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Deny Self or Self Denial

"You Christians seem to have a religion that makes you miserable. It is like a headache. You don't want to get rid of your head, but it hurts to keep it. You cannot expect outsiders to seek for anything as uncomfortable as that!"

These are my own notes and are not a word-for-word transcript of the message. However, by listening multiple times to the sermon and filling in what was missed previously, I have attempted to get as close as I can to what was shared. Quotations have, in many cases, been expanded to the sentences around what the speaker quoted to enable the reader to gain the full impact of what was shared in the sermon. Where the speaker referred to quotations without giving a reference, I have attempted to find the quotation that most closely reflects what was being shared. - © Cheryl Hosford
 



The first 3 meetings we will be studying the life of Jesus Christ, for we are told that we should study the life of Christ, for He is our only perfect example. We often study it from the wrong angle, but we are going to try to study it from the right angle in the next three meetings, and learn something that you possibly have never seen before. Then we will study justification for 2 meetings, and then study the power of the will and how and where it fits into the message of Righteousness by faith. Then we will spend two nights on sanctification and how it relates to justification. 

Our message for today is based on the Scripture in Matthew 16:24

Matthew 16:24 - If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

The author, Hanna Whittal Smith, in her book, Christian's Secret of a Happy Life, tells of an experience that changed her life. She shared about a cultured gentleman who approached her one day and said, "You Christians seem to have a religion that makes you miserable. It is like a headache. You don't want to get rid of your head, but it hurts to keep it. You cannot expect outsiders to seek for anything as uncomfortable as that!"

She began to realize that possibly Christianity is not presented in the most attractive way. I think there is a lot of truth to this. Books are written, sermons are preached, testimonials are given and listened to, but very few Christians are practicing the abundant life. This is a tragedy. If you could go with me from church to church, you would realize that the truth that Ellen White wrote that "religion is at a low ebb." It is at a much lower ebb today. There are many who have lived their entire lives as Christians, but have never experienced that which Jesus has promised. Is Jesus unable to fulfil what He says in the following verses? Listen to these verses:

Hebrews 7:25
Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Colossians 1:13
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.

Luke 10:19
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Romans 8:37
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

John 1:12
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.

2 Corinthians 2:14
Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.

Are these a reality in your life?

Charles Trumbull wrote in Victory in Christ that when he was a young man while he was attending a convention in Chicago, there was one thought that kept bombarding his mind from speaker after speaker. "Is your Christianity worth sending to the world. Not is Christianity worth sending - that we know - but is the kind of Christianity that you lived last week, this morning, yesterday, last night worth sending to the world? There is only one kind that is worth sending to the world - that is the kind which Jesus lived. That is the kind of Christianity that Satan is trying to confuse in the minds of men and women - and especially in the minds of youth. Ellen White makes this comment:

Patriarchs & Prophets, p 41

It was his policy to perplex with subtle arguments concerning the purposes of God. Everything that was simple he shrouded in mystery, and by artful perversion cast doubt upon the plainest statements of Jehovah. And his high position, so closely connected with the divine government, gave greater force to his representations.

Do you know who this is written of? This is written of what Satan did in the heavenly courts above. That is what he did when he started dealing with angels. He took the simplest statements of God and shrouded them in mystery and it was almost impossible for the angels to comprehend what God was saying. He twisted them with just a little twist. That is what he did with Eve. He has been doing it with the human family ever since. Ellen White makes this statement.

1 Selected Messages, p. 345

He (Satan) seeks to make mysterious that which is simple and plain.

He has had a long experience doing that in this world - 6000 years. He has no other goal than to confuse just the simple truths. He doesn't care how much you study the prophecies of God's Word. He doesn't care how much you study the complicated theological problems that we will find in God's Word - and there are some. He cares nothing about that. That is confusing enough. There are opinions galore and solutions galore. But, Satan does not want us to understand the simple truths of God's Word, for that is where salvation lies. That is why he is trying to confuse the issue so much. It is in the simple truths. That's why we are speaking on Jesus simple words:

Matthew 16:24 - If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

This is a 3-step program that is absolutely essential to following Jesus.

The setting of this is found in Desire of Ages, p. 416, 417

Jesus now explained to His disciples that His own life of self-abnegation was an example of what theirs should be. Calling about Him, with the disciples, the people who had been lingering near, He said, "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." The cross was associated with the power of Rome. It was the instrument of the most cruel and humiliating form of death. The lowest criminals were required to bear the cross to the place of execution; and often as it was about to be laid upon their shoulders, they resisted with desperate violence, until they were overpowered, and the instrument of torture was bound upon them. But Jesus bade His followers take up the cross and bear it after Him. To the disciples His words, though dimly comprehended, pointed to their submission to the most bitter humiliation,--submission even unto death for the sake of Christ.

The disciples scarecly ever comprehended what Jesus was saying. They often said, "We don't know what he means." They loved Him. They loved Him vehemently, but they didn't understand Him. There are many, many people today who read God's Word. They love God's Word. They feel some kind of elation, some kind of blessing when they read it, but they don't understand it - especially the simple truths. The disciples were just the same way.

To the disciples His words, though dimly comprehended, pointed to their submission to the most bitter humiliation,--submission even unto death for the sake of Christ. No more complete self-surrender could the Saviour's words have pictured. But all this He had accepted for them. Jesus did not count heaven a place to be desired while we were lost. He left the heavenly courts for a life of reproach and insult, and a death of shame. He who was rich in heaven's priceless treasure, became poor, that through His poverty we might be rich. We are to follow in the path He trod.

Submission unto the most bitter humiliation - submission even to death? Why? If you had lived at the time of Jesus and you had seen a cross, it wouldn't have meant to you what it means to us now. At that time, it meant only one thing - death. It was a symbol of Rome. It was Rome's chosen way of getting rid of the most violent of criminals. Anyone who carried a cross was going to die. The disciples looking on knew what this meant "even unto death" for the sake of Christ. No more complete self-surrender could the Saviour's words have possibly spoken. That was the extreme. Jesus could never have said anything that could have impressed them further.

Elder Mead McGuire wrote in his book, Life of Victory, p. 35

Undoubtedly the great difficulty with the majority of believers is that they are trying to live Christ's life without having first died Christ's death. They seem to have the notion that Christ died that we need not die. So that through faith in Christ they can live without dying.

Paul says in Romans 8:8 "So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. "

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

If that is not clear enough for us to understand, Ellen White shares this statement.

1 Selected Messages p. 224

Today Satan presents the same temptations that he presented to Christ, offering us the kingdoms of the world in return for our allegiance. But upon him who looks to Jesus as the author and finisher of his faith, Satan's temptations have no power. He cannot cause to sin the one who will accept by faith the virtues of Him who was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin.
"God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." He who repents of his sin and accepts the gift of the life of the Son of God, cannot be overcome. Laying hold by faith of the divine nature, he becomes a child of God. He prays, he believes. When tempted and tried, he claims the power that Christ died to give, and overcomes through His grace. This every sinner needs to understand. He must repent of his sin, he must believe in the power of Christ, and accept that power to save and to keep him from sin. How thankful ought we to be for the gift of Christ's example!
Profound theories and speculations of human creation may abound, but he who would come off conqueror in the end, must be humble enough to depend upon divine power. When we thus grasp the power of Infinity, and come to Christ, saying, "In my hand no price I bring; simply to Thy cross I cling," then divine agencies can cooperate with us to sanctify and purify the life. {1SM 224.3}
Let no one seek to evade the cross. It is through the cross that we are enabled to overcome. It is through affliction and trial that divine agencies can carry on a work in our lives that will result in the love and peace and kindness of Christ.

When Jesus said "if any man should come after Me, let him deny himself," that expression, "deny himself" is so full of meaning. Satan took that simple statement and with a simple twist, has confused the whole Christian world. He has taken the statement, He has turned self-denial into denying self. We hear much today about self-denial which has a vastly different meaning.

Self-Denial

Doing without for the benefit of someone else, or in order to give generously to a good cause. While this is a good thing, there is no saving power in it.

When we think of self-denial we think of someone who has done without or gone without for the benefit of someone else. They have saved up for something that they need desparately. They are called upon and then they generously give that which they needed for themselves for the greater cause. We say, "What wonderful self-denial." That is true - I am not belittling that kind of thing in any sense of the word. But I want you to understand that that has no saving grace. No saving power. Denying self is an entirely different thing.

If you were to look up in the dictionary or should go to the original language it would be difficult to find a clear and concise definition for the word "deny" you would be pretty hard pressed. To deny is to utterly deny. This Greek word was not used very much - Jesus was the chief one who used it, and you can probably understand why when you understand what He meant. The only way you can understand what He meant, is to take the places that He used it. Three books refer to Christ's statement about denying oneself - Matthew 16:23, Mark 8:34 and Luke 9:23. In Luke, He adds one dimension to it in one word - take up his cross daily, then come and follow me.

Luke 9:23 - "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."

Christ uses the word in one place that will help us a great deal.

Matthew 26:75 - "And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly."

Denying Self

Denying self means to completely reject, absolutely surrender or rejection, to separate, and die to our own natural, sinful self - having no more connection with our old self.

To take up the cross means that the sinful human nature must die - it can live no more. Only after self has completely died, can we follow Christ.

Many try to follow Christ without dying, for dying on the cross is extremely painful and humiliating.

You now have no problem knowing what deny meant here. Jesus had said, "Peter, you are going to deny me" What did Peter do? He denied Him. He said, "I don't know this man. I have nothing to do with Him, I never did know Him. I have nothing to do with Him. You have the wrong man entirely. I am not connected in any way with this man." Three times he went through this ordeal, then he went out and wept bitterly for having denied his Lord. He completely rejected Him, rejected any knowledge of Him.

With this definition clearly in mind, can you make the transition? This is what Jesus says that everyone of us must do toward self. There hast to be a complete - an absolute separation.

This is what Paul is talking about in Galatians.

Galatians 5:24

And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

1 Selected Messages, p. 224

Let no one seek to evade the cross. It is through the cross that we are enabled to overcome. It is through affliction and trial that divine agencies can carry on a work in our lives that will result in the love and peace and kindness of Christ.

Let no one seek to evade the cross. It is through the cross that we gain the victory. Dying to self is not easy - it is the hardest thing we will ever do, but there is no other plan. That is exactly the way that Jesus lived on earth - by totally and completely dying to self. That is the only way that Christ could live His life here on earth.

5 Bible Commentary, p. 1090, 1091

The yoke and the cross are symbols representing the same thing,--the giving up of the will to God. Wearing the yoke unites finite man in companionship with the dearly beloved Son of God. Lifting the cross cuts away self from the soul, and places man where he learns how to bear Christ's burdens. We cannot follow Christ without wearing His yoke, without lifting the cross and bearing it after Him. If our will is not in accord with the divine requirements, we are to deny our inclinations, give up our darling desires, and step in Christ's footsteps.

This is an absolute essential. When we look this way we realize that step number 1

3 Steps:

  1. Be willing to die to self - completely deny self
  2. Continuous bearing of the cross daily by dying to self continually.
    2 Corinthians 4:10 - always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

    1 Selected Messages, p. 405 - "When self is woven into our labors, then the truth we bear to others does not sanctify, refine, and ennoble our own hearts; it will not testify that we are fit vessels for the Master's use."
  3. Then - and only then - are we able to follow Christ. Too many of us try to follow Him without first dying to self.

We often hear "Christ helps me" with this, or that, and we have believed it. Christ is not in the "helping" business. Either He does it all, or it isn't done. It has to be that way. He is unable to allow us to do any of it - there is no part that we can do... yet there is a part. But it is not what we think it is.


The object of all ministry is to keep self out of sight,
and to let Christ appear.

1 Selected Messages 155

The object of all ministry is to keep self out of sight, and to let Christ appear. The exaltation of Christ is the great truth that all who labor in word and doctrine are to reveal.

7 Bible Commentary, 930

Satan thought that by his temptations he could delude the world's Redeemer to make one bold move in manifesting His divine power. . . . 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 honor 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 the divine nature.

Christ was put to the closest test, requiring the strength of all His faculties to resist the inclination when in danger, to use His power to deliver Himself from peril, and triumph over the power of the prince of darkness. Satan showed his knowledge of the weak points of the human heart, and put forth his utmost power to take advantage of the weakness of the humanity which Christ had assumed in order to overcome his temptations on man's account .

He had received honor in the heavenly courts, and was familiar with absolute power. Do you understand that? I don't. All I know is that the Bible says, "For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast." (Psalm 33:9) He was familiar - not acquainted with - absolute power. There was nothing that could have been done Jesus couldn't do and did do. He created everything in heaven above and in the earth below - everywhere. He simply was the Creator, 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 the divine nature."


For Jesus, His greatest temptation was to reveal His natural self - His divine nature. As the Son of God He knew absolute power, yet He hid His natural self with humanity.

For us, our greatest temptation is to manifest our natural self - our sinful nature - to not die to ourself - even when we are born again.

Do you have any difficulty in that department? Do you? Isn't that where all our difficulties are? There isn't a single problem that we face that isn't right there. And it was just as difficult with Jesus. Can you imagine that? Jesus had just as difficulty keeping His divinity clothed with His humanity, so that not one time in His lifetime by His own will was His divine nature revealed. Not one time. Never once did He allow that divine nature to show through.

When we catch this view, we realize that Jesus was indeed tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin.

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."

Oh, there have been many who have stumbled over this point. They say "Jesus couldn't have the temptations that I have because He had a sinless nature and I have sinful nature, so He couldn't have been tempted as I am tempted." How blind we are, for He was tempted in all points just the same as we are.

The temptations of Jesus were especially geared by Satan. When we recognize that Jesus came to this earth, he came in a sinless nature.

7a Bible Commentary, p. 446

Christ came to the 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.--The Signs of the Times, June 9, 1898.

Jesus had absolute sinless nature. Christ was born sinless - He is the only one who has ever been born that way.

Do you know what that did to Satan? It threw Him in total confusion. Why? Selfishness is revealed within every child that has ever been born within a few hours of birth. Am I right? If you don't believe it, work in a nursery. Within a few hours of birth, selfishness sticks out all over them. Satan sits back and says, I have another one started down the road. That road has never failed. It has always been that way. But when he tried with Jesus to develop that selfishness - even when he was a small child, it didn't work. Satan was totally confused, so He had to switch his whole method of temptation, because he couldn't tempt Jesus to do bad things. He tried desparately.

Desire of Ages, p. 759

When Jesus came into the world, Satan's power was turned against Him. From the time when He appeared as a babe in Bethlehem, the usurper worked to bring about His destruction. In every possible way he sought to prevent Jesus from developing a perfect childhood, a faultless manhood, a holy ministry, and an unblemished sacrifice. But he was defeated. He could not lead Jesus into sin. He could not discourage Him, or drive Him from a work He had come on earth to do. From the desert to Calvary, the storm of Satan's wrath beat upon Him, but the more mercilessly it fell, the more firmly did the Son of God cling to the hand of His Father, and press on in the bloodstained path. All the efforts of Satan to oppress and overcome Him only brought out in a purer light His spotless character.

Praise God he failed! Jesus developed that perfect manhood, that faultless character - and He offers to give it to you and me.

7a Bible Commentary, p. 445

No one, looking upon the childlike countenance, shining with animation, could say that Christ was just like other children. He was God in human flesh. When urged by His companions to do wrong, divinity flashed through humanity, and He refused decidedly. In a moment He distinguished between right and wrong, and placed sin in the light of God's commands, holding up the law as a mirror which reflected light upon wrong.

There had never been a child born like Christ - never one. He was God in human flesh. Never forget it. Satan had prided himself for 4000 years of time from the very beginning realizing that he had gotten things so well organized and going in his plan that Jesus would have to become human. When he became human, Satan would have no harder time with Jesus than he had in any other baby. But when it didn't work, he had to back off and start again.

So he tempted Christ from the time He was a tiny child to reveal that which was inherent and natural in Him.

May we just turn the coin over and say, What does he tempt you and me to do? Is it not to reveal that which is natural - in which we are born? To cause that sinful natural nature to come out, even though we are a born again Christian?

Desire of Ages, p. 71

From His earliest years Jesus was guarded by heavenly angels, yet His life was one long struggle against the powers of darkness. That there should be upon the earth one life free from the defilement of evil was an offense and a perplexity to the prince of darkness. He left no means untried to ensnare Jesus. No child of humanity will ever be called to live a holy life amid so fierce a conflict with temptation as was our Saviour.

Did Christ have an advantage over us because He was guarded by angels? No. We are also guarded by angels. His life was one long struggle against Satan. Because His life condemned evil, His life was opposed both at home and abroad. Do you see how easy it would have been for Jesus to have cleared things up.

Desire of Ages, p. 88

Jesus was misunderstood by His brothers because He was not like them. His standard was not their standard. In looking to men they had turned away from God, and they had not His power in their lives. The forms of religion which they observed could not transform the character. They paid "tithe of mint and anise and cummin," but omitted "the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith." Matt. 23:23. The example of Jesus was to them a continual irritation. He hated but one thing in the world, and that was sin. He could not witness a wrong act without pain which it was impossible to disguise. Between the formalists, whose sanctity of appearance concealed the love of sin, and a character in which zeal for God's glory was always paramount, the contrast was unmistakable. Because the life of Jesus condemned evil, He was opposed, both at home and abroad. His unselfishness and integrity were commented on with a sneer. His forbearance and kindness were termed cowardice.
Of the bitterness that falls to the lot of humanity, there was no part which Christ did not taste. There were those who tried to cast contempt upon Him because of His birth, and even in His childhood He had to meet their scornful looks and evil whisperings. If He had responded by an impatient word or look, if He had conceded to His brothers by even one wrong act, He would have failed of being a perfect example. Thus He would have failed of carrying out the plan for our redemption. Had He even admitted that there could be an excuse for sin, Satan would have triumphed, and the world would have been lost. This is why the tempter worked to make His life as trying as possible, that He might be led to sin.

"Of the bitterness that falls to the lot of humanity, there was no part which Christ did not taste. There were those who tried to cast contempt upon Him because of His birth." They said, "We know who our dad is, but you don't even know who your dad is." Do you know who was casting that kind of remark on Jesus? It was His own brothers. Members of His family. Joseph's sons. They were the ones who constantly were keeping at Him. Do you see how easy it would have been for Jesus to have cleared matters up?

He had to meet their scornful looks and evil whisperings. If He had responded by an impatient word or look, - You see, Jesus couldn't even grit His teeth. He didn't resist by determination. Have you ever done that? Is that the way you live your Christian life? He was the only perfect example.

If He had responded to His brothers by even one wrong act, He would have failed of being a perfect example. Oh I'm glad He didn't, aren't you? Thus He would have failed of carrying out the plan for our redemption. Had He even admitted that there could be an excuse for sin, the whole plan would have been ruined.

Have you ever committed a sin where you didn't blame it on people or circumstance to blame it on? It's never your fault. I always find some person or circumstance to blame it on. That is the way human nature is. Praise God, Jesus had an entirely different nature. In His youth he had to learn the hard lessons of patient endurance. We can endure, but to patiently endure is a more difficult task.

We are told "Jesus loved His brothers, and treated them with unfailing kindness; but they were jealous of Him, and manifested the most decided unbelief and contempt." Desire of Ages, p. 87. Even as a child, He had to meet this constantly, knowing who He was - yet without demonstrating or defending His divinity.

At twelve years of age He went to the temple with His folks and confused and confounded the doctors of the law and the priests, because He knew what it was all about. He looked at those sacrifices and He saw Himself represented there. He saw the whole picture and He asked the priests what those things mean. They didn't know. They had been going through the routines of their religious program for so many generations of time that sacrifices had lost their meaning entirely. Has religion become that in your life? Is it a round of activity?

Jesus saw exactly what it was, and yet His own brothers were constantly challenging Him with this stuff. What an easy thing it would have been for Christ to change the whole picture. How easy?

Desire of Ages, p. 700

 

Christ suffered keenly under abuse and insult. At the hands of the beings whom He had created, and for whom He was making an infinite sacrifice, He received every indignity. And He suffered in proportion to the perfection of His holiness and His hatred of sin. His trial by men who acted as fiends was to Him a perpetual sacrifice. To be surrounded by human beings under the control of Satan was revolting to Him. And He knew that in a moment, by the flashing forth of His divine power, He could lay His cruel tormentors in the dust. This made the trial the harder to bear.
The Jews were looking for a Messiah to be revealed in outward show. They expected Him, by one flash of overmastering will, to change the current of men's thoughts, and force from them an acknowledgment of His supremacy. Thus, they believed, He was to secure His own exaltation, and gratify their ambitious hopes. Thus when Christ was treated with contempt, there came to Him a strong temptation to manifest His divine character. By a word, by a look, He could compel His persecutors to confess that He was Lord above kings and rulers, priests and temple. But it was His difficult task to keep to the position He had chosen as one with humanity.
The angels of heaven witnessed every movement made against their loved Commander. They longed to deliver Christ. Under God the angels are all-powerful. On one occasion, in obedience to the command of Christ, they slew of the Assyrian army in one night one hundred and eighty-five thousand men. How easily could the angels, beholding the shameful scene of the trial of Christ, have testified their indignation by consuming the adversaries of God! But they were not commanded to do this. He who could have doomed His enemies to death bore with their cruelty. His love for His Father, and His pledge, made from the foundation of the world, to become the Sin Bearer, led Him to endure uncomplainingly the coarse treatment of those He came to save. It was a part of His mission to bear, in His humanity, all the taunts and abuse that men could heap upon Him. The only hope of humanity was in this submission of Christ to all that He could endure from the hands and hearts of men.

By a word, by a look, He could compel His persecutors to confess that He was Lord above kings and rulers, priests and temple. Oh what a temptation. By a look He could have compelled them all to bow before Him. But He didn't. He didn't one time use that power. He kept that natural nature of His clothed - hidden from view.

There were only a couple of times when He revealed that nature. One time was at the transfiguration. He had three of His disciples there. He said, "Father, let these men see the glory that I had with You before the world was." Jesus divinity flashed through Him. That was because the Father chose to have this done. Jesus would not do it on His own, except by God's permission.

Christ's strongest temptation was to reveal His divine nature. But He did not do it even one time without His Father's permission. He kept it hidden from view, clothed in humanity.

We read, "By a word, by a look, He could compel His persecutors to confess that He was Lord above kings and rulers, priests and temple. But it was His difficult task to keep to the position He had chosen as one with humanity. "

That's why we read:

5 Bible Commentary, p. 1081

To keep His glory veiled as the child of a fallen race, this was the most severe discipline to which the Prince of life could subject Himself. Thus He measured His strength with Satan. He who had been expelled from heaven fought desperately for the mastery over the One of whom in the courts above he had been jealous. What a battle was this! No language is adequate to describe it. But in the near future it will be understood by those who have overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony

To keep His glory veiled as the child of a fallen race, this was the most severe discipline to which He could subject Himself. There is nothing more severe in your life or in mine than to keep our sinful selves dead and buried. That's why Paul says that if we are buried with Him in baptism, we will be raised with Him in His resurrection.

Romans 6:4
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

There is another dimension.

7A Bible Commentary, p. 451

While He was free from the taint of sin, the refined sensibilities of His holy nature rendered contact with evil unspeakably painful to him.

Every sin was unspeakably painful to Christ. Did you ever suffer pain simply because you came in contact with sin? Oh, you may have had some sadness. If it is one of your close your relatives - someone really close to you, you may have had some pain.

But the simple cold fact is that we can watch sin and laugh at it while the heart of God is weeping, grieving. You can say, "Oh not me." Oh I wish were true. I wish it were true. We can watch a drunk staggering down the street and smile. Brothers and sisters, it grieves the heart of God and His heart bleeds when He sees something like that, because that is a child of God. The potential of a servant of God is there. He loves him. He loves the drunk in the street, because love reaches down and loves for the potential in another - not just simply for what we do, for if that were the case, He would not love anyone of us. He loves us for the potential that He knows is there. I pray that we will let that potential be developed by Him and not by us. When we try to develop that potential, it turns out to be selfishness. When He develops it, it becomes self-lessness. There is a great difference there.

While much that we call pleasure here, it amuses us. The inhabitants on other planets and the angels in heaven look down from heaven and see us enjoying the world, they say, "When will sin become offensive to them?"


When will sin become so offensive to us that we will
hate sin - not just resist it?

This is a part of God's plan in the message of righteousness by faith. For this plan is intended and designed to cause men to hate sin as Jesus hated it. To resist sin - not simply to resist sin. Resisting sin will never ever bring victory to your heart. God must bring you and me to the place where we hate sin with a perfect hatred as Jesus did. Praise God, He can and will do that - if we will let Him. But we must live our lives as He lived His.

Satan knew the weak points of the human heart.

7 Bible Commentary, p. 930

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 honor 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 the divine nature.

Christ was put to the closest test, requiring the strength of all His faculties to resist the inclination when in danger, to use His power to deliver Himself from peril, and triumph over the power of the prince of darkness. Satan showed his knowledge of the weak points of the human heart, and put forth his utmost power to take advantage of the weakness of the humanity which Christ had assumed in order to overcome his temptations on man's account.

Satan understood the weak points of the human heart - what is that? That is simply to let self show through.


There is only one goal
that Satan has for us - that is,
in your work, to let self
be the dominant factor.

Satan's Goal for Christ and for us - to lead us to let self show through. Satan doesn't care what profession we make, or where we are. He doesn't care if it is the ministry or truck driving. There is only one goal that he has - that is, in your work, to let self be the dominant factor. He doesn't care at all what our work is. If he can get us to let it show through, he has us and it doesn't matter what our profession might be. That is a sobering thought. When we begin to understand why we read the following statement.

Desire of Ages, p. 664

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.

His Perfect Humanity is a quality that all of His followers may possess - if they will be in subjection to God as He was. This is why we must study the life of Jesus. Christ was not an example to emulate. He was not our pattern to follow in the things that he did - but rather an example to follow in the way that he lived. There is a vast difference. If we try to do the things Jesus did, we find ourselves constantly confused. If we try to live the way He lived, we find the road to peace, joy and happiness.

May God bless you.