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Faith The Christian's Privilege

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.

A Firm Reliance Upon Christ, Will
Bring Peace And Joy To The Soul
If we would permit our minds to dwell more upon Christ and the heavenly world. We should find a powerful stimulus and support in our warfare against sin. By faith we may look upon the crowns laid up for those who shall overcome; we may listen to the exultant song of the redeemed: "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power;" "for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood." Pride and love of the world will lose their power as we contemplate the infinite love of Christ, and the glories of that better land so soon to be our home.

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 Two Masters
"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 Christ."

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 appearing."

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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