Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 6 (1889-1890)


Lt 20, 1889

Giles, Charles

Battle Creek, Michigan

January 11, 1889

Portions of this letter are published in 5T 629-635.

Dear Brother Giles:

[I see] from your letter that you are in a state [of unbelief, questioning] whether there is hope in your case. As [Christ’s ambassador,] I would say to you, “Hope thou in God.” [Psalm 42:5.] He “so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] Now cannot you take courage from this gracious promise? Satan may tell you many times that you are a sinner, but you can answer, “True, I am a sinner; but ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.’” [1 Timothy 1:15.] 6LtMs, Lt 20, 1889, par. 1

Said Jesus, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” [Mark 2:17.] And again, “I say unto you that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons which need no repentance.” [Luke 15:7.] Will you not believe these precious words? Will you not receive them into your heart? “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” [Isaiah 55:6, 7.] Is not this promise broad and deep and full? Can you ask more? Will you not allow the Lord right here to erect a standard for you against the enemy? Satan is ready to steal away the blessed assurances of God. He desires to take every glimmer of hope and every ray of light from the soul; but you must not permit him to do this. Exercise faith, fight the good fight of faith, wrestle with these doubts. Become acquainted with the promises. 6LtMs, Lt 20, 1889, par. 2

“When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live, if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousness shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it. Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of his sins that he hath committed, shall be mentioned unto him; he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.” [Ezekiel 33:13-16.] 6LtMs, Lt 20, 1889, par. 3

“Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” [Micah 6:6-8.] When Satan comes in to tempt you to give up all hope, point him to these words. 6LtMs, Lt 20, 1889, par. 4

Pray with David, “Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions. According to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O Lord. Good and upright is the Lord; therefore will he teach sinners in the way. The meek will he guide in judgment; and the meek will he teach his way.” [Psalm 25:7-9.] 6LtMs, Lt 20, 1889, par. 5

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land; but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” [Isaiah 1:18-20.] 6LtMs, Lt 20, 1889, par. 6

Here are His promises, plain and definite, rich and full; but they are all upon conditions. If you comply with the conditions, can you not trust the Lord to fulfill His word? Let these blessed promises, set in the framework of faith, be placed in memory’s hall. Not one of them will fail. All that God has spoken, He will do. He is faithful that has promised. 6LtMs, Lt 20, 1889, par. 7

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” [1 John 1:9.] Here again is a conditional promise. Will we claim it? You need wisdom that you may not err in your confessions of sin. Jesus, your Saviour, is to be your confessor. There are some sins that are to be confessed to men. If we have wronged another, we are to make confession to him. Have we injured or defrauded our neighbor? We should not only confess the sin, but make restitution. The work which you have to do on your part is plainly set before you. “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.” [Isaiah 1:16, 17.] “If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.” [Ezekiel 33:15.] 6LtMs, Lt 20, 1889, par. 8

The Lord declares: “The children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal.” [Verse 17.] “Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?” “Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? ... and not that he should return from his ways, and live?” “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions, so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed, and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God. Therefore, turn yourselves, and live ye.” [Ezekiel 18:25, 23, 30-32.] 6LtMs, Lt 20, 1889, par. 9

Here the Lord has plainly revealed His will concerning the salvation of the sinner. And the attitude which many assume in expressing doubts and unbelief as to whether the Lord will save them is a reflection upon the character of God. Those who complain of His justice and severity are virtually saying, “The way of the Lord is not equal.” But He distinctly throws back the imputation upon the sinner. “Your ways are not equal. Can I pardon your transgressions when you do not repent, and turn from your sins?” 6LtMs, Lt 20, 1889, par. 10

The character of God is fully vindicated in the words of Scripture I have placed before you. The Lord will receive the sinner when he repents and forsakes his sins so that the Lord can work with his efforts in seeking perfection of character. The promises are not yea and nay, but if man complies with the conditions, they are yea and amen. The whole purpose of God in giving His Son for the sins of the world is that man might be saved, not in transgression and unrighteousness, but in forsaking sin, washing his robes of character, and making them white in the blood of the Lamb. [He proposes to remove] from man the offensive thing that He hates; [but man must co-operate] with God in the work. Sin must be given [up, left, hated,] and the righteousness of Christ must be accepted by faith, [thus] the divine will cooperate with the human. 6LtMs, Lt 20, 1889, par. 11

We should beware that we do not give place to doubt and unbelief, and in our attitude of despair complain of God and misrepresent Him to the world. This is placing ourselves on Satan’s side of the question. “Poor soul,” he says, “I pity you, mourning under sin; but God has no pity. You long for some ray of hope; but God leaves you to perish, and find satisfaction in your misery.” This is a terrible deception. 6LtMs, Lt 20, 1889, par. 12

Do not give ear to the tempter, but say, “Jesus has died that I might live. He loves me, and wills not that I should perish. I have a compassionate heavenly Father; and although I have abused His love, though the blessings so graciously given me of God have been squandered, I will arise, and go to my Father, and say, ‘I have sinned, and am no longer worthy to be called thy son. Make me as one of thy hired servants.’” The parable tells you just how the wanderer will be received. “When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” [Luke 15:19, 20.] It is thus that the Saviour represents God’s willingness to receive the repenting, returning sinner. 6LtMs, Lt 20, 1889, par. 13

With this Scripture before you, can you still give place to doubt? Can you believe that when the poor sinner wants to return, wants to forsake his sins, the Lord sternly withholds him from coming [to His feet in repentance?] Away with such thoughts! Nothing [can be more dishonoring] to God than these ideas. Nothing can hurt your own soul more than to entertain such thoughts of our heavenly Father. Our whole spiritual life will catch a tone of hopelessness from such conceptions of God. They discourage all effort to seek God or to serve Him. We must not think of God only as a judge ready to pronounce sentence against us. He hates sin, but that He might bring eternal life within the reach of all sinners He gave Himself, in the person of Christ who was one with the Father, that the sinner should not perish but be saved and have eternal blessedness in the kingdom of glory. 6LtMs, Lt 20, 1889, par. 14

The Lord Himself declares His character, that Satan has malignantly set in a false light. “And the Lord proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin.” [Exodus 34:6, 7.] The heart of God yearns over man. He is ever looking down upon us with the tender solicitude of a parent for his erring child, drawing us by the strong cords of His love, [expressed] in His rich promises. What stronger or more tender language could have been employed than He has chosen to express His love toward us? He declares, “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget; yet will I not forget thee.” [Isaiah 49:15.] 6LtMs, Lt 20, 1889, par. 15

In the plan of redemption, “Mercy and truth have met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” [Psalm 85:10.] The all-wise, all-powerful God, He who dwells in light unapproachable, is full of love, [of goodness.] Therefore give glory to God, ye that are [doubting and trembling; for] Jesus lives to make intercession for [us.] Give God the glory for the gift of His dear Son, that He has not died for us in vain. 6LtMs, Lt 20, 1889, par. 16

Brother Giles, you ask if you have committed the sin which has no forgiveness in this life or in the life to come. I answer, I do not see the slightest evidence that this is the case. What constitutes the sin against the Holy Ghost? It is willfully attributing to Satan the work of the Holy Spirit. For example, suppose that one becomes a witness of the special working of the Spirit of God. He has convincing evidence that <the work> is in harmony with the Scriptures, and the Spirit witnesses with his spirit that it is of God. Afterward, however, he falls under temptation, pride, self-sufficiency, or some other evil trait controls him; and rejecting all the evidence of its divine character, he declares that that which he had before acknowledged to be the power of the Holy Spirit was the power of Satan. 6LtMs, Lt 20, 1889, par. 17

It is through the medium of His Spirit that God works upon the human heart; and when men willfully reject the Spirit, and declare it to be from Satan, they cut off the channel by which God can communicate with them. They shut out the light which had been shining in their hearts, by denying the evidence that God has been pleased to give them, and as the result they are left in darkness. Thus the words of Christ are verified: “If the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness.” [Matthew 6:23.] For a time, persons who have committed this sin may appear to be children of God; but when circumstances [arise to develop] character and show what manner of spirit they [are of, it will be found] that they are on the enemy’s ground, [standing under] his black banner. 6LtMs, Lt 20, 1889, par. 18

My brother, the Spirit invites you today. Come with your whole heart to Jesus. Repent of your sins, make confession to God, forsake all iniquity, and you may appropriate to yourself all His promises. “Look unto him, and be ye saved.” [Isaiah 45:22.] 6LtMs, Lt 20, 1889, par. 19

The day will come when the awful denunciation of God’s wrath will be uttered against all who have persisted in their disloyalty to Him. This will be when God must speak and do terrible things in righteousness against the transgressors of His law. But you need not be on the side of those who will come under the wrath of God. It is now the day of His salvation. The light from the cross of Calvary is now shining forth in clear, bright rays, revealing Jesus, our Sacrifice for sin. As you read the promises which I have set before you, remember that they are the expression of unutterable love and pity. 6LtMs, Lt 20, 1889, par. 20

The great heart of infinite love is drawn toward the sinner with boundless compassion. In Christ “we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” [Colossians 1:14.] Yes; only believe that God is your helper. As you draw nigh to Him with confession and repentance, He will draw nigh to you with mercy and forgiveness. He wants to restore His moral image in man. We owe the Lord everything. He is the Author of our salvation. As you work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure. 6LtMs, Lt 20, 1889, par. 21