Christ: The Light And Life Of Men



"If man will cooperate with God by returning willingly to his loyalty, and obeying the commandments, God will receive him as a son. Through the provision Christ has made by taking the punishment due to man, we may be reinstated in God’s favor, being made partakers of the divine nature."

The Life and Light of Men

June 17, 1897

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehendeth it not.... 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.” These ringing words come sounding down the line to our time. They are full of assurance; for John meant every word that he uttered. Inspired by God, these words possess a power that none can estimate who does not believe in Christ as his personal Saviour. They have a deep meaning, and a broad compass, and are eternal truth to all who believe them. {ST June 17, 1897, par. 1}

John is calling the attention of the world to Christ as the life and light of men. Life and light, possessed by no other being that has ever breathed, are found in Christ. A human being lives, but his is a given life, a life that will be quenched. {ST June 17, 1897, par. 2}

“What is your life? It is even vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” But Christ’s life is not a vapor; it is never-ending, a life existing before the worlds were made. {ST June 17, 1897, par. 3}

Adam was a created being, dependent upon the tree of life for his existence. Through his disobedience, he forfeited the precious privilege of eating of this tree, which was to perpetuate the life breathed into him by God, and for which he was dependent on God. After disobeying God, the precious gifts and endowments which he derived from God were no more his. Adam’s disobedience to God’s commands brought the human family under the death penalty. “In Adam all die,” and eternal death, not eternal life, is the final punishment of all who continue in transgression. {ST June 17, 1897, par. 4}

But Christ said, “I will take the penalty of Adam’s transgression.” In Eden the first Gospel sermon was preached. God said to the serpent, “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.” {ST June 17, 1897, par. 5}

And “when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, ... to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Christ died in behalf of the human family, giving men a probation, that they might have opportunity to see the evil of sin, and to choose as their leader, either the apostate who was expelled from heaven, or the Prince of Life, who gave himself as an atoning sacrifice, that all might return to their loyalty. {ST June 17, 1897, par. 6}

Christ’s suffering and death have placed life in and through him upon an eternal basis of security. He took human nature. He became flesh even as we are. He was oft hungry, thirsty, and weary. He was sustained by food, and refreshed by sleep. He had natural affection; for we see him weeping in sympathy with the sorrows of others, and lamenting over the retribution coming upon Jerusalem because of her impenitence. While in this world, Christ lived a life of complete humanity in order that he might stand as a representative of the human family. He was tempted in all points like as we are, that he might be able to succor them that are tempted. As the Prince of Life in human flesh, he met the prince of darkness, and, passing over the ground where Adam fell, he endured every test that Adam failed to endure. Every temptation that could be brought against fallen humanity, he met and overcame. {ST June 17, 1897, par. 7}

Had he not been fully human, Christ could not have been our substitute. He could not have worked out in humanity that perfection of character which it is the privilege of all to reach. He was the light and the life of the world. He came to this earth to work in behalf of men, that they might no longer be under the control of Satanic agencies. But while bearing human nature, he was dependent upon the Omnipotent for his life. In his humanity, he laid hold of the divinity of God; and this every member of the human family has the privilege of doing. Christ did nothing that human nature may not do if it partakes of the divine nature. {ST June 17, 1897, par. 8}

During Christ’s life, the warfare between him and the enemy was constantly going on. Every movement of his life was watched. Satan strove to gain the victory; he sought to ensnare Christ, and lead him into temptation. Satan was once an exalted, holy being, in office in the heavenly courts. But he became disloyal, a transgressor of the law of Jehovah. He aimed to be the highest power in the universe. His sin is unexplainable. If it could be explained, there would be an excuse for sin. It is the mystery of iniquity, without any cause. {ST June 17, 1897, par. 9}

After receiving baptism at the hand of John, Christ was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. Here he was severely tempted by Satan. But he yielded not. He withstood every assault, every deceptive influence, every temptation. Had he yielded in the slightest degree, the human family would have been under the control of the power of Satan. {ST June 17, 1897, par. 10}

The battle going on in this world was witnessed by the heavenly universe, and by the worlds unfallen. They saw the purposes of hate cherished by the wily foe against the only-begotten Son of God. Satan’s enmity against truth and righteousness was seen. By his treatment of Christ, Satan demonstrated the falsity of his own attributes, and of his deceiving, crooked pretensions as the friend of God. He showed himself to be the enemy of God and of man. The sacrificial offering upon the cross of Calvary sounded the death knell of Satan and of all who choose him as their leader. He fell forever from the sympathy of the heavenly angels. {ST June 17, 1897, par. 11}

When Christ, dying upon the cross, cried with a loud voice, “It is finished,” Satan and the angels that sympathized with him in heaven, and fell with him, were vanquished. When Christ proclaimed over the rent sepulcher of Joseph, “I am the resurrection and the life,” man was placed on vantage ground. The matter was worked out. The mystery of godliness was victorious. Through Christ, man was severed from the slavery of the hateful apostate. For all who believe in Christ a victory was gained. They would no longer be counted as sinners, sons of rebellion, but as sons of God, through their acceptance of the righteousness of Christ. {ST June 17, 1897, par. 12}

As Adam lost the gift of life and immortality by his disobedience, so all born of Adam forfeit this gift. That one transgression opened the flood-gates of woe upon our world. Adam had no power in himself to redeem the past, or to win back the gifts bestowed by Christ. But by his incarnation, Christ was made fully competent to place man where he would no longer be an outcast, excluded from the tree of life. Christ himself bore the penalty of sin, that he might bring life and immortality to light. {ST June 17, 1897, par. 13}

If man will cooperate with God by returning willingly to his loyalty, and obeying the commandments, God will receive him as a son. Through the provision Christ has made by taking the punishment due to man, we may be reinstated in God’s favor, being made partakers of the divine nature. If we repent of our transgression, and receive Christ as the Life-giver, our personal Saviour, we become one with him, and our will is brought into harmony with the divine will. We become partakers of the life of Christ, which is eternal. We derive immortality from God by receiving the life of Christ for in Christ dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. This life is the mystical union and cooperation of the divine with the human. {ST June 17, 1897, par. 14}

As children of the first Adam, we partake of the dying nature of Adam. But through the imparted life of Christ, man has been given opportunity to win back again the lost gift of life, and to stand in his original position before God, a partaker of the divine nature. “As many as received him,” writes John, “to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” “I am come,” said Christ, “that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” {ST June 17, 1897, par. 15}

“As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” And the life which Christ offers us is more perfect, more full, and more complete than was the life which Adam forfeited by transgression. {ST June 17, 1897, par. 16}

Mrs. E. G. White