- By Faith We Should
Grasp The Hand Of Christ
- MANY who are sincerely seeking for holiness
of heart and purity of life are perplexed and discouraged. They are constantly looking to
themselves, and lamenting their lack of faith; and because of this lack, they feel that
they cannot claim the blessing of God. These persons mistake feeling for faith. They look
away from the simplicity of true faith, and thus bring great darkness upon their souls.
Instead of thinking of self, they should train their minds to dwell upon the mercy and
goodness of God. They should recount his promises, believing that he will fulfill his
word. When we repent of our past transgressions of his law, and resolve to render
obedience in the future, we should believe that God for Christ's sake accepts us, and
forgives our sins.
At times a deep sense of our
unworthiness will send a thrill of terror through the soul; but this is no evidence that
God has changed toward us, or we toward him. We may not feel today the peace and joy which
we felt yesterday; but by faith we should grasp the hand of Christ, and trust him as fully
in the darkness as in the light. No effort should be made to rein the mind up to an
intensity of emotion; but we should faithfully perform every duty, and then calmly rest in
the promises of God.
Satan may whisper, "You
are too great a sinner for Christ to save." But while you acknowledge that you are
sinful and unworthy, meet the tempter with the cry, "By virtue of the atonement I
claim Jesus as my Saviour. I trust not to my own merits, but to the precious blood of
Christ, which cleanses me. This moment I hang my helpless soul on him."
Be not discouraged because
your heart seems hard. Every obstacle, every internal foe, only increases your need of
Christ. He came to take away the heart of stone, and give you a heart of flesh. Look to
him for grace to overcome your special faults, to put away every darling sin.
An unyielding trust, a firm
reliance upon Christ, will bring peace and joy to the soul. But let none imagine that
without earnest effort on their part they can retain the assurance of God's love. When the
mind has been long permitted to dwell only on earthly things, it is a difficult matter to
change the habits of thought. That which the eye sees and the ear hears, too often
attracts the attention and absorbs the interest. But if we would enter the city of God,
and look upon Jesus in his glory, we must become accustomed to beholding him with the eye
of faith here. The words and character of Christ should be often the subject of our
thoughts and our conversation; and each day some time should be especially devoted to
prayerful meditation upon these sacred themes.
Let none deceive themselves
with the belief that God will accept and bless them while they are trampling upon one of
his requirements. The willful commission of a known sin silences the witnessing voice of
the Spirit, and separates the soul from God. Jesus cannot abide in the heart that
disregards the divine law. God will honor those only who honor him.
- No Man Can Serve
- "To whom ye yield yourselves servants
to obey, his servants ye are." If we indulge anger, lust, covetousness, hatred,
selfishness, or any other sin, we become servants of sin. "No man can serve two
masters." If we serve sin, we cannot serve Christ. The Christian will feel the
promptings of sin; but he will keep up a constant warfare against it. Here is where
Christ's help is needed. Human weakness becomes united to divine strength, and faith
exclaims, "Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus
The Christian life must be a
life of constant progression. Peter sets before us the successive steps, in these words:
"Giving all diligence, add to your 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. For if these things be
in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the
knowledge of our Lord Jesus." "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to
make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall; for
so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
Here is a course by which we
may be assured that we shall never fall. Those who are thus working upon the plan of
addition in obtaining the Christian graces, have the assurance that God will work upon the
plan of multiplication in granting them the gifts of his Spirit. Says Peter, "Grace
and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord."
Our Saviour claims all there
is of us; he asks our first and holiest thoughts, our purest and most intense affection.
His love is infinitely more tender and self denying than a mother's love. The price paid
for our ransom testifies to his estimation of the value of the human soul. Then what
ingratitude do we manifest when we withhold from him our affections and our service. Is it
too much to give ourselves, our time and talents, to Him who has sacrificed all for us?
Can we choose the friendship of the world before the immortal honors which Christ
proffers,--"to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down
with my Father on his throne"?
- Paul Suffered For
The Truth's Sake
- The apostle Paul was highly honored of God;
in holy vision he looked upon scenes whose glories he was not permitted to reveal. Yet
this did not lead him to boastfulness or self confidence. He realized the importance of
constant watchfulness and self denial. "I keep my body under," he says,
"and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to
others, I myself should be a castaway."
Paul suffered for the truth's
sake; and yet we hear no complaint from his lips. As he reviews his life of toil and care
and sacrifice, he says, "I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not
worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." The shout of
victory from God's faithful servant comes down the line to our time: "Who shall
separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or
famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . . Nay, in all these things we are more than
conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor
angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor
height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of
God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Though Paul was at last
confined in a Roman prison, shut away from the light and air of heaven, cut off from his
active labors in the gospel field, and momentarily expecting to be condemned to death, he
did not yield to doubt or despondency. From that gloomy dungeon came his dying testimony,
full of a sublime faith and courage that has inspired the hearts of saints and martyrs in
all succeeding ages: "I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is
at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous
Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his
The glorious reward that
awaits this hero of faith,--a crown of righteousness, and eternal life in the presence of
God,--may be won by each of us. Jesus and holy angels are waiting to give us the help we
need. Every prayer sent up in faith from an honest heart will be heard, and the petitioner
will have his request when he needs the blessing most. Sometimes we ask for things that
are not for our own good or the glory of God. When this is so, our wise and good Father
hears our prayers, but gives us nothing hurtful. He will guide our feet. By divine grace,
all who will may climb the shining steps from earth to Heaven, and at last, "with
songs and everlasting joy," enter through the gates into the city of God.
The Signs of the Times -
June 19, 1884.
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