God has given in his word a mirror into which the sinner may look and discover the defects of his moral character. That mirror is the royal law of God, the ten commandments. We are to compare our character with the law of God, and if that law condemns us, if we are breaking any of its requirements, then our garments are defiled by sin; and all the efforts we may make in our own strength will not efface one stain, one spot of sin. We must go to Jesus, humble the heart before him, and confessing our sins, forsake them. We must cease to transgress the law of God, but exercise repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only one who can remove these defiled garments of sin, and clothe us in the robe of Christ's righteousness.
But there is something for you to do, in seeking the Lord with an earnest purpose of heart and forsaking your sins; for Jesus will not save you if you continue to transgress the law. You must, through faith in Christ, overcome sin. Through the strength Jesus gives you, you must day by day be engaged in washing the garments of your character and making them white in the blood of the Lamb. How thankful we should be to God that we do not have to make these efforts in our own finite strength! Jesus brings us divine help to aid our human efforts.
Do not be led astray with the error of the wicked. The tempter's voice will be heard on every side, telling you that you are not now required to keep the law of God. This is a device of Satan. God has a law, and men must keep it. If they disregard these rules, they will not have that perfection of character that will give them an entrance into the mansions above. None need to make a mistake in regard to the character required to become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King; for God wrote these ten holy rules on tables of stone and kept them in the ark made for them, called the ark of God's testimony. The cover of this ark of pure gold, was called the mercy-seat, to signify that although death was the penalty for transgressing the law, mercy came through Jesus Christ to pardon the repentant, believing sinner.
The only hope of any man lies through Jesus Christ who brought the robe of his righteousness to put upon the sinner who would lay off his filthy garments. There are very many who cling to their filthy garments, which Christ stands ready to remove, choosing the spots and stains of sin rather than the pure robe of Christ's righteousness. The pure and holy garments are not prepared to be put on by any one after he has entered the gate of the city. All who enter will have on the robe of Christ's righteousness and the name of God will be seen in their foreheads. This name is the symbol which the apostle saw in vision, and signifies the yielding of the mind to intelligent and loyal obedience to all of God's commandments. There will be no covering up of sins and faults to hide the deformity of character; no robes will be half washed; but all will be pure and spotless.
Now in these hours of probation I hope that our youth will receive the truth in the heart, that they may be sanctified through it. The more you know of the life, teachings, and character of Jesus, the more you will love him. The better you understand the self-denial and self-sacrifice of Christ in behalf of fallen man, the more in earnest you will be to identify yourself and all your interests with Jesus Christ. Every excuse to do otherwise than this is a device of the enemy. Do not rest satisfied unless your heart is drawn out after Christ more and more. If you will read the Scriptures, and try to understand the utterances of God, that you may obey his will, you will have divine enlightenment. Then you will want to tell others of this love that animates your soul; and the more your conversation is upon Christ and his life of self-denial and self-sacrifice, the more you will have of the light and love of Jesus to talk about. You will have a fresh and living experience daily, which you cannot keep shut up to yourself. You will feel the deepest grief to see others neglect this great salvation.
Those who identify their interests wholly with Christ will want to serve him, and the more they work the works of Christ in seeking to bless others, the more will Jesus impart his light and his love to them, that they may communicate it to others. Be guarded that you do not try to teach others unless you are a daily learner in the school of Christ yourself. We must repeat his lessons; we must manifest his spirit of kindness, patience, forbearance, and love. You cannot impart to others that which you have not yourself. Keep the light and love of God burning in your hearts, that you may help others; for more zeal, greater devotion, and more steady, earnest faith is needed. You must do much watching and praying, as well as searching of the Scriptures if you learn the precious lessons of faith. You must guard against making feelings a criterion; this of itself is no evidence that you are a child of God, or that you are not. "By their fruits ye shall know them." It is obedience and faith that unite us with Jesus Christ. You must learn the simple art of taking God at his word. Then you have solid ground beneath your feet.
Now is the time to consult the mirror of God's word, to look carefully to see if you do not stand condemned by it. If you stand condemned, then change at once your habits; for you can never reach the hand of Christ by continuing to transgress the law of God. But when you exercise repentance toward God because you have transgressed his law, then your only hope is to have faith in Jesus Christ. If we sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. Come to Jesus by living faith. Put off evil, which clings to the soul to poison all its springs of action. We must fight against the sins that war against the soul. You cannot in your own strength do this work, but come to Jesus in faith. He will help you and strengthen you to put away evil tendencies, and will array you in the true beauty of his character. We are exhorted to put on the Lord Jesus. Simple faith and obedience go hand in hand. Your faith without obedience to God's holy law is of no value, but obedience to God and faith in the Great Sacrifice offered,—that his blood was shed for you, and you will accept the righteousness of Christ,—will make you an overcomer. Put your trust in Jesus Christ, and he will bring you off more than conqueror.
Mrs. E. G. White