The cry of Peter to the master “Depart from me, I am a sinful man” while clinging to His Saviour was the culmination of much work by the Spirit of God on the mind of Peter. Inspiration records
In Jesus he saw One who held all nature under His control. The presence of divinity revealed his own unholiness. Love for his Master, shame for his own unbelief, gratitude for the condescension of Christ, above all, the sense of his uncleanness in the presence of infinite purity, overwhelmed him. DA 248
Before a man can be entrusted with a divine message, he must walk the path of Peter and all men of God who have witnessed in one moment both the majesty and holiness of Christ and by contrast their own corruption, sinfulness and defilement. As Ellen White states:
The first thing to be learned by all who would become workers together with God is the lesson of self-distrust; then they are prepared to have imparted to them the character of Christ. This is not to be gained through education in the most scientific schools. It is the fruit of wisdom that is obtained from the divine Teacher alone. DA 249
Before the coming of Christ the second time, a message of immense power will be given to the world; a revelation of the person of Christ that is so striking, that it’s light will enlighten the whole earth with its glory. Note again the words of inspiration:
The great work of the gospel is not to close with less manifestation of the power of God than marked its opening. The prophecies which were fulfilled in the outpouring of the former rain at the opening of the gospel are again to be fulfilled in the latter rain at its close. Here are "the times of refreshing" to which the apostle Peter looked forward when he said: "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus." Acts 3:19, 20. Servants of God, with their faces lighted up and shining with holy consecration, will hasten from place to place to proclaim the message from heaven. By thousands of voices, all over the earth, the warning will be given. Miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and signs and wonders will follow the believers. GC 611, 612
Those called to give such a message will first have walked the path of Peter and cried “I am a sinful man!” Such will be qualified by their self distrust and their desperate clinging to Jesus.
As Peter came closer and closer to the Son of God; as he allowed himself to be drawn into an understanding of who Jesus was, there was no other path for him other than to be led to cry “I am a sinful man”
Those of us who are being drawn into a true knowledge of the begotten Son find our hearts begin to thrill at the length and breath and height of the Son of God. We are drawn into the presence of the most sublime character for us to pattern. As we behold him, there must, repeat must be a corresponding sense of our own inward corruption, defilement and sinfulness. To embrace the Son of God in truth is to embrace the reality that we are wretched, poor, blind and naked.
If we embrace upon our lips the belief of the Son of God and we are then led to proclaim to our brethren “You are a sinful man, you are in apostasy.” If we feel compelled to withdraw ourselves in disgust from our brethren forgetting that we ourselves have worshipped at the feet of Baal; to such it must be said that they know not the Son of God in truth but only in word. From such turn away.
Test every spirit my brethren for there are many voices proclaiming Christ is here and Christ is there both in and around Adventism, yet Christ is only to be found in the hearts of those who cry “I am a sinful man” with the fruits of such a repentance evident in their lives. You cannot know the Son without knowing your own inward helpless, sinful state; it is an impossibility.
Let our continual pray be:
Phil 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;