For the next 13 consecutive weeks I am (by God’s grace) going to be posting a daily blog based on a chapter out of the devotional by Ellen White, Steps to Christ. Please keep in mind that different versions of this book, which has been translated in over 140 languages, contain different page numbers. As a result I will not be referencing pages numbers so as not to confuse you. The version that you can download both on your iPod and in print form (PDF) from the site above is the 1892 version of the book, which didn’t contain this first chapter that we are going to look at today.
CHAPTER 1: God’s Love for Man
The book starts with a very simple, yet profound statement, “Nature and revelation alike testify of God’s love.” At the beginning of this chapter, Ellen primarily focuses on the aspects of nature that testify of God’s love. She states that “even amid the suffering that results from sin, God’s love is revealed…. The thorn and the thistle–the difficulties and the trials that make his life one of toil and care–were appointed for his good as a part of the training needful in God’s plan for his uplifting from the ruin and degradation that sin has wrought. The world, though fallen, is not all sorry and misery. In nature itself are messages of hope and comfort. There are flowers upon the thistles, and the thorns are covered with roses.” Is it not amazing how God brings such blessing out of tragedy in our lives?
Can you think of a time when something tragic occurred in your life, later revealed God’s glory? In my life, I know that I look back at all the pain that I was in as a teenager confused and depressed. A life of stealing, lying, cheating, partying, etc. was turned around when Jesus revealed Himself to me.
Going back to the second part of the opening line of this book, Ellen then states, “The word of God reveals His character.” She mentions regarding nature that it “imperfectly represent(s) His (Gods) love.” Further she states that “the enemy of good (Satan) blinded the minds of men, so that they looked upon God with fearl that thought of Him as severed and unforgiving. Satan led men to conceive of God as a being whose chief attribute is stern justice,–one who is a severe judge, a harsh, exacting creditor.” It is because of this flawed view of the character of God, that we have the Bible to set the record straight. Jesus says, “When you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the father” (John 14:9). If you want to know what the character of God is really like, look to Jesus.
Here are a few more lines that really jumped out to me:
In all men He saw fallen souls whom it was His mission to save.
He became ‘a Man of Sorrows,’ that we might be made partakers of everlasting joy.
He (God the Father) permitted Him (Jesus) to leave the bosom of His love, the adoration of the angels, to suffer shame, insult, humiliation, hatred, and death.
But this great sacrifice was not made in order to create in the Father’s heart a love for man, not to make Him willing to save. No, no! ‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son.’ John 3:16. The Father loves us, not because of the great propitiation, but He provided the propitiation because He loves us…. ‘God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself’ (2 Corinthians 5:19).
Nothing less than the infinite sacrifice made by Christ in behalf of fallen man could express the Father’s love to lost humanity.
Jesus is ‘not ashamed to call them (you) brethern (brother)’ (Hebrews 2:11).”
Blessings to you as you read this powerful chapter. Please let me know what stuck out to you as well as if you have any questions about this chapter.