Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

August 26, 1897

“Laborers Together with God”

“For we are laborers together with God; ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Before the world was, God destined his Son to minister to the human family, and in him we may receive the highest ideal of true ministry. God has exalted such ministry as worthy of the highest place in the work to be accomplished in our world; and only through his Son, who was equal with himself, could he exemplify it. God invested his Son with the ideal of ministry, and bade him work it out in humanity. It was not simply a theory that Christ was to hold in regard to the character of ministry; he worked it out after the similitude which God had given him. Out of his own fulness he ministered to all.

Christ was the greatest Teacher the world has ever known. And he is the example his followers are to copy, both in manner of address and in the subjects of his lessons. His words were most simple. The truth spoken bore its own credentials to the people who heard. The very tones of his voice expressed his warm, tender sympathy for his hearers. And Christ was a practical teacher. The truth coming to the people in deep, earnest tones from a man who was one in nature with themselves was what they needed above everything else. Never did so many people congregate to listen to the teachings of one man as gathered to hear Christ. Men, women, and children listened to his words with solemn, earnest attention.

Christ came to give expression to the law of God, to represent the Father's character. He came to minister to man, to restore in him the moral image of God. Tho he was rich, yet for our sake he became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich.

God did not create man sinful. Adam came forth from the hand of his Maker without the taint of evil. The holy pair might have retained their innocence, had they lived by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, had they refused to listen to the strange voice declaring another story than that which God had told them. But they abused their high and holy privileges. They were left free to choose between good and evil, and they chose the evil. And as they chose to believe the lie of Satan and disobey the express command of God, that which was pure and godlike in their nature became perverted and defiled.

But Christ came to be the propitiation for man's sins. John, the beloved disciple, declares: “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. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.”

In his humanity, Christ lived a perfect life, thus elevating humanity in the scale of moral worth with God. With his human arm Christ lays hold of man, while with his divine arm he grasps the throne of the Infinite. Thus he imbues man with his own spiritual nature, and lifts him to his side, to be cherished and loved as the Father loves his Son.

Christ declared, “I am among you as one that serveth.” And yet how many of us want, not to serve, but to be served. Man's selfish nature needs a divine teacher to show him by practical godliness the example he must follow. Christ sets our duty before us in clear lines. To those on his right hand he is represented as saying in the judgment, “I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me.” Those who, with the love of God burning in their hearts, minister to their fellow-beings, are accounted as ministers unto Christ himself. And the reward offered to such is, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Christ has promised: “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.” But those who have no sense of the blessings of ministry will not appreciate heaven; they will not see the necessity of doing the will of God in this life, but will go where inclination leads.

Every faculty that we possess has been provided for us in Christ; for when God gave his Son to our world, he included all heaven in his gift. And God would have men value their powers as a sacred gift from him. A spark of God's own life has been breathed into the human body, making man a living soul, the possessor of moral endowments, and a will to direct his own course of action. He has the privilege of becoming a partaker of the divine nature. This will give him power to conquer evil, and love and choose that which is good. He has a conscience, which, under the control of God, will approve the right and condemn the wrong. And he may, if he will, have fellowship with God. He may walk and talk with God as did Enoch. This holy companionship is denied to none who will believe on Christ as their personal Saviour.

By thus centering his affections upon the contemplation of God, man may develop a noble character. Consecrated to God, each faculty should be a worker in the character we are to build. Brick by brick these workmen are building the temple, and if the structure is erected on a solid foundation, the Rock, it will stand the storm and tempest that will surely beat against it. The warning comes to us, “But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.” As one flaw makes the chain worthless, so one defect will spoil the character, and if not overcome, will gain the mastery. Self is our greatest enemy, and day by day each must strive for the victory. There must be no careless, haphazard work in the foundation chosen or in the structure built thereon. Our physical, mental, and moral powers must be trained, every ability must be cultivated and used to the fullest extent, every power must be brought into working order.

Man is called upon to cooperate with God. Day by day he must be careful how his work of character-building is performed; for this work is to last, not merely for time, but for eternity. He may, if he will, become pure in thought, noble and upright in action. Every deed may be of a character that will receive the approval of God. God takes pleasure in the man who through faith in Jesus will stand as a polished stone in his temple, honored of God and man. He declares, “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.”

God looks with pleasure upon the man, woman, youth, or child who will fear and love him, and refuse to be enticed amid a world of corruption. Through his prophet he has said: “O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the Lord; say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously; so will we render the calves of our lips. Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses; neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods; for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy. I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely; for mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel; he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine; the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him; I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found. Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them; but the transgressors shall fall therein.”

Mrs. E. G. White

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