The Signs of the Times


March 25, 1886

The Christian Light-Bearer


“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” ST March 25, 1886, par. 1

“Ye are the light of the world” said Christ to his disciples. As the sun goes forth in the heavens, dispelling the shades of night, and filling the world with brightness, so must the followers of Jesus let their light shine to dispel the moral darkness of a world lying in sin. But they have no light of themselves; it is the light of Heaven which they are to reflect to the world. ST March 25, 1886, par. 2

“A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.” Our thoughts and purposes are the secret springs of action, and hence determine the character. The purpose formed in the heart need not be expressed in word or deed in order to make it sin, and bring the soul into condemnation. Every thought, feeling, and inclination, though unseen by men, is discerned by the eye of God. But it is only when the evil that has taken root in the heart reaches its fruition in the unlawful word or deed that man can judge the character of his fellow-man. The Christian is Christ's representative. He is to show to the world the transforming power of divine grace. He is a living epistle of the truth of God, known and read of all men. The rule given by Christ by which to determine who are his true followers is, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” ST March 25, 1886, par. 3

Many professed Christians, some even who expound the sacred truths of the Bible, are yet living as though there were no God who can read the innermost recesses of the soul. They forget the dignity and solemnity of their high calling as children of the heavenly King, and their responsibility as “the light of the world.” They may not now realize their sinfulness; but when summoned before the great white throne, they will in speechless terror stand condemned. With the eye of the Judge looking upon them, they will not dare to mention the excuses which they now so flippantly urge to shield themselves from the divine requirements. They knew their Master's will, but did it not. ST March 25, 1886, par. 4

And yet the faults and errors of church members will be no shield for the impenitent in the day of God. Those who would make them such when the claims of God are presented, evince their true character as lovers of sin. They are actuated by the same spirit as their master, whom the Bible declares to be the “accuser of the brethren.” The fact that some professed Christians are not what they should be, proves nothing against religion, but only that these persons are not faithful to their profession. Neither does it prove that the church is corrupt. Does she not deal with offending members, and separate from her company those who persist in an evil way? And these persons who point so complacently to the faults of Christians are not consistent. They will make the most of a man's faults while he is a member of the church; but let him be expelled, and they turn about, and sympathize with him, declaring the church to be uncharitable and severe. ST March 25, 1886, par. 5

“Let your light so shine before men that they may ... glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” The Christian's godly life and holy conversation are a daily testimony against sin and sinners. But he must present Christ, not self. Christ is the great remedy for sin. Our compassionate Redeemer has provided for us the help we need. He is waiting to impute his righteousness to the sincere penitent, and to kindle in his heart such divine love as only our gracious Redeemer can inspire. Then let us who profess to be his witnesses on earth, his ambassadors from the court of Heaven, glorify Him whom we represent, by being faithful to our trust as light-bearers to the world. ST March 25, 1886, par. 6

Every one who at last secures eternal life will here manifest zeal and devotion in the service of God. He will not desert the post of duty at the approach of trial, hardship, or reproach. He will be a diligent student of the Scriptures, and will follow the light as it shines upon his pathway. When some plain Scriptural requirement is presented, he will not stop to inquire, What will my friends say, if I take my position with the people of God? Knowing his duty, he will do it heartily and fearlessly. Of such true-hearted followers Jesus declares that he is not ashamed to call them brethren. The God of truth will be on their side, and will never forsake them. All apparent losses for Christ's sake will count to them as infinite gain. ST March 25, 1886, par. 7

Said our Saviour: “This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” The word of God, believed and obeyed, exerts a transforming power upon the life and character. Its sublime truths, its pure and holy principles, strengthen the intellect, ennoble the affections, enlighten the understanding. How great the loss which they sustain who neglect this store-house of eternal riches. But the word of God is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. This is why so many are opposed to the truths which it teaches. They love some indulgence which it condemns, and hence hate the light which reveals their sin. “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” ST March 25, 1886, par. 8

Many whom the world styles liberal, generous-hearted, noble men, are in the sight of God wicked and corrupt. For God sees not as man sees; his thoughts are not as our thoughts. Men in their self-complacency attempt to gloss over the defects in their lives and characters, and flatter themselves that all is well. But the light of truth would reveal their danger, and strike a death-blow to their self-satisfaction. Then they would see the importance of a holy life, and their own need of Christ as a Saviour. ST March 25, 1886, par. 9

We have but a brief space in which to prepare for the future life; and all who expect to dwell hereafter with the pure and holy, must here obtain a fitness for such society. Then let the moments heretofore squandered in idleness and folly be henceforth devoted to prayer and the reading of God's word. This discipline every Christian may have, and, rightly improved, it will make him wise unto eternal life. ST March 25, 1886, par. 10

The mind grows by what it is fed upon. The understanding gradually adapts itself to the subjects which it is required to grasp. If allowed to dwell only on the things of this life, it becomes dwarfed and enfeebled. If absorbed in vanity and folly, it will after a time almost lose the power of growth. To secure strength and vigor, the mind must be tasked; and there is no other means by which this can be so successfully accomplished as by the study of the Holy Scriptures. ST March 25, 1886, par. 11

The means which God has provided to enable us to resist temptation are the study of his word, and earnest prayer. In his encounter with the prince of darkness in the wilderness of temptation, our Saviour prefaced every answer with the words, “It is written.” It was the word of God that vanquished Satan. Those who make that word their study are arming themselves with weapons of divine power against the attacks of the foe. “Thy word,” said the psalmist, “have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.” ST March 25, 1886, par. 12

In his conversation with Nicodemus, Christ explained the nature and importance of true conversion. He solemnly declared, “Except a man be born again,”—unless he receive a new heart, new desires, purposes, and motives, leading to a new life,—“he cannot see the kingdom of God.” He is no longer to be a willing subject to the enemy of Christ, to remain in subjection to the power of sin. ST March 25, 1886, par. 13

Those who have experienced the new birth have but entered upon the Christian life. To such are addressed the words of the apostle, “As ye have received the Lord Jesus Christ, so walk ye in him.” In the temptations and trials of life, it is often hard to maintain the patience and gentleness of Christ; but let not those be discouraged who are sorely tried, and who feel that they have not strength enough to cope single-handed with the power of evil. God has promised grace according to our day. By patient endurance we may become strong, by failure we may learn success, and through apparent defeat we may conquer. ST March 25, 1886, par. 14

All the people of God should become co-laborers with him. None need wait for great opportunities nor ask for extraordinary talents. The ability that God has given them is all that he requires. He would have us each quietly, faithfully do what we can, and leave the result with him. Our daily life may be a light to the world, a living testimony to the power of divine grace; and the influence of that testimony will widen and deepen, so long as we are connected with the God of wisdom and power. ST March 25, 1886, par. 15

“Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” This is the rule of life laid down in the Holy Scriptures. And those who practice it will not love darkness rather than light; but they will come to the “light, that their deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God.” ST March 25, 1886, par. 16