The Signs of the Times



January 8, 1902

Enduring Religion


Enduring religion is the religion that leads us to visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction, and to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. This is Christianity. The Christian follows Christ. Lifting the cross, he bears it after his Leader in the path of self-denial. ST January 8, 1902, par. 1

The religion that is built on self is worthless; for God makes no compromise with selfishness. To have pure religion, we must open the heart to receive the heavenly Guest. So long as the door is closed against His entrance, we can have no abiding peace. No sunshine can flood the chambers of the soul, no light break through the mist and cloud. ST January 8, 1902, par. 2

The religion of Christ changes hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong. It banishes self-confidence and egotism, leading man to see himself as he is,—weak and sinful, unable of himself to do any good thing. It leads him to behold Jesus, and beholding, he is changed into His likeness. ST January 8, 1902, par. 3

The religion of Christ is a firm fabric, composed of innumerable threads, woven together with tact and skill. Only by the wisdom that God gives can we weave this fabric. Trusting to ourselves, we draw into it threads of selfishness, and the pattern is spoiled. ST January 8, 1902, par. 4

There are many kinds of cloth which at first have a fine appearance, but they do not endure test. The colors are not fast. They wash out. Under the heat of summer they fade, and are lost. Such a fabric can not endure rough handling, and is worth very little. ST January 8, 1902, par. 5

So it is with religion. When the warp and woof of religion will not stand the test of trial, the material of which it is composed is worthless. And an effort to patch the old cloth with a new piece does not better the condition of things; for the worn-out, flimsy material breaks away from the new, leaving the rent much larger than before. Patching will not do. The only way is to discard the old garment and procure a new one. The religion of self, composed of threads that fade and give way under the stress of temptation, must be cast aside, to be replaced by the religion woven by Him in whose life no selfishness found place. ST January 8, 1902, par. 6

Christ's plan is the only safe one. He declares, “Behold, I make all things new.” “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” The Saviour gives no encouragement to any to think that He will accept a patchwork religion. Such a religion is of no value in His sight. There may at first seem to be some of self and some of Christ; but it is soon seen that there is none of Christ. The patches of selfishness increase till the entire garment is covered with them. ST January 8, 1902, par. 7

Christ looks with pity on those who have a patchwork religion. The faithful and true Witness sees the want of the soul, and His voice is raised in warning, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot. I would thou wert cold or hot. So then, because thou are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” ST January 8, 1902, par. 8

A religion formed after the divine pattern is the only one that will endure. Only by striving to live the life of Christ here can we prepare ourselves to live with Him through the eternal ages. That which is of value in this life will be of value in the life to come. A man's future is decided by the way in which he now allows himself to be influenced. If he cherishes selfish inclinations, refusing to deny self, he can never enter the kingdom of God. But if he fights against self, if he is willing to be governed by the Spirit of Christ, he is transformed in character. He sits at the feet of the Saviour, and from Him learns the lessons all must learn who are saved. Thus he is strengthened to resist evil. God works in him and with him, to will and to do of His good pleasure. ST January 8, 1902, par. 9

Such a one is filled with intense desire to save the souls perishing around him. He walks as Christ walked, in all things following His example. He understands the science of godliness, and consecrates his life to God, willing to spend and be spent in His service. He does not allow his natural inclinations to obtain the victory, but walks worthily before God and his fellow-men. ST January 8, 1902, par. 10

It is Christ's desire that His children shall reach this place. He longs to reveal through them the treasures of His grace. He says to them, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” And He says this because He knows that it is possible for them to reach perfection. He lived in this world the life that they must live. He met the foe single-handed, as they must meet him. He asked and received power to enable Him to overcome in the conflict. And those who walk in God's way may have the same power. The same angels that ministered to Christ minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation. As He overcame, so we may overcome. “In all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of His people. For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted.” ST January 8, 1902, par. 11

Dear brethren and sisters in Christ, my prayer for you is “that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Jesus Christ throughout all ages, world without end.” ST January 8, 1902, par. 12

Mrs. E. G. White