The Signs of the Times


May 16, 1892

The Beatitudes



But as we come to feel our utter reliance upon Christ for salvation, are we to fold our hands and say, I have nothing to do, Jesus has done it all?—No; we are to put forth every energy, that we may become “partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” We are to be overcomers, to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. We are to be continually watching, waiting, praying, and working. But do all that we may, yet we can do nothing to pay a ransom for our souls. But while we see our helplessness, we are to be continually looking unto Jesus, who is the Author and Finisher of our faith. We can do nothing to originate faith, for faith is the gift of God. Neither can we perfect it, for Christ is the Finisher of our faith. It is all of Christ. ST May 16, 1892, par. 1

All the longing after a better life is from Christ, and is an evidence that he is drawing you to himself and that you are responding to his drawing power. You are to be as clay in the hands of the potter, and if you submit yourself to Christ, he will fashion you into a vessel unto honor, fit for the Master's use. The only thing that stands in the way of the soul who is not fashioned after the divine Pattern is that he does not become poor in spirit; for he who is poor in spirit will look to a higher Source than himself, that he may obtain the grace which will make him rich unto God. While he will feel that he cannot originate anything, he will say, “The Lord is my helper.” ST May 16, 1892, par. 2

The Lord has commanded us, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” But what does this mean? It means that you feel your necessity, that you are poor in spirit, that you rejoice with trembling. It means that you know that in the very words you utter you may make a mistake, that in the very best of your work self may be so mingled that your efforts may be valueless, that you realize that your efficiency is in Christ. Oh, let the cry of the soul continually be— ST May 16, 1892, par. 3

“Hangs my helpless soul on Thee.”

Look to Jesus when you come in and when you go out, and pray without ceasing. You should realize that temptation is on every side. Around you are those whose conversation is only chaff and nonsense. In the world pride and vanity are displayed, and you will be tempted to feel poverty concerning these things that the world admires, which can never satisfy the soul's hunger. Oh, then pray, “Lord, make me a jewel for thy kingdom.”! ST May 16, 1892, par. 4

This is the meaning of working out your salvation with fear and trembling. If you do not work out your salvation in this spirit, your righteousness is of as much worth as was the Pharisee's who went into the temple to pray, who exalted and extolled himself, and thanked the Lord that he was not as other men were. He was rich in spirit, or thought that he was; for he knew not that he was poor, and miserable, and blind, and naked. But at the same time a poor publican entered the temple, and he would not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, and cried, “Lord, be merciful to me a sinner.” The Pharisee saw this man, and thanked God that he was not as this publican, and he went down to his house feeling satisfied with himself—feeling rich in spirit and lifted up in spiritual pride. But he who had so exalted himself in his own eyes was not exalted in the sight of God, for Jesus says that the publican went down to his house justified rather than the other. ST May 16, 1892, par. 5

“Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The humility that Jesus speaks of in the text is not a humility on stilts, as was the Pharisee's, parading itself before the eyes of men, that his righteousness might be seen and praised of men. Humility is before honor. The apostle exhorts the followers of Christ: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Fear lest you shall make a mistake, and bring dishonor upon the name of the Lord. Cry unto him, believing that he has power to save. This is the humility that we want. We need a physician and restorer for our souls, and when we come unto Christ petitioning for his grace, the Comforter will breathe his words into our souls, “My peace give I unto you.” “Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” We are to come as little children to God; and as we realize our poverty, we are not to tell it to men, but to God. Do not tell your weakness to those who can give you no strength. Tell it to God; for he will know just what to do for you. Jesus said: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; ... to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord that he might be glorified.” ST May 16, 1892, par. 6

How thankful we should be that we have a heavenly Intercessor. We may be clothed in Christ's righteousness, that the Father may bestow his favor upon us. Jesus presents us to the Father robed in his righteousness. He pleads before God in our behalf. He says: “I have taken the sinner's place. Look not upon this wayward child, but look on me. Look not upon his filthy garments, but look on my righteousness.” When we are forgiven for our sins, when our filthy garments are taken away, then we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling; but we are not left to do the work alone, “for it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” God works and man works, and as this co-operation is maintained, the richest blessings will come upon those who labor together with God. The Lord says, “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” “Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” ST May 16, 1892, par. 7

(To be Continued.)