Christ was infinite in wisdom, and yet He thought best to accept of Judas, although He knew what were his imperfections of character. John was not perfect; Peter denied his Lord; and yet it was of men like these that the early Christian church was organized.
Contemplate Christ’s Perfection
Studying Christ’s character is our business.
By Ellen G. White
Christ was infinite in wisdom, and yet He thought best to accept of Judas, although He knew what were his imperfections of character. John was not perfect; Peter denied his Lord; and yet it was of men like these that the early Christian church was organized. Jesus accepted them that they might learn of Him what constitutes a perfect Christian character.
The business of every Christian is to study the character of Christ. The lessons which Jesus gave His disciples did not always harmonize with their reasonings. There was an immense contrast between the truths which He taught, which reached to heaven and compassed eternity, and those things that related to the common, temporal, earthly life. The Redeemer of the world ever sought to carry the mind from the earthly to the heavenly. Christ constantly taught the disciples, and His sacred lessons had a molding influence upon their characters. Judas alone did not respond to divine enlightenment. To all appearance he was righteous, and yet he cultivated his tendency to accuse and condemn others. . . .
Judas had come to Christ in the same spirit of self-righteousness; and if he had asked, “What lack I yet?” Jesus would have answered, “Keep the commandments.” Judas was selfish, covetous, and a thief, yet he was numbered with the disciples. He was defective in character, and he failed to practice the words of Christ. He braced his soul to resist the influence of the truth; and while he practiced criticizing and condemning others, he neglected his own soul, and cherished and strengthened his natural evil traits of character until he became so hardened that he could sell his Lord for thirty pieces of silver.
O let us encourage our souls to look to Jesus! Tell every one how dangerous it is to neglect his own soul’s eternal healthfulness by looking upon the diseased souls of others, by talking upon the uncomeliness of character found in those who profess the name of Christ. The soul does not become more and more like Christ by beholding evil, but like the evil which it beholds. The same love of self, the same indulgence of self, the same hastiness of spirit, the same petulance of temper, the same sensitiveness and pride of opinion, the same unwillingness to receive counsel, the same unsanctified, independent judgment, will be manifest in those who criticize as in those whom they criticize. They will act as if they had not Christ as their pattern and example. O how much we need to guard against Satan’s devices!
The apostle Paul writes of God’s chosen people, and says, “With many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.” Then follows an enumeration of the sins that grieve the Spirit of God; and again the apostle says, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.”
It is not an uncommon thing to see imperfection in those who carry on God’s work. Go into any place where there is a large church, where there are important interests at stake, as there are at Battle Creek, and there we may behold the deep plottings of Satan; but this should not lead us to dwell upon the imperfections of those who yield to his temptations.
Would it not be more pleasing to God to take an impartial outlook, and see how many souls are serving God, and glorifying and honoring him with their talents of means and intellect? Would it not be better to consider the wonderful, miracle-working power of God in the transformation of poor degraded sinners, who have been full of moral pollution, who become changed so that they are Christlike in character, partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust?
The Web of Humanity
We are a part of the great web of humanity. We become changed into the image of that upon which we dwell. Then how important to open our hearts to the things that are true and lovely and of good report. Let into the heart the light of the Sun of Righteousness. Do not cherish one root of bitterness that may spring up whereby many may be defiled. The most unfavorable matters that are developed in Battle Creek or elsewhere should not cause us to feel perplexed and discouraged. Everything that causes us to see the weakness of humanity is in the Lord’s purpose to help us to look to Him, and in no case put our trust in man, or make flesh our arm. Let us remember that our great High Priest is pleading before the mercy seat in behalf of His ransomed people. He ever liveth to make intercession for us.
If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. The blood of Jesus is pleading with power and efficacy for those who are backslidden, for those who are rebellious, for those who sin against great light and love.
Satan stands at our right hand to accuse us, and our advocate stands at God’s right hand to plead for us. He has never lost a case that has been committed to Him. . . . He says, “I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. . . . I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from evil. . . . As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world,” that they may be partakers with Me in self-denial, self-sacrifice, and in My sufferings.
Yes, He beholds His people in this world, which is a persecuting world, and all seared and marred with the curse, and knows that they need all the divine resources of His sympathy and His love. Our forerunner hath for us entered within the vail, and yet by the golden chain of love and truth, He is linked with His people in closest sympathy. n
This is taken from the article “Contemplate Christ’s Perfection, Not Man’s Imperfection,” published in Review and Herald, August 15, 1893. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry.
We are a part of the great web of humanity. We become changed into the image of that upon which we dwell.