The Signs of the Times


February 24, 1888

“The Light of Life”


The world's Redeemer said, “I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” ST February 24, 1888, par. 1

Those who will walk in the footsteps of the meek and lowly Jesus will be sensible that the light of life is illuminating their pathway. Said the prophet, “Darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.” While the world is lying under the gross shadow of error, ignorance, superstition, and death, the follower of Jesus walks in an atmosphere radiant with spiritual light. As he draws away from the traditions and customs of the world, and lifts the cross, and enters the way of truth, he finds that “the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Every step of faith and obedience brings him into closer connection with the light of the world, in whom “is no darkness at all.” ST February 24, 1888, par. 2

The believer in Jesus has a right to expect a rich and abundant experience. It is his privilege, if he has complied with the conditions, to plead and claim the promises of God, and if he does this he will receive according to his faith. Paul writes of his desire that the brethren at Ephesus might come to understand the height of the Christian's privilege. He says, “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in Heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your heart 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 fullness of God.” ST February 24, 1888, par. 3

The apostle Paul had been greatly blessed. He had been caught up to the third Heaven, and had heard things not lawful for man to utter. He had been shown what abundance of blessing the Lord is willing to bestow upon those who love his service and keep his commandments. He knew what exalted privileges belong to the obedient children of God, and he earnestly desired that they might have the glorious promises fulfilled in their experience. Amid the darkness of error, the delusions of Satan, the opposition of enemies, the trial and the conflict with principalities and powers, they were to be children of light. He opens before them in the most comprehensive language, the marvelous knowledge and power that they might possess as sons and daughters of the Most High. It was theirs to “be strengthened with might by His spirit in the inner man,” to be “rooted and grounded in love,” to “comprehend what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge;” but the prayer of the apostle reaches the climax of privilege, when he prays that “ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” ST February 24, 1888, par. 4

Let us dwell upon this wonderful prayer, recorded that we may understand what heights of attainment we may reach, through faith in the promises of our heavenly Father, when we fulfill his requirements. Through the merits of Christ we have access to the throne of infinite power. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” The Father gave the Spirit without measure to his Son, and we also may partake of its fullness. Jesus says, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” The prayer of the apostle only reaches the exaltation of the promise. ST February 24, 1888, par. 5

How marvelous that humanity, an earthen vessel, can receive the treasure of the light and power of God; can be filled with the fullness of his grace! Jesus was anointed “with the Holy Ghost and with power,” and he “went about doing good.” This is the result of receiving the anointing of Heaven. If you are filled with the Holy Spirit you will work the works of Christ, you will seek the salvation of those around you, and “let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” ST February 24, 1888, par. 6

Before his ascension, Jesus had promised the disciples that the Comforter should come. He said, “Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” And on the day of Pentecost, “they were all with one accord in one place; and suddenly there came a sound from Heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” The baptism of the Holy Spirit was essential for the success of the ministry in the early gospel age; but it is no less necessary in this age when “darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people.” And the Lord has promised the same quickening spiritual power to his servants in these days. “It shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” ST February 24, 1888, par. 7

Let us purify our souls by obeying the truth, lifting up “holy hands, without wrath and doubting,” that we may obtain this heavenly gift, and realize, by a blessed experience, what is the meaning of the words of the apostle: “filled with all the fullness of God.” There will be no question then but that you will “do all things without murmurings and disputings; that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” You will “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” knowing that “it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” You must come closer to Jesus. There is a great work to be done in the world, and your influence is as far-reaching as eternity. You must be rooted and grounded in the truth. If Christ, the hope of glory, is in you, the light of Heaven will shine from you into the moral darkness of the world, and souls will be guided to the light of life. You will be a chosen vessel, through which God will make manifest the riches of his saving power. Christ will be in you “a well of water, springing up into everlasting life.” You will be daily refreshed by the streams of his salvation, and you will be a source of refreshment to those around you, for from you will “flow rivers of living water.” The beauty of holiness will be seen in your life, for the comeliness of Christ will be put upon you. You will be a light-bearer in the world. Nothing short of this will be consistent with your holy faith and exalted calling. Your example and influence must be wholly on the Lord's side. Our Master has said that “he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” ST February 24, 1888, par. 8

A formal religion, a feeble faith, does not correspond to the truth we profess. It demands living energy and fervency of spirit. It must be heart-felt with us, if we would urge it to the hearts of others. It must be cherished with intense love, if we would have others feel the sacredness and preciousness of its claims. All who would engage in the work of saving souls, must feel their dependence on God. The gifted and eloquent, if their talents are wholly devoted to God, may be used in the greatest work that ever engaged the powers of man; but those of less ability, if they are clothed with humility, may become men of faith, and mighty in the Scriptures. He who is meek in spirit, who is purest and most child-like, will be made strong for the battle. He will “be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man.” He who feels his weakness and wrestles with God, as did Jacob, and like this servant of old cries, “I will not let thee go except thou bless me,” will go forth with the fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit. The atmosphere of Heaven will surround him. He will go about doing good. His influence will be a positive force acting upon others. He will be a living epistle, known and read of all men. He will know that the Captain of his salvation expects him to do his very best, and he will do it with cheerfulness. ST February 24, 1888, par. 9

There is no excuse for anyone growing weak, inefficient, and faithless. The promise is to us: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.” Are there not some of us too much like the man who came to the minister, complaining that he had not been blessed, that he felt no joy; God did not answer his prayers although he had prayed again and again for a blessing. “Well,” said the minister, “let us kneel right down here and tell the Lord just how the matter stands.” After both had prayed, the minister asked him if he felt better. The man answered, “I feel no better than I did before I prayed. I did not expect to be blessed, and I am not blessed.” He had made a mockery of prayer. He did not believe the Lord would answer him, and he received just what his faith had claimed. Is it any wonder that such prayers are not answered? “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Do you consider this, when you offer up your faithless petitions? Do you stop to consider how you are dishonoring God, and impoverishing your own soul? If you could but realize the wrong you are doing, you would cease to make mockery by meaningless devotions. ST February 24, 1888, par. 10

Come to God in faith and humility. Plead with him till the break of day, if necessary, till your soul is brought into such close relationship with Jesus, that you can lay your burden at his feet, and say, “I know whom I have believed.” The Lord is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” Our cold, faithless hearts may be quickened into sensibility and life, till we can pray in faith, preach in faith, and say, “The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God.” Let us seek for the fullness of the salvation of Christ. Follow in the footsteps of the Son of God, for his promise is, “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” ST February 24, 1888, par. 11