The Signs of the Times

May 2, 1892

The Fullness of Christ's Grace


Although the Saviour had no wealth, displayed no outward grandeur, came with no worldly pomp, yet his words of promise, of command, of reproof, were uttered with the dignity of goodness, greatness, and power. The people listened with wonder and admiration, and the impression made upon their minds was expressed by the officers who came to take him, in obedience to the command of the rulers and priests. They listened entranced to his words of heavenly wisdom, and, forgetting their errand, they returned without their prisoner. The priests and rulers asked, “Why have ye not brought him?” and they answered, “Never man spake like this man.” ST May 2, 1892, par. 1

No one could listen to his gracious words and escape the conviction that he was a being of superior goodness and wisdom. The emotions of his listeners changed from admiration of his eloquence to desire to attain to the lofty character which he presented, both by precept and example. As he discoursed on themes of eternal interest, they hung upon his words as if spellbound under their power. Those who were thus attracted to the vital truths which Christ presented, were standing on holy ground, near to the rivers of the water of life. With what deep, impressive power he called to the multitudes on the last day of the feast, saying, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” At another time he declared, “I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” “I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” ST May 2, 1892, par. 2

Christ is an open fountain, an inexhaustible fountain, from which men may drink and drink again, and ever find a fresh supply. But none will ever come to him save those who will respond to the drawing of his love. None will feed on the bread of life which came down from heaven, no one will drink of the water of life flowing down from the throne of God, save those who yield to the pleadings of the Spirit. Since God has given the treasures of heaven in the gift of his only-begotten Son, how shall the sinner escape who neglects so great salvation, and sets at naught the great provision of God? The justice of God is manifested in the condemnation of all who are finally impenitent and unbelieving. There will be no excuse for the sinner who willfully rejects and neglects so great salvation. ST May 2, 1892, par. 3

The gift of life has been freely, graciously, joyously offered to fallen man. Through Christ we may become partakers of the divine nature, and obtain the gift of eternal life; for it has been abundantly provided for all who will come and receive it through God's appointed means. When Paul beheld the wonders of redemption and the foolishness of those who did not comprehend its nature, he exclaimed, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?” ST May 2, 1892, par. 4

Jesus said, “Ye also have seen me, and believe not.” How had they seen him?—By the eye of faith, by the witness of the Holy Spirit, by the revelation of Christ to their souls. But they had resisted the work of the Holy Spirit, until the impression of the precious truth of Christ wore away their hearts. They did not give heed to their convictions. They did not cultivate their faith, but indulged in questioning and caviling until they were hardened in unbelief and rebellion. ST May 2, 1892, par. 5

Those who go on to know the Lord know that his goings forth are prepared as the morning, and everyone who receives the precious jewels of truth will hasten to impart the knowledge of his riches in Christ to those who are around him. When men respond to the drawing of Christ and view Jesus as the royal Sufferer on the cross of Calvary, they enter into oneness with Christ, they become the elect of God, not by works of their own, but through the grace of Christ; for all their good works are wrought through the power of the Spirit of God. All is of God, and not of themselves. The Lord chose us by his Spirit. Jesus says, “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; that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” ST May 2, 1892, par. 6

The fruit we are to bring forth is the fruit of the Spirit. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” Your fruit is to remain, to be of such a character that it shall not perish, but reproduce after its kind a harvest of a precious order. ST May 2, 1892, par. 7

The grace of Jesus Christ alone can change the heart of stone to a heart of flesh, and make it alive unto God. Men may perform great deeds in the eyes of the world; their achievements may be many and of a high order in the sight of men, but all the talent, all the skill, all the ability of the world will fail to transform the character and make a degraded child of sin a child of God, an heir of heaven. Men have no power to justify the soul, to sanctify the heart. Moral disease cannot be healed save through the power of the great Physician. The highest gift of heaven, even the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, is alone able to redeem the lost. What gratitude, what love, should fill our hearts as we contemplate the love of God! The heart should be softened and subdued as we meditate upon the risk that Jesus took in order that man might be elevated and restored. The world's Redeemer endured sufferings commensurate to all the guilt of a lost world. The sacrifice of Christ on Calvary's cross is a consideration that surpasses all the overwhelming power of sin; and when a sense of sin presses upon the heart of the sinner, and the burden seems intolerable, Jesus invites him to look to him and live. There is power in Christ to cleanse the soul. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” ST May 2, 1892, par. 8

How the wondrous provision of the plan of God for the salvation of men widens and exalts our ideas of the love of God! How it binds our hearts to the great heart of Infinite Love! How it makes us delight in his service, as our hearts respond to the drawing of his loving-kindness and tender mercy! John calls upon men to behold the marvelous love of God. He exclaims: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God; therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” ST May 2, 1892, par. 9

This is the work that is before us. We are to have the faith that works by love, and purifies the soul. Through faith our lives are to be hid with Christ in God. We shall then be God's hidden ones; for the value of Christian character is not discerned by the world. The world admire honesty, and the manifestations of the virtues and graces of Christian character; but at the same time they make a jest of true Christian conscientiousness, because it is a rebuke to their own lives of sin. The living stones that shine in the spiritual temple of the Lord are a great annoyance to Satan, and he ever seeks to cut off the light, and eclipse the Sun of Righteousness, by interposing his shadow between the soul and God. ST May 2, 1892, par. 10

But Jesus says unto us: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” The Lord would save us from the corruptions of the world; for he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. Jesus, our precious Saviour, has redeemed us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and has clothed us with the garments of salvation, even in his own robe of righteousness. Christians are to be clothed with humility as with a garment, and not to be prominent in the world, seeking for position or popularity. If heaven has sent you to be indeed light bearers amid the moral darkness, you will be content to shine in any place which God may assign to you. The praise of men, the attraction of the world, its pleasures, its amusements, its bribes, will all be powerless to win the true Christian from his allegiance to God. Neither will threatening, persecution, loss of liberty or life, induce him to turn from the commandments of God, to obey the dictates of men. He will fill his appointed place, and let his light so shine before men that they may see his good works, and glorify his Father who is in heaven. ST May 2, 1892, par. 11

Before men and angels, Christians are required to show by precept and example the value of Christian character. Those who receive Christ as their personal Saviour will be able to do this, and for them Christ has gone to prepare mansions in heaven. There are some who declare that all men are entitled to a place in heaven, and in the same breath they acknowledge that all men are not fitted for that heavenly abode. If all men would but accept the truth as it is in Jesus, and give it a place in the inner sanctuary of the soul, that they might become sanctified through it, they would be fitted for heaven. ST May 2, 1892, par. 12

A title to a possession in this world must be without flaw, or it is valueless, and the right of inheritance is not given. And will heaven be given to those who have a faulty title? The apostle reveals the line through which the heavenly inheritance is to come. He says: “If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” If we are Christ's, our title to the heavenly inheritance is without flaw, for we are then under the only saving covenant, the covenant of grace; and through grace we shall be able to make our calling and election sure by putting on the excellency of Christ in faith, in spirit, in character; for no one will be entitled to the heavenly inheritance who has not been purified, refined, ennobled, elevated, and wholly sanctified. Those whose lives are hid with Christ in God, who have been clothed upon with his righteousness, will have a right to the inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away. ST May 2, 1892, par. 13