The Review and Herald

713/1902

March 27, 1894

Necessity of the Oil of Grace

EGW

The followers of Christ are to do the same work that Christ did when he was in the world. Isaiah prophesied of him, saying: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called Trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” RH March 27, 1894, par. 1

In the synagogue at Nazareth, Jesus opened this prophecy to the minds of the people. He announced the fact that he was fulfilling the words that the prophet had spoken. The words were definite in their specifications, so that there might be no excuse on the part of the people who claim to believe the Old Testament teaching, for cherishing unbelief in regard to Christ. God gave the Jews every opportunity and privilege to be called trees of the Lord, that he might be glorified. Jesus designed to make them as living water, as wells of salvation, to refresh and fertilize the world, that souls might be converted, and bring forth fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God. RH March 27, 1894, par. 2

How did the people to whom Christ announced his mission, receive the words he had spoken? Under the influence of the Spirit of God, conviction fastened upon their minds, and they witnessed to the gracious words that came from his lips. But Satan was not willing to let his captives go. They had long been bound under a misconception of the character of God, and he now worked with intense energy to fasten them in unbelief. Doubt sowed the seed of unbelief, and they repudiated Christ, refused his words, and closed the door of their heart to the gracious blessing he was ready to impart. Their hearts were filled with the spirit of Satan and his angels, and the people thrust him out of the synagogue, and would have cast him down from the side of the hill; but the angels of God preserved him, that he might do his appointed work. RH March 27, 1894, par. 3

The mission described by the prophet is the mission of every disciple of Christ. We are to practice the words of Christ, and present before others the covenant of grace, the righteousness of Christ. We are to make it manifest to the world that we have the oil of grace in our vessels in our lamps. The work of every representative of Christ, both in the ministry and among the laymen, is to tell of the great salvation brought to them as God's free gift. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” RH March 27, 1894, par. 4

The oil of grace gives to men the courage, and supplies to them the motives for doing every day the work that God appoints to them. The five foolish virgins had lamps (this means a knowledge of Scripture truth), but they had not the grace of Christ. Day by day they went through a round of ceremonies and external duties, but their service was lifeless, devoid of the righteousness of Christ. The Sun of Righteousness did not shine in their hearts and minds, and they had not the love of the truth which conforms to the life and character, the image and superscription, of Christ. The oil of grace was not mingled with their endeavors. Their religion was a dry husk without the true kernel. They held fast to forms of doctrines, but they were deceived in their Christian life, full of self-righteousness, and failing to learn lessons in the school of Christ, which, if practiced, would have made them wise unto salvation. RH March 27, 1894, par. 5

The Lord Jesus requires that every soul who claims to be a son or daughter of God, should not only depart from all iniquity, but be abundant in acts of charity, self-denial, and humility. The Lord has presented the working of a certain law of mind and action, that should warn us in regard to our work. He says: “Whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.” Those who do not improve upon their opportunities, who do not exercise the grace that God gives them, have less and less inclination to do so, and finally in a sleepy lethargy, lose that which they once possessed. They make no provision for the future time of need in gaining a large experience, in obtaining an increased knowledge of divine things, so that when trial and temptation come upon them, they may be able to stand. When persecution or temptation comes, this class lose their courage and faith, and their foundation is swept away, because they did not see the need of making their foundation sure. They did not rivet their souls to the eternal Rock. RH March 27, 1894, par. 6

It is simply that which is external that is represented by the lamp; but the lamp is worthless without oil. The inward and spiritual oil of the grace of Christ is to vivify the soul. Unless Christ transforms the character by his divine grace, there is no transformation, no living spring of faith. “And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep, and said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: and two olive-trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my Lord? Then the angel that talked with me ... answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” RH March 27, 1894, par. 7

The lamps are to impress upon the church the necessity of eternal vigilance as the price of safety. Devotion, watching, and prayer are not for a moment to be neglected. The Lord is coming a second time to our world, and there must be found in us a disposition to wait and watch for his appearing, lest coming suddenly he find us sleeping. All whom Christ has united in holy covenant with himself are to feel that it is not safe at any time to be without oil in their vessels. The warning Christ has given is for us, and we shall be found guilty before God if we do not take heed to it. “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” RH March 27, 1894, par. 8

Have we decided to make our dwelling-place upon the earth? Are we not strangers and pilgrims seeking a better country, even a heavenly? “Watch therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.... Therefore be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” RH March 27, 1894, par. 9

The coming of Christ will be as it were at midnight, when all are sleeping. It will be well for every one to have his accounts all straightened up before sunset. All his works should be right, all his dealings just, between himself and his fellow-men. All dishonesty, all sinful practices should be put far away. The oil of grace should be in our vessels with our lamps. There will be some at that late day who will have the appearance of being Christians, but their identity with Christ is only a deception. Sad indeed will be the condition of the soul who has had a form of godliness but has denied the power thereof; who has called Christ, Lord, Lord, and yet who has not his image and superscription. The foolish virgins flattered themselves that they would have mercy, that they would obtain an entrance into the marriage feast; but the Master answered their plea for admission with a stern refusal, saying, “I know you not.” “And the door was shut.” RH March 27, 1894, par. 10

The question is asked, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him?” “And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” RH March 27, 1894, par. 11

God graciously grants a day of probation, a time of test and trial. He gives the invitation: “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” If this invitation is disregarded, if the solemn scenes of the judgment make no impression upon the obdurate heart, if there is no repentance and confession and reformation, then the consequence will surely follow that fearfulness shall surprise the hypocrite. RH March 27, 1894, par. 12

Today the voice of mercy is calling, and Jesus is drawing men by the cords of his love; but the day will come when Jesus will put on the garments of vengeance, and those who have no oil in their vessels with their lamps, will be surprised and confounded in their destitution. The wickedness of the world is increasing every day, and when a certain line is reached, the register will be closed, and the account settled. There will be no more a sacrifice for sin. The Lord cometh. Long has mercy extended a hand of love, of patience and forbearance, toward a guilty world. The invitation has been given, “Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me.” But men have presumed upon his mercy and refused his grace. RH March 27, 1894, par. 13

Why has the Lord so long delayed his coming? The whole host of heaven is waiting to fulfil the last work for this lost world, and yet the work waits. It is because the few who profess to have the oil of grace in their vessels with their lamps, have not become burning and shining lights in the world. It is because missionaries are few. Many voices are saying, “My Lord delayeth his coming.” Have we no incentive to work? Does not death enter the doors of your neighbors and friends, telling you that your probation is fast hastening to its close? You are not sure of a day, therefore see to it that the oil of grace is not emptied out of your vessel. Let no one feel, “My mountain standeth sure. I am an old, experienced Christian.” Suppose that mortal sickness should come upon you in a moment, could you face eternal realities, and say, “It is well with my soul”? RH March 27, 1894, par. 14

In the judgment it will be revealed that those who slept and had not the oil of grace in their vessels with their lamps, who have gone on in careless indifference, in a self-satisfied state, in negligence of spiritual opportunities and privileges, have led others in the selfsame path, and have caused those whom they had no power to redeem, to imperil their eternal destiny at the cost of the soul's salvation. RH March 27, 1894, par. 15

Every week counts one week less, every day one day nearer to the appointed time of the judgment. Alas that so many have only a spasmodic religion,—a religion dependent upon feeling and governed by emotion. “He that endureth to the end shall be saved.” Then see that you have the oil of grace in your hearts. The possession of this will make every difference with you in the judgment. Those who say, Lord, Lord, and outwardly appear to rejoice in the Saviour, while they do not the works of Christ, are not what they appear to be, and unless they are truly converted, will be numbered with the foolish virgins. “This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” The Lord will not save men in disobedience. His perfection of character binds him to deal justly, and the penalty will certainly fall upon all who are found guilty of the transgression of the law in thought, word, or action. RH March 27, 1894, par. 16