Christ the Way of Life

The Experience


Righteousness by Faith


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November 4, 1890 Christ the Way of Life.

By Mrs. E. G. White.

     "Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." {RH, November 4, 1890 par. 1}

     Repentance is associated with faith, and is urged in the gospel as essential to salvation. Paul preached repentance. He said, "I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." There is no salvation without repentance. No impenitent sinner can believe with his heart unto righteousness. Repentance is described by Paul as a godly sorrow for sin, that "worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of." This repentance has in it nothing of the nature of merit, but it prepares the heart for the acceptance of Christ as the only Saviour, the only hope of the lost sinner. {RH, November 4, 1890 par. 2}

     As the sinner looks to the law, his guilt is made plain to him, and pressed home to his conscience, and he is condemned. His only comfort and hope is found in looking to the cross of Calvary. As he ventures upon the promises, taking God at his word, relief and peace come to his soul. He cries, "Lord, thou hast promised to save all who come unto thee in the name of thy Son. I am a lost, helpless, hopeless soul. Lord, save, or I perish." His faith lays hold on Christ, and he is justified before God. {RH, November 4, 1890 par. 3}

     But while God can be just, and yet justify the sinner through the merits of Christ, no man can cover his soul with the garments of Christ's righteousness while practicing known sins, or neglecting known duties. God requires the entire surrender of the heart, before justification can take place; and in order for man to retain justification, there must be continual obedience, through active, living faith that works by love and purifies the soul. {RH, November 4, 1890 par. 4}

     James writes of Abraham and says, "Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." In order for man to be justified by faith, faith must reach a point where it will control the affections and impulses of the heart; and it is by obedience that faith itself is made perfect. {RH, November 4, 1890 par. 5}

     Without the grace of Christ, the sinner is in a hopeless condition; nothing can be done for him; but through divine grace, supernatural power is imparted to the man, and works in mind and heart and character. It is through the impartation of the grace of Christ that sin is discerned in its hateful nature, and finally driven from the soul temple. It is through grace that we are brought into fellowship with Christ, to be associated with him in the work of salvation. Faith is the condition upon which God has seen fit to promise pardon to sinners; not that there is any virtue in faith whereby salvation is merited, but because faith can lay hold of the merits of Christ, the remedy provided for sin. Faith can present Christ's perfect obedience instead of the sinner's transgression and defection. When the sinner believes that Christ is his personal Saviour, then, according to his unfailing promises, God pardons his sin, and justifies him freely. The repentant soul realizes that his justification comes because Christ, as his substitute and surety, has died for him, is his atonement and righteousness. {RH, November 4, 1890 par. 6}

     "Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." Righteousness is obedience to the law. The law demands righteousness, and this the sinner owes to the law; but he is incapable of rendering it. The only way in which he can attain to righteousness is through faith. By faith he can bring to God the merits of Christ, and the Lord places the obedience of his Son to the sinner's account. Christ's righteousness is accepted in place of man's failure, and God receives, pardons, justifies, the repentant, believing soul, treats him as though he were righteous, and loves him as he loves his Son. This is how faith is accounted righteousness; and the pardoned soul goes on from grace to grace, from light to a greater light. He can say with rejoicing, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." {RH, November 4, 1890 par. 7}

     Again: it is written, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." Jesus declared, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." It is not a low standard that is placed before us; for we are to become the children of God. We are to be saved as individuals; and in the day of test and trial we shall be able to discern between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. We are saved as individual believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. {RH, November 4, 1890 par. 8}

     Many are losing the right way, in consequence of thinking that they must climb to heaven, that they must do something to merit the favor of God. They seek to make themselves better by their own unaided efforts. This they can never accomplish. Christ has made the way by dying our sacrifice, by living our example, by becoming our great high-priest. He declares, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." If by any effort of our own we could advance one step toward the ladder, the words of Christ would not be true. But when we accept Christ, good works will appear as fruitful evidence that we are in the way of life, that Christ is our way, and that we are treading the true path that leads to heaven. {RH, November 4, 1890 par. 9}


November 4, 1902 "If Ye Know These Things, Happy Are Ye if Ye Do Them"

Mrs. E. G. White

     Christ's last great struggle with the power of darkness should ever be kept fresh in the minds of all who believe in him as the propitiation for the sins of the world. God would have us study the lesson taught by the experience of the children of Israel, when they were bitten by serpents. Those bitten were directed to look at the brazen serpent which had been uplifted in the camp, and those who looked in faith lived. Today we are standing in a position similar to that of the children of Israel. As we look upon the world in its moral defilement, we see the poisonous serpents abroad, ready to sting us to death. To the cross of Calvary, bearing a dying Saviour, we must look. "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up." Only the Lamb of God can take away our sins. We should think more of this than we do. Our eternal interests demand that we show faith in Christ. {RH, November 4, 1902 par. 1}

     In the words spoken by Christ when he gave a representation of true humility by washing the feet of his disciples, I would appeal to all who name the name of Christ: "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." Do you see the uplifted Saviour? Do you know that it was for your sins that he suffered and died? Do you do his will? Knowing is only a part of our duty. Our eternal interests demand that we do also. But to many who have had great light the words of Paul are sorrowfully appropriate: "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?" Though Christ had been set forth among the Gentiles, they had not had a personal sight of the divine Sufferer, enduring the weight of the sins of the world. {RH, November 4, 1902 par. 2}

     Christ crucified is to be presented by those who preach the word. The last scenes of his life, in which he achieved a victory for the world, are not to be set forth in a tame, listless manner, but earnestly, and by those who feel constrained to keep the memory of these mighty deeds from growing old. The past should be made a living reality, as if being transacted before us. But this cannot be done by human ability. Those who preach Christ must have the help of God's Spirit. Christ is our advocate in the heavenly courts, and he presents in our behalf the sacrifice he offered on Calvary. This we are to present to others. In this way we are to perpetuate the memory of the crucifixion. When this is done, heavenly instrumentalities work at the same time upon the hearts of the hearers. A power independent of human effort is felt. The speaker does not labor in his own unaided strength. He is endued with a power that is wholly from above. As the words flow from his lips, the Holy Spirit co-operates with him; and the hearers are impressed, as though Jesus were in reality before them. {RH, November 4, 1902 par. 3}

     Through the preaching of the word and the administration of the sacramental service, Christ has been set forth among us. The Lord's supper was ordained by Christ shortly before his death, and the ceremony of feet washing was instituted just prior to the Lord's supper. As we celebrate these ordinances, we are to remember that Christ is present, making the occasion one of great interest. Thus it will be to all who have a true sense of the situation. We should search our hearts, and confess the sins that we have cherished. If we are guided by the Holy Spirit, our thoughts will not be thoughts of self-exaltation, but of severe self-censure and humiliation. Selfishness, evil speaking, and evil thinking will be put away. We shall remember Christ's action, as he girded himself with a towel. While the dispute as to who should be greatest was still fresh in the minds of the disciples, Christ humbled himself, and washed their feet, wiping them with the towel wherewith he was girded. {RH, November 4, 1902 par. 4}

     After Christ had washed their feet, he said unto them, "Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." {RH, November 4, 1902 par. 5}

     During this ceremony, the Holy Spirit was impressing the hearts of the disciples, sweeping away the selfishness that they had shown in their dealings with one another. Not long before, some of them had been offended because their brethren sought the highest place. All this now appeared so insignificant, the mountain was reduced to such a molehill, that shame took the place of disputing. "He that is greatest among you shall be your servant," declared Christ. He that doeth service will humble himself, and in so doing, he will be placed where the Lord can safely honor him, because he has the Spirit of Christ. {RH, November 4, 1902 par. 6}

          The Object of the Passover and of the Lord's Supper

     The Jews had been strictly enjoined to celebrate the Passover. This had been instituted at the time of their deliverance from Egypt. Then the children of Israel ate the Passover supper in haste, with their loins girded, and with their staves in their hands, ready for their journey. The manner in which they celebrated this ordinance harmonized with their condition; for they had been thrust out of the land of Egypt, and were about to begin a painful and difficult journey through the wilderness. But in Christ's time this position had been changed. In harmony with the rest that had been given them, the people partook of the Passover supper in a reclining position. By God's direction, wine was drunk; but this was not fermented wine; it was the pure juice of the grape.
{RH, November 4, 1902 par. 7}

     The Passover was ordained as a commemoration of the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage. God had directed that when their children asked the meaning of this ordinance, the history was to be repeated, that the wonderful deliverance from bondage might be kept fresh in the minds of all. The ordinance of the Lord's supper was given to the disciples to be celebrated till Christ should come the second time, with power and great glory. It is the means by which he designs that the great deliverance wrought out for us as the result of his sacrifice shall be kept fresh in our minds. {RH, November 4, 1902 par. 8}

     When the ordinances are celebrated as the Lord has commanded, messengers from the throne of God are present, listening to the words of confession and forgiveness. The Holy Spirit quickens the sensibilities of those who thus obey Christ, and turns their thoughts into spiritual channels. As the disciples of Christ, they seem to be passing through the garden consecrated by the agony of him who bore the sins of the world. They witness the struggle by which our reconciliation with God was obtained. {RH, November 4, 1902 par. 9}

     Reconciliation one with another is the work for which the ordinance of feet washing was instituted. By the example of our Lord and Master, this humiliating ceremony has been made a sacred ordinance. Whenever it is celebrated, Christ is present by his Holy Spirit. It is this Spirit that brings conviction to hearts. As Christ celebrated this ordinance with his disciples, conviction came to the hearts of all save Judas. So we shall be convicted as Christ speaks to our hearts. The fountains of the soul will be broken up. The mind will be energized, and, springing into activity and life, will break down every barrier that has caused disunion and alienation. Sins that have been committed will appear with more distinctness than ever before; for the Holy Spirit will bring them to our remembrance. The words of Christ, "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them," will be clothed with new power. {RH, November 4, 1902 par. 10}

     "Verily, verily, I say unto you," Christ said to his disciples, "He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake. . . . He then lying on Jesus' breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. . . . He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night." {RH, November 4, 1902 par. 11}

     After Judas went out to do the mission of Satan in the streets of Jerusalem, he was no longer favored by God, but abandoned. He found the council of Christ's enemies, and completed the work he had begun. After he had gone, Christ's countenance assumed a more cheerful aspect. The presence of the traitor had placed him under a painful restraint. His last interview with his disciples was sacred; but while Judas was there, he could not express his feelings. His utterances revealed this restraint. "Ye are not all clean," he said. "I speak not of you all." Now the restraint was removed. "Now is the Son of man glorified," Jesus said, "and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him." Christ's face seemed radiant, so clearly was divinity seen. He spoke to his disciples with the tenderest affection. He wasted no words over the traitor's departure; he did not speak of the dreadful ordeal through which he must pass. He must endure his suffering alone. He seemed like an irrepressible, living spring of water. {RH, November 4, 1902 par. 12}

     The disciples looked upon Christ with admiration and love. Divinity was seen in humanity. He was transfigured, and exalted above everything earthly. He was about to be separated from his disciples in a way that they did not expect. But they caught the bright beams reflected from him, and lost all thought of contention or desire to be first. Every word Christ uttered impressed them with a sense of their co-partnership with him. {RH, November 4, 1902 par. 13}

     It was at this time that Christ gave his disciples the precious instruction found in the fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth chapters of John. He knew that they must have special instruction; for unless divine power were combined with human effort, their future work would prove a failure. He was about to be separated from them. They would no longer have him as their visible counselor, to take the responsibility in all matters. They must be instructed; for were they to leave the divine agency out of their efforts, they would not accomplish the work he had appointed them to do. In all their ministry, upon which they should enter to bless humanity, they must build upon a divine Christ. {RH, November 4, 1902 par. 14}

     Today a great work is to be done. The Holy Spirit is to work through human agencies. A partnership between God and the workers must be maintained. Man works because God works in him; all the efficiency and power is of God. Yet God has so arranged that all the responsibility rests with the human instrument. These are the appointed conditions of partnership. Men are required to move among men, doing a divine work. God designs that they shall have power from on high, but if they fail to seek for this power, if they neglect to improve the facilities which God has provided whereby they may reach the highest standard, they fail to uplift fallen humanity. {RH, November 4, 1902 par. 15}