In seeking us, Christ came all
the way to where we are, taking upon Himself "the likeness of
sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh." Thus He is
a Savior "nigh at hand, not afar off." He "is the Savior
of all men," even "the chief of sinners." But sinners
have the freedom to refuse Him and reject Him.
the Bible Says
|Waggoner sees Christ as
"Nigh at Hand."
"Christ took upon
Himself man's nature, and as a consequence He was subject to death. He
came into the world on purpose to die; and so from the beginning of His
earthly life He was in the same condition that the men are in, whom He
died to save.
"Don't start in
horrified astonishment; I am not implying that Christ was a sinner. One
of the most encouraging things in the Bible is the knowledge that Christ
took on Him the nature of man, to know that His ancestors according to
the flesh were sinners. They had all the weaknesses and passions that we
have. No man has any right to excuse his sinful acts on the ground of
heredity. If Christ had not been made in all things like unto His
brethren, then His sinless life would be no encouragement to us. We
might look at it with admiration, but it would be the admiration that
would cause hopeless despair.
"From the earliest
childhood the cross was ever before Him" (The Gospel in
Galatians, pp. 60-62, condensed).
"His humanity only
veiled His Divine nature, by which He was inseparably connected with the
invisible God, and which was more than able successfully to resist the
weaknesses of the flesh. There was in His whole life a struggle. The
flesh, moved upon by the enemy of all righteousness, would tend to sin,
yet His Divine nature never for a moment harbored an evil desire, nor
did His Divine power for a moment waver" (Christ and His
Righteousness, pp. 28, 29). (Jones
see the Love of God in the Incarnation as a Powerful Truth to Motivate
Waggoner sees practical godliness in this truth.
"There were two
questions handed me, and I might read them now. One is this: 'Was that
holy thing which was born of the virgin Mary born in sinful flesh, and
did that flesh have the same evil tendencies to contend with that ours
does?' I do not know anything about this except what I read in the
Bible. I have had my time of discouragement and despondency. That which
for years had me discouraged was the knowledge to some extent of the
weakness of my own self, and the thought that those who in my estimation
were doing right and those holy men of old in the Bible, were
differently constituted from me. I found that I could not do anything
but evil. . . .
"If Jesus, who came here
to show me the way of salvation, in whom alone there is hope—if His
life here on earth was a sham, then where is the hope? 'But,' you say,
'this question presupposes the opposite, that He was perfectly holy, so
holy that He never had any evil to contend with.'
"That's what I am
referring to. I read, He 'was in all points tempted like as we are, yet
without sin.' I read of His praying all night, in such agony the drops
of sweat like blood fell from his face. But if that were all
make-believe, if He were not really tempted, of what use is it all to
me? I am left worse off than I was before.
"But O, if there is
One—and I do not use this 'if ' with any thought of doubt; I will say since
there is One who went through all that I ever can be called upon to go
through, who resisted more than I can ever be called upon to resist, who
was constituted in every respect as I am, only in even worse
circumstances than I have been, who met all the power that the devil
could exercise through human flesh and yet who knew no sin—then I can
rejoice. That which He did 1900 years ago He is still able to do to all
who believe in Him.
The Immaculate Conception denies the Bible view of the nature of
"We need to settle,
every one of us, whether we are out of the church of Rome or not. Many
have the marks yet. Do you not see that the idea that the flesh of Jesus
was not like ours (because we know ours is sinful) necessarily involves
the idea of the immaculate conception of the virgin Mary?
"Suppose we start with
the idea that Jesus was so separate from us, so different that He did
not have in His flesh anything to contend with—sinless flesh. Then you
see how the Roman Catholic dogma of the immaculate conception
necessarily follows. But why stop there? You must go back to her mother,
and so back to Adam; and the result?—There never was a fall. Thus you
see the essential identity of Roman Catholicism and Spiritualism.
"Christ was tempted in
the flesh, He suffered in the flesh, but He had a mind which never
consented to sin. He established the will of God in the flesh, and
established that God's will may be done in any human, sinful flesh"
(General Conference Bulletin, 1901, pp. 403-405, condensed). (Jones