The Review and Herald

263/1902

May 27, 1884

God's Willingness to Save

[Remarks addressed to the ministers assembled in General Conference at Battle Creek, Mich., in their morning meeting held November 14, 1883.]

EGW

Text: “Before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24. RH May 27, 1884, par. 1

Since he has made such gracious promises, why do we not trust God? Why do we not take him at his word? We must have increased faith. We must pray with our heart in our petitions, believing that God hears, and answers even while we pray. We have received rich blessings from him in these morning meetings. They are graced with the presence of Jesus, and we cannot afford to lose one of them. I thank the Lord for these precious opportunities; but they will soon be in the past, and the use we have made of them will be recorded in the books of Heaven. We have been making advancement since these meetings commenced; but while I am grateful for what has been accomplished, I long to see each of you, dear brethren, ministers of Christ, clothed with power from on high. RH May 27, 1884, par. 2

God will hear the prayer of the contrite heart; he says he will, and what better assurance can you desire than the word of God? Your weakness and sinfulness are all known to him. While you cannot rejoice over this, you may rejoice that Jesus is your righteousness. Your very weakness may make manifest his grace and power; for your conscious weakness drives you to Him who is willing and mighty to help when you lay hold upon him by prevailing prayer. Will you trust your case in the hands of the dear Saviour, not tomorrow nor next week, but just now? Do not give way to a feeling of reckless unconcern as to your standing before God; but while your conscience is sensitive to sin, and you have the fear of God in your heart, it is your privilege to believe that you are “accepted in the Beloved.” Are you sinful? it is for that very reason that you need a Saviour. He can cleanse you from all sin; he invites you to come to him with your burdens and trials, and if you come, he promises you rest. RH May 27, 1884, par. 3

But you must believe in Jesus, and act out your faith. At this meeting you may present yourselves before God in all your helplessness and great need; you may give yourself to him without reserve, but obtain no relief because you do not take as well as give. You surrender to Jesus, but do not believe that he receives you. Come to our dear Saviour as a child would come to a parent. Do not talk of your feelings nor preach the Lord a sermon; do not allow your thoughts even to wander; but come right to the point, asking for what you need in the simplicity of faith, and pleading the promises in the word of God. I feel sad that we know so little about faith. Let us put away our wicked unbelief, and this morning venture upon the promises of God, and prove his word. Could our eyes be opened, we should see Jesus and heavenly angels in the room, only too willing to bless us. Our prayers are too cold and lifeless; they lack fervor and earnestness. Let us urge our petitions as did Jacob; and we shall find that importunate prayer will bring us precious victories. RH May 27, 1884, par. 4

Do not choose darkness. Come out of the cold, dark caverns of unbelief into the upper chamber, where you may bask in the sunshine of God's love, and enjoy peace and rest in the presence of Jesus. Said Jesus, “I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” When you constantly complain of darkness, you represent to the world that you are not following Jesus, or else that he has deceived you. But, dear brethren, have you not been in the habit of talking darkness and unbelief? Have you not by so doing greatly shadowed the path of others, and led them to think that there could be nothing attractive in the truth, nothing satisfying in the religion and service of Christ? Your words, your life, and your character have represented your religion; and how many souls have you discouraged, and balanced in the wrong direction? RH May 27, 1884, par. 5

Some are ever looking to themselves instead of to Jesus; but, brethren, you want to be clothed in Christ's righteousness. If you are trusting in your own righteousness, you are weak indeed; for you are exposed to the darts of Satan, and after the privileges you are now enjoying, you will have severe conflicts to meet. You are too cold. The work is hindered by your want of that love which burned in the heart of Jesus. You have too little faith. You expect little, and as the result you receive little; and you are satisfied with very small success. You are liable to self-deception, and to rest satisfied with a form of godliness. This will never do. You must have living faith in your hearts; the truth must be preached with power from above. You can reach the people only when Jesus works through your efforts. The Fountain is open; we may be refreshed, and in our turn refresh others. If your own souls were vitalized by the solemn, pointed truths you preach, cold-heartedness, listlessness, and indolence would disappear, and others would feel the influence of your zeal and earnestness. RH May 27, 1884, par. 6

There is earnest work to be done in the cause of God. There is a continual narrowing down on the part of the laborers, and their influence upon the people is less and less. The law of God is made void. Ministers from the sacred desk declare that it has no binding claims upon us. As the result, there is almost universal depravity; for the carnal mind is at enmity with God, and is not subject to his law. You need to have broader views of the truth and of your duty. It is not enough to have a set form of arguments to prove our doctrines. The truth must be in the heart of the teacher, a living principle, and not a mere theory. With your own hearts aglow with the love of God, and softened and subdued by His Spirit, you will be able so to teach the truth that other hearts will be affected by the same gracious influence. RH May 27, 1884, par. 7

Make it your aim to keep back nothing that is profitable to your hearers, but declare unto them the whole counsel of God. Present Jesus, the Saviour of sinners, and fasten minds upon Him; let Him be woven into all your preaching. It is your work to show the necessity of a change of heart and character, so that the claims of God's law can be fully met. True religion is nothing short of conformity to the will of God, and obedience to all things that He has commanded; and in return, it gives us spiritual life, imputes to us the righteousness of Christ, and promotes the healthful and happy exercise of the best faculties of the mind and heart. Infinite riches, the glory and blessedness of eternal life, are bestowed upon us on conditions so simple as to bring the priceless gift within the reach of the poorest and most sinful. We have only to obey and believe. And His commandments are not grievous; obedience to His requirements is essential to our happiness even in this life. RH May 27, 1884, par. 8

We may expect great things of God. It is not as though we were making the sacrifice for men, and Jesus was reluctant to save. The cross of Calvary expresses His estimate of the worth of the soul, and His love for the fallen race. He is bending over the purchase of His blood, asking with inexpressible tenderness, pity, and love, “Wilt thou be made whole?” He invites, “Come unto me, and be saved. I have borne thy iniquities; by the stripes laid on Me, thou mayest be healed.” He is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him than parents are to give good gifts to their children. But we must empty our hearts of iniquity. He will never reveal Himself to us as a sin-pardoning Saviour until we feel that without Him we are hopelessly lost, that to live in sin is misery, despair, and death. RH May 27, 1884, par. 9

Jesus, precious Redeemer! You cannot trust Him too fully nor too soon. Wait no longer for better opportunities or holier dispositions, lest you wait too long, and Satan fasten his delusions upon you. Lift the cross at once; however hard it may be, He will give you strength to bear it. He is a tried friend, a friend in need. Our necessities touch His great heart of love. The argument that we may plead now and ever is our great need, our utterly hopeless state, that makes Him and His redeeming power a necessity. When we confidingly take His proffered hand, and walk where He leads the way, He will lead us into the light; He will guide us into all truth, and will clothe our lives with the beauty of holiness. But the holiness He is prepared to give us is not an exaltation of self, a Pharisaical self-righteousness; it is a principle in the heart that leads to a life of loving, trusting obedience. Then He will register our names in the books of heaven as heirs of eternal life. RH May 27, 1884, par. 10

Just before His cruel death, Jesus said, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.” Satan could find nothing in the Son of God that would enable him to gain a victory. He had kept His Father's commandments; and there was no sin in Him that Satan could triumph over, no weakness or defect that he could use to his advantage. But we are sinful by nature, and we have a work to do to cleanse the soul-temple of every defilement. Let us improve this precious privilege to confess our faults one to another, and pray one for another, that we may be healed. Let hearts sympathize with hearts; let love be without dissimulation. Put away sin; bruise Satan under your feet. Leave your weakness behind you, and, strong in the grace of Christ, press on to victory. RH May 27, 1884, par. 11

When you return to your several fields of labor, take up your work with a more intelligent trust in Jesus as your helper. Speak the truth in love, and in the demonstration of the Spirit, remembering that “this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” Let the praise of God be in your hearts and on your lips; for he says in his word, “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me.” It is our privilege to show forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. RH May 27, 1884, par. 12