Ellen G. White Writings

<< Back Forward >>

«Back «Prev. Pub. «Article   Article» Next Pub.» Forward»

The Review and Herald

April 27, 1897

Christian Unity

By Mrs. E. G. White

Christ prayed for his disciples: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”

In this prayer of Christ's, God has expressed his desire for the unity of his believing people. But there is an unwearied conflict kept up on this earth. Satan works to make the prayer of Christ of none effect. He makes a continual effort to create bitterness and discord; for he knows that where there is unity, there is strength,—a oneness which all the powers of hell cannot break. All who bring weakness and sorrow and discouragement upon God's people, by their own perverse ways and tempers, aid the enemy of God, and are working directly against the prayer of Christ.

The friends of the prince of darkness, notwithstanding their jarring and bitter recriminations, are linked together as with bands of steel in the one great object of disloyalty to Jehovah. How important, then, that the soldiers of the Prince of Life be one in their loyalty to him!

In union there is strength; in disunion there is weakness. God's chosen ones are to reveal to the world their union one with another. It is not possible for a few to walk to heaven alone because they can agree with no others. God's people are to be a unit. If some entertain ideas so peculiar that others cannot accept them, they should compare notes in a teachable spirit, and all should be willing to learn. They should make the most strenuous efforts to be one, to come into the unity of the faith in the bonds of peace.

Our names are registered as Christians. We go to the Lord's table; we profess to be sons and daughters of God, members of the Lord's family, children of the Heavenly King. But too often those who claim to love Jesus, deny him by their lack of confidence in one another. Too often evil is watched for, actions are viewed in the worst light, words are misconstrued and misinterpreted. Many talk earnestly about the faults of others, but their own faults trouble them little. If they would devote their voices to the confession of their own sins, it would be better. God knows the ways of his children. Every word, every thought, every motive, is open before the eyes of him who sees all things. Then let us show that we love Jesus by enthroning him in our hearts, by denying self for the sake of others. Let us work together harmoniously, as staunch members of one family.

We must guard well every point; for Satan is unwearied in his work of temptation. Watch well your words; guard well the spirit that prompts your words. Stand as faithful sentinels over your own defective attributes of character, that you may do nothing which will prove a stumbling-block to your brother. Do not make crooked paths for your feet, paths that will turn his feet out of the way of life. I wish all to remember that a day is coming in which the case of every one will be revealed. Then the plague-spot that tainted your character, the rock of offense that wrecked your bark, will be seen. Many will then realize that the tongue, though a little member, can do a weight of mischief. Many, eternally lost, will then, in their despair, look reproachfully upon those who sowed bitterness in their hearts, and planted suspicious thoughts in their minds.

No provision has been made for Christians to draw apart from one another. By our unity and love we are to reveal the character of Christ. “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.” “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.... Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.”

The word of God clearly points out our duty. We are to cultivate kindness and forbearance and love. We are not to misrepresent our brethren because our ideas are not thought to be of the highest value. By our conduct we show what our influence and the principles we hold are worth. If self is our center, self will appear in all we do. If Christ is our center, we shall bear his likeness, and our words will glorify him.

“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”

“God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.”

Are we striving most earnestly to obey these words? Shall we not draw nigh to God, fearing to sin against him by being unjust to our brethren? If we hope in God's mercy, we shall manifest the most tender interest in all for whom Christ has died. We shall fear to offend his children. We shall not wound nor bruise his heritage. We shall not, because we are not exalted and honored as we think we should be, handle the reputation of our brethren in a way that offends God, who loves them as he loves us, and who takes as much pleasure in them as he does in us.

The Lord has called us to unity in the bonds of Christian fellowship and love. “A new commandment I give unto you,” said Christ, “That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”

It is gold of character that God estimates as of value. He reads the purposes of the heart; and he has seen disaffection where his children should have been one in Christian unity. Christ is hungry and thirsty to see Christians working upon Christian principles. In all their afflictions he is afflicted. He longs to see his children manifesting his character. “Will a man rob God?” Human brotherhood is needed.

Dissension, bickering, self-seeking, are not of God, but of Satan. In the last great day those who have sympathized with self, and by their words of suspicion have turned in the wrong direction the scale in which the soul of a human being was hanging, will see their mistake. When their influence was needed to turn the balance for the right, they stood under Satan's banner, and did his work, sowing seeds of disunion and criticism; and the blood of souls will be charged to them. They will be held accountable for what they might have done had they been instant in season and out of season in the work of Christ. The wrong impression made upon human minds may live long after those who made it are dead.

We see that which God requires of us. Shall we not put our pride and dignity where it will not be so easily bruised and wounded? Shall we not lay it all at the feet of Christ? Shall we not allow our minds to be softened by the Holy Spirit, that we may not act like children in our association one with another, but as Christ's brave soldiers, go without the camp, and bear the reproach for his sake? Shall we not cherish love rather than strife and hatred? Shall we not covenant with God that we will not be like the children of the wicked one,—pettish, jealous, full of evil surmisings,—but like a tree that is known by its good fruit? Then by our unity and by our love one for another, all men will see that we are Christians.

«Back «Prev. Pub. «Article   Article» Next Pub.» Forward»