The Bible Echo



February 21, 1898

Sanctification, or the Perfecting of Character


In Christ's sermon on the mount, light and truth are given, and principles laid down which apply to every condition of life, and to every duty that God requires at our hands. Christ had come to magnify and make honourable the law that He Himself had proclaimed from Mount Sinai to His chosen people during their wilderness wandering. He had laid aside the glory which He had with the Father before the world was, and clothed Himself with humanity, that He might minister to the sons of men. BEcho February 21, 1898, par. 1

In all His lessons, Christ sought to impress upon the minds and hearts of His hearers the principles which underlie His great standard of righteousness. He taught them that if they would keep God's commandments, love for God and for their fellow-men must be manifested in their daily life. He sought to instill into their hearts the love He felt for humanity. Thus He sowed the seeds of truth, the fruits of which will produce a rich harvest of holiness and beauty of character. The holy influence of love will not only be far-reaching while time shall last, but its results will be felt and appreciated throughout eternity. It will sanctify the actions and have a purifying influence wherever it exists. BEcho February 21, 1898, par. 2

Seated upon the mount, surrounded by His disciples and a large and promiscuous gathering, Jesus “opened His mouth, and taught them saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” These are not murmurers and complainers, but those who are content with their condition and surroundings in life. They do not cherish the feeling that they deserve a better position than that which Providence has assigned them but manifest a spirit of gratitude for every favour bestowed upon them. Every proud thought and exalted feeling is banished from the soul. BEcho February 21, 1898, par. 3

Just here we might distinguish between genuine and false sanctification. Sanctification does not consist in merely professing and teaching the word of God, but in living in conformity to His will. Those who claim to be sinless, and make their boast of sanctification, are self-confident, and do not realize their peril. They anchor their souls upon the supposition that having once experienced the sanctifying power of God, they are in no danger of falling. While claiming to be rich and increased in goods, and in need of nothing, they know not that they are miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. But those who are truly sanctified have a sense of their own weakness. Feeling their need, they will go for light and grace and strength to Jesus, in whom all fulness dwells, and who alone can supply their wants. Conscious of their own imperfections, they seek to become more like Christ, and to live in accordance with the principles of His holy law. This continual sense of inefficiency will lead to such entire dependence upon God, that His Spirit will be exemplified in them. The treasures of heaven will be opened to supply the wants of every hungering, thirsting soul. All of this character have the assurance of one day beholding the glory of that kingdom which as yet the imagination can only faintly grasp. BEcho February 21, 1898, par. 4

Those who have felt the sanctifying and transforming power of God, must not fall into the dangerous error of thinking that they are sinless, that they have reached the highest state of perfection, and are beyond the reach of temptation. The standard the Christian is to keep before him is the purity and loveliness of Christ's character. Day by day he may be putting on new beauties, and reflecting to the world more and still more of the divine image. BEcho February 21, 1898, par. 5

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” And the apostle Paul, writing to the church at Colosse, says: “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreprovable in His sight.” BEcho February 21, 1898, par. 6

It is a matter of rejoicing that some have subjected their will to the will of God; have cast off the works of darkness, and have consented to walk in the light as Christ is in the light. But even to these the testing of God will continue until probation ceases. He wants to determine whether we will endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. BEcho February 21, 1898, par. 7

We are opposed by a subtle foe. The world, with its customs, its attractions, and corruptions, is to be resisted. The power of Satan will be exercised toward every soul, to overcome and destroy him. The way of safety, for the strong as well as for the weak, is to seek daily for heavenly wisdom to take hold of divine strength. By this means we may obtain grace to enable us to manifest a Christlike spirit under every difficulty and trial. BEcho February 21, 1898, par. 8

Mrs. E. G. White