Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

August 22, 1892

“Ask and Ye Shall Receive”

By Mrs. E. G. White

(Concluded.)

If Christians give the impression by a mournful attitude that they have been disappointed in the Lord, they misrepresent their Heavenly Father, and put arguments into the mouth of his enemies. How false is such an impression when the gifts of God are freely bestowed upon those who seek, who ask, who knock! The Lord specifies no conditions except that you hunger for his mercy, desire his counsel, and long for his love. “Ask.” The asking makes it manifest that you realize your necessity; and if you ask in faith, you will receive. The Lord has pledged his word, and it cannot fail. That you feel and know that you are a sinner is a most efficient argument to present to God in asking for his mercy and compassion. The conditions upon which you may come to God are not that you shall be holy, but that you shall ask God to cleanse you from all sin, and purify you from all iniquity.

The words of Jesus in connection with the promise of receiving upon presenting your petition to God have an application to every soul. He says, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” Or, as Luke says, “How much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” In the teachings of these verses there is not a place in which to put a peg to hang a doubt upon. In the relation chosen to represent the love of God, the beseeching soul is brought close to the heart of Jesus. The Holy Spirit imparts love, joy, peace, strength, and consolation; it is as a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. The blessing is free to all: “Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” With overflowing heart you may say:—

“In my hand no price I bring,
Simply to thy cross I cling.”

Then come, and seek, and find. The reservoir of power is open, is full and free. Come with humble hearts, not thinking that you must do some good thing to merit the favor of God, or that you must make yourself better before you can come to Christ. You can never do anything to better your condition. In the name of Jesus, come with full assurance of faith, because you are a sinner; for Christ said, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. You are to ask, to seek, to knock, and to believe that you are accepted through Christ Jesus, trusting him alone to do those things for you which you can never do for yourself.

No man can look within himself and find anything in his character that will recommend him to God, or make his acceptance sure. It is only through Jesus, whom the Father gave for the life of the world, that the sinner may find access to God. Jesus alone is our Redeemer, our Advocate, and Mediator; in him is our only hope for pardon, peace, and righteousness. You must trust him, saying:

“Just as I am, without one plea,
But that thy blood was shed for me,
And that thou bidst me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.”

Jesus is our atoning sacrifice; we can make no atonement for ourselves, but by faith we can accept the atonement that has been made. “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.” “Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, ... but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” It is by virtue of this precious blood that the sin-stricken soul can be restored to soundness. While you are putting up your petition to God, the Holy Spirit applies the faithful promises of God to your heart. In moments of perplexity, when Satan suggests doubt and discouragement, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up as a standard against him the faithful sayings of Christ, and the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness will flash into your mind and soul. When Satan would overwhelm you with despair, the Holy Spirit will point you to the intercession made for you by a living Saviour. Christ is the fragrance, the holy incense, which makes your petitions acceptable to the Father. When the light of Christ's righteousness is fully understood and accepted, love, joy, peace, and inexpressible gratitude will pervade the soul, and the language of him who is blessed will be, “Thy gentleness hath made me great.”

Importunate Prayer

In coming to God the prayer of importunity should be offered, “I will not let thee go except thou bless me.” You are invited to spread out all your perplexities before the Lord; but do not gratify the enemy by pouring them into the minds of others, lest they stumble over them to their ruin. Jesus knows how to cure all the maladies of the soul. When we beseech the Lord to pity us in our weakness and distress, to guide us by his Holy Spirit, that we may understand his word, he will no more turn away from the prayer of the humble suppliant than the parent will turn away from the hungry child who comes to him for bread. When you turn away from the broken cistern that can hold no water, and in the name of Jesus, your Advocate, come directly to God, asking for the things you need, difficulties will disappear, the righteousness of Christ will be revealed as your righteousness, the virtue of Christ as your virtue. You will then understand that justification can come alone through faith in Christ; for in Jesus is revealed the perfection of the character of God; in his life is the revelation of the genuine principle of true holiness. Through the atoning blood of Christ, the sinner is set free from bondage and condemnation; through the perfection of the sinless Substitute and Surety, he may run in the race of humble obedience to all of God's commandments. Without Christ he is under the condemnation of the law, always a sinner, but through faith in Christ he is made just before God, and loving God, he keeps his commandments, and realizes through an experimental knowledge that the Father loves him, and takes up his abode with him.

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