HEREThis is the fifth post in a series on the Great Controversy. For the previous post please click HERE. Each post builds on themes and arguments presented so if you have not read my others I recommend starting with the first by clicking HERE.
One of the key points of the Great Controversy teaching is that the ultimate purpose of the Cross and the life of Christ was to serve as an example of overcoming sin. This is to teach and inspire us to vindicate the Character of God by also becoming sinless.
Once again, to prove I am not making this stuff up please see the below quotations.
“Satan had asserted that men could not keep the commandments of God. To prove that they could, Christ became a man, and lived a life of perfect obedience, an evidence to sinful human beings, to the worlds unfallen, and to the heavenly angels, that man could keep God’s law through the divine power that is abundantly provided for all that believe.” EGW, Signs of the Times, May 10, 1899.
“God’s law is given to men as a hedge, a shield.…To the obedient it is the pledge of eternal life, for it expresses the principles that endure forever. Christ came to demonstrate the value of the divine principles by revealing their power for the regeneration of humanity. He came to teach how these principles are to be developed and applied.” EGW, Education, pp. 76-77.
“By His life and His death, Christ proved that God’s justice did not destroy His mercy, but that sin could be forgiven, and that the law is righteous, and can be perfectly obeyed. Satan’s charges were refuted.” EGW, Desire of Ages pg 762
“In making His infinite sacrifice Christ would exalt and honor the law.” EGW, ibid., July 12, 1899.
“When Christ gave His life for you, it was that He might place you on vantage ground and impart to you moral power.” EGW, Manuscript Releases, vol. 14, p. 74.
“The glory of Christ is his character, and his character is an expression of the law of God. He fulfilled the law in its every specification, and gave to the world in his life a perfect pattern of what it is possible for humanity to attain unto by cooperation with divinity.” EGW, Signs of the Times, Dec. 12, 1895.
In summary, Ellen White is teaching in the above quotes that Jesus died on the cross so that we can know how to be perfect and sinless by following his example. And in doing so, we vindicate the character of God.
Is this really why God of very God came incarnate in the flesh 2000 years ago?
This post will not be as straightforward as some of my previous ones on the topic of the Great Controversy. I am going to attempt to Biblically prove line by line the very reason as to why God came in the flesh. This is a task far too many tend to shy away from. To do that I am going to Biblically define a few terms.
- The Holiness of God
- The Wrath of God
- The Love of God
Below is a modified excerpt from a blog post I did focusing on the above three theological terms, you can find that post by clicking HERE. It wasn’t an SDA specific post though so if those are the only ones you read you may have missed it.
|The Holiness of God
1… I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.; 2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.; 3 And one cried unto another, and said,
Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.;
4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.; 5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” Isa 6:1-5 KJV
Here we have one of the most vivid displays of the Holiness of God in the Bible.
“Holy, holy, holy”
This is also stated by the same creatures in Revelation 4:8, its called the Trihagion. This was a new word for me, I had to look it up. Below is an excerpt is taken from a Got Questions essay explaining the concept of the Trihagion.
“The repetition of a name or an expression three times was quite common among the Jews. In Jeremiah 7:4, the Jews are represented by the prophet as saying, “The temple of the Lord” three times, expressing their intense confidence in their own worship, even though it was hypocritical and corrupt. Jeremiah 22:29, Ezekiel 21:27, and 2 Samuel 18:33 contain similar three-fold expressions of intensity. Therefore, when the angels around the throne call or cry to one another, “Holy, holy, holy,” they are expressing with force and passion the truth of the supreme holiness of God, that essential characteristic which expresses His awesome and majestic nature.”
In addition, the Trihagion expresses the Triune nature of God, the three Persons of the Godhead, each equal in holiness and majesty. Jesus Christ is the Holy One who would not “see decay” in the grave, but would be resurrected to be exalted at the right hand of God (Acts 2:26;13:33-35). Jesus is the “Holy and Righteous One” (Acts 3:14) whose death on the cross allows us to stand before the throne of our holy God unashamed.
“Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?” Hab 1:13 KJV
“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” 1 Jhn 1:5 KJV
Based on the above I would argue that sin is not something that can simply co-exist in the presence of a Holy God. It is not so trivial as we make it out to be in our day to day lives. Sin is not dust that God simply brushes off his shoulder. But rather it is something that literally cannot exist in the presence of a Holy God.
To summarize my understanding the Holiness of God is perfect and complete, to restate this mathematically I would use the word infinity. The Holiness of God is infinite and quite beyond human comprehension or explanation outside of the Word.
|The Wrath of God
“For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.; The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.; Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the Lord will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.” Psa 5:4-6 KJV
“neither shall evil dwell with thee”
This would seem to indicate that sin is not permitted in the presence of God. But rather, it is reprehensible to him and incurs his righteous wrath.
“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.; For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.” Isa 59:2-3 KJV
I believe that this speaks of every one of us as “all of sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). So that would mean that our wicked sins have literally separated us from God. This ties into his Holiness because sin cannot be in his presence.
“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” 1 John 1:5-7 KJV
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;” Romans 1:18 KJV
“36He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” John 3:36 KJV
“God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day. If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready. He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors.” Psalms 7:11-13 KJV
“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” Hebrews 9:22 KJV
What I see is that these verses, and many others, clearly teach that just as the Holiness of God is divine and infinite so too is his wrath. This is because the Wrath of God against sin is directly related to and because of his Holiness. Therefor one can logically conclude that the Wrath of God is as infinite and perfect as the Holiness of God. This would also mean that to downgrade the Wrath of God would be to say that God is less Holy.
This means that sins which don’t seem like a big deal to our wicked flesh really are a big deal. The only reason that we believe we are good people is because we are so marinated in wickedness that we don’t know the difference.
Even one sin separates us from God, but none of us have only committed one sin. The Bible says we are born spiritually dead sinners:
“…who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,” Ephesians 2:1-4 KJV
And it is that last line in the above passage that leads us to our next Biblical Definition. For just as the Wrath of God is proportionally related to the Holiness of God, so too is the Love of God.
|The Love of God
In every sense that the Bible teaches that the Holiness and Wrath of God exist, it also teaches that the Love of God is real and meaningful.
“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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:16-18 KJV
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-7 KJV
“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10 KJV
Read this last verse I just posted very carefully and analyze the chain of love to the very end. Also notice the reason that “God sent his only begotten Son into the world” as that is what matters the most. Some might wonder why I didn’t just start with this verse. The reason is that before one can make sense of it the Love of God must be Biblically defined.
This chain demonstrates the expressed purpose and application of God’s Love manifest among us. Just as The Holiness of God is perfect and infinite, so too is The Wrath of God perfect and infinite. Just as the Wrath of God is perfect and infinite, so too is the Love of God wherewith he provides the propitiation, the sacrifice of God, on the Cross for us. In this manner satisfying the perfect Wrath that his Holiness demands.
“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” 1 Pet 2:24 KJV
“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.” 2 Cor 5:21 KJV
The Love of God is not a squishy malleable concept that means whatever you want it to mean. There is a clearly defined theological meaning of the Love of God. He loves us so much that he provided the perfect sacrifice demanded by his perfect wrath and holiness.
The reason that Jesus Christ came manifest in the flesh was not to provide an example for us to follow as the SDA teach. Nor was it to help with your 401K as prosperity teachers preach these days.
Rather it was to save you from being damned. He has provided in his flesh the satisfaction his Holiness requires to make you perfect in the eyes of God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. The tragedy is that this is outright ignored and contradicted in the Great Controversy motif. Instead, the Great Controversy overlooks the Biblical reason of Christ’s ministry and replaces it with a false gospel of moralism.