The Review and Herald

459/1902

October 16, 1888

The Knowledge of Christ and Self Leads to Humility

EGW

“Ye are the light of the world.... Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” “We are laborers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” No man liveth unto himself. God has so linked humanity together that every one who follows Christ, the light of life, will have an influence for good upon the lives of others. If we have indeed become Christians, and are partakers of the divine nature, we shall reveal it in our characters, by escaping the corruptions that are in the world through lust, and by shedding light upon the pathway of those with whom we associate. RH October 16, 1888, par. 1

The subjects of saving grace are brought into family relationship with Christ. They will be branches of the Living Vine, bearing rich clusters of fruit. If you are growing in grace, in the knowledge of Christ, you will be earnest, working, spiritual Christians, and you will be light-bearers in the church. He who has a vital connection with Christ will not be influenced by unholy ambitions to desire the places of honor among his brethren. He will not make the proud boast, “I am holy; I am sanctified.” In making this assertion, his claim is proved false; for the spirit manifested is a contradiction of the statement. RH October 16, 1888, par. 2

As you make advances in the Christian life, you will be constantly growing up unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. In your experience, you will be proving what is the length and breadth, the depth and height, of the love of God, which passeth knowledge. You will feel your unworthiness. You will have no disposition to claim perfection of character, but only to exalt the perfection of your Redeemer. The more thorough and rich your experience in the knowledge of Jesus, the more humble will be your views of self. The lower you lie at the foot of the cross, the clearer and more exalted will be your conceptions of your Redeemer. To love God supremely, and your neighbor as yourself, is true sanctification. Bible conversion will lead to constant and abiding activity, which will be free from all selfishness, all self-exaltation, and all boastful claims of holiness. If you are truly converted to God, you will exert a strong and telling influence on the side of truth. An intelligent knowledge of what it means to be a Christian will make you a blessing wherever you go. Whether you have one, two, or five talents, all will be devoted to the service of Him who has committed them to you in trust, that you may not receive the grace of God in vain. According to the light and knowledge given to us, we are to be examples to others. We are to have such a hold upon truth, and the Author of truth, as to make us a power for good in the world, to bless and to elevate those around us. RH October 16, 1888, par. 3

Let your light shine forth in good works. Said Christ, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” I fear that there are many who are in this condition. All have not the same work to do; different circumstances and talents qualify individuals for different kinds of work in God's vineyard. There are some who fill more responsible positions than do others; but to each one is given his work, and if he does his work with fidelity and zeal, he is a faithful steward of the grace of God. RH October 16, 1888, par. 4

God does not intend that your light shall so shine that your good words or works shall bring the praise of men to yourself; but that the Author of all good shall be glorified and exalted. Jesus, in his life, gave to men a model of character. How little power did the world have over him to mold him according to its standard! All its influence was thrown off. He declared, “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish his work.” If we had this devotion to the work of God, doing it with an eye single to his glory, we should be able to say with Christ, “I seek not mine own glory.” His life was full of good works, and it is our duty to live as our great Example lived. Our life must be hid with Christ in God, and then the light will be reflected from Jesus to us, and we shall reflect it upon those around us, not in mere talk and profession, but in good works, and by manifesting the character of Christ. Those who are reflecting the light of God, will cherish a loving disposition. They will be cheerful, willing, obedient to all the requirements of God. They will be meek and self-sacrificing, and will work with devoted love for the salvation of souls. In such workers there is an independent love for and a confidence in the truth, united with wisdom to set it before others. RH October 16, 1888, par. 5

All who are true light-bearers will reflect light upon the pathway of others. Let those who have named the name of Christ, depart from all iniquity. If you yield to the claims of God, and become permeated with his love, and filled with his fullness, children, youth, and young disciples will look to you for their impressions of what constitutes practical godliness; and you may thus be the means of leading them in the path of obedience to God. You will then be exerting an influence which will bear the test of God, and your work will be compared to gold, silver, and precious stones, for it will be of an imperishable nature. Many, very many, will be disappointed to find that their life-work is a failure, bearing the character of wood, hay, and stubble, to be consumed in the fires of the day of God. RH October 16, 1888, par. 6

There are many who are looking to you, to see what religion can do for you. If you are faithful in your God-given work, you will make right impressions, and will lead souls in the way of righteousness. If you give counsel to others, be sure to practice your own teaching, illustrating your own instructions by a harmonious life. A bold acknowledgment of a faith and doctrine, followed by a careless, faithless life, is only a stumbling-block to sinners, and results in making skeptics and infidels. Let us be decided in our profession of Christ, and let us be just as decided in living an earnest, consistent life, that will correspond to our profession. Let us make it manifest to all around us, that we abhor that which is evil, and walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called, “with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” The Christian life is one of constant humiliation of self. Our wills must be conformed to the will of Christ, that we may work out the good pleasure of his will. When we contemplate the life and character of Jesus,—beholding his self-denial, and the poverty he submitted to endure, in order that those who had forfeited the divine nature might become the sons and heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away,—we must have the deepest conviction of our own personal depravity and unworthiness. RH October 16, 1888, par. 7

In the year that King Uzziah died, Isaiah was permitted in vision to look into the holy place, and into the holy of holies in the heavenly sanctuary. The curtains of the innermost sanctuary were drawn aside, and a throne high and lifted up, towering as it were to the very heavens, was revealed to his gaze. An indescribable glory emanated from a personage on the throne, and his train filled the temple, as his glory will finally fill the earth. Cherubim were on either side of the mercy-seat, as guards round the great king, and they glowed with the glory that enshrouded them from the presence of God. As their songs of praise resounded in deep, earnest notes of adoration, the pillars of the gate trembled, as if shaken by an earthquake. These holy beings sang forth the praise and glory of God with lips unpolluted with sin. The contrast between the feeble praise which he had been accustomed to bestow upon the Creator and the fervid praises of the seraphim, astonished and humiliated the prophet. He had for the time being, the sublime privilege of appreciating the spotless purity of Jehovah's exalted character. While he listened to the song of the angels, as they cried, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory,” the glory, the infinite power, and the unsurpassed majesty of the Lord passed before his vision, and was impressed upon his soul. In the light of this matchless radiance, that made manifest all he could bear in the revelation of the divine character, his own inward defilement stood out before him with startling clearness. His very words seemed vile to him. RH October 16, 1888, par. 8

Thus when the servant of God is permitted to behold the glory of the God of heaven, as he is unveiled to humanity, and realizes to a slight degree the purity of the Holy One of Israel, he will make startling confessions of the pollution of his soul, rather than proud boasts of his holiness. In deep humiliation Isaiah exclaimed, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips: ... for mine eyes have seen the king, the Lord of hosts.” This is not that voluntary humility and servile self-reproach that so many seem to consider it a virtue to display. This vague mockery of humility is prompted by hearts full of pride and self-esteem. There are many who demerit themselves in words, who would be disappointed if this course did not call forth expressions of praise and appreciation from others. But the conviction of the prophet was genuine. As humanity, with its weakness and deformity, was brought out in contrast with the perfection of divine holiness and light and glory, he felt altogether inefficient and unworthy. How could he go and speak to the people the holy requirements of Jehovah, who was high and lifted up, and whose train filled the temple? While Isaiah was trembling and conscience-smitten, because of his impurity in the presence of this unsurpassed glory, he says, “Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar; and he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.” RH October 16, 1888, par. 9

We may always be startled and indignant when we hear a poor, fallen mortal exclaiming, “I am holy; I am sinless!” Not one soul to whom God has granted the wonderful view of his greatness and majesty, has ever uttered one word like this. On the contrary, they have felt like sinking down in the deepest humiliation of soul, as they have viewed the purity of God, and contrasted with it their own imperfections of life and character. One ray of the glory of God, one gleam of the purity of Christ, penetrating the soul, makes every spot of defilement painfully distinct, and lays bare the deformity and defects of the human character. How can any one who is brought before the holy standard of God's law, which makes apparent the evil motives, the unhallowed desires, the infidelity of the heart, the impurity of the lips, and that lays bare the life,—make any boast of holiness? His acts of disloyalty in making void the law of God, are exposed to his sight, and his spirit is stricken and afflicted under the searching influences of the Spirit of God. He loathes himself, as he views the greatness, the majesty, the pure and spotless character of Jesus Christ. RH October 16, 1888, par. 10

When the Spirit of Christ stirs the heart with its marvelous awakening power, there is a sense of deficiency in the soul, that leads to contrition of mind, and humiliation of self, rather than to proud boasting of what has been acquired. When Daniel beheld the glory and majesty surrounding the heavenly messenger that was sent unto him, he exclaimed, as he described the wonderful scene, “Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me; for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.” The soul that is thus touched will never wrap itself about with self-righteousness, or a pretentious garb of holiness; but will hate its selfishness, abhor its self-love, and will seek, through Christ's righteousness, for that purity of heart which is in harmony with the law of God and the character of Christ. He will then reflect the character of Christ, the hope of glory. It will be the greatest mystery to him that Jesus should have made so great a sacrifice to redeem him. He will exclaim, with humble mien and quivering lip, “He loved me. He gave himself for me. He became poor that I, through his poverty, might be made rich. The man of sorrows did not spurn me, but poured out his inexhaustible, redeeming love that my heart might be made clean; and he has brought me back into loyalty and obedience to all his commandments. His condescension, his humiliation, his crucifixion, are the crowning miracles in the marvelous exhibition of the plan of salvation. That the just should die for the unjust, the pure for the impure, is beyond all manifestations of human love; and all this he has done to make it possible to impart to me his own righteousness, that I may keep the law I have transgressed. For this I adore him. I will proclaim him to all sinners. I will cry, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!’” RH October 16, 1888, par. 11

To the question, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” who will respond, “Here am I, send me”? Men are to be instruments in the hands of God to execute his commission—“Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” The apostles were to commence at Jerusalem; for the work should ever begin nearest home. Who will do missionary work? Who will unfurl the banners of truth in the dark places of the earth! Who are striving to possess many-sided characters, that they may adapt themselves to different situations? God wants men who are self-possessed and unselfish, men who are sympathetic,—not for themselves, but having Christ-like sympathy for those who are perishing for the knowledge of the Saviour of the world. RH October 16, 1888, par. 12

There are many ministers of the gospel who need to have the live coal from off the altar touch their lips, and sanctify their tongues and hearts, till their souls are purified, ennobled, refined, and wholly given to the work. The humility, meekness, and lowliness of Christ, must characterize their lives. Their energy is represented by an angel flying through the midst of heaven. The Lord will give to the consecrated workers a new and enlarged commission, and will say, “Go into the harvest field. Lo, I am with you to work with human effort.” The live coal is symbolical of purification. If it touches the lips, no impure word will fall from them. The live coal also symbolizes the potency of the efforts of the servants of the Lord. God hates all coldness, all commonness, all cheap efforts. Those who labor acceptably in his cause, must be men who pray fervently, and whose works are wrought in God; and they will never have cause to be ashamed of their record. They will have an abundant entrance into the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, and their reward will be given them,—even eternal life. RH October 16, 1888, par. 13