The Signs of the Times


February 24, 1890

Bible Religion


The religion of the Bible comprises not only faith but works. The Christian is not simply to believe on Christ, but to do the will of God. Genuine love to God will open the heart, and make a man liberal and charitable. He will know what it means to hunger and thirst after righteousness, and will continually desire that the power and grace of Christ shall be expressed in his life, that glory may redound to God. Every opportunity to do good to those for whom Christ died will be sought out and improved. The love of God will transform the character, and fashion it after the lovely character of Christ. The apostle says, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” ST February 24, 1890, par. 1

In doing the works of Christ, in imitating his life, in feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, in being eyes to the blind, feet to the lame, in manifesting compassion to the widow and the fatherless, we shall be manifesting the characteristics of true religion. The doing of the works of Christ will not bring remorse. If we carry out the principles of God's love for Christ's sake, we shall know genuine happiness and peace. Ambition, covetousness, vanity, inordinate affection, malice, revenge, and envy, carry with them a weight of woe. The exercise of evil passions sows a harvest after their kind that will bring no pleasure to reap. God declares that there is no peace to the wicked, and without repose of mind there can be no true happiness. ST February 24, 1890, par. 2

Everyone who is a new creature in Christ Jesus will have new and elevated motives of action, for the Spirit of Christ within will prompt his deeds. To love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves is genuine sanctification. Pride will be expelled from the sanctified heart, and with all lowliness of mind we shall esteem others better than ourselves. To esteem others better than themselves is a great trial to those who are naturally self-inflated. There are many who despise those who have had advantages inferior to their own, in birth or education. They exalt their own judgment and experience, and look disparagingly upon those who have had to battle with greater obstacles. But could they see as God sees, they would have a different estimation both of themselves and of those whom they think inferior. Every step of progress that is made by those who have to battle for advancement, wins the approval of God, and we should take heed that we despise not one of these little ones, for their angels do always behold the face of the Father. ST February 24, 1890, par. 3

Those who are attaining to holiness, are daily growing in love, in meekness, in patience, and in loveliness of character. As faith increases, holiness grows in the soul. As the knowledge of God is enlarged, love is increased, because God is love. The love of God is unlike the carnal attribute which fastens the mind upon the human, and leads men to neglect the service of God. There are many who have only a kind of half-way religion. At times they appear to be humble, to esteem others better than themselves; and again self rises, and their meekness is broken by impatience. Their love for God is not equal to their love for themselves, and love for their neighbor is fitful, mingled with envy, evil surmising, and jealousy. Those who are in this condition have never fully submitted their will to God's will. They should consider the example and spirit of the Captain of their salvation. He said, “I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me.” When we have the mind of Christ, we shall love and work as Christ has loved and worked. When the love of Christ is in the heart, it exerts a controlling influence over the thoughts and affections. ST February 24, 1890, par. 4

Whatever may be our condition or position in life, it is our privilege to have the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. Faith that produces love to God and love to our neighbor is true faith. This faith will lead to genuine sanctification. It will increase our reverence for sacred things. The name of God will not be used carelessly. It is dishonoring God to speak of him as though he were on a level with finite man. We should speak with reverence the sacred name of Christ, for, although he humbled himself and became obedient to the death of the cross, yet he thought it not robbery to be equal with God. Let us take this precious name upon our lips with profound reverence. Some have allowed their feelings to control their judgment, in meetings for worship, and have indulged in words and attitudes that have not been in harmony with the solemn worship of God. We have heard men shout and jump, and pound the desk, and use vain repetition, and this they thought was worship to God. But it was not according to the direction or will of God. All that is coarse in attitude or word makes the service of Christ a matter of ridicule, and brings confusion into the house and worship of God. True religion is not to be found in noise, in contortion of the body, which profiteth little, but it is made manifest in good works, and in the holy temper of the soul. Genuine sanctification will make a man calm and sensible. He will be humble, gentle, kind, forbearing, full of love,—this is the fruit of sanctification. Those who possess these graces of the spirit will alone be counted worthy of eternal life. ST February 24, 1890, par. 5

So deceitful is the human heart, so skillfully do the cherished passions justify themselves, that many will pass on in deception, satisfied with counterfeit religion and fraudulent sanctification, until probation closes, and the harvest is past. ST February 24, 1890, par. 6

One of the chief characteristics of true love is humility. The apostle says: “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” The man who has true zeal for God will be distrustful of self, and little in his own eyes. Love teaches us to be meek as well as lowly. Sanctified love will enable us to exhibit the grace of patience; it will help us to restrain impetuosity and fretfulness, so that we shall repine at nothing. Love to God and our neighbor will melt away all hatred, bitterness, wrath, malice, prejudice, envy, and evil surmising. ST February 24, 1890, par. 7

A Christian once said that when he reached heaven he expected to meet with three causes of wonder. He would wonder to find some that he did not expect to see there. He would wonder not to see some that he expected to meet, and, lastly, he would wonder most to find so unworthy a sinner as himself in the Paradise of God. Many who have stood in high places as Christians upon earth, will not be found with the happy throng that shall surround the throne. Those who have had knowledge and talent, and yet have delighted in controversy and unholy strife, will not have a place with the redeemed. Their hearts were not in harmony with the meekness and self-denial of Christ. They desired to do some great work, that they might be admired and flattered by men, but their names were not written in the Lamb's book of life. “I know you not,” are the sad words that Christ addresses to such. But those whose lives were made beautiful by little acts of kindness, by tender words of affection and sympathy, whose hearts recoiled from strife and contention, who never did any great work in order to be lauded of men, these are found recorded in the Lamb's book of life. Though the world counted them as insignificant, they are approved of God before the assembled universe. They are astonished to hear the word, from the lips of the divine Master, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” ST February 24, 1890, par. 8

I would impress upon all Christians that patience, resignation, humility, and self-control are the fruits of real faith and love, fruits of true zeal for God. But impatience, fretfulness, discontent, and all manner of unkindness, are revealings of an unsanctified heart. What mischief false zeal has wrought in the church. Bigotry, love of one's own opinion and way, has been called zeal for God, but it is of the earth, earthy. The Scripture says, “It is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing.” We are to serve the Lord with the whole heart, might, mind, and strength. We are to walk faithfully in the path of his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Those who study carefully what God requires of them, and will carefully avoid what he has forbidden, will always do zealously what he has enjoined. ST February 24, 1890, par. 9