Lesson 10 *February 26–March 4

The Heart of the Cross”

Memory Text: 1 Corinthians 1:18 KJV 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.


Sabbath Afternoon

Ellen G. White Comments, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, pp. 925, 926

Christ Met Man as Man.--Leaving the royal courts of heaven Christ came to our world to represent the character of His Father, and thus help humanity to return to their loyalty. The image of Satan was upon men, and Christ came that He might bring to them moral power and efficiency. He came as a helpless babe, bearing the humanity we bear. "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). {7BC 925.1}

     (1 Tim. 2:5; 1 John 2:1, 2; Rev. 3:4.) The Subdued Glory of the Human Christ.--As we view Christ by the eye of faith, we see the necessity of becoming pure in thought and holy in character. Christ invites us to draw near to Him, and promises that He will draw nigh to us. Looking upon Him, we behold the invisible God, who clothed His divinity with humanity in order that through humanity He might shed forth a subdued and softened glory, so that our eyes might be enabled to rest upon Him, and our souls not be extinguished by His undimmed splendor. We behold God through Christ, our Creator and Redeemer. It is our privilege to contemplate Jesus by faith, and see Him standing between humanity and the eternal throne. He is our Advocate, presenting our prayers and offerings as spiritual sacrifices to God. Jesus is the great sinless propitiation, and through His merit, God and man may hold converse together. {7BC 925.2}

     Christ has carried His humanity into eternity. He stands before God as the representative of our race. When we are clothed with the wedding garment of His righteousness, we become one with Him, and He says of us, "They shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy." His saints will behold Him in His glory, with no dimming veil between (YI Oct. 28, 1897). {7BC 925.3}

     (Isa. 59:20.) Human Nature but Not Human Sinfulness.--He [Christ] was to take His position at the head of humanity by taking the nature but not the sinfulness of man. In heaven was heard the voice, "The Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord" (ST May 29, 1901). {7BC 925.4}

     (Ch. 9:11-14, 22; Ruth 4:13, 14.) God of the Living and the Dead.-- As the sin bearer, and priest and representative of man before God, He entered into the life of humanity, bearing our flesh and blood. The life is in the living, vital current of blood, which blood was given for the life of the world. Christ made a full atonement, giving His life as a ransom for us. He was born without a taint of sin, but came into the world in like manner as the human family. He did not have a mere semblance of a body, but He took human nature, participating in the life of humanity. {7BC 925.5}

     According to the law Christ Himself gave, the forfeited inheritance was ransomed by the nearest of kin. Jesus Christ laid off His royal robe, His kingly crown, and clothed His divinity with humanity, in order to become a substitute and surety for humanity, that dying in humanity He might by His death destroy him who had the power of death. He could not have done this as God, but by coming as man Christ could die. By death He overcame death. The death of Christ bore to the (p. 926) death him who had the power of death, and opened the gates of the tomb for all who receive Him as their personal Saviour. {7BC 925.6}

     Christ proclaimed over the rent sepulcher of Joseph, "I am the resurrection and the life." He, the world's Redeemer, has bruised the serpent's head, depriving him of all power ever to make men feel his scorpion sting; for He has brought life and immortality to light. The gates of eternal life are thrown open to all who believe on Jesus Christ. All believers who pass through a natural death, have, through eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God, eternal life in them, which is the life of Jesus Christ. In dying, Jesus has made it impossible for those who believe on Him to die eternally. . . . {7BC 926.1}

     Christ lived and died as a man, that He might be God both of the living and of the dead. It was to make it impossible for men to lose eternal life if they believe on Him. The life of men and women is precious in the sight of God; for Christ has purchased that life by being executed in their stead. Thus He made it possible for us to attain to immortality (Letter 97, 1898). {7BC 926.2}

     Creator and Creature United in Christ.--In Christ were united the divine and the human--the Creator and the creature. The nature of God, whose law had been transgressed, and the nature of Adam, the transgressor, meet in Jesus--the Son of God, and the Son of man. And having with His own blood paid the price of redemption, having passed through man's experience, having in man's behalf met and conquered temptation, having, though Himself sinless, borne the shame and guilt and burden of sin, He becomes man's Advocate and Intercessor. What an assurance here to the tempted and struggling soul, what an assurance to the witnessing universe, that Christ will be "a merciful and faithful high priest" (MS 141, 1901)! {7BC 926.3}

     Edenic Mind of Man Restored.--Jesus became a man that He might mediate between man and God. He clothed His divinity with humanity, He associated with the human race, that with His long human arm He might encircle humanity, and with His divine arm grasp the throne of Divinity. And this, that He might restore to man the original mind which he lost in Eden through Satan's alluring temptation; that man might realize that it is for his present and eternal good to obey the requirements of God. Disobedience is not in accordance with the nature which God gave to man in Eden (Letter 121, 1897). {7BC 926.4}

     (2 Peter 1:4.) A Divine Culture for Christians.--Divine culture brings perfection. If in connection with God the work is carried forward, the human agent, through Christ, will day by day gain victory and honor in the battle. Through the grace given he will overcome, and will be placed on vantage ground. In his relation to Christ he will be bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh, one with Christ in a peculiar relationship, because Christ took the humanity of man. He became subject to temptation, endangering as it were, His divine attributes. Satan sought, by the constant and curious devices of his cunning, to make Christ yield to temptation. Man must pass over the ground over which Christ has passed. As Christ overcame every temptation which Satan brought against Him, so man is to overcome. And those who strive earnestly to overcome are brought into a oneness with Christ that the angels in heaven can never know. {7BC 926.5}

     The divine culture of men and women will be carried forward to completion only as they are partakers of the divine nature. Thus they may overcome as Christ overcame in their behalf. Through the grace given, fallen man may be placed on vantage ground. Through toil, through patient trust and faith in Jesus Christ, through faithful continuance in well-doing, he may rise to spiritual victory (Letter 5, 1900). {7BC 926.6}

     Full Obedience Possible Through Christ.--Christ came to the earth, taking humanity and standing as man's representative, to show in the controversy with Satan that man, as God created him, connected with the Father and the Son, could obey every divine requirement (ST June 9, 1898). {7BC 926.7}

     16 (Phil. 2:5-8). Jesus the Friend of Sinners.--Jesus came to the world not as an angel of light; we could not have endured His glory if He had come thus. One angel at the tomb of Christ was of such exceeding brightness that the Roman guard fell powerless to the ground. As the angel came

(p. 927) from the heavens, he parted the darkness from his track, and the sentinels could not endure his glory; they fell as dead men to the earth. Suppose that Jesus had come in the glory of an angel, His brightness would have extinguished the feeble life of mortal men. {7BC 926.8}


For the Sake of the Righteous

1 Corinthians 2:2 KJV 2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

Genesis 18:22-33 KJV 22 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. 23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? 25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? 26 And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. 27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: 28 Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. 29 And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty's sake. 30 And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. 31 And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake. 32 And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake. 33 And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.


The Human Condition

Genesis 19:5 KJV 5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.

Romans 5:12 KJV 12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Romans 5:15 KJV 15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

Romans 5:18 KJV 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

Romans 3:9-20 KJV 9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

Romans 3:12-20 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes. 19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.


One Man’s Righteousness

John 8:46 KJV 46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?

Romans 5:18 KJV 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

1 Peter 2:22 KJV 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:

1 John 3:5 KJV 5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.

John 3:17 KJV 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Romans 5:17-19 KJV 17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Romans 3:21 KJV 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;


The Justice of God

Exodus 34:7 KJV 7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

Job 8:3 KJV 3 Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice?

Psalms 89:14 KJV 14 Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.

Jeremiah 23:5 KJV 5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.

Acts 7:52 KJV 52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:


One Died for All

2 Corinthians 5:14 NIV 14 For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.

2 Corinthians 5:14 KJV 14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:

Isaiah 53:5 KJV 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Romans 5:8 KJV 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Galatians 3:13 KJV 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

Ephesians 5:2 KJV 2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

1 Thessalonians 5:10 KJV 10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.



Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, May 30, 1895

May 30, 1895 Christ Our Complete Salvation. By Mrs. E. G. White.

     The character of the Lord Jesus Christ is to be reproduced in those who believe in him as their personal Saviour. They will be "rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life." Our acceptance with God is not upon the ground of our good works, but our reward will be according to our works. "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." {ST, May 30, 1895 par. 1}

     "The carnal [or natural] mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Human nature could not keep the law, even if it would. Apart from Christ, without union with him, we can do nothing. "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God." The law requires us to present to God a holy character. It demands of men today just what it demanded of Adam in Eden,--perfect obedience, perfect harmony with all its precepts in all relations of life, under all circumstances and conditions. No unholy thought can be tolerated, no unlovely action can be justified. As the law requires that which no man of himself can render, the human family are found guilty before the great moral standard, and it is not in the province of law to pardon the transgressor of law. The standard of the law cannot be lowered to meet man in his fallen condition. No compromise can be made with the sinner to take less than the full requirement of the law. The law cannot acquit the guilty, it cannot cleanse the sinner, or give power to the transgressor to raise himself into a purer, holier atmosphere. Standing before a holy, good, and just law, and finding ourselves condemned because of transgression, we may well cry out, What shall we do to be saved? {ST, May 30, 1895 par. 2}

     There is but one way of escape for the sinner. There is but one agency whereby he may be cleansed from sin. He must accept the propitiation that has been made by the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world. The shed blood of Christ cleanseth us from all sin. "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." "Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins." A complete offering has been made; for "God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son,"-- not a son by creation, as were the angels, nor a son by adoption, as is the forgiven sinner, but a Son begotten in the express image of the Father's person, and in all the brightness of his majesty and glory, one equal with God in authority, dignity, and divine perfection. In him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. {ST, May 30, 1895 par. 3}

     John said, "We have seen, and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." The Son of God took upon him human nature,--"the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." "God was manifest in the flesh." The union of divinity with humanity brings to the fallen race a value which we scarcely comprehend. The human and the divine were united in Christ, in order that he might represent those who should believe in him. He took our nature, and passed through our experiences, and as our representative he assumed our responsibilities. The sins of men were charged to Christ, and, innocent though he was, he engaged to suffer for the guilty, that through faith in him the world might be saved. "We were reconciled to God by the death of his Son." Christ reconciled the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them. O, what compassion and love are here revealed! How is humanity exalted through the merits of Christ! His sacrifice was ample and complete. The Holy One died instead of the unholy. He clothed himself in our filthy garments, that we might wear the spotless robe of his righteousness, which was woven in the loom of heaven. He paid the whole debt for all who would believe in him as their personal Saviour. His blood cleanseth from all sin and purifieth from all unrighteousness. In him, through him alone, we have forgiveness of sins. Through faith in his blood we have justification in the sight of God. {ST, May 30, 1895 par. 4}

     It will avail nothing for us to do penance, to afflict the body for the sin of the soul, or to flatter ourselves that by our good works we shall merit or purchase an inheritance among the saints. When the question was asked Christ, "What shall we do that we might work the works of God?" he answered, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." We are not to do something in order to purchase our entrance into heaven; for the Lord gives us heaven through the merit of Jesus Christ, and not through any merit of our own. Good works are the result of faith and love; for, conscious of the debt of love and gratitude which we owe to God for the infinite sacrifice made in our behalf, we show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. Every one is under bonds to God to manifest obedience to all his commandments, relying fully on the righteousness of Christ for his acceptance with God. Accepting the grace of Christ, we are to live to the honor and glory of God, keeping the commandments at any sacrifice to ourselves. "There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." {ST, May 30, 1895 par. 5}

     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, an exponent of the divine favor in the sight of heavenly intelligences, in the sight of worlds unfallen, and in the sight of a fallen race. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." We are not to entertain the idea that God loves us because Christ has died for us, but that he so loved us that he gave his only-begotten Son to die 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. The glory of God was revealed in the rich mercy that he poured out upon a race of rebels, who through repentance and faith might be pardoned through the merits of Christ, for God will by no means clear the guilty who refuse to acknowledge the merit of a crucified and risen Saviour. It is only through faith in Christ that sinners may have the righteousness of Christ imputed unto them, and that they may be "made the righteousness of God in him." Our sins were laid on Christ, punished in Christ, put away by Christ, in order that his righteousness might be imputed to us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Although sin was charged to his account on our behalf, yet he remained perfectly sinless. {ST, May 30, 1895 par. 6}

     O, what a history we have in the life and death, resurrection and exaltation of Christ! He was the incarnate God, the Lord of life and glory; yet for our sakes he was delivered into the hands of wicked men. Satan and the whole confederacy of evil men and evil angels raged around him, and he suffered that which would have been insupportable to any human being. His life was one of utter self-denial and self-sacrifice, full of achievements of divine mercy, goodness, and power. Disease fled at his touch, the blind saw, the deaf heard, demons were cast out, the dead were raised. The tempest-tossed waters were stilled at his command, and as he hung upon the cross, nature gave signs that she sympathized with her dying Author. The earth reeled and heaved beneath the feet of men; the sun clothed itself in sackcloth. When the mighty angel descended from heaven, parting the darkness from his track, the Roman guard fell as dead men before the resplendent glory, and Christ in his Godhead shone forth as he burst from the tomb, and rose triumphant over death and the grave. The disciples understood, when they saw him arisen from the dead, what he meant when he said, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." {ST, May 30, 1895 par. 7}

     Shall our faith ever falter again? What stronger evidence could God have given us that Jesus is the Son of God? What greater evidence could be given of the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ than that which has been given by those who were eyewitnesses of his Majesty? Will those who claim to believe in Christ as a personal Saviour, dishonor God by doubting that he to whose guardianship they have committed their souls will keep that which has been committed to his trust against that day? Jesus is a risen Saviour. He came forth from the grave to vindicate his previous claims, to confirm the faith of his followers, to establish the truth of his Godhead before men, to make doubly sure the assurance that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. {ST, May 30, 1895 par. 8}

Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, book 1, p. 322

Voluntarily our divine Substitute bared His soul to the sword of justice, that we might not perish but have everlasting life. Said Christ, "I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again" (John 10:17, 18). No man of earth or angel of heaven could have paid the penalty for sin. Jesus was the only one who could save rebellious man. In Him divinity and humanity were combined, and this was what gave efficiency to the offering on Calvary's cross. At the (p. 323) cross mercy and truth met together, righteousness and peace kissed each other. {1SM 322.1}