We must not take the word of any man as authoritative on matters that concern our eternal interests. We must go to the Scriptures for ourselves. We must search for truth as for hidden treasures. No man can pay a redemption price for our souls; and those who stand condemned at the bar of God because they believed the testimony of man rather than the testimony of God, will appreciate the worth of the word of God. Those who deceived them cannot save their souls, nor the souls that they were instrumental in leading into error, away from Christ and the truth. God’s word was given to lead men into truth, but many did not search its pages for themselves, and thus they were separated from him by wicked works.
The time in which we live is full of peril. Although Noah, and Job, and Daniel were in the land, they could not save son or daughter. They could only deliver their own souls by their righteousness. We must individually stand or fall for ourselves, as we shall be judged by the great moral standard of God’s holy law. We must watch. We must pray. We must search the Scriptures. We must know that we have a foundation for our faith. The cross of Calvary reveals the fact that if sin is found upon us, we shall hear the word, “Depart, ye workers of iniquity.” We want to dig deep, and lay a sure foundation. We should be in earnest to obtain a living experience for ourselves. We must be partakers of the divine nature, if we would not be found warring against the divine law. We want our sins blotted out, and our names written in the Lamb’s book of life. We must be joined to Christ, grow up in him, and become like him in character and spirit. If we are thus united to Christ, we shall feel our constant dependence upon him. We shall see that there is nothing in us to make us self-sufficient, nothing in us in which we can trust; therefore we shall be clothed with humility.
I would that our eyes could be opened to see and to realize our danger of departing from the principles of God’s law. Jesus, the world’s Redeemer, the adorable Son of God, agonized with the Father, with strong crying and tears. This was not on his own account; but because we feel so little our need of fervent, earnest prayer; because we see so little our danger. He wept because we have no tears to shed. Our hearts are in danger of becoming hard and unimpressible.
We should seek more and more for the light and knowledge that we so much need. We want the grace of God abundantly bestowed upon us, that we may flourish as the palm-tree. We are in danger of losing our souls, because of confidence in self. We want to see our great need of a daily connection with Christ. We want to see that he alone can cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Why are our hearts so cold? Why is our service so lifeless?
Let us arise in faith, and press closer to Jesus. Let us rejoice in his love. We may obtain the most precious victories. There is help for us in God. Let us grasp the promises, and look to Calvary. Jesus died to save us from sin; then let us cease to sin, and open the heart wide, that he may come in and abide with us.
The loveliness of the character of Christ, must be seen in his followers. It was his delight to do the will of God. Zeal for the glory of God was the controlling power in his mind. His unlikeness to the world provoked the bitter hostility of those who hated truth and righteousness. Because he would give no license for the exercise of the evil passions of our nature, he aroused the fiercest opposition and enmity.
The spotless Son of God was derided and mocked because of his unswerving obedience to the principle of God’s holy law. So it will be with all who live godly in Christ Jesus.
Let no one talk of an easy religion. Let no one imagine that the path to Heaven is smooth and pleasant, that there is nothing to do but to believe. We are to be workers together with God; and through diligent and painstaking effort alone, can the conditions of the promises be met. The words of inspiration declare that “faith without works is dead, being alone.” We are exhorted to “fight the good fight of faith.” We are to wrestle with unseen foes, to labor, to watch, to strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many will be content with simple seeking, and will fail of an entrance. “Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat;” but “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
We are enjoined to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, “for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” We are required to take upon our necks the yoke of Christ, because every good impulse comes from the Spirit of God, and we are quickened to earnest effort for a higher life. We are to strive to repress every word that implies a doubt; for doubt spoken, is a seed sown in the minds of others, and eternity alone will reveal the result. Here is the conflict, to keep back words that we are inclined to speak against God and each other; for “by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Our words are influences that impress the minds of others, and they are reflected in every direction. Shall we cast suspicion upon others? Shall we start the root of bitterness whereby many shall be defiled? Religion is a principle to be carried out in practical life, and developed in character and actions. We are ever to represent Jesus. We are to comfort, uphold, and encourage our brethren. We are to strengthen those who are weak in moral power. Oh! be sure that you do not misrepresent the character of your divine Lord by claiming to be sons and daughters of God, while speaking and acting like the children of the wicked one. Do not leave a false impression upon the minds of unbelievers, that Christians are a gloomy, unhappy people. Why should we be unhappy? If our feet are in the royal path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in, what is there that can make us unhappy and restless?
Have not some of you mistaken the way, and taken the wrong path? Shall we not search carefully, and see whether or not we have real Bible religion? Let us ponder the warnings, instructions, and promises of God, until our souls burn within us, and our whole desire is to stand by the side of Jesus, and wear his yoke, and bear his burden, and find rest unto our souls.
— E.G. White, Signs of the Times, July 20, 1888