Christ Our Righteousness

Part 2


By Ellen White


The foundation of Christianity is Christ our righteousness…. {5T 725.2} {1888 112.1}

Isaiah 8:20

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.



Minneapolis a Proving Ground.--The Lord was testing and proving His people who had had great light, whether they would walk in it or turn from it under temptation, for but few know what manner of spirit they are of until circumstances shall be of a character to test the spirit which prompts to action. In many the natural heart is a controlling power, and yet they do not suppose that pride and prejudice are entertained as cherished guests, and work in the words and actions against light and truth. Our brethren who have occupied leading positions in the work and the cause of God should have been so closely connected with the Source of all light that they would not call light darkness and darkness light. . . . {3SM 176.1}

 

    Righteousness by Faith Does Not Downgrade the Law.--Holding up Christ as our only source of strength, presenting His matchless love in having the guilt of the sins of men charged to His account and His own righteousness imputed to man, in no case does away with the law or detracts from its dignity. Rather, it places it where the correct light shines upon and glorifies it. This is done only through the light reflected from the cross of Calvary. The law is complete and full in the great plan of salvation, only as it is presented in the light shining from the crucified and risen Saviour. This can be only spiritually discerned. It kindles in the heart of the beholder ardent faith, hope, and joy that Christ is his righteousness. This joy is only for those who love and keep the words of Jesus, which are the words of God. {3SM 176.2}


     Were my brethren in the light the words that the Lord gave me for them would find a response in the hearts of those for whom I labored. As I saw that the hearts with which I longed to be in harmony were padlocked by prejudice and unbelief, I thought best for me to leave them. My purpose was to go from Minneapolis the first of the week. . . . {3SM 177.1}


     I wished to meditate, to pray, [that I might know] in what manner we could work to present the subject of sin and atonement in the Bible light before the people. They were greatly needing this kind of instruction that they might give the light to others and have the blessed privilege of being workers together with God in gathering in and bringing home the sheep of His fold. What power must we have from God that icy hearts, having only a legal religion, should see the better things provided for them--Christ and His righteousness! A life-giving message was needed to give life to the dry bones.--Manuscript 24, 1888. {3SM 177.2}


  Ellen White's Appraisal on the Closing Day 


(Written to a member of her home family, November 4, 1888) 


     Our meeting [The Minneapolis General Conference session] is closed. I have on last Sabbath given my last discourse. There seemed for the first time to be considerable feeling in the congregation. I called them forward for prayers although the church was densely packed. Quite a number came forward. The Lord gave me the spirit of supplication and His blessing came upon me. I did not go out to meeting this morning. This has been a most laborious meeting for Willie, and I have had to watch at every point lest there should be moves made, resolutions passed, that would prove detrimental to the future work. {3SM 177.3}


     I have spoken nearly twenty times with great freedom and we believe that this meeting will result in great good. We know not the future, but we feel that Jesus stands at the helm and we shall not be shipwrecked. My courage and faith have been good and have not failed me, notwithstanding we have had the hardest and most incomprehensible tug of war we have ever had among our people. The matter cannot be explained by pen unless I should write many, many pages; so I had better not undertake the job. {3SM 177.4}


     Elder Olsen is to be president of the General Conference and Brother Dan Jones, of Kansas, is to help him. Elder Haskell will serve until Brother Olsen shall come from Europe. [IN THE ABSENCE OF GEORGE I. BUTLER, PRESIDENT OF THE GENERAL CONFERENCE, ELDER HASKELL CHAIRED THE GENERAL CONFERENCE SESSION. SHORTLY AFTER THE CLOSE OF THE SESSION, W. C. WHITE WAS ASKED TO SERVE AS ACTING GENERAL CONFERENCE PRESIDENT, WHICH HE DID FOR NEARLY SIX MONTHS.] I cannot tell what the future may reveal, but we shall remain for about four weeks in Battle Creek and get out a testimony that should come out just now without delay. Then we can see how matters move at the great center of the work. We are determined to do all we can in the fear of God to help our people in this emergency. {3SM 178.1}


     A sick man's mind has had a controlling power over the General Conference Committee and the ministers have been the shadow and echo of Elder Butler about as long as it is healthy and for the good of the cause. Envy, evil surmisings, jealousies have been working like leaven until the whole lump seemed to be leavened. . . . {3SM 178.2}


     Today, Sunday, I have not attended meeting, but have had to visit considerably. I am grateful to God for the strength and freedom and power of His spirit in bearing my testimony, although it has made the least impression upon many minds than at any period before in my history. Satan has seemed to have power to hinder my work in a wonderful degree, but I tremble to think what would have been in this meeting if we had not been here. God would have worked in some way to prevent this spirit brought to the meeting, having a controlling power. But we are not the least discouraged. We trust in the Lord God of Israel. The truth will triumph and we mean to triumph with it. {3SM 178.3}


     We think of you all at home and would be pleased to be with you, but our wishes are not to be consulted. The Lord is our Leader, let Him direct our course and we will follow where He leads the way.--Letter 82, 1888. {3SM 179.1}


Two Excerpts From Minneapolis Sermons

 [ELLEN WHITE SPOKE TWENTY TIMES AT MINNEAPOLIS, BUT DID NOT THERE ENTER INTO PRESENTATIONS ON RIGHTEOUSNESS BY FAITH. RATHER, SHE LABORED TO LEAD MEN AND WOMEN TO OPEN THEIR MINDS TO BIBLE-BASED TRUTH.] 


     Now what we want to present is, how you may advance in the divine life. We hear many excuses: I cannot live up to this or that. {3SM 179.2}


     What do you mean by this or that? Do you mean that it was an imperfect sacrifice that was made for the fallen race upon Calvary, that there is not sufficient grace and power granted us that we may work away from our own natural defects and tendencies, that it was not a whole Saviour that was given us? {3SM 179.3}


     Or do you mean to cast reproach upon God? Well, you say, It was Adam's sin. You say, I am not guilty of that, and I am not responsible for his guilt and fall. Here all these natural tendencies are in me, and I am not to blame if I act out these natural tendencies. Who is to blame? Is God? {3SM 179.4}


     Why did God let Satan have this power over human nature? These are accusations against the God of heaven, and He will give you an opportunity, if you want it, of finally bringing your accusations against Him. Then He will bring His accusations against you when you are brought into His court of judgment.--Manuscript 8, 1888, Sabbath, Oct. 20, 1888. [HER TALKS THAT WERE REPORTED APPEAR AS A 60-PAGE APPENDIX (PP. 242-302) IN THE BOOK THROUGH CRISIS TO VICTORY.--COMPILERS.] {3SM 179.5}


     If God could have changed His law to meet man in his fallen condition, Christ need not have come to this world. Because the law was immutable, unchangeable, God sent His only begotten Son to die for the fallen race. But did the Saviour take upon Himself the guilt of human beings and impute to them His righteousness in order that they might continue to violate the precepts of Jehovah? No, no! Christ came because there was no possibility of man's keeping the law in his own strength. He came to bring him strength to obey the precepts of the law. And the sinner, repenting of his transgression, may come to God and say, "O Father, I plead forgiveness through the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour." God will accept all who come to Him in the name of Jesus.--Manuscript 17, 1888, Sunday, Oct. 21, 1888. {3SM 179.6}


      Three Months After Minneapolis 


     When We Do Our Best.--Thank God it is not too late for wrongs to be righted. Christ looks at the spirit, and when He sees us carrying our burden with faith, His perfect holiness atones for our shortcomings. When we do our best, He becomes our righteousness. It takes every ray of light that God sends to us to make us the light of the world.--Letter 22, 1889. (Published in Selected Messages, book 1, p. 368.) {3SM 180.1}


The Reception in the Field of the Message of Righteousness by Faith 


     Special meetings began at South Lancaster on Friday, January 11 [1889]. We were glad to find the church well filled with those who had come to receive benefit from the meetings. [THIS WAS AMONG THE FIRST MEETINGS IN WHICH ELLEN WHITE PARTICIPATED IN PRESENTING THE MESSAGE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS BY FAITH IN THE FIELD SUBSEQUENT TO THE MINNEAPOLIS CONFERENCE. THROUGH 1889 SHE FREQUENTLY LED OUT IN CARRYING THE MESSAGE TO THE CHURCHES. SOME OF HER SERMONS WERE REPORTED, AS WAS THE ONE AT OTTAWA, KANSAS, ON MAY 11. THIS TYPICAL SERMON IS PUBLISHED IN FAITH AND WORKS, PP. 63-79.] . . . Delegates were present from Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and other States. We realized that there was a work to be done in setting things in order, which man's best efforts could not accomplish without the aid of God. Our hearts were drawn out in earnest supplication to God that He would work in our behalf. . . . {3SM 180.2}


     We felt burdened for those who had been bearing the message of truth to others, lest they should close their hearts to some of the precious rays of heaven's light that God has sent them. Jesus rejoiced when His followers received His messages of truth. . . . {3SM 180.3}


     On Sabbath afternoon, many hearts were touched, and many souls were fed on the bread that cometh down from heaven. After the discourse we enjoyed a precious social meeting. The Lord came very near, and convicted souls of their great need of His grace and love. We felt the necessity of presenting Christ as a Saviour who was not afar off, but nigh at hand. When the Spirit of God begins to work upon the hearts of men, the fruit is seen in confession of sin and restitution for wrongs. All through the meetings, as the people sought to draw nearer to God, they brought forth works meet for repentance by confessing one to another where they had wronged each other by word or act. . . . {3SM 181.1}


     There were many, even among the ministers, who saw the truth as it is in Jesus in a light in which they had never before reviewed it. They saw the Saviour as a sin-pardoning Saviour, and the truth as the sanctifier of the soul. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." . . . {3SM 181.2}


     Many Hold Distorted Views.--There are many who seem to feel that they have a great work to do themselves before they can come to Christ for His salvation. They seem to think that Jesus will come in at the very last of their struggle, and give them help by putting the finishing touch to their lifework. It seems difficult for them to understand that Christ is a complete Saviour, and able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him. They lose sight of the fact that Christ Himself is "the way, the truth, and the life." When we individually rest upon Christ, with full assurance of faith, trusting alone to the efficacy of His blood (Atonement) to cleanse from all sin, we shall have peace in believing that what God has promised He is able to perform. . . . {3SM 181.3}


     The Very Message Presented.--As our brethren and sisters opened their hearts to the light, they obtained a better knowledge of what constitutes faith. The Lord was very precious; He was ready to strengthen His people. The meetings continued a week beyond their first appointment. The school was dismissed, and all made earnest work of seeking the Lord. Elder Jones came from Boston, and labored most earnestly for the people, speaking twice and sometimes three times a day. The flock of God were fed with soul-nourishing food. The very message the Lord has sent to the people of this time was presented in the discourses. Meetings were in progress from early morning till night, and the results were highly satisfactory. {3SM 181.4}


      Both students and teachers have shared largely in the blessing of God. The deep movings of the Spirit of God have been felt upon almost every heart. The general testimony was borne by those who attended the meeting that they had obtained an experience beyond anything they had known before. They testified their joy that Christ had forgiven their sins. Their hearts were filled with thanksgiving and praise to God. Sweet peace was in their souls. They loved everyone, and felt that they could rest in the love of God. {3SM 182.1}

 

    I have never seen a revival work go forward with such thoroughness, and yet remain so free from all undue excitement. {3SM 182.2}


     There were many who testified that as the searching truths had been presented, they had been convicted in the light of the law as transgressors. They had been trusting in their own righteousness. Now they saw it as filthy rags, in comparison with the righteousness of Christ, which is alone acceptable to God. {3SM 182.3}


     While they had not been open transgressors, they saw themselves depraved and degraded in heart. They had substituted other gods in the place of their heavenly Father. They had struggled to refrain from sin, but had trusted in their own strength. We should go to Jesus just as we are, confess our sins, and cast our helpless souls upon our compassionate Redeemer.--The Review and Herald, March 5, 1889. {3SM 182.4}


        Need for a Proper Concept of Righteousness by Faith


     By invitation I made some remarks in the ministers' tent, [COUNSEL TO MINISTERS AT THE COLORADO CAMP MEETING, SEPTEMBER 13, 1889, ON PRESENTING RIGHTEOUSNESS BY FAITH.] to the ministers. We talked some in regard to the best plans to be arranged to educate the people here upon this very ground in reference to home religion. {3SM 183.1}


     Many people seem to be ignorant of what constitutes faith. Many complain of darkness and discouragements. I asked, "Are your faces turned toward Jesus? Are you beholding Him, the Sun of Righteousness? You need plainly to define to the churches the matter of faith and entire dependence upon the righteousness of Christ. In your talks and prayers there has been so little dwelling upon Christ, His matchless love, His great sacrifice made in our behalf, that Satan has nearly eclipsed the views we should have and must have of Jesus Christ. We must trust less in human beings for spiritual help and more, far more, in approaching Jesus Christ as our Redeemer. We may dwell with a determined purpose on the heavenly attributes of Jesus Christ; we may talk of His love, we may tell and sing of His mercies, we may make Him our own personal Saviour. Then we are one with Christ. We love that which Christ loved, we hate sin, that which Christ hated. These things must be talked of, dwelt upon." {3SM 183.2}


     I address the ministers. Lead the people along step by step, dwelling upon Christ's efficiency until, by a living faith, they see Jesus as He is--see Him in His fullness, a sin-pardoning Saviour, One who can pardon all our transgressions. It is by beholding that we become changed into His likeness. This is present truth. We have talked the law. This is right. But we have only casually lifted up Christ as the sin-pardoning Saviour. {3SM 183.3}


     We are to keep before the mind the sin-pardoning Saviour. But we are to present Him in His true position--coming to die to magnify the law of God and make it honorable, and yet to justify the sinner who shall depend wholly upon the merits of the blood of a crucified and risen Saviour. This is not made plain. {3SM 183.4}


     The soul-saving message, the third angel's message, is the message to be given to the world. The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus are both important, immensely important, and must be given with equal force and power. The first part of the message has been dwelt upon mostly, the last part casually. The faith of Jesus is not comprehended. We must talk it, we must live it, we must pray it, and educate the people to bring this part of the message into their home life. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5). {3SM 184.1}


     Christ-filled Discourses Needed.--There have been entire discourses, dry and Christless, in which Jesus has scarcely been named. The speaker's heart is not subdued and melted by the love of Jesus. He dwells upon dry theories. No great impression is made. The speaker has not the divine unction, and how can he move the hearts of the people? We need to repent and be converted--yes, the preacher converted. The people must have Jesus lifted up before them, and they must be entreated to "Look and live." {3SM 184.2}


     Why are our lips so silent upon the subject of Christ's righteousness and His love for the world? Why do we not give to the people that which will revive and quicken them into a new life? The apostle Paul is filled with transport and adoration as he declares, "Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory" (1 Tim. 3:16). {3SM 184.3}


     "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. . . . That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:5-11). {3SM 184.4}


     "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist" (Col. 1:14-17). {3SM 185.1}


     This is the grand and heavenly theme that has in a large degree been left out of the discourses because Christ is not formed within the human mind. And Satan has had his way that it shall be thus, that Christ should not be the theme of contemplation and adoration. This name, so powerful, so essential, should be on every tongue. {3SM 185.2}


     "Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: whereunto I also labor, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily" (Col. 1:25-29). {3SM 185.3}


     Here is the work of the ministers of Christ. Because this work has not been done, because Christ and His character, His words, and His work have not been brought before the people, the religious state of the churches testifies against their teachers. The churches are ready to die because little of Christ is presented. They have not spiritual life and spiritual discernment. {3SM 185.4}


     Fear of the Message of Righteousness by Faith.--The teachers of the people have not themselves become acquainted by living experience with the Source of their dependence and their strength. And when the Lord raises up men and sends them with the very message for this time to give to the people--a message which is not a new truth, but the very same that Paul taught, that Christ Himself taught--it is to them a strange doctrine. They begin to caution the people--who are ready to die because they have not been strengthened with the lifting up of Christ before them--"Do not be too hasty. Better wait, and not take up with this matter until you know more about it." And the ministers preach the same dry theories, when the people need fresh manna. {3SM 186.1}


     The character of Christ is an infinitely perfect character, and He must be lifted up, He must be brought prominently into view, for He is the power, the might, the sanctification and righteousness of all who believe in Him. The men who have had a Pharisaical spirit, think if they hold to the good old theories, and have no part in the message sent of God to His people, they will be in a good and safe position. So thought the Pharisees of old, and their example should warn ministers off that self-satisfied ground. {3SM 186.2}


     Present Inspiring Themes of the Gospel.--We need a power to come upon us now and stir us up to diligence and earnest faith. Then, baptized with the Holy Spirit, we shall have Christ formed within, the hope of glory. Then we will exhibit Christ as the divine object of our faith and our love. We will talk of Christ, we will pray to Christ and about Christ. We will praise His holy name. We will present before the people His miracles, His self-denial, His self-sacrifice, His sufferings, and His crucifixion, His resurrection and triumphant ascension. These are the inspiring themes of the gospel, to awaken love and intense fervor in every heart. Here are the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, a fountain inexhaustible. The more you seek of this experience, the greater will be the value of your life. {3SM 186.3}


     The living water may be drawn from the fountain and yet there is no diminution of the supply. Ministers of the gospel would be powerful men if they set the Lord always before them and devoted their time to the study of His adorable character. If they did this, there would be no apostasies, there would be none separated from the conference because they have, by their licentious practices, disgraced the cause of God and put Jesus to an open shame. The powers of every minister of the gospel should be employed to educate the believing churches to receive Christ by faith as their personal Saviour, to take Him into their very lives and make Him their Pattern to learn of Jesus, believe in Jesus, and exalt Jesus. The minister should himself dwell on the character of Christ. He should ponder the truth, and meditate upon the mysteries of redemption, especially the mediatorial work of Christ for this time. {3SM 187.1}


     Dwell More on the Incarnation and Atonement. --If Christ is all and in all to every one of us, why are not His incarnation and His atoning sacrifice dwelt upon more in the churches? Why are not hearts and tongues employed in the Redeemer's praise? This will be the employment of the powers of the redeemed through the ceaseless ages of eternity. {3SM 187.2}


     We need to have a living connection with God ourselves in order to teach Jesus. Then we can give the living personal experience of what Christ is to us by experience and faith. We have received Christ and with divine earnestness we can tell that which is an abiding power with us. The people must be drawn to Christ. Prominence must be given to His saving efficacy. {3SM 187.3}


     The true learners, sitting at Christ's feet, discover the precious gems of truth uttered by our Saviour, and will discern their significance and appreciate their value. And more and more, as they become humble and teachable, will their understanding be opened to discover wondrous things out of His law, for Christ has presented them in clear, sharp lines. {3SM 187.4}


     The doctrine of grace and salvation through Jesus Christ is a mystery to a large share of those whose names are upon the church books. If Christ were upon the earth speaking to His people, He would reproach them for their slowness of comprehension. He would say to the slow and uncomprehending, "I have left in your possession truths which concern your salvation, of which you do not suspect the value." {3SM 188.1}


     Oh, that it might be said of ministers who are preaching to the people and to the churches, "Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures"! (Luke 24:45). I tell you in the fear of God that up to this time, the Bible truths connected with the great plan of redemption are but feebly understood. The truth will be continually unfolding, expanding, and developing, for it is divine, like its Author. {3SM 188.2}


     How Jesus Taught the People.--Jesus did not give full comments or continued discourses upon doctrines, but He oft spoke in short sentences, as one sowing the heavenly grains of doctrines like pearls which need to be gathered up by a discerning laborer. The doctrines of faith and grace are brought to view everywhere He taught. Oh, why do not ministers give to the churches the very food which will give them spiritual health and vigor? The result will be a rich experience in practical obedience to the Word of God. Why do the ministers not strengthen the things that remain that are ready to die? {3SM 188.3}


     When about to leave His disciples, Christ was in search of the greatest comfort He could give them. He promised them the Holy Spirit--the Comforter--to combine with man's human effort. What promise is less experienced, less fulfilled to the church, than the promise of the Holy Spirit? When this blessing, which would bring all blessings in its train, is dropped out, the sure result is spiritual drought. This is the reproach that meets the sermonizer. The church must arise and no longer be content with the meager dew. {3SM 188.4}


     Our Need for the Holy Spirit.--Oh, why do our church members stop short of their privileges? They are not personally alive to the necessity of the influence of the Spirit of God. The church may, like Mary, say, "They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him" (John 20:13). {3SM 189.1}


     Ministers preaching present truth will assent to the necessity of the influence of the Spirit of God in the conviction of sin and the conversion of souls, and this influence must attend the preaching of the Word, but they do not feel its importance sufficiently to have a deep and practical knowledge of the same. The scantiness of the grace and power of the divine influence of the truth upon their own hearts prevents them from discerning spiritual things and from presenting its positive necessity upon the church. So they go crippling along, dwarfed in religious growth, because they have in their ministry a legal religion. The power of the grace of God is not felt to be a living, effectual necessity, an abiding principle. {3SM 189.2}


     Oh, that all could see this and embrace the message given them of God! He has raised up His servants to present truth that, because it involves lifting the cross, has been lost sight of, and is buried beneath the rubbish of formality. It must be rescued and be reset in the framework of present truth. Its claims must be asserted, and its position given it in the third angel's message. {3SM 189.3}


     Let the many ministers of Christ sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly, and seek God while He is to be found. Call upon Him while you are now lying at the foot of the cross of Calvary. Divest yourselves of all pride and as representative guardians of the churches, weep between the porch and the altar, and cry "Spare Thy people, Lord, and give not Thine heritage to reproach. Take from us what Thou wilt, but withhold not Thy Holy Spirit from us, Thy people." Pray, oh, pray for the outpouring of the Spirit of God!--Manuscript 27, 1889. {3SM 189.4}


Chap. 22 - Emphasis on Salvation Theme--1890-1908


     The Provision for Salvation.--Penances, mortifications of the flesh, constant confession of sin, without sincere repentance; fasts, festivals, and outward observances, unaccompanied by true devotion--all these are of no value whatever. The sacrifice of Christ is sufficient; He made a whole, efficacious offering to God; and human effort without the merit of Christ, is worthless. We not only dishonor God by taking this course but we destroy our present and future usefulness. A failure to appreciate the value of the offering of Christ, has a debasing influence; it blights our expectations, and makes us fall short of our privileges; it leads us to receive unsound and perilous theories concerning the salvation that has been purchased for us at infinite cost. The plan of salvation is not understood to be that through which divine power is brought to man in order that his human effort may be wholly successful. {3SM 190.1}


     To be pardoned in the way that Christ pardons, is not only to be forgiven, but to be renewed in the spirit of our mind. The Lord says, "A new heart will I give unto thee." The image of Christ is to be stamped upon the very mind, heart, and soul. The apostle says, "But we have the mind of Christ" (1 Cor. 2:16). Without the transforming process which can come alone through divine power, the original propensities to sin are left in the heart in all their strength, to forge new chains, to impose a slavery that can never be broken by human power. But men can never enter heaven with their old tastes, inclinations, idols, ideas, and theories. Heaven would be no place of joy to them; for everything would be in collision with their tastes, appetites, and inclinations, and painfully opposed to their natural and cultivated traits of character. {3SM 190.2}


     Happiness is the result of holiness and conformity to the will of God. Those who would be saints in heaven must first be saints upon the earth; for when we leave this earth, we shall take our character with us, and this will be simply taking with us some of the elements of heaven imparted to us through the righteousness of Christ.--Review and Herald, Aug. 19, 1890. {3SM 191.1}

 

    Justification and Sanctification Accomplished Through Faith--1890.--When through repentance and faith we accept Christ as our Saviour, the Lord pardons our sins, and remits the penalty prescribed for the transgression of the law. The sinner then stands before God as a just person; he is taken into favor with Heaven, and through the Spirit has fellowship with the Father and the Son. {3SM 191.2}


     Then there is yet another work to be accomplished, and this is of a progressive nature. The soul is to be sanctified through the truth. And this also is accomplished through faith. For it is only the grace of Christ, which we receive through faith, that the character can be transformed. {3SM 191.3}


     It is important that we understand clearly the nature of faith. There are many who believe that Christ is the Saviour of the world, that the gospel is true and reveals the plan of salvation, yet they do not possess saving faith. They are intellectually convinced of the truth, but this is not enough; in order to be justified, the sinner must have that faith that appropriates the merits of Christ to his own soul. We read that the devils "believe, and tremble," but their belief does not bring them justification, neither will the belief of those who give a merely intellectual assent to the truths of the Bible bring them the benefits of salvation. This belief fails of reaching the vital point, for the truth does not engage the heart or transform the character. {3SM 191.4}


     In genuine, saving faith, there is trust in God, through the belief in the great atoning sacrifice made by the Son of God on Calvary. In Christ, the justified believer beholds his only hope and deliverer. Belief may exist without trust, but confidence born of trust cannot exist without faith. Every sinner brought to a knowledge of the saving power of Christ, will make manifest this trust in greater degree as he advances in experience.-- Signs of the Times, Nov. 3, 1890. {3SM 192.1}


     Resisting Temptation--1891.--Many seem to think that it is impossible not to fall under temptation, that they have no power to overcome, and they sin against God with their lips, talking discouragement and doubt, instead of faith and courage. Christ was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. He said, "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me." What does this mean? It means that the prince of evil could find no vantage ground in Christ for his temptation; and so it may be with us.--The Review and Herald, May 19, 1891. {3SM 192.2}


     Perfection Not Reached by One Bound-- 1891.--We are looking beyond time; we are looking to eternity. We are trying to live in such a way that Christ can say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Let us live, every one of us, in that way. We may make mistakes; we may err; but God will not leave us in error. "If we sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." There is hope for us; we are prisoners of hope. {3SM 192.3}


     Let us grasp the rich promises of God. The garden of God is full of rich promises. Oh, let us gather them; let us take them home; let us show that we believe in God. Let us take Him at His word; let not one of us be found distrusting God or doubting Him. {3SM 192.4}


     Let us be growing Christians. We are not to stand still. We are to be in advance today of what we were yesterday; every day learning to be more trustful, more fully relying upon Jesus. Thus we are to grow up. You do not at one bound reach perfection; sanctification is the work of a lifetime. . . . {3SM 193.1}

 

    I remember in 1843 a man and his wife . . . who expected the Lord to come in 1844, and they were waiting and watching. And every day they would pray to God; before they would bid each other goodnight, they would say, "It may be the Lord will come when we are asleep, and we want to be ready." The husband would ask his wife if he had said a word during the day that she had thought was not in accordance with the truth and the faith which they professed, and then she would ask him the same question. Then they would bow before the Lord and ask Him if they had sinned in thought or word or action, and if so that He would forgive that transgression. Now we want just such simplicity as this. {3SM 193.2}


     You want to be like little children, hanging upon the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour, and then you will be fortified. How? The angels of God will be around you as a wall of fire. The righteousness of Christ, which you claim, goes before you, and the glory of God is your rearward. God sanctify the tongues; God sanctify the thoughts; God sanctify our minds, that we may dwell upon heavenly themes, and then that we may impart that knowledge and light to others. There is great advancement for us, and do not stop here. May God help you to make the most of your responsibilities.-- Manuscript 9, 1891. {3SM 193.3}


     Justification Explained--1891.--Justification by faith is to many a mystery. A sinner is justified by God when he repents of his sins. He sees Jesus upon the cross of Calvary. Why all this suffering? The law of Jehovah has been broken. The law of God's government in heaven and earth has been transgressed, and the penalty of sin is pronounced to be death. But "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Oh, what love, what matchless love! Christ, the Son of God, dying for guilty man! {3SM 193.4}


     The sinner views the spirituality of the law of God and its eternal obligations. He sees the love of God in providing a substitute and surety for guilty man, and that substitute is One equal with God. This display of grace in the gift of salvation to the world fills the sinner with amazement. This love of God to man breaks every barrier down. He comes to the cross, which has been placed midway between divinity and humanity, and repents of his sins of transgression, because Christ has been drawing him to Himself. He does not expect the law to cleanse him from sin, for there is no pardoning quality in the law to save the transgressors of the law. He looks to the atoning Sacrifice as his only hope, through repentance toward God--because the laws of His government have been broken--and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ as the One who can save and cleanse the sinner from every transgression. {3SM 194.1}

 

    The mediatorial work of Christ commenced with the commencement of human guilt and suffering and misery, as soon as man became a transgressor. The law was not abolished to save man and bring him into union with God. But Christ assumed the office of his surety and deliverer in becoming sin for man, that man might become the righteousness of God in and through Him who was one with the Father. Sinners can be justified by God only when He pardons their sins, remits the punishment they deserve, and treats them as though they were really just and had not sinned, receiving them into divine favor and treating them as if they were righteous. They are justified alone through the imputed righteousness of Christ. The Father accepts the Son, and through the atoning sacrifice of His Son accepts the sinner. {3SM 194.2}


     A General Faith Is Not Enough.--A general faith is entertained by many, and their assent is given that Christianity is the only hope for perishing souls. But to believe this intellectually is not sufficient to the saving of the soul. . . . {3SM 194.3}


     There will be need not only of faith but of a trust in God. This is the true faith of Abraham, a faith which produced fruits. "Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness" (James 2:23). When God told him to offer his son as a sacrifice it was the same voice that had spoken telling him to leave his country and go into a land which God would show him. Abraham was saved by faith in Christ as verily as the sinner is saved by faith in Christ today. {3SM 195.1}

 

    The faith that justifies always produces first true repentance, and then good works, which are the fruit of that faith. There is no saving faith that does not produce good fruit. God gave Christ to our world to become the sinner's substitute. The moment true faith in the merits of the costly atoning sacrifice is exercised, claiming Christ as a personal Saviour, that moment the sinner is justified before God, because he is pardoned.--MS 46, 1891 {3SM 195.2}


     How to Overcome--1891.--John pointed the people to the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world. He said, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." There is a great deal in that "taketh away." The question is, Shall we keep on sinning as though it were an impossibility for us to overcome? How are we to overcome? As Christ overcame, and that is the only way. He prayed to His heavenly Father. We can do the same. . . . When tempted to speak wrong and do wrong resist Satan and say, I will not surrender my will to your control. I will cooperate with divine power and through grace be conqueror.-- Manuscript 83, 1891. {3SM 195.3}

 

    Christ Makes Up for Our Unavoidable Deficiencies--1891.--Jesus loves His children, even if they err. They belong to Jesus and we are to treat them as the purchase of the blood of Jesus Christ. Any unreasonable course pursued toward them is written in the books as against Jesus Christ. He keeps His eye upon them, and when they do their best, calling upon God for his help, be assured the service will be accepted, although imperfect. {3SM 195.4}


     Jesus is perfect. Christ's righteousness is imputed unto them, and He will say, "Take away the filthy garments from him and clothe him with change of raiment." Jesus makes up for our unavoidable deficiencies. Where Christians are faithful to each other, true and loyal to the Captain of the Lord's host, never betraying trusts into the enemy's hands, they will be transformed into Christ's character. Jesus will abide in their hearts by faith.--Letter 17a, 1891. (See also a similar statement made in 1885 in Faith and Works, p. 50.) {3SM 196.1}


     Flee to Christ as Soon as Sin Is Committed-- 1892.-- Many do not pray. They feel under condemnation for sin, and they think they must not come to God until they have done something to merit His favor or until God has forgotten about their transgressions. They say, "I cannot hold up holy hands before God without wrath or doubting, and therefore I cannot come." So they remain away from Christ, and are committing sin all the time in so doing, for without Him you can do nothing but evil. {3SM 196.2}


     Just as soon as you commit sin, you should flee to the throne of grace, and tell Jesus all about it. You should be filled with sorrow for sin, because through sin you have weakened your own spirituality, grieved the heavenly angels, and wounded and bruised the loving heart of your Redeemer. When you have asked Jesus in contrition of soul for His forgiveness, believe that He has forgiven you. Do not doubt His divine mercy or refuse the comfort of His infinite love.--Bible Echo, Feb. 1, 1892. (Discourse at Melbourne, Australia, Dec. 19, 1891.) {3SM 196.3}


     What If We Sin After We Have Been Forgiven?--1892. --It is the Holy Spirit that imparts repentance to us. Jesus draws us to Himself through the agency of His divine Spirit; and through faith in His blood  we are cleansed from sin: "for the blood of Jesus Christ his Son, cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (verse 9). {3SM 196.4}


     But suppose that we sin after we have been forgiven, after we have become the children of God, then need we despair?--No: for John writes: "My little children, these things I write unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (chap. 2:1). Jesus is in the heavenly courts, pleading with the Father in our behalf. He presents our prayers, mingling with them the precious incense of His own merit, that our prayers may be acceptable to the Father. He puts the fragrance into our prayers, and the Father hears us because we ask for the very things which we need, and we become to others a savor of life unto life. {3SM 197.1}

 

    Jesus came to suffer in our behalf, that He might impart to us His righteousness. There is but one way of escape for us, and that is found only in becoming partakers of the divine nature. {3SM 197.2}


     But many say that Jesus was not like us, that He was not as we are in the world, that He was divine, and that we cannot overcome as He overcame. But Paul writes, "Verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 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 succour them that are tempted" (Heb. 2:16-18). "For we have not an 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. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (chap. 4:15, 16). Jesus says, "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" (Rev. 3:21). {3SM 197.3}


     Jesus encircled the race with His humanity, and united divinity with humanity; thus moral power is brought to man through the merits of Jesus. Those who profess His name through His grace are to sanctify themselves that they may exert a sanctifying influence on all with whom they associate.--The Review and Herald, March 1, 1892. {3SM 198.1}


     No Time to Fold Our Hands--1892.--As we come to feel our utter reliance upon Christ for salvation, are we to fold our hands, and say, "I have nothing to do; I am saved; Jesus has done it all"?--No, we are to put forth every energy that we may become partakers of the divine nature. We are to be continually watching, waiting, praying, and working. {3SM 198.2}

 

    But do all that we may, we cannot pay a ransom for our souls. We can do nothing to originate faith, for faith is the gift of God; neither can we perfect it, for Christ is the finisher of our faith. It is all of Christ. All the longing after a better life is from Christ, and is an evidence that He is drawing you to Himself and that you are responding to His drawing power.--Bible Echo, May 15, 1892. {3SM 198.3}


     Christ's Nature Implanted in Us--1894.-- Truth, precious truth, is sanctifying in its influence. The sanctification of the soul by the operation of the Holy Spirit is the implanting of Christ's nature in humanity. It is the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ revealed in character, and the grace of Christ brought into active exercise in good works. Thus the character is transformed more and more perfectly after the image of Christ in righteousness and true holiness. There are broad requirements in divine truth stretching out into one line after another of good works. The truths of the gospel are not unconnected; uniting they form one string of heavenly jewels, as in the personal work of Christ, and like threads of gold they run through the whole of Christian work and experience. {3SM 198.4}


     Christ is the complete system of truth. He says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." All true believers center in Christ, their character is irradiated by Christ; all meet in Christ, and circulate about Christ. Truth comes from Heaven to purify and cleanse the human agent from every moral defilement. It leads to benevolent action, to kind, tender, thoughtful love toward the needy, the distressed, the suffering. This is practical obedience to the words of Christ.--Manuscript 34, 1894. {3SM 198.5}


     Satan Claimed to Be Sanctified--1894.--Satan claimed to be sanctified, and exalted himself above God even in the courts of heaven. So great was his deceptive power that he corrupted a large number of angels, and enlisted their sympathy in his selfish interest. When he tempted Christ in the wilderness he claimed that he was sanctified, that he was a pure angel from the heavenly courts; but Jesus was not deceived by his pretensions and neither will those be deceived who live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. {3SM 199.1}


     God will not accept a willful, imperfect obedience. Those who claim to be sanctified, and yet turn away their ears from hearing the law prove themselves to be the children of disobedience, whose carnal hearts are not subject to the law of God, and neither indeed can be.--Manuscript 40, 1894. {3SM 199.2}


     Faith and Good Works--1895.--Our acceptance with God is sure only through His beloved Son, and good works are but the result of the working of His sin-pardoning love. They are no credit to us, and we have nothing accorded to us for our good works by which we may claim a part in the salvation of our souls. Salvation is God's free gift to the believer, given to him for Christ's sake alone. The troubled soul may find peace through faith in Christ, and his peace will be in proportion to his faith and trust. He cannot present his good works as a plea for the salvation of his soul. {3SM 199.3}


     But are good works of no real value? Is the sinner who commits sin every day with impunity, regarded of God with the same favor as the one who through faith in Christ tries to work in his integrity? The Scripture answers, "We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." {3SM 199.4}


     In His divine arrangement, through His unmerited favor, the Lord has ordained that good works shall be rewarded. We are accepted through Christ's merit alone; and the acts of mercy, the deeds of charity, which we perform, are the fruits of faith; and they become a blessing to us; for men are to be rewarded according to their works. {3SM 200.1}


     It is the fragrance of the merit of Christ that makes our good works acceptable to God, and it is grace that enables us to do the works for which He rewards us. Our works in and of themselves have no merit. When we have done all that it is possible for us to do, we are to count ourselves as unprofitable servants. We deserve no thanks from God. We have only done what it was our duty to do, and our works could not have been performed in the strength of our own sinful natures. {3SM 200.2}


     The Lord has bidden us to draw nigh to Him and He will draw nigh to us; and drawing nigh to Him, we receive the grace by which to do those works which will be rewarded at His hands.--Review and Herald, Jan. 29, 1895. {3SM 200.3}


     Surrounded With Heaven's Atmosphere-- 1898.--"We love him, because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19). True conversion, true sanctification, will be the cause of the change in our views and our feelings toward one another and toward God. "We have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him" (verse 16). We must increase in faith. We must know the sanctification of the Spirit. In earnest prayer we must seek God, that the divine Spirit may work in us. God then will be glorified by the example of the human agent. We shall be workers together with God. {3SM 200.4}


     Sanctification of soul, body, and spirit will surround us with the atmosphere of heaven. If God has chosen us from eternity, it is that we might be holy, our conscience purged from dead works to serve the living God. We must not in any way make self our god. God has given Himself to die for us, that He might purify us from all iniquity. The Lord will carry on this work of perfection for us if we will allow ourselves to be controlled by Him. He carries on this work for our good and His own name's glory. {3SM 200.5}


     The Importance of Simple, Implicit Faith.--We must bear a living testimony to the people, presenting before them the simplicity of faith. We must take God at His word, and believe that He will do just as He has said. If He chastises us, it is that we may be partakers of His divine nature. It runs through all His designs and plans to carry on a daily sanctification in us. Shall we not see our work? Shall we not present to others their duty, the privilege they have of growing in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ? {3SM 201.1}


     "This is the will of God, even your sanctification" (1 Thess. 4:3). We have not pressed forward to the mark of the prize of our high calling. Self has found too much room. Oh, let the work be done under the special direction of the Holy Spirit. The Lord demands all the powers of the mind and being. It is His will that we should be conformed to Him in will, in temper, in spirit, in our meditations. The work of righteousness cannot be carried forward unless we exercise implicit faith. {3SM 201.2}


     Move every day under God's mighty working power. The fruit of righteousness is quietness and assurance forever. If we had exercised more faith in God and had trusted less to our own ideas and wisdom, God would have manifested His power in a marked manner on human hearts. By a union with Him, by living faith, we are privileged to enjoy the virtue and efficacy of His mediation. Hence we are crucified with Christ, dead with Christ, risen with Christ, to walk in newness of life with Him.--Letter 105, 1898. {3SM 201.3}


     True Sanctification Needed--1902.--Two nights ago, I awoke at ten o'clock, heavily burdened in regard to the lack of the Holy Spirit's working among our people. I rose and walked the room, pleading with the Lord to come closer, very much closer, to His people, endowing them with such power that they may work His work so mightily that through them may be revealed the abundant grace of Christ. . . . {3SM 201.4}


     In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ has given a definition of true sanctification. He lived a life of holiness. He was an object lesson of what His followers are to be. We are to be crucified with Christ, buried with Him, and then quickened by His Spirit. Then we are filled with His life. {3SM 202.1}


     The Work of a Lifetime.--Our sanctification is God's object in all His dealing with us. He has chosen us from eternity that we may be holy. Christ gave Himself for our redemption, that through our faith in His power to save from sin, we might be made complete in Him. In giving us His Word, He has given us bread from heaven. He declares that if we eat His flesh and drink His blood, we shall receive eternal life. {3SM 202.2}


    Why do we not dwell more upon this? Why do we not strive to make it easily understood, when it means so much? Why do not Christians open their eyes to see the work God requires them to do. Sanctification is the progressive work of a lifetime. The Lord declares, "This is the will of God, even your sanctification" (1 Thess. 4:3). Is it your will that your desires and inclinations shall be brought into conformity to the divine will? {3SM 202.3}

 

    As Christians, we have pledged ourselves to realize and fulfill our responsibilities and to show to the world that we have a close connection with God. Thus, through the godly words and works of His disciples, Christ is to be represented. {3SM 202.4}


     God demands of us perfect obedience to His law-- the expression of His character. "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law" (Rom. 3:31). This law is the echo of God's voice, saying to us, Holier, yes, holier still. Desire the fullness of the grace of Christ; yea, long--hunger and thirst--after righteousness. The promise is, "Ye shall be filled." Let your heart be filled with an intense longing for this righteousness, the work of which God's Word declares is peace, and its effect quietness and assurance forever. {3SM 202.5}


     Partakers of the Divine Nature.--It is our privilege to be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. God has plainly stated that He requires us to be perfect; and because He requires this, He has made provision that we may be partakers of the divine nature. Only thus can we gain success in our striving for eternal life. The power is given by Christ. "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God" (John 1:12). {3SM 203.1}


     God requires of us conformity to His image. Holiness is the reflection from His people of the bright rays of His glory. But in order to reflect this glory, man must work with God. The heart and mind must be emptied of all that leads to wrong. The Word of God must be read and studied with an earnest desire to gain from it spiritual power. The bread of heaven must be eaten and digested, that it may become a part of the life. Thus we gain eternal life. Then is answered the prayer of the Saviour, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."--Letter 153, 1902. {3SM 203.2}


     Opinions and Practices to Be Conformed to God's Word.--There are many who claim that they have been sanctified to God, and yet when the great standard of righteousness is presented to them they become greatly excited and manifest a spirit which proves that they know nothing of what it means to be sanctified. They have not the mind of Christ; for those who are truly sanctified will reverence and obey the Word of God as fast as it is opened to them, and they will express a strong desire to know what is truth on every point of doctrine. An exultant feeling is no evidence of sanctification. The assertion, "I am saved, I am saved," does not prove that the soul is saved or sanctified. {3SM 203.3}


     Many who are greatly excited are told that they are sanctified, when they have no intelligent idea of what the term means, for they know not the Scriptures or the power of God. They flatter themselves that they are in conformity to the will of God because they feel happy; but when they are tested, when the Word of God is brought to bear upon their experience, they stop their ears from hearing the truth, saying, "I am sanctified," and that puts an end to the controversy. They will have nothing to do with searching the Scriptures to know what is truth, and prove that they are fearfully self-deceived. Sanctification means very much more than a flight of feeling. {3SM 204.1}


     Excitement is not sanctification. Entire conformity to the will of our Father which is in heaven is alone sanctification, and the will of God is expressed in His holy law. The keeping of all the commandments of God is sanctification. Proving yourselves obedient children to God's Word is sanctification. The Word of God is to be our guide, not the opinions or ideas of men.--The Review and Herald, March 25, 1902. {3SM 204.2}


     Sanctification, An Experience in Continued Growth--1908.--If we keep our minds stayed upon Christ, he will come unto us as the rain, as the former and latter rain upon the earth. As the Sun of Righteousness, He will arise with healing in His wings. We may grow as the lily, revive as the corn, and grow as the vine. {3SM 204.3}


     By constantly looking to and patterning after Christ as our personal Saviour, we shall grow up into Him in all things. Our faith will grow, our conscience will be sanctified. We will more and more become like Christ in all our works and words. Thank God, we shall believe His Word. "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."--Letter 106, 1908. {3SM 204.4}



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