The Signs of the Times


December 20, 1899

Work in Christ's Lines


Christ set Himself apart to achieve the redemption of man, that man might understand the service he owes to God, and learn how to discharge its duties. His life on earth was a perfect life. Every circumstance He turned into an occasion for imparting truth. Foretelling His work through the prophet Isaiah, He says: “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 proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord; ... 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 December 20, 1899, par. 1

There is a sustaining power in the deed done to benefit and bless humanity. This was the power that strengthened the world's Redeemer. He declared, “I came down from heaven not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me.” His will was put into active exercise to save the souls of men, but He waited and lived and worked in dependence upon God. In everything He moved in perfect harmony with the Father. The Commander of all heaven, He humbled Himself to stand at the head of fallen humanity, to reveal to human beings perfect obedience to all God's commandments. His servants today would do well to ask themselves, What kind of a will am I cultivating? Have I been gratifying my own desires, confirming myself in selfishness and obstinacy? If we are doing this, we are in peril; for Satan will always rule the will that is not under the control of the Spirit of God. When we place our will in unison with the will of God, the obedience that was exemplified in the life of Christ will be seen in our lives. God requires us to keep His commandments, that we may cultivate the attributes which made the Saviour's life pure, holy, and undefiled. ST December 20, 1899, par. 2

Many blessings are lost to Christ's professed followers because they have so limited an experience in being crucified to the world. There is nothing so hard as the crucifixion of the will. Christ was tempted in all points like as we are; but His will was ever kept on the side of God's will. In His humanity He had the same free will that Adam had in Eden. He could have yielded to temptation as Adam yielded; and Adam, by believing and obeying God, could have resisted temptation as Christ resisted it. Had Christ so willed it, when tempted in the wilderness He could have commanded the stones to be made bread. He could have cast Himself down from the pinnacle of the temple; He could have yielded to Satan's request to fall down and worship him, the usurper of the world. But at every point He met the tempter with, “It is written.” His will was in obedience to the will of God. The will of the Father was revealed throughout His entire life. It was a part of His very being. ST December 20, 1899, par. 3

Christ's obedience to His Father's commandments is to be the measure of our obedience. Those who follow Christ, if they would be complete in Him, must keep their will surrendered to the will of God. The man Christ Jesus was the greatest Teacher the world ever knew. During their three years of discipline under His instruction, the disciples received many precious lessons. They also received rebuke for their dulness of apprehension. They could not take in the great scenes presented to them. But when their Teacher was about to leave them, He bade them tarry in Jerusalem until they should be imbued with power from on high before going forth to preach the truth of the kingdom of God. The Saviour well knew that their arguments, however logical, would not melt the hard heart, or break through the crust of selfishness and worldliness. The truth could only be effectual when coming from hearts made warm and lips made eloquent by a living knowledge of the Way, the Truth, and the Life. ST December 20, 1899, par. 4

The evangelist John withdraws the curtain, as it were, and as a consecrated high priest enters into the holy of holies, opening to us the sacred character of Christ. He gives the record of Christ's last moments with His disciples. As the Saviour gave His last messages to His beloved followers, words filled with weighty importance fell from His lips. These words of inspiration were to be their anchor during the test and trial before them. “Let not your heart be troubled,” He said; “ye believe in God,” who is so plainly revealed in the Old Testament Scriptures. Believe in Me as the brightness of His glory, the manifestation of His character. “In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you,” to secure for you the right to a home in My Father's kingdom. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” I left the courts of heaven to come to you and show you the way, and I will be with you in the mansions I have prepared. Let not sorrow fill your hearts; for I love you, “and whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” ST December 20, 1899, par. 5

For All Time

The instruction Christ gave His disciples when He was among them He gave for the encouragement of His followers to the end of time. In His humanity He prayed for them. He prays for them still, as officiating high Priest within the vail. Abundant provision has been made that those who will seek God with the whole heart may find Him a present help in every time of need; for help has been laid on One that is mighty. Today He commissions His workers, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” God calls for living, acting, working men, men who from the first moments of their religious life will depend upon God and trust in Him who is the Head of the church. “Ye are a chosen generation,” He says, “a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” The Lord has a great work for His disciples to do, not in their own wisdom, but in the wisdom which He will give them. In every church we need Christlike workers, those who in life and character are growing in the divine likeness by working to call sinners to repentance. The spiritual life of the church can be kept alive only as the members make personal efforts to win souls to Christ. No amount of mental culture or theological training will do this work. But it can be done by the soul who is humble and contrite, and imbued with the Spirit of God. The bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness must shine upon the heart of the worker and purify his life before light from the throne of God can come to those who sit in darkness. ST December 20, 1899, par. 6

There is a solemn obligation resting upon all. God's admonition reaches to every soul: “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Our faith is to be a faith that works by love and purifies the soul. We are to be imbued with the Spirit of Christ, to work in Christ's lines. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” the apostle says. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” A sharp warfare must be instituted against selfishness and the corruption that is in the world through lust. The wrong act repeated becomes habit, to act and react upon mind and heart; and unless divine power shall interpose, and the human being become partaker of the divine nature, the sure result will follow. Strengthen not the evil will by turning it in wrong lines. Your life hid with Christ in God will be divested of all selfishness. Causes and effects are linked together. We shall not always be able to see the path before us. Circumstances will develop in a way that we do not expect. But God sees not as man sees. His thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are His ways our ways. His hand is above all, and He will cause all things to work together for good to those that love Him. ST December 20, 1899, par. 7

Mrs. E. G. White

(Concluded next week.)