The Signs of the Times


March 30, 1904

A Perfect Ideal


Man has fallen. God's image in him is defaced. By disobedience he is depraved in inclination and weakened in power, unable, apparently, to look forward to anything but tribulation and wrath. But God, through Christ, has wrought out a way of escape, and He says to every one, “Be ye therefore perfect.” It is His purpose that man shall stand before Him upright and noble, and He will not be defeated. He sent His Son to this world to bear the penalty of sin, and to show man how to live a sinless life. ST March 30, 1904, par. 1

Christ is our ideal. He has left a perfect example for childhood, youth, and manhood. He came to this earth, and passed through the different phases of human experience. In His life sin found no place. From the beginning to the close of His earthly life, He preserved unsullied His loyalty to God. The Word says of Him. “The Child grew, and waxed strong in Spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him.” He “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” ST March 30, 1904, par. 2

The Saviour lived not to please Himself. We read of Him that He went about “doing good.” He spent His life in loving service, comforting the sorrowful, ministering to the needy, lifting up the bowed down. He had no home in this world, only as the kindness of His friends provided Him one, yet it was heaven to be in His presence. Day by day He met trials and temptations, yet He did not fail or become discouraged. He was always patient and cheerful, and the afflicted hailed Him as a messenger of life and peace and health. His life held nothing that was not pure and noble. ST March 30, 1904, par. 3

God's law is the echo of His voice, saying to us, “Holier, yes, holier still.” Desire the fulness of the grace of Christ; yea, long—hunger and thirst—after righteousness. The promise is, “Ye shall be filled.” God has plainly stated that He expects us to be perfect, and because He requires this, He has made provision that we may be made partakers of the divine nature. Only thus can we be partakers of the divine nature. Only thus can we gain perfection. The power is given by Christ. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God.” ST March 30, 1904, par. 4

God's promise is, “Ye shall be holy; for I am holy.” Holiness is the reflection of God's glory. But in order to reflect this glory, we must co-operate with God. Heart and mind must be emptied of all that leads to wrong. The Word of God must be read and studied with a sincere desire to gain from it spiritual strength. This Word is the bread of heaven. Those who receive it, and make it a part of their lives, grow strong in the strength of God. Our sanctification is God's object in all His dealing with us. He has chosen us from eternity, that we may be holy. Christ declares, “This is the will of God, even your sanctification.” Is it your will, also, that your desires and inclinations shall be brought into conformity to the divine will? ST March 30, 1904, par. 5

He who would build up a strong, symmetrical character, he who would be a well-balanced Christian, must give all and do all for Christ; for the Redeemer will not accept divided service. Daily he must learn the meaning of self-surrender. He must study the Word of God, getting its meaning, and obeying its precepts. Thus he may reach the highest standard of Christian excellence. There is no limit to the spiritual advancement that may be made by the one who is a partaker of the divine nature. Day by day God works with him, perfecting the character that is to stand in the day of final test. Each day of his life he ministers to others. The light that is in him shines forth, and stills the strife of tongues. Day by day he is working out before men and angels a vast, sublime experiment, showing what the Gospel can do for fallen human beings. ST March 30, 1904, par. 6

Let us not spare ourselves, but carry forward in earnest the work of reform that must be done. Let us crucify self. Unholy habits will clamor fiercely for the victory, but in the name and through the power of Jesus we may conquer them. To him who seeks daily to keep his heart with all diligence the promise is given, “Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Living the life of the Saviour, overcoming every selfish desire, fulfilling bravely and cheerfully our duty to God and to those around us,—this makes us more than conquerors. This prepares us to stand before the great white throne free from spot or wrinkle, having washed our robes of character, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. ST March 30, 1904, par. 7