“We Have a Right”
Claiming God’s Promises
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6, 7, NKJV).* “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4, NKJV).
Looking to Jesus
The temptations that assail the children of God are to be regarded as the outworking of the wrath of Satan against Christ, who gave Himself as a sacrifice for our sins, and redeemed us by His blood. Satan is filled with wrath against Jesus. But he cannot hurt the Savior except by conquering those for whom Christ died. He knows that when through his devices souls are ruined, the Savior is wounded.
The heavenly universe is watching with the deepest interest the conflict between Christ in the person of His saints, and the great deceiver. Those who recognize and resist temptation are fighting the Lord’s battles. To such are given the commendation “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation” (James 1:12, KJV). Endurance of temptation means the cultivation of patience. The tempted, harassed soul cannot trust in his own strength of purpose. Feeling his utter helplessness, he flees to the stronghold, saying, “My Savior, I cast my helpless soul upon Thee.” The fiercer the temptation, the more strongly he clings to the Mighty One.
Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, will fill the soul with peace and abiding trust.
By faith he passes the temptation over to Christ, and leaves it there. Faith in the Savior’s strength makes him more than a conqueror. It is the miracle-working power of Jesus that arms the Christian with strength to overcome as Christ overcame.
Temptation is not sin unless it is cherished. Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, will fill the soul with peace and abiding trust. “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him” (Isa. 59:19, KJV).
Those Who Are Tempted
A few hours ago I listened to the complaint of a distressed soul. Satan came to her in an unexpected way. She thought that she had blasphemed the Savior because the tempter kept putting into her mind the thought that Christ was only a man, no more than a good man. She thought that Satan’s whisperings were the sentiments of her own heart, and this horrified her. She thought that she was denying Christ, and her soul was in an agony of distress.
I assured her that these suggestions of the enemy were not her own thoughts, that Christ understood and accepted her; that she must treat these suggestions as wholly from Satan, and that her courage must rise with the strength of the temptation. She must say, “I am a child of God. I commit myself, body and soul, to Jesus. I hate these vain thoughts.” I told her not to admit for a moment that they originated with her; not to allow Satan to wound Christ by plunging her into unbelief and discouragement.
To those who are tempted, I would say, Do not for a moment acknowledge Satan’s temptations as being in harmony with your own mind. Turn from them as you would from the adversary himself. Satan’s work is to discourage the soul. Christ’s work is to inspire the heart with faith and hope. Satan seeks to unsettle our confidence. He tells us that our hopes are built upon false premises, rather than upon the sure, immutable word of Him who cannot lie.
The oldest, most experienced Christians have been assailed by Satan’s temptations, but through trust in Jesus they have conquered. So may every soul who looks in faith to Christ.
The Pledged Word
A man cannot put his feet in the path of holiness without evil men and evil angels uniting against him. Evil angels will conspire with evil men to destroy the servants of God. Those who are rebuked for their evil thoughts will hate the reprover of sin and will try to wrench him from the service of Christ. The conflict may be long and painful, but we have the pledged word of the Eternal that Satan cannot conquer us unless we submit to his control.
Christ was crucified as a deceiver, yet He was the light and life of the world. He endured the contradiction of sinners against Himself.
“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” (John 3:16, KJV).
Can we measure the love of God? Paul declares that it “passeth knowledge” (Eph. 3:19, KJV). Then shall we who have been made partakers of the heavenly gift be careless and indifferent, neglecting the great salvation wrought out for us? Shall we allow ourselves to be separated from Christ, and thus lose the eternal reward, the great gift of everlasting life? Shall we not accept the enmity which Christ has placed between man and the serpent? Shall we not eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God, which means to live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God? Or shall we become earthly, eating the serpent’s meat, which is selfishness, hypocrisy, evil-surmising, envy, and covetousness? We have a right to say, “In the strength of Jesus Christ I will be a conqueror. I will not be overcome by Satan’s devices.”
Why Christ Came
Christ came to this world to reveal the Father’s love for fallen man. In the heavens above and in the earth beneath, in everything that is beautiful and lovely, in the lofty tree, the opening bud, the blossoming flower, we see an expression of the love of God. There is no measurement by which the love of God can be computed.
Standing before the cross of Calvary, we can gain some idea of the love of the heavenly Father. Behold Christ, the Son of the infinite God, dying on the cross for sinners. He clothed His divinity with humanity, that human beings might become partakers of the divine nature. In Christ we have a manifestation of the Father.
There is a narrowness in human comprehension that is dishonoring to God. Let not him who claims Christ as his Savior entertain the thought that God’s mercies are confined to him and to the few in whom he is interested. The love and mercy of God are for everyone. Let us gather up the divine tokens of His favor, and return praise and thanksgiving to Him for His goodness, which is bestowed upon us not to be hoarded but to be passed along to others.
Sharing With All
We are altogether too selfish, too exclusive. The rays of light shining upon us we are to reflect to others. God expects everyone who enjoys His grace to diffuse this grace as freely as Christ bestows His mercies. As the sun shines upon the just and the unjust, so the Sun of Righteousness reflects light to the whole world. Why should those who have been made partakers of the heavenly gift be so exclusive? Why men should try to keep their light to themselves, instead of letting it shine forth to the world, is a marvel to the heavenly universe.
* Texts credited to NKJV are from the New King James Version.
This material is adapted from the diary of Ellen White, written on December 10, 1889, and December 13, 1889. It is available in Manuscript Releases, vol. 18, pp. 341-345. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry.