“Without faith it is impossible to please God.” It is our privilege to appropriate to our own use the promises which God has given us in his word. We have had great light, most wonderful truths have been unfolded to us; and our faith should correspond to the light and power of the truth that has been opened to our understanding. Our prayer should be as was the prayer of David, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” We have a great and solemn work before us. We are to present the last message of mercy to the world,—the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. We should have faith corresponding to the message we have to bear to the world. We shall need more than finite wisdom in doing this work. We must have divine power connected with our efforts, that we may reach the people.
It is our privilege to take God at his word. As Jesus was about to leave his disciples to ascend into heaven, he commissioned them to bear the gospel message to all nations, tongues, and peoples. He told them to tarry in Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high. This was essential to their success. The holy unction must come upon the servants of God. All who were fully identified as disciples of Christ and associated with the apostles as evangelists, assembled together in Jerusalem. They put away all differences. They continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, that they might receive the fulfillment of the promise of the Holy Spirit; for they were to preach the gospel in the demonstration of the Spirit and in the power of God. It was a time of great danger for the followers of Christ. They were as sheep in the midst of wolves, yet they were of good courage, because Christ had risen from the dead, and had revealed himself to them, and had promised them a special blessing, which would qualify them to go forth to proclaim his gospel to the world. They were waiting in expectation of the fulfillment of his promise, and were praying with special fervency.
This is the very course that should be pursued by those who act a part in the great work of proclaiming the coming of the Lord in the clouds of heaven; for a people are to be prepared to stand in the great day of God’s preparation. Although Christ had given the promise to the disciples that they should receive the Holy Spirit, this did not remove the necessity of prayer. They prayed all the more earnestly; they continued in prayer with one accord. Those who are now engaged in the solemn work of preparing a people for the coming of the Lord, should also continue in prayer. The early disciples were of one accord. They had no speculations, no curious theory to advance as to how the promised blessing was to come. They were one in faith and spirit. They were agreed. The disciples of Christ should become one with him, and one with each other. All differences should disappear. Soul should blend with soul. No strife should be permitted to sway the soul; no love of supremacy, no thought of self, should be cherished; we should be one in Christ.
It is the privilege of God’s people to go forth to their work in the strength of Jesus. We should go forth, not depending upon our talents, but wrestling with God for sanctification through the truth. We should feel a constant assurance that Jesus is present to help us. If success attends our labors, we should give all the glory to God. The frail, defective beings of earth should not take one particle of honor to themselves. The worker for God is to be clothed with humility; for Christ has condescended to be his helper. Paul may plant, and Apollos water, but it is God that gives the increase.
We shall have to meet many false doctrines and deceptive theories, and it will require more than human intelligence to discern their falsity, and to keep clear of their influence. Many claim sanctification who are wholly deceived in themselves; and we should inquire, How can we present their deceptions in a true light, that souls may be delivered from the snare of the enemy? There is only one test for all doctrines, and that is God’s great standard of righteousness. Says the prophet, “To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Many of those who claim sanctification present themselves, like the enemy of God and his law, in the garments of their own righteousness. They oppose the commandments of God, and show that their heart is carnal. Many years after the crucifixion of Christ, the apostle wrote these words, that test the profession of those who claim holiness, and yet oppose the law of God,—“The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God neither indeed can be.”
With ruthless hands many have sought to remove the landmarks, to tear down God’s great moral standard, and to erect one of their own. In claiming holiness they measure themselves by their own standard. They do not test their actions and character by the law of God. It was by his own standard that Satan measured his actions, he represented himself before men as an angel of light; but his pretension does not make him such, by any means. There is a class of persons who are not following the example of Christ in keeping God’s law, yet they claim to be holy. They are ready to appropriate the promises of God without fulfilling the conditions upon which they are given. But their faith has no foundation; it is like sliding sand. There is another class who see the claims of the law of God, and, although it involves a cross, they choose the path of obedience, coming out and separating themselves from the world. They do not consult convenience, nor shrink from accepting the truth for fear of reproach. They step out from the path of transgression, and place their feet in the way of God’s commandments. The promises of God, which are given on condition of obedience, are for those who walk in the light of his holy word. Those who do his will may claim all the benefits the Lord has promised. The obedient do not simply cry, “Believe, all you have to do is believe in Christ;” but their faith is like Noah’s and Abraham’s, which led them to keep the commandments. They follow the example of Christ, they listen and wait to catch every word of direction from the Captain of their salvation. They respond to the voice that says, “This is the way, to walk ye in it.” Every step that Noah and Abraham took in obedience to God’s word was a step of victory. A “Thus saith the Lord” fortified Noah in doing his work of warning the world. The testimony in regard to Noah is, “And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him.” The path of obedience is the path in which our safety lies; for it is the willing and obedient that shall eat the good of the land. If we keep the commandments of God, we may claim his recorded promises in all their fullness. Many feel so unworthy that like the poor publican they dare not lift up so much as their eyes to heaven. They should encourage faith. We may have an intelligent faith; we may not only say we believe, but we may in meekness and confidence be able to define what we believe, and why we believe as we do. We should exercise living faith, not a blind credulity. All heaven is at the command of those who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus.
We need to come up to a higher standard, to go forward and claim our exalted privileges. We should walk humbly with God, make no proud boasts of perfection of character, but in simple faith claim every promise in the word of God; for they are for the obedient, not for the transgressors of God’s law. We are simply to believe the testimony of God, and have entire dependence on him, and all possibility of self-glory or pride will be removed. We are indeed saved by faith, not by a passive faith, but by the faith which works by love, and purifies the soul. The hand of Christ can reach the veriest sinner, and bring him back from transgression to obedience; but no Christianity is so lofty that it can soar above the requirements of God’s holy law. This would be beyond Christ’s power to help, it would be outside of his teachings and his example; for he says, “I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love,” and all who follow Christ will render obedience to God’s holy law.1White, Ellen Gould. “Genuine Faith Leads to Obedience.” Signs of the Times 30 Mar. 1890: n. pag. The Writings of Ellen G. White. Web.
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|1.||↑||White, Ellen Gould. “Genuine Faith Leads to Obedience.” Signs of the Times 30 Mar. 1890: n. pag. The Writings of Ellen G. White. Web.|