The Need of Living Faith
It is one thing to read and teach the Bible, and another thing to have, by practise, its life-giving, sanctifying principles engrafted on the soul. God is in Christ, reconciling the world to himself. If those who claim to be his followers draw apart, showing no affectionate or compassionate interest in one another, they are not sanctified to God. They have not his love in their hearts.
Christ has shown his great love for us by giving his life that we should not perish in our sins, that he might clothe us with his salvation. If this divine love is cherished in our hearts, it cements and strengthens our union with those of like faith. “He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” The strengthening of our love for our brethren and sisters strengthens our love for Christ. This principle of love for God and for those for whom Christ died, needs to be quickened by the Holy Spirit, and cemented with brotherly kindness, tenderness; it needs to be strengthened by acts which testify that God is love. This union, which joins heart with heart, is not the result of sentimentalism, but the working of a healthful principle.
Faith works by love, and purifies the soul from all selfishness. Thus the soul is perfected in love. And having found grace and mercy through Christ’s precious blood, how can we fail to be tender and merciful? “By grace are ye saved through faith.” The mind should be educated to exercise faith rather than to cherish doubt, suspicion, and jealousy. We are too prone to regard obstacles as impossibilities. To have faith in the promises of God, to go forward by faith, pressing on without being governed by circumstances, is a lesson hard to learn. Yet it is a positive necessity that every child of God should learn this lesson. The grace of God through Christ is ever to be cherished, for it is given us as the only way of approaching God.
Faith in the words of God spoken by Christ enshrouded in the pillar of cloud, would have enabled the children of Israel to make a record wholly different from that which they did make. Their lack of faith in God gave them a very checkered history.
The faith mentioned in God’s Word calls for a life in which faith in Christ is an active, living principle. It is God’s will that faith in Christ shall be made perfect by works; he connects the salvation and eternal life of those who believe, with these works, and through them provides for the light of truth to go to all countries and peoples. This is the fruit of the workings of God’s Spirit.
We show our faith in God by obeying his commands. Faith is always expressed in words and actions. It produces practical results; for it is a vital element in the life. The life that is molded by faith develops a determination to advance, to go forward, following in the footsteps of Christ.
Faith in Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, the One who pardons our sins and transgressions, the One who is able to keep us from sin and lead us in his footsteps, is set forth in the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah. Here are presented the fruits of a faith that works by love and purifies the soul from selfishness. Faith and works are here combined.
“Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward. . . . And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.”
“Thy righteousness shall go before thee.” What does this mean? Christ is our righteousness. He goes before us, and we follow him, working in love and compassion for the needy and destitute, bringing into the light of present truth many who are now in the darkness of error.
— E.G. White, Review and Herald, March 17, 1910