Steps to Christ
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 1: God's Love for Man
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Nature and revelation alike testify of God's
love. Our Father in heaven is the source of
life, of wisdom, and of joy. Look at the wonderful
and beautiful things of nature. Think of their
marvelous adaptation to the needs and happiness, not
only of man, but of all living creatures. The sunshine
and the rain, that gladden and refresh the earth, the
hills and seas and plains, all speak to us of the
Creator's love. It is God who supplies the daily needs
of all His creatures. In the beautiful words of the
"The eyes of all wait upon Thee;|
And Thou givest them their meat in due season.
Thou openest Thine hand,
And satisfiest the desire of every living thing."
|Psalm 145:15, 16.
God made man perfectly holy and happy; and the
fair earth, as it came from the Creator's hand, bore
no blight of decay or shadow of the curse. It is
transgression of God's law—the law of love—that has
brought woe and death. Yet even amid the suffering
that results from sin, God's love is revealed. It is
written that God cursed the ground for man's sake.
Genesis 3:17. The thorn and the thistle—the difficulties
and 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 [p. 10] world, though fallen, is not all sorrow and misery. In
nature itself are messages of hope and comfort. There
are flowers upon the thistles, and the thorns are
covered with roses.
"God is love" is written upon every opening bud,
upon every spire of springing grass. The lovely birds
making the air vocal with their happy songs, the
delicately tinted flowers in their perfection perfuming
the air, the lofty trees of the forest with their rich
foliage of living green — all testify to the tender,
fatherly care of our God and to His desire to make
His children happy.
The word of God reveals His character. He
Himself has declared His infinite love and pity. When
Moses prayed, "Show me Thy glory," the Lord answered,
"I will make all My goodness pass before
thee." Exodus 33:18, 19. This is His glory. The Lord
passed before Moses, and proclaimed, "The Lord, The
Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and
abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for
thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and
sin." Exodus 34:6, 7. He is "slow to anger, and of
great kindness," "because He delighteth in mercy."
Jonah 4:2; Micah 7:18.
God has bound our hearts to Him by unnumbered
tokens in heaven and in earth. Through the things
of nature, and the deepest and tenderest earthly ties
that human hearts can know, He has sought to reveal
Himself to us. Yet these but imperfectly represent
His love. Though all these evidences have been given,
the enemy of good blinded the minds of men, so that
they looked upon God with fear; they thought of [p. 11] Him as severe 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. He pictured the Creator as a being
who is watching with jealous eye to discern the errors
and mistakes of men, that He may visit judgments
upon them. It was to remove this dark shadow, by
revealing to the world the infinite love of God, that
Jesus came to live among men.
The Son of God came from heaven to make manifest
the Father. "No man hath seen God at any time;
the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the
Father, He hath declared Him." John 1:18. "Neither
knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to
whomsoever the Son will reveal Him." Matthew 11:27.
When one of the disciples made the request, "Show
us the Father," Jesus answered, "Have I been so long
time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip?
He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how
sayest thou then, Show us the Father?" John 14:8, 9.
In describing His earthly mission, Jesus said, The
Lord "hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the
poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to
preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of
sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are
bruised." Luke 4:18. This was His work. He went
about doing good and healing all that were oppressed
by Satan. There were whole villages where there
was not a moan of sickness in any house, for He had
passed through them and healed all their sick. His
work gave evidence of His divine anointing. Love,
mercy, and compassion were revealed in every act of [p. 12] His life; His heart went out in tender sympathy to
the children of men. He took man's nature, that He
might reach man's wants. The poorest and humblest
were not afraid to approach Him. Even little children
were attracted to Him. They loved to climb
upon His knees and gaze into the pensive face,
benignant with love.
Jesus did not suppress one word of truth, but He
uttered it always in love. He exercised the greatest
tact and thoughtful, kind attention in His intercourse
with the people. He was never rude, never needlessly
spoke a severe word, never gave needless pain to a
sensitive soul. He did not censure human weakness.
He spoke the truth, but always in love. He denounced
hypocrisy, unbelief, and iniquity; but tears were in
His voice as He uttered His scathing rebukes. He
wept over Jerusalem, the city He loved, which
refused to receive Him, the way, the truth, and the life.
They had rejected Him, the Saviour, but He regarded
them with pitying tenderness. His life was one of
self-denial and thoughtful care for others. Every
soul was precious in His eyes. While He ever bore
Himself with divine dignity, He bowed with the
tenderest regard to every member of the family of God.
In all men He saw fallen souls whom it was His
mission to save.
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