Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 20 (1905)


Ms 52, 1905

Talk/The Need of Confession and Repentance

Takoma Park, Maryland

May 11, 1905

This manuscript is published in entirety in RH 05/18/1905. +Note

Remarks by Mrs. E. G. White

10:30 a.m., May 11, 1905

In Tent at 1905 General Conference Session

I want to say a few words at the beginning of this Conference. I feel a deep and intense desire that those who have come to this meeting shall not occupy their minds in investigating other souls. The work resting upon us as individuals should be taken up at this meeting. We are living in the great day of atonement, when every person should confess his sins, that the conviction of the Spirit of God may come to his heart. If you think that there is something standing between you and God, go to Him and ask Him to help you to make the confession necessary in order that the wrong, whatever may be its character, may be taken out of the way. And ask Him to help you not to repeat the wrong. 20LtMs, Ms 52, 1905, par. 1

It was a question with me whether I should venture to attend this meeting because of the condition of my health. I decided that I would make no promises; I would wait and see what the will of the Lord was in the matter. Night after night I seemed to be bearing this testimony: that there are those in our churches who need at this time the deep movings of the Spirit of God upon their hearts; and I decided to come to Conference. 20LtMs, Ms 52, 1905, par. 2

Some pass over their wrongdoings, or, if they have confessions to make, they think they will not confess, because to do this would remove the confidence that their brethren have in them. God wants us to look to Him, and to Him alone, and have everything straight between our souls and God, and to right every wrong that we are guilty of toward any believer or unbeliever. We need to seek the Lord with all our hearts, that we may find Him; we need to come into close relation with the cross of Calvary. We need to see Christ hanging upon the cross, making an atonement for our sins. When we see and understand our relation to Calvary, we shall know for ourselves something of the grief which, because of sin, Christ knew for us. 20LtMs, Ms 52, 1905, par. 3

How can we do this? “Repent and be converted.” [Acts 3:19.] This is our only hope of salvation. We are to stand in a repentant attitude, and then joy will fill our hearts. 20LtMs, Ms 52, 1905, par. 4

Just as soon as you are impressed that there is something standing between you and God, or between you and your brethren, leave your gift before the altar of prayer, and do that which Christ has said you must do in order for the wrong to be taken out of the way. This is the first work that is to be done in this Conference, if we expect the blood of Jesus Christ to be efficacious in our behalf. If we confess and forsake our sins, we shall come into that close relation to Jesus to which reference is made in the seventeenth chapter of John. We shall be one with Christ. This is the evidence that we are to give to the world, that God sent His Son to save sinners. This is the result of the influence of the grace of God upon human hearts; and when the conviction of sin comes, then the light of the glory of God will be revealed. If we have a living union with God, we shall hate the sin that separates the soul from God. 20LtMs, Ms 52, 1905, par. 5

The Lord does not want us to bring a sorrowful tone into our meetings. He desires praise. “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth Me,” He declares. [Psalm 50:23.] We are to be always praising God. We need in our hearts the light of Christ. We need to know the joy of pardoned transgression and forgiven sin. If that joy is in us, we shall not be able to keep our lips closed during this Conference, because we shall realize the greatness of the sacrifice made for us upon the cross. We shall realize that Christ bore our sins in His body upon the tree. He was mocked and derided by those who ought to have received Him. As He hung upon the cross, the leaders and rulers of the Jewish nation cried out, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.” [Matthew 27:42.] 20LtMs, Ms 52, 1905, par. 6

When there are set before us things that are a cross for us to take up, we can never be one with Christ until we have lifted the cross. It may be the cross of confession, the cross of repentance, the cross of humiliation; but whatever it may be, let us remember that in lifting it, the cross lifts us. We are one with Christ, for He pardons every penitent soul; and forgiven, we are partakers of the divine nature. He suffered the agony, He endured the reproach, and He cried out, “My God, My God, why has Thou forsaken Me?” [Verse 46.] It was because of our sins—because of your sins and mine—that He was thus afflicted. 20LtMs, Ms 52, 1905, par. 7

When those in our churches commit sins, they should repent of them before God; and they should also repent of them before their brethren, asking the pardon that they will be willing to give. Then the light that shines from the face of Christ will shine upon them. Let us clear the King’s highway; let us plead with God until we know that we have received pardon and forgiveness. He will give it to us. But if you cover up your sins, you will have less and less of a sense of its sinfulness, and you will go on in the same line. God will receive every one who will confess and forsake his sins, crucifying self by departing from iniquity. 20LtMs, Ms 52, 1905, par. 8

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ has been promised to all who will come to Him in faith. You may say, I do confess my sins; but I do not feel any better. What has feeling to do with it? If you have confessed your sins, if you have planted your feet on vantage ground and are sorry for your sins, so sorry that you will not repeat them, you will receive pardon. Remember that when you sin, you wound afresh the One who gave His life for you, putting Him to open shame. The world looks on and says, “Ah, they are the ones who profess to believe that Christ is coming and who profess to believe that the Lord forgives their sins; but do you see their conniving, their dishonesty, their sinfulness?” Christ is humiliated in the person of His saints. Let us not take that position. Let us consider that it is a noble thing to confess our faults and to forsake them. 20LtMs, Ms 52, 1905, par. 9

We expect to see the salvation of God in this meeting; but it will never come to those who cover up their wrongs—those who, catching, perhaps, a glimpse of light, think that it is all right and they have nothing more to do. You can never stand on vantage ground by taking that attitude. It is through the rectitude, the grace revealed by the disciples of Christ, that the world is led to believe Him. This is to be a convincing power. In this our day of confession, this last great day of atonement before the books shall be opened and every man shall be judged by the things written in the books, are we considering how we shall stand in the judgment, in that day when every deed is to be tried, and every act is to be brought into review before the heavenly universe? Let us not make play-work of our religious life. Is it not time that we believed that Christ died on Calvary, that He might forgive our sins and pardon our transgressions? 20LtMs, Ms 52, 1905, par. 10

All through this meeting we want to hear voices saying, “He has pardoned my transgressions, He has forgiven my sins, and I am looking unto Him, beholding Him who is the author and finisher of our faith.” We must stand where we will not dare to take up a report against our brethren. Go right to the one you think has erred, and tell him his fault between you and him alone. Let this work be carried on, that there may be a coming closer and closer to God. Then you can speak of His pardon and tell of His goodness and glory; and every voice can proclaim, “He has pardoned my transgressions, He has forgiven my sins, and I will praise Him with heart and soul and voice. I will magnify the Lord.” 20LtMs, Ms 52, 1905, par. 11

All heaven in looking upon this company. All the heavenly angels are watching those assembled here. We greatly desire that the deep movings of the Spirit of God shall be felt upon human hearts. Last night I lay awake for hours, saying these very things. I could not keep them out of my mind. I was repeating the very words that I am speaking to you this morning. Clear the King’s highway; take out the stumbling blocks; remove the rubbish; clear away the stones, that the Spirit of God may go through your midst, and that ye may see the salvation of God go forth as a lamp that burneth. 20LtMs, Ms 52, 1905, par. 12

This is a grand and noble work. It is what we need. We cannot afford to cover up one sin, for it is at the risk of our own souls’ salvation. We want the richest blessings here; for trouble is coming upon the whole world. Only a little while, only a short time, and every one will be severely tried. But God is our Strength, our Deliverer. We want the daily renewal of the grace of God in our hearts, that we may climb the ladder of perfection of character step by step, rising higher and higher in the way that leads to heaven, to holiness, and to God. 20LtMs, Ms 52, 1905, par. 13

May the Spirit of God come into our meetings. May we see of His salvation, and may His glory be revealed here. Let every voice be raised to glorify God. Let not your voice be heard in picking flaws in others. It is an individual work that we are to do. When this work is done we shall hear the high praises of God in our midst, and in the sermon will be power that will convince unbelievers. The fervent amen will not disturb the preacher at all, because the truth makes its application to the heart, to the mind, and to the conscience; and you will know that the word being spoken is inspired by the Spirit of God. Let everyone take a firm hold upon God and depart from all iniquity, and the Lord will make your feet to stand upon high and holy ground. 20LtMs, Ms 52, 1905, par. 14