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|OBEDIENCE THE FRUIT OF UNION WITH CHRIST [message #2925]
||Fri, 29 May 2020 21:18
Registered: September 2015
OBEDIENCE THE FRUIT OF UNION WITH CHRIST
Lift Him up, the Man of Calvary.
Lift Him up, and cry, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."
Keep Christ before the people, and this will be giving to every man his portion of meat in due season.
Jesus has said, "I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. . . . Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day: for my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. . . . It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."
This plain, simple statement may be understood by all.
We are to preach Christ to the people.
We are to act as if the clouds were rolled back, and we were in full view of seraphim and cherubim.
We are to realize that we are under the eye of Jehovah.
We are to fight for an immortal crown.
"Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." Every soldier engaged in the spiritual conflict must be brave in God. Those who are fighting the battles for the Prince of life, must point their weapons of warfare outward, and not form a hollow square and aim their missiles of destruction at those who are serving under the banner of Prince Immanuel. We have no time for wounding and tearing down one another. How many there are who need to heed the words that Christ spoke to Nicodemus: "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, 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. . . . Ye must be born again." There are many who claim to be followers of Christ, and whose names are enrolled on the church books, who have not been a strength to the Church. They have not been sanctified through the truth. In the prayer of Christ for His disciples, He says, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth." It is not simply receiving the truth, but practicing the truth, that sanctifies the soul. Let those who would be sanctified through the truth search carefully and prayerfully both the Old and the New Testament, that they may know what is truth.
When the grace of Christ enters the heart, the mind at once becomes interested to know what saith the Scriptures. Those who are truly converted to Christ keep constant guard lest they shall accept error in place of truth. Those who think that it matters not what they believe in doctrine, so long as they believe in Jesus Christ, are on dangerous ground. There are some who think that they will be just as acceptable to God by obeying some other law than the law of God, by meeting some other conditions than those which He has specified in the gospel, as if they obeyed His commandments and complied with His requirements; but they are under a fatal delusion, and unless they renounce this heresy and come into harmony with His requirements, they cannot become members of the royal family. Goodness and truth alone will dwell with goodness and truth. Men may claim to be sanctified, but unless their sanctification is witnessed to by the law and the prophets, it is not according to Bible requirements. There are some who refuse to listen to the words of the Scriptures. They declare that they will have nothing to do with the Bible, for the Lord himself speaks directly to their souls. They declare that they are inspired by the Spirit of God; but when reminded that the Bible was written by men who were moved by the Holy Ghost, they reveal the fact that they are following the inspiration of another spirit. True inspiration never rejects true inspiration, but is in harmony with the Bible. Anything that leads away from the word of God is proved to be inspired from beneath. "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."
Those who claim to be sanctified, and who give no heed to the words of divine authority spoken from Mount Sinai, make it manifest that they will not render to God the obedience that the Lawgiver requires. The very excuse they urge for evading the requirements of God proves their sanctification spurious. They say, "I am sanctified," and seek to prove this by setting up a standard of self-righteousness, a law of their own imagining. The law of God requires nothing short of spiritual perfection; and through the infinite sacrifice of the Son of God complete provision has been made that man may become a partaker of the divine nature, and through the merits of the blood of Christ be an overcomer. Of himself he has no perfection. "Without me," Christ says, "ye can do nothing." Provision for our perfection is found in union with Christ. "I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world."
What pleasure could it possibly be to souls who would not be drawn to Jesus in this life, to study His character, and to be with Him in the life that is to come? They would prefer to be anywhere else than in the presence and companionship of Him in whom they had no delight. They did not know Him while in the world, and could not learn to know Him in heaven. But of His disciples Jesus said, "O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them."
Those who are truly sanctified by a knowledge of God will render perfect obedience to God's requirements. They will understand for themselves what saith the Scriptures, and will present themselves as loyal children of God before their Maker. But many who claim sanctification refuse to comply with the conditions upon which the promises are made, and yet they presume to expect the blessing that God has promised to the obedient. Their hearts are at enmity with the law of God, and they are self-deceived and self-righteous. Unconsciously they yield to the suggestions of the first great rebel, who led Adam and Eve to transgress the holy law of Jehovah. They are breakers of God's law, and yet claim that they are sanctified and made perfect, and thus they are false lights in the world. Many others are deceived by their pretensions, and are led to practice the same iniquity that they do, to show the same disregard for God's law, and to teach others that they may transgress with impunity. This was the very attitude and work of Satan in bringing sin into our world, and through his agents he still continues his work of deception upon human minds, repeating the same story by which he led Adam and Eve to disregard the word of God, and to fail to bear the single test that God put upon them.
But that which God required of Adam in paradise before the fall, He requires in this age of the world from those who would follow Him,--perfect obedience to His law. But righteousness without a blemish can be obtained only through the imputed righteousness of Christ. Through the provision that God has made for the forgiveness and restoration of sinners, the same requirements may be fulfilled by men today that were given to Adam in Eden.
It was the transgression of the law that resulted in sin, sorrow, and death. Satan declared that he would prove to the worlds which God has created, and to the heavenly intelligences, that it was an impossibility to keep the law of God. When Adam yielded to the temptation of the enemy, and fell from his high and holy estate, Satan and his angels exulted. But from the throne of God a voice was heard speaking words of mysterious import. "Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart." When man fell, Christ announced His purpose of becoming man's substitute and surety. Who was He? Isaiah says of Him, "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." John says of Him, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. . . . And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth."
"God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." When we accept God's free gift, we become partakers of the righteousness of Christ, and are complete in Him. But those who do not obey God's law, make it manifest that they have not accepted the righteousness of Christ. They may claim sanctification, but it is of a spurious character; for they array themselves against the plainest Thus saith the Lord, and by their actions deny the Lord who bought them.
Satan claimed to be sanctified, and exalted himself above God even in the courts of heaven. So great was his deceptive power that he corrupted a large number of angels, and enlisted their sympathy in his selfish interest. When he tempted Christ in the wilderness, he claimed that he was sanctified, that he was a pure angel from the heavenly courts; but Jesus was not deceived by his pretensions, and neither will those be deceived who live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. God will not accept a willfully imperfect service. Those who claim to be sanctified, and yet turn away their ears from hearing the law, prove themselves to be the children of disobedience, whose carnal hearts are not subject to the law of God, and neither indeed can be.
From Genesis to Revelation the conditions upon which eternal life is promised, are made plain. God requires that those who shall enter heaven shall be without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. Keep my commandments and live, is the requirement of God. But one says, "My conscience does not condemn me in not keeping the commandments of God." But in the word of God we read that there are good and bad consciences and the fact that your conscience does not condemn you in not keeping the law of God, does not prove that you are uncondemned in His sight. Take your conscience to the word of God, and see if your life and character are in accordance with the standard of righteousness which God has there revealed. You can then determine whether or not you have an intelligent faith, and what manner of conscience is yours. The conscience of man cannot be trusted unless it is under the influence of divine grace. Satan takes advantage of an unenlightened conscience, and thereby leads men into all manner of delusions because they have not made the word of God their counselor. Many have invented a gospel of their own in the same manner as they have substituted a law of their own for God's law. The gospel of Jesus Christ gives full recognition to the law of God, and declares the authority of God supreme. The gospel of Christ requires penitence for sin; and sin is the transgression of the law. Paul, the great gospel preacher, declares, "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." Repentance toward God is sorrow for sin, the transgression of the law of God. The sinner sees himself condemned by the holy law, and as there is no saving quality in law to save the transgressor of law, he must not only exercise repentance toward God, but have faith in Jesus Christ, his sacrifice, surety, and mediator. Through the merits of Christ the sinner may claim the pardon of God.
Christ is continually drawing men to himself. He continues to give the gracious invitation for the weary and the heavy laden to come unto Him and find rest unto their souls. He says, "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Before one decides to come to Christ, the Holy Spirit is drawing him unto the Saviour. Many have stumbled over the way to come to Christ, and have not comprehended what it means to be converted, because they have not understood what is comprehended in repentance. As the sinner is convicted of sin, he is also attracted by the love and holiness of Christ; for Jesus is drawing him unto himself. No man can originate the repentance which is essential for the saving of the soul. He can no more bring himself to repentance than he can bring about his own conversion. Repentance is born in the heart by beholding the love of Christ, who gave His life to save the sinner. It is the love of God that softens the hardest hearts.
It is a mistake to think that you must come to repentance before you can come to Jesus. Come to Christ just as you are, and contemplate His love until your hard heart is broken. "A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." We may say that except the sinner repents of his sin, he cannot be forgiven; but while this is true, let him not put off coming to Christ until he has wrought himself up to a certain pitch of excited feeling, until he thinks his sorrow is of sufficient depth to merit forgiveness. Let the sinner come just as he is, and contemplate the love that has been bestowed upon him, all unworthy as he is; and the first thing he knows, he will realize that Christ's love has broken every barrier down, and that he exercises repentance which is not to be repented of. The sinner must go to Christ in order that he may be enabled to repent. It is the virtue that goes forth from Jesus which strengthens the purposes of the heart to turn away from sin and to cleave to that which is truth. It is Christ's virtue that makes repentance sincere and genuine. It has been stated that him whom Christ pardons He first makes penitent. Peter declares the source of repentance when he says, "Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins."
When the sinner sees Jesus lifted up on the cross, dying that he might not perish but have everlasting life, he realizes something of the enormity of sin, and longs for pardon for all his transgressions, and for the favor of God. As the Holy Spirit impresses his mind, he prays most earnestly, and believes that if he asks, he shall receive. He presents the promise, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." He rejoices in the pardoning love of God; and his sincerity in the service of God, the reality of his conversion, is made manifest by the vigor of his endeavor to obey all God's commandments. The soul who has found the Lord will renounce every evil work, will cease to do evil and learn to do well, because Christ is formed within, the hope of glory.
MAINTAIN A CLOSE UNION WITH CHRIST
It is the privilege and the duty of every Christian to maintain a close union with Christ, and to have a rich experience in the things of God. Then his life will be fruitful in good works. When we read the lives of men who have been eminent for their piety, we often regard their experiences and attainments as beyond our reach. But this is not the case. Said Christ: "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit." "As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in me." "He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit." [John 15:8, 4, 5.] The prophets and apostles did not perfect Christian character by a miracle. They used the means which God had placed within their reach, and all who will put forth a like effort will secure a like result.
Then said Jesus unto his disciples,
If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
RH – The Review and Herald
August 27, 1901 Obedience the Fruit of Union With Christ.--No. 1.
September 3, 1901 Obedience the Fruit of Union With Christ.--No. 2.
4SP – The Spirit of Prophecy Volume Four (1884)
Mrs. E. G. White.
Your brother in Christ
[Updated on: Fri, 29 May 2020 21:20]
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