Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)


Ms 121, 1902

The Results of Genuine Conversion


October 15, 1902 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in 1MCP 10; 2MCP 781; HP 28; 6MR 58. +Note

My mind has been much exercised during my waking hours the past night. I have been instructed to impress upon the minds of all those who claim to be followers of the Saviour the necessity of trusting far less in themselves and far more in Christ Jesus. Brethren and sisters, meditate much, pray much. Depend entirely upon the One who cannot err. Make Christ your Counselor. Let no man’s voice lead you to try to counterwork the plans and works of God. Before you enter council meetings, first talk with Jesus. Sit at His feet to learn of Him His meekness and lowliness. Strive to carry out His purposes. Thus you will have rich experiences. 17LtMs, Ms 121, 1902, par. 1

In all your councils, there is altogether too much human wisdom manifested and too little of the wisdom that makes men wise unto salvation. I am instructed to say, Put away from the heart the sins of unbelief, selfishness, self-confidence, evil-speaking. Repent before the Lord for any wrong done in your family. Come to God; confess your evil works; confess all the wrongs that you have committed toward your brethren and sisters in the church; make all things right. “Confess your faults one to another.” [James 5:16.] Humble your hearts before God, the great Heart-searcher. To those who with full purpose of heart humble themselves before God, in an earnest desire to become true representatives of Christ, is given the promise, “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.] 17LtMs, Ms 121, 1902, par. 2

Heartfelt confession and repentance, I am instructed, are the conditions on which all may receive the blessing of God. Those who meet at our annual gatherings with a spirit of repentance and confession will have a most precious season together. 17LtMs, Ms 121, 1902, par. 3

God calls for a converted church. A reformation is essential. Many of those attending our camp-meetings are not clear before God. If they do not repent and seek for forgiveness, they will return to their homes and work unconverted. For years they have been in an unconverted state. They have not properly represented Christ’s character. They have been easily offended. “These,” said the One of authority, “are sinners, yet they are church members. They have not lived the truth in word and act, in business deal, in the home life. They cherish a spirit of hatred, alienation, strife. They act just as sinners act and will be dealt with as God deals with all other sinners, only more severely. Because of their profession of faith in the truths of the Bible, while in character they have put Christ to open shame, their condemnation will be the more severe.” 17LtMs, Ms 121, 1902, par. 4

Very many have so large a store of self-confidence and high-mindedness that they feel no need of the Holy Spirit to purify and refine their characters, no need of the cleansing blood of their Saviour to wash away their sins. If they neglect to make thorough work for repentance, they will lose their opportunity to understand the truth as it is in Jesus. 17LtMs, Ms 121, 1902, par. 5

The Son of God came to convince the world of sin. He came to present the claims of God, that men might be convicted of sins which, although professed Christians, they are committing every day. He came to teach all men that tread the soil of this world, His home for thirty-three years, how to walk as He walked. He lived a life which is to be the example for all to follow in their own lives, if they expect ever to enter the kingdom of God. He declared, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” [Matthew 16:24.] Thus we may become His disciples. 17LtMs, Ms 121, 1902, par. 6

“In all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted.” [Hebrews 2:17, 18.] How powerful the motive to supplication! The Lord is nigh unto all who call upon Him in their heartfelt need. 17LtMs, Ms 121, 1902, par. 7

But the Lord cannot bless those who are living a lie. Many who claim to be Christians have assumed a false character. In their words, their faultfinding, their spirit of criticism, their selfishness, their hard-heartedness, they reveal that they are unconverted. They act like sinners, yet claim to be children of God. Under certain provocations, all the perversity of the unrestrained heart breaks forth. Christ is ashamed of them. They are not Christians. To every such an one the instruction is given, “Take heed unto thyself” [1 Timothy 4:16]; for unless you are converted, unless you are refined in heart and life, you will continue to do the very things that have so long dishonored God. Unless you repent, you will harden your hearts still more, choosing to walk contrary to truth and righteousness. God cannot walk with you. Of such ones God says, “Unto this day they do after the former manners: they fear not the Lord, neither do they after their statutes, or after their ordinances, or after the law and commandment which the Lord commanded.” [2 Kings 17:34.] 17LtMs, Ms 121, 1902, par. 8

The Lord calls. Will you hear His voice? His words are right words, righteous words. 17LtMs, Ms 121, 1902, par. 9

The true principles of psychology are found in the Holy Scriptures. Man knows not his own value. He acts according to his unconverted temperament of character, because he does not look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of his faith. He who comes to Jesus, he who believes on Him and makes Him his Example, realizes the meaning of the words, “To them gave He power to become the sons of God.” [John 1:12.] But when he takes his place at the feet of Jesus, he is enabled to see mirrored in his own wicked, sinful life the awful depths of depravity to which the unconverted human heart can sink. He catches a glimpse of the pure character of the sinless One, a glimpse of the perfection that is given to the repentant, converted sinner. Clothed in the bright robe of His Redeemer’s character, he sits together with Christ in heavenly places. 17LtMs, Ms 121, 1902, par. 10

Those who pass through the experience of true conversion will realize, with keenness of perception, their responsibility to God to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, their responsibility to make complete their recovery from the leprosy of sin. Such an experience will lead them humbly and trustfully to place their dependence upon God. 17LtMs, Ms 121, 1902, par. 11

I have a message to bear to all our ministers, physicians, teachers, managers, and all others working in any line of service for the Master. The Lord bids you come up higher, to reach a higher standard. I am instructed to urge upon you now the need of understanding personally that you must have an experience much deeper than you have thought of having. Many of you are already members of God’s great family; but you know little of what it means to behold His glory and to be changed from glory to glory. You have seen but the first rays of the early dawn of His glory. The light of His glory is softened at first and tempered to our distorted vision. As we follow on to know the Lord, we shall learn that His going forth is prepared as the morning. Having confessed and repented of our sins, we shall keep learning of Christ until we come into the full noontide of a perfect gospel faith. 17LtMs, Ms 121, 1902, par. 12

The Lord desires His people to make every camp-meeting a time of intelligent, definite advancement. There should be no uncertain, indistinct sound either in proclaiming the message or in offering long-drawn-out, lifeless prayers. Everything should be direct, right to the point, that the truth may bear away the victory. The words of life, spoken under the endorsement of the Holy Spirit, will leave an impression that will always remain. 17LtMs, Ms 121, 1902, par. 13

God calls upon His servants to give a decided, earnest call to reformation, repentance, and conversion, that His people may co-operate with Him. The excellence of a genuine connection with Christ comes with obedience to the words, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” [Matthew 11:29.] The worker who has this experience has an intense longing to know the fulness of the love that passes knowledge. His capacity to enjoy the love of God constantly increases. Learning daily in the school of Christ, he has a constantly increasing capacity to grasp the meaning of the sublime truths that are as far-reaching as eternity. “The path of the just is as a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” [Proverbs 4:18.] His knowledge enlarges; for to grow in grace means to have increased ability to understand the truth. 17LtMs, Ms 121, 1902, par. 14

Such a worker is a laborer together with God. He realizes that he is material with which God is working, and that he must be passive in the Master’s hands. Trials come to him; for unless tested by trial and disappointment, he would never know his lack of wisdom and experience. If he seeks the Lord with humility and trust, every trial will work for his good. 17LtMs, Ms 121, 1902, par. 15

He may sometimes seem to fail, but his supposed failure to reach the place where he hoped to stand may be God’s way of bringing his advancement. He thinks that he has failed, but his supposed failure means a better knowledge of himself and a firmer trust in God. He becomes stronger and more careful, and others reap benefit from his increased carefulness. 17LtMs, Ms 121, 1902, par. 16

Every day adds to his power to succeed. He may make mistakes, but he learns not to repeat these mistakes. United with Christ, the True Vine, he is enabled to bear fruit to the glory of God. 17LtMs, Ms 121, 1902, par. 17

“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.] There is no other way to obtain ability in the Lord’s service than by watching and working and praying, pressing ever toward the mark of the prize of our high calling in Christ Jesus. Studious, persevering effort to do God’s will is always attended by success. 17LtMs, Ms 121, 1902, par. 18

The Lord desires us to be meek and lowly and contrite, yet filled with the assurance that comes from a knowledge of the will of God. He “hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner; but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose, and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but now is made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel; whereunto I am appointed as a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For the which cause also, I suffer these things; nevertheless, I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” [2 Timothy 1:7-12.] 17LtMs, Ms 121, 1902, par. 19

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. ... The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the Master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts; but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strife. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing them that oppose themselves, if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves from the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” [2 Timothy 2:15, 19-26.] 17LtMs, Ms 121, 1902, par. 20

The Lord has a rich experience for all who will follow the instruction given in these words. All that this Scripture specifies can be done and must be done in every conference. 17LtMs, Ms 121, 1902, par. 21

We have a very serious work before us. We read in Daniel, “At that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of his people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even unto that same time; and at that time thy people shall be delivered, everyone that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” [Daniel 12:1-3.] 17LtMs, Ms 121, 1902, par. 22

We are to engage in no work that will make us indifferent to the dangers that threaten our salvation. All that we do in this life is to be done with reference to the eternal well-being of ourselves and those who are connected with us. 17LtMs, Ms 121, 1902, par. 23

The need of workers must be urged upon the people. Christ declares, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain.” [John 15:16.] “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him freely give us all things.” [Romans 8:32.] He has in store for us the richest gift of heaven, even the gift of the Holy Spirit. He is waiting to pour upon His people the mighty power of this Spirit. 17LtMs, Ms 121, 1902, par. 24

“I will pray the Father,” Christ declared to His disciples, and the words are spoken also to us, “and He will give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him; but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.” “The Comforter, ... whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” [John 14:16-18, 26.] “He will guide you into all truth; for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear that shall He speak, and He will show you things to come.” [John 16:13.] “And ye also shall be witnesses.” [Acts 1:8.] 17LtMs, Ms 121, 1902, par. 25