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    §9. THE REDEMPTION OF MAN

    John bears this testimony to the work of our Saviour: “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.” 1 John 4:14. And Paul also says: “We trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men.” 1 Timothy 4:10. God sent Him to “proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” Isaiah 61:1. Faithfully He executed his commission. Speaking of the devil and his kingdom, Jesus said: “When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace; but when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armor wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.” Luke 11:21, 22. This fitly represents the work of the Saviour triumphing over the enemy of mankind. Satan was indeed a strong man armed, but Christ was stronger than he. So when Jesus came, Satan’s palace (the grave) and goods (the dead), which before he kept securely, were threatened to be invaded. Again Jesus said: “No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.” Mark 3:27. The strong man (Satan) kept his house (the grave); and his goods (the dead) were secure until the stronger man (Jesus) came. Jesus entered the prison house where Satan had bound all the family of man. Says the apostle: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried.” 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4.ATNM 95.1

    In everything He condescended to take part with man, that He might completely meet all his necessities. He entered the prison house, a captive to the last enemy, death. But was He able to come out again? Can He break the bands of death and the grave? Is He stronger than the strong one? Satan appears to have triumphed; none has ever entered the portals of sheol that had power to open its gates to free its captives, or to recover himself from its power. This is the critical time for the hope of Adam’s lost race. The devil has triumphed over poor, feeble man; but now he must measure strength with the Son of God. He exults over the victory already gained; and now he musters his forces to keep his house, with its royal captive. Jesus had told His disciples that He must be crucified, and would rise from the dead the third day. As the third day begins to dawn, all the forces of Satan are fearfully anxious, and all the forces of heaven are confidently expectant. As the Roman guard keep watch, and Satan and his angels keep a stricter watch, vainly hoping that another day may pass, and still the wonderful Captive sleep, suddenly a blaze of light like lightning flashes upon their vision; a deafening noise like the peal of loudest thunder rends the air and makes the earth tremble. Satan and his host forget their charge, and flee in terror and dismay. A mighty, glorious angel comes down from heaven; the rocks rend, the earth quakes, and the strong angel raises his voice in terrible majesty, because the power of the living God is upon him. He calls to the Son of God to come forth, and the grave opens, and, a triumphant conqueror, Jesus, the crucified One, comes from the prison house of death. The demons flee to their darkness, while the glad tidings ring through heaven and earth that Jesus has risen from the dead.ATNM 96.1

    “And did He rise?
    Hear, O ye nations; hear it, O ye dead.
    He rose! He rose! He burst the bars of death.
    Lift up your heads, ye everlasting gates,
    And give the King of Glory to come in.
    .... Shout, earth and heaven,
    This sum of good to man! whose nature then
    Took wing, and mounted with Him from the tomb.”
    ATNM 97.1

    Triumphant now He looks upon the grave and exclaims, “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore, amen; and have the keys of hades and of death.” Revelation 1:18. Satan once had these keys, for he had the power of death. But Christ, by His death and resurrection, broke the power of Satan, and took the keys of the grave into His own hands. What would not, what did not, Jesus suffer that He might vanquish the enemy and rescue fallen man? Says Paul: “That through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” Hebrews 2:14.ATNM 97.2

    When Christ came forth from the grave, He brought out some of the prisoners with Him (see Matthew 27:52, 53), both to show His power, and as a pledge that He will bring them all out in due time. When Satan had the power, he refused to let any out of the grave (Isaiah 14:17; Jude 9); indeed, he could not bring any out, for, though he had the power of death, he had not the power of life. He can bring evil, but he never can confer any good on man. God alone can give life. Now the power is given into the hands of Christ, and the saints are quietly sleeping, waiting in the grave till Jesus shall call them forth.ATNM 98.1

    To those who were mourning for their dead friends, as though they were to suffer loss, the apostle says: “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13, 14.ATNM 98.2

    But not the saint alone will be brought forth from the grave. Speaking of his hope and confidence, Paul said: “And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” Acts 24:15.ATNM 98.3

    All are on probation for eternal life. This is to be obtained only by obedience. “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land; but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Isaiah 1:19, 20. Jesus most decisively shows that there will be two classes raised from the dead:ATNM 99.1

    “Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:28, 29.ATNM 99.2

    In bringing the evil-doers from the grave, Christ takes away their complaint that they had to die without any choice in the matter. He will restore them to life without any choice on their part. And if they do not then have eternal life, it will be because they have not sought for it. Paul says: “To them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, [He will render] eternal life.” Romans 2:7. They have had every opportunity that could be desired-that heaven and earth could provide. Paul says: “For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” 1 Timothy 4:10.ATNM 99.3

    And Christ is the Saviour of all men in more respects than in merely bringing them from the graves. All the privileges of probation, by which they may obtain eternal life if they choose, and all the comforts and benefits of life, are granted in answer to His intercessions. It will hence be seen that, instead of having cause for complaint, all men are under the deepest possible obligation to love and adore the Lord Jesus Christ for His benevolence, which is past comprehension. The vilest sinner of the earth is constantly the recipient of His favors, constantly receiving the benefits of His prayers and intercessions for the lost. Only the day of judgment will awaken them to a sense of their ingratitude, as they shall see what He has done for them, what mercy they have despised, what glory, endless glory, they have lost in their selfish madness. “Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” Psalm 107:8, etc. He has no pleasure in the death of any. It is His desire that all men should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:4. “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” Deuteronomy 30:19.ATNM 100.1

    He is indeed the Saviour of all men in very important senses; but the apostle says, “specially of those that believe.” And there are two senses in which they that believe are specially saved:-ATNM 100.2

    1. They are saved from sin. Matthew 1:21. Sin was the ruin of the race; it was that whereby Adam brought death upon his posterity. The first thing toward a full recovering must be the removal of the first difficulty,-the source of all evil,-sin. Without sin no evil had befallen the race; without the removal of sin no good can come upon the race. Let us, then, with all our hearts, seek an interest in the blood of Jesus, which cleanses from all sin. 1 John 1:7ATNM 101.1

    The children of God, the followers of Jesus, have a special redemption in the resurrection. “They who have done good” have a resurrection unto everlasting life; the evil-doers have a resurrection, but it is unto that which they have chosen-eternal death. Says the apostle: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” Galatians 6:7, 8.ATNM 101.2

    By not seeking for immortality and eternal life, the wicked reap corruption; they have a resurrection as well as the righteous, but it is unto damnation, according to the words of Jesus. The Scriptures speak of a “second death,” which the unholy shall suffer. The first death they suffered because of Adam’s sin; that they could not avoid. The second death they suffer because of their own sin; that they could have avoided if they would. Jesus, at an immense sacrifice, a sacrifice which no finite mind can comprehend, opened the way to eternal life, but they proved both ungrateful to Him and unwise for themselves. With all the provision of His grace within their reach, they willfully plunge down to everlasting ruin.ATNM 101.3

    Paul, in a text quoted, says that every man will reap according to his sowing, and that they who sow in the flesh shall reap corruption. This sowing refers to their actions. In 1 Corinthians 15 he uses the word sown in another sense, namely, of the. body going into the grave. Of the resurrection of the righteous he speaks thus: “It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.... For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” Verses 42-54.ATNM 102.1

    What a victory for the saints of God! A triumph over sin, Satan, and all possible ills! This is the boon for which even the righteous are now groaning,-“the redemption of our body,”-freedom from the bondage of corruption, an entrance into untold joys. “For eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9.ATNM 102.2

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