Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 23 (1908)


Ms 99a, 1908

Sermon/Called to Glory and Virtue

Loma Linda, California

August 29, 1908

This manuscript is published in entirety in RH 01/14/1909.

Sermon by Mrs. E. G. White, Loma Linda, Sabbath morning, August 29, 1908

“Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, according as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue; whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” [2 Peter 1:1-4.] 23LtMs, Ms 99a, 1908, par. 1

There is a possibility of the believer in Christ obtaining an experience that will be wholly sufficient to place him in right relation to God. Every promise that is in God’s book holds out to us the encouragement that we may be partakers of the divine nature. This is the possibility—to rely upon God, to believe His Word, to work His works, and this we can do when we lay hold of the divinity of Christ. This possibility is worth more to us than all the riches in the world. There is nothing on earth that can compare with it. As we lay hold of the power thus placed within our reach, we receive a hope so strong that we can rely wholly upon God’s promises; and laying hold of the possibilities there are in Christ, we become the sons and daughters of God. 23LtMs, Ms 99a, 1908, par. 2

“Grace and peace be multiplied unto you,” the apostle says, “through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord; according as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” [Verses 2, 3.] 23LtMs, Ms 99a, 1908, par. 3

We are to be partakers of knowledge. As I have seen pictures representing Satan coming to Christ in the wilderness of temptation in the form of a hideous monster, I have thought, How little such ones know of the Bible. Before his fall, Satan was next to Christ, the highest angel in heaven. How foolish then to suppose that he approached Christ in the wilderness in any such form as is given him in the illustration “The Game of Life.” Some here have seen that picture. After the Saviour had fasted forty days and forty nights, “He was afterward an hungered.” Then it was that Satan appeared to Him. He came as a beautiful angel from heaven, claiming that he had a commission from God to declare the Saviour’s fast at an end. “If Thou be the Son of God,” he said to Christ, “command that these stones be made bread.” But in Satan’s insinuation of distrust, Christ recognized the enemy whose power He had come to the earth to resist. He would not accept the challenge, nor be moved by the temptation. He stood firmly to the affirmative, “Man shall not live by bread alone,” He said, “but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” [Matthew 4:2-4.] 23LtMs, Ms 99a, 1908, par. 4

Christ stood by every word of God, and He prevailed. If we would always take such a position as this when tempted, refusing to dally with temptation or argue with the enemy, the same experience would be ours. It is when we stop to reason with the devil that we are overcome. It is for us to know individually that we are right in the warfare, to take the affirmative in the sight of God, and there to stand. It is thus that we will obtain the divine power promised, through which we obtain, “all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” [2 Peter 1:3.] 23LtMs, Ms 99a, 1908, par. 5

There is such a thing as being partaker of the divine nature. We shall all be tempted in a variety of ways, but when we are tempted we need to remember that a provision has been made whereby we may overcome. “God 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.] He who truly believes in Christ is made partaker of the divine nature and has power that he can appropriate under every temptation. He will not fall under temptation or be left to defeat. In time of trial he will claim the promises and by these escape the corruptions that are in the world through lust. 23LtMs, Ms 99a, 1908, par. 6

We think it costs us something to stand in this position before the world; and so it does. But what has our salvation cost the heavenly universe? To make us partakers of the divine nature, heaven gave its most costly treasure. The Son of God laid aside His royal robe and kingly crown and came to our earth as a little child. He pledged Himself to live from infancy to manhood a perfect life. He engaged to stand in a fallen world as the representative of the Father. And He would die in behalf of a lost race. What a work was this! If He should fail, if He should be overcome by temptation, a world would be lost. 23LtMs, Ms 99a, 1908, par. 7

I hardly know how to present these points; they are so wonderful, wonderful. Behold Him in the cities, and traveling from place to place, the crowds pressing Him on every side. He gave comfort and power to all who came to Him. None were sent away unhelped. He had brought this power from heaven for these very souls. And Christ was overcoming by His very deeds in behalf of men. So absorbed was He in the carrying out of His mission, that His own family could not draw Him away from His work. 23LtMs, Ms 99a, 1908, par. 8

It was the work of Christ to rebuke the power of Satan. When He was taken by His enemies and hung upon the cross, there stood the priests and rulers taunting Him, and doing all in their power to afflict Him. Others were heaping reproach upon Him. But there hung by His side a tempted sinner, who, while his companion railed on the Son of God, turned to the Saviour, saying, “Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.” And Christ replied, “Verily I say unto thee today, Thou shalt be with Me in paradise. Today while I hang upon the cross, the nails driven through My hands and feet, My body bruised, today, I say, Thou shalt be with Me in paradise.” [Luke 23:42, 43.] 23LtMs, Ms 99a, 1908, par. 9

Satan heard the words of Christ, and as he heard, he knew that his case was a lost one. There was no longer hope that he would obtain the victory over Christ. He had wrestled with the Son of God to cause Him to sin, and he had failed. 23LtMs, Ms 99a, 1908, par. 10

The priests and rulers heard Christ’s words, and they did not then feel as they had when they declared, “Let Him come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him.” [Matthew 27:42.] What if Christ had come down from the cross! What if He had refused to drink the bitter cup that was given Him! They laid the body of the Saviour in Joseph’s sepulcher and set a watch that none should steal Him away. Christ rested on the Sabbath day in the tomb. But on the morning of the third day, the Roman watch beholds a light stream from heaven and the angel of God descend. The mighty angel came to the tomb where the Son of God lay, and rolling away the stone, bade the Son of God to come forth. The Roman guard see Jesus come forth to life, and hear Him proclaim over the rent sepulcher of Joseph, “I am the resurrection and the life.” [John 11:25.] 23LtMs, Ms 99a, 1908, par. 11

Christ suffered all this, that He might obtain your salvation and mine. By His life of sacrifice and death of shame, He has made it possible for us to take hold of His divinity and to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. There is a battle going on between the powers of darkness and the children of light—a battle that means humiliation of self at every step. Where are those who will stand? There are some who will. Where are those who understand what it means to be partakers of the divine nature and to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust? If you are partakers of the divine nature, you will day by day be obtaining a fitting for that life that measures with the life of God. Day by day you will purify your trust in Jesus and follow His example and grow into His likeness until you shall stand before Him perfected. 23LtMs, Ms 99a, 1908, par. 12

“Beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience.” [2 Peter 1:5, 6.] 23LtMs, Ms 99a, 1908, par. 13

Here the importance of temperance is brought to our notice. Consider how the evil of intemperance is at work in our cities. Men in judicial positions, though they know just what the liquor saloons are doing, continue to sustain them. They do not realize what they are doing. If every one who claims to believe the Bible were working out faithfully the sum of his salvation, every liquor saloon in our land would be closed. It is not the pure liquor that is sold in these places, but liquor that is drugged, and which makes men mad. We should have a knowledge of these things, that we may work intelligently to help others. We must not be indifferent to the welfare of souls. 23LtMs, Ms 99a, 1908, par. 14

Here is a work opened before the young, the middle aged, and the aged. When the temperance pledge is presented to you, sign it. More than this, resolve to put your whole power against the evil of intemperance, and encourage those who are trying to do this work of reform in our world. 23LtMs, Ms 99a, 1908, par. 15

There are some who will work with all their powers not only upon the point of intemperance in the use of liquor, but in the matter of eating, and of drinking those things that are nonintoxicants, but which work injury to the system. I refer to the tea and coffee that many place upon their tables. We cannot afford to use these things. We have a keen enemy who is determined to have the victory, if it is possible, and we must guard ourselves most carefully that we may be strong to meet his attacks. 23LtMs, Ms 99a, 1908, par. 16

“And to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” [Verses 6, 7.] 23LtMs, Ms 99a, 1908, par. 17

We need every one of the heavenly blood-bought virtues brought into our lives and characters; for then and then only will [we] be safe. “For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off; and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” [Verses 8, 9.] I am urged to say to young and old, You may have a hope that is immortal. Here is the invitation to you to take hold of the hope set before you in the gospel. 23LtMs, Ms 99a, 1908, par. 18

“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye shall do these things ye shall never fall. For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” [Verses 10, 11.] Here a life insurance policy is offered us which insures for us eternal life in the kingdom of God. I ask you to study these words of the apostle Peter. There is understanding and intelligence in every sentence. By taking hold upon the Lifegiver who gave His life for us, we receive eternal life. It is a wonderful offer. Shall we not strive to obtain it? 23LtMs, Ms 99a, 1908, par. 19

There is a responsibility resting upon parents in this matter that is scarcely discerned by them. Christ gave His life for our children, and parents are to be overcomers that they may lead the children step by step up the ladder that leads heavenward. Make it your business to teach them the Word as it is. This is the knowledge the children and youth must have if they are to overcome as Christ overcame. They need the simplicity of true godliness. I rejoice that we have Loma Linda where we can educate our youth for missionary work for Christ. Here they can have opportunities to learn the simplicity of true godliness. They need not reach up for high attainments in worldly knowledge, but they can have the language of Christ by studying His teachings. This is the power of godliness to them that believe. 23LtMs, Ms 99a, 1908, par. 20

My brethren and sisters, I urge you to bring up your children in simplicity. Don’t scold them when they do wrong, but take them to the Lord, and tell Him all about it. When you kneel before God with your children, Christ is by your side, and angels of God are all around you. Teach them to ask God to forgive them for being cross and impatient. Bring up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Let us be men and women of prayer. Let us take hold of the divine nature and escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. Then we shall have the eternal life insurance policy, a life that measures with the life of God. Then when the ransomed are redeemed from the earth, the city of God will be opened to you, and you can present yourselves before the Lord, saying, Here am I and the children whom Thou hast given me. Then the harp will be placed in your hand, and your voice will be raised in songs of praise to God and to the Lamb by whose great sacrifice you are made partakers of His nature and given an immortal inheritance in the kingdom of God. 23LtMs, Ms 99a, 1908, par. 21