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    THE GOSPEL OF HEALTH

    “TO him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” 1Revelation 3:21. This text presents two grand themes, — overcoming, and the victor’s reward. The magnitude and importance of the work of overcoming are measured by the value of the reward presented. The human mind cannot conceive a reward of greater value than that here offered. It is to be exalted to the throne of the Son of God, when he shall reign King of kings and Lord of lords. Christ will then wear his kingly crown, and the overcomer will also wear a crown. Christ will reign, and the overcomer will reign with him. This reign of peace, of exaltation, of glory, in which the overcomer is to participate, will continue throughout the ceaseless rounds of eternal ages. And all this glory is presented to us as an inducement to engage earnestly in the great work of overcoming.BHY 202.1

    Christians generally have a very indefinite idea of what it is to overcome, in the sense of the text. With few exceptions, they seem never to think that it has reference to self-control, and especially to the complete control of appetite. Hence, professing Christians eat fashionable viands, smoke, chew, and snuff tobacco, drink tea and coffee, become gluttons and drunkards, and thus defile the temple of God, 21 Corinthians 3:17. simply to gratify depraved appetite. And many of these Christians, doubtless, regard the work of overcoming as very nearly summed up in mastering their embarrassment in speaking and praying in public, and saying grace over their fashionable tables. God pity them!BHY 202.2

    The text, however, gives a definite idea, in plainest terms, of what it is to overcome, — “even as I also overcame.” Men and women are to overcome as Christ overcame. When we are able to comprehend the temptations and victories of the Son of God, we shall have a definite idea of what it is to overcome. The subject of Christ’s overcoming may be discussed under three propositions:—BHY 202.3

    1. The Son of God did not overcome on his own account. He was not a sinner. He “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” The divine Son of God was so far a partaker of our nature as to feel our woes and suffer for our sins, yet in him was no sin, and his overcoming was not for himself.BHY 203.1

    2. The work of overcoming on the part of the Son of God was on account of our sins. The temptations he suffered and the victories he gained, were to enable him to succor mortal men and women suffering under the weakness of the flesh, and beset with strong temptations. The apostle speaks definitely on this point: “For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” “Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.” “For we have not a High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” 1Hebrews 2:10, 17, 18; 4:15. The divine Redeemer was subjected to the fiercest temptations, passed through the most fearful struggles, and gained victories the most glorious, that he might redeem man from the ruin of the fall, the weaknesses of the flesh, and the temptations of the devil.BHY 203.2

    3. As the Captain of our salvation, Christ has led the way in the work of overcoming. And in order that he might succor the tempted, he has been tempted in all points as we are. This was not for his own benefit, but for our good. Therefore our temptations are, in kind, just what the Son of God endured; and the victories which we must gain in overcoming, are, in kind, just what the Son of God experienced when he overcame. This proposition is most fully sustained by the clause, “as I also overcame,” found in our text. Having clearly before the mind the idea that the divine Redeemer, as the Captain of our salvation, has led the way, subjecting himself to the very temptations and self-denial which his followers must experience in order to be redeemed by his blood, let us consider the temptations of the Son of God, and the circumstances under which he overcame.BHY 203.3

    Immediately after his baptism in Jordan, “Jesus was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil.” 1Matthew 4:1. The record of another evangelist reads, “Immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan, and was with the wild beasts.” 2Mark 1:12, 13. Another evangelist gives the facts of the temptations of Christ in still another form, “Jesus, being full of the Holy Ghost, returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing.” 3Luke 4:1, 2.BHY 204.1

    The Holy Spirit led the Son of God into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil. This was a part of the great plan necessary to the salvation of sinners. The temptation must occur as truly as the crucifixion, the resurrection, the ascension, or the second advent. The crucifixion of Christ and his intercession for sinners are subjects of very common and popular discussion in the pulpit and by the religious press; but the temptation of Christ in the wilderness, though holding an important place in the great plan, is passed over as having little more significance than if it were an accidental occurrence, — as if Christ chanced to be in the wilderness just then, and Satan seized upon the opportunity to annoy him. But mark well the strong expression of Luke: “Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.”BHY 204.2

    There in the wilderness, wild, barren, and dreary, the Son of God endured the first of the three great temptations that represent the leading temptations to which the fallen race is exposed. For want of space, I can here dwell only on this first temptation, which relates to appetite. Satan urged Christ to work a miracle by changing stone to bread to satisfy the pangs of hunger after the fast of forty days. Christ resisted the temptation. The Saviour’s long fast, the temptations under the peculiar circumstances, and the victory gained, were not only a part of the great plan by which Christ became the Redeemer of the lost race, but they were designed to present an example full of encouragement to those who have still to struggle against the power of appetite.BHY 205.1

    The grandest thought in all the range of revealed theology is, that Christ in his life on earth was tempted on all points as mortal men are, in order that he might be “able to succor them that are tempted.” In that long fast in the wilderness, our Saviour endured the keenest pangs of hunger, in order to save sinners lost by indulgence of appetite, — that his arm might reach to the depths of wretchedness and weakness, even of the poor glutton and the miserable drunkard.BHY 205.2

    The Redeemer, both divine and human, as an overcomer in our behalf, stood in the very position where Adam’s failure plunged the race into ruin. Christ endured the very test under which Adam failed. He took hold of redemption just where the ruin began, and succeeded in carrying out the plan.BHY 205.3

    The subject is truly grand. At thought of these things, there kindles in the soul the most ardent love, and the deepest reverence for our all-conquering King. He overcame on our account. He leads the way in suffering, mental agony, victory, and triumph, and bids us follow in self-denial and everlasting glory. We hear from him by way of Patmos, saying, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”BHY 205.4

    Mark well these vital points on this subject:—BHY 206.1

    1. Christ did not overcome on his own account, but for us.BHY 206.2

    2. His temptations and victories were to enable him to succor his tempted people. Therefore, —BHY 206.3

    3. His temptations were in kind just what his people must meet and overcome.BHY 206.4

    The victory of our triumphant Head over the most subtle temptations during his forty days’ fast, and the glorious promise of reigning with him in his throne, on condition that we overcome as he overcame, establish the fact that one of the highest attainments in the Christian life is to control appetite, and that, without this victory, all hope of heaven is vain.BHY 206.5

    Is there suffering and self-denial in the work of overcoming? The Christian will joyfully welcome these, in view of heirship to the eternal throne and the crown of glory. “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.” “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” 12 Timothy 2:12; 1 Peter 4:13.BHY 206.6

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