The Signs of the Times


March 23, 1888

“Abide in Me”


The apostle Paul wrote: “The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me;” and Jesus, instructing his disciples, said: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” ST March 23, 1888, par. 1

It is impossible for any of us to have a practical knowledge of this union with Christ, without the constant exercise of faith. Faith binds our souls to him, and makes us partakers of the divine nature. Our spiritual growth, our peace, our steadfastness, our constant obedience to the words of Christ, all depend upon the degree of faith we have in God. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him;” for we are powerless to do anything from acceptable motives, except through the grace of Christ, and this grace can be supplied only through the channel of faith, that opens the way of direct communication between our souls and God. In accordance with our faith, we are enabled to overcome principalities, and powers, and spiritual wickedness in high places. Selfishness will not be permitted to flourish in the heart that is exercising living faith. Sin will not be indulged where faith beholds God and angels watching the development of character, and weighing moral worth. Eternal life, the gift of God through Jesus Christ, is a precious reality, and sin becomes exceeding sinful and abhorrent. Faith beholds “the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world,” and realizes something of the cost of Calvary. ST March 23, 1888, par. 2

Jesus came into the world to save sinners, not in their sins but from their sins, and to sanctify them through the truth; and in order that he may become a perfect Saviour to us, we must enter into union with him by a personal act of faith. Christ has chosen us, we have chosen him, and by this choice we become united to him, and are to live from henceforth, not unto ourselves, but unto him who has died for us. But this union can only be preserved by constant watchfulness, lest we fall into temptation, and make a different choice; for we are free always to take another master if we so desire. Union with Christ means an unfailing preference for him in every act and thought of our lives. In every part of the work there must be harmony between the Saviour and the one to be saved. Faith will see love in every requirement of God, and will submit to the will of Heaven, knowing that “all things work together for good to them that love God.” We must have this perfect trust, if we become united with Christ, and share at last with him in his glory. ST March 23, 1888, par. 3

Christ will be constantly laboring for your salvation. Angels will be commissioned to guard you from the devices of the adversary, and to minister to all your needs. And the object of all this abundant solicitude must, on his part, depart from all iniquity, and perfect holiness in the fear of God. He must watch and pray. He must fight the good fight of faith, resist the devil that he may flee from him, and endure hardness as a good soldier of the cross of Christ. He has to wage a constant conflict with unseen foes, and only through Christ can he come off victorious. He must cultivate courage to surmount the difficulties obstructing his pathway, and build up a character of integrity and virtue, representing to the world the character of his Redeemer. ST March 23, 1888, par. 4

“Abide in me,” are words of great significance. Abiding in Christ means a living, earnest, refreshing faith that works by love and purifies the soul. It means a constant receiving of the Spirit of Christ, a life of unreserved surrender to his service. Where this union exists good works will appear. The life of the vine will manifest itself in fragrant fruit on the branches. The continual supply of the grace of Christ will bless you and make you a blessing, till you can say with Paul,” I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.“ ST March 23, 1888, par. 5

The sacred union with Christ will unite the brethren in the most endearing bonds of Christian fellowship. Their hearts will be touched with divine compassion one for another. “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” “He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.” Coldness, variance, strife, is entirely out of place among the disciples of Christ. They have accepted the one faith. They have joined to serve the one Lord, to endure in the same warfare, to strive for the same object, and to triumph in the same cause. They have been bought with the same precious blood, and have gone forth to preach the same message of salvation; and how out of harmony with these facts is disunion and contention among brethren. “This is my commandment,” said Jesus, “that ye love one another, as I have loved you.” ST March 23, 1888, par. 6

Those who are constantly drawing strength from Christ will possess his Spirit. They will not be careless in word or deportment. An abiding sense of how much their salvation has cost in the sacrifice of the beloved Son of God, will rest upon their souls. Like a fresh and vivid transaction, the scenes of Calvary will present themselves to their minds, and their hearts will be subdued and made tender by this wonderful manifestation of the love of Christ to them. They will look upon others as the purchase of his precious blood, and those who are united with him will seem noble, and elevated, and sacred, because of this connection. The death of Christ on Calvary should lead us to estimate souls as he did. His love has magnified the value of every man, woman, and child. And if “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life,” should we be indifferent to others, and despise those whom God has valued at such an infinite price? Without the endowment of the holy Spirit of God, we are not fitted to engage in the great and solemn work for this time. When we have the love for souls that Christ had, we shall go forth with weeping, we shall become laborers together with God, we shall gather with Christ, and bear precious fruit unto everlasting life. When we consider that all Heaven is interested in the work of salvation, should we not seek by meditation and prayer to appreciate more intelligently the sacred character of our trusts? How can we, poor, fallible, fallen creatures, undertake this work without the special help and enlightenment of the Spirit of God? ST March 23, 1888, par. 7

Let God be your counselor. Let the heart in humility and meekness ascend to God in fervent, effectual prayer for spiritual discernment, for breadth of mind, and singleness of purpose to glorify God and save man. Let prayer constantly go forth from unfeigned lips for the presence of Christ, for the illumination of his Spirit, that the atmosphere of Heaven may surround you, and that self and selfish purposes may not have their way in your life. The Lord will draw nigh to those who sincerely desire to draw nigh to him. ST March 23, 1888, par. 8

We are living in a solemn day, and we are exhorted to “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour; whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” Let every soul remember that he is in the presence of the Judge of all the earth, and that “all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” Our words, our plans, our meditations, the motives of our hearts, are read as an open book. The case of every individual worker is registered in Heaven. Let us consider this. Do we want our light and frivolous remarks heard in the presence of angels and before God? Do we want the words of pride, that exhibit self, left on the books to condemn us in the Judgment? Do we want our plans for self-exaltation written in the unerring records? Let us ever remember that the Lord, who gave his life for us, is watching with intense interest our course of life, and that angels are witnessing our ways. Seek that singleness of purpose that will lead us to glorify God, and not self. Oh, that each might say when tempted, as did our Lord, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.” We want to uproot from our hearts every plant that our heavenly Father has not planted, that we may not be led to utter selfish and perverse things. Oh, for more of Christ, and less of self! Oh, that the workers might be clothed with the armor of his righteousness, that they might be constantly drawing from the well of salvation, partaking of the divine nature, that they might go forth spiritual laborers, with self lost in our divine Lord. ST March 23, 1888, par. 9

Our standard is altogether too low. We must put away these cheap ideas of what is essential to make us laborers in the cause of Christ. We must have altogether higher views of the elevated character of our work. We want to work in the spirit in which Christ labored. We want to represent him to the world. We need to greatly humble our souls before God by confessing and forsaking our sins. ST March 23, 1888, par. 10

When Jesus was teaching his disciples, as they gathered closely about him, there was a moment's interruption, and one said unto him: “Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in Heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Here is the relationship that exists between Christ and his followers. We occupy this exalted position, if we are indeed doing the will of God. We are to consider ourselves as constituting the family of Christ, and we are to follow him as dear children. Adopted into the household of God, shall we not honor our Father and our kindred? We have no excuse to plead, for through Jesus we may command all power in Heaven and earth that we may walk worthy of our high calling. ST March 23, 1888, par. 11

Satan will be constantly seeking to belittle our conception or our privileges and responsibilities. He would have us regard the work of Christ as a commonplace work, and do it listlessly and negligently. He would keep us indifferent to the exalted and sacred positions to be attained in Christian life and character; but we must bruise him under our feet. We must establish an unyielding enmity between our souls and our foe; but we must open our hearts to the power and influence of the Holy Spirit. We want Satan's darkness to be shut out, and the light of Heaven to flow in. We want to become so sensitive to holy influences, that the lightest whisper of Jesus will move our souls, till he is in us, and we in him, living by the faith of the Son of God. ST March 23, 1888, par. 12

We need to be refined, cleansed from all earthliness, till we reflect the image of our Saviour, and become “partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” Then we shall delight to do the will of God, and Christ can own us before the Father and before the holy angels as those who abide in him, and he will not be ashamed to call us brethren. But we shall not boast of our holiness. As we have clearer views of Christ's spotless and infinite purity, we shall feel as did Daniel, when he beheld the glory of the Lord, and said, “My comeliness was turned in me into corruption.” We cannot say, “I am sinless,” till this vile body is changed and fashioned like unto His glorious body. But if we constantly seek to follow Jesus, the blessed hope is ours of standing before the throne of God without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; complete in Christ, robed in his righteousness and perfection. ST March 23, 1888, par. 13