The Articles of Ellen Gould Harmon White as printed in the Signs of the Times.
October 24, 1878 A Lesson for the Times
Filed under: EG White Articles

We are often pained as we see the little moral power possessed by the professed followers of Christ. When tempted on the point of appetite, few will firmly stand the test. Many turn from light and knowledge, and sacrifice principle to indulge their taste. They eat when they have no need of eating, and at irregular periods, because they have no moral strength to resist their inclinations. As the result of this gratification of taste, the abused stomach rebels, suffering follows, and a weary taxation of the friends of the sufferer.

Many indulge appetite at the expense of health and the powers of intellect, so that they cannot appreciate the plan of salvation. What appreciation can such ones have of the temptation of Christ in the wilderness, and of the victory he gained upon the point of appetite? It is impossible for them to have exalted views of God, and to realize the claims of his law. Many of the professed followers of Christ are forgetful of the great sacrifice made by him on their account. The Majesty of Heaven, in order to bring salvation within their reach, was smitten, bruised, and afflicted. He became a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. In the wilderness of temptation he resisted Satan, although the tempter was clothed with the livery of heaven. Christ, although brought to great physical suffering, refused to yield a single point, notwithstanding the most flattering inducements were presented to bribe and influence him to yield his integrity. All this honor, all these riches and glory, said the deceiver, will I give thee if thou wilt only acknowledge my claims.

Could we at this time have entered the heavenly courts, and seen with what intense interest the holy angels watched the conflict of their loved Commander with the fallen foe, we should see greater significance in this long fast of Christ than it is now possible for us, with our darkened senses, to comprehend. Christ, the Commander of Heaven, was emaciated by long fasting; and his human nature fainted when the conflict was ended. The Son of God appeared to be dying from hunger and the effects of his warfare with Satan. But angels lifted his fainting head, served him with nourishing food, and ministered unto him. Never will so severe a test be brought to bear upon man, as that which the Captain of his salvation endured before him.

There was great rejoicing and triumph in the heavenly courts that Satan, who had deceived even the heavenly angels, and drawn a third part of heaven into his rebellion, had been vanquished at every point by the Prince of Life. Hosannas rung through heaven that Christ had repulsed the fallen foe, and resisted every temptation upon the point of appetite, redeeming Adam’s disgraceful failure by his own triumph.

Christ has given us an example of temperance in his own life. Where so many professed Christians fail, and are led captive by appetite and inclination, the Saviour was firm. Oh! what salvation would there now be for the race if Christ had been as weak in moral power as man? No wonder that joy filled heaven as the fallen chief left the wilderness of temptation a conquered foe. Christ has power from his Father to give his divine grace and strength to man - making it possible for us, through his name, to overcome. There are but few professed followers of Christ who choose to engage with him in the work of resisting Satan’s temptations as he resisted and overcame.

Professed Christians who enjoy gatherings of gaiety, pleasure, and feasting, cannot appreciate the conflict of Christ in the wilderness. This example of their Lord in overcoming Satan is lost to them. This infinite victory which Christ achieved for them in the plan of salvation is meaningless. They have no special interest in the wonderful humiliation of our Saviour, and the anguish and sufferings he endured for sinful man, while Satan was pressing him with his manifold temptations. That scene of trial in the wilderness was the foundation of the plan of salvation, and gives to fallen man the key whereby he, in Christ’s name, may overcome.

Many professed Christians look upon this portion of the life of Christ as they would upon a common warfare between two kings, and as having no special bearing upon their own life and character. Therefore, the manner of warfare, and the wonderful victory gained, have but little interest for them. Their perceptive powers are blunted by Satan’s artifices, so that they cannot discern that he who afflicted Christ in the wilderness, determined to rob him of his integrity as the Son of the Infinite, is to be their own adversary to the end of time. Although he failed to overcome Christ, his power over man is not weakened. All are personally exposed to the temptations that Christ overcame; but strength is provided for them in the all-powerful name of the great Conqueror. And all must, for themselves, individually overcome. Many fall under the very same temptations wherewith Satan assailed Christ.

Although Christ gained a priceless victory in behalf of man in overcoming the temptations of Satan in the wilderness, this victory will not benefit man unless he also gains the victory on his own account.

Man now has the advantage over Adam in his warfare with Satan; for he has Adam’s experience in disobedience and his consequent fall to warn him to shun his example. Man also has Christ’s example in overcoming appetite and the manifold temptations of Satan, and in vanquishing the mighty foe upon every point, and coming off victor in every contest.

If man stumbles and falls under the temptations of Satan, he is without excuse; for he has the disobedience of Adam as a warning, and the life of the world’s Redeemer as an example of obedience and self-denial, and the promise of Christ that “to him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with my Father in his throne.”

The great trial of Christ in the wilderness on the point of appetite was to leave man an example of self-denial. This long fast was to convict men of the sinfulness of many things in which professed Christians indulge. The victory which Christ gained in the wilderness was to show man the sinfulness of the very things in which he takes such pleasure. The salvation of man was in the balance, and to be decided by the trial of Christ in the wilderness. If Christ was a victor on the point of appetite, then there was a chance for man to overcome. If Satan gained the victory through his subtlety, man was bound by the power of appetite in chains of indulgence which he could not have moral power to break. Christ’s humanity alone could never have endured this test; but his divine power, combined with humanity, gained in behalf of man an infinite victory. Our Representative in this victory raised humanity in the scale of moral value with God.

Every man born into the world with reasoning powers has the opportunity, to a great extent, of making himself whatever he chooses to be. The blessings of this life and the blessings of the immortal life, are within his reach. He may build up a character of mental and moral worth, gaining new strength at every step in life. He may advance daily in knowledge and wisdom, conscious of new delights as he progresses, adding virtue to virtue, and grace to grace.

His faculties will improve by use, and the more wisdom he gains, the more he will be able to acquire, and his intelligence, knowledge, and virtue will thus continually increase and develop into greater strength and beauty.

On the other hand, he may allow his powers to rust out for want of use, or be perverted through evil habits, lack of self-control or of moral and religious stamina. His course then tends downward; he is disobedient to the laws of God, and to the laws of health. Appetite conquers him; inclination carries him away. It is easier for him to stand still and be dragged backward by the powers of evil, which are always active, than to struggle against them, and go forward. Dissipation, disease, and death follow. This is the history of many lives that might have been useful in the cause of God and humanity. 

We are free moral agents. We may obey the law of God, and secure eternal gain and lead others into the path of right, or we may transgress the law of God, and bring the penalty of disobedience upon us. There is glory above us that we may reach; and there is an abyss of wretchedness below, into which we may plunge. It requires less exertion to consent to go backward and downward than to urge our way forward through every obstacle. Thus many go down through inaction, who might be bright and shining lights. –Mrs. E. G. White, in Health Reformer.

Jenny @ 11:01 pm

There is no comment for this post.

Leave a comment

(required)

(required)


Instruction for comments :

You can use these tags:
XHTML: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>



RSS Feed for comments | TrackBack URI