“Christ in you, the hope of glory”
by Norbert Restrepo
The mystery of the power of the gospel is experienced when we accept Jesus’ invitation: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9: 23. However, this gospel message does not appeal to the carnal mind. The preaching of the cross is considered foolishness by the world because it is contrary to self-exaltation.
The “survival of the fittest,” a famous phrase coined by the British philosopher Herbert Spencer, illustrates a central concept of evolution—“natural selection.” It describes the idea that there is, in nature, competition to survive and reproduce. Spencer applied this evolutionary concept to many other fields, from the origin of the solar system to economics. Furthermore, natural selection has been utilized by many, including social Darwinists, to justify selfish practices.1
But selfishness cannot produce healthy progress. It “is the strongest and most general of human impulses and the struggle of the soul between sympathy and covetousness is an unequal contest; for while selfishness is the strongest passion, love and benevolence are too often the weakest, and as a rule the evil gains the victory.”2Consequently, there is no hope in natural human progress because our inherent selfishness breeds degeneration and sin.
Our only hope lies in receiving into our lives God’s self-sacrificing love. This is His character, the essence of His glory and power. “There is no other way to save men than to cut them away from their life of selfishness. Christ’s life was a true representation of the power of the gospel. Through the exercise of the spirit that characterized His lifework, we are to become partakers of His nature. Partaking in this life of sacrifice for the sake of others, we shall share with Him in the life to come the ‘far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.’”3
Regrettably, secular humanist education rejects a message of self-denial. “At such a time as this,” the motivating appeal most often is self-seeking. “In true education the selfish ambition, the greed for power, the disregard for the rights and needs of humanity, that are the curse of our world, find a counterinfluence.”4
Norbert Restrepo, President
2 White, Ellen G., Review and Herald, Dec. 7, 1886
3 Ibid, Sept. 28, 1911
4 White, Education, pp. 225, 226