His Robe or Mine?

The human nature of Christ means everything to us and the subject deserves more than just ordinary investigation.

“When we approach this subject, we would do well to heed the words spoken by Christ to Moses at the burning bush, ‘Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place where on thou standest is holy ground.’ We should come to this study with the humility of a learner, with a contrite heart. And the study of the incarnation of Christ is a fruitful field, which will repay the searcher who digs deep for hidden truth.”[1]

In Hebrews 2:16 we read, “For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.” A quick analysis of this verse might lead one to rationalise that if Christ took the seed of Abraham, He could not have been the second Adam. However, the whole human family has their roots in Adam, not angels. Paul, whom I believe wrote both Romans and Hebrews, gives us another reason why Christ was the second Adam. Romans 9:6 says, “. . . they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.” Verse seven says, “ . . . In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” Abraham’s children, or seed, were to be of promise. In verse eight we read, “ . . . the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” Christ was the Child of promise, the Son of God. He would, of necessity, be the seed of Abraham as He was born not of the will of the flesh. John 1:13. There are only two origins for man, by the will of the flesh or directly from God. Adam was direct from God as was the second Adam, Jesus Christ.

“Christ did not make believe take human nature; He did verily take it. He did in reality possess human nature. As the children are partakes of flesh and blood, He also, Himself, likewise took part of the same. He was the son of Mary; He was the seed of David according to human descent.”[2]

Yes, Jesus was truly a human being just as much as was Adam, whom He had created. Spiritually, He was the seed of Abraham and, fleshly, the seed of David.

In Romans 8:3 Paul even gets a bit more specific, “ . . . God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh . . .” The inspired commentary on this verse says, “as the image made in the likeness of the destroying serpents was lifted up for their healing, so One made ‘in the likeness of sinful flesh’ was to be their Redeemer.”[3] The people of Israel knew the brazen serpent was not one of the fiery serpents, but it was made in the  likeness of them. Jesus was made in the likeness of His brethren. Man was made in the likeness of God, but he was not God.

To be born in the flesh, according to Jesus when He talked to Nicodemus, was what made it absolutely necessary to have a new birth. John 3:1-6. Obviously, there is something wrong with man’s first birth. “Christ is called the second Adam. In purity and holiness, connected with God and beloved by God, He began where the first Adam began. Willingly He passed over the ground where Adam fell, and redeemed Adam’s failure.”[4]

God must be vindicated for creating man with a sinless human nature, for it was in this nature that man was overcome. The question was: Did God make a mistake in creating man, or was man responsible for his fallen condition? Never has God attempted to claim that  fallen, sinful human nature can be victorious over Satan. If that were possible, all man would need would be an example to follow, not a Saviour who on Calvary’s cross “. . . was earning the right to become the advocate of men in the Father’s presence.”[5] Jesus must redeem Adam’s failure, then raise all men who would accept His plan of salvation by imputing His righteousness to them and giving them a new nature that God could work with, for the new nature does not hate God. This is what the new birth is all about.

“While He was free from the taint of sin, the  refined sensibilities of His holy nature rendered contact with evil unspeakably painful to Him.”[6] If Christ’s nature were holy, obviously, it could not have been sinful. This could be speaking only of His human nature for its  sensibilities were refined. In order for Christ to begin where Adam began He would, of necessity, have to have the same human nature as Adam had when He began his life here on earth. “Christ came to 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.”[7] He had to be tested in the “as God created him” nature that Adam was created in. The first Adam failed the testing, but the second Adam succeeded and “His holy nature” was refined.

The refining and testing process was a part of the character building that He must accomplish on Man’s behalf. His death then earned Him the right to impute this character to those who will believe and accept Him as Lord and Saviour.

If Jesus had a sinful nature by inheritance, how could He develop a perfect character? Paul makes it very clear that “ . . . the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Romans 8:7. “The brain is the capital of the body.”[8] We must now discover if the brain, or mind, is also the nature of man. There is much misunderstanding in this area. A clear, penetrating statement from inspiration should help us.

“Pure religion has to do with the will. The will is the governing power in the nature of man, bringing all the other faculties under its sway. The will is not the taste or the inclination, but it is the deciding power, which works in the children of men unto obedience to God or unto disobedience.”[9]

There can be no doubt that decisions are made in the brain which is the capital of the body. We have learned that the will is the governing power, or deciding power, that works in man to obedience or disobedience. We have also learned that this will is the governing power in the nature of man. If we accept the governing power, or deciding power, to be the same as the brain, or mind, which is the capital of the body, we have our answer. The brain is also the residence of the nature of man. Since the heart and mind are the same, it follows that when we receive a new heart, we receive a new mind, nature and will.

As to the carnal mind Paul says, “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Romans 8:6. Could this be the reason that David cried out in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” and Paul also counselled the Philippians, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5.

Yes, Jesus did have an advantage over sinful man, but not over the born-again Christian.

“Through the victory of Christ the same advantages that He had are provided for man; for he may be a partaker of a power out of and above himself, even a partaker of the divine nature, by which he may overcome the corruption that is in the world through lust.”[10]

The nature determines the character that will be developed. A sinful or carnal nature produces a sinful or carnal character. It can produce nothing else. “The idea that it is necessary only to develop the good that exists in man by nature, is a fatal deception.”[11]

Now we can readily see why the new birth is essential in the experience of every man. However, Jesus needed no new birth for He was “that holy thing” or the Son of God from the beginning. Luke 1:35. We become sons or daughters of God through the new birth. We had nothing to do with our first birth, but we have everything to do with our second birth. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” John 3:6

Character acceptable to God can only be developed in sinless nature. Jesus, the second Adam, was born with this sinless nature. We must be born into this sinless nature.

If the carnal mind, or nature, is “. . . not subject to the law of God . . . “ Romans 8:7, and the law of God is a transcript of His character, we have a real problem if we insist that Christ inherited a sinful nature.

When Christ took upon Himself the sins of the world it did not make Him a sinner, for He did this victoriously. He took our sinful nature the same way. All the weakness and hereditary effects, physical and mental, He took so that while “Sinless and exalted by nature, He consented to take the habiliments of humanity, to become one with the fallen race.”[12] Habiliments, Webster defines as “characteristic apparatus.” We could say identifiable characteristics.

Why is this important for us to understand? God’s plan of salvation requires man to have a perfect character, and he does not have this to offer.

“It was possible for Adam, before the fall, to form a righteous character by obedience to God’s law. But he failed to do this, and because of his sin our natures are fallen and we cannot make ourselves righteous. Since we are sinful, unholy, we cannot perfectly obey the holy law. We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God. But Christ has made a way of escape for us . . . He lived a sinless life. He died for us, and now He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness . . . Christ’s character stand in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned.”[13]

This is the work of justification which is a free gift to all who accept God’s plan.

None of this would have been possible if Christ had inherited a sinful nature. But, thank God, it did happen and thus we know that “With an antagonism to evil such as can exist only in a nature spotlessly pure, Christ manifested toward the sinner a love which infinite goodness alone could conceive.”[14]

“The humanity of Christ reached to the very depths of human wretchedness, and identified itself with the weaknesses and necessities of fallen man, while His divine nature grasped the Eternal. His work in bearing the guilt of man’s transgression was not to give him license to continue to violate the law of God, which made man a debtor to the law, which debt Christ was Himself paying by His own suffering. The trials and sufferings of Christ were to impress man with a sense of his great sin in breaking the law of God, and to bring him repentance and obedience to that law, and through obedience to acceptance with God.  His righteousness He would impute to man, and thus raise him in moral value with God, so that his efforts to keep the divine law would be acceptable. Christ’s work was to reconcile man to God through His human nature, and God to man through His divine nature.”[15]

Notice: It was through  Christ’s humanity that man was to be reconciled to God. Romans 8:7 tells us, “ . . . the carnal mind (nature) is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”  Reconciliation through sinful human nature is obviously impossible. The problem is that man has always tried to solve his sin problem by bringing Christ down to man’s own sinful nature, rather than allowing Christ to bring man up from his fallen, sinful nature through His imputed righteousness to stand before God with a new nature that God can work with. The new nature does not hate God. However, man’s new nature must also be refined, and this is the work sanctification accomplishes.

We can scarcely believe what the sinful nature has done to man.

“The result of eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is manifest in every man’s experience. There is in his nature a bent to evil, a force which, unaided, he cannot resist. To withstand this force, to attain that ideal which in his inmost soul he accepts as alone worthy, he can find no help but in one power. That power is Christ.”[16]

“The inheritance of children is that of sin. Sin has separated them from God. Jesus gave His life that He might unite the broken links to God.  As related to the first Adam, men receive from him nothing but guilt and the sentence of death.”[17]

In order for Christ to unite the broken links (which includes the whole human family), He must have an entirely different nature than we are born with.

“Man could not atone for man. His sinful, fallen condition would constitute him an imperfect offering, an atoning sacrifice of less value than Adam before his fall. God made man perfect and upright, and after his transgression there could be no sacrifice acceptable to God for him, unless the offering made should in value be superior to man as he was in his state of perfection and innocency.”[18]

The sinful, fallen condition is sinful, fallen nature. This is that which is passed on from generation to generation. It is this inherited condition that would have constituted Jesus an imperfect offering, had He inherited sinful nature.

Every offering selected must be without blemish of any kind. “In the days of ancient Israel the sacrifices brought to the high priest were cut open to the backbone to see if they were sound at heart.”[19] Jesus Christ must be pure without spot or blemish. 1 Peter 1:19. Webster defines a blemish as “an imperfection that mars or damages immaculateness.” It is, then, quite clear how sinful, fallen condition, if inherited by Jesus, would have constituted Him an imperfect offering. Hence, the offering would have to be rejected by the Father. However, He was accepted, the atonement was perfect—without sin or blemish.

“The incarnation of Christ has ever been, and will ever remain a mystery. That which is revealed, is for us and for our children, but let every human being be warned from the ground of making Christ  altogether human, such a one as ourselves; for it cannot be.”[20]

We must learn that  sinful nature cannot be controlled, modified or improved in any way. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament teach this.

Isaiah 64:6 “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags . . . “

Job 14:4 “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.”

Psalms 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”

Ezekiel 36:26-7 “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.”

John 12:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Galatians 5:24 “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”

“The Christian’s life is not a modification or improvement of the old, but a transformation of nature. There is a  death to self and sin, and a new life altogether. This change can be brought about only by the effectual working of the Holy Spirit.”[21]

If we picture Christ with a sinful nature He would have had to undergo this same transformation. But the devil could find not even an inclination (propensity) upon which to build his temptations when tempting Christ. This would not have been the case if Christ had inherited sinful nature.

“When Christ bowed His head and died, He bore the pillars of Satan’s kingdom with Him to the earth. He vanquished Satan in the same nature over which in Eden Satan obtained the victory. The enemy was overcome by Christ in His human nature.”[22]

In His human nature Christ overcame Satan.  This, sinful human nature cannot do. It (the sinful nature) must die and be replaced, and man must be a partaker of Christ’s divine nature before he can live a victorious life.

“Be careful, exceedingly careful as to how you dwell upon the human nature of Christ. Do not set Him before the people as a man with the propensities (inclinations) of sin. He is the second Adam. The first Adam was created a pure, sinless being, without a taint of sin upon him; he was in the image of God. He could fall, and he did fall through transgression. Because of sin his posterity was born with inherent propensities of disobedience. But Jesus Christ was the only begotten (unique) Son of God. He took upon Himself human nature, and was tempted in all points as human nature is tempted. He could have sinned; He could have fallen, but not for one moment was there in Him and evil propensity.”[23]

Christ is the only child ever born with sinless human nature. In this sense He is truly unique. Notice: Man  inherited his sinful nature. Christ took upon Him human nature. “God desires to heal us, to set us free. But, since this requires an entire transformation, a renewing of our whole nature, we must yield ourselves wholly to Him.”[24] Since this is His requirement, we can understand why, “As Jesus was in human nature, so God means His followers to be.”[25] Does God mean for His follower to be hampered with fallen, sinful nature?  What, then, was Christ’s relation to our sinful human nature?

“He took upon His sinless nature our sinful nature, that He might know how to succour those that are tempted.”[26]

There is a difference between that which Christ took upon Himself,  through inheritance, and what He voluntarily took in order to win man back to God. He humbled Himself until there was no lower place to which He could descend. He became  experientially acquainted with the weakest of the weak. All our  infirmities, handicaps of whatever nature, He was willing to bear. But, we must remember Christ always retained His perfect hatred for sin. If Christ had inherited a sinful nature there would have been an unbearable dichotomy between His two natures, rather than perfect peace. Is that what God desires His children to have?

“Christ could have done nothing during His earthly ministry in saving fallen man if the divine had not been blended with the human. The limited capacity of man cannot define this wonderful mystery—the blending of the two natures, the divine and the human. It can never be explained. Man must wonder and be silent. And yet man is privileged to be a partaker of the divine nature, and in this way he can to some degree enter into the mystery.”[27]

Through the new birth man is freed from his old nature by death and receives a new nature by birth. It is only in this new nature that we can be a partaker of the divine nature. From the cradle to the grave there was always that perfect harmony between Christ’s two natures.

Anything that man has used as an excuse for sin, Jesus was willing to bear—abuse, loneliness, poverty, being misunderstood, family rejection, physical abuse and pain, mental torture, apparent failure in life’s goals, betrayal, worked against by those closest to Him, even apparently forsaken by God Himself. Is it any wonder that we have this counsel from God, “We should have no misgivings in regard to the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ.”[28]

“The exact time when humanity blended with divinity, it is not necessary for us to know.”[29] May I suggest something that might throw a bit of light on the subject?

“Satan with all his synagogue—for Satan claims to be religious—determined that Christ should not carry out the counsels of heaven. After Christ was baptised, He bowed on the banks of the Jordan; and never before had heaven listened to such a prayer as came from His divine lips. Christ took our nature upon Himself. The glory of God, in the form of a dove of burnished gold, rested upon Him, and from the infinite glory was heard these words, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”[30]

It is no wonder that heaven had never heard such a prayer as came from His divine lips. If Christ at this time took the last step in humbling Himself, just imagine what that prayer must have been—an earnest plea to the Father to now let the guilt of every sin man has committed be charged against Him. Angels and all heavenly beings must have been shocked beyond their capacity to understand why unworthy, ungrateful, sinful man should be offered salvation by Christ actually taking man’s guilt. It must have been almost impossible for them to comprehend.

Adam became a sinner when he chose to believe Satan instead of God. His  nature was changed from a sinless to a  sinful nature. Christ  chose to take upon Himself the guilt of the world which included man’s sinful nature. The cleansing process must reach beyond the deeds of man even to the source—the nature or mind of man. It is thus that Christ can give us a new mind, heart or nature. This process accomplishes  man’s complete restoration and at the same times  does not contaminate the Restorer, for the  guilt was not His own but ours—hence victorious and by His own choice. Oh, the wonder of God’s plan of redemption.

When Christ entered the wilderness of temptation He bore the heavy burden of guilt for the sins of the world. This was a burden too great for any being less than God. Christ was fully divine and fully human, a mystery we cannot fathom.

If Christ had a sinful human nature as an inherited part of Him, He could not have been the express image of His Father. Webster defines sinful as “full of sin.” He, Himself, said, “ . . . he that hath seen me hath seen the Father . . . “ John 14:9. (Italics supplied.)

Inherited sinful human nature can, to a limited degree, be held in control. But, is this freedom that Christ offers the believer? How can we be delivered both from the power and the penalty of sin? “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:36. (Italics supplied.)

If Christ’s perfect life of obedience was achieved through perfect control of His sinful nature, then His example for us is to control our natural sinful natures. The Bible, however, declares that nature to be  incorrigible and that  it must die, and we must be born again. God’s desire is expressed in this quotation: “He would have us comprehend something of His love in giving His Son to die that He might counteract evil, remove the defiling stains of sin from the workmanship of God, and reinstate the lost, elevating and ennobling the soul to its original purity through Christ’s imputed righteousness.”[31] This imputing of His righteousness is the work He is doing now for all who truly believe. He is preparing men and women, through justification, by willingly taking the responsibility for the sins recorded against them and changing their record to read “just as if we had never sinned.”

It would have accomplished nothing for Christ to have accepted sinful nature and even lived without sinning outwardly. The law of God convicts of sin, not only in the act, but in the thought.

“The law of God, as presented in the Scriptures, is broad in its requirements. Every principle is holy, just, and good. The law lays men under obligation to God; it reaches to the thoughts and feelings; and it will produce conviction of sin in every on who is sensible of having transgressed its requirements. If the law extended to the outward conduct only, men would not be guilty in their wrong thoughts, desires, and designs. But the law requires that the soul itself be pure and the mind holy, that the thoughts and feelings may be in accordance with the standard of love and righteousness.”[32]

The sinful nature constitutes the disease of sin, the sins are but the symptoms of the disease. “ . . . the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.” Isaiah 1:5. If Christ had lived a perfect life while possessing inherited sinful nature, He would still be infected with the disease and He would have had to have a Saviour for Himself.

If His nature was what kept Him from having  sinful desires, it could not have been sinful nature. If He had  sinful desires but resisted them, it would have contaminated Him, for in the thought is the seed of sin.

How can we deal with Hebrews 4:15? “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

In order to think our way through this problem it is necessary for us to set aside our preconceived ideas and try to see sin as God sees it. Selfishness, or self-idolatry, is the foundation of all sin. (See Testimony Treasures, vol. 1, p. 518 and The Great Controversy, p. 294.) At this altar every human being has worshipped. He either worships himself or hates himself. Jesus said, “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” John 12:25. This is the same message Jesus gave to Nicodemus in John 3:6, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” How was Christ tempted as we are, yet without sin? If selfishness is the root of all sin, then different sins are but  variations of the plant from which they grow. It would be true that the more carefully self was camouflaged within the temptation, the stronger would be the temptation.

Now we know that “ . . . God cannot be tempted with evil . . . “ James 1:13. Christ, while on earth was wholly God and wholly man. Because Christ’s human nature was sinless, as was Adam’s nature when he was created, and Christ’s divine nature was God’s nature, there was complete harmony between His two natures—His human and divine.

“Christ ever retained the utmost hatred for sin . . . “[33] He hated sin with a perfect hatred.

“In the unregenerate heart there is a love of sin and a disposition to cherish and excuse it. In the renewed heart there is hatred of sin and a determined resistance against it.”[34]

“Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us.”[35]

“He (God) proposes to remove from man the offensive thing that He hates, but man must co-operate with God in the work. Sin must be given up, hated, and the righteousness of Christ must be accepted by faith. Thus will the divine co-operate with the human.”[36]

How can God develop in man hatred for sin when man has a nature that hates God instead of sin? Romans 8:7. It is only accomplished by Paul’s counsel in the same letter in chapter 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye  transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Italics supplied.) Then we will “ . . . Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” Romans 12:9.

We should be able to establish the fact that  Satan could not tempt Christ to do something He hated. This hatred for sin was always natural with Christ. It is not natural with the human family. We are miles apart; how can we be tempted in the same way?

We must remember that it was on this point that the most powerful being who was ever created fell. Selfishness manifested itself in pride, jealousy, deceitfulness and open rebellion. Our first parents were victims of the same temptation. Eve was tempted to question why God withheld the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This became very strong when she thought the serpent had gained his capacity to speak by eating of this fruit. “Why should I not have such wonderful fruit?” This is selfishness of the most common kind. Adam determined to share her fate, thinking his act was one of true love. He dared to hope that things could come out somehow, as long as he got what he wanted. This was pure selfishness! Remember, all of this activity was entered into while the individuals possessed sinless natures. It was the same with every fallen angel. This must be the method Satan used on Christ, as well as on man. How could he get Christ to reveal selfishness that would not look like selfishness? The answer lies in the following inspired quotations:

“It was a difficult task for the Prince of life to carry out the plan which He had undertaken for the salvation of man, in clothing His divinity with humanity. He had received honour in the heavenly courts and was familiar with absolute power. It was as difficult for Him to keep the level of humanity as for men to rise above the low level of their depraved natures, and be partakers of divine nature.”[37]

“To keep His glory veiled as a child of the fallen race, this was the most severe discipline to which the Prince of life could subject Himself.”[38]

The divine nature He had set aside was sinless, perfect and familiar with absolute power. It was extremely difficult for Christ, while on earth, to keep His natural divine nature from showing through His new human  sinless nature. This nature had been weakened by four thousand years of sin. When we are born again and Christ gives us a new sinless nature, it is extremely difficult for us to keep our crucified and buried natural nature which was sinful, vile and filled with pride from showing through our born-again new nature.

Satan’s continuous temptations hurled at Christ throughout His human life were to tempt Him to reveal that divine nature. “If you are the Christ, prove it.” These were the words spoken by humans, as well as by Satan, to Jesus. Never was Christ free from this temptation. His own family and closest disciples often urged Him along this line.

Rulers, priests and leaders were used by Satan to try to force Him to  take Himself out of His Father’s hands and use His own power. Jesus must, though familiar with absolute power, remain true to His chosen position, “I can of mine own self do nothing . . . “ John 5:30. (Italics supplied.)

Satan is constantly tempting every born-again Christian, even though he has a new nature that is compatible with God, to reveal the old nature that he has crucified. He tempts us through the products of the old nature that controlled us for so long before we were born again. These products are our bad habits and hereditary tendencies. He knows them well, for he was the one who developed them in us. He fans the old nature into flame through circumstances and situations of his own making. He knows that he cannot resurrect our old crucified nature, and Christ would never resurrect it. We are the only ones who can be tempted to do this. It is through the old habits that we have not yet surrendered to Christ that Satan does his most efficient work as he tries to force us to reveal our old nature. If he can get us to yield to the habits of the old self-life often enough, he knows we will be more inclined to  discouragement and will give up. It is when we are in this condition that we take ourselves out of Christ’s control and often, in rebellion, turn away from God. This, no doubt, is why Christ  would not be discouraged.

Christ was constantly tempted to do even the good things that He did by  using His own power—as we are constantly tempted to take ourselves away from Christ and “do our own thing,” whether good or bad.

Total surrender was Jesus’ only safety, and so it is for us. He was, indeed, tempted in all points like as we are. Every temptation is, and always has been, a temptation to  demonstrate selfishness in one degree or another.  Selfishness always separates from God. This is Satan’s goal.

If Christ had used His own power by His own choice He would not have been a perfect example for us to follow, thus the plan of salvation would have failed, for He would not have demonstrated perfect trust in His Father.

“Jesus revealed no qualities, and exercised no powers, that men may not have through faith in Him. His perfect humanity is that which all His followers may possess, if they will be in subjection to God as He was.”[39]

Perfect trust is what righteousness by faith is all about!

In order to inspire in man that perfect trust, God’s plan of salvation establishes a relationship between the human family and divinity that will never end. “To assure us of His immutable counsel of peace, God gave His only-begotten Son to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature.”[40]

“The Son of God now at the Father’s right hand, still pleads as man’s Intercessor. He still retains His human nature, is still the Saviour of mankind.”[41]

“ . . . He gave His only-begotten Son to come to earth, to take the nature of man, not only for the brief years of life, but to retain His nature in the heavenly courts, an everlasting pledge of the faithfulness of God.”[42]

“In passing from the scenes of humiliation,  Jesus lost none of His humanity . . . He never forgets that His is our representative, that He bears our nature.”[43]

“That Christ should take human nature, and by a life of humiliation elevate man in the scale of moral worth with God: He should carry His adopted nature to the throne of God, and there present His children to the Father, to have conferred upon them an honour exceeding that conferred upon the angels,—this is the marvel of the heavenly universe, the mystery into which angels desire to look.”[44]

“Christ’s work was to  reconcile man to God through His human nature, and God to man through His divine nature.”[45]

“God desires to heal us, to set us free. But since this requires an entire transformation, a renewing of our whole nature, we must yield ourselves wholly to Him.”[46]

“In heaven it is said by the ministering angels: The ministry which we have been commissioned to perform we have done. We pressed back the army of evil angels. We sent brightness and light into the souls of men, quickening their memory of the love of God expressed in Jesus. Their hearts were deeply moved by a sense of the sin that crucified the Son of God. They were convicted. They saw the steps to be taken in conversion; they felt the power of the gospel; their hearts were made tender as they saw the sweetness of the love of God. They beheld the beauty of the character of Christ. But with the many it was all in vain. They would not surrender their own habits and character.”[47]

“Through the victory of Christ the same advantages that He had are provided for man; for he may be a partaker of a power out of and above himself, even a partaker of the divine nature, by which he may overcome the corruption that is in the world through lust.”[48]

“All the natural goodness of man is worthless in God’s sight. He does not take pleasure in any man who retains his old nature, and is not so renewed in knowledge and grace that he is a new man in Christ.”[49]

“He would have us comprehend something of His love in giving His Son to die that He might counteract evil, remove the defiling stains of sin from the workmanship of God, and  re-instate the lost, elevating and ennobling the soul to its original purity through Christ’s imputed righteousness.”[50]

This is the work to be accomplished in every born-again Christian through God’s unspeakable gift of justification through faith.

The question that must be answered is: If Christ had a sinful human nature, is He to retain that nature throughout eternity? If not, then He had to be freed from that sinful nature sometime. When did this occur?—certainly not at Calvary! He was a perfect offering—not a flaw of any kind was in Him. If Christ had entertained an evil thought even once, He could have accomplished nothing more than any other human priest. Every human priest, by birth, had been contaminated with sinful human nature. Therefore, he must first make an offering for himself each year (Hebrews 9:7) before he could serve as a type of Christ. We can then rest assured that at the cross “He (Christ) vanquished Satan in the same nature over which in Eden Satan obtained the victory.”[51] That nature was, obviously, sinless human nature for that is the way Adam was created. He (Adam) was also defeated in his sinless human nature.

If Christ, at the cross, had the same human nature Adam had when he was created, He could not have sinful nature at the same time. A house divided against itself cannot stand. His sinless human nature did not, however, relieve His suffering at the cross or throughout His lifetime. He did take His sinless human nature with Him into heaven and will bear it forever, united and identified with humanity eternally.

“Christ was not insensible to ignominy and disgrace. He felt it all most bitterly. He felt it as much more deeply and acutely than we can feel suffering, as His nature was more exalted and pure, and holy than that of the sinful race for whom He suffered.”[52]

We are delivered from our sinful human nature through the new birth experience. Christ, however, needed not to be born again. His birth was into the same perfection Adam was created in. Baptism for Christ was not a symbol of death, burial and resurrection to newness of life. His was an example for us to follow. Every human being must be free from his sinful human nature which is “enmity against God” (Romans 8:7) before he can be a follower of God. This transformation Jesus did not need, for He was the second Adam.

Sinful human nature will be a thing of the past in the new earth. To the born-again Christian, freedom from that sinful nature—through God’s plan of salvation—makes it possible for heaven to begin here on earth. How thankful we should be that our Saviour has identified Himself with the human family by retaining our human nature forever.

Notes
 
[1]  The Youth’s Instructor, October 13, 1898.
[2]  The Review and Herald, April 5, 1906.
[3]  The Desire of Ages, pp. 174, 175. (Italics supplied.)
[4]  The SDA Bible Commentary, vol 7A, p. 650, The Youth’s Instructor, June 2, 1898.
[5]  The Desire of Ages, p. 745.
[6]  The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7A, p. 655, The Review and Herald, November 8, 1887.
[7]  The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7A, p. 650, The Signs of the Times, June 9, 1898.
[8]  Messages to Young People, p. 236.
[9]  Messages to Young People, p. 151.
[10]  The Signs of the Times, April 25, 1892.
[11]  Steps to Christ, pp. 18, 19. (Italics supplied.)
[12]  The Signs of the Times, January 16, 1896.
[13]  Steps to Christ, p. 62.
[14]  Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 140. (Italics supplied.)
[15]  Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 272, 273. (Italics supplied.)
[16]  Education , p. 29.
[17]  Child Guidance, p. 475. (Italics supplied.)
[18]  The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7A, p. 665, The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2 (1877 ed.) pp. 9,10. (Italics supplied.)
[19]  The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 1, p. 1110, Manuscript 42, 1901. (Italics supplied.)
[20]  The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1129, Letter 8, 1895. (Italics supplied.)
[21]  The Desire of Ages, p. 172. (Italics supplied.)
[22]  The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7A, p. 651, The Youth’s Instructor, April 25, 1901.
[23]  The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1128, Letter 8, 1895. (Italics supplied.)
[24]  Steps to Christ, p. 43. (Italics supplied.)
[25]  Testimonies, vol. 8 , p. 289. (Italics supplied.)
[26]  Medical Ministry, p. 181. (Italics supplied.)
[27]  The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 904, Letter 5, 1889.
[28]  The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1131, The Signs of the Times, June 9, 1898. (Italics supplied.)
[29]  The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1129, Letter 8, 1895.
[30]  Temperance, p. 284. (Italics supplied.)
[31]  The Review and Herald, November 8, 1892. (Italics supplied.)
[32]  Selected Messages, book 1, p. 211. (Italics supplied.)
[33]  The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 904, The Signs of the Times, January 20, 1898.
[34]  The Great Controversy, p. 508.
[35]  The Desire of Ages, p. 668.
[36]  Testimonies , vol. 5, p. 632.
[37]  The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 930, The Review and Herald, April 1, 1875.
[38]  The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1081, Letter 19, 1901.
[39]  The Desire of Ages, p. 664.
[40]  The Desire of Ages, p. 25.
[41]  The Signs of the Times, July 15, 1908. (Italics supplied.)
[42]  Selected Messages, book 1, p. 258. (Italics supplied.)
[43]  Testimonies to Ministers, p. 19. (Italics supplied.)
[44]  Sons and Daughters of God, p. 22. (Italics supplied.)
[45]  The Review and Herald, August 4, 1874. (Italics supplied.)
[46]  Steps to Christ, p. 43. (Italics supplied.)
[47]  Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 318. (Italics supplied.)
[48]  Signs of the Times, January 16, 1896. (Italics supplied.)
[49]  God’s Amazing Grace, p. 66, The Review and Herald, August 24, 1897. (Italics supplied.)
[50]  The Review and Herald, November 8, 1892. (Italics supplied.)
[51]  The SDA Bible Commentary, vol 5, p. 1108, The Youth’s Instructor, April 25, 1901.
[52]  The Review and Herald, September 11, 1888. (Italics supplied)