The Review and Herald

879/1902

May 4, 1897

Bible Religion

EGW

Bible religion is not a garment which can be put on and taken off at pleasure. It is an all-pervading influence, which leads us to be patient, self-denying followers of Christ, doing as he did, walking as he walked. “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.” “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward.... If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drouth, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” RH May 4, 1897, par. 1

“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.” If no one ever came under your notice who needed your sympathy, your words of compassion and pity, then you would be guiltless before God for failing to exercise these precious gifts; but every follower of Christ will find opportunity to show Christian kindness and love; and in so doing he will prove that he is a possessor of the religion of Jesus Christ. RH May 4, 1897, par. 2

This religion teaches us to exercise patience and long-suffering when brought into places where we receive treatment that is harsh and unjust. “He that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.” “Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that we should inherit a blessing.” “Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.... If ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled.” When Christ was reviled, he reviled not again. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth.” His religion brings with it a meek and quiet spirit. RH May 4, 1897, par. 3

“And to keep himself unspotted from the world.” The religion of Christ demands that we be distinct from the world, which has trampled the law of God underfoot. Said Christ: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.... He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.... He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.” “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.” Do you show that you love God supremely by rendering obedience to his commandments? If not, you are not “unspotted from the world.” Only the obedient will is accepted by God; and by constant reliance upon his power, we may gain strength to do his commandments. RH May 4, 1897, par. 4

There is constant need of patience, gentleness, self-denial, and self-sacrifice in the exercise of Bible religion. But if the word of God is made an abiding principle in our lives, everything with which we have to do, each word, each trivial act, will reveal that we are subject to Jesus Christ, that even our thoughts have been brought into captivity to him. If the word of God is received into the heart, it will empty the soul of self-sufficiency and self-dependence. Our lives will be a power for good, because the Holy Spirit will fill our minds with the things of God. The religion of Christ will be practised by us; for our wills are in perfect conformity to the will of God. RH May 4, 1897, par. 5

Some who profess to have true religion sadly neglect the guide-book given by God to point the way to heaven. They may read the Bible, but merely reading God's word, as one would read words traced by a human pen, will give only a superficial knowledge. Talking of the truth will not sanctify the receivers. They may profess to be working for God, when, were Christ among them, his voice would be heard, saying, “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.” Such cannot know what true religion means. RH May 4, 1897, par. 6

“The words that I speak unto you,” said Christ, “they are spirit, and they are life.” Jeremiah testifies to the word of God, saying, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart.” There is divine healing in God's word, which the so-called wise and prudent cannot experience, but which is revealed to babes. “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” If this word is enshrined in the heart, it becomes the treasure-house of the mind, from which we bring forth things new and old. We no longer find pleasure in thinking of the common things of earth, but say, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” RH May 4, 1897, par. 7

“Search the Scriptures.” No other book will give you such pure, elevating, ennobling thoughts; from no other book can you obtain a deep, religious experience. When you devote time to self-examination, to humble prayer, to earnest study of God's word, the holy Spirit is near to apply the truth to your heart. As you feed upon the heavenly manna, you will find comfort and joy, and will be inspired to tell others of the wonderful experience you have received. RH May 4, 1897, par. 8

The Bible, and the Bible alone, is to be the rule of our faith. It is a leaf from the tree of life, and by eating it, by receiving it into our minds, we shall grow strong to do the will of God. By our Christlike characters we shall show that we believe the word, that we cleave to the Bible as the only guide to heaven. So shall we be living epistles, known and read of all men, bearing a living testimony to the power of true religion. RH May 4, 1897, par. 9

If we do not receive the religion of Christ by feeding upon the word of God, we shall not be entitled to an entrance into the city of God. Having lived on earthly food, having educated our tastes to love worldly things, we would not be fitted for the heavenly courts; we could not appreciate the pure, heavenly current that circulates in heaven. The voices of the angels and the music of their harps would not satisfy us. The science of heaven would be as an enigma to our minds. We need to hunger and thirst for the righteousness of Christ; we need to be molded and fashioned by the transforming influence of his grace, that we may be fitted for the society of heavenly angels. RH May 4, 1897, par. 10

Of ourselves, we can neither obtain nor practise the religion of Christ; for our hearts are deceitful above all things; but Jesus Christ, the great physician of souls, who, with unerring skill, can read the heart of man better than he himself can, has shown us how we may be cleansed from sin. “My grace is sufficient for thee,” he says to those who mourn their inefficiency. “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Every burden is considered by the one who bids us follow him, before it is placed upon our shoulders. To every tried, tempted soul, Christ says, I am able to strengthen you for the duties of the Christian life. Looking unto Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith, we shall catch the light of his countenance, reflect his image, and grow up unto the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. Our religion will be attractive, because it will possess the fragrance of the righteousness of Christ. We shall be happy; for our spiritual meat and drink will be to us righteousness and peace and joy. RH May 4, 1897, par. 11

Jesus says, “Without me ye can do nothing.” Living in Christ, adhering to Christ, supported by Christ, drawing nourishment from Christ, we bear fruit after the similitude of Christ. We live and move in him; we are one with him and one with the Father. The name of Christ is glorified in the believing child of God. This is Bible religion. RH May 4, 1897, par. 12