The Review and Herald

1150/1902

September 3, 1901

Obedience the Fruit of Union With Christ—No. 2

EGW

Those who are truly sanctified by a knowledge of God will render perfect obedience to God's requirements. They will understand for themselves what saith the Scriptures, and will present themselves as loyal children of God before their Maker. But many who claim sanctification refuse to comply with the conditions upon which the promises are made, and yet they presume to expect the blessing that God has promised to the obedient. Their hearts are at enmity with the law of God, and they are self-deceived and self-righteous. Unconsciously they yield to the suggestions of the first great rebel, who led Adam and Eve to transgress the holy law of Jehovah. They are breakers of God's law, and yet claim that they are sanctified and made perfect, and thus they are false lights in the world. Many others are deceived by their pretensions, and are led to practice the same iniquity that they do, to show the same disregard for God's law, and to teach others that they may transgress with impunity. This was the very attitude and work of Satan in bringing sin into our world, and through his agents he still continues his work of deception upon human minds, repeating the same story by which he led Adam and Eve to disregard the word of God, and to fail to bear the single test that God put upon them. RH September 3, 1901, par. 1

But that which God required of Adam in paradise before the fall, He requires in this age of the world from those who would follow Him,—perfect obedience to His law. But righteousness without a blemish can be obtained only through the imputed righteousness of Christ. Through the provision that God has made for the forgiveness and restoration of sinners, the same requirements may be fulfilled by men today that were given to Adam in Eden. RH September 3, 1901, par. 2

It was the transgression of the law that resulted in sin, sorrow, and death. Satan declared that he would prove to the worlds which God has created, and to the heavenly intelligences, that it was an impossibility to keep the law of God. When Adam yielded to the temptation of the enemy, and fell from his high and holy estate, Satan and his angels exulted. But from the throne of God a voice was heard speaking words of mysterious import. “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” When man fell, Christ announced His purpose of becoming man's substitute and surety. Who was He? Isaiah says of Him, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” John says of Him, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.” RH September 3, 1901, par. 3

“God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” When we accept God's free gift, we become partakers of the righteousness of Christ, and are complete in Him. But those who do not obey God's law, make it manifest that they have not accepted the righteousness of Christ. They may claim sanctification, but it is of a spurious character; for they array themselves against the plainest Thus saith the Lord, and by their actions deny the Lord who bought them. RH September 3, 1901, par. 4

Satan claimed to be sanctified, and exalted himself above God even in the courts of heaven. So great was his deceptive power that he corrupted a large number of angels, and enlisted their sympathy in his selfish interest. When he tempted Christ in the wilderness, he claimed that he was sanctified, that he was a pure angel from the heavenly courts; but Jesus was not deceived by his pretensions, and neither will those be deceived who live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. God will not accept a willfully imperfect service. Those who claim to be sanctified, and yet turn away their ears from hearing the law, prove themselves to be the children of disobedience, whose carnal hearts are not subject to the law of God, and neither indeed can be. RH September 3, 1901, par. 5

From Genesis to Revelation the conditions upon which eternal life is promised, are made plain. God requires that those who shall enter heaven shall be without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. Keep my commandments and live, is the requirement of God. But one says, “My conscience does not condemn me in not keeping the commandments of God.” But in the word of God we read that there are good and bad consciences and the fact that your conscience does not condemn you in not keeping the law of God, does not prove that you are uncondemned in His sight. Take your conscience to the word of God, and see if your life and character are in accordance with the standard of righteousness which God has there revealed. You can then determine whether or not you have an intelligent faith, and what manner of conscience is yours. The conscience of man cannot be trusted unless it is under the influence of divine grace. Satan takes advantage of an unenlightened conscience, and thereby leads men into all manner of delusions because they have not made the word of God their counselor. Many have invented a gospel of their own in the same manner as they have substituted a law of their own for God's law. The gospel of Jesus Christ gives full recognition to the law of God, and declares the authority of God supreme. The gospel of Christ requires penitence for sin; and sin is the transgression of the law. Paul, the great gospel preacher, declares, “I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” Repentance toward God is sorrow for sin, the transgression of the law of God. The sinner sees himself condemned by the holy law, and as there is no saving quality in law to save the transgressor of law, he must not only exercise repentance toward God, but have faith in Jesus Christ, his sacrifice, surety, and mediator. Through the merits of Christ the sinner may claim the pardon of God. RH September 3, 1901, par. 6

Christ is continually drawing men to himself. He continues to give the gracious invitation for the weary and the heavy laden to come unto Him and find rest unto their souls. He says, “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Before one decides to come to Christ, the Holy Spirit is drawing him unto the Saviour. Many have stumbled over the way to come to Christ, and have not comprehended what it means to be converted, because they have not understood what is comprehended in repentance. As the sinner is convicted of sin, he is also attracted by the love and holiness of Christ; for Jesus is drawing him unto himself. No man can originate the repentance which is essential for the saving of the soul. He can no more bring himself to repentance than he can bring about his own conversion. Repentance is born in the heart by beholding the love of Christ, who gave His life to save the sinner. It is the love of God that softens the hardest hearts. RH September 3, 1901, par. 7

It is a mistake to think that you must come to repentance before you can come to Jesus. Come to Christ just as you are, and contemplate His love until your hard heart is broken. “A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” We may say that except the sinner repents of his sin, he cannot be forgiven; but while this is true, let him not put off coming to Christ until he has wrought himself up to a certain pitch of excited feeling, until he thinks his sorrow is of sufficient depth to merit forgiveness. Let the sinner come just as he is, and contemplate the love that has been bestowed upon him, all unworthy as he is; and the first thing he knows, he will realize that Christ's love has broken every barrier down, and that he exercises repentance which is not to be repented of. The sinner must go to Christ in order that he may be enabled to repent. It is the virtue that goes forth from Jesus which strengthens the purposes of the heart to turn away from sin and to cleave to that which is truth. It is Christ's virtue that makes repentance sincere and genuine. It has been stated that him whom Christ pardons He first makes penitent. Peter declares the source of repentance when he says, “Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” RH September 3, 1901, par. 8

When the sinner sees Jesus lifted up on the cross, dying that he might not perish but have everlasting life, he realizes something of the enormity of sin, and longs for pardon for all his transgressions, and for the favor of God. As the Holy Spirit impresses his mind, he prays most earnestly, and believes that if he asks, he shall receive. He presents the promise, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” He rejoices in the pardoning love of God; and his sincerity in the service of God, the reality of his conversion, is made manifest by the vigor of his endeavor to obey all God's commandments. The soul who has found the Lord will renounce every evil work, will cease to do evil and learn to do well, because Christ is formed within, the hope of glory. RH September 3, 1901, par. 9