The Review and Herald

604/1902

December 15, 1891

The World by Wisdom Knew Not God

EGW

The truth of God is infinite, capable of measureless expansion, and the more we contemplate it, the more will its glory appear. The truth has been opened before us, and yet the words of Paul to the Galatians are applicable to us. He says, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.” RH December 15, 1891, par. 1

“Without me,” Christ says, “ye can do nothing.” Those who undertake to carry forward the work in their own strength will certainly fail. Education alone will not fit a man for a place in the work, will not enable him to obtain a knowledge of God. Hear what Paul has to say on this matter: “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness; but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” RH December 15, 1891, par. 2

Through successive ages of darkness, in the midnight of heathenism, God permitted men to try the experiment of finding out God by their own wisdom, not to demonstrate their inability to his satisfaction, but that men themselves might see that they could not obtain a knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ his Son, save through the revelation of his word by the Holy Spirit. When Christ came to the world, the experiment had been fully tried, and the result made it evident that the world by wisdom knew not God. Even in the church, God has allowed men to test their own wisdom in this matter, but when a crisis has been brought about through human fallibility, God has risen mightily to defend his people. When the church has been brought low, when trial and oppression have come upon his people, he more abundantly exalted them by signal deliverance. When unfaithful teachers came among the people, weakness followed, the faith of God's people seemed to wane, but God arose and purged his floor, and the tried and true were lifted up. RH December 15, 1891, par. 3

There are times when apostasy comes into the ranks, when piety is left out of the heart by those who should have kept step with their divine leader. The people of God separate from the source of their strength, and pride, vanity, extravagance, and display follow. There are idols within and idols without; but God sends the Comforter as a reprover of sin, that his people may be warned of their apostasy and rebuked for their backsliding. When the more precious manifestations of his love shall be gratefully acknowledged and appreciated, the Lord will pour in the balm of comfort and the oil of joy. RH December 15, 1891, par. 4

When men are led to realize that their human calculations come far short, and are convinced that their wisdom is but foolishness, then it is that they turn to the Lord to seek him with all the heart, that they may find him. RH December 15, 1891, par. 5

I have been shown that every church among us needs the deep movings of the Spirit of God. O, we would point men to the cross of Calvary. We would bid them look upon him whom their sins have pierced. We would bid them to behold the Redeemer of the world suffering the penalty of their transgression of the law of God. The verdict is that “the soul that sinneth it shall die.” But on the cross the sinner sees the only begotten of the Father dying in his stead, and giving the transgressor life. All the intelligences in earth and heaven are called upon to behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. Every sinner may look and live. Do not survey that scene of Calvary with careless, thoughtless mind. Can it be that angels shall look down upon us, the recipients of God's love, and see us cold, indifferent, unimpressible, when Heaven in amazement beholds the stupendous work of redemption to save a fallen world, and desires to look into the mystery of Calvary's love and woe. Angels in wonder and amazement look upon those for whom so great salvation has been provided, and marvel that the love of God does not awaken them, and lead them to pour forth melodious strains of gratitude and adoration. But the result which all Heaven looks to behold is not seen among those who profess to be followers of Christ. How readily do we speak in endearing words of our friends and relatives, and yet how slow we are to speak of Him whose love has no parallel, set forth in Christ crucified among you. RH December 15, 1891, par. 6

The love of our heavenly Father in the gift of his only begotten Son to the world, is enough to inspire every soul, to melt every hard, loveless heart into contrition and tenderness, and yet shall heavenly intelligences see in those for whom Christ died, insensibility to his love, hardness of heart, and no response of gratitude and affection to the Giver of all good things? Shall affairs of minor importance absorb the whole power of the being, and the love of God meet no return? Shall the Sun of righteousness shine in vain? In view of what God has done, could his claims be less upon you? Have we hearts that can be touched, that can be impressed with divine love? Are we willing to be chosen vessels? Has not God his eye upon us, and has he not bidden us to send forth his message of light? We need an increase of faith. We must wait, we must watch, we must pray, we must work, pleading that the Holy Ghost may be poured out upon us abundantly, that we may be lights in the world. RH December 15, 1891, par. 7

Jesus looked upon the world in its fallen state with infinite pity. He took humanity upon himself that he might touch and elevate humanity. He came to seek and to save that which was lost. He reached to the very depth of human misery and woe, to take man as he found him, a being tainted with corruption, degraded with vice, depraved by sin, and united with Satan in apostasy, and elevate him to a seat upon his throne. But it was written of him that “he shall not fail nor be discouraged,” and he went forth in the path of self-denial and self-sacrifice, giving us an example that we should follow in his steps. We should work as did Jesus, departing from our own pleasure, turning away from Satan's bribes, despising ease, and abhorring selfishness, that we may seek and save that which is lost, bringing souls from darkness into light, into the sunshine of God's love. We have been commissioned to go forth and preach the gospel to every creature. We are to bring to the lost the tidings that Christ can forgive sin, can renew the nature, can clothe the soul in the garments of his righteousness, bring the sinner to his right mind, and teach him and fit him up to be a laborer together with God. RH December 15, 1891, par. 8

The converted soul lives in Christ. His darkness passes away, and a new and heavenly light shines into his soul. “He that winneth souls is wise.” “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars forever and ever.” What is done through the co-operation of men with God is a work that shall never perish, but endure through the eternal ages. He that makes God his wisdom, that grows up into the full stature of a man in Christ Jesus, will stand before kings, before the so-called great men of the world, and show forth the praises of Him who hath called him out of darkness into his marvelous light. Science and literature cannot bring into the darkened mind of men the light which the glorious gospel of the Son of God can bring. The Son of God alone can do the great work of illuminating the soul. No wonder Paul exclaims, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” The gospel of Christ becomes personality in those who believe, and makes them living epistles, known and read of all men. In this way the leaven of godliness passes into the multitude. The heavenly intelligences are able to discern the true elements of greatness in character; for only goodness is esteemed as efficiency with God. RH December 15, 1891, par. 9

“Without me,” Christ says, “ye can do nothing.” Our faith, our example, must be held more sacred than they have been held in the past. The word of God must be studied as never before; for it is the precious offering that we must present to men, in order that they may learn the way of peace, and obtain that life which measures with the life of God. Human wisdom so highly exalted among men sinks into insignificance before that wisdom which points out the way cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. The Bible alone affords the means of distinguishing the path of life from the broad road that leads to perdition and death. RH December 15, 1891, par. 10