The Signs of the Times


April 1, 1897

“Go Work Today in My Vineyard”


“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good-pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings; that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” ST April 1, 1897, par. 1

In our efforts for salvation, we are accountable only to God. Forgiveness for our sins is possible only because of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. He died for us; and this has linked us to God in continual dependence. Those who desire forgiveness must present their prayers to God, trusting in the merits of Jesus Christ, the only mediator between God and man. Their confessions must not be given through any human channel, as priest or pope; they must be presented to God, who has given Jesus as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. And if we confess our sins in humility and contrition, we receive full forgiveness. “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning-star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” ST April 1, 1897, par. 2

But the fact that we receive forgiveness through the grace of Jesus Christ, does not free us from taking a part in the struggle for immortal life. There are many false teachers in the world today who teach that belief alone is necessary for salvation. These grow in popularity because they please the people. False doctrines are received in the place of truth. A spurious faith is shown instead of the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. ST April 1, 1897, par. 3

But heaven's first law is obedience in all things. By creation and by redemption we are God's property, and we are to submit to the working of his Holy Spirit, co-operating with it, but not attempting to work it ourselves. Under its guidance we are made contrite in heart. Our souls are not lifted up in vanity, but are humbled before God. ST April 1, 1897, par. 4

When mind and heart are yielded in perfect obedience to God, we feel a repentance that needeth not to be repented of. The stubborn heart is subdued. The change of which Christ told Nicodemus when he said, “Ye must be born again,” is wrought in us. But we can learn this lesson from God only. It is not enough that the outward conduct is reformed, while sin is cherished and indulged in the heart. The change must commence in the heart, and work outward. ST April 1, 1897, par. 5

The repentance of those who truly seek forgiveness will lead them to work for Christ. It will be a living, working, transforming grace. Those who feel this repentance will reveal it in their lives. Every power of mind and soul and body will be brought into obedience to Christ. The sincerity of their prayers will be proved by their endeavors to serve God. This change, from unrighteousness to righteousness, is wrought by co-operation with God. ST April 1, 1897, par. 6

“This is life eternal,” said Christ, in his prayer to his Father, “that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” But we can not gain a knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ if we neglect to study the Scriptures. The mind is God's purchased possession. This gift is to be appreciated by us, and used as a treasure house, in which to store the knowledge of God. We need to do much thinking as we work for God. The psalmist says, “I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.” God would have us store our minds with the principles of his holy word, that we may know “what saith the Lord.” He would have us train our minds to wrestle with difficulties, taxing them to remember Scripture until remembering is no longer an impossibility, until the word of God is to us a harmonious whole. If the mind is habitually given difficult tasks, it acquires efficiency and power. ST April 1, 1897, par. 7

Train your mind to search the Scriptures. In this way you can gain a knowledge of God, and work out your own salvation. Fill it with divine truth. It will then be in perfect harmony with the heart, which, cleansed from all selfishness and moral defilement, rejoices to render homage to the law of God. ST April 1, 1897, par. 8

“I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day;” said Christ; “the night cometh, when no man can work.” This is the example Christ has left us to follow. He was the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, yet he came to this earth, and went about doing good. He was the greatest Teacher the world ever knew. Tender, compassionate, ever considerate for others, he represented the character of God, and was ever engaged in service for him. And as Jesus was in human flesh, so God means his followers to be. ST April 1, 1897, par. 9

“We are laborers together with God,” declares Paul, writing by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In the struggle against evil, we must put every muscle to the stretch, exercising every God-given qualification for the right, in order that we may resist temptation and advance step by step in the Christian life. Saved in indolence, in inactivity, we can never be. It is not possible for us to drift into heaven. No sluggard can enter there. If we do not strive to gain an entrance into that kingdom, if we do not seek earnestly to learn what constitute its laws, we are not fitted to take part in it. Those who enter there must be loyal and faithful servants of God, yoking up with Christ, working his works, overcoming as he overcame, wrestling day after day with hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong, which must be oft crucified. ST April 1, 1897, par. 10

They must be “laborers together with God,” unwearied in prayer, their minds constantly turned heavenward for the assistance of the Holy Spirit, using at the same time every means that God has provided for their help. ST April 1, 1897, par. 11

If you would work as Christ worked, if you would overcome as he overcame, go straight to him for help needed to subdue the inclinations of the carnal mind and the passions of the natural heart. Resist every sinful indulgence, every inclination to gratify wrong desires, remembering that Christ is all and in all, and that he is able to do “exceeding abundantly, above all that we ask or think.” ST April 1, 1897, par. 12

As agents for Jesus we are to work for him. Why then are so many acting as did Meroz,—doing nothing,—while those sitting in darkness receive no light, no help from the children of God? How much do such idlers resemble the angel who is represented as flying in the midst of heaven, proclaiming the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus? To these idlers in the market-place, Christ is saying, “Go work today in my vineyard.” Angels who minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation are saying to every one, There is work for you to do. “Go, stand and speak.. to the people all the words of this life.” If those addressed would heed this injunction, diffusing the knowledge which they have, and presenting Christ as the only Mediator, the Lord would prepare their way before them. ST April 1, 1897, par. 13

The hearts of those who work with Christ must throb in unison with the heart of Christ. They must be wholly consecrated to his service, ready to do his bidding, to go wherever his Providence leads them, to speak the words he gives them to speak. As they do this work, their spiritual faculties are awakened and energized. Knowing that they are in harmony with God, they feel joyous and happy. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit they obtain an experience that is invaluable to them. Their intellectual and moral powers attain their highest development; for grace is given in answer to the demand. ST April 1, 1897, par. 14

As God said to Moses, so he says to us, “Go forward.” We are to give to others the unsearchable riches of Christ, working in faith, and realizing our responsibility as God's human agents, to whom he has given this work. In God's service we shall meet with obstacles and difficulties. But these must not be allowed to discourage us. Events belong to God, and his servants will meet with difficulties and opposition; for these are his chosen methods of discipline, and his appointed conditions of sure progress and success. In spite of trials, do your God-given work in sincerity and faith, that your character may be formed after the divine pattern. “Behold, I come quickly, said Christ; “and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” He will render to all according to their deeds. “To them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality,” he will render eternal life; “but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath.... But glory, honor, and peace, to every man that worketh good.” ST April 1, 1897, par. 15

Mrs. E. G. White