The Signs of the Times


October 29, 1894

To Abide in Christ the Will Must Be Surrendered


Christ says: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.... Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing.” ST October 29, 1894, par. 1

It is not enough that we believe a portion of truth, we must grasp truth after truth, and by both precept and example we must teach the truth as it is in Jesus. When sorrow comes, we may see the love of Christ in it all, and the fullness of divine love may keep the soul in perfect peace. If we abide in Christ we must ever be searching after truth as for hidden treasures, in order that our apprehensions of truth may be quick and comprehensive. We shall not then be putting on the garments of resistance, and be prepared to be prejudiced against the very things which we need in our time. Christ is continually unfolding old truths in a new light. The only way in which we will be prepared to have a more perfect apprehension of truth, is by keeping the heart tender and subdued by the Spirit of Christ. We cannot afford to cultivate hardness of heart; for if we are students in the school of Christ, we shall be continually growing in knowledge. ST October 29, 1894, par. 2

Jesus gives the invitation: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls; for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” When we come to Jesus as humble learners, seeking to know the mind of Christ, we shall have no disagreeable surprises. That which we received from him will be to us light, and life, and salvation. We shall walk in the light of the Sun of Righteousness, advancing from light to a greater light, and at every step our hearts will well up with gratitude for the precious revelations of his love. We shall not walk in darkness, we shall behold him who is our only help, him who only has the words of eternal life. ST October 29, 1894, par. 3

We are never to feel that there is no more truth to be unfolded to us. The history of the past few years has taught us that the words which Jesus spoke to his disciples are appropriate to us. He said: “I have many things to say unto you; but ye cannot bear them now.” But I trust that we shall not have the experience of those disciples who, when new truth was revealed to them, walked no more with him, but “because of the word they were offended.” Will the experience of these disciples be repeated that called forth from Christ these words: “There are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.... From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” ST October 29, 1894, par. 4

“Therefore, seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but, by manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; in whom the God of this world hath blinded the mind of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves; but Jesus Christ the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” ST October 29, 1894, par. 5

Could our eyes be opened, and could each see the conflict of angelic agencies with the Satanic confederacy, who are combined with evil human agencies, what astonishment would come upon the soul. The holy angels are working with terrible intensity for the salvation of men, because the destroyer of souls is seeking to make of no effect the salvation which has been purchased at infinite cost. Could our spiritual vision be opened, we should see that which would never be effaced from the memory as long as life should last. We should see souls bowed down under oppression, loaded with grief and pressed down as a cart beneath the sheaves, and ready to die in discouragement. We should see angels flying swiftly to aid the tempted ones who stand as on the brink of a precipice. These tempted souls are unable to help themselves, and avoid the ruin which threatens them; but the angels of God are forcing back the evil angels, and guiding the souls away from the dangerous places, to plant their feet on a sure foundation. We should see battles going on between the two armies, as real as those fought by opposing forces on earth. When the power of Satan over souls is broken, we see men binding their will to the cross, and crucifying the flesh with the affections and lusts. It is indeed a crucifixion of self; for the will is surrendered to Christ. The will of man is none too strong when it is sanctified and put on the side of Christ. The will is a power, and as many triumphs are to be won in spiritual warfare, and many points of progress to be made in the spiritual journey, and many lessons to be learned from Christ, the great Teacher, it is necessary that the will should be sanctified. In surrendering the will, the root of the matter is reached. When the will is surrendered, the streams that flow from the fountain will not be bitter, but will be as pure as crystal. The flowers and fruit of Christian life will bloom and ripen to perfection. ST October 29, 1894, par. 6

Jesus Christ is our example in all things. He began life, passed through its experiences, and ended its record, with a sanctified human will. He was tempted in all points like as we are, and yet because he kept his will surrendered and sanctified, he never bent in the slightest degree toward the doing of evil, or toward manifesting rebellion against God. Have men and women who profess to be followers of Christ, been simply gratifying their own tastes, been confirming themselves in selfishness, in obstinacy, simply living to gratify their carnal propensities? Those who persist in living in this way will at some time in their experience become offended by the truth presented from the word of God. They cannot be one with Christ or abide in him, because they refuse the terms upon which salvation is provided. They do not wear Christ's yoke or lift Christ's burden; for they will not learn of him meekness and lowliness of heart. Those who have a sanctified will, that is in unison with the will of Christ, will day by day have their wills bound to the will of Christ, which will act in blessing others, and react upon themselves with divine power. Many cultivate those things which war against the soul; for their desires and their will are set against God, and employed in the service of Satan. ST October 29, 1894, par. 7

Let us no longer gratify the enemy by complaining of the strength of our evil will; for in so doing we are feeding and encouraging our wills against God, and pleasing the evil one. Let us remember that we are children of God, pledged to cherish a holy will which cometh to us from God. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” ST October 29, 1894, par. 8

When we resist the devil, he will flee from us, and we will rise above the human weakness in a way that will be a mystery even to ourselves. The judgment day is not that which will decide our eternal interests; but it is the yielding to influences that either subject our character to the moulding of Christ, or oppose our will to the will of God. The one absorbing aim of the life of Christ was to do the will of his heavenly Father. He did not become offended with God; for he lived not to please himself. The human will of Christ would not have led him to the wilderness of temptation, to fast, and to be tempted of the devil. It would not have led him to endure humiliation, scorn, reproach, suffering, and death. His human nature shrank from all these things as decidedly as ours shrinks from them. He endured the contradiction of sinners against himself. The contrast between the life and character of Christ and our life and character is painful to contemplate. What did Christ live to do? It was the will of his heavenly Father. Christ left us an example, that we should follow in his steps. Are we doing it? ST October 29, 1894, par. 9