Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

February 26, 1895

No Union Between the Church and the World

By Mrs. E. G. White

God is love, God is life. It is the prerogative of God to redeem, reconstruct, and restore. Before the foundation of the world the Son of God was given to die, and redemption is the mystery that was “kept in silence from times eternal.” Yet sin is unexplainable, and no reason can be found for its existence. No soul knows what God is, until he sees himself a sinner in the light from the cross of Calvary; but when in his great need, he cries out for a sin-pardoning Saviour, God is revealed to him as gracious and merciful, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. The work of Christ is to redeem, to restore, to seek, and to save that which was lost. If we are connected with Christ, we also are partakers of the divine nature, and are to be laborers together with God. We are to bind up the bruised and wounded soul, and if a brother or a sister has erred, we are not to join with the enemy in destroying and ruining, but to work with Christ to restore such a one in the spirit of meekness.

The foundation of our hope in Christ is the fact that we recognize ourselves as sinners in need of restoration and redemption. It is because we are sinners, that we have courage to claim him as our Saviour. Then let us take heed lest we deal with the erring in a way that would say to others that we have no need of redemption. Let us not denounce, condemn, and destroy as though we were faultless. It is the work of Christ to mend, to heal, to restore. God is love, in himself, in his very essence. He makes the very best of that which appears an injury, and gives Satan no occasion for triumphing by making the worst appear, or by exposing our weaknesses to our enemies.

It is the work of Satan to destroy, and the world is his agent to work along these lines. The worldling is ever on the alert, watching a chance to criticise those who would serve God. Those who have not been transformed by the grace of Jesus Christ, are filled with a complaining, querulous spirit toward the servants of Jesus. Many despise the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, and if they can make it appear that those who are striving to obey the commandments of God are faulty, they strike an arrow at the people of God for the prince of accusers. The cruel thrusts of unbelievers will do little harm if those who profess to be servants of Christ will stand true to his words, and be doers of the word, and not hearers only. When unbelievers come to one of the servants of Christ with a complaint against some brother or sister in the church, let him remember that he is pledged to Jesus Christ to love and to respect and be faithful to them who are united with him in the bonds of Christian fellowship. The Christian is not to unite with false accusers of the brethren. He is not to take up a reproach against his neighbor, or in any way to second the work of the enemy by playing into his hands, and making his work a success.

The world must not be introduced into the church and married to the church. Through union with the world the church will become corrupt,—“a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” The customs of the world must not have a place; for they will be open doors through which the prince of darkness will find access, and the line of demarkation will become indistinguishable between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. Jesus presented a parable to his followers concerning a field in which it was supposed there was nothing sown but good wheat. But those to whom the field had been intrusted looked upon it with disappointment, for with the wheat came up also a crop of tares. They inquired of the owner, “Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?” The owner of the field replied, “An enemy hath done this.”

The world is the chief enemy of religion; for Satanic forces are continually at work through the world, and it is the object of Satan to bring the church and the world into such close fellowship that their aims, their spirit, their principles, shall harmonize, and that it will be impossible to distinguish between him who professes to serve God and him who serveth him not. The enemy works continually to push the world to the front, and to make it appear that those who do not serve Jesus, who do not believe in him, and who do not seek to be doers of his word, are superior in character to those who seek to follow in his footsteps.

It was the world that crucified the Lord of life and glory. Jesus was put to death to gratify the malice of the Jews, who were filled with the spirit and principles of the world. They hated the spotless Son of God, because the principles he presented did not harmonize with their ideas,—did not coincide with their ambitious aims. They hated him because he condemned all guile, frowned upon every unholy practice, and rebuked their self-seeking policy and love of supremacy. Pilate and Herod became friends in crucifying Jesus Christ. Notwithstanding Pilate had pronounced him innocent, he gratified the enmity of the Jews, by consenting to the death of one who was guiltless. Even the disciples of Christ were swayed from their allegiance to Christ by the enmity of the world. Judas betrayed his Lord for thirty pieces of silver, and Peter denied him in his humiliation in the judgment-hall. A few hours before, he had, with great firmness, assured his Master that though all men should deny him, he would not; but that he was ready to go with him to prison and to death. In his self-confidence he would not hear to the truth that he would deny his Master thrice ere the cock should crow. He was so self-confident that he would not receive the word of Christ as verity and truth. How little he knew himself! In the very hour when he should have watched with Jesus, lifting his heart to heaven in prayer, he denied his Master. When accused of being one of the disciples of Jesus, he declared that he knew not the man; and as the charge was made again and again, he finally emphasized his denial with cursing and swearing. Then Jesus turned and looked upon Peter. That glance was full of sadness and grief, but not of despair. It broke the heart of Peter, and sent him forth to weep bitterly in repentance of his sin.

The influence of the world did not prevail with Peter. He was converted, and after the resurrection of Christ, he was endowed with the Holy Spirit, and then with boldness charged the rulers with their guilt in putting Christ to death. He said, “Ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life.” After his conversion, Peter showed that he was an entirely changed man. He was not the self-confident, boasting Peter that he had been before his conversion. And when the enemies of Christ threatened him, and charged him that he should not teach any more in the name of Jesus, and bring this man's blood upon them, their threatening did not intimidate the servant of Christ. He did not turn coward, but with the other apostles proclaimed the name of Christ until they were all shut up in prison. But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, “Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.” The command of the angel was opposed to the command of the authorities, and which should they obey? “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. 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. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them. Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space; and said unto them, ... Refrain from these men, and let them alone; for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to naught; but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.”

The world is not a friend to truth, and the servants of God must not allow themselves to be affected by the accusations of worldlings against those who love the truth. Let all the believers study the lessons that Christ has given. If complaints are made against a brother or a sister, let those who hear the report follow the Saviour's instruction, and go to the accused alone, and see if the matter cannot be explained. If there is real wrong existing, and he will not hear you, then take two or three others, and in the spirit of love and meekness, seeking God for wisdom, try to restore such a one. If this method does not succeed in winning him from his evil ways, bring his case before the church. Unbelievers have no part to act in any of these dealings. They could not discern the motives or principles that believers are to follow in caring for their brethren, nor understand the relation that exists between those of like faith. As soldiers of Jesus Christ, we are under obligation to be true to one another. The followers of Christ are to keep step with their Leader, and never utter a complaint against a brother to an enemy of truth. Let there be no betrayal of sacred trusts. Give not the enemies of Christ cause to triumph or to take advantage of God's servants. Let the counsel of the people of God be with their own company. “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him.”

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