The Signs of the Times


September 9, 1889

The Simplicity of Faith

[Afternoon talk at Chicago, April 6, 1889.]


“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” Matthew 7:7, 8. ST September 9, 1889, par. 1

There are many who do not understand the simplicity of faith. They make great efforts to understand how to exercise faith, and think they must have a transporting emotion, a joyful flight of feeling, or they have not faith. But if they had what they desire, it would not prove that they had faith. What is faith? It is simply taking God at his word; it is believing that God will do just as he has promised. We should be a far greater power of good than we now are, if we would comply with the conditions that God has laid down in his word, and trust him implicitly. It is our unbelief that brings us under the description the Spirit of God has given of the Laodicean church in its condition of lukewarmness. There is nothing more disgusting to our taste than tepid water, and from the use of this figure in describing our condition, we can understand how our want of faith and love, and our indifference, is regarded by the Lord. ST September 9, 1889, par. 2

All Heaven is looking upon us; we are a spectacle to the world,—to angels and to men. The angels expect a great deal more of us than we give, in view of what God has done for us. They have seen with amazement the infinite sacrifice that has been made by Christ to rescue us from the bondage of sin, and make it possible to elevate us through his own righteousness to a seat upon his throne. He has brought divine power within our reach through the merits of his blood. We may become partakers of the divine nature, and why should not Heaven look upon us with sorrow and disappointment to see that we are lukewarm in the service of God? We give our attention to the trivial affairs of earth, while the salvation of our souls is treated as a thing of secondary importance. God has given us power and ability to improve to the best account in his service. He has made it possible for us to lay hold of the arm of infinite power that we may be strong in his might. But with all these great gifts and superior privileges within our reach, why are we content to be inefficient in his service. We cannot work out our salvation unless we increase in faith and love. ST September 9, 1889, par. 3

A person will manifest all the faith he has. If he believes that we are really living in the last days, he will devote his time and talents to the service of God. He will not be satisfied to bury his capabilities in the earth, employing them to further the perishing interests of time. He will be seeking the power that God alone can give; and the matter of most importance to him will be to see that he has a living connection with Heaven, that he may do his duty to his fellow-men, and to his God. Day by day, and hour by hour, he will realize that he is to be a laborer together with God, a co-laborer with Jesus Christ. ST September 9, 1889, par. 4

All our powers are the gift of God. He has endowed us with reason, and he intends that we shall use this power that we may understand our situation and glorify him. If we use our abilities simply for the glorification of self, we are not fulfilling the will of God. God gave Nebuchadnezzar his reason, but the king used his ability to exalt himself. He walked about in the great city, and said, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?” He forgot the honor of God, and God removed his reason, and he was sent out to dwell with the beasts of the field, to eat grass as an ox. The relation of this experience of Nebuchadnezzar is to show us what a man will become if God removes his precious endowment of reason. God can take away the powers of the mind, and leave nothing in the breast of a man but the instinct of a beast of the field. ST September 9, 1889, par. 5

The Lord desires that we should do our best. He desires us to so exert the powers of mind that he has given us that we may reach the high standard of the law of God. He wants us to keep his law as the apple of our eye. Heaven is interested in every individual soul, because each one of us has been purchased by the precious blood of Christ. We are Christ's property. Says the apostle: “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? for ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” ST September 9, 1889, par. 6

Heaven is doing all that is possible to do, that we may obtain the victory, and work out our salvation while God is working in us to will and to do of his good pleasure. It is our privilege so to live that we may be elevated to the throne of God, that Christ may look upon the redeemed, and see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied. ST September 9, 1889, par. 7

Will the talents that God has given you here, glorify him in the world to come? It rests with you to decide. God has stated the conditions upon which you may be saved in his kingdom. Says the Saviour: “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” If you fulfill these conditions through the grace of Christ, you will behold the matchless charms of the King in his beauty, you will see the attractions of heaven, you will realize at last what is “the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” that will be given to the overcomer. Will you have the eternal riches that are reserved in heaven for those who are kept by the power of God through faith? This is the question that each one will have to decide for himself. ST September 9, 1889, par. 8

If we come to God, feeling our nothingness, feeling that we are helpless without Christ, feeling that we must have the power that God alone can give, we shall not be disappointed. Will God give us a stone if we ask for bread? No; he will satisfy our wants from his abundant fullness. Jesus has brought within our reach the power of earth and heaven. He has clothed his divinity with humanity. He came to our earth as a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, that we might know the blessing of endless joy in his everlasting kingdom. Ought we not to give to God all that he requires of us? If you have tasted the blessedness of peace and joy in believing, do your best to bring others to the fountain of living waters from which you have drunk. Lift up Jesus. His blood has bought us. He pleads in our behalf. It is Christ who will clothe us with his righteousness. ST September 9, 1889, par. 9