The Review and Herald

836/1902

July 28, 1896

Conformity to the World

EGW

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communication hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” In the grand truths given in the Old and New Testament Scriptures, we hear the voice of God speaking in unmistakable language to the children of men: “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, ... and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” RH July 28, 1896, par. 1

Christians, whatever may be their field of labor, whatever part of the Lord's vineyard is assigned them, cannot be in conformity to the world. The world's ways are not God's ways. There must be no obliteration of the line of demarcation given us by Jesus Christ, to separate between Christians and the world, thus bringing down the truth to a common level, and dishonoring the God who has at an infinite sacrifice, sent his Son into the world. There must be no betrayal of holy trust on the part of any who profess to be children of God. RH July 28, 1896, par. 2

There is no safety for the child of God unless he daily receives a new and fresh experience in looking unto Jesus. By beholding him day by day, he will reflect his image, and thus represent his divine attributes. His only safety lies in daily placing himself under the guidance of God's word, in daily bringing his course of action to the test inquiry, “Is this the way of the Lord?” A divine life will represent Jesus Christ, and will be antagonistic to the customs, practises, and standards of the world. RH July 28, 1896, par. 3

We need, as Christians, to keep Jesus ever before us, looking unto him, the “author and finisher of our faith.” Every soul who is seeking to become a joint heir with Jesus Christ must consider that his special work during this testing period is to study the character of Christ, and conform to that character. He cannot do this in his own strength; but through the abundant grace given of God, daily improvement will be made. Satan, on the one side, is striving to press you into his service; Christ, on the other, is seeking to win and draw you to himself. You cannot become victor over Satan's devices without fierce conflicts with inclination. Satan, striving for the mastery, is determined to conquer. Every faculty is to be strictly guarded and held loyal to God. This is the way of the Lord, to bring self under severe discipline, constantly keeping the eye fixed on Jesus. Through his grace, the striving one comes out of the conflict with temptation with clearer views, rejoicing in a new and elevated strength and power, because he makes the Lord “first, and last, and best in everything.” The religious life is simply abiding in Christ. RH July 28, 1896, par. 4

While many profess to be sons and daughters of God, in practice they ignore the example of the works and words of Christ. “It is my privilege,” they plainly say by their actions, “to act myself. I should be perfectly miserable if I could not act myself.” This is the religious current with the world; but it does not bear the heavenly indorsement. It is a deception, a delusion. Persons may, under certain influences of the moment, be full of ecstasies; for chords are touched whose vibrations are pleasing to the natural taste. But these persons will have to learn that this is not the religion of Jesus Christ. When the circumstances change which so elated them, the depression and want of stimulus is felt, as the drunkard feels the want of the stimulus of the intoxicating cup. To flash out brightly now and then under the praise of the world is not the religion of Jesus Christ. Science, so-called, human reason and poetry, cannot pass as revelation, although it is Satan's plan that these things shall become first in human minds. Those souls that have not realized that the follower of Christ must subordinate every power that has been bestowed upon him to the will of God, will be drawn into the net which Satan has so carefully woven for their inexperienced feet. They cannot see that it is required of them to bring every thought into captivity to Christ. This restraint is to them a galling yoke. The voice of God, speaking to them through his word, revealing what it means to be a child of God, an heir of heaven, to walk in the path cast up for the righteous, is first neglected, then despised, then assailed. Other voices than God's arrest their attention and engage their thoughts. They are found, in the place of conformity to the revealed will of God, opposed in heart and practice to his requirements. Unless these souls are willing to become as clay in the hands of the potter, to be molded into such vessels as God can use, they will always show a deformity of character, will always bear the marks of a vessel unto dishonor, because they refuse to be made vessels unto honor. They will never receive the finishing touch of immortality. Such characters would, in their deficiency, mar heaven. RH July 28, 1896, par. 5

As the professed people of God have been growing more and more into conformity with the world through various agencies which Satan has set in operation, it behooves Christ's faithful ministers to sound the alarm throughout all our churches. Their duty in this respect is expressed in this same epistle to the Corinthians, where the Lord places before us the true standard of the minister of Christ. He is to be a worker together with God. “Now then,” says Paul, “we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.” Having called the people to Christ, he is to be a shepherd of the flock, an example of good behavior. The work of the minister is not to be brought down to a low, earthy standard, shaped according to man's natural, unconverted heart. He is not to carry with him into the work his own spirit and deficiencies of character, but in all things he is to fulfill the word, representing before the people Jesus Christ as their pattern, unfolding before them the truth in its purity, and conforming his life to its holy principles. RH July 28, 1896, par. 6

God requires the training of the mental faculties. They need to be so cultivated that we can, if necessary, set the truth before the highest earthly powers to the glory of God. The converting power of God upon heart and character is also needed every day. Self-discipline must be carried on by every one who claims to be a child of God; for it is in this way that the mind and will are brought into subjection to the mind and will of God. Decided discipline in the cause of the Lord will accomplish more than eloquence and the most brilliant talents. An ordinary mind, well trained, will accomplish more and higher work than the most educated mind and the greatest talents, without self-control. RH July 28, 1896, par. 7

A mere profession of the truth is of no value. The soul that would become a partaker of the divine nature must grasp firmly the principles of truth, and personally appropriate and absorb the rich nourishment to be derived therefrom. In purpose and will, the human agent must co-operate with God. Self is to be corrected of all its defects. The vine that is trailing upon the ground, and clinging to the stumps and rubbish within its reach, must have its tendrils cut away from these earthly supports, and find its true support in entwining about God. RH July 28, 1896, par. 8

Much is said in the epistles of being sound in the faith. This should teach us the necessity of caution. We must not weave into our experience our own inclinations and strong traits of character. This will misrepresent the precious, elevating, ennobling principles of truth, and lead others astray. Soundness in the faith means more than many discern. It means to correct every error that exists in our thoughts and actions, lest we corrupt the word of God. RH July 28, 1896, par. 9

There are needed for this time well-balanced minds, healthy, wholesome Christians. Many of those who profess Christ have a sickly experience. They cannot bear anything unfavorable. They lose heart if they think they are in any way slighted or hurt, if their brethren have not been as tender with them as they think they should be. The Great Physician would, by his infinite skill, restore them to sound moral health; but the patient refuses to take the prescription he offers. These persons may apply the word of God to their case for a short time, but they do not become doers of that word. They soon come under influences which suit their natural tastes and counteract all they have gained. RH July 28, 1896, par. 10

Separated and consecrated to Jesus Christ, the soul finds joy and peace. Christ does not leave us in our weakness and inefficiency, but, gathering us in the arms of his mercy, binds us to his great heart of infinite love. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Here is Christ's work; will you, the human agent, co-operate with him? “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” RH July 28, 1896, par. 11