The Signs of the Times



January 6, 1898

The Way, the Truth, and the Life


As the Saviour met with His disciples for the last time before His baptism of suffering, His thoughts were not of His approaching agony and death, but of the bitter disappointment that was to come upon His disciples. He saw them downcast and sorrowful; and, with a heart full of sympathy and tenderness for them, He said: “Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” ST January 6, 1898, par. 1

Thomas showed his unbelief by saying mournfully, “Lord, we know not whither Thou goest, and how can we know the way?” This question showed that the disciples had not understood Christ's oft-repeated lessons in regard to the kingdom of heaven and the future life. But Christ did not rebuke them. He answered Thomas, not alone to instruct him and his fellow-disciples, but for the benefit of all who should believe on Him through their word, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” ST January 6, 1898, par. 2

Jesus here made more distinct and plain than ever before the great central truth of all the Gospel. Every lesson given by the great Teacher called forth questions requiring explanation. His answers to these questions presented the truth with freshness and power. This truth is appropriate to all ages, and is spoken to us just as truly as tho Christ in person were among us, teaching us of the things of the kingdom of God. ST January 6, 1898, par. 3

Truth must be presented to the people in clear lines, and never was this more needed than when Christ came to this earth. Satan had arranged matters after his own order. Truth was not appreciated. Where God should reign supreme, the enemy of God and man was seen. Light was called darkness, and darkness light. Licentiousness and fiction had taken the place of righteousness and truth. Men seemed to be fascinated by evil. Any new ideas that started into life, even tho they were mere vagaries, seemed to possess a bewitching power. ST January 6, 1898, par. 4

The standard of morality was low. The impure mysteries of the worship of the people had a degrading power on them; and anything that called to remembrance the goodness, mercy, and love of God, was destroyed. The people could not even endure hereditary nobility of character, because this had a tendency to lift them from their debasement. Men of talent, through whom Christ was working to bring about a reformation, were despised, and many of them suffered a violent death. ST January 6, 1898, par. 5

Statues were worshiped. Art was made to minister to sin. Nearly every work of art and science was mingled with defilement. Genius was used to obliterate the knowledge of God. The richness of intellect was blotted out of existence. Satan's dark shadow brooded over everything, and the only people who could have revealed God to the world were so destitute of faith and love that they could not be expected to do anything to stem the tide of woe. ST January 6, 1898, par. 6

Christ came to illuminate the chambers of the mind, to dispel the darkness, and to fill the soul-temple with hope and gladness. And the truth He brought lost nothing by being questioned and critically examined. Christ often illustrated His lessons by parables, which were afterward explained to the disciples, who were to herald the Gospel message. ST January 6, 1898, par. 7

The perversion and misinterpretation of the Scriptures by the Pharisees, and even by those who claimed to believe His words, made it necessary for Christ to speak plainly. It is thought by some to be a misfortune when erroneous theories are advanced, but the Lord has said, “All things work together for good to them that love God.” The contention among the Corinthians made it necessary for Paul to write his wonderful epistles to them. If the Gentiles had not backslidden from the faith, Paul would not have written, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you out of the grace of Christ unto another gospel, which is not another.” It was a misapplication of the Scriptures, to prove falsehood and error true. If the Thessalonians had not misinterpreted the instruction they received, they would not have entertained the belief that the Lord was immediately to be revealed in the clouds of heaven, thus making it necessary for Paul to present the truth as it is in Jesus, leaving on record truth important for all time. And so opposition against light and truth called from Christ a clearer definition of the truth. Every time that error is advanced, it will work for good to those who sincerely love God; for when the truth is shadowed by error, those whom the Lord has made His sentinels will make the truth sharper and clearer. They will search the Scriptures for evidence of their faith. The advancement of error is the call for God's servants to arouse, and place the truth in bold relief. ST January 6, 1898, par. 8

There are those who would rather start speculative ideas, and dwell on new themes, so arousing a desire for something new and strange, than learn the precious lessons given by Christ. By some these speculative ideas are made all and in all. And thus they neglect to seek for the qualifications that they must possess if they would win the eternal reward. The one thing for us to know is Christ, “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” “This is life eternal,” He said, “that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” ST January 6, 1898, par. 9

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” If men and women would hear these words, meditate on them, and believe them with the whole heart, all controversy would be ended. Men think too much of what they themselves can do. They become elated and self-confident. They fail to realize their entire dependence upon God. They think that God is dependent on their ability in His work of saving souls. If these looked to Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life, they would realize the truth of the words, “Without Me ye can do nothing.” “No man cometh unto the Father, but by Me,” Christ declared. But while the good works even of the best men can not save them, none can be saved without bearing the fruit of good works. The sanctifying power of Christ upon the heart will produce precious fruit, and His Spirit and power will make our works acceptable to God. If by His Holy Spirit Christ abides in the soul, our features, our attitude, our words will reveal Him to the world. ST January 6, 1898, par. 10

Christ prayed that His followers might be one, “as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that Thou has sent Me.” If the truth were received, its transforming power, as seen in the lives of Christ's followers, would have a convicting power on the most hardened sinners. The holy conversation, humble deportment, the meekness and kindness, would present such a marked contrast to the spirit and character of worldlings, the line of demarcation would be so evident, that this in itself would bring conviction. The words would reveal the purity and fragrance of heaven, and they would also be sharper than a two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of joints and marrow, and of soul and spirit. ST January 6, 1898, par. 11

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Through sin the world had been separated from heaven. Men might have looked hopelessly at the heavenly battlements, and in distress and anxiety exclaimed, How shall we reach the abode of bliss? With Thomas they could say truthfully, “Lord, we know not whither Thou goest, and how can we know the way?” But with His own body Christ bridged the gulf that sin had made. I have provided a way, He says, whereby you may again be united with heaven. I have bridged the deep and impassable gulf. To every soul that desires to cross that gulf I will give help and strength. ST January 6, 1898, par. 12

Thus the exiles are made prisoners of hope. They are placed on probation. God would have us realize the estimate He places on us. He would have us consecrate our whole energies to the help of the heavenly angels, who are striving to lead men to the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Men are working out their own destiny, but God helps every soul that appeals to Him in its helplessness. Those who look to Jesus as the Author and Finisher of their faith, never look in vain. They will never miss the road to Paradise; for they are walking in the true way, and from Christ they receive moral power. ST January 6, 1898, par. 13

Christ is the ladder to heaven. The base of this ladder rests firmly on the earth, brought to the very level of humanity, while the topmost round reaches and rests firmly on the throne of God. Jacob saw the glory of God shining above this ladder, while the brightness of the Sun of Righteousness illuminated its whole length. Descending this ladder of shining brightness were angels of God, with communications to the inhabitants of this earth. ST January 6, 1898, par. 14

Only by Christ's aid can we be saved. If by our own efforts we could reach heaven, Christ need not have left the royal courts, to come to a world all seared and marred by the curse, to be a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, to be tempted in all points like as we are, and yet without sin. But we can reach heaven only by the mystic ladder, Jesus Christ; and He came to this earth that we might be enabled to do this. Here the battle between the prince of darkness and the Prince of light was fought, and here Christ conquered in our behalf. Of His own free will He laid down His life, that He might take it again; and today a living Saviour stands in the heavenly courts as our Intercessor, pleading for us, that through His merits we may be enabled to resist the temptations of the enemy, and be more than conquerors through Him. He knows how to succor them that are tempted, and to deliver the godly out of temptation. Surely He is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” ST January 6, 1898, par. 15

Mrs. E. G. White