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    July 14, 1890

    “The Indwelling Word” The Signs of the Times, 16, 27.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In the sixteenth verse of the third chapter of Colossians occurs this exhortation: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.” This text, rightly understood, solves the problem of Christian living. Let us, therefore, spend a few moments to see how much is involved in it.SITI July 14, 1890, page 402.22

    That there is a power in the word of God, far above that of any other book, cannot be doubted. The Lord through the prophet Jeremiah rebukes the false prophets, who speak their own words instead of the words of God, and says: “What is the chaff to the wheat?” “Is not my word like as a fire? Saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” Jeremiah 23:28, 29. And the same prophet thus relates his experience when he was reproached because of the word of the Lord: “Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” Jeremiah 20:9.SITI July 14, 1890, page 402.23

    The word hidden in the heart protects against sin. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:11. And of the righteous we read that the reason why none of his steps slide, is that “the law of his God is in his heart.” Psalm 37:31. David also says: “Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.” Psalm 17:4. Jesus, also, in his memorable prayer for his disciples, said, “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” John 17:17.SITI July 14, 1890, page 402.24

    The word of the Lord is the seed by which the sinner is born again. We read of the “Father of lights” that “of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures.” James 1:18. And the Apostle Peter says: “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently; being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” 1 Peter 1:22, 23. So we learn that, while those who are Christ’s are born of the Spirit, the word of God is the seed from which they are developed into new creatures in Christ. The word, then, has power to give life. It is itself “quick,” that is, alive, and powerful; and the psalmist prays to be quickened, made alive, according to the word, and then says: “This is my comfort in my affliction; for thy word hath quickened me.” Psalm 119:25, 50.SITI July 14, 1890, page 402.25

    This is stated very plainly by Jesus himself in John 6:63: “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” This shows that the power of the Spirit of God dwells in the word of God.SITI July 14, 1890, page 402.26

    With the knowledge that the word of God is the seed by which men are begotten unto a new life, and that the hiding of the word in the heart keeps one from sin, we may easily understand 1 John 3:9: “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” How simple! There is in the word that divine energy which can transform the mind, and make a new man, “which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Of course the word can do this only for those who receive it in simple faith. But the word does not lose any of its power. If the soul thus born again retains that sacred, powerful word by which he was begotten, it will keep him still a new creature. It is as powerful to preserve as it is to create.SITI July 14, 1890, page 402.27

    Jesus, our great Example, gave us an illustration of this. When tempted on every point by the devil, his sole reply was, “It is written,” followed by a text of Scripture that met the case exactly. The Christian who would stand fast must do the same thing. There is no other way. This is an illustration of David’s words, “By the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.”SITI July 14, 1890, page 410.1

    It is this of which we read in Revelation 12:11, where, in speaking of the casting down of the “accuser of our brethren,” the heavenly voice says: “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.” This does not mean, as some have carelessly assumed, the word of their testimony in meeting, but the word of the testimony in which the psalmist found so great delight. They overcame Satan by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of God.SITI July 14, 1890, page 410.2

    But this cannot be done except by those who have the word of God abiding in them. The Spirit is given to bring truth to remembrance, in time of trial; but that which one has not learned he cannot remember. But if he has hidden the word in his heart, the Spirit will, in the hour of temptation, bring to his remembrance just that portion which will foil the tempter.SITI July 14, 1890, page 410.3

    Every Christian can testify as to the power of the word at such times. When inclined to congratulate himself on some real or fancied superior attainment, what a powerful check are the words, “Who maketh thee to differ from another? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” 1 Corinthians 4:7. Or when harsh and bitter thoughts are struggling within him for control, what power to quell those turbulent emotions lies in the words, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.” 1 Corinthians 13:4, 5. When provoked almost beyond endurance, how the gentle rebuke, “The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men,” helps one to be calm. Add to this the many “exceeding great and precious promises” which bring victory to every soul that grasps them by faith. Thousands of aged Christians can testify to the miraculous power resting in a few simple words of the Scriptures.SITI July 14, 1890, page 410.4

    Now whence comes this power? The answer is found in the words of Christ: “The words which I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” What spirit are they? The apostle Peter, speaking of the prophets, says that it was the Spirit of Christ that was in them. So, as we said before, the power of the Spirit dwells in the word. Yea, Christ himself dwells in the word, for he is the Word.SITI July 14, 1890, page 410.5

    Who can understand the mystery of inspiration?-He who can understand the mystery of the incarnation; for both are the same. “The Word was made flesh.” We cannot understand how Christ could be all the fullness of the Godhead, and at the same time be in the form of a servant, subject to all the infirmities of mortal flesh. Neither can we understand how the Bible could be written by fallible mortals, exhibiting the peculiarities of each, and yet be the pure, unadulterated word of God. But it is certainly true that the power that was in the Word that was made flesh, is the power that is in the word that the apostles and prophets have written for us.SITI July 14, 1890, page 410.6

    Now we can begin to appreciate more the power residing in the word. “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” Psalm 33:6. Christ, by whom the worlds were made, upholds them “by the word of his power.” Hebrews 1:3. The power that resides in the words of revelation, is the power that could speak the worlds into existence, and can keep them in their appointed places. Surely, then, it is worth our while to take time to study and meditate upon the word.SITI July 14, 1890, page 410.7

    It is by so doing that we bring Christ himself into our hearts. In the fifteenth chapter of John, the Lord exhorts us to abide in him, and to allow him to abide in us; and then a few verses later he speaks of our abiding in him, and his word abiding in us. John 15:4, 7. It is by his word that Christ does abide in the heart; for Paul says that Christ will dwell in the heart by faith (Ephesians 3:17); and “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17.SITI July 14, 1890, page 410.8

    Many people earnestly long for Christ to come and dwell in their hearts, and they imagine that the reason why he does not do so is because they are not good enough, and they vainly set about trying to get so good that he can condescend to come in. They forget that Christ comes into the heart, not because it is free from sin, but in order to free it from sin; and they possibly never realized that Christ is in the word, and that he who will make it a constant companion, and will yield himself to its influence, will have Christ dwelling within. He who has hidden the word in his heart, who meditates in it day and night, and who believes it with the simple faith of childhood,-such a one has Christ dwelling in his heart by faith, and will experience his mighty, creative power.SITI July 14, 1890, page 410.9

    Is there not something inspiriting in this thought? When we come to God in secret prayer, and the Spirit brings to our remembrance some precious promise or needed reproof, is it not encouraging to know that as we accept them, Christ is coming into the heart with the same power that brought the worlds from nothing? Does it not clothe the word with new dignity? No wonder David could never tire of sounding its praises. May the thought that God is in the word be a fresh incentive to all to gain time and strength for their work by taking from it more time to feed upon the source of divine strength. E. J. W.SITI July 14, 1890, page 410.10

    “The Advantage of the Jew” The Signs of the Times, 16, 27.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The great apostle to the Gentiles, in answer to the question, What advantage hath the Jew? replied, “Much in every way; chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” Romans 3:2. It will be noted that he does not say that their advantage lay in knowing the law, but in having the law committed or intrusted to them. That the law has to do with all the world, and not with the Jews alone, is shown by Romans 3:19, where the apostle states that the law, speaking to those within its sphere, over whom it has jurisdiction, stops every mouth and makes all the world stand guilty before God. If all are guilty, then all have the law, “for where no law is there is no transgression.” Paul tells us, also, that Christ was “made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law.” Galatians 4:4, 5. But Christ died for all (2 Corinthians 5:14, 15); therefore all men are by nature under the law, and, of course, subject to it.SITI July 14, 1890, page 410.11

    The special advantage of the Jew, then, lay not in the fact that God made known his law to them, but that unto them is was committed. To them was given the honor of transmitting it to the other nations. They were chosen as the missionary people. They were to be “workers together with God” in enlightening the world.SITI July 14, 1890, page 410.12

    God is no respecter of persons. As he sends rain on the just and on the unjust, and causes his sun to shine upon the evil and the good, so the light of his law shines for all. He makes no revelation of himself for the special benefit of any one class of people. The light which he has for one, he is anxious that all should share to an equal extent. So when he gives great light to any people, it is that they may carry it to others.SITI July 14, 1890, page 410.13

    It is no small honor thus to be associated with God in laboring for the welfare of mankind. When a people has been intrusted with great light, and have selfishly shut it up to themselves, imaging that the light was given them because God thought so much of them, they miss the opportunity of their lives. Not only do they fail of the high position which God was willing that they should occupy, as light-bearers, but they lose the light that they have.SITI July 14, 1890, page 410.14

    God designs that the people shall be the light of the world. See Matthew 5:14. Now it is evident that when he gives great light to any people, that they may impart it to others, he will give them every possible facility for spreading that light. Thus it was with the Jewish nation. When, according to his promise to the Fathers, he delivered Israel from Egypt, he did so in a most wonderful manner. His judgments upon the Egyptians, the dividing of the Red Sea, the miraculous preservation of Israel in the desert, the earthquake at the giving of the law, the victories which he gave them over their enemies, the miraculous passage of the Jordan, and many other things, all combined to give them the greatest prestige among the nations. Their uniform prosperity could not fail to make them feared and respected.SITI July 14, 1890, page 410.15

    Moreover, the law itself, as long as they kept it, would raise them greatly in the estimation of the surrounding nations. To them Moses said: “Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” Deuteronomy 4:5, 6.SITI July 14, 1890, page 411.1

    What a wonderful opportunity they had to do missionary work. God was with them, so that the fear of them and the dread of them was on all nations. No people would dare attack them; they would be safe from molestation in any country. Added to this was the wholesome respect which the people felt for their knowledge of the law. Everything was made ready for them, so that it would not have taken them long to carry to all the nations of earth the gospel which had been preached to them. No such advantages have ever been given to any other people. Well did the psalmist say, “He hath not dealt so with any nation.” Psalm 147:20.SITI July 14, 1890, page 411.2

    The scope of the Sabbath-school lesson for July 26, which these reflections are designed to accompany, does not allow us to dwell on the way in which the Jews abused their glorious opportunities until their light finally went out in darkness. Let us at this time learn this one lesson, that when God gives us blessings, it is not in order that we may selfishly enjoy them, but that by means of them we may be better qualified to labor for him. Whatever advantages he gives his people, are the means by which they are to lift their light from obscurity to the place where it may be seen by all. If they then fail to do the work for which they have been elevated, the result can readily be imagined. E. J. W.SITI July 14, 1890, page 411.3

    “Taking Up the Cross. Luke 11:23-25” The Signs of the Times, 16, 27.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Notes on the International Lesson.
    (July 20, Luke 11:23-25.)

    “And he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” The Saviour had just spoken a parable which showed the gracious invitation that God extends to all, and now, in order that none who accept it may have occasion to say afterwards that they were deceived, he tells them plainly the conditions required of everyone who follows him. The Lord does not want anybody to follow him blindly. He would have them know all that is involved before they begin; in that case, they will not be as likely to give up in discouragement. He conceals nothing of the hardness of the way, but rather sets that forth as an inducement.SITI July 14, 1890, page 411.4

    It is very natural to look upon laws that are unfavorable to the free exercise of religion, as a real hindrance to religion. Persecution is looked upon as a calamity to the church. Now while nobody should court persecution, yet it is by no means certain that it is the greatest calamity the church can suffer in this world. It is true that when these unfriendly laws are repealed, it is easier to induce people to identify themselves with the cause of God; but it is not true that more real strength is added to the church by the many who join in times of peace than by the few who unite in the face of persecution. Those who accept God’s truth, knowing that it will involve persecution and loss of friends and property, will not become frightened when those things come. But those of whom it is said that they would accept the truth if they could see their way clear to do so, are the ones who, if the way were cleared so that they could join, would fall back as soon as the way should again become obstructed. It should not be forgotten that the church’s brightest period was when the whole pagan world was against it.SITI July 14, 1890, page 412.1

    This brings us the statement that men often make when some practical truth is presented to them, that they “could not make a living” if they obeyed it. They seem blind to the fact that thousands have obeyed it under more trying circumstances, and have not failed to make a living. But suppose they could not; that does not make any difference. Christ calls us to obtain the future immortal life, and if this has to be lost in order to gain that, it is only giving up a small thing for something infinitely greater. “He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake,” said Christ, “shall find it.” Matthew 10:39. Thus it appears that in reality the only prospect one has of making a living is by obeying Christ. “Salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ,” come to those who “loved not their lives unto the death.” Revelation 12:10, 11.SITI July 14, 1890, page 412.2

    Verse 26 must be read in the light of verse 33, and other texts. When it is said that a man cannot be a disciple of Christ, if he does not hate father, mother, wife, children, life, etc., it means that he must hold them all as secondary to the cause of God. That the word “hate” does not in this passage mean animosity and malice, may be learned from the fact that “love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10), and that it “worketh no ill to his neighbor;” and that we are commanded to put away all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and evil speaking and all malice. Also from the fact that the apostle Paul gives express injunctions to husbands to love their wives even as Christ loved the church. Ephesians 5:25. The commandment, “Honor thy father and thy mother,” would forbid feelings of enmity against them. Therefore we are to understand that Christ means that nothing is to be so loved as to shut out love for him. He is to occupy the first place. This will often bring one into direct antagonism with his dearest friends, as stated in Matthew 10:35, 36. And sometimes he will be brought where he will have to reject even his own life. Not that he loves life and friends less, but that he loves Christ more.SITI July 14, 1890, page 412.3

    This, then, is the cost of the kingdom of God. Christ does not secure any followers on false pretenses. He sets before them all the difficulties, as in Mark 10:29, 30, as well as the grand result, and then asks each one to deliberately calculate whether or not he can undertake it. He who does not count the cost is liable to be put to shame. Happy is the man who, when he sits down to reckon, has his vision so clear that he can view things in their proper relation, approving the things that are more excellent, so that he may know that one moment of heaven will outweigh all that he can suffer on earth. In comparison with the “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17), the afflictions that now may be suffered are light. Indeed, the apostle Paul, who had opportunities for accurate calculation, such as no other man ever had, reckoned that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18.SITI July 14, 1890, page 412.4

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