifices and ordinances, was to be binding upon the Hebrews until type met antitype in the death of Christ as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world." [8]
In another passage Ellen White goes deeper into the spiritual significance of Paul's idea. It's more than the Jew-Gentile alienation that was a local problem two thousand years ago. Ellen White sees that Paul is speaking of the spiritual problem in our own hearts today:
"The mercy seat upon which the glory of God rested in the holiest of all, is opened to all who accept Christ as the propitiation for sin, and through its medium they are brought into fellowship with God. The veil is rent, the partition walls broken down, the handwriting of ordinances cancelled. By virtue of His blood the enmity is abolished. Through faith in Christ Jew and Gentile may partake of the living bread." [9]
While it is true that the ceremonial law with its provisions about "meat" and "drink" and the "new moon" was abolished by the sacrifice of Christ, obviously she saw that is not all that Paul intended to say. Why was it that abolishing the ceremonial law "disarmed principalities and powers, ... triumphing over them in it" (Col. 2:15)? To say that the ceremonial law was nailed to the cross is correct; but what lies beneath the surface here?
What were the evil "principalities and powers" that were "triumphed over" at the cross? The problem was "enmity" in human hearts, which Ellen White recognizes in her phrase, "The enmity is abolished" so that we "are brought into fellowship with God." That enmity indeed was "against us"! The Greek word translated "handwriting" ischeirographon, which means "a document written by hand." In Paul's day the word referred to a legal document or bond signed by a debtor--a mortgage, in our language. The "blotting out" was the washing of the water-soluble ink, thus erasing the handwritten evidence of the debt. Perhaps the clearest modern equivalent for us would be the burning of a mortgage with the resultant sense of exultation that no more debt hangs over us.
Did Christ accomplish something like this for us on His cross? Paul's vigorous thought says, yes. His immediate context is his exulting praise to God for "having forgiven you all trespasses" (vs. 13). Then in the same sentence, he explains how Christ forgave us all our trespasses--it was by "blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross" (vs. 14). Knowing how Paul loves to glory in the cross of Christ, it becomes clear that he is speaking of the record of our trespasses being blotted out. It was a legal document which was indeed truly "against us, .. contrary to us," and which was erased and taken "out of the way" at the cross.
What was "abolished" at the cross was the fear-laden enmity and guilt generated by unbelief. Thus circumcision and "the law of Moses" came to an end at the cross; but in principle something more fundamental also came to an end there, says Paul--sin itself was conquered, with its resultant alienation from God.
Christ indeed redeemed the entire human race by His sacrifice, "abolished [the second] death," uprooted the fear that haunts mankind, has "drawn the sting of all the powers ranged against us," chained Satan and his evil "principalities" to His triumphal chariot in His victory procession, cancelled the "handwritten" record of our trespasses which we ourselves had signed as our indebtedness to be paid for by our own second death, and reversed the "condemnation" that came on "all men" in Adam, pronouncing on "all men" a glorious "verdict of acquittal."
There is deliverance from every vestige of Satan's tyranny over our souls. That is the idea which is at the heart of the "third angel's message in verity"--deliverance from the galling yoke of sin. It is possible for a people to prepare for the second coming of Christ! [10]
--Robert J. Wieland with Paul E. Penno
Endnotes:
[1] "You may say that you believe in Jesus, when you have an appreciation of the cost of salvation. You may make this claim, when you feel that Jesus died for you on the cruel cross of Calvary; when you have an intelligent, understanding faith that his death makes it possible for you to cease from sin, and to perfect a righteous character through the grace of God, bestowed upon you as the purchase of Christ's blood." Ellen G. White, "How Do We Stand?"The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald (July 24, 1888).
[2] E. J. Waggoner, "Being Justified," The Present Truth 8, 21 (Oct. 20, 1892), p. 324.
[3] Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 530.
[4] Ellen G. White, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 1, p. 1095.
[5] E. J. Waggoner, Christ and His Righteousness, p. 80 (Glad Tidings ed.).
[6] Ellen G. White, Amazing Grace, p. 139.
[7] Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 104.
[8] Ellen G. White, "The Law of God Perpetual," Bible Echo (April 16, 1894).
[9] Ellen G. White, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 5, p. 1109 (Letter 230, 1907).
[10] "In Christ's perfection of character was found the ransom for the sinner, the way in which the rebel against God might be reconciled to God. Those who will submit to the drawing power of Christ, may be justified by a just God." Ellen G. White, "Truth Revealed to the Humble," Signs of the Times (Dec. 11, 1893).
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Monday, October 29, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"Mankind: God's Handiwork"


Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic
Growing in Christ
Lesson 3: "Mankind: God's Handiwork"

"Restorations" often look better and perform more efficiently than "originals." Man,-- male and female,-- was created in "the image of God" (Gen. 1:27). Man's choice to ruin himself through willful rebellion against God well nigh obliterated that image. It is only through the "cleansing of the sanctuary" truth, so vividly proclaimed in the 1888 message, that our Elder Brother restores the image of God with the final approval of "the seal of God."
Of all God's created beings only "man,"-- male and female,-- were created in "the image of God." The animals have minds, but no morality. The angels have intelligence and ethics, but they cannot procreate. God has bestowed upon male and female the capacity to choose and develop character and to participate with Him in bringing new life into the world.
The essence of "God is love [agape],"-- the divine self-denial in service to all others (1 John 4:8). Innocent "Adam" was clothed in a "garment of light," radiating divinely endowed agape. [1]
The age of agape-innocence passed with Adam and Eve's attempted "overreaching" to become "gods" knowing good and evil (Gen. 3:5). They were now exposed in the nakedness of their own selfishness. The guilt was beyond their ability to handle. They felt themselves dying of self-condemnation. In order to save themselves they covered their nakedness with self-made vegetation.
The sin of usurping their Creator was so high-handed and mutinous that in order to preserve the ego, it set up a "guardsman" to repress the guilt of murder so that it was unconscious. "They did not like to retain God in their knowledge" (Rom. 1:28). They wanted God dead and out of their lives. "The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God" (Rom. 8:7).
"Adam" did not seek for God. He hid. God "called" for him. Thus began the "restoration" of mankind. God made "coats of skins, and clothed them" (Gen. 3:21). They did not repent and ask forgiveness. God saw their need. He "redeemed" them "with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb," "foreordained before the foundation of the world" (1 Peter 1:18-20). God has forgiven the sin of the world before anyone asked for it. "Father, forgive them; forthey know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). [2]
Herein lies the great, vast, unknown sin, not only of the world, but of God's last-day Laodicean church. There's something she "knowest not" and is "wretched," "miserable," "poor," "blind," "and naked" (Rev. 3:17). Buried deep within the repressed memory-banks of Adventist's minds is the guilt of the murder of the Son of God from which "enmity" rises up against Christ's priestly work of ministering the cross to the resistant heart.
In 1888 Christ sent "messengers" to uplift "the Lamb slain" "the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world." "Theefficacy [effectiveness] of the blood of Christ was ... presented," "the efficacy [effectiveness] of this atoning sacrifice." [3] Here is the dynamic of the 1888 message-- the cross and the cleansing of the sanctuary truth. The "atoning sacrifice" is already effective before one believes. [4] Take a breath; that is proof that Jesus has saved you from the second death because if He had not saved us from it, we would all be dead right now in it. So don't ever think that Jesus' death isn't effective for every individual in the world.
The Saviour came to the 1888 conference with a message of His heart-reconciling cross and He in the person of the messengers were spurned and ridiculed just like the Jews treated Him 2,000 years ago. [5] There was deep, unconscious hatred for Christ. This same resistance toward the 1888 message has passed on through succeeding generations until today whenever the topic is brought up there is animosity in the hearts of many. It was historic Adventists back then and today who say we don't need this easy believism, Salvation Army religion. The law of God and the prophecies are the centerpiece of our full-message evangelism.
Never has the hatred of God's own people for the Son of God been so striking, bitter, and unreasoning; it's straight out of hell! Never in the history of this earth has Christ been so cruelly "despised and rejected of men" as He is today (Isa. 53:3). The story of Jesus is the saga of eternity. To the extent that the universe is filled with intelligent beings, they marvel that people created in the image of God and redeemed by His love can be so devilish in their animosity toward the Son of God.
Now the world stands in a new relationship to God's throne, never before known in its past: we have come to the hour of the cosmic Day of Atonement. By Christ's redemption of the lost race also comes the restoration of the image of God in man-- also known as sanctification. It's the hour Scripture has long said is the time when repentance for the rejection and crucifixion of the Son of God shall become complete and a people at last be fully heart-reconciled to the righteousness of God.
One of the vivid metaphors that describes this "atonement" (or at-one-ment) is the "Bride" making herself ready for "the marriage of the Lamb" (Rev. 19:1-8). Out of the human race that is corporately guilty of this rejection of Christ comes (or will come) a "remnant" as intimately reconciled to Christ as a bride can be to her husband.
At the same time as this "atonement" is in process, the rejecters in the human race will crucify Him "afresh" in a final frenzy of hatred of God. The grand Day of Atonement is the hour for some to be fully reconciled to God, and also the hour of "judgment" for those who choose finally to dis-believe the Son of God.
The 1888 message discerned rightly is the "beginning" of the "loud cry." The apparent terrors of the third angel's message are transcended by its genial proclamation of grace. The warning against the mark of the beast is in reality the Good News that the Lord is trying His best to persuade us to receive the seal of God. Herein is the overriding concern of the 1888 message-- let's stop resisting that on-going grace! Let Christ do what He wants so much to do-- save us "to the uttermost." We have arrived.
-- Paul E. Penno
Endnotes (From the Writings of Ellen G. White):
[1] Last Day Events, p. 249.
[2] "That prayer of Christ for His enemies embraced the world. It took in every sinner that had lived or should live, from the beginning of the world to the end of time. Upon all rests the guilt of crucifying the Son of God" (The Desire of Ages, p. 745).
[3] Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 92.
[4] "The atonement of Christ was not made in order to induce God to love those whom He otherwise hated; it was not made to produce a love that was not in existence; but it was made as a manifestation of the love that was already in God's heart ... We are not to entertain the idea that God loves us because Christ has died for us ... The death of Christ was expedient in order that mercy might reach us with its full pardoning power, and at the same time that justice might be satisfied in the righteous substitute" ("Christ Our Complete Salvation" (Signs of the Times, May 30, 1895).
[5] "It would come vividly before me that the same acts that the divine Redeemer experienced when He was in this world, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, are being repeated by Christ's professed followers today. ... This meeting [Minneapolis] has been the saddest experience of my life" (The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, pp. 176, 179; MS. 21, 1888).
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Sunday, October 7, 2012

SS 2 Revelation, and the God Revealed in IT: Pastor Paul Penno.mov

"Revelation, and the God Revealed in It"


Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic 
Growing in Christ
Lesson 2: "Revelation, and the God Revealed in It"
  
Our Pioneers Believed that the Bible Was Inspired by God --
There is no question that the Bible was inspired by God, and a story of the beginnings of our beloved Seventh-day Adventist Church confirms that our pioneers believed it too.
Foremost among the early pioneers of prophetic study was a little group who were united in a common hatred of slavery in the United States of America. They risked their lives in publishing their abhorrence of that devilish traffic in the souls of men and women and children; these students of the prophecies were in at-one-ment with Jesus Himself for He too has always hated the slavery cruelty of man to man. They actively opposed the terrible injustice of the Fugitive Slave Law and helped runaway slaves to freedom at the risk of their own lives.
Several of these noble men were led by the Holy Spirit to pursue a study of all the prophecies of two inspired books, Daniel and Revelation. They may not have had every tiny detail perfectly understood, but they were united in the same basic convictions; people far and wide became convinced that the Spirit of God was leading; it wasn't emotional miracles based on shallow understanding--these were solid, reasonable dissertations on Daniel and Revelation that appealed to and convinced highly intelligent, honorable, reasonable men and women.
At the first church council in Acts 15, the elders spoke of those faithful servants of God "who have risked their lives in the service of our Lord Jesus Christ" (vs. 26, GNB). Such were those pioneers of the early 1800s who not only championed the fresh message of Daniel and Revelation, but also the dangerous public defense of the slaves in the South. Many listened to these godly men, among whom were J. N. Lougborough, Joseph Bates, J. N. Andrews, and there was Uriah Smith with his monumental Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation, a 600-page book that has become a treasure to many worldwide, and has stood the test of time. It's written in Victorian English, but it is solid truth. This is not to say it's perfection--no book is, aside from the Bible; we need common sense and God gives it.
The little group developed until they became a leading movement of 19th century Christian reformation that also led the world in health reform, building the finest health institution of the day in Battle Creek, Michigan, to which came kings across the Atlantic.
The point of this little soliloquy: the understanding those pioneers gained of Bible prophecy was taught of God; none was of the "private interpretation" that the apostle decries in 2 Peter 1:19-21. These pioneers were led by a loving fellowship in Christ to lay aside their private views and recognize together the leading of the Lord. The Holy Spirit led the community, and His leading has stood the test of these centuries of time.
A Little Understood Truth of the Godhead --
Millions of Muslims are prejudiced against Christianity because they think Christians believe in three gods because of the commonly understood doctrine of the "Trinity." The Bible is clear: "The LORD our God is one LORD" (Deut. 6:4). When you pray, you pray to one God, not three gods. But the Bible is also clear that God is the Father, God is the Son, and God is the Holy Spirit, and the three are One. Jesus taught us to pray to "our Father which art in heaven," in Jesus' name; and He promised He would send the Holy Spirit to abide with us forever (Matt. 7:9; John 14:16-18).
The Godhead is a truth beyond human ability to understand, although sincere Christian people have been baffled by the "mystery" for hundreds of years. Has Christ always been the "Son of God," or did He become so only at His birth in Bethlehem. A prominent Evangelical pastor, John McArthur, maintains that the Sonship began at Christ's incarnation. But the Bible is clear--the Son of God has always been the Son of God. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (that's the correct translation of John 1:1).
A little understood truth may help us to understand how to proclaim the Godhead to Muslims and Jews: "God isagape" (1 John 4:8). Note the present tense; God has always from eternity been "agape." And agape must have an object to love, even from eternity; therefore the Son had to be there to be loved even from eternity. The literal translation of Colossians 1:13 says that the Father "has translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His agape."
But we are not to try to understand the word "Son" in the light of our human father/son relationships, but vice versa. For God to have a Son does not mean that the Father is "older" than the Son; it means that they are of the same essence. And if God is agape, then the Son is agape; and that is why He voluntarily made Himself subordinate to the Father although they are equal in nature. One cannot understand John 3:16 except that Christ has been the Son of God from all eternity; and thus the love of the Father is revealed in its grandeur: He sacrificed His only Son, even to the second death, for us--yes, for you. Great, grand, mind-boggling truths that we cannot fathom, but we can choose to "believe."
The 1888 Message "Dynamic" --
Tucked away in Thursday's lesson is the statement that "He is not distant, detached, or removed, as some ancient Greek concepts of God taught, or as even some Christian theologians try to depict Him." One of the gospel truths that makes the 1888 message unique is: "In seeking us, Christ came all the way to where we are, taking upon Himself 'the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.' Thus He is a Savior 'nigh at hand, not afar off'" [1]
In meetings shortly after the 1888 General Conference Session in Minneapolis, Ellen White was deeply impressed by that "nearness" when she wrote: "The Lord came very near, and convicted souls of their great need of His grace and love. We [Ellen White, and A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner, the two 1888 "messengers"] felt the necessity of presenting Christ as a Saviour who was not afar off, but nigh at hand. … There were many, even among the ministers, who saw the truth as it is in Jesus in a light in which they had never before viewed it." [2]
Hebrews 13:5 assures us: "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Happy is your child if he/she can grasp that assurance while he is young! All of Hebrews' lofty theological acumen is in that one promise!
The ministry of Christ in His Most Holy Apartment in the heavenly sanctuary reveals Him as being close to us; as a true High Priest in ancient Israel who was always "for the people," always concerned for them, always revealing to them his nearness and his love, so Christ in His second apartment in the heavenly sanctuary, the Most Holy Apartment, is ministering His presence and His blessing to us as one who is described in Proverbs 18:24--He is "closer than a brother."
He took on Himself the fallen, sinful nature of our father Adam so that He might reach us where we are; therefore He was "in all points tempted like as we are [tempted], yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15).
This is a revelation of Christ that millions don't as yet perceive: to be tempted is not sin: before temptation can be sin you must yield to it, give in to it, let the temptation become the sinful act. Christ has conquered sin, has trampled on it, defeated it, condemned sin in our fallen sinful flesh. "Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made likeunto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God" (Heb. 2:17).
Sing Hallelujah, rejoice forever more!
--From the writings of Robert J. Wieland
Endnotes:
[1] Robert J. Wieland, Ten Great Gospel Truths that Make the 1888 Message Unique, p. 16.
[2] Review and Herald, March 5, 1889; a report on "special meetings" that began January 11, 1889, at South Lancaster, Massachusetts.
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Monday, October 1, 2012

"The Great Controversy: The Foundation"


Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic 
Growing in Christ
Lesson 1: "The Great Controversy: The Foundation"

What was the "original sin" that Lucifer committed in heaven? With millions around the world we embark on a course of studying the Seventh-day Adventist fundamental beliefs under the theme of "Growing in Christ." It prompts us to ask the question, What is "the mother of invention," the motivating power for all of our beliefs? [1]
The 1888 message focused the dynamic of truth on the divine-love of God (1 John 4:8). "The love of Christ constraineth us" because "one died for all, then were all dead" (2 Cor. 5:14). In other words, if One hadn't died for all, then all would be dead. So those who live simply cannot live for themselves "but unto Him which died for them" (vs. 15).
If the great controversy is "foundational" to our beliefs, What is the issue of conflict between Christ and Satan? It isagape versus self-love.
In heaven Lucifer asserted "I will exalt my throne," "I will ascend," "I will be like the most High" (Isa. 14:13, 14). He was jealous of Michael who was "like" God. Lucifer's selfish jealousy turned to hatred and murder (1 John 3:15; John 8:44).
Ellen G. White, a very wise writer, says that Lucifer's new idea of "the ... exaltation of self, contrary to the Creator's plan, awakened forebodings of evil in minds to whom God's glory was supreme." [2] This quiet, clever, secret "exaltation of self" would have gone on and on had it not been that some "minds" loyal to God were "awakened" to oppose it. They were the ones who started the "war in heaven"! They were not content to let this underhanded work proceed unopposed.
We can understand wars, riots, and rebellions on this earth, but war in heaven? Scripture is clear. "And there was war in heaven: Michael and His angels fought against the dragon [that is, took the initiative]; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven" (Rev. 12:7, 8). Michael "protested" against Lucifer and thus commenced the war.
There is no suggestion that literal swords or guns were used. Two of three "parts" of the angels thought through the clever lies of Lucifer and his supporting angels, and rejected them; thus "their place" was no more "found ... in heaven" (vs. 8). Christ had already conquered Satan in a sinless nature at the time when "there was war in heaven."
Doubtless Lucifer began to see where his rebellion would lead. He saw that the crime he nurtured in his soul was a dark and ugly one--that of murdering the eternal Son of God. So terrible is one's devotion to the love of self!
Lucifer must have pondered long and earnestly the path he was choosing. Should he repent while there was still opportunity? If so, there could be only one way in which he might overcome the sin of his angelic soul--this wonderful "I" that sought to be "like the Most High" and to topple Him from His holy throne, would have to die. Self in Lucifer would have to be crucified.
A spiritual cross on which Lucifer must die to self was the only way out of his dilemma in his incipient war with God. All his pride, his ego, his precious, darling "I" that he had cherished, must perish willingly of his own free choice so that only truth, and right, and holiness might live. Lucifer came so near to yielding that he was able to grasp the significance of the one way of deliverance for him.
Then emphatically, indignantly, irrevocably, he rejected the idea. No cross for him! Once for all, intelligently and responsibly, Lucifer repudiated the idea of self-denial and self-sacrifice. He had gone beyond the point of no return. He had committed the "original sin." He would institute a new way of life for the vast universe of God--the love of the "I," the way of self-seeking, self-assertion, self-love. Thus Lucifer rejected the cross.
It was then that he became the devil and Satan, "that serpent of old, ... who deceives the whole world" (Rev. 12:9). A bright angel who hates the cross becomes God's (and our) enemy.
When Satan tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, his bait was the assurance that in transgression they would reach a higher life than they had been created to enjoy. "You will be like God," he promised (Gen. 3:5). This desire to be as God was the same that led to Satan's original sin in heaven.
Satan was not ignorant of the principle of the cross, but what he could not comprehend was the divine love revealed in the incarnate Christ that would lead Him to go all the way to the supreme sacrifice, and to do it voluntarily. The last malicious taunt flung at Christ was inspired by Satan--"Save Yourself, and come down from the cross!" (Mark 15:30).
The Everlasting Covenant was originally made to Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:15). God promised to "put enmity" where there would be no desire for good and right if God did not put it in the heart of everyone to some degree. When God made the promise to Adam and Eve it was Christ who was "slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8). Christ became surety for the entire human race. He put Himself on the line to bring about all that He promised to Adam and Eve. God did not require from Adam and Eve a promise to obey Him, there is no record of any such transaction. All their power was gone.
Adam, with his eyes wide open, in full knowledge, knew that eating the forbidden fruit would be sin. "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin" (James 4:17). In unbelief he stepped out on forbidden ground. His very nature was changed by his willful choice. At that moment he was no longer capable of doing good. He was condemned to eternal death. Adam had sold out to Satan.
Satan was fully aware that Adam had given over his right of dominion to him. In the temptations of Christ, Satan reminded Jesus that all the "power and grandeur" of the world was his by Adam's choice, "for it has been made over to me. ..." (Luke 4:6, Moffat translation). It was impossible for Adam to right himself again because sin had entered the world. "By the offense of one judgment came upon all men," resulting in condemnation to an eternal grave (Rom. 5: 12, 18). No hope of life, no hope of even one bite of food, or a breath of air, or a glass of cold water. Not one single thing was ours by Adam's one choice.
God promised in the beginning that He would implant in human nature an "enmity between [Satan's] seed and her seed" [Eve's descendants] (Gen. 3:15). Ellen White said, "As far as evil extends, the voice of the Father is heard, bidding His children ... forsake the evil, and inviting them to receive the good." [3]
--Paul E. Penno
Endnotes:
[1] This question is posed in the introductory thoughts for September 29. "Growing in Christ," Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide (2012).
[2] The Great Controversy, p. 494.
[3] Education, p. 27.
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