The Review and Herald


July 23, 1901

In the World, but Not of the World


Many argue that those who have received the truth should remain where they are in the world, and be as those of the world, joining in worldly amusements and festivities, and following worldly fashions. They say that thus an influence can be gained over the people of the world, who will in this way be brought up to the Christian's level. RH July 23, 1901, par. 1

But this cannot be. It is not right for those who claim to be children of God to retain their worldly habits and practices, to cling to the worldly pleasures so congenial to natural inclination. Let them not think that thus they can convert the world. There are unsurmountable obstacles to the success of such witness-bearing. RH July 23, 1901, par. 2

The Scriptures bear decided testimony against Christians maintaining a world-loving attitude. “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” “Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” RH July 23, 1901, par. 3

We cannot follow Jesus and retain the friendship of the world. There must be on the part of the Christian an entire surrender, a forsaking of the things of this earth. True Christians will take Christ as their pattern in all things, loving Him with the whole heart, and serving Him with the whole being. He says, “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” The child of God must not be guided nor governed by human wisdom; for this always leads away from the path of self-denial and cross-bearing cast up for the ransomed of the Lord. RH July 23, 1901, par. 4

At this time there comes to us a most solemn message, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, ... and touch not the unclean thing.” God calls for faithful men and women to be in the world, but not of the world. The believing people of God, those who are worthy to claim kinship with Him, will demonstrate the genuineness of their relationship by being true witnesses for the truth. By their modesty in apparel, by their Christlike words and actions, they will show that they are sons and daughters of the heavenly King. They will wear the pilgrim's dress and manifest the pilgrim's spirit, witnessing a good confession. RH July 23, 1901, par. 5

We are not to shut ourselves away from the world to escape from it. Christ's prayer to His Father was, “Not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil.” We have a work to do in the world, the work of seeking for lost souls. The law of God is made void. God calls upon us to stand in defense of this law. As Christ was the light of the world, so we are to be lights in the world. Christ lived in the world, but He was not of the world. Men did not understand Him. His self-sacrifice was to them a mystery. He lived a life apart from them. “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.” They hated Him because He would not be one with them. Had He united with them in eager pursuit for applause, for riches, for worldly honor, they would not have hated Him; for He would have been of them. And because the world knew not the Saviour, it knows not His followers. RH July 23, 1901, par. 6

Christ said of His followers, “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.” Many think that worldly appearance is necessary in our work, in order that the right impression may be made. But this is an error. Appearance has something, yes, much, to do with the impression made upon minds, but the appearance must be after a godly sort. Let it be seen that the workers are bound up with God and heaven. There should be no striving for recognition from the world in order to gain character and influence for the truth. Consistency is a jewel. Our faith, our dress, our deportment, must be in harmony with the character of our work,—the presentation of the most solemn message ever given to the world. Our effort should be to win men to the truth by preaching the word and by living godly lives. We should strive earnestly to show the consistency of our faith, to show that the great truths we are handling are a reality to us. The Lord will impress minds if we will work with earnestness. RH July 23, 1901, par. 7

The Lord sees not as man sees. Those whom He most loves and honors are often the objects of the scorn and derision of the enemy. He desires us to learn the lesson that we shall not gain true success in His work by trying to meet the criterion of the world. Hypocrisy and pretense can find no favor in His sight. The victories gained by the soul are not measured by outside appearance or by the praise of men, but by the goodness which shines forth in the life, by the firm adherence to God's holy law. RH July 23, 1901, par. 8

All the thoughts of the mind, all the aspirations of the soul, are read by Him with whom we have to do. In every line of His work let our principles, purposes, words, and deeds be pure and unselfish. Let us manifest truth and goodness to all men. Regard not pretense and show as a mark of greatness, but reveal the sanctified ambition which Christ revealed in His life, an ambition to make the world better by having lived in it. RH July 23, 1901, par. 9

In God's great work there is need of conscientious, godly men,—men who have been wrestlers in their life-work, who have maintained a good fight against evil, who have sought not for the applause of the people, but for the favor of God. Men are needed through whom God can work,—men who will wrestle with the Lord in prayer, and then go forth into the work with the inspiration He alone can give. Workers are needed who will pray, and then act their prayers, remembering that they are a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. RH July 23, 1901, par. 10

When we read the word of God for the purpose of understanding it and responding to its claims, we shall not desire to be esteemed and honored by the world. We have no claim nor right to greatness only as Christ gives value to our influence. The estimate He places upon our work is alone of value. All true greatness comes through Him. The esteem of those who are not guided by God, who are not living in obedience to the laws of His kingdom, is valueless. It cannot add to nor detract from true worth of character. The wisdom of the world, with all its show and pretense, will come to nothingness; for in the sight of God it is foolishness. RH July 23, 1901, par. 11

Christ laid aside His royal robe and kingly crown, gave up His position as Commander in the heavenly courts, and clothed His divinity with humanity, that humanity might touch humanity, and divinity lay hold upon the throne of the Eternal. He became a partaker of humanity that He might bear the infirmities of humanity. “Verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted.” RH July 23, 1901, par. 12

The God of heaven gave His Son up to a life of shame, humiliation, and reproach, in order that man might have a probation in which to mold his character after the divine model, that it might be said of him, “Ye are complete in Him.” “The grace of God that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world, looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” RH July 23, 1901, par. 13

Old and young, rich and poor, have only one road to travel, one Saviour to serve, honor, and obey. With Christ God has given us all privileges, all opportunities, and the very richest promises. This He has done that we may serve Him with the undivided affections. We are violating the conditions of His covenant with us when we keep our eyes fixed upon the world, its customs, ideas, and practices. Self is the god we worship when we do this. Self interposes between the soul and its highest interests. Those who choose to be Christians after a worldly style, in a way that suits themselves, may be satisfied with this kind of service: but in God's eyes it is of no value. Solid worth of character, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit,—it is this that is in the sight of God of great price. RH July 23, 1901, par. 14

The choice of God's people is to represent Christ in all their works, their practices, and their teaching. They are to be untouched by the perverse principles prevailing in the world. Those who have any connection with the service of God are to be entirely separate from corrupting influences. They are to be guided by the principles which Christ gave while leading the children of Israel through the wilderness. It was God's design to establish the Israelites in Canaan as His chosen nation, to be an example to all nations that should live on the earth. They were to be a kingdom of priests, living only for His service. But they became filled with a desire to be like the nations round them, to have an earthly ruler. Through His prophet God told them what the result of their choice would be, and His word was verified. They obtained a king, but with him came trouble and distress. Today many professing Christians are making a similar choice. They are patterning after the world for the sake of gain. Christ has uttered a warning against this. Lifting up His voice, He cried, “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” RH July 23, 1901, par. 15

By the great cleaver of truth, God's people have been cut away from the world, and brought into the workshop of the Lord. In this workshop the ax, the hammer, and the chisel are to be used to prepare the rough, misshapen stones for the process of polishing, that each may fill its exact place in the building of the Lord. Thus the temple is to grow to completion. Each stone is to be a living stone, emitting light to the world. So the children of God are to show that they are preparing for a home in the kingdom of God. RH July 23, 1901, par. 16

God requires from His blood-bought heritage the homage of the entire life. Every part of the being belongs to Him. He is our Creator and Redeemer, and therefore our Owner. He calls upon us to serve Him, not to bow at the altars of the world. Let us hide self in Christ, conforming the life to His life. Then we can claim the promise, “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.” God desires us to use our physical, mental, and moral powers in the enlargement and final triumph of His Church. But He cannot work with those who are continually seeking for worldly recognition. When those who labor for Him are humble and sincere, He will send His angels to work with them. This will give character to their work. RH July 23, 1901, par. 17

John presents the advantages gained by accepting Christ. “Beloved,” 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.” No pen can describe the honor that this relationship is to us. And yet many act as if it were a great humiliation to accept Christ as their Saviour. RH July 23, 1901, par. 18

In comparison with the honor which comes with Christ, all earthly honor sinks into insignificance. If our names are even mentioned by the great men of this earth, we think it a matter of sufficient importance to cherish, and tell again and again, that others may see how we have been honored. But the lips that uttered our names are but mortal. Dust they are, and to dust they must return. Our names may be uttered with joy by the Son of God. Honor has been promised us by Him who is King of kings. If we are faithful, the eternal God will claim us as His sons and daughters. Neither cherub nor seraph will be slow to recognize and welcome God's redeemed ones. Is not this honor worth striving for? RH July 23, 1901, par. 19

When we think righteously and sensibly, we shall be ashamed of our ideas as to what constitutes elevation of character. True elevation is ours only as we reveal the attributes of the Christ-life. Our will must be placed in harmony with the divine will. We must accept Christ as a personal Saviour. Then the Sin-bearer takes away our sin and imputes to us His righteousness. We are cleansed in the blood of the Lamb. RH July 23, 1901, par. 20

This is the only true elevation. This is the highest standard to which we can reach. We are perfected by beholding Christ. Changed into the same likeness, from character to character, we are made complete in Him. His life is the standard of excellence. There is no exaltation for any of us only as it comes through Him. Our highest good is found in following Him. We meet with many failures because we do not strive lawfully. If we lift the cross cheerfully, and press forward bravely in the path of self-sacrifice, God will guide us by His Spirit, and afterward receive us into glory. RH July 23, 1901, par. 21