The Present Truth, vol. 11


The Present Truth, Vol. 11


March 7, 1895

“A Dead Formalism” The Present Truth 11, 10, p. 154.


IT is eternally true that the only way in which we can ever possibly be separated from this world or from the people of this world, is by the presence of God going ever with us. “So shall we be separated from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.” PTUK March 7, 1895, page 154.1

Just here is the point where a dead formalism enters and takes the place of living faith. People want to be the Lord’s; they want to serve the Lord; they want to go to heaven; and knowing that this requires separation from the world, they “try to give up the world.” But instead of finding the living presence of the Lord by having faith, which of itself would accomplish all that is required and all that the heart can rightly desire, they undertake to separate themselves from the world and from the things that are in the world. This they hope to do by professing religion, joining the church, practising the forms of religion, and “doing their best” to keep the commandments and obey the Scriptures. Not having the living presence of Christ in the heart to accomplish of itself the will of God and to work the works of God, they hope to supply the lack by practising of themselves the forms of religion. But all this is only the form of godliness without the power, and can never bring peace to the mind nor rest to the heart. PTUK March 7, 1895, page 154.2

The profession of religion without the living presence and power of Christ in the heart and manifested in the life, is only a dead formalism. It matters not though it be profession of Christianity itself, and a practice of all the forms of service and of worship that pertain to Christianity; if Christ Himself is not a living presence and power in the heart and life, giving life to all the forms of service and of worship in which we engage, then it is all simply an outward service of mere forms and is therefore only a dead formalism. PTUK March 7, 1895, page 154.3

The forms even of Christianity can never give life to the observer of them. No; life is found only in Christ Himself, by a living faith. And having by living faith found Him who alone is life, He then is life to us and to all the forms too. Then all the service, and all the forms of service of Christ are always a delight. But to practise the forms of God’s service with the hope of getting life, instead of because we have the life of God, is a wearisome and vain procedure and a profitless business. PTUK March 7, 1895, page 154.4