Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 68, 1898

The Leaven of Truth


June 9, 1898

Portions of this manuscript are published in 5MR 346-347 See RH 07/25/1899.

“Another parable spake he unto them: The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” [Matthew 13:33.] 13LtMs, Ms 68, 1898, par. 1

This parable illustrates the penetrating and assimilating power of the gospel, which is to fashion the church after the divine similitude by working on the hearts of the individual members. “The entrance of thy word giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” [Psalm 119:130.] It works with transforming, vitalizing power to produce a change in the heart. All who would be saved, high or low, rich or poor, must submit to the working of this power. 13LtMs, Ms 68, 1898, par. 2

The woman placed the leaven in the meal. It was necessary to supply a want. By this, God would teach us that of himself man does not possess the properties of salvation. He cannot transform himself by the exercise of his will. The truth must be received into the heart. Thus the divine leaven does its work. Man is not supplied with new faculties, but the faculties he has are sanctified. The conscience hitherto dead is aroused. 13LtMs, Ms 68, 1898, par. 3

This same truth is presented in Christ’s words to Nicodemus, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. ... That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou heareth the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the spirit.” [John 3:3, 6-8.] 13LtMs, Ms 68, 1898, par. 4

If our minds are controlled by the Holy Spirit, we shall understand the lesson taught by the parable of the leaven. As the leaven operates on the meal, so the Holy Spirit operates on the human heart, absorbing all the capabilities and powers, bringing soul, body, and spirit into conformity to Christ. Man cannot make this change. It can be made only by the Holy Spirit. In those who submit to the control of the Spirit, new thoughts, new feelings, new purposes, are awakened. The mind is changed; the faculties are set to work. 13LtMs, Ms 68, 1898, par. 5

The Lord Jesus promised His disciples that after His ascension He would send them the Holy Spirit as a Comforter. “It is expedient for you that I go away,” He declared, “for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you, but if I go away, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.” [John 16:7, 8.] On the Day of Pentecost this promise was fulfilled; the Holy Spirit was given, and hundreds were brought to the faith of the gospel. 13LtMs, Ms 68, 1898, par. 6

Those who open their hearts to receive the truth will realize that the Word of God is the great instrument in the transformation of character. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” [Romans 10:17.] Christ prayed for His disciples, “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” [John 17:17.] “For the word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” [Hebrews 4:12.] 13LtMs, Ms 68, 1898, par. 7

Christ came to this world to declare the truth, that we might be sanctified by it. Speaking of Him John says, “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him” (as their personal Saviour), “to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. ... And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” [John 1:9-14, 16.] Thus has the Father declared the Son. “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] Then shall we not awaken to our holy responsibilities, and strive to meet God’s standard of character? If we are one with Christ by faith, we are sons and daughters of God. 13LtMs, Ms 68, 1898, par. 8

In His prayer for us Christ said, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” [John 17:3.] These words embody everything, and we cannot, therefore, place too much importance on them. 13LtMs, Ms 68, 1898, par. 9

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace. ... Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. 13LtMs, Ms 68, 1898, par. 10

“I speak after the manner of men, because of the infirmity of the flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness, and to iniquity unto iniquity, even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” [Romans 6:12-14, 18-23.] 13LtMs, Ms 68, 1898, par. 11

“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not know sin, but by the law; for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Ye shall not covet.” The Holy Spirit presents to the sinner the law, God’s only standard of character. “But sin, taking occasion by the commandment wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law, sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once, but then the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment which was ordained unto life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. ... I delight in the law of God after the inward man.” [Romans 7:7-12, 22.] 13LtMs, Ms 68, 1898, par. 12

“For if by one man’s offences death reigned by one, much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” [Romans 5:17-19.] The grace of Christ is His character. But grace does not abolish the law of God. By the law is the knowledge of sin. The law is the transcript of God’s character. It presents His righteousness in contrast with unrighteousness. The law can make sin appear exceeding sinful. It can condemn the transgressor, but it has no power to save and restore him. Its province is not to pardon the transgressor of [the] law. Pardon comes through Christ, He who lived the law in humanity. God’s character is Christ’s character. Man’s only hope is in the substitute provided by God, who gave His Son that He might reconcile the world to Himself. He hath made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. 13LtMs, Ms 68, 1898, par. 13

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” [Romans 8:1-4.] 13LtMs, Ms 68, 1898, par. 14

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. ... For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness, but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. ... Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” [1 Corinthians 1:18, 21-24, 30.] 13LtMs, Ms 68, 1898, par. 15

Are you standing on the foundation laid by Christ? Have you faith in Him who is made unto us “wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption”? [Verse 30.] His Word is true, and it requires those who believe in Him to be sanctified, soul, body, and spirit. Sanctification is the measure of our completeness. The moment we surrender ourselves to God, believing in Jesus, we have the righteousness of Christ. We realize that we have been redeemed from sin, and appreciate His sacrifice to purchase our freedom. 13LtMs, Ms 68, 1898, par. 16

Our salvation is complete, because it is founded on the accomplishment of the plan laid before the foundation of the world. A ceremonial holiness could be obtained by offering the blood of bulls and of goats, but these sacrifices could not cleanse the conscience. They were but a representation of Christ, the great sacrifice. The substance of all the sacrifices and offerings, He came to this world to do God’s will by offering Himself. He came as the world’s Redeemer, to stand at the head of humanity. The Holy Spirit comes to man through Christ. We are given a decided testimony regarding the value of Christ’s offering. God’s Word declares, “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” [Hebrews 10:10.] It was a whole and entire sacrifice that was made for us. When type met antitype, there could be no second probation for man. 13LtMs, Ms 68, 1898, par. 17

The last great crisis is upon us. The working of the man of sin is revealed. “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work, only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: even him whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 13LtMs, Ms 68, 1898, par. 18

“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.” [2 Thessalonians 2:7-17.] 13LtMs, Ms 68, 1898, par. 19

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. ... Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but as manifest in these last times for you, who by him do believe in God, that raised him from the dead, and gave him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God. Seeing that ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible things, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.” [1 Peter 1:13, 18-23.] 13LtMs, Ms 68, 1898, par. 20

This sanctification we must all experience, else we can never gain eternal life. It is obtained by a union with Christ, a union which no power of Satan can break. 13LtMs, Ms 68, 1898, par. 21

Christ demands undivided heart-service, the entire use of mind, soul, heart, and strength. “What? 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.] When we make this surrender, Christ sets our minds at rest, and consecrates our hearts and hands to His service. His wisdom gives us spiritual life and enables us to manifest love to God and to each other. We reveal His grace in our characters, for we have His life. He presents us spotless before His Father, for we are sanctified through His blood. We are purged from dead works, for Jesus takes possession of the sanctified soul, to renew, sustain, and guide all its impulses, and give vitality to its impulses. Thus we become temples for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. 13LtMs, Ms 68, 1898, par. 22