Christ loves the human race; and in every action of His life He has expressed this love. He calls upon men to love one another as He has loved them. His saving power and love are ever to be the theme of those who believe in God. Just before His ascension, He gave to His disciples the commission, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:19, 20.]
Executor of the Saviour’s Will
Thus was given to the disciples a most precious trust. They were to be the executors of the will in which Christ has bequeathed to the world the treasure of eternal life. They realized the responsibility of their work. They knew that they held in their hands the bread of life for a famishing world, and they went everywhere preaching the word. The love of Christ constrained them, and they could not forbear breaking the bread of life to all who were in need. The last words of the Saviour were constantly sounding in their ears.
In the trust given to the first disciples, each believer has a share. Each one is to be an executor of the Saviour’s will. Each one has been given sacred truth to give to the earnest seeker. Every believer is to be a laborer together with God.
I appeal to all who claim to believe the truth, to realize the importance of the message God has given us to bear to the world. In city after city self-sacrificing work must be done. Province after province must be enlightened. The truth is to go forth as a lamp that burneth. Those who profess to know God and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent, must not fall into the cold, selfish practices of the world. Their zeal must not die. They must not allow spiritual declension, with all its baleful influence, to come in. Church-members are in great danger of forgetting the peculiar benefits and blessing which have been given them, and the responsibility which rests upon them,—in danger of turning away from Christ and allowing their thoughts to run in worldly channels for the sake of gain.
Form of Godliness
The gospel will not sustain a final defeat; it will triumph. But for years it has been evident that selfishness, under the form of godliness, has been entering the Church. The perverse ways of Satan have taken the place of the ways of God. Unholy difference of opinion, under the garb of zeal for religion, has taken the place of Christian charity. By their bigotry, professed Christians have violated the principles which should ever be sacredly cherished. Criticism and denunciation have taken the place of sympathy and forbearance. An inquisition has been set up among those who should be free from all overbearing.
God calls for the extinction of this satanic devising. The love of Christ in the heart forbids all oppression. Remember His words to the disciples when they desired Him to permit them to call down fire from heaven upon those who did not give Him due honor. “He turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.” [Luke 9:55.] Those who work for the Redeemer must cultivate Christian love. But for years, some, even among those who claim to believe present truth, have acted in an oppressive manner, cherishing in the heart that fearful, hateful thing which has led them to exclude their brethren from their fellowship and their councils, because they supposed them wanting in some respects, as though the Lord has made them judges of character. The spirit has been entertained which presumes to limit the Holy One in the judicial working of His grace. In the place of coming close to those for whom the Lord has seen fit to work, men have stood apart, saying, “I am holier than thou. I cannot connect with you in religious service. Your ways and my ways do not agree.”
The Lord Jesus Christ is our judge and our lawgiver. Let those in God’s service turn from everything that will mar their usefulness. A hasty temper, a lack of patience, an inclination to speak hastily,—these are things against which the Lord’s servants must guard. They must remember that He who has appointed them their work, says to them, “Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.” [Isaiah 52:11.]
Be very careful how you attempt to number Israel. Not to you nor to any other man has God given this work. You make a great mistake when you put your human measurement upon any of your brethren. You cannot read the heart. It is probable that the one with whom you find fault is more righteous in the sight of God than you are. “Not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.” “For there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law, . . . in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.
“Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, and knowest His will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; and art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonorest thou God? for the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? and shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfill the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” [Romans 2:13, 11, 12, 16–29.]
This instruction is for those who are living amid the perils of these last days. Be careful how you measure your brother. Take heed to yourself, and put no occasion of stumbling in your brother’s way. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” [Philippians 2:12, 13.]
Let us make diligent efforts to serve God. We need to reach a higher standard. The truth must not be kept in the outer court. Bring its principles into the inner sanctuary of the soul. Make Christ the guide of every action. Separate from the soul all selfishness. Hate it; for it is the destroyer of peace and godliness. “Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” [Colossians 3:17.] The grace of our Saviour is the grand, healing influence which conforms the life to the life of God.
Review and Herald, January 7, 1902.