Christ came to the world to convince men, by evidence that could not be controverted, that "God is love." This fact, so long disputed by Satan, is forever put at rest with unfallen worlds and with heavenly intelligences. It is put at rest with those who look upon an uplifted Saviour, who are convinced by the manifestation of the love of God displayed at Calvary. The wondrous condescension of God in giving Christ to the world to work out the principles of divine character, leaves every human intelligence without a shadow of excuse in withholding his allegiance from the God of heaven. Jesus was one with the Father, and revealed the perfection of God, and yet he came to the world in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, and condemned sin in the flesh by his own life of perfect obedience to the law of God, showing that men may become partakers of the divine nature, and may through faith in Christ lay hold on moral power that has been brought within their reach through the love so abundantly expressed in their behalf. Human agents may form characters after the divine similitude, because of the great love wherewith Christ has loved us. The Saviour said: "I am the Good Shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep." "The bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." "This commandment have I received of my Father."
Here was the power that braced the human nature of Christ, and that showed itself mighty to save. In Christ was wisdom not born of earth, but of heavenly extraction, by which the plan of salvation was unfolded, which called forth the admiration of the universe of God. The plan of redemption unfolded in the practical life of the world's Redeemer. He held fast to man with his human arm, and would not let him go; and with his divine hand he grasped the throne of the Infinite. In all the details of his life he gave to earthly and heavenly intelligences an example of humility, of faithfulness in honoring and accepting every requirement of the law of God. He manifested holiness (wholeness) in accepting and expressing that law, in bringing it before the world, and in pressing close to his heart that violated law of God, planning for its honor, bidding those who would discern God's way to look up and rejoice, and saying, "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." Thrones and kingdoms shall be yours if you will endure testing and proving of God, for only the loyal shall enter the portals of bliss.
Jesus placed the cross in line with the light coming from heaven, for it is there that it shall catch the eye of man. The cross is in direct line with the shining of the divine countenances, so that by beholding the cross men may see and know God and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. In beholding God we behold the one who poured out his soul unto death. In beholding the cross the view is extended to God, and his hatred of sin is discerned. But while we behold in the cross God's hatred of sin, we also behold his love for sinners, which is stronger than death. To the world the cross is the incontrovertible argument that God is truth and light and love.
The plan of Satan was by his lying philosophies to widen the breach that existed between God and man. He argued that man could not keep the law of God, and therefore that God had been obliged to change the laws which he had made, and had abolished the rule of his government. Satan's work was to keep the agitation against God in progress, and keep the question to the front as to whether God was light and love or not. Satan had charged God with his own attributes, and thus sowed in the hearts of men the seeds of enmity against God, for man accepted the statements of him who was a liar from the beginning. Uniting fallen man with himself, he kept a series of false theories in regard to God in continual circulation, asserting them to be truth, in order that he might cover up the truth, and interpose his shadow between men and the way and the life.
Satan could establish pronounced enmity toward God only by bringing into contempt the laws of his government. In doing this he deceived many, and through his subtle reasonings he caused many to transgress. Thus he thought to cultivate so large a harvest of enmity toward God as to discourage the divine power, exhaust the forbearance of God, and counteract his love, so that God would abandon man to his deceiver by withdrawing his mercy and grace. He thought to so work with human agents as to cause the last spark of love to die from the heart of God, and cause him to lift the sword of justice and destroy the rebel race. Then Satan supposed that his claims would be vindicated before unfallen worlds, before unfallen angels.
But what was the result of his malignant workings?--The signals of mercy were continually exhibited, and, although those who could have received the heavenly offers of love and mercy, continually answered back with defiance, and responded, "We want not thy ways, O God; depart from us," and the principles of hatred to the law of God were continually increasing, yet the forbearance of God did not cease; he did not fail or become discouraged. Love and hatred stood face to face with each other. Were men to receive the annihilating stroke of an offended God? "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God." "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." At the crisis, when iniquity had overspread the world, and Satan seemed about to triumph, Jesus came with the embassage of divine mercy. Satan, exulted in the idea that he had led men to such a state of evil that God would destroy the world, but Jesus came, not to condemn but to save the world.
But was the law of God that pointed out man's transgression extinguished by the death of Christ? If that was so, Satan had gained everything he had aimed to obtain. No! truth, everlasting truth, was vindicated in the manifestation of the justice of God, which is in its true essence the love of God. The cross of Christ testifies to the immutability of the law of Jehovah. God could give his only-begotten Son, but he could not abolish one jot or tittle of his law, to meet man in his fallen condition. To set aside one tittle of the law would be to make null and void the whole law. The cross of Calvary for all time, through all eternity, is the unanswerable argument in regard to the immutability of the law of God.
The whole world stands condemned before the great moral standard of righteousness. In the great day of judgment every soul that has lived on the earth will receive sentence in accordance as to whether his deeds have been good or evil in the light of the law of God. Every mouth will be stopped as the cross with its dying Victim shall be presented, and its real bearing shall be seen by every mind that has been sin blinded and corrupted. Sinners will stand condemned before the cross, with its mysterious Victim bowing beneath the infinite burden of human transgression. How quickly will be swept away every subterfuge, every lying excuse! Human apostasy will appear in its heinous character. Men will see what their choice has been. They will then understand that they have chosen Barabbas instead of Christ, the Prince of Peace.
The mystery of the incarnation and the Crucifixion will be plainly discerned; for it will be presented before the mind's eye, and every condemned soul will read what has been the character of his rejection of truth. All will understand that they have erred from the truth by receiving the misinterpretations and bewitching lies of Satan instead of "every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." They read the announcement, "Thou, O man, hast chosen to stand under the banner of the great rebel, Satan, and in so doing thou hast destroyed thyself." Whatever may have been the endowment of talent, whatever may have been the supposed wisdom, the rejecter of truth has then no ability to turn unto God. The door is shut, as was the door of the ark in Noah's day.
The great men of earth will then understand that they have surrendered mind and heart to ensnaring philosophy which pleased the carnal heart. Hope and grace and every inducement had been held out by One who loved them, and gave his life for them, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life, but they refused the love of God. Their lofty opinions, their human reasonings, were extolled; they declared themselves sufficient in themselves to understand divine mysteries, and they thought their own powers of discrimination were strong enough to discern truth for themselves. They fell an easy prey to Satan's subtlety, for he presented before them specious errors in human philosophy, which has an infatuation for human minds. They turned from the Source of all wisdom, and worshiped intellect. The message and the messengers of God were criticised and discarded as beneath their human, lofty ideas. The invitations of mercy were made a jest, and they denied the divinity of Jesus Christ, and derided the idea of his preexistence before he assumed human nature. But the tattered shreds of human reasoning will be found to be only as ropes of sand in the great day of God.