The Signs of the Times


May 12, 1898

Abiding in Christ


The object of conversion is twofold, personal and relative. It is to bless us, and make us a blessing. This is an individual work; but how frequently is it the case that those who profess to believe the Word of God so long accustom their minds to be content with little things, that they disqualify themselves to discern and appreciate the great things prepared for them! In the place of receiving in good and honest hearts the Word the Lord sends in messages to help them, to elevate, ennoble, and sanctify them, they cavil and gossip over it, because it cuts directly across their inclination and appetite. In the place of seeing their need of conversion, they regard the means which the Lord has provided to change their characters, as idle tales. Their habits to them are stronger than truth. Unless they will heed the warnings, they will wrap themselves in a deception that, as in the case of Judas, will cause them to become traitors and blind. Individual conversion means a change of character. The human agent must place himself in personal relation to Christ, that in the place of following his own hereditary and cultivated tendencies, he may have the mind of Christ, placing himself under the moulding influence of the Holy Spirit. ST May 12, 1898, par. 1

The soul of Paul was constantly thirsting for greater knowledge. He exclaimed: “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith; that I may know him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.” And how earnest and anxious should every soul be to have a faithful presentation of themselves, of their dangers, and of the trials that await them, that they may lay hold of a power outside of themselves! ST May 12, 1898, par. 2

The Word must be studied; it must rule in the heart, that we may be prepared to bring from the treasure-house good things. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly; then when you are assailed, you will have the armor of God to wear. Having done all, you may stand. We need an abiding Christ with us, as Enoch had when he walked with God three hundred years. We can have what Enoch had: we can have Christ as our constant companion. Enoch walked with God, and when assailed by the tempter, he could talk with God about it. He had no “It is written,” as we have, but he had a knowledge of his heavenly Companion. He made God his Counselor, and was closely bound up with Jesus. And Enoch was honored in this course. He was translated to heaven without seeing death. And those who will be translated at the close of time, will be those who commune with God on earth. Those who make manifest that their life is hid with Christ in God will ever be representing Him in all their life practises. Selfishness will be cut out by the roots. ST May 12, 1898, par. 3

When many of the disciples left Christ and walked no more with Him, because He had claimed to be that bread which came down from heaven, He had declared: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth Me, even shall live by Me.” And what did His own disciples say to His words?—“This is an hard saying; who can hear it?” The spiritual perception of His hearers could not grasp Christ's words, and “from that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him.” ST May 12, 1898, par. 4

Turning to the twelve, Jesus said, “Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered Him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” But while under the test in the judgment-hall, Peter was but a very dim reflector of the character of his Lord. How much of infirmity, of unmortified sin, of carelessness of spirit, of unsanctified temper, of heedlessness in entering into temptation, he revealed rather than giving up his own way and will! ST May 12, 1898, par. 5

Peter would not let his mind take any close view of the cross. The highest testimony he could have borne for Christ under trial was to reveal His steadfast principles, and in revealing the pure, holy beauty of the character of Christ, show that Christ was abiding in him. The Lord would have His followers reveal in their life practise His life of self-denial, lifting the cross at every step. We are to show our consecration in every act. And this will be the highest testimony we can bear to the Redeemer's glory. ST May 12, 1898, par. 6

What honor Peter might have done his Lord had he received His words! But he proved himself to be unfaithful, unworthy to be the depositary of the rich treasure of God's grace. His boastful assertions, while refusing to see himself as Christ saw him, were causing Peter's light to grow dim. Yet at this time it was his privilege to solicit Christ's help as earnestly as when, ready to sink beneath the tempestuous waves, he cried, “Lord, save, or I perish.” Then his cry for help brought him a hand that grasped his own; and if, when Christ told him that he would deny his Lord, Peter had said, “Lord, I receive Thy word; altho I can not see that it is possible. I love Thee, but I do not know myself, and I ask Thee to save me from denying Thee, whom I so love,” Christ would have saved him from himself. He would have asked for him help of His heavenly Father. He would have prayed that Peter might have been made watchful over his temper, vigilant when most strongly assailed by the enemy, wide-awake to Satan's wily assaults. Then how watchful Peter would have been to maintain his loyalty to Christ! While others might deny their Lord, he would remain steadfast He would listen silently, and learn of Jesus how to conduct himself under charges and provocation, and in the darkest hour. Then he would strive to do honor to Christ and come close to his Saviour. ST May 12, 1898, par. 7

O, that Peter had learned more of the lesson given in the fifteenth chapter of John, of the necessity of abiding in Christ! “As the branch can not bear fruit of itself,” said Christ, “except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.” Christ longed to have His disciples understand the privileges and advantages coming to them through Him. Peter heard these lessons as Christ pointed to the vine on which was a withered branch, and said: “Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth [pruneth] it, that it may bring forth more fruit.... As the branch can not bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.... If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” ST May 12, 1898, par. 8

This lesson we will all learn if we believe on Jesus Christ. O, that it might have been received by Judas, who was plotting his Master's death! If all could have heard this last lesson Christ gave to His disciples, what instruction they would have received! If they had known more of Jesus, more of the deceptions of the human heart; if they could have known the sorrow of Christ's heart that the Shepherd was to be smitten and His sheep scattered; had they known that He was to gather them again, to speak to them with comforting assurances, they would have known more what His great sacrifice meant. One who loved them was seeking to give them special instruction. He was thinking of them, praying for them. His eye read every phase of their future experience during the terrible ordeal through which He was about to pass. Then how eager would they have been if they could do nothing more than look with sympathy and love upon their Lord, and with faith undimmed show that they realized that His eye was upon them, and that at this trying moment He was guiding, upholding, and caring for them. O, if they could have looked into that heart of Infinite Love, if they could only have seen how sorry He was for them! If words could have passed from Him to them, they would have been, spoken gently and sympathizingly: “Abide in My love.” “Be of good cheer, thou art in Christ's heart, thou art not alone.” ST May 12, 1898, par. 9

Mrs. E. G. White