Wherever the word of God has been faithfully
preached, results have followed that attested its divine origin. The
Spirit of God accompanied the message of His servants, and the word was
with power. Sinners felt their consciences quickened. The "light
which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" illumined the
secret chambers of their souls, and the hidden things of darkness were
made manifest. Deep conviction took hold upon their minds and hearts.
They were convinced of sin and of righteousness and of judgment to come.
They had a sense of the righteousness of Jehovah and felt the terror of
appearing, in their guilt and uncleanness, before the Searcher of
hearts. In anguish they cried out: "Who shall deliver me from the
body of this death?" As the cross of Calvary, with its infinite
sacrifice for the sins of men, was revealed, they saw that nothing but
the merits of Christ could suffice to atone for their transgressions;
this alone could reconcile man to God. With faith and humility they
accepted the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. Through
the blood of Jesus they had "remission of sins that are past."
These souls brought forth fruit meet for repentance.
They believed and were baptized, and rose to walk in newness of life--new
creatures in Christ Jesus; not to fashion themselves according to the
former lusts, but by the faith of the Son of
God to follow in His steps, to reflect His character,
and to purify themselves even as He is pure. The things they once hated
they now loved, and the things they once loved they hated. The proud and
self-assertive became meek and lowly of heart. The vain and supercilious
became serious and unobtrusive. The profane became reverent, the drunken
sober, and the profligate pure. The vain fashions of the world were laid
aside. Christians sought not the "outward adorning of plaiting the
hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but . . . the
hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the
ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of
great price." 1 Peter 3:3, 4.
Revivals brought deep heart-searching and humility.
They were characterized by solemn, earnest appeals to the sinner, by
yearning compassion for the purchase of the blood of Christ. Men and
women prayed and wrestled with God for the salvation of souls. The
fruits of such revivals were seen in souls who shrank not at self-denial
and sacrifice, but rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer
reproach and trial for the sake of Christ. Men beheld a transformation
in the lives of those who had professed the name of Jesus. The community
was benefited by their influence. They gathered with Christ, and sowed
to the Spirit, to reap life everlasting.
It could be said of them: "Ye sorrowed to
repentance." "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation
not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For
behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what
carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea,
what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what
zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be
clear in this matter."
2 Corinthians 7:9-11.
This is the result of the work of the Spirit of God.
There is no evidence of genuine repentance unless it works reformation.
If he restore the pledge, give again that he had
robbed, confess his sins, and love God and his fellow men, the sinner
may be sure that he has found peace with God. Such were the effects that
in former years followed seasons of religious awakening. Judged by their
fruits, they were known to be blessed of God in the salvation of men and
the uplifting of humanity.
But many of the revivals of modern times have
presented a marked contrast to those manifestations of divine grace
which in earlier days followed the labors of God's servants. It is true
that a widespread interest is kindled, many profess conversion, and
there are large accessions to the churches; nevertheless the results are
not such as to warrant the belief that there has been a corresponding
increase of real spiritual life. The light which flames up for a time
soon dies out, leaving the darkness more dense than before.
Popular revivals are too often carried by appeals to
the imagination, by exciting the emotions, by gratifying the love for
what is new and startling. Converts thus gained have little desire to
listen to Bible truth, little interest in the testimony of prophets and
apostles. Unless a religious service has something of a sensational
character, it has no attractions for them. A message which appeals to
unimpassioned reason awakens no response. The plain warnings of God's
word, relating directly to their eternal interests, are unheeded.
With every truly converted soul the relation to God
and to eternal things will be the great topic of life. But where, in the
popular churches of today, is the spirit of consecration to God? The
converts do not renounce their pride and love of the world. They are no
more willing to deny self, to take up the cross, and follow the meek and
lowly Jesus, than before their conversion. Religion has become the sport
of infidels and skeptics because so many who bear its name are ignorant
of its principles. The power of godliness has well-nigh departed from
many of the churches. Picnics, church theatricals,
church fairs, fine houses, personal display, have
banished thoughts of God. Lands and goods and worldly occupations
engross the mind, and things of eternal interest receive hardly a
Notwithstanding the widespread declension of faith
and piety, there are true followers of Christ in these churches. Before
the final visitation of God's judgments upon the earth there will be
among the people of the Lord such a revival of primitive godliness as
has not been witnessed since apostolic times. The Spirit and power of
God will be poured out upon His children. At that time many will
separate themselves from those churches in which the love of this world
has supplanted love for God and His word. Many, both of ministers and
people, will gladly accept those great truths which God has caused to be
proclaimed at this time to prepare a people for the Lord's second
coming. The enemy of souls desires to hinder this work; and before the
time for such a movement shall come, he will endeavor to prevent it by
introducing a counterfeit. In those churches which he can bring under
his deceptive power he will make it appear that God's special blessing
is poured out; there will be manifest what is thought to be great
religious interest. Multitudes will exult that God is working
marvelously for them, when the work is that of another spirit. Under a
religious guise, Satan will seek to extend his influence over the
In many of the revivals which have occurred during
the last half century, the same influences have been at work, to a
greater or less degree, that will be manifest in the more extensive
movements of the future. There is an emotional excitement, a mingling of
the true with the false, that is well adapted to mislead. Yet none need
be deceived. In the light of God's word it is not difficult to determine
the nature of these movements. Wherever men neglect the testimony of the
Bible, turning away from those plain, soul-testing truths which require
self-denial and renunciation of the world, there we may be sure that
God's blessing is not bestowed.
And by the rule which Christ Himself has given,
"Ye shall know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:16), it is
evident that these movements are not the work of the Spirit of God.
In the truths of His word, God has given to men a
revelation of Himself; and to all who accept them they are a shield
against the deceptions of Satan. It is a neglect of these truths that
has opened the door to the evils which are now becoming so widespread in
the religious world. The nature and the importance of the law of God
have been, to a great extent, lost sight of. A wrong conception of the
character, the perpetuity, and the obligation of the divine law has led
to errors in relation to conversion and sanctification, and has resulted
in lowering the standard of piety in the church. Here is to be found the
secret of the lack of the Spirit and power of God in the revivals of our
There are, in the various denominations, men eminent
for their piety, by whom this fact is acknowledged and deplored.
Professor Edwards A. Park, in setting forth the current religious
perils, ably says: "One source of danger is the neglect of the
pulpit to enforce the divine law. In former days the pulpit was an echo
of the voice of conscience. . . . Our most illustrious preachers gave a
wonderful majesty to their discourses by following the example of the
Master, and giving prominence to the law, its precepts, and its
threatenings. They repeated the two great maxims, that the law is a
transcript of the divine perfections, and that a man who does not love
the law does not love the gospel; for the law, as well as the gospel, is
a mirror reflecting the true character of God. This peril leads to
another, that of underrating the evil of sin, the extent of it, the
demerit of it. In proportion to the rightfulness of the commandment is
the wrongfulness of disobeying it. . . .
"Affiliated to the dangers already named is the
danger of underestimating the justice of God. The tendency of the modern
pulpit is to strain out the divine justice from the divine benevolence,
to sink benevolence into a sentiment rather
than exalt it into a principle. The new theological
prism puts asunder what God has joined together. Is the divine law a
good or an evil? It is a good. Then justice is good; for it is a
disposition to execute the law. From the habit of underrating the divine
law and justice, the extent and demerit of human disobedience, men
easily slide into the habit of underestimating the grace which has
provided an atonement for sin." Thus the gospel loses its value and
importance in the minds of men, and soon they are ready practically to
cast aside the Bible itself.
Many religious teachers assert that Christ by His
death abolished the law, and men are henceforth free from its
requirements. There are some who represent it as a grievous yoke, and in
contrast to the bondage of the law they present the liberty to be
enjoyed under the gospel.
But not so did prophets and apostles regard the holy
law of God. Said David: "I will walk at liberty: for I seek Thy
precepts." Psalm 119:45. The apostle James, who wrote after the
death of Christ, refers to the Decalogue as "the royal law"
and "the perfect law of liberty." James 2:8; 1:25. And the
revelator, half a century after the crucifixion, pronounces a blessing
upon them "that do His commandments, that they may have right to
the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the
city." Revelation 22:14.
The claim that Christ by His death abolished His
Father's law is without foundation. Had it been possible for the law to
be changed or set aside, then Christ need not have died to save man from
the penalty of sin. The death of Christ, so far from abolishing the law,
proves that it is immutable. The Son of God came to "magnify the
law, and make it honorable." Isaiah 42:21. He said: "Think not
that I am come to destroy the law;" "till heaven and earth
pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law."
Matthew 5;17, 18. And concerning Himself He declares: "I delight to
do Thy will, O my God: yea, Thy law is within My heart." Psalm
The law of God, from its very nature, is
unchangeable. It is a revelation of the will and the character of its
Author. God is love, and His law is love. Its two great principles are
love to God and love to man. "Love is the fulfilling of the
law." Romans 13:10. The character of God is righteousness and
truth; such is the nature of His law. Says the psalmist: "Thy law
is the truth:" "all Thy commandments are righteousness."
Psalm 119:142, 172. And the apostle Paul declares: "The law is
holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good." Romans 7:12.
Such a law, being an expression of the mind and will of God, must be as
enduring as its Author.
It is the work of conversion and sanctification to
reconcile men to God by bringing them into accord with the principles of
His law. In the beginning, man was created in the image of God. He was
in perfect harmony with the nature and the law of God; the principles of
righteousness were written upon his heart. But sin alienated him from
his Maker. He no longer reflected the divine image. His heart was at war
with the principles of God's law. "The carnal mind is enmity
against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can
be." Romans 8:7. But "God so loved the world, that He gave His
only-begotten Son," that man might be reconciled to God. Through
the merits of Christ he can be restored to harmony with his Maker. His
heart must be renewed by divine grace; he must have a new life from
above. This change is the new birth, without which, says Jesus, "he
cannot see the kingdom of God."
The first step in reconciliation to God is the
conviction of sin. "Sin is the transgression of the law." By
the law is the knowledge of sin." 1 John 3:4; Romans 3:20. In order
to see his guilt, the sinner must test his character by God's great
standard of righteousness. It is a mirror which shows the perfection of
a righteous character and enables him to discern the defects in his own.
The law reveals to man his sins, but it provides no
While it promises life to the obedient, it declares
that death is the portion of the transgressor. The gospel of Christ
alone can free him from the condemnation or the defilement of sin. He
must exercise repentance toward God, whose law has been transgressed;
and faith in Christ, his atoning sacrifice. Thus he obtains
"remission of sins that are past" and becomes a partaker of
the divine nature. He is a child of God, having received the spirit of
adoption, whereby he cries: "Abba, Father!"
Is he now free to transgress God's law? Says Paul:
"Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we
establish the law." "How shall we, that are dead to sin, live
any longer therein?" And John declares: "This is the love of
God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not
grievous." Romans 3:31; 6:2; 1 John 5:3. In the new birth the heart
is brought into harmony with God, as it is brought into accord with His
law. When this mighty change has taken place in the sinner, he has
passed from death unto life, from sin unto holiness, from transgression
and rebellion to obedience and loyalty. The old life of alienation from
God has ended; the new life of reconciliation, of faith and love, has
begun. Then "the righteousness of the law" will "be
fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the
Spirit." Romans 8:4. And the language of the soul will be: "O
how love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day." Psalm 119:97.
"The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the
soul." Psalm 19:7. Without the law, men have no just conception of
the purity and holiness of God or of their own guilt and uncleanness.
They have no true conviction of sin and feel no need of repentance. Not
seeing their lost condition as violators of God's law, they do not
realize their need of the atoning blood of Christ. The hope of salvation
is accepted without a radical change of heart or reformation of life.
Thus superficial conversions abound, and multitudes are joined to the
church who have never been united to Christ.
Erroneous theories of sanctification, also, springing
from neglect or rejection of the divine law, have a prominent place in
the religious movements of the day. These theories are both false in
doctrine and dangerous in practical results; and the fact that they are
so generally finding favor, renders it doubly essential that all have a
clear understanding of what the Scriptures teach upon this point.
True sanctification is a Bible doctrine. The apostle
Paul, in his letter to the Thessalonian church, declares: "This is
the will of God, even your sanctification." And he prays: "The
very God of peace sanctify you wholly." 1 Thessalonians 4:3; 5:23.
The Bible clearly teaches what sanctification is and how it is to be
attained. The Saviour prayed for His disciples: "Sanctify them
through Thy truth: Thy word is truth." John 17:17. And Paul teaches
that believers are to be "sanctified by the Holy Ghost."
Romans 15:16. What is the work of the Holy Spirit? Jesus told His
disciples: "When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide
you into all truth." John 16:13. And the psalmist says: "Thy
law is the truth." By the word and the Spirit of God are opened to
men the great principles of righteousness embodied in His law. And since
the law of God is "holy, and just, and good," a transcript of
the divine perfection, it follows that a character formed by obedience
to that law will be holy. Christ is a perfect example of such a
character. He says: "I have kept My Father's commandments."
"I do always those things that please Him." John 15:10; 8:29.
The followers of Christ are to become like Him--by the grace of God to
form characters in harmony with the principles of His holy law. This is
This work can be accomplished only through faith in
Christ, by the power of the indwelling Spirit of God. Paul admonishes
believers: "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good
pleasure." Philippians 2:12, 13. The Christian will feel the
promptings of sin, but he will
maintain a constant warfare against it. Here is where
Christ's help is needed. Human weakness becomes united to divine
strength, and faith exclaims: "Thanks be to God, which giveth us
the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:57.
The Scriptures plainly show that the work of
sanctification is progressive. When in conversion the sinner finds peace
with God through the blood of the atonement, the Christian life has but
just begun. Now he is to "go on unto perfection;" to grow up
"unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."
Says the apostle Paul: "This one thing I do, forgetting those
things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are
before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God
in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13, 14. And Peter sets before us
the steps by which Bible sanctification is to be attained: "Giving
all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to
knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience
godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly
kindness charity. . . . If ye do these things, ye shall never
fall." 2 Peter 1:5-10.
Those who experience the sanctification of the Bible
will manifest a spirit of humility. Like Moses, they have had a view of
the awful majesty of holiness, and they see their own unworthiness in
contrast with the purity and exalted perfection of the Infinite One.
The prophet Daniel was an example of true
sanctification. His long life was filled up with noble service for his
Master. He was a man "greatly beloved" (Daniel 10:11) of
Heaven. Yet instead of claiming to be pure and holy, this honored
prophet identified himself with the really sinful of Israel as he
pleaded before God in behalf of his people: "We do not present our
supplications before Thee for our righteousness, but for Thy great
mercies." "We have sinned, we have done wickedly." He
declares: "I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and
the sin of my people." And when at a later time the Son of God
appeared, to give
him instruction, Daniel says: "My comeliness was
turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength." Daniel
When Job heard the voice of the Lord out of the
whirlwind, he exclaimed: "I abhor myself, and repent in dust and
ashes." Job 42:6. It was when Isaiah saw the glory of the Lord, and
heard the cherubim crying, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of
hosts," that he cried out, "Woe is me! for I am undone."
Isaiah 6:3, 5. Paul, after he was caught up into the third heaven and
heard things which it was not possible for a man to utter, speaks of
himself as "less than the least of all saints." 2 Corinthians
12:2-4, margin; Ephesians 3:8. It was the beloved John, who leaned on
Jesus' breast and beheld His glory, that fell as one dead before the
feet of the angel. Revelation 1:17.
There can be no self-exaltation, no boastful claim to
freedom from sin, on the part of those who walk in the shadow of
Calvary's cross. They feel that it was their sin which caused the agony
that broke the heart of the Son of God, and this thought will lead them
to self-abasement. Those who live nearest to Jesus discern most clearly
the frailty and sinfulness of humanity, and their only hope is in the
merit of a crucified and risen Saviour.
The sanctification now gaining prominence in the
religious world carries with it a spirit of self-exaltation and a
disregard for the law of God that mark it as foreign to the religion of
the Bible. Its advocates teach that sanctification is an instantaneous
work, by which, through faith alone, they attain to perfect holiness.
"Only believe," say they, "and the blessing is
yours." No further effort on the part of the receiver is supposed
to be required. At the same time they deny the authority of the law of
God, urging that they are released from obligation to keep the
commandments. But is it possible for men to be holy, in accord with the
will and character of God, without coming into harmony with the
principles which are an expression of His nature and will, and which
show what is well pleasing to Him?
The desire for an easy religion that requires no
striving, no self-denial, no divorce from the follies of the world, has
made the doctrine of faith, and faith only, a popular doctrine; but what
saith the word of God? Says the apostle James: "What doth it
profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works?
can faith save him? . . . Wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without
works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he
had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought
with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? . . . Ye see then
how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." James
The testimony of the word of God is against this
ensnaring doctrine of faith without works. It is not faith that claims
the favor of Heaven without complying with the conditions upon which
mercy is to be granted, it is presumption; for genuine faith has its
foundation in the promises and provisions of the Scriptures.
Let none deceive themselves with the belief that they
can become holy while willfully violating one of God's requirements. The
commission of a known sin silences the witnessing voice of the Spirit
and separates the soul from God. "Sin is the transgression of the
law." And "whosoever sinneth [transgresseth the law] hath not
seen Him, neither known Him." 1 John 3:6. Though John in his
epistles dwells so fully upon love, yet he does not hesitate to reveal
the true character of that class who claim to be sanctified while living
in transgression of the law of God. "He that saith, I know Him, and
keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God
perfected." 1 John 2:4, 5. Here is the test of every man's
profession. We cannot accord holiness to any man without bringing him to
the measurement of God's only standard of holiness in heaven and in
earth. If men feel no weight of the moral law, if they belittle and make
light of God's precepts, if they break one of the least of
these commandments, and teach men so, they shall be
of no esteem in the sight of Heaven, and we may know that their claims
are without foundation.
And the claim to be without sin is, in itself,
evidence that he who makes this claim is far from holy. It is because he
has no true conception of the infinite purity and holiness of God or of
what they must become who shall be in harmony with His character;
because he has no true conception of the purity and exalted loveliness
of Jesus, and the malignity and evil of sin, that man can regard himself
as holy. The greater the distance between himself and Christ, and the
more inadequate his conceptions of the divine character and
requirements, the more righteous he appears in his own eyes.
The sanctification set forth in the Scriptures
embraces the entire being--spirit, soul, and body. Paul prayed for the
Thessalonians that their "whole spirit and soul and body be
preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1
Thessalonians 5:23. Again he writes to believers: "I beseech you
therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies
a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God." Romans 12:1. In the
time of ancient Israel every offering brought as a sacrifice to God was
carefully examined. If any defect was discovered in the animal
presented, it was refused; for God had commanded that the offering be
"without blemish." So Christians are bidden to present their
bodies, "a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God." In
order to do this, all their powers must be preserved in the best
possible condition. Every practice that weakens physical or mental
strength unfits man for the service of his Creator. And will God be
pleased with anything less than the best we can offer? Said Christ:
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart." Those
who do love God with all the heart will desire to give Him the best
service of their life, and they will be constantly seeking to bring
every power of their being into harmony with the laws that will promote
their ability to do His will. They will not, by the indulgence of
appetite or passion, enfeeble or defile the offering
which they present to their heavenly Father.
Peter says: "Abstain from fleshly lusts, which
war against the soul." 1 Peter 2:11. Every sinful gratification
tends to benumb the faculties and deaden the mental and spiritual
perceptions, and the word or the Spirit of God can make but a feeble
impression upon the heart. Paul writes to the Corinthians: "Let us
cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit,
perfecting holiness in the fear of God."
2 Corinthians 7:1. And with the fruits of the Spirit--"love,
joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness"--he
classes "temperance." Galatians 5:22, 23.
Notwithstanding these inspired declarations, how many
professed Christians are enfeebling their powers in the pursuit of gain
or the worship of fashion; how many are debasing their godlike manhood
by gluttony, by wine drinking, by forbidden pleasure. And the church,
instead of rebuking, too often encourages the evil by appealing to
appetite, to desire for gain or love of pleasure, to replenish her
treasury, which love for Christ is too feeble to supply. Were Jesus to
enter the churches of today and behold the feasting and unholy traffic
there conducted in the name of religion, would He not drive out those
desecrators, as He banished the money-changers from the temple?
The apostle James declares that the wisdom from above
is "first pure." Had he encountered those who take the
precious name of Jesus upon lips defiled by tobacco, those whose breath
and person are contaminated by its foul odor, and who pollute the air of
heaven and force all about them to inhale the poison--had the apostle
come in contact with a practice so opposed to the purity of the gospel,
would he not have denounced it as "earthly, sensual,
devilish"? Slaves of tobacco, claiming the blessing of entire
sanctification, talk of their hope of heaven; but God's word plainly
declares that "there shall in no wise enter into it anything that
defileth." Revelation 21:27.
"Know ye not that your body is the temple of the
Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your
own? for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body,
and in your spirit, which are God's." 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. He
whose body is the temple of the Holy Spirit will not be enslaved by a
pernicious habit. His powers belong to Christ, who has bought him with
the price of blood. His property is the Lord's. How could he be
guiltless in squandering this entrusted capital? Professed Christians
yearly expend an immense sum upon useless and pernicious indulgences,
while souls are perishing for the word of life. God is robbed in tithes
and offerings, while they consume upon the altar of destroying lust more
than they give to relieve the poor or for the support of the gospel. If
all who profess to be followers of Christ were truly sanctified, their
means, instead of being spent for needless and even hurtful indulgences,
would be turned into the Lord's treasury, and Christians would set an
example of temperance, self-denial, and self-sacrifice. Then they would
be the light of the world.
The world is given up to self-indulgence. "The
lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life"
control the masses of the people. But Christ's followers have a holier
calling. "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the
Lord, and touch not the unclean." In the light of God's word we are
justified in declaring that sanctification cannot be genuine which does
not work this utter renunciation of the sinful pursuits and
gratifications of the world.
To those who comply with the conditions, "Come
out from among them, and be ye separate, . . . and touch not the
unclean," God's promise is, "I will receive you, and will be a
Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord
Almighty." 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18. It is the privilege and the duty
of every Christian to have a rich and abundant experience in the things
of God. "I am the light of
the world," said Jesus. "He that followeth
Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
John 8:12. "The path of the just is as the shining light, that
shineth more and more unto the perfect day." Proverbs 4:18. Every
step of faith and obedience brings the soul into closer connection with
the Light of the world, in whom there "is no darkness at all."
The bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness shine upon the servants of
God, and they are to reflect His rays. As the stars tell us that there
is a great light in heaven with whose glory they are made bright, so
Christians are to make it manifest that there is a God on the throne of
the universe whose character is worthy of praise and imitation. The
graces of His Spirit, the purity and holiness of His character, will be
manifest in His witnesses.
Paul in his letter to the Colossians sets forth the
rich blessings granted to the children of God. He says: We "do not
cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the
knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye
might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every
good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all
might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering
with joyfulness." Colossians 1:9-11.
Again he writes of his desire that the brethren at
Ephesus might come to understand the height of the Christian's
privilege. He opens before them, in the most comprehensive language, the
marvelous power and knowledge that they might possess as sons and
daughters of the Most High. It was theirs "to be strengthened with
might by His Spirit in the inner man," to be "rooted and
grounded in love," to "comprehend with all saints what is the
breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of
Christ, which passeth knowledge." But the prayer of the apostle
reaches the climax of privilege when he prays that "ye might be
filled with all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:16-19.
Here are revealed the heights of attainment that we
may reach through faith in the promises of our heavenly Father, when we
fulfill His requirements. Through the merits of Christ we have access to
the throne of Infinite Power. "He that spared not His own Son, but
delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give
us all things?" Romans 8:32. The Father gave His Spirit without
measure to His Son, and we also may partake of its fullness. Jesus says,
"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your
children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit
to them that ask Him?" Luke 11:13. "If ye shall ask anything
in My name, I will do it." "Ask, and ye shall receive, that
your joy may be full." John 14:14, 16:24.
While the Christian's life will be characterized by
humility, it should not be marked with sadness and self-depreciation. It
is the privilege of everyone so to live that God will approve and bless
him. It is not the will of our heavenly Father that we should be ever
under condemnation and darkness. There is no evidence of true humility
in going with the head bowed down and the heart filled with thoughts of
self. We may go to Jesus and be cleansed, and stand before the law
without shame and remorse. "There is therefore now no condemnation
to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but
after the Spirit." Romans 8:1.
Through Jesus the fallen sons of Adam become
"sons of God." "Both He that sanctifieth and they who are
sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call
them brethren." Hebrews 2:11. The Christian's life should be one of
faith, of victory, and joy in God. "Whatsoever is born of God
overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world,
even our faith." I John 5:4. Truly spoke God's servant Nehemiah:
"The joy of the Lord is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10. And
Paul says: "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say,
Rejoice." "Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In
everything give thanks: for this
is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning
you." Philippians 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
Such are the fruits of Bible conversion and
sanctification; and it is because the great principles of righteousness
set forth in the law of God are so indifferently regarded by the
Christian world that these fruits are so rarely witnessed. This is why
there is manifest so little of that deep, abiding work of the Spirit of
God which marked revivals in former years.
It is by beholding that we become changed. And as
those sacred precepts in which God has opened to men the perfection and
holiness of His character are neglected, and the minds of the people are
attracted to human teachings and theories, what marvel that there has
followed a decline of living piety in the church. Saith the Lord:
"They have forsaken Me the fountain of living waters, and hewed
them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water."
"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the
counsel of the ungodly. . . . But his delight is in the law of the Lord;
and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a
tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in
his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth
shall prosper." Psalm 1:1-3. It is only as the law of God is
restored to its rightful position that there can be a revival of
primitive faith and godliness among His professed people. "Thus
saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old
paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest
for your souls." Jeremiah 6:16.