How to Be Among the 144,000, Part II

Editor’s Note: Last month we looked at what kind of character the 144,000 must have and how they must obtain it. This month we will continue on with our study of what you and I must do to be among the 144,000 and what sanctification really means.

The closer we come to Christ, the more we will realize that within us there is no good thing. Self must be crucified every moment of every day.

Our will must be surrendered to God’s will. And we must allow God to live out His life within us. There is no one so weak that he cannot be saved, because all the power to win the victory comes from Christ. However, there also is no one so strong that he can be saved in his own strength. From the weakest to the strongest we must crucify self and turn to God for strength.

This crucifixion of self is a painful process. I wish I could give you some pleasing doctrine that would just open up the gates of heaven for you without any suffering or pain, but God in His wisdom did not make such a way. There is no way except the bloodstained path of the cross. Since this was true for Christ, should it be any different for us? Paul wrote of Christ’s experience, “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering.” Hebrews 2:10. “Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” Hebrews 5:8. Christ suffered with temptations. He had to daily crucify self, and having been perfected, “He became the author of eternal salvation to all those who obey Him.” Hebrews 5:9.

I propose that this is good news! Now it may not be good news to think that you have to go through some suffering, but it is good news that you can be perfected by it. And we have the promise that we will not have any temptations but those which are common to man, and God who is faithful “will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13.

What type of temptations did Christ suffer? Peter wrote, “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind.” 1 Peter 4:1. Christ suffered in the flesh, what the Bible calls our fallen nature, and He overcame! That is wonderful to know, because all of us have sins of the flesh, which seem to bind us.

Some people say, “I know I lose my temper, but you have to realize that is the way I was born. You must take the good with the bad.” This is the fleshly nature, and the Bible says that if you live according to the flesh, (according to your inheritance) you will die! (See Romans 8:13).

So what do we do since we all have inherited sinful tendencies? We do not all have the same problems. Some have inherited a temper, others discouragement and others selfishness. However, in every life there is some special sin that will require a life and death struggle to overcome. These are what Paul called besetting sins (Romans 12:1), and the devil has been cultivating them in our lives since we were born.

When a baby is born the Lord says, “I died for this baby. He is mine.” But the adversary of souls says, “No, he is mine.” And the battle begins. The Lord works to keep that baby, but the devil begins to work from the day that baby is born to hold him in the bonds of sin. He seeks to develop within that little child’s heart some special desire for sin. Even if the baby is born into a worldly home, the devil does not know when he might someday have the opportunity to hear the gospel and be inclined to accept it. So he works every day to cultivate in that child a love for some besetting sin.

A Struggle to Overcome a Besetting Sin

I remember holding an evangelistic series in one of my first churches. About twelve had accepted the Lord and were preparing for baptism. In the baptismal class, I was reading some Bible verses on Christian adornment and jewelry. Suddenly, one young lady, who had been married for only six months, caught the drift of what the verses were saying. It was too much for her and she said right out loud, “If I have to take off my jewelry to get to heaven, I cannot go!” And she left!

I suppose that from the time she was born, Satan had tried to develop that desire within her. What is jewelry? A worthless piece of stone cut into a beautiful shape. I could cut a piece of glass and most people could not tell it from a diamond, but, for some reason, people have placed a special value on certain little stones. They are willing to pay thousands of dollars to wear them around on the fingers.

So it was for this young women. If you could review her life, I think you would find that the devil had arranged affairs throughout her childhood so that she had heard people comment about various ladies’ jewelry. In her mind, jewelry had come to signify success and being a woman, happily married, and all those ideals.

A few days later, I went to her home to visit her. I was surprised, when I stepped inside, to find two non-Adventist ministers standing in her living room. She had called these other preachers to tell her that she could keep all her jewelry on and still go to heaven. When I came in, it was like waving a red flag before a bull. They turned on me—this crazy, fanatical, legalistic fellow who thinks people must take off their jewelry to get to heaven.

I was not very interested in trying to discuss jewelry with these two preachers who were not really interested in the truth anyway, so I changed the subject. I said, “I can understand why you do not see any importance in jewelry. You do not even see any importance in keeping the Sabbath.” That turned the subject, and since they were little match for the Sabbath truth, they soon left.

Two days later, we had a baptism with all the other candidates and this lady came with her husband and all her jewelry on, but with a towel. She came up to me and said, “Could you go over those things again?” The church was full and everyone was there, ready for the baptism to begin, but we went into another room and we started going over the Bible texts. We were there for two hours as she struggled with a spiritual battle. Finally, the tears came to her eyes and she said, “I surrender.” She took off her jewelry and she and her husband were baptized along with the ten others.

For this dear lady, giving up jewelry was a trial. She had to suffer and sacrifice to give up this besetting sin. Your besetting sin may not be jewelry, we all have different weaknesses. But for each of us, the way to heaven is the way of the cross. We cannot just sit back and say, “Lord, make me clean.” That is not the way it is.

When Jesus cleansed the Jewish temple, He went in, uninvited, and drove all the wickedness out, but inspiration tells us that He does not cleanse the soul temple that way. (See The Desire of Ages, 161.) He is very willing to cleanse our soul temples, but He cannot do it without our invitation and cooperation.

The Right Use of the Will

“The expulsion of sin is the act of the soul itself. True, we have no power to free ourselves from Satan’s control; but when we desire to be set free from sin, and in our great need cry out for a power out of and above ourselves, the powers of the soul are imbued with the divine energy of the Holy Spirit, and they obey the dictates of the will in fulfilling the will of God. God gives the power, but we must exercise the effort.” The Desire of Ages, 466.

We cannot do what God must do for us, but neither will God do what He has asked us to do. Ellen White wrote about a man that she was asked to anoint. She did not feel that she could do that until she had taken the matter before the Lord. During the night she was given a vision, and the Lord showed her that this man had a besetting sin which he had developed in adolescence. He knew it was a sin and he had tried to overcome it by fasting and prayer, but he was still bound by it. God showed Sister White that this man’s prayers had been answered and God had given him the power to overcome, but he had to put forth the effort. God would not do for him what He had given him the power to do for himself.

“Everything depends on the right use of the will.” Steps to Christ, 47. We must learn that we have to choose to do what is right and refuse to do what is wrong. Then God can help us. It takes our effort and God’s strength.

The Secret of Samson’s Strength

The story of Samson, in the Bible, fitly illustrates this important spiritual lesson in physical terms. Samson had incredible physical strength. He could conquer every physical difficulty. One time he carried the iron gates of a city to the top of a hill and left them there. But was it really Samson who lifted those gates? Was the power really his own? No, he had no more natural strength before his hair was cut than after his hair was cut. It was the angels who were lifting those gates. But, the angels did not help without Samson putting forth all the effort he had.

Think of this promise. “All His [God’s] biddings are enablings.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 333. If God asks you to do something, He will provide the strength for you to do it. Nothing is impossible for Him. But He will not do anything, until you put for the effort.

“God saw it was impossible for man to overcome in his own strength, with his own feeble moral power; yet man is required to exercise all the capabilities and powers that God has given him in order to overcome, and then he needs a higher power, and help has been laid upon One who is human effort, that through Jesus man may stand free, a conqueror.” The Review and Herald, June 10, 1890.

“The pleasing fable that all there is to do is to believe, has destroyed thousands and tens of thousands, because many have called that faith which is not faith, but simply a dogma. Man is an intelligent, accountable being; he is not to be carried as a passive burden by the Lord, but is to work in harmony with Christ. Man is to take up his appointed work in striving for glory, honor, and immortality. God calls upon men for the use of every talent He has lent them, the exercise of every power He has given; for man can never be saved in disobedience and indolence.” The Review and Herald, April 1, 1890.

“There must be an earnest effort to conquer through the grace freely given of God.” The Review and Herald, January 24, 1893.

“The help of God is held in reserve for all who demand it. Divine help is to be combined with human effort, aspiration, and energy. But we cannot reach the battlements of heaven without climbing for ourselves . . . Not even divine power can lift one soul to heaven that is unwilling to put forth efforts in his own behalf.” Signs of the Times, August 14, 1884.

Judas’ Doctrine

Any doctrine that is teaching people that they do not need to put forth effort to overcome sin is preparing people to be eternally lost. This was the type of doctrine Judas held. Look for a moment at how his story is told in The Desire of Ages, and let us trace the steps that he took before his great fall.

“He [Judas] witnessed the Savior’s mighty works in healing the sick . . . He felt in his own person the evidence of Christ’s power. He recognized the teaching of Christ as superior to all that he had ever heard. He loved the Great Teacher, and desired to be with him. He felt a desire to be changed in character and life, and he hoped to experience this through connecting himself with Jesus.” The Desire of Ages, 717.

This sounds pretty good. Judas loved Jesus and he wanted to be with Him. He wanted to be changed and he believed that if he associated with Jesus he would be changed. Doesn’t that sound like pretty good theology? Today a lot of preachers are telling people that if they will just spend time reading the Bible and studying every day they will be changed. But there is something more required than just reading and praying. There must be a crucifixion of self. When we are tempted to sin, we must refuse to sin with the power God has given us.

Continuing on with Judas’ story, it says, “He gave him a place among the twelve . . . He endowed him with power to heal the sick, cast out devils. But Judas did not come to the point of surrendering himself fully to Christ.” Ibid. That was the problem. Judas was no worse than any of the disciples in the beginning, but he never surrendered himself to Christ. He never went through the struggle, agony and the suffering of crucifying self. He never took up his cross. It makes me sad when I hear the doctrine of Judas being taught today, because I know that there are many people that will be as disappointed as Judas was.

Sanctification—More than Overcoming

A crucifixion of self is only half the Christian experience. It is not enough to get you to heaven. No one can ever get to heaven by simply overcoming sin. Sanctification is our goal. But what really is sanctification? Many people have been perplexed because they have equated sanctification with the process of overcoming sin, and they also know that sanctification is the work of a lifetime. Are we then supposed to spend our whole lives focusing on sin? No!

Sanctification is not the work of overcoming sin. That is only the beginning. When you overcome sin, your Christian life has just begun. We are all to go on to develop characters of righteousness. Adam, in the very beginning, although he had never sinned, had to develop a character. Jesus never sinned but His character had to be developed.

This development of character is something that is to go on as long as life lasts and will continue on throughout eternity. (See The Great Controversy, 678). There is so much more to living a Christian life than not sinning. It is not enough to quit stealing. We must go far beyond not stealing to giving unselfishly. We will not be saved because we do not curse. We must go far beyond not cursing until we are praising the Lord. We must go far beyond not hating our brother, we have to learn to love our enemy. We have to go far beyond not sinning. We have to go on in the path of righteousness.

We know that this is not an easy path. It requires us to struggle with agonizing efforts. (See Faith and Works, 48, 49). But, although it is a blood-strewn path, although it is the way through Gethsemane and Calvary, it is the only way to go that is worth living. For there is only one reason to live and that is to live forever.

There is nothing in this life. Soon we will see the final signs of Jesus’ Second Coming. And then we will see that cloud coming closer and closer. We will see the dead arising and we “shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

When we get to heaven we will renew acquaintances. We will find people and make friends that have lived hundreds and thousands of years ago. I will look for my wife and children, my brother and sister, my parents. I will look for my friends and my church members whom I have learned to love. I will look for those with whom I have given Bible studies. Heaven will be very happy when I find someone there that I hoped would be there. It will be very sad every time I find someone not there.

I will go to the sanctuary because there is the greatest history class of the ages. A history that is in living color. I can see the battles that have been fought and I can go into the Councils with the Popes. I can see back before the flood or go to the angels and find out what happened in the great controversy in heaven. That will be so interesting! This life is passing away. It is not an easy way to heaven, but it is the only way out of this earth. It is the way of the cross. By God’s will and grace, I am willing to walk the bloodstained path. We must crucify self, every moment of every day. We must suffer in the flesh and yet we will have joy. That is one of the mysteries of the gospel. It is the only way of joy and yet it is the way of suffering.

There is no special time when God will send some mighty working miracle and all of a sudden you will be a different person. The only time there is to change character is today! There will never be any more power available than what has been given to us today.

If you cannot overcome today, you cannot overcome tomorrow. Right now in your present situation you must overcome the flesh. But you can do it! Jesus had all your weaknesses, and no more strength than He offers you and He was victorious. And you can be too. The very weakest Christians can be “more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” Romans 8:37.

Let us commit ourselves to the Lord. My prayer is that you will not be missing on that great day.

Inspiration – On Sanctification, Part I

The Redeemer of men prayed to His Father, ‘Sanctify them through Thy truth; Thy word is truth.’

“’And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whosoever keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected.’ This is true Bible sanctification, to love God and to keep His commandments.—Manuscript Releases, vol. 2, 1874, 5, 6. (“Diary—1,” 1874, January 1 to February 16, 1874.)

“What is genuine sanctification? Read Exodus 31. In that chapter we shall understand the term, for God Himself has defined it. The Lord Jesus had given the special directions how to build the tabernacle. As the children of Israel had been compelled to work on the Sabbath, the sacredness of the day was not preserved. As slaves in Egypt, they had largely lost the knowledge of the Sabbath. This is the reason the commandments of God were given in awful grandeur upon Mount Sinai. The Lord would guard His Sabbath in particular, and He knew the people would forget the commandment of the Sabbath, and in their zeal the workmen would say, ‘This work is the Lord’s, and under His supervision, and we can do His work without observing the Sabbath.’ Therefore God enforced their observance of the Sabbath. He spoke through Moses to the people.

“’Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed. And He gave unto Moses, when He had made an end of communing with him upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God’ [Exodus 31:13–18].—Letter 19c, 1874, 2. (Written to her son Willie, April 20, 1874.)…

“We do not believe that the law sanctifies anyone. We believe that we must keep that law or we will not be saved in the kingdom of heaven. The transgressor cannot be saved in the kingdom of glory. It is not the law that sanctifies anyone, nor saves us; that law stands and cries out, repent, that your sins may be blotted out. And then the sinner goes to Jesus, and as the sinner promises that he will obey the requirements of the law, He blots out their guilty stains and sets them free, and gives them power with God.—Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, 1885, p. 7. (Sermon at Santa Rosa, “Hearing and Doing,” March 7, 1885.)

“We are looking beyond time; we are looking to eternity. We are trying to live in such a way that Christ can say, Well done, good and faithful servant. Let us live, every one of us, in that way. We may make mistakes; we may err; but God will not leave us in error. ‘If we sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.’ There is hope for us; we are prisoners of hope. Let us grasp the rich promises of God. The garden of God is full of rich promises. Oh, let us gather them; let us take them home; let us show that we believe in God. Let us take Him at His word; let not one of us be found distrusting God or doubting Him.

“Let us be growing Christians. We are not to stand still. We are to be in advance today of what we were yesterday; every day learning to be more trustful, more fully relying upon Jesus. Thus we are to grow up. You do not at one bound reach perfection; sanctification is the work of a lifetime.…

“You want to be like little children, hanging upon the merits of a crucified-and-risen Saviour, and then you will be fortified. How? The angels of God will be around you as a wall of fire; the righteousness of Christ, which you claim, goes before you, and the glory of God is your reward. God sanctify our tongues; God sanctify our thoughts; God sanctify our minds, that we may dwell upon heavenly themes, and then that we may impart that knowledge and light to others. There is great advancement for us, and do not stop here. May God help you to make the most of your responsibilities.—Ms 9, 1891, pp. 14, 15, 18, 19. (Sermon, “Make Proper Use of Talents,” August 22, 1891.)

“The thoughts must be upon heavenly things if you desire the Holy Spirit of God to impress truth upon the mind and soften and subdue the heart, inspiring ardent love of truth, of justice, of mercy, and of purity. The Spirit will bring to your remembrance the most precious jewels of thought. The whole heart will be warm with the contemplation of Jesus and His love, His teachings will be cherished, and you will love to speak to others the comforting things that have been opened to you by the Spirit of God. This is the privilege of every son and daughter of God. Oh, if those who believe the truth would love and fear the Lord always, if they would abide in Christ, they would treasure up the most precious experience; they would have moral and intellectual power; the grace of God would be in them ‘like a well of water springing up into everlasting life,’ and would flow forth from them as streams of living water. When persecution comes, the influence of such souls will be manifest; they will delight to magnify the truth.—Letter 19b, 1892, 6. (Written to Elder O.A. Olsen, June 19, 1892.)

“Truth, precious truth, is sanctifying in its influence. The sanctification of the soul by the operation of the Holy Spirit is the implanting of Christ’s nature in humanity. It is the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ revealed in character, and the grace of Christ brought into active exercise in good works. Thus the character is transformed more and more perfectly after the image of Christ, in righteousness and true holiness. There are broad requirements in divine truth stretching out into one line after another of good works. The truths of the gospel are not unconnected; uniting, they form one string of heavenly jewels, as in the personal work of Christ, and like threads of gold they run through the whole of Christian work and experience.

“Christ is the complete system of truth. He says, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.’ All true believers center in Christ, their character is irradiated by Christ; all meet in Christ, and circulate about Christ. Truth comes from heaven to purify and cleanse the human agent from every moral defilement. It leads to benevolent action, to kind, tender, thoughtful love toward the needy, the distressed, the suffering. This is practical obedience to the words of Christ.—Manuscript Releases, vol.34, 1894, 6. (“Testimony 4,” August 3, 1894.)

“Satan claimed to be sanctified, and exalted himself above God even in the courts of heaven. So great was his deceptive power that he corrupted a large number of angels, and enlisted their sympathy in his selfish interest. When he tempted Christ in the wilderness he claimed that he was sanctified, that he was a pure angel from the heavenly courts; but Jesus was not deceived by his pretensions and neither will those be deceived who live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. God will not accept a willful, imperfect obedience. Those who claim to be sanctified, and yet turn away their ears from hearing the law prove themselves to be the children of disobedience whose carnal hearts are not subject to the law of God, and neither indeed can be.—Manuscript Releases, vol. 40, 1894, 6. (“Sanctification and Repentance,” October 10, 1894.)…

“The Word has made the statement, ‘I am the Lord that do sanctify you’ if you observe the Sabbath. This is the only true sanctification in the Scriptures—that which comes from God because of obedience to His commandments. Then we may know that the little companies assembled together to worship the Lord on the day which He has blessed and made holy, have a right to claim the rich blessings of Jehovah. He who has declared that His words are spirit and life, should have their faith in strong exercise that the Lord Jesus is an honored guest in their assemblies. ‘Where two or three are met together in My name, there am I in their midst.’ If He is there, it is to enlighten and bless. Therefore as we assemble together, we all have a solemn sense of the presence of God, and know that the angels of God are in the assembly. The messengers of the gospel know by experience its truth, power and excellence. It is the hours of the Sabbath that are sacred and sanctified and holy, and every true worshiper who keeps holy the Sabbath, should claim the promise, ‘That ye may know I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.’

“I tried to make this point as impressive as possible, that the Sabbath day was a special occasion on which the people of the Lord were celebrating the memorial of His Creation; that on the Sabbath the Lord was in the assembly to bless and sanctify, and if they have faith in the Lord every Sabbath would be a day when His people in a special manner will be blessed in their acts of obedience in keeping the commandments of God.—Letter 8, 1898, 3, 4. (To Mrs. Gotzian, February 14, 1898.)

“‘We love Him, because He first loved us.’ True conversion, true sanctification, will be the cause of the change in our views and our feelings toward one another and toward God. ‘We have known and believed the love that God hath toward us. God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.’ We must increase in faith. We must know the sanctification of the Spirit. In earnest prayer we must seek God, that the divine Spirit may work in us. God then will be glorified by the example of the human agent. We shall be workers together with God.

“Sanctification of soul, body, and spirit will surround us with the atmosphere of heaven. If God has chosen us from eternity, it is that we might be holy, our conscience purged from dead works to serve the living God. We must not in any way make self our god. God has given Himself to die for us, that He might purify us from all iniquity. The Lord will carry on this work of perfection for us if we will allow ourselves to be controlled by Him. He carries on this work for our good and His own name’s glory.

“We must bear a living testimony to the people, presenting before them the simplicity of faith. We must take God at His word, and believe that He will do just as He has said. If He chastises us, it is that we may be partakers of His divine nature. It runs through all His designs and plans to carry on a daily sanctification in us. Shall we not see our work? Shall we not present to others their duty, the privilege they have of growing in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ?

“‘This is the will of God, even your sanctification.’ We have not pressed forward to the mark of the prize of our high calling. Self has found too much room. Oh, let the work be done under the special direction of the Holy Spirit. The Lord demands all the powers of mind and being. It is His will that we should be conformed to Him in will, in temper, in spirit, in our meditations. The work of righteousness cannot be carried forward unless we exercise implicit faith. Move every day under God’s mighty working power. The fruit of righteousness is quietness and assurance forever. If we had exercised more faith in God and had trusted less to our own ideas and wisdom, God would have manifested His power in a marked manner on human hearts. By a union with Him, by living faith, we are privileged to enjoy the virtue and efficacy of His mediation. Hence we are crucified with Christ, dead with Christ, risen with Christ, to walk in newness of life with Him.—Letter 105, 1898, 5–7. (To Elder and Mrs. S. N. Haskell, November 28, 1898.)”

Manuscript Releases, vol. 4, 339–349.

Inspiration – On Sanctification, part II

The human organism is the handiwork of God. The organs employed in all the different functions of the body were made by Him. The Lord gives us food and drink that the wants of the human body may be supplied. He had given the earth different properties adapted to the growth of food fit for His children. He gives the sunshine and the showers, the early and the latter rain. He forms the clouds and sends the dew. All are His gifts. He has bestowed His blessings upon us liberally, but all these blessings will not restore the blessings of God unless man cooperates with God making painstaking effort to know himself, to understand how to care for the delicate human machinery. He must diligently help to keep himself in harmony with nature’s laws. He who consecrates all his powers to God, seeking intelligently to obey the laws of nature, stands in his God-given manhood, and is recorded in the books of heaven as a man—Letter 139, 1898, p. 16. (To Elder A. T. Jones, December 16, 1898.)

The gospel fits all periods and all relations of life. No man can separate fellowship with God from a life of holiness. Sanctification takes in the whole being. Many in this our day claim fellowship with God while by their lives they deny their claim. “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth; but if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” To walk in the light is to know and obey the truth. To have fellowship with one another is to treat one another as children of God.—Letter 21, 1901, pp. 13, 14. (To Elder E. E. Franke, October 5, 1900.)

By our faith and works we are to declare that God is our wisdom, our sanctification, our righteousness. He has given us the strongest encouragement to draw nigh to Him, and the nearer we come to Him, the nearer we come to the law of harmony and unity and holiness.

The practical lesson we are all to learn in genuine Bible religion is that we are to be of one mind and one judgment, that the law of God is a law of love to God and to man. Even disappointment and suffering is made unto us a means of sanctification. It elevates and purifies the soul, helping us to work out the will of God.—Letter 54, 1901, p. 2. (To “My Dear Son Edson White,” June, 1901.)

In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ has given a definition of true sanctification. He lived a life of holiness. He was an object-lesson of what His followers are to be. We are to be crucified with Christ, buried with Him, and then quickened by His Spirit. Then we are filled with His life.

Our sanctification is God’s object in all His dealing with us. He has chosen us from eternity that we may be holy. Christ gave Himself for our redemption, that through our faith in His power to save from sin, we might be made complete in Him. In giving us His Word, He has given us bread from heaven. He declares that if we eat His flesh and drink His blood, we shall receive eternal life. Why do we not dwell more upon this? Why do we not strive to make it easily understood, when it means so much? Why do not Christians open their eyes to see the work God requires them to do? Sanctification is the progressive work of a lifetime. The Lord declares, ‘This is the will of God, even your sanctification.’ Is it your will that your desires and inclinations shall be brought into conformity to the divine will?

As Christians, we have pledged ourselves to realize and fulfill our responsibilities, and to show to the world that we have a close connection with God. Thus, through the godly words and works of His disciples, Christ is to be represented.

God demands of us perfect obedience to His law—the expression of His character. “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law.” This law is the echo of God’s voice, saying to us, “Holier, yes, holier still.” Desire the fullness of the grace of Christ; yea, long—hunger and thirst—after righteousness. The promise is, “Ye shall be filled.” Let your heart be filled with an intense longing for this righteousness, the work of which God’s Word declares is peace, and its effect, quietness and assurance forever.

It is our privilege to be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. God has plainly stated that He requires us to be perfect; and because He requires this, He has made provision that we may be partakers of the divine nature. Only thus can we gain success in our striving for eternal life. The power is given by Christ. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God.”

God requires of us conformity to His image. Holiness is the reflection from His people of the bright rays of His glory. But in order to reflect this glory, man must work with God. The heart and mind must be emptied of all that leads to wrong. The Word of God must be read and studied with an earnest desire to gain from it spiritual power. The bread of heaven must become a part of the life. Thus we gain eternal life. Then is answered the prayer of the Saviour, “Sanctify them through Thy truth; Thy word is truth.”—Letter 153, 1902, pp. 6–9. (To Elder and Mrs. S. N. Haskell, September 27, 1902.)

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” To be justified means to be pardoned. To those whom God justifies He imputes Christ’s righteousness; for the Saviour has taken away our sins. We stand before the throne of God justified and sanctified. We are emptied of self, and through the sanctification of the truth Christ abides in our hearts.—Letter 202, 1902, pp. 1, 2. (General letter to “My Dear Brethren and Sisters,” December 15, 1902.)

All over the fields there is not among the laborers that humiliation of soul, that sanctification of the Spirit of God that there should be. Of what use is it for us to say that we have the grace of Christ, unless this grace is revealed in the daily life, in the thoughts, the words, and the actions?…—Ms 11, 1903, p. 1. (“Words of Counsel”, March 26, 1903.)

If sanctified through the truth, those who carry the last message of warning and mercy to a guilty world will act in accordance with the principles of truth. Knowing and obeying the truth, they cannot be otherwise than in fellowship one with another. Through confession and reformation they will remove everything that divides hearts. And He who forgives our sins cleanses us from all the rubbish that has been accumulating around us through human devising—rubbish that encouraged alienation and strife, and that perpetuated difficulties because of our refusal to submit to Christ’s yoke.

The soul needs cleansing. The love of the truth sanctifies the soul. Sanctification is not the work of a moment; it is the result of a yielding of the heart to Christ, an acceptance of the conditions of salvation—a process that God will carry forward day by day, steadily, progressively, never ending, but ever blending heart with heart, soul with soul, a refining process going on day by day, in God’s own way, in doing His will until all true believers are complete in Him. This is the work that is to be done by every believer.—Letter 192, 1903, pp. 6, 7. (To A. T. Jones, August 28, 1903.)…

When the sacredness of Christ’s character is brought into the daily life, God is glorified.…Sancti-fication means purification. The wisdom that comes from above is first pure, then peaceable.…The word of God, obeyed, is the divine revelation that works in heart and mind, and sanctifies the soul. The words of truth are to be cherished. Not one charge given by God is to be disregarded. If obeyed, the Word will restrain every evil thought, word, and act.…

True holiness is the fruit of Christ’s death. It was by this infinite sacrifice that the Holy Spirit was purchased for the human family. Christ gave Himself for His church, that through obedience to the sacred words of truth the members might receive His sanctification.—Letter 336, 1906, pp. 5–7. (To “Brethren in Responsible Positions in Australia,” October 25, 1906.)

It is the gospel, and the gospel alone, that will sanctify the soul. And this makes possible to the receiver that life “that measures with the life of God.” This is the record that God has given us, even eternal life; and this life is in His Son. He who is a partaker of the divine nature will escape the corruptions that are in the world through lust. His faith in Christ as the Life-giver, gives him life. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

This life of sanctification and joy in believing is for every soul who in faith will claim the promises of the Word of God, and draw upon divine strength for the work of overcoming.—Letter 393, 1907, p. 3. (To Mabel Workman, November, 1907.)

If we keep our minds stayed upon Christ, He will come unto us as the rain, as the former and latter rain upon the earth. As the Sun of righteousness, He will arise with healing in His wings. We may grow as the lily, revive as the corn, and grow as the vine. By constantly looking to and patterning after Christ, as our personal Saviour, we shall grow up into Him in all things. Our faith will grow, our conscience will be sanctified. We will more and more become like Christ in all our works and words. Thank God, we shall believe His Word. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”—Letter 106, 1908, p. 5. (To Elder and Mrs. S. N. Haskell, April 2, 1908.)

Faith says, Move forward. Christ says, “Lo I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Go on, step by step, departing not from that spirit of sanctification through the truth which the presence of the Spirit of God and obedience to the truth will give. Let none who have accepted this blessed faith and hope be found lacking in the spirit of self-sacrifice as they engage in the sacred work of presenting to the people, the truth in its simplicity.—Letter 142, 1909, p. 8. (To A. G. Daniells, October 27, 1909.)

As a people, and individually, we need to receive fresh supplies of grace day by day. We need the endowment of the Holy Spirit, which is able to sanctify the soul. Many of us do not realize the sacredness of our profession of faith; therefore there is much talking and little real faith, little convincing evidence that the Holy Spirit is imbuing our hearts, illuminating our minds, and strengthening us to perform the will of Him who day by day is calling us out of darkness and into His marvelous light.—Ms 55, 1912, p. 1. (To sanitarium workers: “A Call to Awake,” typed August 3, 1912.)

Manuscript Releases, vol. 4, 349–357.

Imputed and Imparted

The two words, imputed and imparted, are seldom used these days, yet they are so meaningful in God’s plan of salvation. The Lord has impressed me to devote this presentation to an understanding of imputed and imparted righteousness so we may be ready to meet Jesus when He comes.

As we read the following statement by Ellen White from the Review and Herald, June 4, 1895, we can see that there is a vast difference between imputed and imparted righteousness. “The righteousness by which we are justified is imputed; the righteousness by which we are sanctified is imparted. The first is our title to heaven; the second is our fitness for heaven.”

In Ephesians 5:27, God describes His church:

“That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

I am sure that each of us has at some time visited a home where the carpets were spotless and had just been vacuumed. The walls had recently been painted, and there were no dirty dishes in the sink. How beautiful the windows were as well; they were so clean that they just sparkled in the sunlight. In the bedroom, the bedspread was without a wrinkle. In fact, the entire house was so clean and inviting that you would have liked to live there.

In this text, God is not describing the carpets or the windows or the furnishings, for we are the church He is describing. As individuals God has a final objective for each of His people. He wants every member to become holy and without blemish. When this objective is realized, His church will become glorious, without spot or wrinkle. Praise God! This will be accomplished, for we read, in 1 Thessalonians 4:3, “For this is the will of God, [even] your sanctification.”


Before we study imputed and imparted righteousness, let us study the process of sanctification, for sanctification is the means that God will use to accomplish His glorious purpose for His church. God’s sanctification process brings holiness within us, and holiness is righteousness. Let me be a little more specific. A righteous person is an individual who has experienced the giving of himself wholly and without reserve both in mind and body to God so that through the power of the Holy Spirit God is able to transform the character to become spotless in Christ Jesus.

Allow me to use a Bible illustration to make this process so simple that even the children can understand. Let us take the example of John, a disciple of Christ. Usually we think of him as a most loving disciple; and artists always seem to picture John as leaning on the bosom of the Saviour, looking up into the face of Jesus with tenderness, love, and compassion. But I have news for you! This was not the nature of John’s character when Jesus called him to be a disciple. The Spirit of Prophecy describes John as having a violent spirit. (See The Acts of the Apostles, 557.)

You and I are acquainted with violence. We lock our car doors and make sure the windows are up when we travel through some of our large cities. One never knows when some thug will try to open your car door when you stop at a traffic light and thrust a gun in your face.


John had a violent spirit, which Jesus was able to change. The Saviour daily warned, cautioned, and reproved John. How did John react to such reproof? He discovered his deficiencies, and he humbled himself. John resisted his evil tendencies and used every possible energy to overcome. Slowly, but surely, John made progress. He yielded his resentful, ambitious temper to the molding power of Christ.

Are you struggling with an evil temper? Do not give up! God can give you the victory just as John obtained a loving character. The secret key to John’s change of character is found in the fact that he desired to be like Jesus. He wanted the love of Christ to completely transform him. Thus God was able to do a work of sanctification within him, and the results were amazing.

This “Son of Thunder,” as the Bible describes him in Mark 3:17, was someone to fear. Before he met Jesus, he was the kind of a fellow about whom, if you saw him coming down the street toward you, your first inclination would be to step into a store or turn down a side street to avoid meeting him, for you never knew what he might do.

John permitted Christ to completely change his life. Later in life God was able to give him a divine revelation in which he beheld the ascended Redeemer in heaven. Christ was able to give him a mighty revelation of end-time events, revealing to him the final destruction of Satan’s kingdom. It was the sanctifying power of God that changed John from a violent sinner to a loving saint.

In contrast, let us examine the life of another disciple, Judas. This fellow attained only a form of godliness in his daily walk with Jesus. Judas likewise observed the same patience, meekness, and tenderness expressed by Jesus; but Judas would not humble himself. Instead of desiring a change in his life, he resisted the divine love. He refused to acknowledge his failures.

John and Judas represent the two classes of individuals that are found in God’s church today. Both classes profess to believe.

While John warred earnestly against his faults, Judas daily violated his conscience. He chose to yield to temptation rather than yield his will to Christ. In doing so, he refused the wisdom of heaven. Judas chose to walk in darkness. Secretly he cherished evil desires, even covetousness, filling his mind with sullen thoughts. Worst of all, he harbored doubt as to whether Christ was the Son of God.


Will you permit me to pause here and briefly address doubt? Some years ago, when I was the youth director of the Southern Union Conference (Decatur, Georgia), I often met a young man by the name of Walter Rae. He was a young minister who attended workers’ meetings where I spoke. I discovered that between meetings he liked to gather a group of the young ministers around him and tell them of his latest discoveries in the writings of Ellen White in which she had used the same words as some other author, thus creating doubt about her inspired writings.

I took this young man aside and told him that if he continued to cast doubts upon her writings that some day he would lose confidence and become an enemy of God’s truth. How well I remember his answer: “Why, Elder Nelson, I believe Ellen White’s writings. She was a prophet of God. I would never, never turn against her writings.”

But I firmly insisted, “If you continue to dwell upon doubt, mark my words, you will someday become an enemy of God’s mouthpiece.” After years of such doubt, he finally wrote the book, The White Lie (M&R Publications, Turlock, California, 1982), denying the validity of the ministry and the writings of Ellen White.

I plead with you; you cannot harbor doubt and remain committed to God. So it was with Judas. He continued to doubt Christ’s claim to be the Son of God, and Satan finally gained a full control of Judas—even while he was a professed believer and one of His disciples.

Equal Opportunities

I hope my comparison of these two disciples has alarmed you, for both had the same opportunity to study the divine pattern. Both were daily associated with Christ. Both listened to Christ’s teachings. Both possessed serious defects in their characters. Both had the same access to divine power. But mark the difference. John surrendered his life to become more and more like Jesus. He became a doer of the Word. John became sanctified through his faith in Christ while, on the other hand, Judas resisted the transforming power of grace and was finally brought into the bondage of Satan while still professing to be a disciple of Christ.

Forgive me, but I must ask you this question, Are you a John or a Judas? I know you have been attracted to Jesus or you would not be reading this magazine. You have become a professed believer in Him, so you are actually a disciple of Christ. But I must ask you again, Are you a John or a Judas? Oh, how I trust that you are a John in your daily life, that you are permitting Christ’s righteousness to daily sanctify you by His transforming grace.

Abiding in His Love

When we want an example of what sanctification can accomplish, we look to John who, by experience, teaches in his Book of 1 John 3:3, “Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” Such an experience is accomplished through submission to the will of God. This is why John said, in 1 John 2:6, “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”

We must never be satisfied with empty profession, for sanctification can be summarized in these words penned by Ellen White: “As God is holy in His sphere, so fallen man, through faith in Christ, is to be holy in his sphere.” The Acts of the Apostles, 559.

The secret of attaining such a goal in this life is to be continually abiding in the love of God. John learned this by experience. In 1 John 4:16 we read, “We have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” Yes, it is that simple. When Christ abides in the heart, the life will reveal practical godliness. The character will become purified. Pure doctrine will blend with works of righteousness. Heavenly precepts will mingle with holy practice. This is what we call sanctification. It is a lifelong experience.

Lifelong Experience

“Sanctification is not the work of a moment, an hour, a day, but of a lifetime. It is not gained by a happy flight of feeling, but is the result of constantly dying to sin, and constantly living for Christ. Wrongs cannot be righted nor reformations wrought in the character by feeble, intermittent efforts. It is only by long, persevering effort, sore discipline, and stern conflict, that we shall overcome. We know not one day how strong will be our conflict the next. So long as Satan reigns, we shall have self to subdue, besetting sins to overcome; so long as life shall last, there will be no stopping place, no point which we can reach and say, I have fully attained. Sanctification is the result of lifelong obedience. . . .

“So will it be with all who behold Christ. The nearer we come to Jesus, and the more clearly we discern the purity of His character, the more clearly shall we see the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and the less shall we feel like exalting ourselves. There will be a continual reaching out of the soul after God, a continual, earnest, heartbreaking confession of sin and humbling of the heart before Him. At every advance step in our Christian experience our repentance will deepen. We shall know that our sufficiency is in Christ alone and shall make the apostle’s confession our own: ‘I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing.’ ‘God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.’ Romans 7:18; Galatians 6:14.” Ibid., 560, 561.

Difference Between

This brings us to the core of our subject. In this salvation process, what is the difference between imputed and imparted righteousness? Inspiration answers this question with the clearest definition I have ever found. “The righteousness by which we are justified is imputed; the righteousness by which we are sanctified is imparted. The first is our title to heaven; the second is our fitness for heaven.” Review and Herald, June 4, 1895,

Let us define the meaning of these two words. Imputed means, “to instantly credit to one’s account.” Imparted means, “to give daily from one’s abundance to another.” Imputed takes place instantly; imparted takes place continually, even for a lifetime.

Now we are ready to closely examine the phrase “imputed righteousness.” This is the term used to explain what takes place when we ask God for forgiveness for past sins that we have confessed. Because He instantly justifies us by imputing Christ’s righteousness to our record of sins, therefore we can stand before God as though we have never sinned. Because of this, God gives us a title to heaven.

An Allegory

Permit me to illustrate further, for I want you to grasp what is actually involved by using this allegory of myself. Let us say that I am a young, married man with a wife and two small children to support, but I have a problem—I have lost my job. I am having difficulty finding another job. In the meantime, the house rent is in arrears, and my wife tells me there is no more food in the house. The cupboards are bare. The children are hungry.

Fortunately I have a small savings account, so I go to the bank to get some money with which to buy food and pay some of the pressing bills. I stand in line waiting my turn. Finally I approach the teller’s window with my withdrawal slip in my hand. I have signed my name on the slip, and I hand it to the teller, asking for $100. The lady at the teller window has a strange look on her face. In fact she looks troubled. Finally she says, “Mr. Nelson, I cannot give you the $100 because you have already overdrawn your account in this bank for $100. In fact, you owe the bank $100.”

“What!” I am stunned. I had no idea I was in that much financial trouble. Not only am I out of a job and I have many bills, such as the house rent, but now I owe the bank! Today my children are hungry. What am I going to do?

Behind me, in the same line, is a very godly man who knows me, for I have worked for him from time to time. God has greatly blessed this gentleman with much, and he has helped many in their time of need. Seeing my dilemma, he steps forward and speaks to the teller, saying, “Take a hundred dollars out of my account and credit it to this man’s account.” I can hardly believe my ears! Instantly I do not owe the bank a penny. My account is paid in full. This friend has imputed credit from his account to my account. In other words, he has given me something that is not my own, yet when credited to my account, it cancels my debt. I turn around with a big smile and a handshake. I thank this godly gentleman and walk out of the bank, but then I stop. It is almost too good to believe.

As I pause to grasp the situation and decide what to do to get some food for my family, this same kind, loving man comes up and puts his arm around my shoulder. With the other hand he places a hundred dollar bill in my hand and says, “Mr. Nelson, you are still in need. Your children are hungry. Go to the market and buy the needed food.” How can I show my gratitude and my thanks to this man?

In this allegory, we have discovered the meaning of imputed and imparted righteousness. This man tells me that I am in need of much more help. He tells me, “This is what I want you to do. Each morning, call me on the telephone and tell me how much you need for the day as long as you are in need of help.” Thus, my daily needs are met by this good man. He imparts to me each day just what I need to meet my necessities. I cooperate with him by calling him daily. Then I take care of my business needs such as shopping.

How God Provides

This is exactly how God provides for the sinner’s need. Not only does He instantly impute forgiveness for our sins of the past, while canceling our debts, but He covers these sins with Christ’s righteousness. This gives us title to heaven, yet we need something more. We need the imparted righteousness of Christ for a daily sanctification, for when the righteousness of Christ is applied to our hearts, it gives us power to daily overcome all temptations and sins. Furthermore, through this sanctification process, we become victorious Christians, for the Holy Spirit is able to daily fit us for heaven where we will never sin again.

Christ demonstrated in His daily life while He was on earth how this is to take place. “Christ’s humanity was united with divinity, and in this strength He would bear all the temptations that Satan could bring against Him, and yet keep His soul untainted by sin. And this power to overcome He would give to every son and daughter of Adam who would accept by faith the righteous attributes of His character. . . .

“He showed that the sinner, by repentance and the exercise of faith in the righteousness of Christ, can be reconciled to God, and become a partaker of the divine nature, overcoming the corruption that is in the world through lust.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 223, 224.

What a power this is that is available to all of us! Ellen White states also that, “Men may have a power to resist evil—a power that neither earth, nor death, nor hell can master; a power that will place them where they may overcome as Christ overcame. Divinity and humanity may be combined in them.” Ibid., 409.

Lesson of the Virgins

Let us recall the story of the ten virgins. The story of the ten virgins illustrates the experience of the church that shall live just before Christ’s Second Coming. (See Christ’s Object Lessons, 406.) This refers to you and to me.

Read Matthew 25:1–10: “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five [were] foolish. They that [were] foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, [Not so]; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.”

Difference Between

Though not apparent at first, there is a vast difference between the wise group and the foolish group. “The foolish virgins do not represent those who are hypocritical. They had a regard for truth, they advocated the truth, they were intending to go forth to meet the bridegroom. They are attached to those who believe the truth, and go with them, having lamps, which represent a knowledge of the truth. When there was a revival in the church, their feelings were stirred; but they failed to have oil in their vessels, because they did not bring the principles of godliness into their daily life and character. They did not fall upon the rock Christ Jesus, and permit their old nature to be broken up. . . .

“Practical piety will not be attained by giving the grand truths of the Bible a place in the outer courts of the heart. The religion of the Bible must be brought into the large and the little affairs of life. It must furnish the powerful motives and principles that will regulate the Christian’s character and course of action.” Review and Herald, September 17, 1895.

In this same passage, the wise virgins are described as follows: “Those who earnestly search the Scriptures with much prayer, who rely upon God with firm faith, who obey his commandments, will be among those who are represented as wise virgins.” Ibid. The wise virgins keep God’s commandments through faith.

The foolish virgins were not truly born again; their old natures were not broken up. They had neither imputed nor imparted righteousness. They may have had periods in their lives when they were justified and were being sanctified, but this did not continue. “The foolish virgins have been content with a superficial work. They do not know God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 411. They had not the indwelling Holy Spirit to furnish the powerful motives and principles that would have influenced their actions and changed their characters. Alas, while they loved the truth, had good intentions, and even taught the truth, they did not follow the example that Jesus had demonstrated.

The Foolish

Now, let us consider the foolish virgins further down the stream of time. We will note that the difference between the two groups widens and becomes more apparent. During the “tarrying time,” the lamps of the foolish virgins grew dim and went out. If the lamps in the parable represent a knowledge of the truth, as stated by Ellen White, what then does this mean?

Ellen White tells us that the foolish virgins become agents of Satan to utter his falsehoods and transmit his darkness: “The enemy has men in our ranks through whom he works, that the light which God has permitted to shine upon the heart and illuminate the chambers of the mind may be darkened. There are persons who have received the precious light of the righteousness of Christ, but they do not act upon it; they are foolish virgins. They prefer the sophistry of the enemy rather than the plain ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ When the blessing of God rested upon them in order that they might become channels of light, they did not go forward from light to a greater light; they permitted doubt and unbelief to come in, so that the truth which they had seen, became an uncertainty to them.” Review and Herald, August 19, 1890.

“Those who hide their light will soon lose all power to let it shine. They are represented by the foolish virgins; and when the crisis comes, and the last call is made, ‘Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him’ [Matthew 25:6], they will find that while they have been mingling with the world, their light has gone out. They did not continue to provide themselves with the oil of grace. The peace-and-safety cry hushed them to slumber, and made them careless in regard to their light.” Ibid., August 23, 1898. Though the foolish virgins had heard the precious message of the righteousness of faith, of justification and sanctification by faith, they had not acted upon it.

As we near the end of time, the foolish virgins in the church grow more and more careless as they mingle with the world and allow doubt and unbelief to ensnare them. Not until the crisis comes suddenly upon them will they realize that their lamps of truth have gone out, that the truth, which they once embraced, has become to them obscure and uncertain.

Instead of presenting truth to the world, they will have been proclaiming Satan’s errors—such as the New Theology and that which takes place in Celebration. Is not this the part of the parable of the ten virgins being fulfilled in our very midst this very day? “Testing times come to all. How do we conduct ourselves under the test and proving of God? Do our lamps go out? or do we still keep them burning?” Ibid., September 17, 1895.

The Wise

Consider the facts. The five wise virgins had extra oil for their lamps. When asked by the foolish virgins to give them some of their oil, they refused. Why? Because the oil of the Holy Spirit changes the character by its sanctifying process. Therefore, the wise virgins had been fitted for heaven and were ready for the bridegroom. “That oil is the righteousness of Christ. It represents character, and character is not transferable. No man can secure it for another. Each must obtain for himself a character purified from every stain of sin.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 234. Now you can understand why the wise virgins could not give of their oil.

A Personal Experience

Our fitness for heaven is obtained through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It is a lifelong process in which Christ’s righteousness is imparted to our characters daily, just as the need arises. This is a personal experience and cannot be transferred. Husbands cannot go to heaven on their wives’ characters just as wives cannot go to heaven on their husbands’ characters. When children reach the age of accountability, they cannot go to heaven on their parents’ characters. We must each individually have a daily infusion of the imparted righteousness of Christ in an experience with Jesus.

I feel like shouting this far and wide and praising God, for He has provided for each of us complete salvation. It is found in imputed righteousness, which is instantly available when we ask for forgiveness of past confessed sins, and He will impart His righteousness for our daily needs when we ask in faith. Ellen White expressed it this way: “Christ bears the penalty of man’s past transgressions [this is imputed righteousness], and by imparting to man His righteousness, makes it possible for man to keep God’s holy law.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentaries, vol. 6, 1092.

What About You?

Beloved, are you a wise virgin? Are you aware of these precious gifts of righteousness? Are you daily pleading with God for His righteousness? Are you permitting the imparted righteousness to daily transform your character? Are you living each day in anticipation of the soon-coming Saviour, when you may go to heaven with Him where you will never sin? Are you preparing to live in the presence of the sinless, holy angels? Remember, this ultimate experience will take place for the wise virgins when the latter rain is poured out, for this will fit them for translation.

“Those who come up to every point, and stand every test, and overcome, be the price what it may, have heeded the counsel of the True Witness [the Holy Spirit], and they will receive the latter rain, and thus be fitted for translation.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 187.

“The heavenly character must be acquired on earth, or it can never be acquired at all.” Maranatha, 46.

Pray that God will reveal any unconfessed sins to you that you may claim His imputed righteousness to cover such sins by being repentant and asking for forgiveness. Daily seek a fitness for heaven through His imparted righteousness that you may be among the wise virgins and become fitted to live without sinning.

For over 60 years Pastor Lawrence Nelson served as an evangelist and minister for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Of that time, he served 13 years as the director of evangelism for youth at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Upon retirement from the General Conference, he continued to pastor, but when, as a result of his stand for truth, he was denied the opportunity to continue his pastorate, he started Keep the Faith Audio Tape Ministry, recording his sermons and making them available to individuals. Before his retirement from this ministry in 2004, over 18,000 audio tapes were being sent around the world each month.

Bible Study Guides – Power From Above

February 4, 2007 – February 10, 2007

Key Text

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16.

Study Help: Fundamentals of Christian Education, 196–200; The Acts of the Apostles, 557–567.


“The gospel is the power of God unto salvation when it is interwoven with the practical life, when it is lived and practiced.” My Life Today, 224.

1 How does the Bible define sin? 1 John 3:4; James 4:17. Why do we struggle with sin, and how can we gain the victory over it? Romans 7:14–24; John 8:34, 36; 15:5.

note: “Enslaved by sin, the moral powers are under the tyranny of Satan. The soul is made the sport of his temptations; and unless some mighty arm is stretched out to rescue him, man goes where the arch-rebel leads the way.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 42.

“The nearer we come to Jesus, and the more clearly we discern the purity of His character, the more clearly shall we see the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and the less shall we feel like exalting ourselves. There will be a continual reaching out of the soul after God, a continual, earnest, heartbreaking confession of sin and humbling of the heart before Him. At every advance step in our Christian experience our repentance will deepen. We shall know that our sufficiency is in Christ alone and shall make the apostle’s confession our own: ‘I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing.’ ‘God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.’ Romans 7:18; Galatians 6:14.” The Acts of the Apostles, 561.

2 What should we realize in seeking Christ’s strength? Hebrews 4:15, 16; 7:25; 12:2.

note: “Many have a feeble religious experience because, instead of seeking the Lord for the efficiency of the Holy Spirit, they make flesh their arm.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 381.

“Our faith must pierce beyond the veil, seeing things that are invisible. No one else can look for you.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 930.

3 What happens when we come to Christ? Ephesians 2:8; Romans 2:4; 5:1, 2.

note: “The very first step to Christ is taken through the drawing of the Spirit of God; as man responds to this drawing, he advances toward Christ in order that he may repent. . . .

“If we are drawn to Christ, it is through His power and virtue. The grace of contrition comes through Him, and from Him comes justification.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 390, 391.

4 When we accept Christ as our personal Saviour, how are we benefited by the work that Christ has done for us? Romans 5:18, 19; 11 Corinthians 5:21.

note: “Justification is a full, complete pardon of sin. The moment a sinner accepts Christ by faith, that moment he is pardoned. The righteousness of Christ is imputed [credited] to him.” The Signs of the Times, May 19, 1898.

“By faith he [the repentant sinner] can bring to God the merits of Christ, and the Lord places the obedience of His Son to the sinner’s account. Christ’s righteousness is accepted in place of man’s failure, and God receives, pardons, justifies, the repentant, believing soul, treats him as though he were righteous, and loves him as He loves His Son. This is how faith is accounted righteousness.” Review and Herald, November 4, 1890.

5 What work does Christ do in us through the Holy Spirit, with our consent and cooperation? John 3:7, 8; 11 Corinthians 5:17; 7:1.

note: “It is the grace that Christ implants in the soul which creates in man enmity against Satan. Without this converting grace and renewing power, man would continue the captive of Satan, a servant ever ready to do his bidding. But the new principle in the soul creates conflict where hitherto had been peace. The power which Christ imparts enables man to resist the tyrant and usurper. Whoever is seen to abhor sin instead of loving it, whoever resists and conquers those passions that have held sway within, displays the operation of a principle wholly from above.” The Great Controversy, 506.

6 In what way does the process of sanctification involve daily choices on our part? Romans 8:1, 5, 13; Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 5:8–11.

note: “To walk in the light means to resolve, to exercise thought, to exert will power, in an earnest endeavor to represent Christ in sweetness of character. It means to put away all gloom. You are not to rest satisfied simply in saying, ‘I am a child of God.’ Are you beholding Jesus, and, by beholding, becoming changed into His likeness? To walk in the light means advancement and progress in spiritual attainments.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 4, 273.

7 How do justification and sanctification operate together in our salvation? 1 John 1:9; Romans 6:1, 2, 7, 22. Give examples. 1 Corinthians 6:9–11; Colossians 3:8–10.

note: “Justification means the saving of a soul from perdition, that he may obtain sanctification, and through sanctification, the life of heaven. Justification means that the conscience, purged from dead works, is placed where it can receive the blessings of sanctification.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 908.

“The Christian will feel the promptings of sin, but he will maintain a constant warfare against it. Here is where Christ’s help is needed. Human weakness becomes united to divine strength, and faith exclaims: ‘Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ 1 Corinthians 15:57.” The Great Controversy, 469, 470.

8 In what sense do we have to cooperate with Christ to become holy? Colossians 1:21–23, 29. For what purpose do we receive power through the gospel? Romans 1:16; Ephesians 3:16–20.

note: “The work of gaining salvation is one of copartnership, a joint operation. There is to be co-operation between God and the repentant sinner. This is necessary for the formation of right principles in the character. Man is to make earnest efforts to overcome that which hinders him from attaining to perfection. But he is wholly dependent upon God for success. Human effort of itself is not sufficient. Without the aid of divine power it avails nothing. God works and man works. Resistance of temptation must come from man, who must draw his power from God.” The Acts of the Apostles, 482.

9 What changes does God bring forth in giving us His grace? Titus 2:11–14; 3:5. How does the leaven in the parable illustrate the radical change? Matthew 13:33.

note: “As the leaven, when mingled with the meal, works from within outward, so it is by the renewing of the heart that the grace of God works to transform the life.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 97.

“The grace of Christ is to control the temper and the voice. Its working will be seen in politeness and tender regard shown by brother for brother, in kind, encouraging words. An angel presence is in the home. The life breathes a sweet perfume, which ascends to God as holy incense. Love is manifested in kindness, gentleness, forbearance, and long-suffering.

“The countenance is changed. Christ abiding in the heart shines out in the faces of those who love Him and keep His commandments. Truth is written there. The sweet peace of heaven is revealed. There is expressed a habitual gentleness, a more than human love.

“The leaven of truth works a change in the whole man, making the coarse refined, the rough gentle, the selfish generous. By it the impure are cleansed, washed in the blood of the Lamb. Through its life-giving power it brings all there is of mind and soul and strength into harmony with the divine life. Man with his human nature becomes a partaker of divinity.” Ibid., 102.

10 On what condition can we receive the power of God’s grace? What kind of faith do we need? Matthew 17:20; Jude 20.

note: “The heavenly intelligences will work with the human agent who seeks with determined faith that perfection of character which will reach out to perfection in action. To everyone engaged in this work Christ says, I am at your right hand to help you.

“As the will of man co-operates with the will of God, it becomes omnipotent. Whatever is to be done at His command may be accomplished in His strength. All His biddings are enablings.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 332, 333.

The World by Wisdom Knew Not God

“The truth of God is infinite, capable of measureless expansion, and the more we contemplate it, the more will its glory appear. The truth has been opened before us, and yet the words of Paul to the Galatians are applicable to us. . . . [Galatians 3:1–4 quoted.]

“ ‘Without Me,’ Christ says, ‘ye can do nothing.’ [John 15:5.] Those who undertake to carry forward the work in their own strength will certainly fail. Education alone will not fit a man for a place in the work, will not enable him to obtain a knowledge of God. Hear what Paul has to say on this matter: [1 Corinthians 1:17–21 quoted].

“Through successive ages of darkness, in the midnight of heathenism, God permitted men to try the experiment of finding out God by their own wisdom, not to demonstrate their inability to His satisfaction, but that men themselves might see that they could not obtain a knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ His Son, save through the revelation of His word by the Holy Spirit. When Christ came to the world, the experiment had been fully tried, and the result made it evident that the world by wisdom knew not God. Even in the church God has allowed men to test their own wisdom in this matter, but when a crisis has been brought about through human fallibility, God has risen mightily to defend His people. When the church has been brought low, when trial and oppression have come upon His people, He more abundantly exalted them by signal deliverance. When unfaithful teachers came among the people, weakness followed, and the faith of God’s people seemed to wane; but God arose and purged His floor, and the tried and true were lifted up.

“There are times when apostasy comes into the ranks, when piety is left out of the heart by those who should have kept step with their divine Leader. The people of God separate from the source of their strength, and pride, vanity, extravagance, and display follow. There are idols within and idols without; but God sends the Comforter as a reprover of sin, that His people may be warned of their apostasy and rebuked for their backsliding. When the more precious manifestations of His love shall be gratefully acknowledged and appreciated, the Lord will pour in the balm of comfort and the oil of joy.

“When men are led to realize that their human calculations come far short, and are convinced that their wisdom is but foolishness, then it is that they turn to the Lord to seek Him with all the heart, that they may find Him. . . .

“Every church among us needs the deep movings of the Spirit of God. O we would point men to the cross of Calvary. We would bid them look upon Him whom their sins have pierced. We would bid them to behold the Redeemer of the world suffering the penalty of their transgression of the law of God. The verdict is that ‘the soul that sinneth it shall die.’ [Ezekiel 18:20.] But on the cross the sinner sees the only-begotten of the Father, dying in his stead, and giving the transgressor life. All the intelligences in earth and heaven are called upon to behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. Every sinner may look and live. Do not survey that scene of Calvary with careless, thoughtless mind. Can it be that angels shall look down upon us, the recipients of God’s love, and see us cold, indifferent, unimpressible, when heaven in amazement beholds the stupendous work of redemption to save a fallen world, and desires to look into the mystery of Calvary’s love and woe? Angels in wonder and amazement look upon those for whom so great salvation has been provided, and marvel that the love of God does not awaken them, and lead them to pour forth melodious strains of gratitude and adoration. But the result which all heaven looks to behold is not seen among those who profess to be followers of Christ. How readily do we speak in endearing words of our friends and relatives, and yet how slow we are to speak of Him whose love has no parallel, set forth in Christ crucified among you.

“The love of our heavenly Father in the gift of His only-begotten Son to the world, is enough to inspire every soul, to melt every hard, loveless heart into contrition and tenderness; and yet shall heavenly intelligences see in those for whom Christ died, insensibility to His love, hardness of heart, and no response of gratitude and affection to the Giver of all good things? Shall affairs of minor importance absorb the whole power of the being, and the love of God meet no return? Shall the Sun of R ighteousness shine in vain? In view of what God has done, could His claims be less upon you? Have we hearts that can be touched, that can be impressed with divine love? Are we willing to be chosen vessels? Has not God His eye upon us, and has He not bidden us to send forth His message of light? We need an increase of faith. We must wait, we must watch, we must pray, we must work, pleading that the Holy Ghost may be poured out upon us abundantly, that we may be lights in the world. . . .

“The converted soul lives in Christ. His darkness passes away, and a new and heavenly light shines into his soul. [Proverbs 11:30, last part; Daniel 12:3 quoted.] What is done through the co-operation of men with God is a work that shall never perish, but endure through the eternal ages. He that makes God his wisdom, that grows up into the full stature of a man in Christ Jesus, will stand before kings, before the so-called great men of the world, and show forth the praises of Him who hath called him out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 196–199.

Reprinted with permission, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke Virginia, 2003.

None But These Will Stand

I would like to direct your attention for a few moments to the first part of Matthew 24:35: “Heaven and earth shall pass away.”

In the book The Great Controversy, beginning with chapter 29, page 492, we find a series of eleven chapters which appear to be telling us how heaven and earth are going to pass away—very essential reading for all of us who are in the Seventh-day Adventist movement today.

Our Greatest Danger Today

Six chapters describe the supernatural powers that will be arrayed against us. Four chapters describe the earthly powers that will be arrayed against us, and in those chapters, I suggest that as you read them you take careful notice of the number of times the warning is against false teachers. It appears that, in Ellen White’s view, the greatest danger we face is the false teachers among us and around us in these last days.

Then there is one chapter entitled “The Scriptures a Safeguard,” telling us how we may survive. At the bottom of the first page of this chapter we find these lines: “Those who endeavor to obey all the commandments of God will be opposed and derided.” Think about that for just a moment.

Will they be called dirty names? Yes, they will be called dirty names. Will they be called legalists? Yes, they will be called legalists by people who do not even know what the word means. A legalist is one who thinks he can make it to the kingdom of God by doing all of the things that God tells him to do, without any help from the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the historic definition of a legalist and is the one that we ought to always remember.

Will they be called perfectionists? Another dirty word. Yes, they will be called perfectionists. May I point out that the doctrine of perfectionism is a specific theological doctrine, and you should not misuse that word any more than a doctor should diagnose appendicitis for a man who has a broken leg.

The doctrine of perfectionism, whenever and wherever it has appeared in the history of all churches, has rested like a three-legged stool on three legs.

  1. The first idea is the teaching that man can, by the power of Christ, live a sinless life. That is the only one of the three that Seventh-day Adventists have ever accepted.
  2. The second one is that man can have instant sanctification; he can become perfect in a moment of time. Seventh-day Adventists have always rejected that, and Ellen White very firmly rejects it.
  3. The third one is that when this instant sanctification has occurred to you, you can know it; you can recognize it, and you can testify to the world that you have become a sinless person. You know how firmly Ellen White rejects that. She often wrote that there is no instant sanctification; it is the work of a lifetime; you never lay it aside as finished.

“Those who endeavor to obey all the commandments of God will be opposed and derided.” The Great Controversy, 593. They will be called legalists. They will be called perfectionists. They will be called right-wingers, which is perhaps the most ludicrous of all of these epithets, these dirty words. If you want to check that out, all you have to do is go to a college library or any church school library and examine the books on Bible doctrines that were used in Seventh-day Adventist schools up to the mid-1950s.

You will see that those of us who call ourselves historic Adventists and who are scornfully called by others traditional Adventists (there is a propaganda technique there you understand quickly), have not deviated one iota to the right of what you see in those books. But those who have gone wildly off to the left are calling us right-wingers! That is about as crazy as anything could possibly be. But we are told that is the way it is going to be.

Fortified with the Truth

Now, how can we handle it? The very last line on page 593 of The Great Controversy is the one upon which I want you to focus your minds.

“None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict.” [Emphasis added.]

Ron Spear once said that one of the best ways to study the Bible is to read the Spirit of Prophecy, because every few pages that you read you get loaded up with Bible texts!

Folks, in the end, we are going to divide over the Spirit of Prophecy. Those who accept the Spirit of Prophecy will go one way, and those who reject it will go another way. Just hold that in your mind.

Fortified. A fort is put where you expect an attack, is it not? I want to ask you to consider the following Ellen White statement most carefully. It is a prediction of what will happen in the future.

“After the truth has been proclaimed as a witness to all nations . . .” She is referring to Matthew 24:14. “. . . this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come.” We have seen ourselves as the people who had the special task of taking the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.

Tearing Down the Pillars

But notice this, “After the truth has been proclaimed as a witness to all nations, . . . there will be a removing of the landmarks, and an attempt to tear down the pillars of our faith.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 985. What might that say to us about our present position in the stream of time? Are we seeing a removing of the landmarks today?

What are these pillars, these landmarks? Depending on how you divide the Three Angels’ Messages, whether you think of them as one or as three, you can count the pillars as five or seven.

We have the landmarks defined for us in the book Counsels to Writers and Editors, 30: “The passing of the time in 1844 was a period of great events, opening to our astonished eyes the cleansing of the sanctuary [Number 1] transpiring in heaven, and having decided relation to God’s people upon the earth, [also] the first and second angels’ messages and the third. [That is one or three, depending on how you count.] . . . One of the landmarks under this message was the temple of God, seen by His truth-loving people in heaven, and the ark containing the law of God [Number 3]. The light of the Sabbath [Number 4, if you separate the Sabbath from the Law] of the fourth commandment flashed its strong rays in the pathway. . . . [Finally] The nonimmortality of the wicked is an old landmark. I can call to mind nothing more that can come under the head of the old landmarks.”

What are they?

  1. The Sanctuary
  2. The Three Angels’ Messages
  3. The Law
  4. The Sabbath
  5. Non-immortality of the soul.

Those are the landmarks, and the one under attack most bitterly, most viciously, most unyieldingly at this moment, is the sanctuary.

Attacking the Sanctuary

A gentleman called me from England recently. He asked me for some materials to help him. He said, “One of our prominent church elders has launched a paper attacking the sanctuary with the approval of the conference president.”

One week after that, I had a telephone call from Australia. The caller said, “The conference has given a man freedom to circulate among the churches attacking the sanctuary.” He wanted to know whether I would prepare a response if he sent the tapes to me. He said he would fly all the way to the United States to make videotapes of my response in an attempt to offset what this man, with the approval of the conference, was doing.

That is where we are, folks, and we must bear in mind, and be cautious while still speaking the truth, that the increasing strangeness of the behavior of some of our leaders is equaled only by the sternness of their demand that nobody dare to criticize. I am sorry. I am going to have to speak out against that just the same.

When our conference officials approve of attacks on the sanctuary, I believe it is the sacred duty of every true man of God to speak out and say, “That is wrong. That is hopelessly wrong!”

I want to focus on one thing relative to the sanctuary. A few years ago a certain gentleman came up from the lands down under and sent a lot of Seventh-day Adventist ministers into a flap of confusion by proposing that our Seventh-day Adventist pioneers were so ignorant that they did not even know that Christ went to the throne of God when He went back to heaven in a.d. 31.

A lot of our Seventh-day Adventist ministers, perhaps mostly the younger ones, did not know how to handle that at all. They were really upset and troubled by it. I am going to give you a little Bible study. Unfortunately, this is the only place where you can get this Bible study at the present time.

How Many Thrones?

Where did Christ go in a.d. 31? Revelation 3:20, 21 tells us how our pioneers understood that. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me. [Read carefully.] To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.”

How many thrones are there? Two. My throne and His throne. One is present and one is future. Which is which? He says, “I overcame [past tense]; I am set down [past tense] with My Father in His throne. You will, if you overcome [future tense], sit down with Me in My throne [future tense].” Two thrones, two times, two persons or groups of persons, and two distinctly different situations.

Now let us begin at the beginning: “The Lord said unto my Lord [God the Father said to God the Son], Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool. The Lord shall send the rod of Thy strength out of Zion: rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies. . . . The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” Psalm 110:1, 2, 4.

A Scripture that is recognized by virtually all conservative commentators as a prediction, or prophecy, about our Lord, says, “And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The branch; and He shall grow up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of the Lord: Even He shall build the temple of the Lord; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His [the Father’s] throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between Them both.” Zechariah 6:12.

Now go to the New Testament and look at Mark 16:19. “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.” In Peter’s Pentecostal sermon he states, “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted [modern translations sometimes translate that as “Therefore, being to the right hand of God exalted”], and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on my right hand [quoting Psalm 110], Until I make Thy foes Thy footstool.” Acts 2:32–35.

You see, He is not going to always be sitting on the right hand of God. He is not going to be always a priest sitting on the throne of God. Someday He is going to sit on His own throne.

“Him hath God exalted with His right hand”; again, modern translations frequently put that, “to His right hand.” It is an acceptable translation of the Greek. “. . . to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” Acts 5:31.

Before he died, the testimony of Stephen was, “But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” Acts 7:55, 56.

A Priest on His Throne

Let us get the testimony of the apostle Paul: “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, [And what is He doing there?] who also maketh intercession for us.” Romans 8:34. What kind of a person makes intercession for us? A priest on the throne of God, on the right hand of God. As Zechariah wrote, “A priest on the throne.”

Look at the following texts: “Which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 1:20.

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” Colossians 3:1.

“Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Hebrews 1:3.

“But to which of the angels said He at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?” Hebrews 1:13. What is he quoting? Psalm 110.

“(For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec).” Hebrews 7:21. What is he quoting? Psalm 110.

There is another reference in Hebrews 7:17: “For He testifieth, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.”

Hebrews 8:1 and onward, “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.” And then he goes on to talk about His priestly ministry there.

“But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; [Look carefully at verse 13.] From henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool.” Hebrews 10:12, 13. What is he quoting? Psalm 110.

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2.

And, of course, we could add to these Revelation 12:5, the vision of John. “And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to His throne.”

Where Was the Father’s Throne?

Can there be any question that Christ went to the throne of the Father in a.d. 31, and sat down beside the Father as a priest on the throne of the Father, from henceforth expecting until He would sit on His own throne when His enemies are made His footstool? And we shall share that throne with Him. Now that creates a question. Where was the throne of the Father in a.d. 31? We need not speculate. The answer is in Revelation 4:1–5: “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And He that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: [Now note this] and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.”

The Pioneers Still Speak

Were these seven lamps in the holy place or the most holy place? They were in the holy place, the first apartment. Where was the throne of God in a.d. 31? It was in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary. Now where do you think I learned all this? Where do you think I got this Bible study? From the writings of our pioneers.

I have a whole stack of articles written by our pioneers, the first one in 1858. That is going a long way back in Adventist history. A gentleman by the name of F. M. Bragg wrote an article entitled, “Jesus Reigns Upon Two Thrones.” He went through briefly the same material that I have shared with you here. In the Review and Herald, September 12, 1871, J. N. Andrews and J. H. Waggoner comment briefly on it. (J. H. Waggoner was the father of E. J. Waggoner of 1888 fame.)

An article by Uriah Smith talks about these things in some detail. He includes some answers to an objector, a critic, who had tried to say that God was in the Most Holy Place in a.d. 31, and that is where Christ went. I would like for you to notice how he sums up his response to that. This is a little bit different, if I may say so.

After pointing out the strange conclusions that would be forced upon us in so many different ways if we said that God the Father was in the most holy place in a.d. 31, he says this: “To such stupid driveling absurdities are we driven the moment we take the position that Christ entered the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary when He ascended.” Review and Herald, July 29, 1875, and August 5, 1875. Dear Brother Smith, we do not talk like that any more, do we?

In The Signs of the Times, September 18, 1893, a Mrs. M. E. Steward wrote an article entitled, “Our Priest King,” in which she covers the same ground.

In The Signs of the Times, December 10, 1894, an Elder M. H. Brown writes an article entitled, “The True Tabernacle,” and one of the subtitles is “The Two Thrones.” “Christ occupies that throne with His Father at the present and as Christ rules upon the Father’s throne and is a priest upon His Father’s throne, we know that Christ’s present office and work is that of a priest-king.”

  1. J. Waggoner makes a brief comment on it in the same fashion. (Ibid., April 18, 1895.) And beginning with the Review and Herald, June 2, 1910, Elder J. N. Loughborough put in four lengthy articles in succession all under the one title, “The Two Thrones.”

In the Australian Signs of the Times, December 23, 1929, an article by William W. Prescott appeared, entitled, “The Priest Upon the Throne.”

And, of course, in The Great Controversy, 415, 416, you will find Mrs. White briefly summing up the whole thing.

Did our pioneers know where Jesus went in a.d. 31? They most certainly did! They knew exactly where He went. They knew exactly what He was doing, and their position was just as biblical as anything could possibly be.

I cannot claim credit for this Bible study. I got it out of the writings of our pioneers. I want to testify to you that our message can stand against any challenge. Our message cannot be faulted. In its essential points, in its broad picture, it is absolutely certain. It will stand against the powers of hell itself.

Never have any questions, any doubts. I would like to appeal to you to remember those words, “None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand.” Ibid., 593. You have heard comments on the shaking time and you need to be studying that. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken.

Multitudes, Mrs. White writes, of false brethren will leave us. Companies will throw down the flag and depart from us. Chaff like a cloud will be borne away from the floor where we see only rich wheat. Men that we have admired as brilliant stars will go out in darkness and turn against us. Let us resolve that, by the grace of God, we will let the chaff blow, let the brilliant stars go, let company after company join the foe; nevertheless, we will stand though the heavens fall.

Dr. Ralph Larson completed forty years of service to the Seventh-day Adventist church, as pastor, evangelist, departmental secretary, and college and seminary teacher. His last assignment before retiring was chairman of the Church and Ministry Department of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary Far East. Upon retirement, he continued his service, diligently working with and giving counsel to those within the historic movement. This article is reprinted from the December 2000 LandMarks.

Bible Study Guides – Justification by Faith – Sanctification

December 2, 2018 – December 8, 2018

Key Text

“As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:14–16).

Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 557–567.


“The work of transformation from unholiness to holiness is a continuous work. Day by day God labors for man’s sanctification, and man is to co-operate with Him by putting forth persevering efforts in the cultivation of right habits.” The Review and Herald, March 15, 1906.



  • What characteristic of God pervades heaven and must be in all who would enter His presence? 1 Peter 1:14–16.

Note: “The righteousness of God is absolute. This righteousness characterizes all His works, all His laws. As God is, so must His people be. The life of Christ is to be revealed in the lives of His followers. In all His public and private acts, in every word and deed, practical godliness was seen, and this godliness is to be seen in the lives of His disciples.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 198.

“He [God] cannot endure the presence of sin. It is the thing that His soul hates. … Holiness is the foundation of God’s throne; sin is the opposite of holiness; sin crucified the Son of God. If men could see how hateful sin is, they would not tolerate it, nor educate themselves in it. They would reform in life and character. Secret faults would be overcome. If you are to be saints in heaven, you must first be saints upon the earth.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 145.

  • What has been the purpose of God for man from the beginning? What do the Scriptures tell of the will of God for us? Ephesians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:3.



  • What steps are enumerated in order to reach the goal of Christian perfection? Hebrews 6:1; Philippians 3:13, 14; 2 Peter 1:5–10.

Note: “The Scriptures plainly show that the work of sanctification is progressive. When in conversion the sinner finds peace with God through the blood of the atonement, the Christian life has but just begun. Now he is to ‘go on unto perfection;’ to grow up ‘unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ’ (Hebrews 6:1; Ephesians 4:13). Says the apostle Paul: ‘This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 3:13, 14). And Peter sets before us the steps by which Bible sanctification is to be attained: ‘Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance.’ ” The Great Controversy, 470.

“The way in which we are to work out our own salvation is plainly specified in the first chapter of Second Peter. Constantly we are to add grace to grace, and as we do this, God will work for us upon the plan of multiplication.” The Review and Herald, March 15, 1906.



  • While we have Christ’s righteousness imputed to us, how thoroughly is the work of sanctification to be carried out, and for what purpose? 1 Thessalonians 5:23.

Note: “Our sanctification is the work of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is the fulfillment of the covenant God has made with those who bind themselves up with Him, to stand with Him, His Son, and His Spirit in holy fellowship. Have you been born again? Have you become a new being in Christ Jesus? Then cooperate with the three great powers of heaven who are working in your behalf.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 908.

“Through the work of the Holy Spirit, the sanctification of the truth, the believer becomes fitted for the courts of heaven; for Christ works within us, and His righteousness is upon us. Without this no soul will be entitled to heaven. We would not enjoy heaven unless qualified for its holy atmosphere by the influence of the Spirit and the righteousness of Christ.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 395.



  • What is the goal of Bible sanctification? 1 Thessalonians 3:13.

Note: “By the word and the Spirit of God are opened to men the great principles of righteousness embodied in His law. And since the law of God is ‘holy, and just, and good’ (Romans 7:12), a transcript of the divine perfection, it follows that a character formed by obedience to that law will be holy. Christ is a perfect example of such a character. He says: ‘I have kept My Father’s commandments.’ ‘I do always those things that please Him’ (John 15:10; 8:29). The followers of Christ are to become like Him—by the grace of God to form characters in harmony with the principles of His holy law. This is Bible sanctification.” The Great Controversy, 469.

“The sanctification set forth in the Scriptures embraces the entire being—spirit, soul, and body.” Ibid., 473.

  • What will be the experience of the truly converted believer? What has such a believer done when he or she responds to the call for repentance? 1 Corinthians 15:57.

Note: “The Christian will feel the promptings of sin, but he will maintain a constant warfare against it. Here is where Christ’s help is needed. Human weakness becomes united to divine strength, and faith exclaims: ‘Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1 Corinthians 15:57).” The Great Controversy, 469, 470.

“No repentance is genuine that does not work reformation. The righteousness of Christ is not a cloak to cover unconfessed and unforsaken sin; it is a principle of life that transforms the character and controls the conduct. Holiness is wholeness for God; it is the entire surrender of heart and life to the indwelling of the principles of heaven.” The Desire of Ages, 555, 556.

“None are living Christians unless they have a daily experience in the things of God and daily practice self-denial, cheerfully bearing the cross and following Christ. Every living Christian will advance daily in the divine life. As he advances toward perfection, he experiences a conversion to God every day; and this conversion is not completed until he attains to perfection of Christian character, a full preparation for the finishing touch of immortality.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 505.



  • What is the experience of the heart in which the work of sanctification is accomplished? Psalm 119:14–16.

Note: “All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service. When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience. Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us.” The Desire of Ages, 668.

  • What is the evidence of this sanctification? 1 John 2:3–6.

Note: “Righteousness within is testified to by righteousness without. He who is righteous within is not hard-hearted and unsympathetic, but day by day he grows into the image of Christ, going on from strength to strength. He who is being sanctified by the truth will be self-controlled, and will follow in the footsteps of Christ until grace is lost in glory.” The Review and Herald, June 4, 1895.



1     What does it mean to be holy?

2    Differentiate between imputed and imparted righteousness.

3    How is the work of sanctification accomplished?

4    What results from true sanctification?

5    What is evidence that the soul is sanctified?

Bible Study Guides – Obedience and Sanctification

August 16, 2009 – August 22, 2009

Key Text

“Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I [am] the Lord that sanctify them.” Ezekiel 20:12.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 5, 629–635; Ibid., vol. 6, 349–353.


“The Sabbath given to the world as the sign of God as the Creator is also the sign of Him as the Sanctifier. The power that created all things is the power that re-creates the soul in His own likeness.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 350.

1 What basic truths must we understand for our soul’s salvation? Ezekiel 18:4, 20–24.

Note: “There is no such thing in the Word of God as unconditional election—once in grace, always in grace. …

“There is truth to be received if souls are saved. The keeping of the commandments of God is life eternal to the receiver. But the Scriptures make it plain that those who once knew the way of life and rejoiced in the truth are in danger of falling through apostasy, and being lost. Therefore there is need of a decided, daily conversion to God.

“All who seek to sustain the doctrine of election, once in grace, always in grace, do this against a plain, ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ ” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1114, 1115.

2 What should we realize when tempted to question God’s fairness in dealing with our individual cases? Ezekiel 18:25.

Note: “The attitude which many assume in expressing doubts and unbelief as to whether the Lord will save them is a reflection upon the character of God. Those who complain of His severity are virtually saying: ‘The way of the Lord is not equal.’ But He distinctly throws back the imputation upon the sinner: ‘Are not your ways unequal?’ Can I pardon your transgressions when you do not repent and turn from your sins?’ … The Lord will receive the sinner when he repents and forsakes his sins so that God can work with his efforts in seeking perfection of character.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 631, 632.

3 What warning invites sinners to turn to God without delay? Ezekiel 18:26–30.

Note: “Let none venture into sin as he [Solomon] did, in the hope that they too may recover themselves. Sin can be indulged only at the peril of infinite loss. …

“But none who have fallen need give themselves up to despair. … There is still hope for them if they repent, forsake sin, and turn to God.” The Review and Herald, February 22, 1906.

“Satan is ready to steal away the blessed assurances of God. He desires to take every glimmer of hope and every ray of light from the soul; but you must not permit him to do this.” Steps to Christ, 53.

4 What is needed in preparing for Heaven? Ezekiel 18:31, 32.

Note: “Regeneration is the only path by which we can reach the holy city. It is narrow and the gate by which we enter is strait, but along it we are to lead men and women and children, teaching them that in order to be saved, they must have a new heart and a new spirit. The old hereditary traits of character are to be overcome. The natural desires of the soul must be changed. All deception, all falsifying, all evil-speaking must be put away. The new life, which makes men and women Christlike, is to be lived. We are, as it were, to swim against the current of evil.” This Day With God, 108.

5 For what purpose did God remind the Israelites of their sojourn in Egypt? Ezekiel 20:7–11.

Note: “Pharaoh boasted that he would like to see their [the Israelites’] God deliver them from his hands. These words destroyed the hopes of many of the children of Israel. It appeared to them very much as the king and his counselors had said. They knew that they were treated as slaves, and that they must endure just that degree of oppression their taskmasters and rulers might put upon them. Their male children had been hunted and slain. Their own lives were a burden, and they were believing in, and worshiping, the God of Heaven.

“Then they contrasted their condition with that of the Egyptians. They did not believe at all in a living God who had power to save or to destroy. Some of them worshiped idols, images of wood and stone, while others chose to worship the sun, moon, and stars; yet they were prospered and wealthy. And some of the Hebrews thought that if God was above all gods He would not thus leave them as slaves to an idolatrous nation.

“The faithful servants of God understood that it was because of their unfaithfulness to God as a people, and their disposition to intermarry with other nations, and thus being led into idolatry, that the Lord suffered them to go into Egypt. And they firmly declared to their brethren that God would soon bring them up from Egypt and break their oppressive yoke.” The Story of Redemption, 114, 115.

6 How serious of an offense is it to reject God’s law and His holy Sabbath? Ezekiel 20:13, 14, 23, 24.

Note: “Those who trample upon God’s authority, and show open contempt to the law given in such grandeur at Sinai, virtually despise the Lawgiver, the great Jehovah. …

“By transgressing the law which God had given in such majesty, and amid glory which was unapproachable, the people showed open contempt of the great Lawgiver, and death was the penalty.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1162.

7 What sign did God give to His people to set them apart as His own peculiar treasure? Ezekiel 20:12.

Note: “The Sabbath is a sign of the relationship existing between God and His people, a sign that they are His obedient subjects, that they keep holy His law. The observance of the Sabbath is the means ordained by God of preserving a knowledge of Himself and of distinguishing between His loyal subjects and the transgressors of His law. This is the faith once delivered to the saints, who stand in moral power before the world, firmly maintaining this faith.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 198.

“To those who keep holy the Sabbath day it is the sign of sanctification. True sanctification is harmony with God, oneness with Him in character. It is received through obedience to those principles that are the transcript of His character. And the Sabbath is the sign of obedience. He who from the heart obeys the fourth commandment will obey the whole law. He is sanctified through obedience.” Ibid., vol. 6, 350.

8 What did the Jews reveal by polluting the Lord’s Sabbath? Ezekiel 20:15, 16.

Note: “The Lord designed that by a faithful observance of the Sabbath command, Israel should continually be reminded of their accountability to Him as their Creator and their Redeemer.” Prophets and Kings, 182.

“So long as the fact that He [God] is our Creator continues to be a reason why we should worship Him, so long the Sabbath will continue as its sign and memorial. Had the Sabbath been universally kept, man’s thoughts and affections would have been led to the Creator as the object of reverence and worship, and there would never have been an idolater, an atheist, or an infidel.” The Great Controversy, 438.

9 What was and still is well understood by God’s faithful remnant in connection with the Sabbath? Ezekiel 20:19, 20.

Note: “Though sin has entered the world to mar His perfect work, God still gives to us the Sabbath as a witness that One omnipotent, infinite in goodness and mercy, created all things. Our heavenly Father desires through the observance of the Sabbath to preserve among men a knowledge of Himself. He desires that the Sabbath shall direct our minds to Him as the true and living God, and that through knowing Him we may have life and peace.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 349.

“The Sabbath was not for Israel merely, but for the world. It had been made known to man in Eden, and, like the other precepts of the Decalogue, it is of imperishable obligation. Of that law of which the fourth commandment forms a part, Christ declares, ‘Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law.’ [Matthew 5:18.] So long as the heavens and the earth endure, the Sabbath will continue as a sign of the Creator’s power. And when Eden shall bloom on earth again, God’s holy rest day will be honored by all beneath the sun.” The Desire of Ages, 283.

10 What promise was very precious to the faithful remnant in the days of Ezekiel? Ezekiel 20:36–42. What do we read about the remnant of Israel in these last days? Isaiah 10:20–22.

Note: “From ‘every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people’ there will be some who will gladly respond to the message, ‘Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.’ They will turn from every idol that binds them to earth, and will ‘worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.’ They will free themselves from every entanglement and will stand before the world as monuments of God’s mercy. Obedient to the divine requirements, they will be recognized by angels and by men as those that have kept ‘the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’ Revelation 14:6, 7, 12.” Prophets and Kings, 299, 300.

Additional Reading

“The law of God is the one great standard that will measure every man’s character in the day of God. The prayer of Christ was, ‘Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.’ Therefore the sanctification of the Spirit of God upon the heart, leads men to walk in the way of God’s commandments. The very test that God brought upon Adam in Eden, will be brought upon every member of the human family. Obedience to God was required of Adam, and we stand in the same position that he did to have a second trial, to see whether we will listen to the voice of Satan and disobey God, or to the Word of God and obey.” The Review and Herald, June 10, 1890.

“The Bible is the standard by which to test the claims of all who profess sanctification. Jesus prayed that His disciples might be sanctified through the truth, and He says, ‘Thy word is truth;’ [John 17:17] while the psalmist declares, ‘Thy law is the truth.’ [Psalms 119:142.] All whom God is leading will manifest a high regard for the Scriptures in which His voice is heard. The Bible will be to them ‘profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.’ [II Timothy 3:16, 17.] ‘Ye shall know them by their fruits.’ [Matthew 7:16.] We need no other evidence in order to judge of men’s sanctification; if they are fearful lest they shall not obey the whole will of God, if they are listening diligently to His voice, trusting in His wisdom, and making His Word the man of their counsel, then, while they make no boasts of superior goodness, we may be sure that they are seeking to attain to perfection of Christian character. But if the claimants of holiness even intimate that they are no longer required to search the Scriptures, we need not hesitate to pronounce their sanctification spurious. They are leaning to their own understanding, instead of conforming to the will of God.” The Faith and Works, 51.

“The truth as it is in Jesus is obedience to every precept of Jehovah. It is heart work. Bible sanctification is not the spurious sanctification of today, which will not search the Scriptures, but trusts to good feelings and impulses rather than to the seeking for truth as for hidden treasure. Bible sanctification is to know the requirements of God and to obey them. There is a pure and holy heaven in store for those who keep God’s commandments. It is worth lifelong, persevering, untiring effort. Satan is on your right hand and on your left; he is before and behind; he has a dish of fables cooked up for every soul who is not cherishing the truth as it is in Jesus. The destroyer is upon you to palsy your every effort. But there is a crown of life to be won, a life that measures with the life of God.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1147.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Sanctification of the Life and Body

The life also must be sanctified. “The word of God,” says Paul, “is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul (life) and spirit.” Hebrews 4:12. The life should be spent in the service of God, and we should be willing to lay it down for the sake of the truth, if the cause of God demands it. But we should avoid rashness, and see to it that we wear not our strength and energies, and sacrifice not our lives unnecessarily. Out lives are precious, and we are responsible to God for the use that we make of them. We should not sin against God by suffering and sacrificing our lives when the truth and the glory of God do not require it. There is much suffering that is in vain and worse than lost, that is not for God and his truth. Many lives have been squandered in the cause of error. Many lives have been sacrificed to vain and trifling objects, to other gods besides the true God.

Christ willingly spent his strength and energies, suffered and laid down His life. But this was not in vain. The redemption of a fallen world was at stake. And He says, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.” Matthew 16:24, 25.

He that sets out to walk in the path of holiness, must make up his mind to deny himself, and suffer for Christ’s sake. He that saves his life and ease at the sacrifice of the truth, shall lose eternal life; but he that loses his life and ease for the sake of Christ, shall find it; i.e., shall find eternal life. “For what,” says our Saviour, “is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul (life)? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul (life)?” Verse 26.

We should not count our lives dear when the truth, the glory of God, and eternal life, are at stake. These should be dearer to us than life, and we should gladly suffer for the sake of Christ who has suffered so much for us. This did the early Christians.

Says Paul, “For thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” “I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be manifest in our mortal flesh! For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” “In labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day have I been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Besides those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.” “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” “Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? For I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Romans 8:36; 1 Corinthians 15:31; 2 Corinthians 4:9; 11:23-28; Acts 20:24; 21:13.

Millions of saints have shown that their lives were sanctified by laying them down for God and His truth; and though we may not now be tested as they were, yet we may know how far our lives are sanctified by our willingness to suffer in the cause of truth. If we are unwilling to deny ourselves and suffer for God now, we certainly would be unwilling to lay down our lives for His sake.

While looking over his sufferings, Paul said, “But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which have happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.” Philippians 1:12.

Paul was confident that Christ would be magnified “whether by life or death.” He believed that if he lived, he should glorify God and advance his cause through suffering. He also believed that if he died, his death would be gain to the cause of Christ. He looked not for his own ease, and did not feel free to choose life or death.

It was so with the holy martyrs. They knew that the grace and courage they showed here while suffering would strengthen the saints, and induce others to enlist in the cause they loved, and were willing to sacrifice their lives, knowing that they should find them again, reign with Christ, and have a rich reward in his kingdom.


Sanctification of The Body


We have now come to an interesting and important branch of the subject; to a branch which has been neglected by those who make sanctification a hidden and mysterious work, a work which is shut up in the heart, and which no man can recognize only as it is displayed in boastings or peculiar raptures.

From what we have said on the mind, it can be readily seen that we do not overlook heart work or the sanctification of the mind. But how may we know whether a genuine work is performed in the heart? How may we know whether the mind is sanctified or now? Says the great Teacher; “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. . . .Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” Matthew 7:16-18 .

It is the fruit that a tree bears that determines whether it is good or evil, and it is by the fruits or works of men that we are to judge whether they are good or evil, sanctified or unsanctified. The fruits or works of men indicate the condition of their hearts, and these fruits or works cannot be wrought and brought to light without the exercise of the physical faculties.

But says one; We are sanctified by faith. Answer. We admit that we are sanctified by faith; but what is the nature of genuine faith? Does faith confine sanctification to the heart, and exclude good works? The simple definition of Bible faith is confidence in the word of God. Faith takes hold of the truths of God’s word. Now the Scriptures are very explicit on the necessity of being rich in good works. They teach us that Christ gave himself for us that He might purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works, and that we should let our light so shine before men, that they may see our good works, and be led to glorify our Father who is in Heaven. Titus 2:14; Matthew 5:16.

The candid and consistent will acknowledge sanctification as they see it carried out in the lives of men. They look at the works, and so does the Lord. To the seven churches, representing the seven different stages of the Christian church, Jesus says, “I know thy works.” Revelation 1-3. The works of men are recorded in Heaven, and it is according to these works that they shall be judged. Revelation 20:12.

Genuine faith is operative, and is made perfect by works. James 2:22; Galatians 5:6. It is a Bible declaration “that faith without works is dead.” James 2:20. And a dead faith will not sanctify a man. To the Romans Paul writes, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

Romans 12:1. Here is an exhortation for the brethren at Rome to present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy, etc. A living sacrifice will show signs of life.

To the Corinthians Paul writes, “I therefore so run not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” 1 Corinthians 9:26, 27. In this text we see the necessity of keeping the body under, and bringing it into subjection, i.e., into obedience to God and His truth. If Paul failed to do this, he would run as uncertainly, fight as one that beateth the air, and be a castaway.

But to come more directly to the subject, we will consider the principal parts and faculties of the body, beginning with the senses, which are five in number, and which are commonly designated as follows: hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling and feeling. It is through the senses that ideas are conveyed to the mind. The senses are, as it were, roads through which ideas travel to reach the mind. The sanctification of the senses consists in closing them against sinful impressions and ideas and in opening them to useful and holy impressions and thoughts. Close your senses against unholy impressions and thoughts, and they will not be so apt to invade your mind, and you will better resist the temptations of the enemy. Shut your windows and thieves will not so easily enter your dwelling.

Job made a covenant with his eyes that he might not sin. Job 31:1-3, and David prayed, “Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity, and quicken Thou me in the way.” Psalm 119:37. He also said, “Mine eyes fail for Thy word.” “Mine eyes fail for Thy salvation, and for the word of Thy righteousness.” “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes.” Verses 82, 123; 101:3.

“The ear of the wise,” says Solomon, “seeketh knowledge.” Proverbs 18:15. It is attentive to the word of God. But those whose hearts are opposed to God’s ways do not love to listen to the truth. They love to hear smooth things, and will not hear the law of the Lord. Isaiah 30:8-11. Paul speaks of some who “shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2 Timothy 4:4. But the wise man says, “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” Proverbs 28:9.

Christians should set a guard on all their senses. By doing this it will be easier to fix the attention on holy thoughts, and keep the mind from wandering. The mind is often in danger of being diverted from proper thoughts by the senses; and Christians cannot keep the Sabbath aright while they carelessly open their senses to those secular objects and impressions which have interested them during the six laboring days.

Especially should inexperienced children and youth be taught with regard to the right use of the senses, and see the necessity of receiving right impressions. It often becomes necessary for children as well as older persons to shut their eyes and stop their ears against sin. The ears were not made to feast on error and the foolish and simple conversation of the wicked; neither were the eyes designed to behold and feast on vanity. Christ often said to his hearers, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Again he said, “Blessed are your eyes; for they see; and your ears, for they hear.” Matthew 11, 12. It was indeed blessed to see Christ and the works that He performed, and to hear His rich instructions. But is it not also blessed to see the glorious work that is now going on under the last message of mercy? And to hear the messengers of truth speak in reference to our whereabouts and the necessary preparation to stand amid the perils of the last days, and to meet the Son of man at His coming? God grant that we may duly appreciate our privileges, and realize the blessedness resulting from a proper use of all the senses.


The Appetites


The all-wise Creator has implanted in our natures certain appetites, and it is evident that they were designed to help in perpetuating our existence, in promoting our well-being, and in carrying out the great object for which we were made.

As the appetites are peculiar to the body, it is clear that they were made to be governed by reason. Their very nature forbids the idea of their leading the man, and shows that they should be in subjection to the higher faculties of our being. But in consequence of the fall and the inroads that sin has made in the children of men, the appetites are naturally inclined to go beyond the limits assigned unto them, and usurp the authority of the higher faculties. Sanctification brings the appetites within their proper limits—under the direction and control of enlightened reason.

Whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, we should do all to the glory of God. Now to do this we must, as far as possible, eat and drink that which is sanitary, and avoid intemperance. We should consult the stomach and the state of the health more than the appetites; for it is not always what suits the appetites the best, that is most conducive to the health of the body. We should select for the appetites and cultivate and cherish a taste for healthy food.

We should eat and drink more for need than for pleasure. If pleasure is the great end we have in view, then we do not eat and drink to the glory of God, but to the glory of our appetites. Then eating and drinking becomes an inordinate action, because it is not in the way to the end for which it was designed. In view of these principles what shall we conclude concerning those parents who are almost constantly humoring their children in satisfying their appetites with so many niceties which injure the health and undermine the constitution? Are they not guilty of creating in them unsanctified appetites? Would it not be better for those parents to select good,plain, wholesome food for their children, and feed them only when they really need food, though it may not suit the taste so well at first?

And what shall we say of the appetite for spirituous liquors which dethrones reason, degrades the body and the mind, and has brought so many to an untimely grave? Are those who possess this appetite sanctified?

And shall we overlook the appetites for tea and tobacco? Were these articles made to be used as they are now used? No candid person who has given this subject a careful perusal will say that they were.

These herbs, like all other stimulants, nerve up the system and leave a depression behind. Besides, tobacco is a rank poison, as it has often been proved; and the poisonous ingredients with which tea is often prepared, add to the impropriety of using it as a beverage.

But we are to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh, as we have seen, and if the common use of tobacco does not produce filthiness of the flesh, what does? But if the appetites for tea, tobacco and spirituous liquors should be overcome because they injure the health, should not the appetites for unhealthy meats or other hurtful articles be overcome for the same reason?

The Saviour, while giving a description of the last days, says. “As it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.” Luke 17:26, 27. It was not wrong for the Antediluvians to eat and drink to maintain their existence; and marriage was as sacred and honorable in the days of Noah as it was when God instituted it in Eden. The great sin of the Antediluvians consisted in going to excess in these things. And is it not so with the masses at the present times? Look at the excess in eating and drinking. Look at those persons of good health whose exquisite taste accepts only the nicest of food, and often causes much perplexity to those who are called upon to satisfy it. Look at the pains taken, and the means expended, and worse than thrown away, to suit the taste and palate, as though the great object of life was to eat and drink and enjoy the pleasures of the appetites.

The Scriptures are very clear on the importance of governing the appetites. Our first parents fell, in lusting after and eating the forbidden fruit. The Israelites were not satisfied with the plain, wholesome manna; they loathed this bread from Heaven, longed for flesh, and murmured against God, and awful consequences followed. And we are told that “these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.” 1 Corinthians 10:6.

The sons of Eli were not satisfied with sodden or boiled flesh; they wanted raw flesh, that they might roast it with fire. It was not unlawful to desire meat roasted, but when it was appointed to be boiled, they refused it, thus evincing intemperance and a nice palate. “Wherefore,” says the record, “the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord; for men abhorred the offering of the Lord.” 1 Samuel 2:12–17.

Proverbs 23:1, 2. “When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee; and put a knife to thy throat if thou be a man given to appetite;” or as the French translation reads, “else thou shalt put a knife to thy throat, if thy appetite rules thee.” And what can be the meaning of this wonderful proverb, unless it is this, that he who sits to eat with a ruler (before “dainties” or “deceitful meat,” verse 3), and suffers an unsanctified appetite to control him, is guilty of the same crime that he would be if he literally cut his throat with his knife? That is, he is a self-murderer. He must feel the effects of his excess sooner or later.

Some followed Christ for the loaves and fishes; but he said unto them, “Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life.” John 6:26. We are admonished to not be like Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. Hebrews 12:16. We should take heed lest we lose eternal life and the rich blessings connected with it, for the gratification of unsanctified appetites.

Christ is a pattern of self-denial. “When He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungered.” And the tempter came to Him and said, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” How trying this must have been to the Son of God. How refreshing a morsel of bread would have been to Him in His exhausted condition. But did He yield? No. It was forbidden fruit. He answered, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4.

When famine comes on the earth according to the word of the Lord, Joel 1:14-20, many articles that are now used will have to be dispensed with, and is it not consistent to deny ourselves now and overcome those appetites that injure the body and the mind, and prevent many from desiring and appreciating the lasting pleasures enjoyed in the service of God? Shall we be prepared to meet the Lord if we are slaves to lust?


Sanctification of the Mind

Sanctification begins with the mind. The carnal mind is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. It dwells and feasts upon carnal thoughts, and is not subject to the law of God. But God looks on the heart or mind, and understands the thoughts of man afar off. He says, “My son, give Me thine heart.” “How long shall vain thoughts lodge within thee?” “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts . . . For My thoughts are not your thoughts.”

Sanctification cleanses the mind from sinful thoughts. It changes the current of the thoughts. It transfers the mind from carnal to spiritual things, from sin to holiness. The mind is the spring of action, the fountain from whence all the words and actions flow. If the fountain is pure the stream that flows from it will also be pure. And if the mind is sanctified, if the thoughts are holy, the works and the actions, the whole life will be holy.

But the mind has faculties and operations which should be sanctified, and some of which we will here examine. And first let us notice




Attention is that faculty of the mind by which we look at ideas. It is, as it were, the eye of the mind. By it we look at the truth. But how often it happens that the attention is diverted from important truths by trifling objects, or by thoughts thrown in by the enemy or by professed friends. No one will fail to see the necessity of setting apart this faculty to see the truth. But as we try to do this, we must ask the Father of lights to open and anoint our eyes that we may behold wondrous things out of His law. But to attention we must add,




Attention sees the object; but reflection comes back upon it to examine it with care, so as to preserve distinct ideas about it. Reflection is the faculty of the mind by which it comes back on ideas which had attracted the attention, to acquire an exact knowledge of the same. It is of the utmost importance that this faculty be sanctified. Those who reflect on the truths they have heard or read, will be more apt to retain them. They will also be more apt to take heed to the things which they have heard. But those who do not take pains to come back on what they have heard and seen, are liable to let the truth slip out of their minds, and generally fail to come up to their duty. It is not sufficient to listen to and look at the truth from Sabbath to Sabbath. We should reflect upon it through the week. Oh how many trials we might save ourselves from by being more reflective!




Meditation is “close or continued thought; the turning or revolving of a subject in the mind; serious contemplation.” —Webster. By it we appropriate to ourselves the ideas and truths that the mind has looked at, and penetrate deeper into the knowledge of the truth. Meditation is to the mind what digestion is to the body. By it we digest the truth and turn it, as it were, into a part of our beings. By it we convey the ideas of others to ourselves so as to make them properly our own, and discover new beauties and attractions in the truth.

One day the philosopher Newton was asked how he made so many discoveries in the arts and sciences, and he answered, “By thinking always attentively.” Now if it was necessary for Newton to think always attentively in order to advance in the arts and sciences, is it not necessary for us to meditate on the truth in order to advance in the true science, and make proficiency in sanctification? Many fail to see the glorious attractions of truth because they do not think upon it long enough.

Said Paul to Timothy, “Meditate on these things; give thyself wholly to them, that thy profiting may appear to all (or in all things, margin.)” 1 Timothy 4:15. Here is a plain injunction to meditate on the things of God. Those who do this will better understand the truth and their duty, and be more useful in the cause of their Master.

But two extremes should here be avoided. One extreme is to meditate much without looking to the Lord for wisdom and help. The other extreme is to expect that the Lord will give us wisdom and help while we neglect to meditate. We must both meditate and look to the Lord. We must dig for wisdom by meditation and prayer, expecting divine aid and heavenly assistance.

He that leans to his own understanding entirely, is unwise, Proverbs 28:26, and is liable to run into wild fancies and erroneous opinions. It is safe to trust in the Lord with all our heart. He can easily give a happy and favorable turn to our thoughts, and cast into our minds some clue or suggestion, that will lead us to rich and useful ideas, if we acknowledge Him and rely upon Him in our meditations. Or He can involve our minds in darkness when we neglect Him, and are filled with a vain conceit of our own light.

David prayed that the meditation of his heart might be acceptable unto the Lord, Psalm 19:14, and loved to meditate in the law of the Lord. He says, “I hate vain thoughts; but Thy law do I love.” “I will meditate in Thy statutes.” “Oh, how love I Thy law! It is my meditation all the day.” “I prevented the dawning of the morning and cried. I hoped in Thy word. Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in Thy word.” Psalm 119:113, 48, 97, 147, 148. Again he says, “I meditate on all Thy works; I muse on the work of Thy hands.” “How agreeable are Thy works! And Thy thoughts are very deep. How precious are Thy thoughts to me.” “My meditation of Him shall be sweet.” Psalm 143:5; 92:5; 139:17; 104:34.

Let us hear further from the Psalmist: “Thus will I bless Thee while I live. I will lift up my hands in Thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise Thee with joyful lips.” Psalm 63:4–6. What blessedness David here anticipates! But how is it to be realized? The next verse will tell us: “When I remember Thee on my bed, and meditate on Thee in the night watches.” Here is the condition. Those who remember the Lord and meditate on Him will be satisfied, as with marrow and fatness, and it will be natural and easy for them to bless and praise the Lord with joyful lips, and to lift up their hands in His name. But how often, alas! The mind is suffered to be clogged with meditations of earth, so that it has no room or strength left to meditate on God and His word, and then it is difficult to lift up the hands, praise the Lord, and speak of His goodness.

The Psalmist pronounces that man blessed who meditates day and night in the law of the Lord, Psalm 1:1, 2, and he adds: “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Verse 4.




Memory is the faculty of the mind by which it retains ideas. This faculty should be set apart to retain useful and holy thoughts. Those whose memories are sanctified can, out of the treasure of the heart, bring forth good things. Their mind is like a storehouse furnished with rich and wholesome provisions. It contains truths upon which they can feast, and of which they can invite others to partake.

Said David, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” Psalm 119:11. David could not do this without the aid of his memory. Those who imitate David in this respect will not be so liable to sin against the Lord. They will remember what He has commanded, and what He has forbidden.

A sanctified memory is like the stream which brings with it the color of the soil through which it passes. Those whose memories are sanctified, remember the lessons they learn in passing through the afflictions the Lord sends them for their good. Many, through neglect and indifference, forget these lessons, and have to learn them over by passing through greater afflictions.

Some will excuse themselves for not learning and retaining the truth, by saying that they have no memory, and that God does not require them to do what they cannot do. But such persons generally remember many things pertaining to their line of business. Some of those who thus excuse themselves will remember every cent their debtors owe them, and when they settle with them, they are very positive that they are right, and would perhaps be offended if they were told they had forgotten some things. Again, some can entertain their friends for hours and days on vain and trifling ideas, that they have learned from unconsecrated persons and from vain and chaffy reading, and can remember every new fashion, and a thousand other things. Can it be said that such have no memory? They have memory, but it is not sanctified.

We do not claim that all are favored with a strong memory. But each individual should set apart the memory that he is favored with to the glory of God, and be continually adding to his store of useful knowledge. The memory, like the rest of the faculties, is strengthened by a proper use, and weakened by disuse. Let all cherish a love for the Word of God, and manifest that interest, earnestness, and care in learning and retaining the truth that consistent persons do in secular matters. And it will not be so difficult to learn and retain the truth, especially those portions of truth that relate to our duty.

When it was difficult to obtain copies of the Bible, Christians were known to commit large portions of the Scriptures to memory. They retained the truth in the love of it, and honored the cause of truth by giving a proper reason of their hope. Now, is less required of those who live in this favored age, when Bibles and other useful books can be so easily obtained, and when an increase of light is shining from the Word of God?

But some will say, I cannot read the Bible, or other good books. Answer. A blessing is pronounced on those who hear, as well as on those who read. Revelation 1:3. And how can persons be blessed for hearing unless they learn and retain what they hear?

If the loins of our minds are girded with truth, we shall be prepared to meet the temptations of the enemy, and the objections of the opposers of truth, as Jesus did when He quoted Scripture to Satan. And if we do what we can on our part to retain and obey the truth, we may expect that the Holy Spirit will bring the truth to our remembrance, and thus make up for our lack of memory.




Imagination is “the power or faculty of the mind by which it perceives and forms ideas of things communicated to it by the organs of sense.” Webster. It is by this faculty that ideal images, or pictures of absent objects and scenes are formed. For instance, when in the silence of the night, reviewing the events of the day, we see the persons that we have visited, the country through which we have passed, and other things which have struck our vision, it is the imagination that pictures these things in our minds.

Imagination was designed to represent real and true objects and scenes; but it sometimes goes farther than this: it creates things that are unreal and untrue. This is seen in mythology, where we read the description of creatures and scenes which have existed only in the imagination. This is also seen in the description of the future state given by Mahomet; also in the doctrine of purgatory, and in many other fanciful doctrines which are the fruit of unsanctified imaginations. Imagination is naturally unruly, and is often used in picturing scenes that encourage the practice of sin, in magnifying the faults of others, and in manufacturing mountains of difficulties out of nothing. To illustrate we will suppose a case: A. and B. meet together. They have always been on good terms. A. moves along toward B. to pass compliments as on other occasions, but observes that B. is sad and rather backward in his remarks. These individuals part. A. looks back to the interview he has had with B. and calls up B. in his imagination, and says, How cold and sour he looked. How he stood off. How little he said. He never treated me so coldly. And the enemy comes in, and adds and adds to the picture, till B. looks ugly, independent and hard, and A. feels that he has been slighted and abused without a cause, and that B. has something against him. Soon A. and B. meet again. But this time B. comes up cheerfully, and A. stands off. Says B. What is the matter, Brother A.? What is the matter, replies A.? You ought to know. You treated me coldly the other day without a just cause, and you have something against me. What makes you think so says B.? I know it is so, answers A. But B. replies, Why, dear Brother, I was examining my own heart and thinking about my imperfections, and since then I have got help,and I now feel free.

This is one case out of many in which we see the wrong use that is made of imagination. If A. had examined his own imperfections and checked his imagination, this trial might have been avoided. With many, an unsanctified imagination takes the lead, and the fruit is evil-surmisings, hatred, envy, lust, evil-speaking, unnecessary trials in families, in neighborhoods, and in the church of God, castles built in the air, fanaticism, etc.

But imagination may be very useful, and a source of much comfort. Would you derive real benefit and comfort from this faculty? Then employ it in picturing useful objects and scenes. Let it represent all that is lovely in the appearance and actions of others, and if you suffer it to represent the evil conduct of others, let it be only that you may help them, and more easily avoid the ways of sin. Let it form images of holy men and women spoken of in the Bible—especially of Jesus, the great example. Follow Him from the manger to the cross.

Behold Him as He goes from place to place on His mission of love, suffering from weariness, hunger and thirst, from persecution and the temptations of Satan. Listen to the rich instructions that fall from His lips. See Him weep over sinners. See Him pray all night alone. Witness His agony in the garden, and the abuses that He receives as He is tried by His enemies. View Him stretched between the heavens and the earth, with His hands and feet pierced, and the crown of thorns mutilating His sacred head. See the precious blood flow freely from His hands and feet. See it fall from His sacred head. Hear Him pray for His enemies, and cry as He bears the sins of the whole world, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” Follow Him from earth to the heavenly sanctuary, where He pleads the merits of His blood in behalf of His people, and where His great mediatorial work will soon wind up preparatory to His coming to earth. Behold Him coming in glory and majesty in the clouds of heaven, with all the holy angels. Witness the events connected with His coming. Picture in your minds the right and glorious reward of the just, and the awful punishment of the unjust. And all these scenes will have a tendency to strengthen your faith, and encourage you to love the Lord, and imitate His virtues, to shun the ways of sin, and walk in the path of holiness.




The will is the faculty of choosing or determining. This faculty is the mainspring of the mind. It holds the operations of the mind and the motions of the body at its command. In this respect, it is to the rest of the faculties what a king is to his subjects. A king says to his subjects, Do this, and they obey him; and the will controls, to a great degree, the thoughts and actions of men. How necessary, then, it is for this faculty to be sanctified.

Men do not choose and determine without causes. There are always motives which lead men to choose and decide to act. These motives are either just or unjust, reasonable or unreasonable. The decisions of a sanctified will are based on just and reasonable motives, on reason, sound judgment, and the Word of God.

In the language of another, “Commendable decision implies two things—a knowledge of what is truth and duty, and a fixed determination to conform to them in practice without a compromise.” The mind should first be enlightened. It should first analyze what is held out as truth, and then judge and decide, choose or refuse.

When Joshua had refreshed the minds of the Israelites on God’s dealings with them, and called in exercise their reason and judgment, he said, “Choose ye this day whom ye will serve,” Joshua 24:15. Said the Lord to His back-slidden people, “Come now and let us reason together. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land; but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured by the sword.” Isaiah 1:18–20. Jesus and Paul instructed their hearers, reasoning with them from the Scriptures, and then called upon them to judge and decide with regard to the truth. Matthew 12:24–30; John 7, 8; Acts 17:2, 18:4, 19; 24:25, etc. Reason and judgment are not laid aside in the Scriptures; on the contrary, they are made use of and appealed to, that men may be persuaded to choose the truth.

But too often, alas! reason, judgment, and the Word of God are neglected, and the will is used in deciding against the truth.

A. has a strong will, but decides against certain Bible doctrines before he has carefully examined them, and thus shuts the truth out of his mind. If he goes where the present truth is preached, he decides in his own mind what he will believe and what he will not believe, before he really understands what is to be presented. If he decides to read what is held out as truth, he determines before hand to believe only what agrees with his ideas of right, and makes his opinions the rule with which to compare what others say. And if he finally sees his unreasonable and injudicious course, how difficult it is for him to alter his decision, especially if he has a proud heart. But it is wiser to revoke an unsanctified decision than to abide by it, that it may appear that we are firm and unchangeable.

B. is reluctant to decide in favor of the truth because a few ideas connected with it are not clear to his mind. But is it consistent to let a few seeming objections obscure clear and well-established principles, and prevent us from deciding in favor of what we know to be truth? Would it be reasonable for a schoolboy to decide against the science of arithmetic because he has come to a problem that he cannot solve? Reason and consistency require that we pronounce ourselves for what we understand to be truth, and those do violence to their reason and judgment who refuse to do this. By deciding in favor of the truth as far as we see it, we may be enabled to understand those points that are not clear. This has been the experience of thousands. But, although there should remain a few points unexplainable to our minds, we should not suffer these points to shake our confidence in plain and unmistakable evidences. It has been ascertained that the sun has spots which do not emit light, but it would be unwise to conclude that for this reason we should shut our eyes against the sun, and say that it does not shine. It is our duty and privilege to settle on the truth as far as we understand it, and to be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed.

C. understands the truth, but determines to reject it because he does not have the feeling he should like to have. But feeling varies with circumstances, and is not, if separately considered, a safe guide. One of my relatives once urged me with much feeling and tears to become a Roman Catholic. I respected this relative’s honesty, but did not consider her feeling and tears as sufficient evidence to prove the Roman Catholic religion genuine. But bad feeling sometimes grows out of an inward conflict between right and wrong. Let wrong be overcome by sanctified decision and a holy practice, and good feeling may be restored. But, though good feeling should not be restored, we ought not to reject the truth, but rather settle on the merits of the truth.

When seedtime comes, the consistent farmer does not wait for feeling to know whether he had better prepare his ground and scatter his seed; and when the time of harvest comes, he does not wait for feeling to know whether he should harvest his grain. And shall any professing to love Bible truth, dishonor the cause of truth, and disgust the candid, by waiting for feeling, while they see their duty in God’s Word? Consistent persons are willing to trust honest individuals, and labor hard before receiving their wages, and shall Christians fear to trust God? Will they refuse to decide to serve Him till they have a good feeling, or till they receive that blessing which God bestows on those who yield to His truth? Those who leave plain Bible truth to run after feeling, grieve the Spirit of truth, and are in danger of being led by another spirit.

The Christian often feels very bad while in the way of duty. It is then that the enemy comes in with power to discourage and destroy him. No one will claim that Christ had very buoyant and joyous feelings when the sins of the whole world rested upon Him. Yet He was doing the most important work connected with His earthly mission.

D. concludes to reject the truth because of the trials and afflictions connected with it, and perhaps does not realize that those trials and afflictions connected with the truth are very prominent means of sanctification; that they make us know ourselves, and will, if rightly improved, enable us to advance in the attainment of every excellence. Says Job, “When He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10. Says Isaiah, “By this, therefore, shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged.” Isaiah 27:9. See, also verses 7 and 9. Says Paul, “They (our earthly parents) verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure, but He for our profit, that we might be made partakers of His holiness . . .” “We glory in tribulation also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope, and hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Hebrews 12:10, 11; Romans 5:3–5. And James says, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations, knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience; but let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:2–4.

God’s people have ever been a tried people, and the Scriptures plainly declare that, “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22. Christ, the great Pattern of the church, was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. He was tried in all points; and for the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross, despising the shame. When the bitter cup of suffering was presented to Him, He showed that His will was sanctified by using the following language: “Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me; nevertheless, not My will, but Thine be done.” Luke 22:42.

In the above cases, we see some of the unreasonable and unscriptural motives that lead many to refuse the truth, and choose the way of sin and death. It often happens that the will is not checked, and runs impetuously in its course, without regard to consequences. This we see in persons called willful, self-willed, headstrong, who are a source of grief to those who would reason with them. Children are often so; if let alone their stubborn will would lead them to rush on headlong to destruction.

It is a true saying that “yielding pacifieth great offenses.” Ecclesiastes 10:4. It saves many trials and troubles. Most of those trials and difficulties that arise in families, in neighborhoods, and among brethren, can be traced to an unwillingness to yield. But some will say, Must I give up my rights? We answer, It often becomes a duty for individuals to give up, or yield in, what they call their rights. There are many instances in which we can yield or submit to others without sacrificing the truth. We are exhorted in the Scriptures to submit one to another, and we should in many things submit to all. If this principle were followed, many unhappy families and neighborhoods would be made happy, and thousands of grievous trials would be avoided.

Some have not learned to yield their will to their superiors, and how hard it is for such to bow to their Maker. They manifest the same stubborness toward the Lord that they do toward their fellow creatures. How many mighty men and women have fallen because they have rebelled against the Lord? Many have run well till their wills were crossed, and they would not yield to God and His truth. Doubtless, they were blinded to the fact that they were rebelling against God. Perhaps their minds were not raised higher than those who ministered to them in word and doctrine. This was the case with ancient Israel in the days of Moses, the servant of God. This was also the case with Israel at subsequent periods in their history.

David’s advice to his son Solomon was to “serve the Lord with a willing mind.” 1 Chronicles 28:9. Said Hezekiah to the Jews, “Now, be ye not stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 30:8. The consequences of stubbornness are awful. Many will yield when it is too late. Says the prophet Amos, “They shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.” Amos 8:12. To such, wisdom says, “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out My hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at naught all My counsel, and would none of My reproof; I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon Me, but I will not answer; they shall seek Me early, but they shall not find Me; for that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord; they would none of My counsel; they despised all My reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way.” Proverbs 1:24–30.

The language of each heart should be, Speak, Lord, thy servant heareth. I will choose thy truth, and do what Thou requirest at my hand. I will follow Thee through evil as well as through good report.

Though it is an exaggeration to say that men can of themselves do what they will, yet it is certain that many fail to gain their object, because they do not enlist their will on their side, and move from a fixed determination. This is true in religion as well as in worldly matters. The will can be a great help to Christians in overcoming their besetments. Said a dying man to his son, “Only have strength to say, No.” If we would have strength to say, No, in our conflicts with the powers of darkness in the time of trouble (Revelation 13:15–17; 14:9–11), we must have strength and decision to say, No, to the temptations that we now have to encounter. Our wills must be wholly swallowed up in the will of God. We read that “Thy people shall be willing in the days of Thy power.” Psalm 110:3. And in the language of Jesus, “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17.