Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)


Ms 35, 1902

Christ the Redeemer of Both Soul and Body


March 4, 1902 [typed]

Previously unpublished. +Note

To the youth, as well as to those of more mature age, is given Paul’s charge: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” [Romans 12:1-3.] 17LtMs, Ms 35, 1902, par. 1

Young men and young women need more of the grace of Christ, that they may bring the principles of Christianity into the daily life. The grace of Christ and His righteousness are offered as a free gift. Justification by faith is an inspiring, all-important subject. Both the young and the old should bear in mind that if they ever behold the glory of Jesus Christ, they must hide in the cleft of the rock. 17LtMs, Ms 35, 1902, par. 2

We cannot excuse our natural and cultivated weaknesses of character, so dishonoring to our Saviour, on the plea, “O! it is my way.” Unless Christ’s followers give up their way for His way, they will always have misgivings and will waver, tossing to and fro like a wave of the sea. Those who cherish defects of character, pleasing self, will suffer the sure penalty. They will find themselves strengthless, Christless. You may ask, “May I not do as I choose with myself? Is not my body my own?”—No; for the Word of God plainly stated that you are not your own, that you are a member of Christ’s body. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20; 3:16, 17.] 17LtMs, Ms 35, 1902, par. 3

These words condemn every sinful, unholy, defiling practice; for we are God’s purchased possession. And with what an infinite price has He redeemed fallen man from the slavery of sin! “God so loved the world”—fallen as it is, corrupted, defiled—“that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] 17LtMs, Ms 35, 1902, par. 4

The whole treatment of the physical organism bears the closest relationship to the spiritual life. There should be no impurity in the actions; for impurity defiles the body. Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthian church is: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” [1 Corinthians 10:31.] 17LtMs, Ms 35, 1902, par. 5

Concerning His followers, Christ prayed, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” [John 17:14.] We are not to love the world or to conform to its wrong practices. Every worldly, unsanctified action on the part of Christ’s followers exerts an evil influence, seemingly justifying the world in the course it is taking. True religion regulates the dress, the deportment, and the words. The body, as well as the soul, has been redeemed. Both should be sanctified by the truth. 17LtMs, Ms 35, 1902, par. 6

Many who claim to be children of God dishonor their Maker by employing artificial means in an attempt to improve on His formation of the human body. Young women, the fashionable practice of tight-lacing is unsanctioned by the Word of God. Tight-lacing is injurious to the health. By compressing the vital organs it produces an unnatural condition, lessening physical strength and dishonoring the body. 17LtMs, Ms 35, 1902, par. 7

David said, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” [Psalm 139:14.] Our habitation, the body, should be carefully guarded and preserved in soundness; for it is God’s property. But because of fashion’s demands, the wonderful mechanism of the body has been terribly abused. The fashion of tightly compressing the waist has brought suffering to delicate organs. All the vital organs are disarranged. 17LtMs, Ms 35, 1902, par. 8

To adopt and encourage such a fashion as this is sinning not only against the physical organism, but against God; for God gave His Son to die for us to redeem us from the thralldom of every health- and life-destroying practice. By creation and by redemption He is the owner of the body. And when the body, purchased at infinite cost, is forced to serve the customs and fashions of this degenerate age, testimony is borne to the world that pride and sin reign within, that Christ does not abide in the soul temple. The Lord Jesus will not serve with sin. He claims the undivided affections. 17LtMs, Ms 35, 1902, par. 9

We see women with broad shoulders, broad hips, and wasp-like waists. Such disproportionate figures bear painful testimony against the fashion-maker and the fashion-devotee. In the formation of the body our Creator made no mistake. He gave space for every organ and muscle to do its work without crowding any other part of the living machinery. 17LtMs, Ms 35, 1902, par. 10

Body, reason, and conscience are laid upon the altar of the goddess Fashion. If reason and conscience were allowed control, the fashion of tight-lacing would soon die a natural death. In every way much harm is done to the body by this fashion. Even health and life are imperiled. Women who abuse their bodies by following such a fashion thus shorten life. And their offspring are robbed of vital force; for the compressed organs cannot possibly act naturally. 17LtMs, Ms 35, 1902, par. 11

Sons and daughters of God, you must remember that Christ has redeemed soul, body, and spirit, in order that the human agent need no longer continue in the world’s sinful course, but that the entire being might be sanctified. “Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [1 Thessalonians 5:22, 23.] 17LtMs, Ms 35, 1902, par. 12

The moment that we turn the eye of faith from Christ, and seek to conform to the health- and life-destroying practices of the world in order to gain favor <with worldlings>, that moment a course is taken by which the favor of God is lost. “Ye cannot serve God and Baal.” Christ died to give a perfect conscience to those who surrender their will and way to His will and way. And many have a crippled religious experience because they do not unreservedly surrender body, soul, and spirit to God’s will and way. 17LtMs, Ms 35, 1902, par. 13

If after conversion we allow worldliness to creep into the heart, if we cherish it as a welcome guest, there is an entire change in the spiritual atmosphere. We again breathe the murky, impure atmosphere of the old life of sin, so deteriorating to both soul and body. We become diseased, as with spiritual consumption. The world steals the thoughts and the service. Self is indulged. The view of Jesus is eclipsed. The vision of His purity, His goodness, His matchless love is dimmed. Peace is gone. No longer is the soul committed to Him in simple, perfect trust. The whole Christian life seems uncertain. 17LtMs, Ms 35, 1902, par. 14

The moment that one loses sight of Jesus, darkness surrounds him. The eyes, no longer fixed steadfastly on Jesus, look on self and on the weakness of the spiritual character. The time that should be spent in holy communion with God is spent in dwelling upon the natural feelings. No longer is the Holy Spirit welcomed into the heart as a reprover and a comforter. 17LtMs, Ms 35, 1902, par. 15

My dear young friends, ever keep Christ in view. Thus you keep the eye single to God’s glory. Jesus is your light and life and peace and assurance forever. By beholding Him you are changed from glory to glory—from character to character. 17LtMs, Ms 35, 1902, par. 16

“If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, the whole body shall be full of darkness.” “Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.” [Matthew 6:22, 23; Luke 11:35, 36.] In Him is no darkness at all. 17LtMs, Ms 35, 1902, par. 17

When we continually keep Christ in view, the bright rays of the Sun of Righteousness flood the chambers of the mind, and the light thus received from the Light of the World is reflected to others. The soul is stayed on God. All perplexities and anxieties are committed to Jesus. The light of Christ in the soul temple brings peace. As we continue to behold Him, His image becomes engraved on the heart, and is revealed in the daily life by practical obedience to His will. 17LtMs, Ms 35, 1902, par. 18

Saith the true Witness: “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept My word, and hast not denied My name.” [Revelation 3:8.] 17LtMs, Ms 35, 1902, par. 19

The youth who co-operate with Jesus Christ will find that their way is full of errors needing to be corrected. Brought into the character-building, these errors are as rotten timbers. Let no one allow these defects to remain. Let no one plead for the privilege of clinging to their imperfections, excusing themselves by saying, “It is my way.” 17LtMs, Ms 35, 1902, par. 20

Beholding Christ, we are changed through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Anything short of this will be to us eternal loss. When this change takes place, the hand, the tongue, the feet will act in accord with the heart’s spiritual advancement. Faith will be as a shining light, shining more and more unto the perfect day. Then we shall never plead for our will to be done, or for our old ways and habits to be left undisturbed. The converting power of God upon character will mold us after the divine similitude—after the likeness of the One in whom “dwelleth all the fulness of the godhead bodily,” “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” [Colossians 2:9, 3.] 17LtMs, Ms 35, 1902, par. 21