Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

September 27, 1899

The Outpouring of the Spirit

In Two Numbers—No. 2

The promise of the Holy Spirit was the brightest hope and the strongest consolation that Christ could leave His disciples when He ascended to heaven. The truths of God's Word had been buried beneath the rubbish of misinterpretation; the maxims of men, the sayings of finite beings, had been exalted above the Word of the living God. Under the enlightening power of the Holy Spirit, the apostles separated truth from false theories, and gave to the people the Word of life.

The Holy Spirit is often rejected because it comes in unexpected ways. Evidence upon evidence that the apostles were speaking and acting under divine inspiration had been given to the Jewish priests and rulers, but still they firmly resisted the message of truth. Christ had not come in the way they expected, and tho at times they were convinced that He was the Son of God, yet they stifled conviction, and thus became blinder and more hardened than before. They crucified Christ, yet Christ in His mercy gave them additional evidence in the works wrought by the disciples. He sent His servants to tell them what they had done, and even in the terrible charge that they had killed the Prince of Life, He gave them another call to repentance. But, feeling secure in their own righteousness, the Jewish teachers were not prepared to admit that the men who had reproved them for crucifying Christ were speaking by the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Every act of resistance makes it harder to yield. Being the leaders of the people, the priests and rulers felt it incumbent on them to defend their course of resistance. Having committed themselves to a course of opposition to Christ, every act of resistance became an additional incentive to pursue the same course. They regarded the events of their past career as treasures to be jealously guarded, and the hatred and malignity which inspired those acts they concentrated against the disciples.

The Spirit of God inspired His servants, who, irrespective of the fear or the favor of men, declared the truths which had been committed to them. And under the demonstration of the Spirit's power the Jews could not but see their guilt in refusing the evidences God had sent. But they would not yield their wicked resistance. Their obstinacy became more and more determined, and resulted in the ruin of their souls. It was not that they could not yield; they could, but would not, It was not alone because they were guilty and deserving of wrath, not alone because they had put to death the Son of God, that they were cut off from salvation; it was because they armed themselves with the attributes of Satan, and determined continually to be opposed to God, persistently rejected light, and stifled the convictions of the Holy Spirit. The spirit that works in the children of disobedience worked in them, leading them to abuse the men through whom God was speaking. The malignity of their rebellion was intensified by each successive act of resistance against God and the message He had given His servants to declare. Every day, in their refusal to repent, the Jewish rulers took up their rebellion afresh, preparing themselves to reap that which they had sown.

The wrath of God is not declared against men merely because of the sin they have committed, but because they choose to continue in a state of resistance, because they repeat the sins of the past in spite of the light and evidence given them. If the Jewish leaders had submitted, they would have been pardoned; but they were determined not to yield. In the same way, the sinner, by continued resistance, places himself where he knows nothing but resistance.

How was it with the rebellious inhabitants of the antediluvian world?—After rejecting the message brought them by Noah, they abandoned themselves to sin as never before, doubling the enormity of their corrupting practises. The judgments which God brought upon the antediluvian world declared it incurable. The destruction of Sodom showed that the inhabitants of the most beautiful city in the world were incorrigible in sin. Those who refuse to reform by accepting Christ, find nothing reformative in sin. Their minds are set to carry out their purpose of revolt, and they are not, and never will be, forced into submission. Today there is danger that, as of old, the Holy Spirit will be rejected because it comes in a way not in accordance with the minds of men. Because it comes, not to praise men, or to build up their erroneous theories, but to reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come, many turn away from it. They are not willing to exchange their own righteousness (which is unrighteousness) for the righteousness of Christ, which is pure, unadulterated truth. The Holy Spirit flatters no man, neither does it work according to human devising; and if it comes as a reprover, it is man's place to hear and to obey its voice.

We need to pray for the impartation of the divine Spirit as the remedy for sin-sick souls. The surface truths of revelation, made plain and easy to be understood, are accepted by many as supplying all that is essential; but the Holy Spirit, working upon the mind, awakens an earnest desire for truth uncorrupted by error. He who is really desirous to know what is truth can not remain in ignorance; for precious truth rewards the diligent seeker. We need to feel the converting power of God's grace, and I urge all who have closed their heart against God's Spirit to unlock the door, and plead earnestly, Abide with me. Why should we not prostrate ourselves at the throne of divine grace, praying that God's Spirit may be poured out upon us as it was upon the disciples? Its presence will soften our hard hearts, and fill us with joy and rejoicing, transforming us into channels of blessing.

The Lord would have every one of His children rich in faith, and this faith is the fruit of the working of the Holy Spirit upon the mind. It dwells with each soul who will receive it, speaking to the impenitent in words of warning, and pointing them to Jesus, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. It causes light to shine into the minds of those who are seeking to co-operate with God, giving them efficiency and wisdom to do His work.

The Holy Spirit never leaves unassisted a soul who is looking to Jesus. It takes of the things of Christ, and shows them to the seeker. And if the eye is kept fixed upon Jesus, the work of the Spirit ceases not until the soul is conformed to His image. Through the gracious influence of the Spirit the sinner is changed in spirit and purpose, till he becomes one with Christ. His affection for God increases; he hungers and thirsts for righteousness, and by beholding Christ he is changed from glory to glory, from character to character, and becomes more and more like his Master. Christ is formed within, and by His Spirit He fulfils the promise, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

Mrs. E. G. White

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