GENERAL ARTICLE, "SPIRITUAL WEAKNESS INEXCUSABLE," IN REVIEW AND HERALD, JULY 1, 1890. PORTION IN SELECTED MESSAGES, BOOK ONE, PP. 363, 364 .
Those who trust wholly in the righteousness of Christ, looking to Him in living faith, know the Spirit of Christ and are known of Christ. Simple faith enables the believer to reckon himself dead indeed unto sin and alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. We are saved by grace through our faith, and that not of ourselves; it is the gift of God. Should we try to unfold these precious promises to the worldly wise, they would but ridicule us; for "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14).
When Jesus was about to ascend on high, He said to His disciples. "I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; 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" (John 14:16, 17). Again He said, "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" (verse 21).
There are many who find satisfaction in identifying themselves with false doctrines, that there may be no disturbance or difference between themselves and the world; but the children of God must bear testimony to the truth, not only by pen and
voice but by spirit and character. Our Saviour declares that the world cannot receive the spirit of truth. They cannot discern the truth, for they discern not Christ, the Author of truth. Lukewarm disciples, cold-hearted professors, who are not imbued with the Spirit of Christ, are not able to discern the preciousness of His righteousness; but they go about to establish their own righteousness.
The world seeks the things of the world--business, worldly honour, display, selfish gratification. Christ seeks to break this spell which holds men away from Him. He seeks to call men's attention to the world to come, that Satan has managed to eclipse by his own shadow. Christ brings the eternal world within the range of men's vision, He presents its attractions before them, tells them that He will prepare mansions for them, and will come again and receive them unto Himself. It is the design of Satan so to fill the mind with inordinate love of sensual things that the love of God and the desire for heaven shall be expelled from the heart. . . .
Called to Be Faithful Stewards
God calls upon those to whom He has entrusted His goods to acquit themselves as faithful stewards. The Lord would have all things of temporal interest occupy a secondary place in the heart and thoughts; but Satan would have the matters of the earth take the first place in our lives. The Lord would have us approve the things that are excellent. He shows us the conflict in which we must engage, reveals the character and plan of redemption. He lays open before you the perils you will meet, the self-denial that will be required, and He bids you count the cost, assuring you that if you zealously engage in the conflict, divine power will combine with human effort.
The Christian's warfare is not a warfare waged against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against spiritual wickedness in high places. The Christian must contend with supernatural forces, but he is not to be left
alone to engage in the conflict. The Saviour is the captain of his salvation, and with Him man may be more than conqueror.
The world's Redeemer would not have man in ignorance of Satan's devices. The vast confederacy of evil is arrayed against those who would overcome; but Christ would have us look to the things that are not seen, to the armies of heaven that encamp round about those who love God, to deliver them. The angels of heaven are interested in behalf of man. The power of Omnipotence is at the service of those who trust in God. The Father accepts the righteousness of Christ in behalf of His followers, and they are surrounded with light and holiness which Satan cannot penetrate. The voice of the Captain of our salvation speaks to His followers, saying, "'Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.' I am your defence; advance to victory."
The Cross of Calvary
Through Christ, restoration as well as reconciliation is provided for man. The gulf that was made by sin has been spanned by the cross of Calvary. A full, complete ransom has been paid by Jesus, by virtue of which the sinner is pardoned and the justice of the law is maintained. All who believe that Christ is the atoning sacrifice may come and receive pardon for their sins; for through the merit of Christ, communication has been opened between God and man. God can accept me as His child, and I can claim Him and rejoice in Him as my loving Father.
We must centre our hopes of heaven upon Christ alone, because He is our Substitute and Surety. We have transgressed the law of God, and by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified. The best efforts that man in his own strength can make are valueless to meet the holy and just law that he has transgressed; but through faith in Christ he may claim the righteousness of the Son of God as all-sufficient. Christ satisfied the demands of the law in His human nature. He bore the
curse of the law for the sinner, made an atonement for him, "that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Genuine faith appropriates the righteousness of Christ, and the sinner is made an overcomer with Christ; for he is made a partaker of the divine nature, and thus divinity and humanity are combined.
He who is trying to reach heaven by his own works in keeping the law is attempting an impossibility. Man cannot be saved without obedience, but his works should not be of himself; Christ should work in him to will and to do of His good pleasure. If a man could save himself by his own works, he might have something in himself in which to rejoice. The effort that man makes in his own strength to obtain salvation is represented by the offering of Cain. All that man can do without Christ is polluted with selfishness and sin; but that which is wrought through faith is acceptable to God. When we seek to gain heaven through the merits of Christ, the soul makes progress. "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith," we may go on from strength to strength, from victory to victory; for through Christ the grace of God has worked out our complete salvation.