Martin Luther, part IV – Melancthon Reformed

When Charles ascended to the throne, he was in the vigor of youth; and everything seemed to point toward a long and prosperous reign. A prince whose scepter extended over a considerable part of the old world, and even over much of the new, he was the most powerful monarch to appear in Christendom since the days of Charlemagne. It was God who designed, by this arrangement, to teach the important lesson as to the nothingness of all the strength of man when it presumes to measure itself with the weakness of God. Never, aside from the final conflict yet to be fought, was it to be more clearly shown that “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence.” I Corinthians 1:27–29.

Melancthon Joins the Reformed Movement

As the result of the debate at Leipzig, the lecture rooms of the university there were speedily deserted, while the number of students in attendance at Wittenberg soon doubled. Perhaps the most significant event to take place as the fruit of the debate, however, was the calling of the theologian of the Reformation—Melancthon. Until this conference, literature had been Melancthon’s great interest; but as he sat quietly listening to the conference, he received a new impulse. From that day forward, theology became his career. Henceforth, he and Luther became close friends, contending together for the truth, the one with the energy of Paul and the other with the meekness of John.

Luther was strengthened by the debate with Dr. Eck. Driven to new inquiries, he arrived at unexpected discoveries. He was astonished at the magnitude of evil that he saw. “Searing into the annals of the Church, he discovered that the supremacy of Rome had no other origin than ambition on the one hand, and ignorant credulity on the other. . . . The Latin Church was no longer in Luther’s estimation the universal Church; he saw the narrow barriers of Rome fall down, and exulted in discovering beyond them the glorious dominions of Christ. From that time he comprehended how a man might be a member of Christ’s church, without belonging to the popes.” D’Aubigne, History of the Reformation, book 5, chapter 6.

Though Dr. Eck had proclaimed Luther vanquished in their much celebrated debate, he was much less than satisfied with the outcome. Making his way over the Alps, he arrived at Rome where he sought help to find revenge. In the city of Rome, however, he encountered greater difficulties than he had anticipated. The Roman Curia was apathetic. Its members did not yet realize the danger that Luther presented. They scoffed at the idea that Wittenberg could conquer Rome; and in that respect, history showed no evidence to support such an astounding phenomenon. Great tempests had arisen in former ages. Rebel kings and heretical nations had alike beaten themselves to death, seeking to challenge the Church. They no more availed its overthrow than the ocean’s foam to overthrow the rocks. That an insignificant German monk might topple the papal throne was an idea too preposterous to entertain.

In Rome, all appreciated that a move against the monk was not without risks. It was an easy matter for the church to launch a ban, but all depended upon the civil power executing that order. What if it should refuse? Besides, there were not a few more moderate and pious men, even in Rome, who were so displeased with the disorders of the papal court that in their heart they welcomed much of what Luther said. There were others who favored the use of diplomacy. They could not believe that among the many dignities and honors that it was within the power of the Church to bestow, some favor could not be found that would silence the clamorous monk.

In the midst of such indecisive apathy, the indefatigable Eck left no stone unturned to secure the condemnation of his opponent. His zeal in this respect was seconded by that of the banker Fugger of Augsburg. He was the treasurer of the indulgences; and had not Luther so successfully spoiled his business, he would have shown a good gain. This awoke in him a most vehement desire to crush the heresy that was so damaging to the interests of the church, as well as his own.

The news of what was taking place within the Vatican was carried to Luther. At this time of test, these reports caused him no alarm; for he had fixed his eyes on One who was greater than Leo. While all was anxiety and turmoil in Rome, Wittenberg presented a very different picture. Visitors from various countries daily arrived to see and speak with the Reformer. The halls of the university were crowded with youth, and the fame of Melancthon was extending. It was just at this moment that the young Swiss priest, Ullrich Zwingli, approached the papal nuncio in Switzerland, entreating him to use his influence at Rome to prevent the excommunication of the doctor of Wittenberg. This was the first evidence of the breaking of day in Switzerland.

“Rome became more and more exasperated by the attacks of Luther, and it was declared by some of his fanatical opponents, even by doctors in Catholic universities, that he would should kill the rebellious monk would be without sin. One day a stranger, with a pistol hidden under his cloak, approached the Reformer and inquired why he went thus alone. ‘I am in God’s hands,’ answered Luther. ‘He is my strength and my shield. What can man do unto me?’ Upon hearing these words, the stranger turned pale and fled away as from the presence of the angels of heaven.” The Great Controversy, 140.

Luther Excommunicated

At length, Eck triumphed, and on June 15, 1520, the Sacred College brought an end to their lengthy debates regarding the rebellious monk and placed their approval on a bull excommunicating him. With this move, they flattered themselves that they had forever successfully settled the Wittenberg heresy.

Luther, imagining that he might be expelled from Germany, engaged himself in publishing a report of the Augsburg conference. He saw the storm approaching but did not fear it. He desired, however, that when the anathema should arrive, all should know of the struggle between himself and Rome. Spalatin wrote to Luther, on behalf of the elector, asking him not to do so; but the communication arrived too late. Once it became known that the publication had already taken place, the prince gave his sanction to it.

The bull condemned forty-one propositions extracted from Luther’s writings as scandalous, heretical, and damnable. It left room, however, for the recovery of the lost son of the Church if Luther would make proof of the sincerity of his penitence by reading his recantation and committing all of his books to the flames within a sixty-day period. Failing to submit and obey, Luther and all of his adherents were pronounced accursed. All princes and magistrates were enjoined to apprehend and send them to Rome, or banish them fro their country. The towns in which they continued to reside were placed under interdict, and everyone who opposed the publication and execution of the bull was excommunicated from the Church.

“These were haughty words [the pope’s bull]; and at what a moment they were spoken! The finger of a man’s hand was even then about to appear, and to write on the wall that Rome had fulfilled her glory, and reached her zenith, and would henceforward hasten to her setting. But she knew not this. She saw only the track of light she had left behind her in her onward path athwart the ages. A thick veil hid the future with all its humiliations and defeats from her eyes.” Wylie, The History of Protestantism, vol. 1, 311.

While excommunicating Luther on the one hand, the pope wrote a flattering letter to Elector Frederick. In his communication, the pope referred to the errors of that “son of iniquity,” Martin Luther. He expressed his certainty that Frederick cherish an abhorrence of these errors and in a glowing eulogy, praised the piety and orthodoxy of the elector; he had since drunk at the well of Wittenberg and lost his relish for the Roman cistern. The purpose of the letter was transparently clear, but it produced the opposite effect of that which the pope intended. From that day on, Frederick of Saxony resolved that he would protect the Reformer.

Rome had launched her bull, but she had yet to see it published in every country of Christendom. In order to accomplish this, two nuncios were chosen to attend to the mission—Eck and Aleander. Bearing the bull which he had so large a share in fabricating, Eck viewed himself as the very Atlas who bore up the sinking Roman world. As he passed through German towns, he met with coldness and contempt. His progress was more like that of a fugitive than a conqueror. At times he was even forced to seek shelter in the nearest convent to avoid the popular fury.

While awaiting the arrival of the bull, Luther wrote two publications, the first of which was The Babylonish Captivity of the Church, in which he stated, “I know that the papacy is none other than the kingdom of Babylon, and the violence of Nimrod the mighty hunter. I therefore beseech all my friends and all booksellers to burn the books that I have written on this subject and to substitute this one proposition in their place: The papacy is a general chase led by the Roman bishop to catch and destroy souls.” Ibid., 313.

He next attacked the priest and the Sacrament. “Grace and salvation, he affirmed, are neither in the power of the priest nor the efficacy of the recipient. Faith lays hold on that which the Sacrament represents, signifies, and seals—even the promise of God; and the soul resting on that promise has grace and salvation. . . . ‘Without faith in God’s promise,’ without a jewel, a scabbard without a sword.’ . . . At the very moment when Rome was advancing to crush him with the bolt she had just forged, did Luther pluck from her hand that weapon of imaginary omnipotence which had enabled her to vanquish men.” Ibid.

The bull of excommunication arrived at Wittenberg in October of 1520. “Luther and Leo: Wittenberg and Rome now stand face to face—Rome has excommunicated Wittenberg, and Wittenberg will excommunicate Rome. Neither can retreat, and the war must be to the death.” Ibid., 315.

As Aleander and Eck advanced, they left in their track numerous blazing piles. In many of the towns in the hereditary estates of the emperor, a bonfire was made of Luther’s works. To add to these many fires lighted by Eck and Aleander, Luther kindled one of his own. A Placard on the walls of the University of Wittenberg announced Luther’s intention to burn the pope’s bull and that this would take place at nine o’clock on the morning of December 10. At the appointed time, Luther, accompanied by approximately six hundred students and doctors, as well as enthusiastic and sympathetic crowd of town folks, made his way to the eastern gate of the town. Arriving at the spot, they found a scaffold already erected and a pile of logs laid in order. One of the more distinguished Masters of the Arts applied the torch to the pile; and as soon as the flames blazed up, the Reformer stepped forward, holding in his hand the several volumes which constitute the Canon Law and various other writings of earlier popes, committing them one at a time to the flames. Finally, the bull of Leo was also cast into the flames.

The burning of the pope’s bull marked the closing of one stage and the opening of another in the Reformation. Luther knew that one blow was not the battle, but there was now no question that the war had begun. From this point on, an understanding of the nature of the church more clearly developed. It was his clearer and perfected judgment respecting the two systems and the two churches that enabled him to act with such decision—a decision that astounded Rome, which had never doubted that her bolt would crush the Reformer. Though she had been somewhat in doubt as to whether to launch it, she never doubted that once launched, it would certainly quell the Wittenberg revolt.

When Aleander opened his campaign with a bonfire of Luther’s writings in Cologne, someone asked him of what value it was to burn the books of Luther’s opinions, when the real issue was erasing them from the hearts of men. The legate replied that while this was true, it was proper to teach by signs which all could read. It was his secret desire, however, to bring the author of the books to the pile. He realized, however, that to obtain this objective, he must get Luther into his power. In order to do this, he must detach Frederick from Luther’s side and win over the young emperor. In the legate’s mind, the latter goal seemed to pose little difficulty. Born in the Catholic faith and descended from an ancestry whose glories were closely entwined with Catholicism, there was little question where the emperor’s loyalty lay. Though he had marked out a path which he little doubted would bring the Reformer to the stake, Aleander found that the path was beset with greater difficulties than he had calculated on meeting.

Luther’s Condemnation Sought

Approaching the young emperor, on whose authority Luther’s books had been burned, the nuncio pointed out that while the books had been burned, the air was yet thick with heresy. In order to purify it, he proposed a royal edict against the author. The emperor declined to give a direct answer, deferring until he could ascertain the thinking of the Elector of Saxony on the matter.

Aleander next begged an audience with Frederick. The elector received him in the presence of his counselors and the Bishop of Trent. The haughty envoy, assuming a tone that bordered on insolence, asserted that Luther was rending the Christian State, bringing the Empire to ruin, and that Frederick alone stood between the monk and his justly deserved chastisement. He concluded by demanding that the elector himself punish Luther, or failing in that, deliver him over to Rome.

The elector met the bold assault of Aleander with a plea for justice. He pointed out that no one had yet refuted Luther and that it would be a gross scandal to sentence to punishment a man who stood uncondemned. He proposed that Luther must be summoned before a tribunal of pious, learned, and impartial judges.

The elector’s statement pointed directly to a hearing before the Diet soon to be convened at Worms. Knowing the courage and eloquence of Luther, nothing could have been more disagreeable with Aleander. He dreaded the impression that Luther’s appearance would create, and he had no interest in meeting him in a debate or to win from him any more victories of the sort Eck so loudly boasted. From his travels in Germany, he knew how popular the cause of Protestantism had already become. Wherever it was known that he was the opponent of Luther, it was only with difficulty that he was able to find admittance at a respectable inn; and even in these, the portrait of the monk stared back at him from the walls of almost every bedroom in which he slept. Besides, Luther had already been excommunicated. To grant him a hearing under such circumstances would surely give the appearance that the pope’s sentence might be reversed by secular authority, making the chair of Peter subordinate to the States-General of Germany. On all of these grounds, the papal nuncio was resolved to oppose to the uttermost Luther’s appearance before the Diet.

The Father As Judge, part 2

God the Father is in His own right the supreme Judge of men and of angels. He proposes to bring all mankind into judgment. Yet this work is only done in part by Himself in person. It is by Jesus Christ that God is to perform the larger part of His immense work. The following proposition is worthy of serious consideration:

God the Father opens the judgment in person, then crowns His Son King and commits the judgment to Him.

“I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of Days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool; His throne was like the fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him; thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him; the judgment was set, and the books were opened. I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake; I beheld even till the beast was slain and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away; yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:9–14.

The Ancient of Days represents God the Father. That One like the Son of man Who comes to the Ancient of Days is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ. (See Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:61, 62.) It is, therefore, not the Son but the Father who sits in judgment as described in this vision. Those who stand in His presence, either to minister or to wait, are not men but angels. This is a very important fact. Every student of the Bible is aware that the book of Revelation is a wonderful counterpart to the book of Daniel. This very phraseology respecting those in the presence of the Ancient of Days is made use of in the Revelation with the evident design of showing who are the persons intended by Daniel.

Thus, John says: “And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.” Revelation 5:11.

Daniel describes the opening scene of the final judgment. The Father presides as Judge. The angels of God are present as ministers and witnesses. At this tribunal, the Son of man presents Himself to receive the dominion of the world. Here men are not present to witness this part of the judgment, or to behold the coronation of Christ. It is the Father, the Son, and the holy angels who compose this grand assembly. Our Lord cannot act as Judge as long as He ministers as High Priest to make intercession for those who come to God through Him. (See Hebrews 7:24, 25.) Nor can He act as Judge until He is clothed with kingly power; for it is by virtue of His authority as King that He pronounces the decision of the judgment. (See Matthew 25:34, 40.) The coronation of our Lord at the judgment-seat of His Father marks the termination of His priesthood and invests Him with that sovereign authority by which He shall judge the world.

The Judgment Scene of Daniel 7

It is not upon the earth that the Ancient of Days holds the session of the judgment described in Daniel 7.

Those who think that this session of judgment by the Father is to be held upon our earth, understand that the “ten thousand times ten thousand” who stand before Him are the vast multitude of the human family, standing at His bar for judgment. But as this vision represents the Son as coming to the Father when He is thus seated in judgment, it follows that if the Father is already upon this earth judging its inhabitants when the Son of God comes the second time, the Father does not send His Son to the earth, but He comes first; and then the Son comes and joins Him. Yet Peter said of the Father, concerning Christ’s Second Advent, “He shall send Jesus Christ.” Acts 3:20.

It would also follow that instead of the Son of man coming to gather His saints from the four quarters of the earth, He comes to find all mankind gathered at His Father’s bar. But we do know that when the Saviour comes, He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet and shall gather His elect from the four winds, even from the uttermost parts of the earth. (See Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:27; II Thessalonians 2:1.)

But should this difficulty be avoided by adopting the truth that those who stand before the Ancient of Days are angels, as those certainly must be who minister unto Him, it follows that our Lord is coming back to our earth thus preceded by His Father and the holy angels, comes unattended and alone. But this cannot be true; for when Jesus comes again, it will be with all the holy angels. (See Matthew 16:27; 25:31; II Thessalonians 1:7, 8.)

Christ Receives His Kingdom

Again, the Saviour is crowned King at the judgment-seat of the Father. But that judgment-seat cannot be upon our earth, else the Saviour would have to return to this earth to be crowned; whereas He receives His kingdom while absent and returns as King of kings, sitting upon the throne of His glory. (See Luke 19:11, 12, 15; Matthew 25:31; II Timothy 4:1; Revelation 19:11–16.)

It is certain, therefore, that the judgment scene described in Daniel 7 does not take place upon our earth. Indeed, were it true that immediately preceding the descent of the Saviour to our earth, God the Father should Himself descend in His own infinite majesty and summon mankind to His bar and enter into judgment with them, the subsequent advent of Jesus would hardly be taken notice of at all by men. But such is not the truth in this case. (See Matthew 24:29–31; 25:32, 32; Mark 13:26, 27; Luke 21:25–27, 36; I Thessalonians 4:14–18; II Thessalonians 1:7–10.)

This session of the judgment by the Ancient of Days precedes the advent of Christ to our earth.

When the Lord comes again, He is a king seated upon His own throne. (See Matthew 24:31; Luke 19:11, 12, 15; Revelation 19:11–16.) But the tribunal of the Father is the very time and place where His coronation occurs. (See Daniel 7:7–14.) It must then precede His advent.

When He comes the second time, it is “in the glory of His Father.” (See Matthew 16:27; Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; II Thessalonians 1:7, 8.) But it is when the Father sits in judgment that He gives this glory to His Son. (See Daniel 7:14.) Indeed, the very majesty of the Father as displayed at this tribunal will attend the Son when He is revealed in flaming fire to take vengeance on His enemies. (See II Thessalonians 1:7–10; Matthew 24:30, 31; 25:31.) We are certain, therefore, that the revelation of Christ in His infinite glory is subsequent to that tribunal at which that glory is given to Him.

On this occasion, the Father is Judge in person, and the Son presents Himself to receive the kingdom. But when the Son of man comes to our earth, having received the kingdom, He acts as Judge Himself. (See II Timothy 4:1.) But it is evident that our Lord’s work as judge is at a later point of time than that judgment scene at which the Father presides. We are certain, therefore, that the tribunal of Daniel 7:9–14 precedes the descent of our Lord from heaven. (See I Thessalonians 4:14–18.)

The coming of the Son of man to the Ancient of Days is not the same event as His second advent to our world.

This has been proved already in the examination of other points. Thus, it has been shown from the coronation of Christ that the Second Advent must be at a later time than the Saviour’s act of coming to His Father in Daniel 7:13, 14 to receive the kingdom. Again, to make this the Second Advent, we must have God the Father and the host of His angels here upon our earth when the Saviour comes again. But this, as has been shown, involves the contradiction of the plainest facts. We cannot, therefore, doubt that the coming of Jesus to the Ancient of Days as He sits in judgment is an event preceding His second advent to our earth.

The coming of the Ancient of Days in this vision of Daniel’s is not to this world but to the place of His judgment scene. With regard to the place of this tribunal, we will speak hereafter. We have already proved that this session of the judgment precedes the Second Advent and that it is not held upon our earth. This fact establishes the truthfulness of this proposition.

The destruction of the power represented by the little horn does not take place at the time when the Ancient of Days sits in judgment but at a point still later when the Son of man descends in flaming fire.

We have proved that when our Lord comes to this earth the second time, He comes as King and must, therefore, come from the tribunal of His Father; for at that tribunal, the kingdom is given to Him. But the man of sin, or little horn, is destroyed by the brightness of Christ’s coming. (See II Thessalonians 1:7–10; 2:8.) Whence it follows that the destruction of the papacy is not at the Father’s judgment seat but at the advent of His Son, at a still later point of time. Were it true that the judgment scene of Daniel 7 is opened by the personal revelation of God the Father to the inhabitants of our earth, we may be sure that there would be no man of sin left to be destroyed afterward by the brightness of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We have already proved that the destruction of the wicked power is when Christ comes to our earth and that He does not thus come till He has first attended in person this tribunal of His Father. To this statement agree the words of Daniel 7:11. “I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake; I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.” It appears that even while this grand tribunal was in session, the attention of the prophet was called by the Spirit of God to the great words which the horn was speaking. “I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake.” But Daniel does not represent his destruction as coming at once even then. He says: “I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.” The period of time covered by this “till” is thus filled up: The Son of God comes to His Father’s judgment-seat and receives the dominion, and the glory, and the kingdom, then descends to our earth in flaming fire, like that which comes forth from before His Father, and by the brightness of His advent, destroys the little horn. (See II Thessalonians 1, 2.) It is when our Lord thus comes that this wicked power is given to the burning flame.

War Against the Saints Ended

This is really the very point marked in verses 21 and 22 for the termination of the war against the saints: “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” But even while the Most High sits in judgment to determine the cases of His saints, the little horn is, according to verse 11, uttering great words against God. When, however, the saints have passed the test of this examination and are counted worthy of the kingdom of God, their Lord, being crowned King, returns to gather them to Himself. It is at this very point of time, the advent of the Lord Jesus, that judgment is given to the saints of the Most High, as is proved by comparing I Corinthians 6:2, 3 with 1 Corinthians 4:5. Thus we have marked again the advent of Christ as a point of time for the destruction of this wicked power.

The destruction of the papacy is not the same event as the taking away of his dominion. (Compare Daniel 7:11 and 26.) The one follows after the sitting of the Ancient of Days in judgment, but the other precedes it by a certain space of time. Yet, if we read the chapter without strict attention, we would be very likely to conclude that not the little horn alone, but each of the first three beasts, had their dominion taken away at the judgment. (See verses 11, 12, 26.) This, however, cannot be. For the dominion of the first beast was taken away by the second, through his life was spared; and so of each one to the last. But the little horn has a special dominion over the saints for “a time and times and the dividing of time,” or 1,260 prophetic days (see verse 25: Revelation 12:6, 14), which is taken away at the end of that period. There remains even then a space of time to “the end,” during which his dominion is consumed and destroyed. He wars against the saints, however, and prevails until the judgment is given to the saints at the advent of Christ (see I Corinthians 4:5; 6:2, 3; Revelation 20:4), when he is given to the burning flames. (See Daniel 7:11; II Thessalonians 2:8.)

Michael Stands

The coronation of Christ at the judgment-seat of the Father is the same event as the standing up of Michael (compare Daniel 7:134, 14; 12:1); for Michael is Christ, and His standing up is His beginning to reign. Michael is the name borne by our Lord as the ruler of the angelic host. It signifies, “He who is like God.” This must be our Lord. (See Hebrews 1:3.) He is called the Archangel. (See Jude 9.) This term signifies prince of angels, or chief of the angelic host. But this is the very office of our divine Lord. (See Hebrews 1). Michael is the great prince that standeth for the children of God. Also He is called our Prince. (See Daniel 10:21: 12:1.)_ But this can be no other than Christ. (See Acts 5:31.)

The standing up of Michael is His assumption of kingly power. (See the use of this term in Daniel 11:2, 33, 4, 7, 20, 21.) But it is Jesus, and not an angel, who takes the throne of the kingdom. (See Daniel 7:13, 14; Psalm 2:6–12.) Our Lord receives His dominion at His Father’s judgment-seat. (See Daniel 7.) A great time of trouble follows, at which Christ delivers everyone found written in the book. This is a plain reference to the examination of the books shown in the previous vision. (Compare Daniel 12:1; 7:9, 10.) This shows that the judgment scene of Daniel 7 relates to the righteous and that it precedes their final deliverance at the advent of Christ.

What Inspiration Says About Fiction

Five Adverse Results of Reading Fiction

“By fostering love for mere amusement, the reading of fiction creates a distaste for life’s practical duties. Through its exciting, intoxicating power it is not infrequently a cause of both mental and physical disease. Many a miserable, neglected home, many a lifelong invalid, many an inmate of the insane asylum, has become such through the habit of novel reading.” Ministry of Healing, 446.

Counsel Regarding Inspirational or High-Class Fiction

“Dear Brother E: I have just read the Review and Herald and have seen your article giving a list of good books for our youth. I was much surprised to read your recommendation of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Robinson Crusoe, and such books. You are in danger of becoming somewhat careless in your writing. It would be well to give thought and careful study to whatever is to be immortalized in print. I am really alarmed to see that your spiritual eyesight is not more clear in the matter of selecting and recommending reading for our youth. I know that the recommendation in our papers of such infatuating books as Uncle Tom’s Cabin will in many minds justify the reading of other books which are nothing but fiction. . . . This recommendation will make taxing work for those who are laboring to persuade the youth to discard fictitious reading. I have repeatedly seen the evil of reading such books as you recommend, and have an article all prepared, cautioning our youth in this very matter.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 516.

How Does Fiction Affect the Mind and a Person’s Bible Study Habits?

“Light and truth are within the reach of all, and those who have the knowledge of the truth are to be as light in darkness; but if they do not set their minds to searching God’s Word, Satan will find chaff to fill their minds, leaving no room for the growth of the precious seed of truth. Amid the perils of these latter days, every individual member of the church should understand the reasons of his hope and faith, which are not difficult of comprehension if the mind is only kept free from the perverting and paralyzing influence of modern romance and fiction. There is work for the brain to do if we would grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then let us labor most earnestly to impress and urge upon our children the necessity of understanding the reasons of our faith. We are surrounded with temptations so disguised that they allure while they taint and corrupt the soul. Satan varies his enticements to suit different minds; and he takes advantage of every circumstance to make his plans for a soul’s destruction successful.” Review and Herald, November 9, 1886.

If a Person has Already Developed a Habit of Reading Fiction, What Should He Do?

“No effort should be spared to establish a right habit of study. If the mind wanders, bring it back. If the intellectual and moral taste has been perverted by the over-wrought and exciting tales of fiction, so that you are disinclined to apply yourself to the diligent study of God’s Word, then you have a battle to fight with yourself to overcome this depraved habit. A love for fictitious reading should be broken up at once. Rigid rules should be enforced to hold the mind in a proper channel. The pernicious practice of story-reading is one of the means employed by Satan to destroy souls. The mind that is occupied with exciting stories loses all relish for solid reading that would improve the memory and strengthen the intellect.” Ibid., October 9, 1883

Even if There Were no Other Harmful Effect From Reading Fiction, What Serious Disadvantage Results from its Use?

“Besides these there is a multitude of fiction writers, luring to pleasant dreams in palaces of ease. These writers may not be open to the charge of immorality, yet their work is no less fraught with evil. It is robbing thousands upon thousands of the time and energy and self-discipline demanded by the stern problems of life.” Education, 227.

What About High Class Fiction Written to Teach Moral and Spiritual Truth?

“There are works of fiction that were written for the purpose of teaching truth or exposing some great evil. Some of these works have accomplished good. Yet they have also wrought untold harm. They contain statements and highly wrought pen pictures that excite the imagination and give rise to a train of thought which is full of danger, especially to the youth. The scenes described are lived over and over again in their thoughts. Such reading unfits the mind for usefulness and disqualifies if for spiritual exercise. It destroys interest in the Bible. Heavenly things find little place in the thoughts. As the mind dwells upon the scenes of impurity portrayed, passion is aroused, and the end is sin.

“Even fiction which contains no suggestion of impurity, and which may be intended to teach excellent principles, is harmful. It encourages the habit of hasty and superficial reading merely for the story. Thus it tends to destroy the power of connected and vigorous thought; it unfits the soul to contemplate the great problems of duty and destiny. . . .

“It is often urged that in order to win the youth from sensational or worthless literature, we should supply them with a better class of fiction. This is like trying to cure the drunkard by giving him, in the place of whiskey or brandy, the milder intoxicants such as wine, beer, or cider. The use of these would continually foster the appetite for stronger stimulants. The only safety for the inebriate, and the only safeguard for the temperate man, is total abstinence. For the lover of fiction the same rule holds true. Total abstinence is his only safety.” Ministry of Healing, 445, 446.

How is a Taste for Fiction Often Developed Unintentionally?

“I am troubled to see in Sabbath-keeping families periodicals and newspapers containing continued stories that leave no impress of good upon the minds of the children and youth. I have watched those whose taste for fiction has been thus cultivated. They have had the privilege of listening to the truth, of becoming acquainted with the reasons of our faith; but they have grown to maturer years destitute of true piety and practical godliness. These dear youth need so much to put into their character-building the very best material—the love and fear of God and a knowledge of Christ.” Review and Herald, November 9, 1886.

Why is it Easier to Develop a Desire for Fiction than for Good Reading?

“The similarity between an uncultivated field and an untrained mind is striking. Children and youth already have in their minds and hearts corrupt seed, ready to spring up and bear its perverting harvest; and the greatest care and watchfulness are needed in cultivating and storing the mind with precious seeds of Bible truth. The children should be educated to reject trashy, exciting tales, and turn to sensible reading that will train their minds to be interested in Bible story, history, and arguments. If their imagination becomes excited by feeding it upon highly-wrought fictitious stories, they will have no desire to search the Scriptures or obtain a knowledge of truth to impart to others. Truth is what our youth should read and study, not fiction—truth to be practiced every day, that truth which Christ prayed might sanctify His disciples.” Ibid.

What, Then, Is Our Only Safe Course?

“No efforts should be spared to establish right habits of study. If the mind wanders, bring it back. If the intellectual and moral tastes have been perverted by overwrought and exciting tales of fiction, so that there is a disinclination to apply the mind, there is a battle to be fought to overcome this habit. A love for fictitious reading should be overcome at once. Rigid rules should be enforced to hold the mind in the proper channel.” Ibid., January 30, 1915.

Writing About the Experience of Ellen White and Himself, What Did James White Say About Fiction?

“The Christian world is cursed with religious fiction. This is especially exhibited in Sunday school books which are early thrown into the laps of children as their first series for instruction. Next, as they reach riper years, come those volumes in which learned doctors of divinity philosophize upon the mysteries of the ‘hidden life.’ Their efforts to make it appear that ‘entire consecration’ is a second great work to succeed justification has added to the general bewilderment.” Signs of the Times, February 3, 1876.

What Should We Study Instead of Fiction?

“The oftener and more diligently the Scriptures are read, the more beautiful they will appear, and the less relish will one have for light reading. The daily study of the Scriptures will have a sanctifying influence upon the life.” Ibid., February 19, 1880.

“The glory of God is displayed in His handiwork. Here are mysteries that the mind will become strong in searching out. Minds that have been amused and abused by reading fiction may in nature have an open book, and read truth in the works of God around them. All may find themes for study in the simple leaf of the forest tree, the spires of grass covering the earth with their green velvet carpet, the plants and flowers, the stately trees of the forest, the lofty mountains, the granite rocks, the restless ocean, the precious gems of light studding the heavens to make the night beautiful, the exhaustless riches of the sunlight, the solemn glories of the moon, the winter’s cold, the summer’s heat, the changing recurring seasons, in perfect order and harmony, controlled by infinite power; here are subjects which all for deep thought, for the stretch of the imagination.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 581.

12. What Should We Be Doing With Our Time Instead of Reading Fiction?

“Cheap works of fiction do not profit. They impart no real knowledge; they inspire no great and good purpose; they kindle in the heart no earnest desires for purity; they excite no soul hunger for righteousness. On the contrary, they take time which should be given to the practical duties of life and to the service of God,—time which should be devoted to prayer, to visiting the sick, caring for the needy, and educating yourself for a useful life. When you commence reading a storybook, how frequently the imagination is so excited that you are betrayed into sin. You disobey your parents, and bring confusion into the domestic circle by neglecting the simple duties developing upon you. And worse than this, prayer is forgotten, and the Bible is read with indifference or entirely neglected.” Youth’s Instructor, September 10, 1884.

How Is Our Reading Related to Character Perfection?

“Why should we not perfect a Christlike character? Why should we not manifest His indwelling by corresponding works? The Master’s vineyard comprises the whole world. There is a large field for our efforts. We should study the Word of God, not in a stupid, sleepy, indifferent way, but with zeal and earnestness, longing for a knowledge of the truth. We should keep the mind pure by avoiding the reading of novels. He who allows himself to become infatuated with fiction, will have no genuine interest in the study of the Word of God; for the mind becomes diseased by contact with evil imaginations.” Ibid., February 20, 1896.

What Do Our Reading Habits Reveal About our Religious Experience?

“The nature of one’s religious experience is revealed by the character of the books he chooses to read in his leisure moments. In order to have a healthy tone of mind and sound religious principles, the youth must live in communion with God through His Word. Pointing out the way of salvation through Christ, the Bible is our guide to a higher, better life. It contains the most interesting and the most instructive history and biography that were ever written. Those whose imagination has not become perverted by the reading of fiction will find the Bible the most interesting of books.” Ibid.

What Does Ellen White Say About the Use of Fiction in School?

“The Protestants have accepted the spurious sabbath, the child of the papacy, and have exalted it above God’s holy, sanctified day; and our institutions of learning have been established for the express purpose of counteracting the influence of those who do not follow the Word of God. These are sufficient reasons to show the necessity of having educational institutions of our own; for we must teach truth rather than fiction and falsehood. The school is to supplement the home training, and both at home and at school, simplicity of dress, diet, and amusement must be maintained. An atmosphere must be created that will not be deleterious to the moral nature. Line upon line, precept upon precept, our children and households must be educated to keep the way of the Lord, to stand firmly for truth and righteousness. We must maintain a position against every species of sophistry that bewilders in this degenerate age, when error is glossed over, and so mingled with truth that it is almost impossible for those who are not familiar with the distinctions that the Scripture make between the traditions of men and the Word of God, for them to distinguish truth from error. It has been plainly stated that in this age ‘some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.’” Review and Herald, January 9, 1894.

What Did Ellen White Say about Fiction in Seventh-day Adventist Publications?

“Our power and efficiency as Seventh-day Adventists is largely dependent on the literature which comes from our presses. An indiscriminate class of articles should not be published in our periodicals. Cheap, worthless stories should find no place in them. There are articles of romance and fiction which contain no seeds that will bear good fruit. I would say to our editors, Be careful in the selection of the matter which is to go to the world. Show the greatest caution and discernment. Be careful that the Review and Herald and the Signs of the Times are kept free from worthless matter. Precious matter from what has already been printed can be found for our papers.” Selection of Articles for Our Papers, 2.

What Specific Counsel about Salvation did Ellen White give to a Man with a Problem with Fiction?

“You have not stored your mind with the precious things of God’s Word, and unless you repent, you will surely be deceived by Satan’s manifold devices. You have left the precious word of life for a dish of fables, and you are perverting your God-given powers; you are intoxicated with that which is false and deceptive. You have indulged in a kind of reading that gives you not a knowledge of God or of the truth. ‘And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent.’ We want to understand every jot and tittle of God’s will as revealed in His Word; but you are filling your mind with rubbish, with trifling things. Time is passing, and you are not gaining an experience for the future, immortal life. The class of reading you enjoy destroys your appetite for solid reading that would improve the mind and strengthen the intellect. This much reading of unprofitable literature is a snare to your soul. You are like a man intoxicated with strong drink. Your mind is not clear upon any subject which concerns your eternal interest. You are unready for that which is coming upon the earth, unfitted to act your part in the great whole. You place yourself in the way of temptation; and when you stand upon Satan’s ground, you are inviting his assaults. . . . Your faith is adulterated, and your only safety is to determine that you will not fill your mind with fiction. You have not wisdom to discriminate, and the indulgence of your love for reading spoils you for your business.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 6, 261, 262

Regarding a Troublesome Employee Who’s Experience Has Been Used Repeatedly in an Effort to Discredit the Spirit of Prophecy. Ellen White said:

“I was troubled about Fannie for a long time. I could not see that she had any real interest in the work. She had the most precious matter of practical godliness presented before her. She was handling subjects every day that if she fed upon them would give her spiritual food and Christian experience. But I received not the evidence that she caught the precious ideas, but rushed through them mechanically, passively, without taking them in and appropriating them to herself. The precious things became common. Poor soul, she feeds upon fiction more than upon the truth.” Manuscript Release, 926.

Regarding a Girl in Europe Who Ran Away From Home, Ellen White said:

“One of the difficulties to be faced at headquarters centered on a young lady named Alace, daughter of a dedicated press worker. Alace had run away from home. Ellen White explained that ‘this is the fruit of . . . flirtations and courtships.’ This is no doubt considered a little chapter in romance resulting from the reading of ‘fiction and romance,’ she said. Young people who read their Bibles did not ‘do these things.’” Ellen White in Europe, 271, 272.

How Has the Devil Used Fiction to Increase Difficulties in Evangelism?

“Literature and cheap fiction of every order is circulated like the leaves of autumn; and the minds of thousands are so taken up with irreligious, cheap trash that there is no place in the mind for solid reading. The Word of God and all that would elevate man from his degradation is passed by with indifference.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 6, 263.

“Satan is now stirring up the minds of men to furnish to the world literature which is of a cheap, superficial order, but which fascinates the mind, and fastens it in a network of Satan’s contrivance. After reading these books, the mind lives in an unreal world, and the life, so far as usefulness is concerned, is as barren as a fruitless tree. The brain is intoxicated, making it impossible for the eternal realities, which are essential for the present and the future, to be pressed home. A mind educated to feed upon trash is unable to see in the Word of God the beauty that is there. Love for Jesus and inclination to righteousness are lost; for the mind is built up from that upon which it feeds. By feeding the mind upon exciting stories of fiction, man is bringing to the foundation ‘wood, jay, stubble.’ He loses all taste for the divine Guide Gook, and cares not to study the character he must form in order to dwell with the redeemed host, and inhabit the mansions which Christ has gone to prepare.” Special Testimonies on Education, 156, 157.

Getting Out of a Bad Marriage, part 1

In the eighth chapter of Romans, the epistle reaches its highest point. The seventh has presented to us the deplorable condition of the man who has been awakened by the law to a sense of his condition, bound to sin by cords that can be loosened only by death. It closes with a glimpse of the Lord Jesus Christ as the One Who alone can set us free from the body of death.

Our union with Christ and with His righteousness may be and should be just as close and complete as our union has been with sin. The figure of marriage shows that to be so. We were held in union with sin—married to the old man—to the body of sin. That was an unlawful connection; consequently, the body of sin was a body of death to us, because we could not be separated from that body except by death. That body and ourselves were identified—we were married; therefore, we were one, and the body of sin was the controlling influence in that union; it dominated everything.

Now Christ comes to us; and when we yield ourselves to Him, He looses the bonds that have bound us to the body of sin. Then we enter into the same intimate relation with our Lord Jesus Christ that we previously sustained with the body of sin. We become united to Christ—married to Him—and then we are one. As in the other case, where the body of sin was the controlling influence, so in this second marriage, Christ is the controlling influence.

Notice how perfectly that figure of marriage is carried out. We are represented as the woman. The husband is the head of the family; and so Christ is our head, and we yield ourselves to Him. We are one with Him. What a precious thought it is, that we are one flesh with Christ! In this we see the mystery of the incarnation appearing again. If we can believe that Christ was in the flesh, God incarnate in Christ, we can believe this—Christ dwelling in us and working through us—through our flesh, just the same as when He took flesh upon Himself and controlled it. It is a mystery that we cannot understand, but we acknowledge it; and that gives us freedom.

He says that our old man was crucified with Him. That is true, but it is not raised with Him. Christ came to minister, not to be ministered unto; but He came to minister to us, not to be the minister of sin. Therefore, when we and the body of sin together are crucified with Christ and are buried together, we are raised up to walk in newness of life; but the body of sin remains buried, so we are free from it. Now what follows?

Freedom from Condemnation

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1.

Why is there no condemnation to those who are in Christ? Because He received the curse of the law that the blessing might come on us. Nothing can come to us while we are in Him without first passing through Him; but in Him, all curses are turned to blessings and sin is displaced by righteousness. His endless life triumphs over everything that comes against it. We are made “complete in Him.” Colossians 2:10.

Some say, “I do not find this scripture fulfilled in my case, because I find something to condemn me every time I look at myself.” To be sure; for the freedom from condemnation is not in ourselves, but in Christ Jesus. We are to look at Him, instead of at ourselves. If we obey His orders and trust Him, He takes the responsibility of making us clear before the law. There will never be a time when one will not find condemnation in looking at himself.

The fall of Satan was due to his looking at himself. The restoration for those whom he has made to fall is only through looking to Jesus. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” John 3:14. The serpent was lifted up to be looked at. Those who looked were healed. Even so with Christ. In the world to come, the servants of the Lord “shall see His face,” and they will not be drawn away to themselves. The light of His countenance will be their glory, and it is in that same light that they will be brought to that glorious state.

The text does not say that those who are in Christ Jesus will never be reproved. Getting into Christ is only the beginning, not the end, of Christian life. Association with Christ will more and more reveal to us our failings, just as association with a learned man will make us conscious of our ignorance. As a faithful witness, He tells us of our failings. But it is not to condemn us. We receive sympathy, not condemnation, from Him. It is this sympathy that gives us courage and enables us to overcome.

When the Lord points out a defect in our characters, it is the same as saying to us, “There is something that you are in need of, and I have it for you.” When we learn to look at reproof in this way, we shall rejoice in it instead of being discouraged.

The law without Christ is death. The law in Christ is life. His life is the law of God; for out of the heart are the issues of life, and the law was in His heart. The law of sin and death works in our members, but the law of the Spirit of life in Christ gives us freedom from this. It does not give us freedom from obedience to the law; for we had that before, and that was bondage, not freedom. What He gives us is freedom from the transgression of the law.

This is made very plain in verses 3 and 4. “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” “The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” Romans 7:12. There is no fault to be found with it but with us, because we have transgressed it. Christ’s work is not to change the law in any particular but to change us in every particular. It is to put the law into our hearts in perfection in place of the marred and broken copy.

The law is strong enough to condemn; but it is powerless, with respect to what man needs—namely, salvation. It was and is “weak through the flesh.” The law is good, and holy, and just; but man has no strength to perform it. Just as an ax may be of good steel and very sharp yet unable to cut down a tree because the arm that has hold of it has no strength, so the law of God could not perform itself. It set forth man’s duty; it remained for him to do it. But he could not, and therefore Christ came to do it in him. What the law could not do, God did by His Son.

There is a common idea that this means that Christ simulated sinful flesh, that He did not take upon Himself actual sinful flesh but only what appeared to be such. But the Scriptures do not teach such a thing. “In all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” Hebrews 2:17. He was “made of a woman, made under the law, that He might redeem them that were under the law.” Galatians 4:4, 5.

He took the same flesh that all have who are born of woman. A parallel text to Romans 8:3, 4 is found in II Corinthians 5:21. The former says that Christ was sent in the likeness of sinful flesh “that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us.” The latter says that God “made Him to be sin for us, although He knew no sin, “that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”

All the comfort that we can get from Christ lies in the knowledge that He was made in all things as we are. Otherwise we should hesitate to tell Him of our weaknesses and failures. The priest who makes sacrifices for sins must be one “who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that He Himself also is compassed with infirmity.” Hebrews 5:2.

This applies perfectly to Christ. “For we have not an High Priest which can not be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15. This is why we may come boldly to the throne of grace for mercy. So perfectly has Christ identified Himself with us that He even now feels our sufferings.

“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” Romans 8:5. Note that this depends on the preceding statement, “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Verse 4. The things of the Spirit are the commandments of God, because the law is spiritual. The flesh serves the law of sin (see the preceding chapter and Galatians 5:19–21. where the works of the flesh are described.) But Christ came in the same flesh to show the power of the Spirit over the flesh. “They that are in the flesh can not please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of Christ dwell in you.” Romans 8:8, 9.

Now no one will claim that the flesh of a man is any different after his conversion from what it was before. Least of all will the converted man himself say so; for he has continual evidence of its perversity. But if he is really converted and the Spirit of Christ dwells in him, he is no more in the power of the flesh. Even so, Christ came in the same sinful flesh, yet He was without sin because He was always led by the Spirit.

“The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Romans 8:7.

Opposing Forces

The flesh and the Spirit are in opposition. These are always contrary the one to the other. The Spirit never yields to the flesh, and the flesh never gets converted. The flesh will be of the nature of sin until our bodies are changed at the coming of the Lord. The Spirit strives with the sinful man, but the man yields to the flesh and so is the servant of sin.

Such a man is not led by the Spirit, although the Spirit has by no means forsaken him. The flesh is just the same in a converted man as it is in a sinner; but the difference is that now it has no power since the man yields to the Spirit, which controls the flesh. Although the man’s flesh is precisely the same as it was before he was converted, he is said to be not “in the flesh” but “in the Spirit,” since he, through the Spirit, mortifies the deeds of the body.”

“And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” Romans 8:10. Here we have the two individuals of which the apostle speaks in II Corinthians 4:7–16. “For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” Though our body should fail and be worn out, yet the inward man, Christ Jesus, is ever new. And He is our real life. “Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3.

This is why we are not to fear those who can kill only the body and after that have no more that they can do. Wicked men can not touch the eternal life which we have in Christ, Who can not be destroyed.

Surety of the Resurrection

“But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” Romans 8:11. Jesus said of the water that He gave, which was the Holy Spirit, that it should be in us a well of water springing up unto eternal life. (See John 4:14; compare John 7:37–39.) That is, the spiritual life which we not live in the flesh by the Spirit is the surety of the spiritual body to be bestowed at the resurrection when we will have the life of Christ manifested in immortal bodies.

“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.” Romans 8:12. All the work that the flesh can do avails nothing, for its works are sin and therefore death. But we are debtors to the Lord Jesus Christ, “Who gave Himself for us.” Consequently, everything must be yielded to His life. “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” Verse 13.

Those who yield to the strivings of the Spirit, and continue so to yield, are led by the Spirit; and they are the sons of God. They are taken into the same relation to the Father that the only-begotten Son occupies. (See I John 3:1.)

We Are Sons Now

There is a notion held by some people that no man is born of God until the resurrection. But this is settled by the fact that we are now sons of God. “But,” says one, “We are not yet manifested as sons.” True, and neither was Christ when He was on earth. There were but very few who knew Him to be the Christ, the Son of the living God. And they knew it only by revelation from God. The world knows us not because it knew Him not. To say that believers are not sons of God now because there is nothing in their appearance to indicate it is to bring the same charge against Jesus Christ. But Jesus was just as truly the Son of God when He lay in the manger in Bethlehem as He is now when sitting at the right hand of God.

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” Romans 8:16. We know that we are children of God because the Spirit assures us of that fact in the Bible. The witness of the Spirit is not a certain, ecstatic feeling but a tangible statement. We are not children of God because we feel that we are, neither do we know that we are sons because of any feeling, but because the Lord tells us so. He who believes has the Word abiding in Him, and that is how “he that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself.” I John 5:10.

“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” II Timothy 1:7. “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear; because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” I John 4:16–18.

Christ gave Himself to deliver those who through fear of death were all their lives subject to bondage. (See Hebrews 2:15.) He who knows and loves the Lord can not be afraid of Him; and he who is not afraid of the Lord has no need to be afraid of any other person or thing. One of the greatest blessings of the gospel is the deliverance from fear, whether real or imaginary. “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4.

Joint-heirs with Christ

If we are sons of God, we stand on the same footing that Jesus Christ does. He Himself said that the Father loves us even as He loves Him. (See John 17:23.) This is proved by the fact that His life was given for ours. Therefore the Father has nothing for His only-begotten Son that He has not for us. Not only so, but since we are joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, it follows that He can not enter upon His inheritance before we do. To be sure, He is sitting at the right hand of God. But God in His great love for us “hath quickened us together with Christ, . . . and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places.” Ephesians 2:5, 6. The glory which Christ has He shares with us. (See John 17:22.) It means something to be a joint-heir with Jesus Christ! No wonder the apostle exclaims, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” I John 3:1.

Suffering with Him

“If so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.” Romans 8:17. “For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted.” Hebrews 2:18. Suffering with Christ means, therefore, enduring temptation with Christ means, therefore, enduring temptation with Him. The suffering is that which comes in the struggle against sin. Self-inflicted suffering amounts to nothing. It is not in any honor to the satisfying of the flesh. (See Colossians 2:23.) Christ did not torture Himself in order to gain the approval of the Father. But when we suffer with Christ, then we are made perfect in Him. The strength by which He resisted the temptations of the enemy is the strength by which we are to overcome. His life in us gains the victory.

This Man Receiveth Sinners

“Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him.” Luke 15:1. The tax collectors were considered the worst of sinners in their society in Jesus’ day. If you were a woman, the worst thing that you could do was to become a harlot. And there were many tax collectors and harlots who came and listened to Jesus.

“And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receives sinners and eats with them.” Verse 2. Is this statement true? Yes, it is. Jesus came to save sinners. Although the statement was true, the people who stated it were not inspired by the Holy Spirit to do so, because within this statement there was a wicked insinuation. It is what we would call a covert negative.

You remember when the devil came to Eve in the Garden of Eden and said, “Has God indeed said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Genesis 3:1. Now was there anything wrong with that statement? There is a hidden negative in the statement. Anytime that you hear anyone, whether they claim to be a Christian or not, making a statement that is true but which contains a covert negative, be careful. That is the way the devil has worked for thousands of years to deceive people.

What was the covert negative in the statement of the Pharisees and scribes? First of all, though they did not actually say so, by their tone of voice and the words that they used, they implied that Jesus liked to associate with the sinful and with the vile. They also insinuated that Jesus was insensible to the wickedness of those sinful people with whom He associated. We need to examine our own hears to know whether we are developing a heart like Jesus or like that of the Pharisees.

Jesus was willing to endure the pain of associating with sinners, because He loved them so much and wanted to save them, but the Pharisees were indifferent and had no sympathy. They regarded themselves as too educated and refined to associate with social outcasts, and they were unhappy with Jesus, because His example laid bare their own selfishness. In The Desire of Ages, 42, we read, “It is not Christ’s follower that, with averted eyes, turns from the erring, leaving them unhindered to pursue their downward course. Those who are forward in accusing others, and zealous in bringing them to justice. . . .”” Did the Pharisees want to bring the sinners to justice? Yes, they did. Notice what Ellen White says about those kinds of people. “Those who are forward in accusing others, and zealous in bringing them to justice, are often in their own lives more guilty than they. Men hate the sinner, while they love the sin.” Ibid. In their minds, they are saying, “I wish I could have gotten away with that,” but they hate the other person who did it. “Christ hates the sin, but loves the sinner. This will be the spirit of all who follow Him. Christian love is slow to censure, quick to discern penitence, ready to forgive, to encourage, to set the wanderer in the path of holiness, and to stay his feet therein.” Ibid.

If Jesus treated us the way that we often treat each other, we would all be lost. Have you ever thought about that? What is your attitude? Do you love sin and hate the sinner? That is what the Pharisees did. Or do you hate the sin, but love the sinner? That is what Jesus did, and that is what all will do who have His Spirit.

No Compromise With Sin

Do not misunderstand, we are not talking about compromising with sin. When Jesus talked to the publicans and sinners, He talked to them about repentance, about getting sin out of their lives; and He showed them that it was possible. “Jesus Himself never purchased peace by compromise. His heart overflowed with love for the whole human race, but He was never indulgent to their sins. He was too much their friend to remain silent while they were pursuing a course that would ruin their souls,—the souls He had purchased with His own blood.” Ibid., 356. If we really love our brother, when we see him going down a course that is going to end in the lake of fire, we will love him too much to be silent. When Jesus received sinners, He did not compromise with their sin. He showed them how to be delivered from their sins.

First, Jesus showed them that escape from sin was possible. Jesus set them free, and He is no respecter of persons. He will set you free, too.

Second, these people were used to receiving from the Pharisees nothing but scorn and condemnation; but Christ came and greeted them as the children of God. “The souls who came to Jesus felt in His presence that even for them there was escape from the pit of sin. The Pharisees had only scorn and condemnation for them; but Christ greeted them as children of God, estranged indeed from the Father’s house, but not forgotten by the Father’s heart. Christ’s Object Lessons, 186. Whoever you are, whatever has been your past, no matter how many sins there have been in your life, the Father’s heart yearns over you. If we all could understand how much the Father’s heart yearns over us and how much love He has for us, we would be just like the sinners in Jesus’ day; we would come to Him to receive of His love.

“And their very misery and sin made them only the more the objects of His compassion. The farther they had wandered from Him, the more earnest the longing and the greater the sacrifice for their rescue.” Ibid. The more miserable your condition and the more you need Jesus, the more He wants to save you. The sinners flocked to Jesus because it really was true that, “This man receives sinners.”

Unless we receive sinners, we cannot be saved. “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14, 15. Then in Luke 15, Jesus gave a powerful illustration of what He was talking about. “So He spoke this parable to them, saying: What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying them, Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost! I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” Verses 3–7.

Jesus said to the Pharisees, “These people whom you despise and scorn are God’s property, and they are of value in His sight. They are of such great value in His sight that all heaven would be risked just to gain back one.” As I have read this story, so often the realization has come to me that God puts a higher estimate on us than we put on each other.

Oh friend, you are of value in God’s sight. “As the shepherd loves his sheep, and cannot rest if even one be missing, so, in an infinitely higher degree, does God love every outcast soul. Men may deny the claim of His love, they may wander from Him, they may choose another master; yet they are God’s, and He longs to recover His own.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 187. Do you realize how much you are worth to God? Does that include you? That includes everybody, friends. “In the parable the shepherd goes out to search for one sheep—the very least that can be numbered. So if there had been but one lost soul, Christ would have died for that one.” Ibid. If everybody else in this world would have rejected the gift of God’s grace and you would have been the only one who would have accepted it, Jesus would have died for you. That is the estimate that God places on your soul.

The Love of the Shepherd

The Shepherd does not wait and say, “Well, when that sheep comes to his senses, then I will take it home.” But is not that the way that we treat each other sometimes? That is the way the Pharisees treated the sheep. “It was taught by the Jews that before God’s love is extended to the sinner, he must first repent. In their view, repentance is a work by which men earn the favor of heaven. And it was this thought that led the Pharisees to exclaim in astonishment and anger, ‘This man receiveth sinners.’ According to their ideas, He should permit none to approach Him but those who had repented. But in the parable of the lost sheep, Christ teaches that salvation does not come through our seeking after God, but through God’s seeking after us.” Ibid., 189.

So often we say, in effect, “You change. Then, when you change, things will be all right.” Now the Pharisees taught that “there is rejoicing in heaven when one who has sinned against God is destroyed.” Ibid., 190. That was a lie, friends. Jesus did not teach that. The Bible says that God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked—none! He is joyful when they are restored.

Very often a person who has wandered in the fields of sin and has decided to come back to the Lord encounters all kinds of suspicion and distrust and criticism. Have you ever noticed that? People say, “Well, I am not sure that his repentance is really genuine. We had better wait and see.” So everybody just sort of stands off and looks. That is the condition of a lot of churches, and this is one of the reasons that there is a multitude of sinners who never darken the door of the church. They are afraid to come in.

“When one who has wandered far in sin seeks to return to God, he will encounter criticism and distrust. There are those who will doubt whether his repentance is genuine, or will whisper, ‘He has no stability; I do not believe that he will hold out.’ These persons are doing not the work of God but the work of Satan, who is the accuser of the brethren. Through their criticisms the wicked one hopes to discourage that soul, and to drive him still farther from hope and from God. Let the repenting sinner contemplate the rejoicing in heaven over the return of the one that was lost. Let him rest in the love of God and in no case be disheartened by the scorn and suspicion of the Pharisees.” Ibid., 190.

The devil has plenty of Pharisees around, and he has them scattered through all of the churches; but there are far too few people who are filled with sympathy for those who are tempted and erring. If we are going to save the lost, friends, we must have a heart that is filled with the mercy and love of Christ and not a heart that is vindictive and always seeking to point out or discover mistakes of others.

Jesus then gave the parable of the lost coin. “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost! Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:8–10. There is a reason that Jesus told these stories to describe the situation of the lost. There are some people who are lost like the lost sheep. They know that they are lost, but they cannot find their way back; and they will never find their way back unless somebody goes and searches for them. There are Christian homes today in which family members are attending church and going through all of the motions of Christianity, but they are not vitally connected to Christ. They are lost, but like the coin, they do not even know it.

The Value of One Soul

When you follow Jesus to His trial and see His wounded head, when you see His pierced side, when you see His marred feet, when you recognize that all heaven was placed in jeopardy to save mankind, then you start to comprehend, friends, the worth of a soul. If we ever begin to understand the value of a soul and realize that one soul is worth more than a whole world of material things, we will begin to have a shepherd’s heart. Friends, when we print Christian literature, every piece is important, every tract is important. Every aspect of our work is of vital significance because we are dealing with souls. Just one soul is more important than the wold world.

If we are going to save souls, we must have the heart of the Shepherd. The Pharisees said, “This man receives sinners.” They said it with scorn; they said it with anger, they said it with hatred, distrust suspicion, and a wicked insinuation. Nevertheless, they told the truth. “This man receives sinners.” Do you receive sinners? If you have the heart of a shepherd, you will go searching and will bring the sinners back to the Father’s house. We will never bring very many back, friends, unless we have the mercy and love of Christ in our hearts, unless we have the love of the Shepherd, the heart of the Shepherd.

When you have the heart of the Shepherd, you will not be criticizing the lost, but will be doing whatever you can to help them to come back to the Father’s house. If you want to understand the worth of a human being that is lost, go to Gethsemane. There you will see the Saviour enduring, not seconds or minutes, but hours of agony. He suffered super-human agony that you and I will never comprehend.

None of us are going to heaven alone. We need a shepherd’s heart. We need the mercy and love of Christ in our hearts, and we need to be searching for lost sheep. Perhaps there is a lost coin right in your own home. Do you want to have the heart of the Shepherd and to receive sinners back to the Father’s house? It is the most wonderful work that anyone can do.

This is a Hard Saying

Today many people, even among Seventh-day Adventists, attend church to be entertained. This is why we have celebration churches and sermons that are watered-down messages. This should not surprise us, however, for we have been warned that it would take place. “”Teach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” II Timothy 4:2–4.

In Jesus’ ministry, there came a time when a crisis point was reached. You can read about this experience in the chapter in The Desire of Ages entitled, “The Crisis in Galilee.” It was at this time that Jesus clearly spelled out the spiritual nature of His kingdom. To many, His words were difficult to accept. We find their response recorded in John 6:60. “Many therefore of His disciples, when they had heard this, said, ‘This is an hard saying; who can hear it?’”

Have you at some time heard a message, which was just, more than you could handle? At that point, the road appeared too rugged. The reality is that it only appears impossible to the carnally minded. The person who is converted finds that he has no problem with it.

To Each One the Test Comes

In the life of every person, there comes a time when he must make a decision and take a stand. Though this decision will require an effort, when we remember that we are talking about decisions that will affect our eternal happiness, we realize that we are talking about a priceless treasure, something that we cannot adequately measure.

Every decision that we make in this life has its affect upon our characters. This, in turn, determines our eternal destiny. It matters not what area of our life we are speaking of; for the Bible tells us, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” I Corinthians 10:31.

Solomon, a very rich man, recognized the futility of worldly gain, apart from eternal considerations. He said, “I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards: I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kinds of fruits: I made me pools of water to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees: I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me: I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts. So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me. And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them. I withheld not my heat from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity.” Ecclesiastes 2:4–11. In addition, the Bible also tells us that he had about one thousand wives.

I compared this passage with that found in the NIV and found that the NIV more nearly expresses it as translated in Martin Luther’s German translation. It says, “Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained.” Is it not amazing that a man could have everything his heart desired and at the end say, “It was so useless”?

Jesus said, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the wold world, and lose his own soul?” Matthew 16:26. There is a reason why He said that. The time is coming when we will have to pass on; and when that time comes, we will not be able to take with us any o the things we have accumulated in this life. How short-sighted to do as many are doing today, selling their birthright for a mess of pottage. For some, it is for a job. Others trade eternal life for an unbelieving spouse, or a friendship; and for some it is their appetite. Whatever the object to be obtained, people are selling their eternal life for that which will prove to be of no worth in view of eternity.

Jesus said, “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:33. Is that a hard saying? It is for some people, because they find that there are certain things that they still want to hang to. But for the truly converted person, it will not be a problem.

Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:23, 24. Is it impossible? No, it is not impossible; but it is difficult. However, “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Luke 16:13. Though a person may try to have both heaven and the world, eventually a decision must be made. Jesus will accept nothing less than 100 percent. Ellen White makes a statement that almost saved does not mean almost saved but wholly lost. (See Christ’s Object Lessons, 118.) A serious though, is it not?

The message that Jesus gave to the people of His day was too difficult for many of those who had been following Him to accept. “From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him.” John 6:66. There were twelve of His closest friends, however, who stayed with Him no matter what happened. Turning to them, Jesus asked, “Will ye also go away?” Verse 67. Did the twelve disciples have a choice to leave Him? Yes. They could have left, but they chose not to.

We may be faced with a similar choice someday. In fact, even now as we look around us, we see the numbers lessening. We should not be disappointed, however, because the number will always be small; but we are in the majority as long as we are on the side of the Lord. We may not be able to realize it right now, but we will at the end.

In response to Jesus’ question, Peter answered, “To whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.” John 6:18. That was a good answer. If we leave Jesus, what do we have left? It is the same question that we can ask ourselves today. On one side there is apostasy, worldliness, and heresies. We have no choice but to go where the truth is being preached, because that is where Jesus is. It is so simple. That is what Peter said. “Lord, to whom shall we go?” There is no eternal life when you have error. There is only eternal life where there is truth.

Only Eternal Life Where There is Truth

Now if we have that attitude and conviction, we do not have to fear, even if everybody leaves us. Men may disappoint us, but Jesus will not. As long as we stick to the Word, we are securely united to Him; and when we are one with Christ, of course, we will be one with each other. It is this unity that we need to experience, especially as Historic Adventists.

“The oneness and unity of God’s truth-believing remnant people carries powerful conviction to the world that they have the truth, and are the peculiar, chosen people of God. This oneness and unity disconcerts the enemy, and he is determined that it shall not exist. The present truth, believed in the heart and exemplified in the life, makes God’s people one, and gives them a powerful influence.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 327. But while we are to seek unity, it is never to be formed on the platform of error. We cannot unify with any who are preaching error. This does not work because just as Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters,” neither “can two walk together except they be agreed.” Amos 3:3.

“There is no compromise in the Word of God for those who conform to the world. The Son of God was manifested that He might draw all men unto Him. But He came not to lull the world to sleep—not to send peace, but a sword. The followers of Christ must walk in the light of His glorious example; and, at whatever sacrifice of ease or selfish indulgence, at whatever cost of labor or sufferings, we must maintain the constant battle with self, exalt the gospel standard, and push forward the triumphs of the cross.” Signs of the Times, September 12, 1878.

In Matthew 10:35, 36, Jesus gave us another hard saying. “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” When we truly accept Christ and follow His words, there will always be division and separation. This is because there is a collision of spirits that just cannot get alone. That is why it says in II Corinthians 6:14–18, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion that light with darkness?” When we determine to fully follow Jesus, we may expect misunderstanding, hatred, disunity, division, and sometimes even war. “The faithful presentation of the message of truth will always cause division. And upon the messenger of truth the blame of the trouble will be cast.” Review and Herald, October 22, 1901.

In II Thessalonians 3:6, 14, Paul tells us, “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. . . . And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.” When you continue to go to a place where you know that error is steadily being preached and do nothing about it, what are you actually doing? You are encouraging the error.

The apostle John tells us, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for him that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” II John 9–11.

We need to avoid those people whose influence would lead us astray and corrupt our morals. “When those who are uniting with the world, yet claiming great purity, plead for union with those who have ever been the opposers of the cause of truth, we should fear and shun them as decidedly as did Nehemiah.” Prophets and Kings, 660. Even in worship, you cannot unite with those whom God tells you not to unite with. There are only two camps—truth and error. We admonished, “Sever the links which have bound you to those who love not God and the truth.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 48.

Peter was always outspoken. At one time he said to Jesus, “Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed Three; what shall we have therefore?” Matthew 19:27. Jesus did not rebuke him, but answered, “Verily, I say unto you, That ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” Matthew 19:28, 29.

The bottom line is that in leaving all, we are not leaving or separating from anything that is good for us. And, if we are converted, we will want to do it anyway, because there are better things in store for us.

All May Have the Power to Overcome

I would like to share one more statement with you. “While Jesus was talking to the people, His mother and brethren, stood without, desiring to speak with Him; and one told Jesus. And He said unto him that told Him, ‘Who is My mother? and who are My brethren?’ And He stretched forth His hand toward His disciples, and said, ‘Behold My mother and My brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother.’” Review and Herald, August 7, 1888. She then goes on to say, “If we are doing the will of God, we are counted as the brethren and sisters of our Master. We are to remember this in our daily life. We are to press toward the mark for the prize of our high calling, exerting every God-given power, that we may be overcomers. We must be constantly drawing nigh to God. We must talk of Jesus, expressing His love in a devoted life of entire consecration to His service.

Right now there are many messages that, to the unregenerate heart, seem hard to listen to. It is far better, however, to hear a hard message right now while there is opportunity to turn around. This is not the time to celebrate, but rather the time to hear the hard messages. If we are unwilling to hear hard messages today, the day is coming when we will hear an even harder message from Jesus. “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:23. How much better to be able then to hear His commendation, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” Matthew 25:21. This is the message that I want to hear from Jesus. But the only way that I can hear this message is if I am willing to hear the straight, hard message today, because that is the message of love.

May God help us to have open hearts and minds that are not easily offended, because it says of those who love Jesus and obey His law, that nothing will offend them. May God help us that this is true in our lives.

Food for Life – More this Month About Sugar

“We should not be prevailed upon to take anything into the mouth that will bring the body into an unhealthy condition, no matter how much we like it. Why? Because we are God’s property. You have a crown to win, heaven to gain, and a hell to shun. . . .

“It is better to let sweet things alone. Let alone those sweet dessert dishes that are placed on the table. You do not need them. You want a clear mind to think after God’s order.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 328.

Let us review, from a scientific viewpoint, some of the effects of sugar on the system:

  • Excess sugar affects the health of the teeth, causing decay.
  • Excess sugar lowers one’s resistance to disease.
  • Refined sugar is a high calorie, concentrated food with little or no nutritive value.
  • High sugar intake can cause liver damage undistinguishable from liver damage due to alcoholism.
  • High sugar intake is associated with mature-on-set diabetes.
  • High sugar can contribute to constipation.
  • High sugar intake can cause vitamin B deficiencies.
  • Some nutritionists feel that a high sugar intake is responsible for a malfunctioning appetite, contributing to overweight.
  • Too much sugar, in any form, clogs the system, resulting in mental depression, and can cause sleepiness and mental confusion.

According to England’s noted nutritionist, Professor John Yudkin of the University of London, sugar may be the etiologic factor in atherosclerosis, or heart-vessel disease. He believes that there is a clear association between sugar intake and heart disease. (Medical Tribune, July 10, 1969.) Most of us find it hard to believe that we are consuming as much sugar as we do, but remember that more than two-thirds of our sugar intake is hidden in prepared food products and beverages. Learn to read the labels when you go to the grocery store and you will be amazed to find what you have been eating. Remember that the contents are listed in order according to the amount used in the ingredients. Notice especially breakfast cereals.

I am very partial to dates as a sweetener. They are a natural, unrefined product and almost universally obtainable. You will find that you can use dates for almost everything. Remember that the nearer you can come to the simple, unrefined foods, the better your health will be. Keep in mind that “a clogged stomach means a clogged brain.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 46.

For those of you who are not familiar with Fruit Source, it is a sweetener made from grapes and whole grain rice and can be obtained in either granular or syrup form. If you have problems obtaining it from a local health food store, we will furnish you with distributor names. The syrup tastes like a high-grade molasses—delicious!

“I saw that our heavenly Father has bestowed upon us the great blessing of light upon the health reform, that we may obey the claims which He has upon us and glorify Him in our bodies and spirits, which are Him, and finally stand without fault before the throne of God.” Ibid., 51. May we be ready to meet Him whenever He calls us.

(We would not understand the Spirit of Prophecy to condemn the use of all sugar, but the free use that is all too common today. See Manuscript Releases, vol. 15, 246. Testimonies, vol. 2, 383, vol. 3, 21, Counsels on Diet and Foods, 197, and Ministry of Healing, 299-301. Editors)

Cashew Topping

1 cup white grape juice

1/4 cup granular Fruit Source

2 cups cashews

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon white vanilla

Peanut Butter Balls

Mix together:

1 cup (homemade) peanut butter

1/4 cup carob powder

1/4 cup mashed banana

2 teaspoons vanilla

Shape into balls and roll in sesame seeds. Press a walnut or pecan half in each ball. Refrigerate.

Children’s Story – Prayer for the Pirates

In the days of sailing vessels, a party of Moravian missionaries was sailing toward St. Thomas in the West Indies. The ship on which they were sailing was called the Britannia. In those days, the southern seas were full of pirates; and one day a pirate ship was seen rapidly approaching the Britannia. Though poorly equipped for defense, all hands on the Britannia were called to prepare to resist the pirates. The Moravian missionaries, however, retired to their cabin. There they began praying for God to intervene and to not only spare human life, but to make it possible for them to continue on their trip so that they could carry the gospel message to a dark and waiting land.

The pirate ship continued to draw closer until it was within gunshot range of the Britannia; and then, from its many cannons, it began to pour out a heavy fire. As the ships came closer together, the men along the pirate ship’s deck next prepared themselves to board the Britannia. In order to do this; they would throw large metal hooks attached to ropes onto the deck of the ship they wanted to board. As soon as the hooks, called grappling irons, fastened themselves to something, they would quickly pull themselves across to the ship on the ropes. Just at the moment the pirates their grappling irons across toward the Britannia, their own ship was suddenly tossed violently by the waves and the men who held the ropes were thrown headlong into the sea.

Irritated with this disaster, the pirate captain sent others to take the place of the fallen men. When they also tried to board the Britannia, the same thing happened to them. Seeing that he could not succeed in this manner, the captain ordered his guns to fire again; but, strange to say, the balls all missed the Britannia, falling harmlessly into the sea. The smoke of the frequent firing of the guns was, however, very dense and hung about the vessels for quite some time, hiding them from each other’s view. When at last a gust of wind cleared away the smoke, to the amazement of the pirate captain, the Britannia was seen to be far away with all of her sails set, speeding rapidly away from him. The pirates gave up the chase as hopeless; feeling completely frustrated by their failure to capture the ship on which the missionaries were sailing.

For five years after their arrival, the missionaries continued to faithfully preach the gospel in St. Thomas. On the fifth anniversary of their narrow escape, they, along with the other brethren on the island, assembled together to celebrate. As they were sitting together, word was brought that a stranger wished to speak to them. At their permission, a tall, fine-looking man with a pleasant expression on his face entered. He asked if they were the missionaries who had come to the island in the Britannia five years before.

“We are,” replied the brother whom he addressed.

“And were you attacked upon the sea by pirates?” asked the stranger.

“Yes, replied the brother, “but why are you asking these questions?”

“Because,” answered the stranger, “I am the captain who commanded the pirate ship that attacked you. The miraculous way in which your ship escaped was the reason for my own salvation from the power of sin through faith in Christ.”

The stranger then proceeded to tell them how, on making inquiry, he was led to conclude that it was through the prayers of the missionaries that the Britannia escaped. As a result, he was determined to visit their place of worship. Finding a Moravian mission, he was there converted from the error of his ways.

“And thus,” he concluded, “from a pirate captain I am become a poor sinner, justified by the grace and mercy of Christ. My hope has been that I might some day be able to find you and tell you of my miraculous conversion. This joy has now been granted me today.”

Growing Beautiful Leaves

“Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.” Matthew 21:12, 13.

Outside, the temple was beautiful marble that glistened in the sun; but inside it was full of thieves dressed in rich clothes—professional thieves. After they were driven from the temple, “The blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.” Verse 14. This is what the church is all about. The church is not here to be enriched by the people but to be a blessing. As members of God’s family, our work is not to see what can be done for us but what we can do for others.

“But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ they were indignant.” Verse 15. They thought that the temple had been desecrated by all of the activity that Jesus was carrying on. They forgot that they had been involved in all kinds of activities; but, of course, their activities had to do with the ceremonies. After all, people had to have something to sacrifice. Jesus was just here healing the body and cleansing the soul.

The temple of Jerusalem was illustrative of the church today. We are told that it is also illustrative of the Christian heart. “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the temple of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” I Corinthians 3:16, 17.

The temple of Jerusalem was illustrative of the church today. We are told that it is also illustrative of the Christian heart. “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” I Corinthians 3:16, 17.

The work that Jesus did for the temple in Jerusalem He wanted to do for the whole Jewish nation. In the same way, when Jesus is cleansing the heavenly temple, what He really wants to do is cleanse the worshipers.

The next day, Jesus gave three parables to illustrate the life, work, and character that He wanted to see manifested in the lives of His people. We should pay special attention to these parables, as they apply in a special sense to us. Interestingly, the Bible describes the Laodicean church, representing God’s end-time church, as being similar to the church of Jesus’ day.

You see, the Jewish leaders thought that they were spiritually rich and had need of nothing. After all, they had the truth; they were the church; and all the time, Jesus was kept outside while they went on with their services within. And in like manner, Laodicea is pictured as having need of nothing, while outside the door, Someone is standing and knocking. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20.

Notice what the great concern of the religious leaders was with regard to Jesus’ teaching. “Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?” Matthew 21:23. By what authority do you publish your magazine? By what authority do you preach? By what authority do you broadcast? By what authority do you do these things?

Today, many people are being swept along in a Laodicean condition, thinking that everything is fine; but when those who are hungry come to a Laodicean church, they go away as empty as when they came. For the hungry, there is no fruit.

Leaves Without Fruit

In another message, which God gives to the Laodiceans of the last days, He describes the last day church as a church that is filled with leaves and pretensions and professions but have no fruit. “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness!” Matthew 7:21–23. “I don’t know who you are serving, but it certainly wasn’t Me. Depart from Me, you would had no fruit, you who went on practicing your own lawless deeds, you who had no character change. Depart from Me.”

When God looks at your life today, He is not looking for a great profession; He is looking for the fruits of holiness. The fruit spoken of in the Bible comes as the result of death to self and is revealed in service to others. “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me. Then they also will answer Him, saying, Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you? Then He will answer them, saying, Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.” Matthew 25:41–44.

Unless you are spending time with Jesus, only self is reigning on the throne of your heart; and you have no fruit. “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath.” Galatians 5:19. It does not say that you are angry all of the time, just outbursts once in awhile. “Selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control [some versions say temperance.]” Verses 20–23.

While mankind looks on the outward appearance, God looks at the heart. Outwardly we may be rich, cultured, educated, well clothed, and hold church offices; but if we lack these fruits, we have nothing.

Fruit Inspectors

It is necessary that we be fruit inspectors once in awhile. We need to examine our own lives. We need to pull back the leaves a little bit and see what is growing on the tree. It will sometimes help us to understand why Jesus cannot use us more than He does. But I am glad that we have a heavenly Vinedresser, Someone who knows how to put the fertilizer on and knows how to bring just the right trials and troubles in order to prune the tree, aren’t you?

“Never should we lose control of ourselves. Let us ever keep before us the perfect Pattern. It is a sin to speak impatiently and fretfully or to feel angry—even though we do not speak. We are to walk worthy, giving a right representation of Christ.” Child Guidance, 95. To our own children, to our spouses, and to one another, we are to be a right representation of Christ, because the Bible says that we are the body of Christ. We are His mouthpiece. We are His hands and His feet. If we do not show Jesus to our children, to our husband or wife, to those around us, who is going to show Him?

There is only one solution, and it is total victory. “An entire change must take place in you. You frequently feel that you must be more guarded. You resolutely say, ‘I will be more calm and patient;’ but in doing this you only touch the evil on the outside; you consent to retrain the lion and watch him. You must go further than this. . . .

“You have repeatedly said, ‘I can’t keep my temper.’ ‘I have to speak.’ You lack a meek, humble spirit. Self is all alive, and you stand guard continually to preserve it from mortification or insult. Says the apostle, ‘For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.’ Those who are dead to self will not feel so readily and will not be prepared to resist everything which may irritate. Dead men cannot feel. You are not dead, if you were, and your life hid in Christ, a thousand things which you now notice, and which afflict you, would be passed by as unworthy of notice; you would then be grasping the eternal and would be above the petty trials of this life.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 425.

The Jewish leaders were full of works. They kept all of the commandments, but self was never crucified. Self was still alive within. They had only the external leaves. “The strongest argument in favor of the gospel is a loving and lovable Christian.” Ministry of Healing, 470. God is calling us all to work in His vineyard, but what good is it going to do to work in the vineyard if we have no fruits to give to the people?

As long as we carry around self, we do not have the power of the Holy Spirit in our life. It is not until we reflect the character of Jesus that we have the power of Jesus; then hearts are touched.

Editorial – Our Need of Superior Wisdom

In writing to some Seventh-day Adventist leaders, Ellen White once said, “They thought they were too wise to be taught, and too secure to need caution, and if no one makes shipwreck of faith and a good conscience, I shall be surprised. Mistakes I saw would be made, and the men who are handling sacred things were not inclined to be controlled. Were they confidently relying upon the wisdom from above? No, but on their own supposed superior wisdom and prudence. O how sad to see men of little experience put on airs of importance, and act as though their own judgment of men and things were infallible. I know that things are not right now in the office.” 1888 Materials, 1186.

Today, we are in as great, and perhaps greater danger of making shipwreck of our faith. If we are to avoid eternal disaster, we must obtain a superior wisdom from God. There are several aspects to this superior wisdom that God wants to give us. The first and most important is the lessons of meekness and of silence. Notice how Jesus illustrated this in His own life.

“The Great Teacher held in His hand the entire map of truth, but He did not disclose it all to His disciples. He opened to them those subjects only, which were essential for their advancement in the path to heaven. There were many things in regard to which His wisdom kept Him silent. As Christ withheld many things from His first disciples, knowing that then it would be impossible for them to comprehend them, so today He withholds many things from us, knowing the capacity of our understanding.” Review and Herald, April 23, 1908.

“When the priests heard Pilate’s words, they broke out into a torrent of accusation. Standing behind Pilate, in view of all in the court, Christ heard the abuse, but to all the false charges against Him He answered not a word. His whole bearing gave evidence of conscious innocence. He stood unmoved by the fury of the waves that beat about Him. It was if the heavy surges of wrath, rising higher and higher, like the waves of the boisterous ocean, broke about Him, but id not touch Him. He stood silent, but His silence was eloquence. It was as a light shining from the inner to the outer man. Thus He gave evidence of His superior wisdom.” Signs of the Times, January 24, 1900.

Moses learned this lesson which resulted in making him one of the greatest men that has ever lived. Of him we are told, “Moses ‘was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth,’ and this is why he was granted divine wisdom and guidance above all others. Says the Scripture, ‘The meek will He guide in judgment: and the meek will He teach His way.’ Psalm 25:9. The meek are guided by the Lord, because they are teachable, willing to be instructed. . . . God does not force the will of any; hence He cannot lead those who are too proud to be taught, who are bent upon having their own way.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 384.

Counseling the pioneer self-supporting workers, the Lord instructed, “Be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves. Some will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. It will not be well for you to open to everybody all things concerning the work in Nashville and in Madison. There are those who are associated with us, and who occupy positions of trust, who may not stand the test. It will not be safe to try to make all understand everything. Those things that are of a private character, you should not make public. Let them be kept within the knowledge of your special few.” Spaulding-Magan, 393.

We must learn the same lesson of superior wisdom today or we will become entangled in insuperable problems which unnecessarily hinder God’s work.

“In the advancement of His cause in the earth, He would have men appointed to deal with the erring who will be kind and considerate, and whose characters reveal the similitude of the divine,— men who will show the wisdom of Christ in dealing with matters that should be kept private, and who, when a work of correction and reproof must be done, will know how to keep silence before those whom it does not concern. Unbelievers should not be given opportunity to make God’s people, be they ministers or laymen, the objects of their suspicion and unrighteous judgment.” Review and Herald, November 14, 1907.