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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18 (1903) - Contents
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    Ms 89, 1903

    “First Be Reconciled to Thy Brother”


    August 12, 1903 [typed]

    Portions of this manuscript are published in UL 238; 6BC 1115; 7BC 905.

    “The end of all things is at hand; be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” [1 Peter 4:7.]18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 1

    When Peter wrote these words, the destruction of Jerusalem was near at hand. The persecutions that the Jews had visited upon the believers in Christ were soon to be visited upon themselves.18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 2

    The greater destruction included in Christ’s description of the destruction of the Jerusalem—the destruction of the world—is near at hand. Soon the history of this earth is to be swallowed up in an endless eternity. Oh, of what great consequence this is to us! In view of this thought, how can members of the church of God spend their time in dissension and strife, criticizing and condemning one another? We have no call to sit in judgment upon others. To no human being is given the work of passing sentence upon his brethren. This work Christ alone can do.18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 3

    Christ has laid down the rules that we are to follow in dealing with one another. In His sermon on the mount He said, “If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” [Matthew 5:23, 24.]18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 4

    If these directions were followed, how large an amount of mischief would be saved! How many misunderstandings would be removed!18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 5

    If there is any difficulty between you and a brother in the church, go to him, and try to explain away the misunderstanding. If possible, remove the cause of variance. Take the trouble from his mind, that there may be fellowship between you.18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 6

    This duty you are under obligation to perform before you offer your gift to God. The gift will not be accepted until this duty is done. Be reconciled to your brother. If the fault is on your side, remove the stone of stumbling that you have placed before his feet.18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 7

    A faithful effort to remove the misunderstanding will place you both in such relation to one another and to God that He can bless you. But you cannot receive His blessing while you are unwilling to do what you can to make things right, because to do this would require a humbling of your proud heart.18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 8

    Perhaps there is wrong on both sides. Perhaps both of you need the preparation brought by this duty, in order that you may be softened and subdued.18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 9

    Oh, the little misunderstandings that arise may be so easily removed. And until this is done, we are unprepared to take part in the holy ordinances of the Lord. Are you willing to do your part to adjust the differences that exist? Will you do all that you can to set things right between you and your brother? If you will, a vast amount of evil speaking and bitter feeling will be saved.18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 10

    These words I am instructed to present as a message from God. In the morning and at night let there be close investigation of self. Search the heart diligently, and you will find many wrongs that could and should be righted. Put away all that hinders communion with God.18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 11

    Christ says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” [1 John 1:9.] To make the confession necessary may require great strength of inward principle. It may be as a crucifixion to say, I did this great evil and sinned against God.18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 12

    I am instructed to say that there are sins between man and his God that no other human being need know anything about. If the one on whom such sins rest will make thorough work for repentance, the Lord will forgive him, and the burden will roll off his soul. He will then make confession to his fellow men, if he has wronged them, and as he confesses, God will be merciful and will forgive his sin.18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 13

    One such confession is the greatest evidence that can be seen of the miracle-working power of the grace of God, and it leads to other confessions, not general confessions, but confession of real wrongs, which have existed between brethren. And God values above gold or silver the one who makes such a confession. “I will make a man more precious than fine gold,” He says, “even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.” [Isaiah 13:12.]18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 14

    The Result of Beholding Christ

    God has promised to draw near to all who will draw near to Him. All may delight their souls in the Lord. All may grow in grace and wisdom and love; through faithful continuance in well-doing all may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 15

    Those who strive for the Spirit of God will be rewarded in accordance with the promise, “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the Sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” [John 1:12.] My brethren and sisters, will you not awake out of sleep? Will you not pray and watch unto prayer? Through the power that Jesus gives, we can be more than conquerors. But we cannot manufacture this power. Only through the Spirit of God can we receive it. We need a deep insight into the nature of Christ and into the mystery of His love “that passeth knowledge.” [Ephesians 3:19.] We are to live in the warm, genial rays of the Sun of righteousness. Nothing but His loving compassion, His divine grace, His almighty power can enable us to baffle the relentless foe and subdue the opposition of the human heart. What is our strength?—The joy of the Lord. Let the melting love of Christ fill the heart, and we are softened and subdued, prepared to receive the power that He has for us.18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 16

    Let us thank God every day for the blessings that are ours. If the human agent will humble himself before God, realizing how inappropriate it is for him to cherish a feeling of self-sufficiency, realizing his utter inability to do the work that needs to be done in order for his soul to be purified, casting away, making of no account, his own righteousness, Christ will engrave His own image upon his soul. He will put His hand to the work of creating him anew and will continue the work until he is “complete in Him.” [Colossians 2:10.]18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 17

    Christ will never neglect the work that has been placed in His hands. He will inspire the resolute disciple with a sense of the perversity, the sin-stained condition, the depravity of the heart upon which He is working. The true penitent has learned the uselessness of self-importance. Looking to Jesus, comparing his own defective character with the Saviour’s perfect character, he can say,18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 18

    “In my hand no price I bring;
    Simply to Thy cross I cling.”
    18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 19

    With Isaiah he declares, “Lord, Thou wilt ordain peace for us; for Thou hast wrought all our works in us. O Lord our God, other lords besides Thee have had dominion over us; but by Thee only will we make mention of Thy name.” [Isaiah 26:12, 13.]18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 20

    Power That Gains the Victory

    Beholding Christ for the purpose of becoming like Him, the seeker after truth sees the perfection of the principles of God’s law, and he becomes dissatisfied with everything but perfection. Hiding his life in the life of Christ, he sees that the holiness of the divine law is revealed in the character of Christ, and more and more earnestly he strives to be like Him. A warfare may be expected at any time, for the tempter sees that he is losing one of his subjects. A battle must be fought with the attributes which Satan has been strengthening for his own use.18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 21

    The human agent sees what he has to contend with—a strange power opposed to the idea of attaining the perfection that Christ holds out. But with Christ there is saving power that will gain for him victory in the conflict. The Saviour will strengthen and help him as he comes pleading for grace and efficiency.18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 22

    Paul passed over this ground. He writes, “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of the Lord Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God, which is given me to you-ward; how that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel.” [Ephesians 3:1-6.]18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 23

    Through the sacrifice of Christ a new and living way has been opened for all.18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 24

    Dead in Trespasses and Sins

    “And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience; among whom also we all had our conversation in times part, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” [Ephesians 2:1-3.]18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 25

    Spiritual death is here spoken of. How many there are who are unwarned and in consequence unconvicted. They are passing on in harmony with the world and with the desires of their own undisciplined, unsubdued hearts. They live in pleasure and in worldliness, and should sickness come and death overtake them, they would be found unready to die. They are not interested in the race for eternal life. They do not look upon as essential the conflict against sin, the warfare with principalities and powers. They are in need of light. Satan holds them fast in his power, and they see not their danger. They know nothing of the crucifixion that shuts away from the life all that separates the soul from Christ. They are subject to the power of the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 26

    This spirit is Satan, the fallen angel, the ruler of the powers of darkness. He has control of the spirits of evil, and through them he seeks to gain control of human beings. He is the head of the fallen angels. He supplies them with vital force.18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 27

    How many there are who are left in darkness because the lives of those who have had light, and who claim to believe the truth, are a perpetual falsehood, a fatal deception! These professing Christians have kept the truth in the outer court. It has not been brought into the inner life. They may belong to the church, but this will not save them. Those who do the works of a sinner will receive the punishment of a sinner. Profession is but a snare to those who have no experience in the reality of true Christianity, who know not the principles that lead the Christian to inquire at every step, “Is this the way of the Lord?”18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 28

    Raised to Spiritual Life

    “But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, ... and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” [Verses 4-6.]18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 29

    As God raised Christ from the dead, that He might bring life and immortality to light through the gospel, and thus save His people from their sins, so Christ has raised fallen human beings from spiritual death, quickening them with His life, filling their hearts with hope and joy.18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 30

    “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. ... But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” [John 1:9, 10, 12.]18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 31

    Paul’s Experience

    Paul had a wonderful experience. He says, “If any man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more; circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law of Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” [Philippians 3:4-6.] That is, he was trying to keep the letter of the law perfectly. But a change came in his life. On his way to Damascus to persecute the followers of Christ, he was suddenly stopped. Christ revealed Himself to him. Hereafter his testimony was:18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 32

    “Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus the Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung that I may win Christ, and be found of Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” [Verses 8, 9.]18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 33

    The righteousness that before he had thought worth so much was now worthless in his sight. His own righteousness was unrighteousness. The deep longing of his soul was, “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.” [Verse 10.]18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 34

    He would know for himself the power of the Saviour’s grace. He trusted in His power to save even him, who had persecuted the church of Christ. In his estimation no treasure could equal the value of the gift of the knowledge of Christ.18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 35

    If God’s people today would see how far short they fall of being what they ought to be, if they would strive with the powers of the whole being to reach the standard that God has declared they must reach, if they would put into their efforts an energy and perseverance proportionate to the greatness of the reward offered, how greatly they would be blessed, and how much God could accomplish through them!18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 36

    The adversary stands ready to lead church members into strange paths. Let them keep the soul fully guarded and full of the light and grace and life that heaven is always ready to supply. “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized have put on Christ.” [Galatians 3:26, 27.] We are children of one family—a family acknowledged to be of heavenly extraction. We are to live lives that declare us to be children of God. We are not to follow the customs and policies of the world, but the laws of heaven. We are Christ’s purchased possession, and we should put away envy and evil surmising, and love one another as Christ has loved us, helping one another to press onward and upward.18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 37

    “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” [Galatians 6:1, 2.]18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 38

    This is our work. “For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden.” [Verses 3-5.]18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 39

    “Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well-doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” [Verses 6-10.]18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 40

    “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” [Verse 14.]18LtMs, Ms 89, 1903, par. 41

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