The Signs of the Times


August 21, 1893

The Word of Truth the Way to Heaven


We are to present the truth as it is in Jesus, made fragrant and attractive by the grace and the courtesy that characterized the life of Christ. Godliness is to be an ornament to the life, as well as the saving salt of character. Why do those who claim to be advanced in knowledge, make themselves objectionable, and bring the truth into disrepute? It is because the truth has not been permitted to sanctify their unholy dispositions. Those who misrepresent the truth are harsh, unsympathetic, and denunciatory. They climb upon the judgment seat, as though they had been ordained to measure character, and lord it over God's heritage. In their uncourteous ways, they make it manifest that love is not in their hearts, and they do not know the plague spot of their own souls. They do not keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment, nor value the soul as Christ's purchased possession, although they are charged with treating Christ as they treat the least of his little ones. What is it that constitutes the loveliness of the soul?—It is the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. Jesus said, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” If the things of nature are so clothed in loveliness by our Heavenly Father, shall not the soul be clothed in more desirable beauty? Through the merits and virtues of Jesus Christ, the soul may wear the image of Him who created man in His own likeness. It is holiness of life and Christlikeness of character that constitute the beauty of the soul. Through sin the divine image in man has been marred, and Satan has placed upon the soul the stamp of his own image and character; for it has been Satan's purpose to obliterate the image of God in man, so that man should not occupy the mansions that Jesus has gone to prepare for those who love him. Through apostasy Satan lost heaven, and he is determined that the human race, whom he has led to transgress the law of God, shall not enjoy the pure and inexpressible glory from which he is shut out. ST August 21, 1893, par. 1

The Lord Jesus came to earth that he might recreate the image of God in man. He says to the repenting sinner, “A new heart will I give you.” “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” He who abides in Christ, and has Christ abiding in his heart by faith, cannot retain the same unlovely traits of character as were made manifest in his life before he had a connection with Christ. Christ came to save men from their sins, not in their sins. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” “We then as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.” “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” ST August 21, 1893, par. 2

Christ came to the world that we might become new creatures, created after the similitude of his own character; that we might have purity like the purity of God, have perfection like his perfection. In the work of regeneration, the original loveliness begins to be restored. The attributes of the character of Christ are imparted to the soul, and the image of the divine begins to shine forth. “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” It is plainly declared that a change takes place in the character of the human agent. ST August 21, 1893, par. 3

In the Christian life we are not assured that we shall be freed from trials, but that grace will be given us to bear them. We are individually called to go through temptations and trials, but the object for which they are permitted to come upon us is that we may be perfected in grace and love, that the image of selfishness may disappear, and the image of Christ appear in our characters, as we advance from glory to glory, from character to character, following on to know the Lord. The soul polluted by sin, through divine power is recreated after the image of God in righteousness and true holiness. ST August 21, 1893, par. 4

Ushered into the Christian life we no longer complain of darkness; for we have the light of life and joy which Christ said would be in all who abide in him. “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name; ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” In place of having less love as we advance in the Christian life, we are to have love that will increase more and more until our love is perfected; and where there is perfect love, there is full joy. We can be happy when we see God in everything. When we can see him in affliction, we have comfort and solace in our sorrow. When the sunshine of prosperity smiles, we recognize that the blessing flows from the fountain of life, and when trial and affliction are ours, we realize that the hand of the Lord is in all our perplexities, and thus we come to understand that sunshine and shadow are needful to perfect the character of the believer, and give him the true joy of perfect trust in God; for through faith he looks beyond the things that are seen to the things that are unseen. He says, “Now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” ST August 21, 1893, par. 5

Praise God, we have a divine road to heaven. We need not depend upon the conjectures and opinions of men, but upon the infallible decision of the word of God. The word of the infinite God is true, and cannot be distorted to suit men's pleasure, or be turned aside to suit the inclinations of the unsanctified soul. No man can safely judge the word of the Supreme Ruler of the universe. In it is his revealed will. In it we have a guide to the world of bliss, to eternal life. The road to life is summed up in the knowledge of God. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” ST August 21, 1893, par. 6