Reasons for Having Courage
Reasons for Having Courage
Advent Review and Sabbath Herald
July 29, 1890
"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."
These words were spoken to the disciples just before the betrayal of Jesus. The disciples were filled with sorrow at the thought that Christ was to leave them,--that they were to be deprived of his presence. Therefore he comforted them with the assurance that if he went away, he would come again. He also told them that he would prepare mansions for them, and would take them to himself. When he ascended from the mount of Olives, our precious Saviour said that he would be with them always; and as they beheld their Lord taken from them into heaven, angels addressed them, saying, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."
Thousands and thousands of angels escorted Christ in honor to the city of God, singing, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in." The angel sentinels at the gate exclaimed, "Who is this King of glory?" and the escorting angels raised their voices in chorus, "The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in." Again the challenge rings forth, "Who is this King of glory?" and the escorting angels answer, "The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory," and the heavenly train passes through the gates. The angels of God were about to bow in adoration before him, but Christ waved them back; he must first hear from his Father than his sacrifice for man had been accepted. He had a request to present before the Father: "I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am." Although he ascended into heaven to the glory of his Father, our blessed Saviour did not forget us here on the earth. And what was the answer that the Father gave to the Son?--"Let all the angels of God worship him." And then they all bowed in adoration before him; they worshiped him, and their song of praise filled the heavenly courts. Honor and praise and majesty were ascribed to Him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb forever and ever.
Our Saviour promised that he would come again. Those heavenly gates are again to be lifted up, and Christ as conqueror, with a thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands, will march out of those gates in triumph, to honor those who have loved him and kept his commandments, and to take them to himself. And he says that he has not forgotten them nor his promise. The Lifegiver will call the dead from their prison house, and as they come up from the grave, they will receive the finishing touch of immortality. They will rise from their dusty beds and exclaim, "O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory!" And they will be caught up with those who are translated to heaven without seeing death, to meet their Lord in the air. Then the crown of immortal glory will be placed upon each brow. What a wonderful sight are these exalted ones! The world knew them not, but they are the overcomers! Palm branches of victory will be placed in their hands, and again the gates will be opened, and they will enter into the city with Jesus, and all the angels of God will strike their harps, and the heavenly arches will ring with the victory achieved through their God. They will stand before the throne of God, clothed with the white linen which is the righteousness of Christ.
Now, what is the work which we have to do in probationary time?--To purify our souls in obeying the truth. The law of God is to be exemplified in the character; and in order that man might keep the law, Jesus came down to our world to die man's sacrifice. He did not, in this, detract from the dignity of the law, but made manifest the immutability of its character. Jesus says, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." That it really has been made possible for man to grasp the righteousness of Christ, and keep the commandments, should call forth from our hearts and lives hearty responsive offerings of praise to Him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. Now I inquire, Shall we go with our heads bowed down in gloom and sadness, because Christ is coming?--No; we have every reason to lift up our heads and rejoice, for our redemption draweth nigh.
What is the work that we are to do here in the world?--We are to wash our robes of character, and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. We must sanctify ourselves and our households to God. We must bring Jesus into our hearts and our homes, and we must seek every day to instruct others in regard to the claims of the law of God and the plan of salvation, that they may have a knowledge of Jesus. You can neglect anything of a temporal character more safely than you can the spiritual interests of your household. Our Saviour wants you to keep in close relation to himself, that he may make you happy. When Christ lets his blessing rest upon us, we should offer thanksgiving and praise to his dear name. But, you say, if I could only know that he is my Saviour! Well, what kind of evidence do you want? Do you want a special feeling or emotion to prove that Christ is yours? Is this more reliable than pure faith in God's promises? Would it not be better to take the blessed promises of God and apply them to yourself, bearing your whole weight upon them? This is faith. It is by faith that we are to come into a sacred nearness to Christ, not depending upon feeling; we are to say, "I believe thy promise, Lord, because thou hast said it. Thy word is pledged; we know that we are the children of God because we comply with the conditions, because he has pledged his word." There is not a friend in the world of whom you would require one-half the assurance that our Heavenly Father has given you in his promises.
"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you."
You can see the condition on which you become the children of promise, and receive the love of God. Jesus knew that of yourself you could not obey God's law; for you were sold under sin; therefore he came to our world to bring to you moral power, that through faith in his name you might live. He brings his divine power to combine with your human efforts, that through his righteousness appropriated to yourself, you can keep his law. Our liberty was procured by Christ, by his spotless, meritorious life and death. We receive the righteousness of Christ, and through his merits enjoy liberty, and are identified with him. We have the promise that if we abide in him, and his words abide in us, we may ask what we will, and it shall be done unto us. Is it indeed possible that Christ may abide in us, and we in him? Christ says, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." Would he tempt us and deceive us?--No, indeed. There is everything to encourage any soul who by faith claims the promises that God has given us, for through his grace we may be overcomers. The law cannot lower the standard or take less than its full demands, therefore it cannot cleanse us from one sin; but God's Son, who is one with the Father, equal in authority with the Father, paid the debt for us. We are to add to faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity. You are not to think that you must wait until you have perfected one grace, before cultivating another. No; they are to grow up together, fed continually from the fountain of charity; every day that you live, you can be perfecting the blessed attributes fully revealed in the character of Christ; and when you do this, you will bring light, love, peace, and joy into your homes. By Mrs. E. G. White.