Ellen G. White Writings

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The Youth’s Instructor

August 24, 1899

“The Will of God Concerning You”

Through the apostle John, God sends the message to his people in these days: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold not [nor] hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear, and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see.”

God's people are in danger of being separated from the Sun of Righteousness. “This is the will of God,” the apostle says, “even your sanctification.” This sanctification means perfect love, perfect obedience, entire conformity to the will of God. We are to be sanctified to him through obedience to the truth. Our conscience must be purged from dead works to serve the living God. If our lives are conformed to the life of Christ through the sanctification of mind, soul, and body, our example will have a powerful influence on the world. We are not perfect; but it is our privilege to cut away from the entanglement of self and sin, and go on unto perfection. “We all, with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” Great possibilities, high and holy attainments, are placed within the reach of all who have true faith. Shall we not anoint our eyes with eye-salve, that we may discern the wonderful things God has for us?

Paul's sanctification was a constant conflict with self. “I die daily,” he said. Every day his will and his desires conflicted with duty and the will of God. But instead of following inclination, he did the will of God, however unpleasant and crucifying to his nature. If we would press forward to the mark of our high calling in Christ Jesus, we must show that we are emptied of all self, and supplied with the golden oil of grace. God is dealing with us through his providence. From eternity he has chosen us to be his obedient children. He gave his Son to die for us, that we might be sanctified through obedience to the truth, cleansed from all the littleness of self. Now he requires of us a personal work, a personal self-surrender. We are to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. God can be honored only when we who profess to believe in him are conformed to his image. We are to represent to the world the beauty of holiness, and we shall never enter the gates of the city of God until we perfect a Christlike character. If we, with trust in God, strive for sanctification, we shall receive it. Then, as witnesses for Christ, we may make known what the grace of God has wrought in us.

God is leading out a people to stand in perfect unity upon the platform of eternal truth. Christ gave himself for the world, that he might “purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” This refining process is designed to purge his people from all unrighteousness and the spirit of discord and contention, that they may build up instead of tearing down, and consecrate their energies to the great work before them. God designs that his people shall come into the unity of the faith. In his prayer for his followers Christ said: “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.”

This touching and wonderful prayer reaches down the ages even to our day, for his words were: “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me.” With persevering earnestness we are to work out this prayer, pressing onward and upward, and reaching Christ's standard of holiness. We are laborers together with God, and we must work in harmony with one another and with him.

The Lord takes no pleasure in seeing us spiritually weak. “God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” We who have named the name of Christ must awake from our indifferent, self-satisfied condition. God's people must have a fixed purpose. They will never be holy until they put all the energy of their being into the work of conforming to the will of God.

“This is the will of God concerning you, even your sanctification.” Is it your will also? Your sins may be as mountains before you; but if you humble your heart and confess your sins, trusting in the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour, he will forgive, and will cleanse you from all unrighteousness. With intensity of desire, long after God, yea, pant after him, as the hart pants after the water-brooks. As your soul yearns after God, you will find more and still more of the unsearchable riches of his grace. As you contemplate these riches, you will come into possession of them, and reveal the merits of a Saviour's sacrifice, the protection of his righteousness, his inexpressible love, the fulness of his wisdom, and his power to present you before the Father without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. Those who accept of this salvation will bear the testimony: “We have redemption through his blood.” “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made us free from the law of sin and death.” “We are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

Mrs. E. G. White

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