People who will not admit the claims of God’s law, which are so very plain, will generally take a lawless course; for they have so long taken sides with the great rebel in warring against the law of God, which is the foundation of His government in heaven and earth, that they are trained in this labor. In their warfare they will not open their eyes or consciences to light. They close their eyes, lest they shall become enlightened.
Their case is as hopeless as was that of the Jews who would not see the light which Christ brought to them. The wonderful evidences which He gave them of His Messiahship in the miracles that He performed, in healing the sick, raising the dead, and doing the works which no other had done or could do, instead of melting and subduing their hearts, and overcoming their wicked prejudices, inspired them with satanic hatred and fury such as Satan possessed when he was thrust out of heaven. The greater light and evidence they had, the greater was their hatred. They were determined to extinguish the light by putting Christ to death. . . .
Our work should be to embrace every opportunity to present the truth in its purity and simplicity where there is any desire or interest to hear the reasons of our faith. Those who have dwelt mostly upon the prophecies and the theoretical points of our faith should without delay become Bible students upon practical subjects. They should take a deeper draft at the fountain of divine truth. They should carefully study the life of Christ and His lessons of practical godliness, given for the benefit of all and to be the rule of right living for all who should believe on His name. They should be imbued with the spirit of their great Exemplar and have a high sense of the sacred life of a follower of Christ.
You know the commandments: “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not bear false witness,” “Do not defraud,” “Honor your father and mother.” Mark 10:19
Resolve, not in your own strength, but in the strength and grace given of God, that you will consecrate to Him now, just now, every power, every ability. You will then follow Jesus because He bids you, and you will not ask where, or what reward will be given. It will be well with you as you obey the word: “Follow me.” Your part is to lead others to the light by judicious, faithful efforts. Under the guardianship of the divine Leader, will to do, resolve to act, without a moment’s hesitation.
When you die to self, when you surrender to God, to do His work, to let the light that He has given you shine forth in good works, you will not labor alone. God’s grace stands forth to cooperate with every effort to enlighten the ignorant and those who do not know that the end of all things is at hand.
The whole universe is under the control of the Prince of Life. Fallen man is subject to him. He calls upon them to obey, believe, receive, and live. He has paid the ransom money for the whole world. All may be saved through him. He will present those who believe on him to God as loyal subjects of his kingdom. He will be their Mediator as well as their Redeemer. He would gather together a church embracing the whole human family, if all would leave the black banner of rebellion and apostasy, and place themselves under his banner. He will defend his chosen followers against Satan’s power, and will subdue all their enemies. Through him they will be conquerors, and more than conquerors. Paul writes to the Ephesians, “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.”
“Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” “I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found. Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.” Those who dishonor God by transgressing his law may talk sanctification, but it is of that value, and just as acceptable, as the offering of Cain. Obedience to all the commandments of God is the only true sign of sanctification. Disobedience is the sign of disloyalty and apostasy.
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” Christ was about to depart to his home in the heavenly courts. But he assured his disciples that he would send them another Comforter, who would abide with them forever. To the guidance of this Comforter all who believe in Christ may implicitly trust. He is the Spirit of truth, but this truth the world can neither discern nor receive.
Before he left them, Christ gave his followers a positive promise that after his ascension he would send them the Holy Spirit. “Go ye therefore,” he said, “and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father [a personal God,] and of the Son [a personal Prince and Saviour], and of the Holy Ghost [sent from heaven to represent Christ]: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”
“The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.” This positive assurance was given to the disciples, to be given to all who should believe on him till the close of this earth’s history.
Christ desired his disciples to understand that he would not leave them orphans. “I will not leave you comfortless,” he declared; “I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.” Precious, glorious assurance of eternal life. Even though he was to be absent, their relation to him was to be that of a child to its parent.
The influence of the Holy Spirit is the life of Christ in the soul. We do not now see Christ and speak to him, but his Holy Spirit is just as near us in one place as another. It works in and through every one who receives Christ. Those who know the indwelling of the Spirit reveal the fruits of the Spirit,–“love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.” “Ye have an unction from the Holy One,” writes John, “and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. . . .Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.”
“At that day,” said Christ, “ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.” Christ sought to impress the minds of the disciples with the distinction between those who are of the world, and those who are of Christ. He was about to die, but he would imprint on their minds the fact that he would live again. And although after his ascension he would be absent from them, yet by faith they might know and see him. And he would have the same loving interest in them that he had.
Christ assured his disciples that after his resurrection, he would show himself alive to them. Then every mist of doubt, every cloud of darkness, would be rolled away. They would then understand that which they had not understood,–that there is a complete union between Christ and his Father, a union which will always exist.
“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” Again Christ repeated the condition of union with him. This promise is made to every sincere Christian. Our Saviour speaks so plainly that no one need fail to understand that true love will always produce obedience. The religion of Jesus Christ is love. Obedience is the sign of true love. Christ and the Father are one, and those who in truth receive Christ, will love God, as the great center of their adoration, and will also love one another.