There always have been and always will be two classes on the earth to the end of time,—the believers in Jesus, and those who reject him. Sinners, however wicked, abominable, and corrupt, by faith in him will be purified, made clean, through the doing of his word. The truth will be a savor of life unto life to those who believe, but the same truth will be to the unbeliever a savor of death unto death. Those who reject Christ and refuse to believe the truth, will be filled with bitterness against those who accept Jesus as a personal Saviour. But those who receive Christ are melted and subdued by the manifestation of his love in his humiliation, suffering, and death in their behalf. They behold him as their substitute and surety, as pledging himself to accomplish their full salvation through a plan that is consistent with the justice of God, and which vindicates the honor of his law. The presentation of the love of God has a convincing power above that of argument, controversy, and debate, and drops the seed of gospel truth in the heart. The fact that Jesus, innocent and pure, should suffer, that God should lay all his wrath upon the head of his dear Son, that the guiltless should bear the punishment of the guilty, the just endure the penalty of sin for the unjust, breaks the heart; and as Jesus is lifted up, conviction strikes to the soul, and the love that prompted the bestowal of the infinite gift of Christ, constrains the sinner to surrender all to God.
But how different is the case of him who refuses to receive the salvation purchased for him at infinite cost. He refuses to look upon the humiliation and love of Jesus. He plainly says,“I will not have this man to reign over me.” To all who take this attitude, Jesus says, “I came not to send peace, but a sword.” Families must be divided in order that all who call upon the name of the Lord may be saved. All who refuse his infinite love will find Christianity a sword, a disturber of their peace. The light of Christ will cut away the darkness that covers their evil doings, and their corruption, their fraud, and cruelty, will be exposed. Christianity unmasks the hypocrisies of Satan, and it is this unmasking of his designs that stirs his bitter hatred against Christ and his followers.
It is impossible for any one to become a true follower of Jesus Christ, without distinguishing himself from the worldly mass of unbelievers. If the world would accept of Jesus, then there would be no sword of dissension; for all would be disciples of Christ and in fellowship one with another, and their unity would be unbroken. But this is not the case. Here and there an individual member of a family is true to the convictions of his conscience, and is compelled to stand alone in his family or in the church to which he belongs, and is finally compelled, because of the course of those with whom he associates, to separate himself from their companionship. The line of demarkation is made distinct. One stands upon the word of God, the others upon the traditions and sayings of men.
In one of his confidential talks with his disciples, a short time before his crucifixion, Jesus bequeathed to his followers his legacy of peace. He said: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” The peace that Christ gave to his disciples, and for which we pray, is the peace that is born of truth, a peace that is not to be quenched because of division. Without may be wars and fightings, jealousies, envies, hatred, strife; but the peace of Christ is not that which the world giveth or taketh away. It could endure amid the hunting of spies and the fiercest opposition of his enemies. His peace was that which was born of love toward those who were plotting for his death. His deep love did not lead him to cry, Peace and safety, when there was no peace for the sinner. Christ did not for an instant seek to purchase peace by a betrayal of sacred trusts. Peace could not be made by a compromise of principles; and his followers must often proclaim a message that is directly in opposition to the people’s sins, prejudices, and customs. They will be called upon to reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine. The heart of Jesus was overflowing with love to every human being that he had made, and this love should have been discerned by those he came to save, inasmuch as he became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich. Christ understands the strength of Satan’s temptations; for he was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. But he never lessened the guilt of sin. He was the Saviour, the Redeemer, and came to save his people from their sins.
Jesus could have been at peace with the world only by leaving the transgressors of the law unreproved, unrebuked. This he could not do; for he was to take away the sins of the world. Those who are faithful sentinels will be charged by the world as being the disturbers of its peace, they will be charged with stirring up strife and with creating divisions. But they will only be bearing the reproach that fell on Christ. Christ denounced unrighteousness, and his very presence was a rebuke to sin. The atmosphere that surrounded his soul was so pure, so elevated, that it placed the hypocritical rabbis, priests, and rulers in their true position, and revealed them in their true character as claiming sanctity, and at the same time misrepresenting God and his truth. In the rich loveliness of the character of Christ, zeal for God was always apparent. His righteousness went before him, and the glory of the Lord was rearward. He hated one thing only, and that was sin. But the world loved sin and hated righteousness, and this was the cause of the hostility of the world to Jesus. If Christ had given license to men to exercise their evil passions, they would have hailed this great miracle-worker with shouts of applause; but when he reproved sin, made open war upon selfishness, oppression, hypocrisy, pride, covetousness, and lust, they said, Away with this fellow, and give us Barabbas.
Jesus has said: “The servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.” There will never be any true unity between or with those who stand under the banner of Satan. The followers of Christ may follow the things that make for peace, they may earnestly desire to overcome the spirit of discord with the spirit of kindness and love, but the enemy will stir up his agents to bring about strife and division. It is a grave mistake on the part of those who are children of God to seek to bridge the gulf that separates the children of light from the children of darkness by yielding principle, by compromising the truth. It would be surrendering the peace of Christ in order to make peace or fraternize with the world. The sacrifice is too costly to be made by the children of God to make peace with the world by giving up the principles of truth. Those who have the mind of Christ will let that light shine forth to the world in good works, but that light will bring about a division. Shall the light, therefore, be hid under a bed or under a bushel, because it will mark a distinction between the followers of Christ and the world? It was the purity of the character of Christ that stirred up the enmity of a profligate world. His spotless righteousness was a continual rebuke to their sin and uncleanness; but no principle of truth was compromised by Christ to win the favor of the world. Then let the followers of Christ settle it in their minds that they will never compromise truth, never yield one iota of principle for the favor of the world. Let them hold to the peace of Christ.1White, Ellen Gould. “Principle Never to Be Sacrificed for Peace.” Review and Herald 24 July 1894: n. pag. Web.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||White, Ellen Gould. “Principle Never to Be Sacrificed for Peace.” Review and Herald 24 July 1894: n. pag. Web.|