Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

February 18, 1904

Lights in the World

Mrs. E. G. White

Christ declared himself to be the light of the world. To his disciples he gave a part in the work of shedding light on a sin-darkened world. “Ye are the light of the world,” he declared. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

The church has been made the depositary of the truth of the gospel, the agency through which God's light is to shine forth to the world, in clear, distinct rays. How is this light to shine? Let God's Word tell us:

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.”

“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”

“Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.”

“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.”

God has made every provision for our justification and sanctification. He has given Christ to us, that through him we may be made complete. Christ gave his life for sinners. By his death he opened a fountain in which all may wash their robes of character, and make them white. He died on the cross, but he rose from the tomb, proclaiming, “I am the resurrection, and the life.” He made his followers joint heirs with him in his glory. In his name they were to go forth to carry out his purpose of bringing many souls to a knowledge of the truth.

Heaven's resources are limitless, and they are all at our command. Why, then, I ask, is the progress of the Lord's work in our world so slow? Why are not the Lord's followers increasing in knowledge and purity, holiness and power?

Are there not presented before Christ's followers the highest virtues to be cultivated, the greatest honors to be gained? God calls upon them to enter a race in which every one may win. He calls upon them to enlist in a warfare in which every one may be a conqueror. A robe of righteousness and a crown of everlasting life,—this is the reward held out before the overcomer.

The inhabitants of the heavenly universe expect the followers of Christ to shine as lights in the world. They are to show forth the power of the grace that Christ died to give to men. God expects those who profess to be Christians to reveal in their lives the highest development of Christianity. They are the recognized representatives of Christ. Their work is to show that Christianity is a reality. They are to be men of faith, men of constant growth, men of courage, whole-souled men, who without questioning trust in God and his promises.

God calls for men of undaunted courage, men full of hope and faith and trust, who rejoice in the thought of the final triumph, refusing to be hindered by obstacles. He who steadfastly adheres to the principles of truth has the assurance that his weakest points of character may become his strongest points. Heavenly angels are close by him who strives to bring his life into harmony with God and his holy law. God is with him as he declares, “I must overcome the temptations that surround me, else they will drive Christ from my heart.” He combats all temptation and braves all opposition. By the strength obtained from on high, he holds in control the passions and tendencies which, uncontrolled, would lead him to defeat.

The presence of the man who loves and fears God is as a sweet fragrance in his family. His example speaks eloquently in favor of the truth. All with whom he comes in contact are constrained to say, “He has been with Jesus, and has learned of him.”

When the Christian takes his baptismal vow, divine help is pledged to him. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit stand ready to work in his behalf. God places at his command the resources of heaven, that he may be an overcomer. His own power is small; but God is omnipotent, and God is his helper. Daily he is to make known his wants at the throne of grace. By faith and trust, by availing himself of the resources provided, he can be more than a conqueror.

Why, then, should not those who are fighting against the powers of darkness move forward with faith and courage? God and Christ and the Holy Spirit are on their side.

The Lord expects those who believe in Christ to co-operate with divine instrumentalities, and thus reveal a strength that the worldling can not reveal. God is dishonored, and his cause is reproached, when the Christian shows less zeal, less self-denial, in his strife for the mastery over evil, than do those who are striving for the mastery over the things of the world.

We know not how soon our probation may close. How dare those who know the truth live in unpreparedness, not ready to meet their Lord? How dare they remain sinful and defiled? Why are they not afraid? Why do they not realize their peril? The weakness of the church is due to its unbelieving, unconverted, unsanctified members. The Lord would work mightily for his people if they would put off the works of darkness, and be clothed with his righteousness. He calls upon every one who names the name of Christ to depart from all iniquity, to be “not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.”

God calls upon those who profess to believe the truth to show by unquestioning obedience that they are faithful soldiers of the cross. Let not those who stand under the blood-stained banner of Prince Emmanuel do anything that will dishonor the cause for which they are fighting. Christ expects his soldiers to be brave and loyal and true.

The work that Christ did on this earth his followers are to do. With the power and efficacy brought by the Holy Spirit they are to carry forward his plan for the restoration of the divine image in humanity. The Lord will do great things for them when they work under the Holy Spirit's guidance. But they must place their entire dependence on God.

For the last twenty years a subtle, unconsecrated influence has been leading men to look to men, to bind up with men, to neglect their heavenly Companion. Many have turned away from Christ. They have failed to appreciate the One who declares, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”

Let us do all in our power to redeem the past. Making God our trust, let us go out into the waste places of the earth to work for the salvation of perishing souls. We shall meet with close and trying times. Temptation and trial will come. But the Lord is an all-powerful helper. He desires those who work for him to move forward with singing, because he co-operates with every unselfish effort.

“Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.... For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.”

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