Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

June 20, 1895

“Purifieth Himself”

By Mrs. E. G. White

“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.” The heritage of the people of God is discerned through faith in the word of God. “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Through faith the children of God obtain a knowledge of Christ, and cherish the hope of his appearing to judge the world in righteousness, until it becomes a glorious expectation; for they shall then see him as he is, and be made like him, and ever be with the Lord. The sleeping saints shall then be called forth from their graves to a glorious immortality. When the day of deliverance shall come, then shall ye return, and discern between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. When Christ shall come, it will be to be admired of all those that believe, and the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Those who are looking for the revelation of Christ in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, as King of kings and Lord of lords, in life and character will seek to represent him to the world. “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” They will hate sin and iniquity, even as Christ hated sin. They will keep the commandments of God, as Christ kept his Father's commandments. They will realize that it is not enough to acquiesce in the doctrines of truth, but that the truth must be applied to the heart, practiced in the life, in order that the followers of Christ may be one with him, and that men may be as pure in their sphere as God is in his sphere. There have been men in every generation who have claimed to be the sons of God, who paid tithes of mint and anise and cummin, and yet who led a godless life; for they neglected the weightier matters of the law,—mercy, justice, and the love of God. There are today many who are in a similar deception; for while bearing an appearance of great sanctity, they are not doers of the word of God. What can be done to open the eyes of these self-deluded souls, except to set before them an example of true piety, and be ourselves not hearers only, but doers of the commandments of the Lord, thus reflecting the light of purity of character upon their pathway?

The sons of God will not be like the worldling; for the truth received in the heart, will be the means of purifying the soul, and of transforming the character, and of making its receiver like-minded with God. Unless a man becomes like-minded with God, he is still in his natural depravity. If Christ is in the heart, he will appear in the home, in the workshop, in the market place, in the church. The power of the truth will be felt in elevating, ennobling the mind, and softening and subduing the heart, bringing the whole man into harmony with God. He who is transformed by the truth will shed a light upon the world. He that hath the hope of Christ in him will purify himself even as He is pure. The hope of Christ's appearing is a large hope, a far-reaching hope. It is the hope of seeing the King in his beauty, and of being made like him.

When Christ shall come, the earth will tremble before him, and the heavens will be rolled together as a scroll, and every mountain and every island will be moved out of its place. “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence; a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare his righteousness; for God is judge himself.” In view of the great day of God, we can see that our only safety will be found in departing from all sin and iniquity. Those who continue in sin will be found among the condemned and perishing. John saw the fate of those who choose the path of transgression: “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”

A terrible doom awaits the sinner, and therefore it is necessary that we know what sin is, in order that we may escape from its power. John says, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law.” Here we have the true definition of sin; it is “the transgression of the law.” How often the sinner is urged to leave his sins, and come to Jesus; but has the messenger who would lead him to Christ clearly pointed out the way? Has he clearly pointed out the fact that “sin is the transgression of the law,” and that he must repent, and forsake the breaking of God's commandments? Christ will come to consume the false prophet, to sweep away the hosts of apostasy, to take vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of God; and it is of the highest importance to each one of us that we know the conditions by which we shall escape the sinner's doom. It is of the greatest moment that we understand the nature of our fall and the consequences of transgression. Man's conscience has become hardened by sin, and his understanding darkened by transgression, and his judgment has become confused as to what is sin. He has become benumbed by the influence of iniquity, and it is essential that his conscience be aroused to understand that sin is the transgression of God's holy law. He who does not obey the commandments of God is a sinner in the sight of God.

“All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” and for this reason the Lord has provided a remedy for sin: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” “And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not; whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.” The true test of religious experience is here given. He that abideth in Christ is perfected in the love of God, and his purposes, thoughts, words, and actions are in harmony with the will of God expressed in the commandments of his law. There is nothing in the heart of the man who abides in Christ that is at war with any precept of God's law. Where the Spirit of Christ is in the heart, the character of Christ will be revealed, and there will be manifested gentleness under provocation, and patience under trial. “Little children, let no man deceive you; he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” Righteousness can be defined only by God's great moral standard, the Ten Commandments. There is no other rule by which to measure character. “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning.” It was the refusal of Satan to obey the commandments of God that brought sin and apostasy into the universe. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”

Through the devices of the great apostate, man has been led to separate himself from God, and has yielded to the temptations of the adversary of God and man in committing sin and breaking the law of the Most High. God could not alter one jot or tittle of his holy law to meet man in his fallen condition; for this would reflect discredit upon the wisdom of God in making a law by which to govern heaven and earth. But God could give his only-begotten Son to become man's substitute and surety, to suffer the penalty that was merited by the transgressor, and to impart to the repentant soul his perfect righteousness. Christ became the sinless sacrifice for a guilty race, making men prisoners of hope, so that, through repentance toward God because they had broken his holy law, and through faith in Christ as their substitute, surety, and righteousness, they might be brought back to loyalty to God and to obedience to his holy law.

It was impossible for the sinner to keep the law of God, which was holy, just, and good; but this impossibility was removed by the impartation of the righteousness of Christ to the repenting, believing soul. The life and death of Christ in behalf of sinful man were for the purpose of restoring the sinner to God's favor, through imparting to him the righteousness that would meet the claims of the law, and find acceptance with the Father. But it is ever the purpose of Satan to make void the law of God, and to pervert the true meaning of the plan of salvation. Therefore he has originated the falsehood that the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary's cross was for the purpose of freeing men from the obligation of keeping the commandments of God. He has foisted upon the world the deception that God has abolished his constitution, thrown away his moral standard, and made void his holy and perfect law. Had he done this, at what terrible expense would it have been to Heaven! Instead of proclaiming the abolition of the law, Calvary's cross proclaims in thunder tones its immutable and eternal character. Could the law have been abolished, and the government of heaven and earth and the unnumbered worlds of God maintained, Christ need not have died. The death of Christ was to forever settle the question of the validity of the law of Jehovah. Having suffered the full penalty for a guilty world, Jesus became the Mediator between God and man, to restore the repenting soul to favor with God by giving him grace to keep the law of the Most High. Christ came not to destroy the law or the prophets, but to fulfill them to the very letter. The atonement of Calvary vindicated the law of God as holy, just, and true, not only before the fallen world, but before Heaven and before worlds unfallen. Christ came to magnify the law and to make it honorable.

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