The Review and Herald

1577/1902

December 24, 1908

Grace and Faith the Gifts of God

EGW

The grace of Christ and his righteousness are offered to men as a free gift. The apostle Paul, writing by the Holy Spirit, says: “God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved), and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” RH December 24, 1908, par. 1

The thought that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, not because of any merit on our part, but as a free gift from God, is a precious thought. The enemy of God and man is not willing that this truth should be clearly presented; for he knows that if the people receive it fully, his power will be broken. If he can control minds, so that doubt and unbelief and darkness shall compose the experience of those who claim to be the children of God, he can overcome them with temptation. The simple faith that takes God at his word should be encouraged. God's people must have that faith which will lay hold of divine power; “for by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” Those who believe that God for Christ's sake has forgiven their sins should not, through temptation, fail to press on to fight the good fight of faith. Their faith should grow stronger until their Christian life, as well as their words, shall declare, “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” RH December 24, 1908, par. 2

Faith is trusting God,—believing that he loves us, and knows best what is for our good. Thus instead of our own way, it leads us to choose his way. In place of our ignorance, it accepts his wisdom; in place of our weakness, his strength; in place of our sinfulness, his righteousness. Our lives, ourselves, are already his; faith acknowledges his ownership and accepts its blessing. Truth, uprightness, purity, have been pointed out as secrets of life's success. It is faith that puts us in possession of these principles. Every good impulse or aspiration is the gift of God; faith receives from God the life that alone can produce true growth and efficiency. RH December 24, 1908, par. 3

How to exercise faith should be made very plain. To every promise of God there are conditions. If we are willing to do his will, all his strength is ours. Whatever gift he promises is in the promise itself. “The seed is the word of God.” As surely as the oak is in the acorn, so surely is the gift of God in his promise. If we receive the promise, we have the gift. RH December 24, 1908, par. 4

Faith that enables us to receive God's gifts, is itself a gift, of which some measure is imparted to every human being. It grows as it is exercised in appropriating the Word of God. In order to strengthen faith, we must often bring it in contact with the Word. RH December 24, 1908, par. 5

How often those who trusted the Word of God, though in themselves utterly helpless, have withstood the power of the whole world,—Enoch, pure in heart, holy in life, holding fast his faith in the triumph of righteousness, against a corrupt and scoffing generation; Noah and his household against the men of his time, men of the greatest physical and mental strength and the most debased in morals; the children of Israel at the Red Sea, a helpless, terrified multitude of slaves, against the mightiest army of the mightiest nation on the globe; David, a shepherd lad, having God's promise of the throne, against Saul, the established monarch, bent on holding fast his power; Shadrach and his companions in the fire, against Nebuchadnezzar on the throne; Daniel among the lions, against his enemies in the high places of the kingdom; Jesus on the cross, against the Jewish priests and rulers forcing even the Roman governor to work their will; Paul in chains, led to a criminal's death, against Nero, the despot of the world's empire. RH December 24, 1908, par. 6

Such examples are not found in the Bible alone. They abound in every record of human progress. The Vaudois and the Huguenots, Wyclif and Huss, Jerome and Luther, Tyndale and Knox, Zinzendorf and Wesley, with multitudes of others, have witnessed to the power of God's Word against human power and policy in support of evil. These are the world's true noblemen. They are its royal line. RH December 24, 1908, par. 7

As the plan of redemption begins and ends with a gift, so it is to be carried forward. The same spirit of sacrifice which purchased salvation for us, will dwell in the hearts of all who become partakers of the heavenly gift. Says the apostle Peter: “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” Said Jesus to his disciples as he sent them forth, “Freely ye have received, freely give.” In him who is fully in sympathy with Christ, there can be nothing selfish or exclusive. He who drinks of the living water will find that it is “in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” The Spirit of Christ within him is like a spring welling up in the desert, flowing to refresh all, and making those who are ready to perish eager to drink of the water of life. It was the same spirit of love and self-sacrifice which dwelt in Christ that impelled the apostle Paul to his manifold labors. “I am debtor,” he says, “both to the Greeks, and to the barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.” “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” RH December 24, 1908, par. 8

Our Lord designed that his church should reflect to the world the fulness and sufficiency that we find in him. We are constantly receiving of God's bounty, and by imparting of the same we are to represent to the world the love and beneficence of Christ. While all heaven is astir, dispatching messengers to all parts of the earth to carry forward the work of redemption, the church of the living God are also to be colaborers with Jesus Christ. We are members of his mystical body. He is the head, controlling all the members of the body. Jesus himself, in his infinite mercy, is working on human hearts, effecting spiritual transformations so amazing that angels look on with astonishment and joy. The same unselfish love that characterizes the Master is seen in the character and life of his true followers. Christ expects that men will become partakers of his divine nature while in this world, thus not only reflecting his glory, to the praise of God, but illuminating the darkness of earth with the radiance of heaven. Thus will be fulfilled the words of Christ, “Ye are the light of the world.” RH December 24, 1908, par. 9

“We are laborers together with God,”—“stewards of the manifold grace of God.” The knowledge of God's grace, the truths of his Word, and temporal gifts as well,—time and means, talent and influence,—are all a trust from God to be employed to his glory and for the salvation of men. RH December 24, 1908, par. 10

Wherever there is an impulse of love and sympathy, wherever the heart reaches out to uplift and bless others, there is revealed the working of God's Holy Spirit. In the depths of heathenism, men who have no knowledge of the written law of God, who have never even heard the name of Christ, have been kind to his servants, protecting them at the risk of their own lives. Their acts show the working of a divine power. The Holy Spirit has implanted the grace of Christ in the heart of the savage, quickening his sympathies contrary to his nature, contrary to his education. The “Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” is shining in his soul; and this light, if heeded, will guide his feet to the kingdom of God. RH December 24, 1908, par. 11

No distinction on account of nationality, race, or caste, is recognized by God. He is the Maker of all mankind. All men are of one family by creation, and all are one through redemption. Christ came to demolish every wall of partition, to throw open every compartment of the temple, that every soul may have free access to God. His love is so broad, so deep, so full, that it penetrates everywhere. It lifts out of Satan's circle the poor souls who have been deluded by his deceptions. It places them within reach of the throne of God, the throne encircled by the rainbow of promise. In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free. All are brought nigh by his precious blood. RH December 24, 1908, par. 12