And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins - He came into the world to destroy the power, pardon the guilt, and cleanse from the pollution of sin. This was the very design of his manifestation in the flesh. He was born, suffered, and died for this very purpose; and can it be supposed that he either cannot or will not accomplish the object of his own coming?
In him is no sin - And therefore he is properly qualified to be the atoning sacrifice for the sins of men.
And ye know that he was manifested - The Lord Jesus, the Son of God. “You know that he became incarnate, or appeared among people, for the very purpose of putting an end to sin,” Matthew 1:21. Compare the notes at 1 Timothy 3:16. This is the “second” argument in this paragraph, 1 John 3:4-10, by which the apostle would deter us from sin. The argument is a clear one, and is perhaps the strongest that can be made to bear on the mind of a true Christian - that the Lord Jesus saw sin to be so great an evil, that he came into our world, and gave himself to the bitter sorrows of death on the cross, to redeem us from it.
To take away our sins - The essential argument here is, that the whole work of Christ was designed to deliver us from the dominion of sin, not to furnish us the means of indulgence in it; and that, therefore, we should be deterred from it by all that Christ has done and suffered for us. He perverts the whole design of the coming of the Saviour who supposes that his work was in any degree designed to procure for his followers the indulgences of sin, or who so interprets the methods of his grace as to suppose that it is now lawful for him to indulge his guilty passions. The argument essentially is this:
(1)That we profess to be the followers of Christ, and should carry out his ends and views in coming into the world;
(2)that the great and leading purpose of his coming was to set us free from the bondage of transgression;
(3)that in doing this he gave himself up to a life of poverty, and shame, and sorrow, and to a most bitter death on the cross; and,
(4)that we should not indulge in that from which he came to deliver us, and which cost him so much toil and such a death. How could we indulge in that which has brought heavy calamity upon the head of a father, or which has pierced a sister‘s heart with many sorrows? Still more, how can we be so ungrateful and hardhearted as to indulge in that which crushed our Redeemer in death?
And in him is no sin - An additional consideration to show that we should be holy. As he was perfectly pure and spotless, so should all his followers aim to be; and none can truly pretend to be his who do not desire and design to become like him. On the personal holiness of the Lord Jesus, see the Hebrews 7:26 note, and 1 Peter 2:23 note.
The lesson book, the Bible, contains the instruction of the character they must have, the moral excellence of character which must be cultivated, which God and heaven require. “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.” FE 385.1
This all-important knowledge is to be kept before children and youth, not in an arbitrary, dictatorial manner, but as divine disclosures, which are of the highest value to secure their present peace, quietude, and rest of mind in this present world of turmoil and strife, and as a preparation for the future, eternal life in the kingdom of God, where they shall see God, and know God and Jesus Christ, who gave His precious life to redeem them. FE 385.2
Christ came in the form of humanity to live the law of God. He was the word of life. He came to be the gospel of salvation to the world, and to fulfil every specification of the law. Jesus is the word, the guidebook, which must be received and obeyed in every particular. How necessary that this mine of truth be explored, and the precious treasures of truth be discovered and secured as rich jewels. The incarnation of Christ, His divinity, His atonement, His wonderful life in heaven as our advocate, the office of the Holy Spirit,—all these living, vital themes of Christianity are revealed from Genesis to Revelation. The golden links of truth form a chain of evangelical truth, and the first, and staple, is found in the great teachings of Christ Jesus. Why, then, should not the Scriptures be ennobled and exalted in every school in our land? How little children are educated to study the Bible as the word of God, and feed upon its truths, which are the flesh and blood of the Son of God! “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood [that is, continues to receive the words of Christ, and practice them], hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him.” “And he that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us.” FE 385.3Read in context »
This is what the transgressors of God's law have done ever since the day of Adam and Eve's disobedience. They have sewed together fig leaves to cover the nakedness caused by transgression. They have worn the garments of their own devising, by works of their own they have tried to cover their sins, and make themselves acceptable with God. COL 311.1
But this they can never do. Nothing can man devise to supply the place of his lost robe of innocence. No fig-leaf garment, no worldly citizen dress, can be worn by those who sit down with Christ and angels at the marriage supper of the Lamb. COL 311.2
Only the covering which Christ Himself has provided can make us meet to appear in God's presence. This covering, the robe of His own righteousness, Christ will put upon every repenting, believing soul. “I counsel thee,” He says, “to buy of Me ... white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear.” Revelation 3:18. COL 311.3Read in context »
Clad in the armor of Christ's righteousness, the church is to enter upon her final conflict. “Fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners,” she is to go forth into all the world, conquering and to conquer. ML 311.2
Only the covering which Christ Himself has provided can make us meet to appear in God's presence. This covering, the robe of His own righteousness, Christ will put upon every repenting, believing soul. “I counsel thee,” He says, “to buy of Me ... white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear.” ... ML 311.3
“All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” Everything that we of ourselves can do is defiled by sin. But the Son of God was “manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.” Sin is defined to be “the transgression of the law.” But Christ was obedient to every requirement of the law.... When on earth He said to His disciples, “I have kept My Father's commandments.” By His perfect obedience He has made it possible for every human being to obey God's commandments. When we submit ourselves to Christ ... we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness. Then, as the Lord looks upon us, He sees, not the fig-leaf garment, not the nakedness and deformity of sin, but His own robe of righteousness, which is perfect obedience to the law of Jehovah. ML 311.4
To every one God has made an offer that will help to brace every nerve and spiritual muscle for the time of test that is to come to us all. I am charged with the message, Clothe yourself with the whole armor of Christ's righteousness.... And, having done all you can do on your part, you have the assurance of victory. To every soul is granted the gracious opportunity of standing on the Rock of Ages. ML 311.5Read in context »