Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 11: Things New and Old
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In every age there is a new development of truth, a
message of God to the people of that generation. The old
truths are all essential; new truth is not independent of the
old, but an unfolding of it. It is only as the old truths
are understood that we can comprehend the new. When
Christ desired to open to His disciples the truth of His
resurrection, He began "at Moses and all the prophets" [p. 128] and "expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things
concerning Himself." Luke 24:27. But it is the light
which shines in the fresh unfolding of truth that glorifies
the old. He who rejects or neglects the new does not really
possess the old. For him it loses its vital power and
becomes but a lifeless form.
There are those who profess to believe and to teach the
truths of the Old Testament, while they reject the New.
But in refusing to receive the teachings of Christ, they
show that they do not believe that which patriarchs and
prophets have spoken. "Had ye believed Moses," Christ
said, "ye would have believed Me; for he wrote of Me."
John 5:46. Hence there is no real power in their teaching
of even the Old Testament.
Many who claim to believe and to teach the gospel are
in a similar error. They set aside the Old Testament
Scriptures, of which Christ declared, "They are they which
testify of Me." John 5:39. In rejecting the Old, they
virtually reject the New; for both are parts of an inseparable
whole. No man can rightly present the law of God
without the gospel, or the gospel without the law. The law
is the gospel embodied, and the gospel is the law unfolded.
The law is the root, the gospel is the fragrant blossom and
fruit which it bears.
The Old Testament sheds light upon the New, and the
New upon the Old. Each is a revelation of the glory of
God in Christ. Both present truths that will continually
reveal new depths of meaning to the earnest seeker.
Truth in Christ and through Christ is measureless.
The student of Scripture looks, as it were, into a fountain
that deepens and broadens as he gazes into its depths.
Not in this life shall we comprehend the mystery of God's
love in giving His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
The work of our Redeemer on this earth is and ever will [p. 129] be a subject that will put to the stretch our highest
imagination. Man may tax every mental power in the
endeavor to fathom this mystery, but his mind will
become faint and weary. The most diligent searcher
will see before him a boundless, shoreless sea.
The truth as it is in Jesus can be experienced, but
never explained. Its height and breadth and depth pass
our knowledge. We may task our imagination to the
utmost, and then we shall see only dimply the outlines
of a love that is unexplainable, that is as high as heaven,
but that stooped to the earth to stamp the image of God
on all mankind.
Yet it is possible for us to see all that we can bear
of the divine compassion. This is unfolded to the humble,
contrite soul. We shall understand God's compassion just
in proportion as we appreciate His sacrifice for us. As we
search the word of God in humility of heart, the grand
theme of redemption will open to our research. It will
increase in brightness as we behold it, and as we aspire
to grasp it, its height and depth will ever increase.
Our life is to be bound up with the life of Christ; we
are to draw constantly from Him, partaking of Him, the
living Bread that came down from heaven, drawing from
a fountain ever fresh, ever giving forth its abundant
treasures. If we keep the Lord ever before us, allowing
our hearts to go out in thanksgiving and praise to Him,
we shall have a continual freshness in our religious life.
Our prayers will take the form of a conversation with
God as we would talk with a friend. He will speak
His mysteries to us personally. Often there will come to
us a sweet joyful sense of the presence of Jesus. Often
our hearts will burn within us as He draws nigh to
commune with us as He did with Enoch. When this [p. 130] is in truth the experience of the Christian, there is seen in
his life a simplicity, a humility, meekness, and lowliness
of heart, that show to all with whom he associates that he
has been with Jesus and learned of Him.
In those who possess it, the religion of Christ will
reveal itself as a vitalizing, pervading principle, a living,
working, spiritual energy. There will be manifest the
freshness and power and joyousness of perpetual youth.
The heart that receives the word of God is not as a
pool that evaporates, not like a broken cistern that loses
its treasure. It is like the mountain stream fed by unfailing
springs, whose cool, sparkling waters leap from rock to
rock, refreshing the weary, the thirsty, the heavy laden.
This experience gives every teacher of truth the very
qualifications that will make him a representative of Christ.
The spirit of Christ's teaching will give a force and
directness to his communications and to his prayers.
His witness to Christ will not be a narrow, lifeless
testimony. The minister will not preach over and over
the same set discourses. His mind will be open to the
constant illumination of the Holy Spirit.
Christ said, "Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My
blood, hath eternal life. . . . As the living Father hath sent
Me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth Me, even
he shall live by Me. . . . It is the Spirit that quickeneth;
. . . the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and
they are life." John 6:54-63.
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