The Signs of the Times


May 22, 1901

The Foundation of All True Godliness


When the lawyer came to Christ with the question, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” the Saviour laid the burden of the answer on the questioner. “What is written in the law? how readest thou?” He asked. The lawyer answered, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” “Thou hast answered right,” Christ said; “this do, and thou shalt live.” ST May 22, 1901, par. 1

Supreme love for God and unselfish love for our neighbor,—this is the foundation of all true godliness. The greatest in the kingdom of heaven are those who love the Saviour too well to misrepresent Him, who love their fellow-men too well to imperil their souls by setting them a wrong example. ST May 22, 1901, par. 2

“Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before Him with burnt-offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” ST May 22, 1901, par. 3

God does not ask us to purchase His favor by any costly sacrifice. He asks only for the service of a humble, contrite heart, a heart that has gladly and thankfully accepted His free gift. The one who receives Christ as his personal Saviour has in his possession the salvation provided by Christ. And he is never to forget that as he has freely received, so he is freely to impart. When there is a failure to appreciate the necessities of humanity, an unwillingness to be God's helping hand, the most costly offerings, the grandest display of liberality, are abominable in the Lord's sight. ST May 22, 1901, par. 4

The words and works of the Lord harmonize. His words are gracious and His works bountiful. “He causeth grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man.” How liberally He has provided for us. How wonderfully He has displayed His munificence and power in our behalf. Should our gracious Benefactor treat us as we treat one another, where would we be? ST May 22, 1901, par. 5

What marvelous condescension the Saviour showed in His work. How graciously, without prejudice or partiality, He received all who came to Him, rich or poor, white or black. With Him there is no caste. “God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him.” ST May 22, 1901, par. 6

Varied were the circumstances and needs of those who besought Christ for aid. One came in behalf of his son, another in behalf of his daughter. A generous, compassionate master came to ask help for his servant, who was stricken with the palsy. He had done all he could for him, but he saw that there was need of a healing power which he did not possess. He came to the Great Physician, saying, “Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.” Christ did not turn the earnest petitioner away. His great heart of infinite love responded to the anxious interest and compassion shown by the master. He is always pleased to see that the superior position of the master has not led him to neglect those connected with him in service. He needed no further entreaty, but gladly responded, “I will come and heal him.” ST May 22, 1901, par. 7

To do good to all, to encourage and strengthen instead of discouraging and weakening,—this is true missionary work. Paul enjoined upon the Philippians, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” And as their example he points them to Christ, “who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” ST May 22, 1901, par. 8

Christ did not come to this earth merely to live as any man might live. He descended to the very depths of human woe, becoming obedient to a shameful, ignominious death, even death by crucifixion. So deeply was Paul impressed with the Saviour's condescension that he traces His history from stage to stage, as if the sacrifice were too great to be comprehended all at once. Step by step he leads us down, until the lowest depths of humiliation are reached, and we see the Saviour hanging on the cross, while the priests and rulers say tauntingly, “He saved others; Himself He can not save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.” ST May 22, 1901, par. 9

I present to Christians this wonderful picture. If it is clearly discerned, will it not annihilate selfishness? As we see the royal Sufferer hanging on the cross, let us think of the height from which He descended in our behalf. From the heavenly courts He beheld the misery of the race, and coming to this earth He found a ransom for us, even thru great humiliation and suffering. To rescue us, the Lord of life and glory took up the position and duties of a servant. For us He submitted to mockery, insult, and rejection. He became a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed.” ST May 22, 1901, par. 10

Shall we disregard this wonderful sacrifice? Shall it make no impression on our minds? Shall those who take the name of Christian, dishonor their Redeemer by selfishly neglecting the needs of those around them?” Shall they not rather follow the golden rule, “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them?” ST May 22, 1901, par. 11

Before angels and before men we are representing Christ. Shall we not try to represent Him aright? Shall we not love one another as He has loved us? Let not those who have been redeemed by the shedding of Christ's blood, hinder by their selfishness the working out of His plan of salvation. Let them not become so bound about by selfishness that they will fail to see the necessities of their suffering fellow-beings. Let them rather become God's helping hand, to restore, to heal, and to bless. ST May 22, 1901, par. 12

Mrs. E. G. White