The Review and Herald

1083/1902

August 28, 1900

“Partakers of the Divine Nature”

EGW

“Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” RH August 28, 1900, par. 1

These words present before the Christian the privileges brought within his reach through the sacrifice of the Son of God. The promises are full and broad and deep. They encourage our faith; for has not God pledged his word to combine his divine power with our human efforts, that we may overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony? While Satan is playing the game of life for the souls of men, precious encouragement is given to the one who seeks to do God's will. “Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me,” God says, “and he shall make peace with me.” RH August 28, 1900, par. 2

Man has the assurance that he can become a partaker of the divine nature, even as Christ became a partaker of human nature. In Christ God pledges himself to come under obligation to mankind, if man will comply with the conditions. “Take my yoke upon you,” he says, “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.” God purposes to yoke up with human instrumentalities. This must be a work of co-operation; for how can two walk together, except they be agreed? Never did an earthly parent pity and love his children as our Heavenly Father pities and yearns for those who strive for the overcomer's reward. Promises of his love and his grace could not be more abundant. And this that we might be “partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” RH August 28, 1900, par. 3

Personal piety bears its testimony in a wise and unreserved co-operation with divine principles. The apostle Peter writes: “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.... For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” RH August 28, 1900, par. 4

“Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: which in time past were not a people, but now are the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conscience honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evil-doers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” RH August 28, 1900, par. 5

“The elders which are among you I exhort,” Peter continues, “who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory which shall be revealed: feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” RH August 28, 1900, par. 6

These directions to the elders of the church are to be heeded. If God, the great Master worker, is with his servants, they will reveal this fact in their daily conduct. Among those who have the oversight of the flock of God are men who bear the stamp of defective characters. They are not walking with Christ. Their piety is not sound and healthful; it is of a cheap order. These need to learn what constitutes true religion. Religion is not a patchwork concern, which makes everything of the Christian's name, and in which self is personified. A man's religion must be founded on the word of God. Practiced in the home life, and exemplified in the church, it will constitute him a laborer together with God. RH August 28, 1900, par. 7

The efficiency of any church lies in the willingness of its members to learn. Upon the love and harmonious action of church-members depend their power for winning souls to Christ. Therefore cherish love and confidence; for this will give you moral strength. Those who do not make the kingdom of God their first consideration soon lose God out of their experience; for he is the great worker. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” he says, “for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” “Ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” Let the transforming energies of the Holy Spirit into the temple of the soul. RH August 28, 1900, par. 8

In failing to co-operate with God, the church has lost her first love. Very many of God's professed people today do not love God supremely and their neighbors as themselves. The prayer of Christ for unity among his followers is not lived out. The principles that Christ carried into his life and work must be practiced. God has given dignity to men by giving his Son to save them. Christ allied himself to humanity that he might make it possible for humanity to ally itself with divine power, that man might love his fellow man with the love wherewith Christ has loved him. Christ calls upon men to exercise the same spirit of forgiveness, the same tender spirit of sympathy and love, which he has revealed for us. This is a debt that every man enlightened by the Spirit of God and converted through the truth owes to every other man with whom he comes in contact, be he friend or foe, acquaintance or stranger. RH August 28, 1900, par. 9

Jesus is inviting all who will co-operate with him. A great work is to be done, and God calls the willing ones to come out from among those who will not take their stand by the side of Christ. Who will co-operate with the Captain of our salvation? A practical religion is the life and power of the church. The only way for the church to increase in efficiency is for the members to grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. Then will their light shine in clear, bright rays to those who have not a knowledge of the truth. Then work, yes, work with all your powers, for the perishing souls around you. And as you work, pray. God is always at your right hand, proffering you his omnipotent power. Lift up the standard higher and still higher. Let your glad cry be, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” The Captain of the Lord's host has gone before you. Then press on after your leader. Strike the foe like men who have learned of Christ. Handle his weapon, “It is written.” Thus you can work with Christ, and even your thoughts will be brought into captivity to his will. RH August 28, 1900, par. 10

As we work in Christ's lines, God will break down the partition walls. He will widen before us the circle of our influence. Leading us to the mount of Beatitudes, he will strengthen our vision by presenting before us truths of the greatest importance. All territorial lines, all man-made distinctions, disappear before his teaching. Our vision takes in sinful, suffering humanity in the regions beyond. God wishes us to learn deeper lessons. He desires to lead us to greater heights, to educate us to love and obey him. He wishes to place us where we can use the talents he has given us. He is giving us opportunities to impart grace, that he may refill us with increased grace. It is by working in Christ's lines that we become laborers together with God. Do not fail nor be discouraged in the work. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” God's promise is immutable. The unfailing God has encouraged us to ask, assuring us that he will establish his word. Hope and faith will increase as the agent of God works with all the talents that God has provided. RH August 28, 1900, par. 11

When our intrusted capabilities are allowed to lie unimproved, God's vineyard is deprived of the labor it should have. We are to obey the command, “As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” This is a duty, broad and deep, to be brought into our practical lives, one which, under God's divine working, will be a convincing power to the world. Go, laborers, go and work in humble ways to bring souls to the truth. The Lord will open the way before you. In the great day of reckoning, the slothful servant will be dealt with according to the work he might have done by putting his talents to use. Your one talent improved will gain another talent, and those two talents will gain other two. In a faithful discharge of your duty, you will acquire increased ability, tact, knowledge, and experience. RH August 28, 1900, par. 12

Had there been nothing in the world to work at cross-purposes with us, our patience, forbearance, gentleness, meekness, and long-suffering would not have been called into action. The more these graces are exercised, the more they will be increased and strengthened. The more we deal our temporal bread to the hungry, the oftener we clothe the naked, visit the sick, and relieve the fatherless and the widow in their affliction, the more decidedly shall we realize the blessing of God. RH August 28, 1900, par. 13

Every believer who takes the yoke of Christ pledges himself—soul, body, and spirit—to do God's work in self-denial and self-sacrifice. He is a partaker of Christ's joys and of his sufferings. He is imbued with his courage. The obedience that God required of Adam in Eden will be the obedience he will render to all the commandments of God. From the first hour of his belief in Christ as his personal Saviour, all his influence will be under contribution to God. He is Christ's purchased possession, and his physical, mental, and moral powers are to be constantly increasing in adaptability for the work of God. RH August 28, 1900, par. 14

Those standing under Christ's banners are to be united in the work. They are to be of one mind, of one judgment. As there is to be one Shepherd of the sheep, so there is to be one flock. Union with Christ brings man back to his allegiance to his Creator. It implants in his mind a love for God and for his holy law. The person who is one with Christ prays, and watches unto prayer, that he may have transcribed in his heart and reflected in his life the righteousness of God. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, ... full of grace and truth.... And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.” Upon this all-perfect pattern he fixes his eye; and with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, he is changed into the same image from glory to glory, “even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” RH August 28, 1900, par. 15