Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 21 (1906)


Ms 111, 1906

A Warning Against Formalism

St. Helena, California

October 22, 1906

Portions of this manuscript are published in UL 309; 10MR 391. +Note

I am instructed to say that many who profess to have accepted the invitation to the marriage supper of the Lamb have not on the wedding garment. They have a form of godliness, but they do not in their life practice manifest the inward workings of the Holy Spirit. They are seemingly active in the Lord’s service, and are always ready to give counsel as to how the Lord’s work should be carried forward, but their counsel is not always imparted from above. These need to search their own hearts thoroughly. They need to arouse themselves and come into a humble, sacred nearness to God. 21LtMs, Ms 111, 1906, par. 1

“God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” [1 Corinthians 12:28.] Not all possess the same gifts. All these varied gifts are essential. But all need the meekness of Christ, or the natural man will swell to large proportions. Let each become a man of humility. 21LtMs, Ms 111, 1906, par. 2

All, with their varied capabilities, are to be learners of Christ. All are amenable to God. If one is placed in a responsible position, he should be respected as a counselor; but his position does not warrant him in assuming the office of a dictator. The workers are to counsel together, to pray together; but no one is to take the responsibility of sending men hither and thither, according to their own ideas. All are to stand in moral dignity, as those whose privilege it is to seek counsel from God. 21LtMs, Ms 111, 1906, par. 3

Paul, A Minister to the Gentiles 21LtMs, Ms 111, 1906, par. 4

“For this cause, I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery; ... which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel: whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of His power. Unto me who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” [Ephesians 3:1-3, 5-8.] 21LtMs, Ms 111, 1906, par. 5

Through divine revelation the plan of salvation, as wrought out by Christ, was laid open to Paul. Called of God, he was to teach men that from a state of hopelessness, dead in trespasses and sins, there was deliverance through the gospel of Jesus Christ. There was life and power to reach forth unto holiness. 21LtMs, Ms 111, 1906, par. 6

Because of these revelations, Paul was blessed with a marvelous insight. Though he could not present to others all that he himself had seen, yet he was firmly rooted and grounded in the truth. No suffering or reproach could ever lead him to deny the great truths that had been revealed to him. No presentation of false theories could lead him away from the influence of the grand views he had received of heavenly things. He could not accept fanciful ideas that would tend to make of no effect the revelations he had received of the sacred truths of God. 21LtMs, Ms 111, 1906, par. 7

The gospel as presented by Paul in his writings is just as powerful today as when it was written. To men in all ages, the rich treasures of the grace of Christ, the abundant love of God [is] revealed through His Son. Can we, while in a cold, lifeless condition, appreciate these truths? 21LtMs, Ms 111, 1906, par. 8

The gospel of Christ was preached to the Jewish nation. Had they accepted its truths, it would have proved their salvation. Through belief in Christ they might have become members of the royal family, manifesting through the succeeding ages the riches of His grace. But they, as a nation, rejected Christ, refused His offers of mercy, and were cut off from the parent vine, that the Gentiles might be grafted in. Still it is their privilege to become partakers with the Gentiles of the salvation of God. Belief in Christ will work in every man a transformation of character. 21LtMs, Ms 111, 1906, par. 9

Through the transforming grace of Christ, the fruits of the Spirit are made manifest in the lives of those who were once dead in trespasses and sins. In disposition, in words, and in actions, they are seen to be partakers of the divine nature. This wonderful grace was revealed to Paul, and he worked constantly that others might be brought to a knowledge of these saving truths. 21LtMs, Ms 111, 1906, par. 10

To Jew and Gentile alike was the gospel preached under the direction of the Holy Spirit. The middle wall of partition that had separated the Jews was broken down in Christ Jesus. “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” [1 Corinthians 12:13.] 21LtMs, Ms 111, 1906, par. 11

“For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” [Galatians 3:27, 28.] 21LtMs, Ms 111, 1906, par. 12

We are to be interested in the salvation of those who belong to the nation that was broken off the vine center, that we might be grafted in. Special efforts are to be made for the Jewish race. If they receive Christ as their Saviour, there is power in the gospel message that they may again be grafted in. They are children of the heavenly birth, and we are responsible for the proclamation of the gospel to them. 21LtMs, Ms 111, 1906, par. 13