Jesus’ words, “The flesh profits nothing” (John 6:63), explain the mess the world is in. Except for the human Jesus, we each are born “of the will of the flesh” (John 1:13). This is human nature left to its sinful condition. It gives to us only a life “under the law”—on the law’s bad side, out of touch with God’s love. From that inheritance we have nothing but “guilt and the sentence of death” (Ellen White, Letter 68, 1899, par. 15).

But good does exist, and in the midst of the mess we find grace, even in those who don’t officially know God. How can this be, except that God’s Son was “made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law” (Galatians 4:4-5)? “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us… full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). He was one of us, but He connected in Himself God and the sinful race (John 1:51). “And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:14). Indeed, “the grace and the truth through Jesus Christ did come” (John 1:17, YLT). Thus we “are not under the law, but under grace.” Do you realize everything good anyone has received comes through Jesus?

But good does exist, and in the midst of the mess we find grace…

Recognizing that “the flesh” is the source of all the problems should lead us to confess more and more deeply, “I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwells no good thing” (Romans 7:18). We should learn more and more not to trust the sinful nature, to “have no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3), but with Jesus say, “I will put my trust in Him” (Hebrews 2:13).

Jesus became one of us, “made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death” to “taste death for every man” and “through death… destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:9, 14).

This is the foolishness of the cross (1 Corinthians 1:17-31)—that One would leave the unselfish environment of heaven and come to where unselfish love was lacking, to love us to death, and thus restore love to us. Loving His enemies cost Him everything but His faith and love. “He abides faithful: He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).

Fred Bischoff
Adventist Pioneer Library

Fred Bischoff became involved in Adventist history while working as a preventive medicine physician in southern California for Kaiser Permanente and serving on the clinical faculty, School of Medicine and School of Public Health, Loma Linda University. He found his greatest joy in exploring and explaining "the simplicity that is in Christ" in relation to history and prophecy, which culminate in the Adventist mission.