Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

September 3, 1903

Divine Sonship

[Sermon at the open air service held at Calistoga, Cal., June 7, 1903.]

Mrs. E. G. White

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God; therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”

In this scripture are portrayed Christian privileges that are comprehended by but comparatively few. Every one should become familiar with the blessings that God has offered us in his Word. He has given us many assurances as to what he will do for us. And all that he has promised is made possible by Christ's sacrifice in our behalf.

John the Baptist bore witness of the One through whom we may become sons and daughters of God. “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”

Divine sonship is not something that we may gain of ourselves. Only to those who receive Christ as their Saviour is given the power to become sons and daughters of God. The sinner can not, by any power of his own, rid himself of sin. For the accomplishment of this result, he must look to a higher Power. John exclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Christ alone has power to cleanse the heart. He who is seeking for forgiveness and acceptance can say only,

“Nothing in my hand I bring;
Simply to thy cross I cling.”

But the promise of sonship is made to all who “believe on his name.” Every one who comes to Jesus in faith will receive pardon. As soon as the penitent one looks to the Saviour for help to turn from sin, the Holy Spirit begins his transforming work upon the heart. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” What an incentive to greater effort this should be to all who are trying to set the hope of the gospel before those who are still in the darkness of error.

Our Hope in the Gospel

How thankful we should be for the blessings offered us; for the hope we have in the gospel; for the sacrifice which Christ made in order that we might have these blessings! He, the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, laid aside his royal robe and kingly crown, clothed his divinity with humanity, and came to this earth to stand at the head of humanity. After his crucifixion and resurrection, he ascended to heaven, but he went as our elder brother, to intercede in our behalf. By a life of self-sacrifice and a death of shame, he redeemed us, and he now stands before the Father as our Advocate, the propitiation for the sins of every repentant one who receives him and believes on his name. With his human arm he encircles the fallen race, while with his divine arm he grasps the throne of the Infinite. No matter how weak the sinner may be; no matter how many or how great may have been his transgressions, the Saviour will accept him. Christ loves every member of the human race; for he has bought them all with a price;—and what a price!

Christ would have given his life, even if he had known that only the little company before whom I am standing today would be saved at last. Yes; if there had been but one member of our little company that could have been saved, he would have given his life as a ransom for that one. How incomprehensible is his infinite love!

Tempted in all Points Like as we Are

Our Saviour passed over the same ground on which Adam fell. He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. He never yielded to temptation; and yet, in withstanding the assaults of the enemy, he exercised no power that is not granted us. He might have come to this earth accompanied by a vast retinue of angels; but he came unattended, to dwell with the poor and the lowly. Throughout his life he was sorely tried. On every hand he was beset with temptation. He endured every affliction that we are called to endure. “In all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.”

Dear friends, did Christ come to this earth in order that you might receive and enjoy the riches of the world?—No, no. He came that you might have life eternal in the kingdom of God. He came that you might live the life that measures with the life of God; that in the courts of heaven, where there is neither sorrow nor death, you might dwell forever with Christ and the angels.

With these thoughts in mind, can we not appreciate a little more fully the words: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God; therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”

Partakers of the Divine Nature

God's purpose for us is that we shall be partakers of the divine nature. Only thus can we overcome the evils that beset us. It is by beholding Christ that we are made partakers of his nature. Keeping him ever in view, we are changed into his likeness. Thus we gain strength to overcome as he overcame. God does not ask us to fight the battle against sin in our own strength. He has given Christ to be our helper in every time of need. The Saviour knows all about our trials and difficulties. Let us lay them at his feet, and trust him to lead us aright.

Let every professed Christian search his heart diligently, and put away from him everything that is unlike Christ. Let him remember that he has been bought with a price, even the blood of the Son of God, and that in thought, word, and deed he is to honor his Redeemer. Remembering this, he will guard against pride and self-indulgence. Constantly he will endeavor so to live that he can meet the Saviour in peace. He will resist every suggestion of the enemy to do that which would grieve the heart of Christ. If he is faithful in this life, he will be ready to welcome the Saviour when he comes in the clouds of heaven. With joy he will say, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us.”

The Promise of Christ's Return

“Let not your heart be troubled,” Christ said to his disciples just before his crucifixion; “ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

Long have we waited for our Saviour's return. But none the less sure is the promise. Soon we shall be in our promised home. There Jesus will lead us beside the living stream flowing from the throne of God, and will explain to us the dark providences through which he led us in order to perfect our characters. There we shall see on every hand the beautiful trees of Paradise, in the midst of them the tree of life. There we shall behold with undimmed vision the beauties of Eden restored. There we shall cast at the feet of our Redeemer the crowns that he has placed on our heads, and, touching our golden harps, we shall offer praise and thanksgiving to him that sitteth on the throne.

Dear friends, I have talked to you this afternoon in regard to some of the simple truths of the gospel. If you will receive these truths into your hearts, I shall feel that my words have not been in vain. May the blessing of God rest upon you and your children. May you all be among those who shall enter through the gates of pearl into the city of our God. May you, as unbroken families, dwell forever in that haven of rest. To this end may God help you now to strive for the crown of life.

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