The Review and Herald

974/1902

February 14, 1899

The Truth as It Is in Jesus—No. 1

EGW

The word of God is to be our spiritual food. “I am the bread of life,” Christ said; “he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” The world is perishing for want of pure, unadulterated truth. Christ is the truth. His words are truth, and they have a deeper significance than appears on the surface, and a value beyond their unpretending appearance. Minds that are quickened by the Holy Spirit will discern the value of these words. When our eyes are anointed with the holy eye-salve, we shall be able to detect the precious gems of truth, even though they may be buried beneath the surface. RH February 14, 1899, par. 1

Truth is delicate, refined, elevated. When it molds the character, the soul grows under its divine influence. Every day the truth is to be received into the heart. Thus we eat Christ's words, which he declares are spirit and life. The acceptance of truth will make every receiver a child of God, an heir of heaven. Truth that is cherished in the heart is not a cold, dead letter, but a living power. RH February 14, 1899, par. 2

Truth is sacred, divine. It is stronger and more powerful than anything else in the formation of a character after the likeness of Christ. In it there is fulness of joy. When it is cherished in the heart, the love of Christ is preferred to the love of any human being. This is Christianity. This is the love of God in the soul. Thus pure, unadulterated truth occupies the citadel of the being. The words are fulfilled, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.” There is a nobleness in the life of the one who lives and works under the vivifying influence of the truth. RH February 14, 1899, par. 3

It is needful for all who are working in the cause of God to ponder these things, that they may guard against self-sufficiency. The Lord is dishonored when those who profess to serve him reveal a character that is a denial of their faith. We are not to trust in self; for the Lord leaves those who are self-sufficient to their own human wisdom. All desire for self-exaltation places the human agent where the Holy Spirit can not work with him. In no case can the Holy Spirit co-operate with the methods and plans of self-sufficient men. It is not for any to seek to be great preachers, wonderful evangelists. All who believe the truth, who understand the dignity and elevated character of the message they bear, will hide in Christ, realizing that their security and efficiency come from God. They will not live selfish lives; for the truth is elevating, refining, and sanctifying in its influence. RH February 14, 1899, par. 4

I know, and am afraid as I realize, that with hundreds religion is a cold, formal thing. Many professed Christians will lose the eternal life that is within the reach of all. I can not forbear to tell you in the name of the Lord that you are not on safe ground unless the truth teaches you your danger, bringing you every day closer to Christ in character. Many poor souls are puffed up with pride and self-importance. If they do not change this position, they will be tempted still more strongly to display their supposed qualifications and powers. Every provision has been made for them, but they have no hungering nor thirsting after righteousness. There is no room in the heart for the Spirit of God. RH February 14, 1899, par. 5

Many are supposed to be converted who will not stand the stress of trial and temptation. Under difficulty the test of God's word shows them to be faithless, envious, jealous, full of evil-surmisings. Many, many, are stony-ground hearers. They have no depth of spiritual experience. They do not apply the truth to the heart and conscience. Self, with all its unsanctified elements, is alive, revealing attributes that strengthen evil instead of repressing it. There is a lack of pure-toned piety; and this lack makes them weaklings in the army of the Lord, when they might be giants if they were but willing to be truly converted. RH February 14, 1899, par. 6

Our lack of faith and the absence of the love and respect due to all the children of God, detract from our influence, and make our labors of none effect. When the power of the Holy Spirit is appreciated and felt in the heart, far less of self will be exhibited, and far more of the feeling of human brotherhood will be revealed. Our part is not to exhibit self, but to let the Holy Spirit work in us. Thus, self-deceived men and women may be rescued from delusion. RH February 14, 1899, par. 7

All, high or low, if they are unconverted, are on one common platform. Men may turn from one doctrine to another. This is being done, and will be done. Papists may change from Catholicism to Protestantism; yet they may know nothing of the meaning of the words, “A new heart also will I give you.” Accepting new theories, and uniting with a church, do not bring new life to any one, even though the church with which he unites may be established on the true foundation. Connection with a church does not take the place of conversion. To subscribe the name to a church creed is not of the least value to any one if the heart is not truly changed. RH February 14, 1899, par. 8

This question is a serious one, and its meaning should be fully realized. Men may be church-members, and may apparently work earnestly, performing a round of duties from year to year, and yet be unconverted. They may write in defense of Christianity, and yet be unconverted. A man may preach pleasing, entertaining sermons, yet be far from Christ as regards religious experience. He may be exalted to the pinnacle of human greatness, yet never have experienced the inward work of grace that transforms the character. Such a one is deceived by his connection and familiarity with the sacred truths of the gospel, which have reached the intellect, but have not been brought into the inner sanctuary of the soul. RH February 14, 1899, par. 9

We must have more than an intellectual belief in the truth. Many of the Jews were convinced that Jesus was the Son of God, but they were too proud and ambitious to surrender. They decided to resist the truth, and they maintained their opposition. They did not receive into the heart the truth as it is in Jesus. When truth is held as truth only by the conscience, when the heart is not stimulated and made receptive, only the mind is affected. But when the truth is received as truth by the heart, it has passed through the conscience, and has captivated the soul with its pure principles. It is placed in the heart by the Holy Spirit, who reveals its beauty to the mind, that its transforming power may be seen in the character. RH February 14, 1899, par. 10

Unless a man is renewed in the spirit of his mind by the power of the Holy Spirit, he will become restless and dissatisfied, because he has not died to self. Only in Christ can we find true rest. “Come unto me,” he cried, “all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” And again he says: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” “For without me ye can do nothing.” Without Christ we can do nothing correctly, any more than could Cain. Of what advantage is any system of religion to one who has not been transformed in character by the Holy Spirit's power?—It is saying without doing; it is a profession of faith without works. RH February 14, 1899, par. 11

O that all who shall read these lines would search their hearts as with a lighted candle, and define, if they can, what true conversion is. The Lord never created man to lord it over his fellow man. This propensity has been indulged to the wreck and ruin of humanity. The souls of those who have indulged themselves in this are cast in a mold that Satan himself has made to fashion their characters. Every soul carries his credentials with him. By his actions he shows whether he is under the power of the Holy Spirit, or whether he is striving to climb over his fellow men to rule or to ruin. RH February 14, 1899, par. 12

With the great truth we have been privileged to receive, we should, and under the Holy Spirit's power we could, become living channels of light. We could then approach the mercy-seat; and seeing the bow of promise, kneel with contrite hearts, and seek the kingdom of heaven with a spiritual violence that would bring its own reward. We would take it by force, as did Jacob. Then our message would be the power of God unto salvation. Our supplications would be full of earnestness, full of a sense of our great need; and we would not be denied. The truth would be expressed by life and character, and by lips touched with the living coal from off God's altar. When this experience is ours, we shall be lifted out of our poor, cheap selves, that we have cherished so tenderly. We shall empty our hearts of the corroding power of selfishness, and shall be filled with praise and gratitude to God. We shall magnify the Lord, the God of all grace, who has magnified Christ. And he will reveal his power through us, making us as sharp sickles in the harvest-field. RH February 14, 1899, par. 13

God calls upon his people to reveal him. Shall the world manifest principles of integrity that the church does not maintain? Shall a selfish ambition to be first be shown by the followers of Christ? Shall not the principles cherished by them be unselfish, laid upon the true foundation, even Christ Jesus? What material shall we bring to this precious foundation, that there may no longer be antagonism but unity in the church? Shall we build with worthless material,—wood, hay, stubble? Shall we not rather bring the most precious material,—gold, silver, precious stones? Shall we not distinguish sharply between the chaff and the wheat? Shall we not realize that we must receive the Holy Spirit in our hearts, that it may mold and fashion the practical life? Shall we not strive to discern the meaning of the atonement of Christ? RH February 14, 1899, par. 14

We are living in perilous times. In the fear of God I tell you that the true exposition of the Scriptures is necessary for the correct moral development of our characters. When mind and heart are controlled by the Holy Spirit, when self is dead, the truth is capable of constant expansion and development. When the truth as it is in Jesus molds our characters, it will be seen to be truth indeed. As it is contemplated by the believer, it will grow brighter, shining with its original beauty. It will increase in value, quickening and vivifying the mind, and subduing selfish, unchristlike coarseness of character. It will elevate our aspirations, enabling us to reach the perfect standard of holiness. RH February 14, 1899, par. 15