The Review and Herald
January 14, 1904
A Call to Greater Consecration
Men and women are God's agencies for the salvation of souls. Of his true followers the Lord says, “This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise.” They are my witnesses, my chosen representatives, in an apostate world. Filled with a desire to win sinners to Christ, they have the sympathy and co-operation of the heavenly universe.
The church on earth is to become the court of holy love. Those who by the Lord's appointment occupy in it positions of trust are to bring into it the pity and self-sacrifice of the great Head of the church. Christian fellowship is one means by which character is formed. Thus selfishness is purged from the life, and men and women are drawn to Christ, the great center. Thus is answered his prayer that his followers may be one, as he is one with the Father.
Can you marvel, my brethren and sisters, that I am bowed down with inexpressible agony, as again and again I am made to realize that few among our people understand their weakness? The characters of many of those who have received such wonderful truth are a jumble of opposites. Christ has promised to make them harmonious on every point, not pleasant and agreeable and kind today, and tomorrow harsh and disagreeable and unkind, falsifying their profession of faith. But they refuse to place themselves where he can help them. They are breaking the commandments of God; for they have left their first love. Some have joined the enemy, to become accusers of the brethren. How could they do this wicked thing? In thought, word, and deed they are transgressors. They have spoken words that God condemns as unjust and cruel.
Pray that your lips may be touched with a live coal from the divine altar, that you may speak only pure, Christlike words, and that you may see that it is a sin to speak harshly and unadvisedly. There are many now teaching others who need themselves to learn what it means to be redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. They need to feel the power of saving grace. Self and Satan are spoiling many souls, making them so unchristlike in spirit, in word, and in action, and so harmful in influence, that God will separate them from his work.
There are in human nature elements of destruction, which, under certain conditions, break forth to consume. The moral powers are prostrated. The excited passions tyrannize over the higher, nobler faculties; and Christlikeness is not revealed. The Infinite One—he who alone was able to bring order and beauty out of the chaos and confusion of nature's darkness—is able to subdue the rebellious heart of man, and bring his life into conformity to the divine will. His Spirit can quell man's rebellious temper. But unless men possess the love of Christ, the qualifications that otherwise would be of value in God's work will be controlled by the selfishness of the human heart. In order to be true Christians we must surrender ourselves unreservedly to Christ.
Day by day we are building characters, and we are building for eternity. God desires us in our lives to give the people of the world an example of what they should be, and of what they can be through obedience to the gospel of Christ. Let us place ourselves in God's hands, to be dealt with as he sees best. “Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” “Ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” If we build in cooperation with him, the structure that we rear will day by day grow more beautiful and more symmetrical under the hand of the Master-builder, and through all eternity it will endure.
Sanctification is a progressive work. It is a continuous work, leading human beings higher, and still higher. It does not leave love behind, but brings it into the life as the very essence of Christianity.
Christ says to us, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” He is our example. During his life on earth, he was ever kind and gentle. His influence was ever fragrant; for in him dwelt perfect love. He was never sour and unapproachable, and he never compromised with wrong to obtain favor. If we have his righteousness, we shall be like him in gentleness, in forbearance, in unselfish love. Shall we not, by dwelling in the sunshine of his presence, become mellowed by his grace?
Let us honor our profession of faith. Let us adorn our lives with beautiful traits of character. Harshness of speech and action is not of Christ, but of Satan. Shall we, by clinging to our imperfections and deformities, make Christ ashamed of us? His grace is promised to us. If we will receive it, it will beautify our lives. Then in the place of disparaging our fellow workers, we shall help them to climb the ladder of progress. Deformity will be exchanged for goodness, perfection. Our lives will be adorned with the graces that made Christ's life so beautiful.
God calls for our co-operation. His requirements are just and reasonable. Shall we not strive to be Christians in life as well as in profession? Shall we not ennoble our lives with the dignity of a steadfast purpose? When we take the name of Christ, we pledge ourselves to represent him. In order for us to be true to our pledge, Christ must be formed within, the hope of glory. The daily life must become more and more like the Christ-life. We must be Christians in deed and in truth. Christ will have nothing to do with pretense. He will welcome to the heavenly courts those only whose Christianity is genuine. The lives of professed Christians who do not live the life of Christ are a mockery to religion.
A true, lovable Christian is the most powerful argument that can be advanced in favor of Bible truth. Such a man (such a woman) is Christ's representative. His life is the most convincing evidence that can be borne to the power of divine grace. When God's people bring the righteousness of Christ into the daily life, sinners will be converted, and victories over the enemy will be gained.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”