The Review and Herald


December 3, 1908

The Privileges and Duties of the Followers of Christ


“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor.” RH December 3, 1908, par. 1

Christ gave his life that all who would might be freed from sin, and reinstated in the favor of the Creator. It was the anticipation of the redeemed, holy universe that prompted Christ to make this great sacrifice. Are we followers of God as dear children? or are we servants of the prince of darkness? Are we worshipers of Jehovah, or of Baal? of the living God, or of idols? No outward shrines may be visible, there may be no image for the eye to rest upon; yet we may be practising idolatry. It is as easy to make an idol of cherished ideas or objects as to fashion gods of wood or stone. Thousands have a false conception of God and his attributes. They are as verily serving a false god as were the servants of Baal. God is a God of truth. Justice and mercy are the attributes of his throne. He is a God of love, of pity, and tender compassion. Thus he is represented in his Son, our Saviour. He is a God of patience and long-suffering. If such is the being whom we adore, and whose character we are seeking to imitate, we are worshiping the true God. RH December 3, 1908, par. 2

If we are following Christ, his merits, imputed to us, come up before the Father as sweet odor. And the graces of our Saviour's character, implanted in our hearts, will shed around us a precious fragrance. The spirit of love, meekness, and forbearance, pervading our life, will have power to soften and subdue hard hearts, and win to Christ bitter opposers of the faith. RH December 3, 1908, par. 3

“God so loved ... that he gave,”—“gave his only begotten Son,”—that we should not perish, but have everlasting life. “Christ ... hath loved us, and hath given himself for us.” If we love, we shall give. “Not to be ministered unto, but to minister,” is the great lesson which we are to learn and to teach. Next to the angelic beings, the human family, formed in the image of God, are the noblest of his created works. God desires them to become all that he has made it possible for them to be, and to do their very best with the powers he has given them. Life is mysterious and sacred. It is the manifestation of God himself, the source of all life. Precious are its opportunities, and earnestly should they be improved. RH December 3, 1908, par. 4

“Ye were sometimes darkness,” the apostle continues: “but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth); proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Those who have learned of Christ will have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. In speech, as in life, they will be simple, straightforward, and true; for they are preparing for the fellowship of those holy ones in whose mouth “was found no guile.” RH December 3, 1908, par. 5

Many are deceived as to their true condition before God. They congratulate themselves upon the wrong acts that they do not commit, and forget to enumerate the good and noble deeds which God requires of them, but which they have neglected to perform. It is not enough that they are trees in the garden of God. They are to answer his expectations by bearing fruit. He holds them accountable for their failure to accomplish all the good which they could have done, through his grace strengthening them. In the books of heaven they are registered as cumberers of the ground. Yet the case of this class is not utterly hopeless. With those who have slighted God's mercy and abused his grace, the heart of long-suffering love yet pleads. “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, ... redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” RH December 3, 1908, par. 6

The followers of Christ are to be co-workers with their Master; they must be “blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom,” says Paul, “ye shine as lights in the world.” We are to receive the bright beams from the Sun of Righteousness, and by our good works let them shine forth to others in clear, steady rays, never fitful, never growing dim. We can not be sure that we are doing no harm to those about us, unless we are exerting a positive influence to lead them heavenward. RH December 3, 1908, par. 7

This is a time when every member of the church should be waiting, watching, and working. Through faith in Christ we should be alive to God; and every man, woman, and child who has a knowledge of the truth should be able to discern the signs of the times. The weakness and inefficiency of the church must pass away. Creative power from above must impart life to the human agents whom God would use, that they may be able to co-operate with divine intelligences. The church to whom God has imparted this endowment of heavenly truth must not remain dead in trespasses and sins. RH December 3, 1908, par. 8

The True Witness, the Spirit of the living God, is inspecting the assembly of those who have had great spiritual light and advantages, and the testimony is that in the church of God there is great waste in energy misapplied, in talents perverted to wrong uses, in strength unemployed; and the abilities that God has bestowed upon his people are degenerating because they are not used for seeking and saving those who are lost. The world around us is stirred from beneath with earnest activity in evil works, but is apparently dead to all that pertains to their eternal interests. But although this seems to be the condition of those around us, and there is little to encourage us to hope for the conversion of souls, God requires those to whom he has committed his truth for these last days, to present the Word to the fallen children of Adam, both in the world and among the churches. We are to be waiting, watching, working. It is most inconsistent for the church, to whom has been opened the treasure of truth, to be dull, worldly, and indifferent. Casting away all unbelief, we should by faith put every capability and every power into exercise. RH December 3, 1908, par. 9

The command of God is addressed to all the members of the church to use their powers in his service. Though the instrument may be weak, it is the power of God that will accomplish the work. Paul may plant, and Apollos may water, but it is God who gives the increase. There is a great work to do; and the Spirit of the living God must enter into the living messenger, that the truth may go with power. Without the Holy Spirit, without the breath of God, there is torpidity of conscience, loss of spiritual life. Unless there is genuine conversion of the soul to God; unless the vital breath of God quickens the soul to spiritual life; unless the professors of truth are actuated by heaven-born principles, they are not born of the incorruptible seed, which liveth and abideth forever. Unless they trust in the righteousness of Christ as their only security; unless they copy his character, labor in his spirit, they are naked; they have not on the robe of righteousness. The dead are often made to pass for the living; for those who are working out what they term salvation after their own ideas, have not God working in them to will and to do of his good pleasure. RH December 3, 1908, par. 10

It is an eternal law of Jehovah that he who accepts the truth is to make it his first work to proclaim the truth. But who is it that makes the burden of perishing sinners his own? Among God's people today there is a fearful lack of the sympathy that should be felt for souls unsaved. We talk of Christian missions, the sound of our voice is heard; but do we feel Christ's tender heart-longing for those outside the fold? Unless our hearts beat in unison with the heart of Christ, how can we understand the sacredness and importance of the work to which we are called by the words, “Watch for ... souls, as they that must give account”? RH December 3, 1908, par. 11

God is waiting for men and women to awake to their responsibilities. He is waiting for them to link themselves with him. Let them mark the signal of advance, and no longer be laggards in working out the will of the Lord. RH December 3, 1908, par. 12

Let the gospel message ring through our churches, summoning them to universal action. Let the members of the church have increased faith, gaining zeal from their unseen, heavenly allies, from a knowledge of their exhaustless resources, from the greatness of the enterprise in which they are engaged, and from the power of their Leader. Those who place themselves under God's control, to be led and guided by him, will catch the steady trend of the events ordained by him to take place. Inspired by the Spirit of him who gave his life for the life of the world, they will no longer stand still in impotency, pointing to what they can not do. Putting on the armor of heaven, they will go forth to the warfare, willing to do and dare for God, knowing that his omnipotence will supply their need. RH December 3, 1908, par. 13