He will turn again - who seemed to be turned away from us when we were turned away from Him. “He will subdue, or trample under foot” Joel 2:14, our worst enemy, “our iniquities”, as He saith, “He shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly” Romans 16:20. Hitherto, sinful passions had not rebelled only, but had had the mastery over us. Sin subdued man; it was his lord, a fierce tyrant over him; he could not subdue it. Holy Scripture says emphatically of man under the law, that he was sold under sin Romans 7:14, a slave under a hard master, oppressed, weighed down, and unable to throw off the bondage. “We have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin” Romans 3:9; “the Scripture hath concluded all under sin” Galatians 3:22. Under the Gospel, God, he says, would subdue sin “under us,” and make it, as it were, our “footstool.” It is a Gospel before the Gospel. God would pardon; and He, not we, would subdue sin to us. He would bestow, “of sin the double cure, Save us from its guilt and power”. “Not I, but the grace of God, which was with me” 1 Corinthians 15:10.
And Thou wilt cast - - Not, some (“for it is impious to look for a half-pardon from God”) but - “all their sins into the depths of the sea”, so that as in the passage of the Red Sea there was not one Egyptian left of those who pursued His people, so neither shall there be one sin, which, through Baptism and on Repentance, shall not through His free mercy be pardoned. As they, which “sank as lead in the mighty waters” Exodus 15:10, never again rose, so shall the sins, unless revived by us, not rise against us to condemnation, but shall in the Day of Judgment be sunk in the abyss of hell, as if they had never been.
Overpowered with terror, the priests and rulers had fled from the temple court, and from the searching glance that read their hearts. In their flight they met others on their way to the temple, and bade them turn back, telling them what they had seen and heard. Christ looked upon the fleeing men with yearning pity for their fear, and their ignorance of what constituted true worship. In this scene He saw symbolized the dispersion of the whole Jewish nation for their wickedness and impenitence. DA 162.1
And why did the priests flee from the temple? Why did they not stand their ground? He who commanded them to go was a carpenter's son, a poor Galilean, without earthly rank or power. Why did they not resist Him? Why did they leave the gain so ill acquired, and flee at the command of One whose outward appearance was so humble? DA 162.2
Christ spoke with the authority of a king, and in His appearance, and in the tones of His voice, there was that which they had no power to resist. At the word of command they realized, as they had never realized before, their true position as hypocrites and robbers. When divinity flashed through humanity, not only did they see indignation on Christ's countenance; they realized the import of His words. They felt as if before the throne of the eternal Judge, with their sentence passed on them for time and for eternity. For a time they were convinced that Christ was a prophet; and many believed Him to be the Messiah. The Holy Spirit flashed into their minds the utterances of the prophets concerning Christ. Would they yield to this conviction? DA 162.3Read in context »
But there is a brighter side to the picture. “Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted.” Let this thought be kept uppermost. In labor for the erring, let every eye be directed to Christ. Let the shepherds have a tender care for the flock of the Lord's pasture. Let them speak to the erring of the forgiving mercy of the Saviour. Let them encourage the sinner to repent, and believe in Him who can pardon. Let them declare, on the authority of God's word, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. All who repent have the assurance, “He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:19. DA 806.1
Let the repentance of the sinner be accepted by the church with grateful hearts. Let the repenting one be led out from the darkness of unbelief into the light of faith and righteousness. Let his trembling hand be placed in the loving hand of Jesus. Such a remission is ratified in heaven. DA 806.2
Only in this sense has the church power to absolve the sinner. Remission of sins can be obtained only through the merits of Christ. To no man, to no body of men, is given power to free the soul from guilt. Christ charged His disciples to preach the remission of sins in His name among all nations; but they themselves were not empowered to remove one stain of sin. The name of Jesus is the only “name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12. DA 806.3
When Jesus first met the disciples in the upper chamber, Thomas was not with them. He heard the reports of the others, and received abundant proof that Jesus had risen; but gloom and unbelief filled his heart. As he heard the disciples tell of the wonderful manifestations of the risen Saviour, it only plunged him in deeper despair. If Jesus had really risen from the dead, there could be no further hope of a literal earthly kingdom. And it wounded his vanity to think that his Master should reveal Himself to all the disciples except him. He was determined not to believe, and for a whole week he brooded over his wretchedness, which seemed all the darker in contrast with the hope and faith of his brethren. DA 806.4Read in context »
Nothing is apparently more helpless, yet really more invincible, than the soul that feels its nothingness and relies wholly on the merits of the Saviour. By prayer, by the study of His word, by faith in His abiding presence, the weakest of human beings may live in contact with the living Christ, and He will hold them by a hand that will never let go. MH 182.1
These precious words every soul that abides in Christ may make his own. He may say: MH 182.2
“I will look unto the Lord;
I will wait for the God of my salvation:
My God will hear me.
Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy:
When I fall, I shall arise;
When I sit in darkness,
The Lord shall be a light unto me.” MH 182.3