The Review and Herald

147/1902

August 28, 1879

Spiritual Life in the Church

EGW

The question is often asked, Why is there not more power in the church? why not more vital godliness? The reason is, the requirements of God's word are not complied with in verity and in truth; God is not loved supremely, and our neighbor as ourselves. This covers the entire ground. Upon these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Let these two requirements of God be obeyed explicitly, and there would be no discord in the church, no inharmonious notes in the family. With many the work is too superficial. Outward forms take the place of the inner work of grace. They are whited sepulchers,—beautiful without, as far as claims to piety and a profession of the truth are concerned, but within full of uncleanness. The theory of the truth has converted the head, but the soul temple has not been cleansed from its idols. RH August 28, 1879, Art. B, par. 1

When the commandment came home to the mind and heart of Paul, he says, “Sin revived and I died.” In these days of pretense there are many sham conversions. True conviction of sin, real heart sorrow because of wickedness, death to self, the daily overcoming of defects of character, and the new birth,—these, represented as old things, Paul says had passed away, and all things had become new. Such a work many know nothing of. They grafted the truth into their natural hearts, and then went on as before, manifesting the same unhappy traits of character. What is now needed is the plain testimony borne in love from lips touched with living fire. RH August 28, 1879, Art. B, par. 2

Church-members do not show that living connection with God that they must have in order to win souls from darkness to light. Make the tree good, and good fruit will be the result. The work of the Spirit of God upon the heart is essential to godliness. It must be received into the hearts of those who accept the truth, and create in them clean hearts, before one of them can keep his commandments and be doers of the word. “Marvel not,” said the great Teacher unto the astonished Nicodemus, “Marvel not that I said unto you, Ye must be born again.” RH August 28, 1879, Art. B, par. 3

The Bible is not studied as much as it should be; it is not made the rule of life. Were its precepts conscientiously followed, and made the basis of character, there would be steadfastness of purpose that no business speculations or worldly pursuits could seriously influence. A character thus formed, and supported by the word of God, will abide the day of trial, of difficulties and dangers. The conscience must be enlightened, and the life sanctified by the love of the truth received into the heart, before the influence will be saving upon the world. RH August 28, 1879, Art. B, par. 4

What is needed is men of action for the time, prompt, determined, firm as a rock to principle, and prepared to meet any emergency. Why we are so weak, why there are so many irresponsible men among us, is because they do not connect with God; they have not an indwelling Saviour, and do not feel the love of Christ ever fresh and new, calling forth deep gratitude to God, and unfeigned love for souls for whom Christ died. No earthly relationship is as strong as this love. Nothing can compare with it. It elevates, ennobles, and develops all that is great and beautiful in humanity. It is constantly elevating the human to the divine. This life should be a living representative of Jesus Christ. RH August 28, 1879, Art. B, par. 5

E. G. White.