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An independent SDA Ministry
Proclaiming the 3 angels Messages and

   Abiding in the Father and His Son

 
 

Let The Dead Speak

August 2011 Issue

By ITH Ministries

God has given me light regarding our periodicals. What is it?--He has said that the dead are to speak. How?--Their works shall follow them. We are to repeat the words of the pioneers in our work, who knew what it cost to search for the truth as for hidden treasure, and who labored to lay the foundation of our work. They moved forward step by step under the influence of the Spirit of God. One by one these pioneers are passing away. The word given me is, Let that which these men have written in the past be reproduced. Review and Herald - May 25, 1905

 

This month's articles.

 E.J. Waggoner - Christ and His Righteousness - Pt 2 

 A.G. Daniells - Christ Our Righteousness - Pt 2 

 

E.J. Waggoner

Christ and His Righteousness

Part 2 of 3

Important Practical Lessons

It is not merely as a beautiful theory, a mere dogma, that we should consider Christ as God and Creator. Every doctrine of the Bible is for our practical benefit and should be studied for that purpose. Let us first see what relation this doctrine sustains to the central commandment of the law of God. In Genesis 2:1-3 we find these words closing the record of creation, Thus the heavens and the earth were finished and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it he had rested from all His work which God created and made. The Jewish translation renders the text more literally thus, Thus were finished the heavens and the earth and all their host. And God had finished on the seventh day His work which He had made, etc. This is the same that we find in the fourth commandment, Ex. 20:8- 11.

In this we find, what is most natural, that the same Being who created, rested. He who worked six days in creating the earth, rested on the seventh and blessed and sanctified it. But we have already learned that God the Father created the worlds by his son Jesus Christ and that Christ created everything that has an existence. Therefore the conclusion is inevitable that Christ rested on that first seventh day at the close of the six days of creation and that he blessed and sanctified it. Thus the seventh day--the Sabbath--is most emphatically the Lord's day. When Jesus said to the carping Pharisees, For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day (Matt. 12:8), He declared His lordship of the identical day which they had so scrupulously observed in form, and He did this in words which show that He regarded it as His badge of authority, as demonstrating the fact that He was greater than the temple. Thus the seventh day is the Divinely appointed memorial of creation. It is the most honored of all days, since its especial mission is to bring to mind the creative power of God, which is the one proof to man of His Divinity. And so when Christ said that the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath day, He claimed a high distinction--nothing less than being the Creator, of whose Divinity that day stands as a memorial.

What shall we say, then, to the suggestion often made, that Christ changed the day of the Sabbath from a day which commemorates completed creation to one which has no such significance? Simply this, that for Christ to change or abolish the Sabbath would be to destroy that which calls to mind His Divinity. If Christ had abolished the Sabbath, He would have undone the work of His own hands and thus have worked against Himself, and a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. But Christ cannot deny Himself, and therefore He did not change one jot of that which He Himself appointed and which, by testifying to His Divinity, shows Him to be worthy of honor above all the gods of the heathen. It would have been as impossible for Christ to change the Sabbath as it would have been to change the fact that He created all things in six days and rested on the seventh.

Again, the oft-repeated declarations that the Lord is Creator are intended as a source of strength. Notice how creation and redemption are connected in the first chapter of Colossians. To get the point fully before us, we will read verses 9-19:

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son; in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins; who is the image of the invisible God, the First-born of every creature; for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him; and he is before all things, and in him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell.

It is not an accident that the wonderful declaration concerning Christ as Creator is connected with the statement that in Him we have redemption. No. When the apostle makes known his desire that we should be strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, he lets us know what that glorious power is. When he tells us about being delivered from the power of darkness, he lets us know something of the power of the Deliverer. It is for our comfort that we are told that the head of the church is the Creator of all things. We are told that he upholds all things by the word of His power (Heb. 1:3), in order that we may rest in the assurance that The Hand which bears all nature up/Shall guard His children well.

Note the connection of Isa. 40:26. The chapter presents the wonderful wisdom and power of Christ, in calling all the host of heaven by names and in keeping them all in their places, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, and then inquires, Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God? Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of His understanding. On the contrary, He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. His power is, in fact, the ability to create everything from nothing; therefore, He can work wonders through those who have no strength. He can bring strength out of weakness. Surely, then, anything which serves to keep before the mind the creative power of Christ must tend to renew our spiritual strength and courage.

And this is just the design of the Sabbath. Read the ninety-second psalm, which is entitled a psalm of the Sabbath-day. The first four verses are these:

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High; to show forth thy loving kindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, upon an instrument of ten strings and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound. For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work; I will triumph in the works of thy hands.

What has this to do with the Sabbath? Just this: The Sabbath is the memorial of creation. Says the Lord: 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. Eze. 20:12. The Psalmist kept the Sabbath as God designed that it should be kept--in meditating upon creation and the wondrous power and goodness of God displayed therein. And then, thinking of that, he realized that the God who clothes the lilies with a glory surpassing that of Solomon cares far more for His intelligent creatures, and as he looked at the heavens, which show the power and glory of God, and realized that they were brought into existence from nothing, the encouraging thought would come to him that this same power would work in him to deliver him from human infirmity. Therefore he was glad, and he triumphed in the work of God's hands. The knowledge of God's power which came to him through a contemplation of creation, filled him with courage, as he realized that the same power was at his disposal, and, grasping that power by faith, he gained victories through it. And this is the design of the sabbath; it is to bring man to a saving knowledge of God.

The argument, concisely stated, is this: 1. Faith in God is begotten by a knowledge of His power; to distrust Him implies ignorance of His ability to perform His promises; our faith in Him must be in proportion to our real knowledge of His power. 2. An intelligent contemplation of God's creation gives us a true conception of His power, for His eternal power and Godhead are understood by the things which He has made. Rom. 1:20. 3. It is faith that gives victory (1 John 5:4); therefore, since faith comes by learning the power of God from His word and from the things that He has made, we gain the victory or triumph through the works of His hands. The Sabbath, therefore, which is the memorial of creation, is, if properly observed, a source of the Christian's greatest reinforcement in battle.

This is the import of Ezekiel 20:12. 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. That is, knowing that our sanctification is the will of God (1 Thess. 4:3; 5:23, 24), we learn, by means of the Sabbath, properly used, what the power of God is that is exerted for our sanctification. The same power that was put forth to create the worlds is put forth for the sanctification of those who yield themselves to the will of God. Surely this thought, when fully grasped, must bring joy and comfort in God to the earnest soul. In the light of this, we can appreciate the force of Isaiah 58:13, 14:

If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words; then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

That is, if the Sabbath is kept according to God's plan, as a memorial of His creative power, as bringing to mind the Divine power that is put forth for the salvation of His people, the soul, triumphing in the work of His hands, must delight itself in the Lord. And so the Sabbath is the grand fulcrum for the lever of faith, which lifts the soul to the heights of God's throne, to hold communion with Him.

To put the matter in few words, it may be stated thus: The eternal power and Godhead of the Lord are revealed in creation. Rom. 1:20. It is the ability to create that measures the power of God. But the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Rom. 1:16. Therefore the Gospel simply reveals to us the power which was used to bring the worlds into existence, now exerted for the salvation of men. It is the same power in each case.

In the light of this great truth, there is no room for the controversy about redemption being greater than creation, because redemption is creation. See 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 4:24. The power of redemption is the power of creation; the power of God unto salvation is the power which can take human nothingness and make of it that which shall be throughout eternal ages to the praise of the glory of the grace of God. Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. 1 Peter 4:19.

Christ the Lawgiver

For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us. Isaiah 33:22.

We have now to consider Christ in another character, yet not another. It is one that naturally results from His position as Creator, for the One who creates must certainly have authority to guide and control. We read in John 5:22, 23 the words of Christ, that the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son; that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father. As Christ is the manifestation of the Father in creation, so is He the manifestation of the Father in giving and executing the law. A few texts of Scripture will suffice to prove this.

In Numbers 21:4-6 we have the partial record of an incident that took place while the children of Israel were in the wilderness. Let us read it. And they journeyed from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to compass the land of Edom; and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. The people spoke against God and against Moses, saying, Why have ye brought us up into the wilderness? They found fault with their Leader. This is why they were destroyed by serpents. Now read the words of the apostle Paul concerning this same event:

Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. 1 Cor. 10:9.

What does this prove? That the Leader against whom they were murmuring was Christ. This is further proved by the fact that when Moses cast in his lot with Israel, refusing to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, he esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. Heb. 11:26. Read also 1 Cor. 10:4, where Paul says that the fathers did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them; and that Rock was Christ. So, then, Christ was the Leader of Israel from Egypt.

The third chapter of Hebrews makes clear this same fact. Here we are told to consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful in all His house, not as a servant, but as a Son over His own house. Verses 1-6. Then we are told that we are His house if we hold fast our confidence to the end. Wherefore we are exhorted by the Holy Ghost to hear His voice and not to harden our hearts, as the fathers did in the wilderness. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end; while it is said, Today if ye will hear His [Christ's] voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke; howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.

But with whom was he [Christ] grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness? Verses 14-17. Here again Christ is set forth as the Leader and Commander of Israel in their forty years' sojourn in the wilderness.

The same thing is shown in Josh. 5:13-15, where we are told that the man whom Joshua saw by Jericho, having a sword drawn in his hand, in response to Joshua's question, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? said, Nay; but as Captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. Indeed, no one will be found to dispute that Christ was the real Leader of Israel, although invisible.

Moses, the visible leader of Israel, endured as seeing Him who is invisible. It was Christ who commissioned Moses to go and deliver His people. Now read Ex. 20:1-3:

And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Who spoke these words? The One who brought them from Egypt. And who was the Leader of Israel from Egypt? It was Christ. Then who spoke the law from Mt. Sinai? It was Christ, the brightness of the Father's glory and the express image of His Person, who is the manifestation of God to man. It was the Creator of all created things and the One to whom all judgment has been committed.

This point may be proved in another way. When the Lord comes, it will be with a shout (1 Thess. 4:16), which will pierce the tombs and arouse the dead (John 5:28, 29). The Lord shall roar from on high and utter His voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth. A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the Lord hath a controversy with the nations; he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the Lord. Jer. 25:30, 3. Comparing this with Rev. 19:11-21, where Christ as the Leader of the armies of heaven, the Word of God, King of kings, and Lord of lords, goes forth to tread the wine- press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God, destroying all the wicked, we find that it is Christ who roars from His habitation against all the inhabitants of the earth, when He has His controversy with the nations. Joel adds another point, when he says, The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake. Joel 3:16.

From these texts, to which others might be added, we learn that in connection with the coming of the Lord to deliver His people, He speaks with a voice that shakes the earth and the heavens--the earth shall reel to and from like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage (Isa. 24:20), and the heavens shall pass away with a great noise (2 Peter 3:10). Now read Heb. 12:25,26:

See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh; for if they escaped not who refused Him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from Him that speaketh from heaven; whose voice then shook the earth; but now He hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.

The time when the Voice speaking on earth shook the earth was when the law was spoken from Sinai (Ex. 19:18-20; Heb. 12:18- 20), an event that for awfulness has never had a parallel and never will have until the Lord comes with all the angels of heaven to save His people. But note: The same voice that then shook the earth will, in the coming time, shake not only earth, but heaven also, and we have seen that it is the voice of Christ that will sound with such volume as to shake heaven and earth when He has His controversy with the nations. Therefore it is demonstrated that it was the voice of Christ that was heard from Sinai, proclaiming the ten commandments. This is no more than would naturally be concluded from what we have learned concerning Christ as Creator and the Maker of the Sabbath. Indeed, the fact that Christ is a part of the Godhead, possessing all the attributes of Divinity, being the equal of the Father in all respects, as Creator and Lawgiver, is the only force there is in the atonement. It is this alone which makes redemption a possibility. Christ died that he might bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18), but if He lacked one iota of being equal to God, He could not bring us to Him. Divinity means having the attributes of Deity. If Christ were not Divine, then we should have only a human sacrifice. It matters not, even if it be granted that Christ was the highest created intelligence in the universe; in that case He would be a subject, owing allegiance to the law, without ability to do any more than His own duty. He could have no righteousness to impart to others. There is an infinite distance between the highest angel ever created and God; therefore, the highest angel could not lift fallen man up and make him partaker of the Divine nature. Angels can minister; God only can redeem. Thanks be to God that we are saved through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily and who is, therefore, able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by Him.

This truth helps to a more perfect understanding of the reason why Christ is called the Word of God. He is the One through whom the Divine will and the Divine power are made known to men. He is, so to speak, the mouth-piece of Divinity, the manifestation of the Godhead. He declares or makes God known to man. It pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell; and therefore the Father is not relegated to a secondary position, as some imagine, when Christ is exalted as Creator and Lawgiver, for the glory of the Father shines through the Son. Since God is known only through Christ, it is evident that the Father cannot be honored as He ought to be honored, by those who do not exalt Christ. As Christ Himself said, He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father which hath sent Him. John 5:23. Is it asked how Christ could be the Mediator between God and man and also the Lawgiver? We have not to explain how it can be but only to accept the Scripture record that it is so. And the fact that it is so is that which gives strength to the doctrine of the atonement. The sinner's surety of full and free pardon lies in the fact that the Lawgiver Himself, the One against whom he has rebelled and whom he has defied, is the One who gave Himself for us. How is it possible for anyone to doubt the honesty of God's purpose or His perfect good-will to men, when He gave Himself for their redemption? for let it not be imagined that the Father and the Son were separated in this transaction. They were one in this, as in everything else. The counsel of peace was between them both (Zech. 6:12, 13), and even while here on earth the only-begotten Son was in the bosom of the Father.

What a wonderful manifestation of love! The Innocent suffered for the guilty; the Just for the unjust; the Creator for the creature; the Maker of the law for the transgressor against the law; the King for his rebellious subjects. Since God spared not His own Son but freely delivered Him up for us all--Since Christ voluntarily gave Himself for us--how shall He not with Him freely give us all things?

Infinite Love could find no greater manifestation of itself. Well may the Lord say, What could have been done more to My vineyard that I have not done in it?

The Righteousness of God

But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Matt. 6:33.

The righteousness of God, says Jesus, is the one thing to be sought in this life. Food and clothing are minor matters in comparison with it. God will supply them, as a matter of course, so that anxious care and worriment need not be expended on them; but to secure God's kingdom and His righteousness should be the only object of life.

In 1 Cor. 1:30 we are told that Christ is made unto us righteousness as well as wisdom, and since Christ is the wisdom of God and in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, it is evident that the righteousness which He is made to us is the righteousness of God. Let us see what this righteousness is.

In Ps. 119:172 the Psalmist thus addresses the Lord, My tongue shall speak of Thy word, for all Thy commandments are righteousness. The commandments are righteousness, not simply in the abstract, but they are the righteousness of God. For proof read the following:

Lift up your eyes to the heavens and look upon the earth beneath, for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner; but my salvation shall be forever and my righteousness shall not be abolished. Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings. Isa. 51:6,7.

What do we learn from this? That they who know the righteousness of God are those in whose heart is His law, and therefore that the law of God is the righteousness of God.

This may be proved again, as follows: All unrighteousness is sin. 1 John 5:17. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law. 1 John 3:4. Sin is the transgression of the law, and it is also unrighteousness; therefore sin and unrighteousness are identical. But if unrighteousness is transgression of the law, righteousness must be obedience to the law. Or, to put the proposition into mathematical form:

Unrighteousness = sin. 1 John 5:17. Transgression of the law = sin. 1 John 3:4.

Therefore, according to the axiom that two things that are equal to the same thing are equal to each other, we have: Unrighteousness = transgression of the law

...which is a negative equation. The same thing, stated in positive terms, would be: Righteousness = obedience to the law.

Now what law is it obedience to which is righteousness and disobedience to which is sin? It is that law which says, Thou shalt not covet, for the apostle Paul tells us that this law convinced him of sin. Rom. 7:7. The law of ten commandments, then, is the measure of the righteousness of God. Since it is the law of God and is righteousness, it must be the righteousness of God. There is, indeed, no other righteousness.

Since the law is the righteousness of God-- a transcript of His character--it is easy to see that to fear God and keep His commandments is the whole duty of man. Eccl. 12:13. Let no one think that his duty will be circumscribed if confined to the ten commandments, for they are exceeding broad. The law is spiritual, and comprehends a great deal more than can be discerned by an ordinary reader. The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Cor. 2:14. The exceeding breadth of the law of God can be realized only by those who have prayerfully meditated upon it. A few texts of Scripture will suffice to show us something of its breadth.

In the sermon on the mount Christ said, Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment; but I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Matt. 5:21, 22. And again, Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery, but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. Verses 27, 28.

This does not mean that the commandments, Thou shalt not kill, and Thou shalt not commit adultery are imperfect or that God now requires a greater degree of morality from Christians than He did from His people who were called Jews. He requires the same from all men in all ages. The Saviour simply explained these commandments and showed their spirituality. To the unspoken charge of the Pharisees that He was ignoring and undermining the moral law, He replied by saying that He came for the purpose of establishing the law and that it could not be abolished, and then He expounded the true meaning of the law in a way that convicted them of ignoring and disobeying it. He showed that even a look or a thought may be a violation of the law and that it is indeed a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

In this Christ did not reveal a new truth but only brought to light and unfolded an old one. The law meant just as much when He proclaimed it from Sinai as when He expounded it on the mountain in Judea. When, in tones that shook the earth, He said, Thou shalt not kill, He meant, Thou shalt not cherish anger in the heart; thou shalt not indulge in envy, nor strife, nor anything which is in the remotest degree akin to murder. All this and much more is contained in the words, Thou shalt not kill. And this was taught by the inspired words of the Old Testament, for Solomon showed that the law deals with things unseen as well as things seen, when he wrote:

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil. Eccl. 12:13, 14.

The argument is this: The judgment passes upon every secret thing; the law of God is the standard in the judgment--it determines the quality of every act, whether good or evil; therefore, the law of God forbids evil in thought as well as in deed. So the conclusion of the whole matter is that the commandments of God contain the whole duty of man.

Take the first commandment, Thou shalt have no other gods before me. The apostle tells us of some whose god is their belly. Phil. 3:19. But gluttony and intemperance are self-murder, and so we find that the first commandment runs through to the sixth. This is not all, however, for he also tells us that covetousness is idolatry. Col. 3:5. The tenth commandment cannot be violated without violating the first and second. In other words, the tenth commandment coincides with the first, and we find that the decalogue is a circle having a circumference as great as the universe and containing within it the moral duty of every creature. In short, it is the measure of the righteousness of God, who inhabits eternity.

This being the case, the correctness of the statement that the doers of the law shall be justified, is obvious. To justify means to make righteous or to show one to be righteous. Now it is evident that perfect obedience to a perfectly righteous law would constitute one a righteous person. It was God's design that such obedience should be rendered to the law by all His creatures, and in this way the law was ordained unto life. Rom. 7:10.

But for one to be judged a doer of the law it would be necessary that he had kept the law in its fullest measure every moment of his life. If he had come short of this, he could not be said to have done the law. He could not be a doer of the law if he had done it only in part. It is a sad fact, therefore, that there are in all the human race no doers of the law, for both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin; as it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Rom. 3:9-12. The law speaks to all who are within its sphere, and in all the world there is not one who can open his mouth to clear himself from the charge of sin which it brings against him. Every mouth is stopped and all the world stands guilty before God (verse 19), For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (verse 23).

Therefore, although the doers of the law shall be justified, it is just as evident that by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Verse 20. The law, being holy, and just, and good, cannot justify a sinner. In other words, a just law cannot declare that the one who violates it is innocent. A law that would justify a wicked man would be a wicked law. The law should not be reviled because it cannot justify sinners. On the contrary, it should be extolled on that account. The fact that the law will not declare sinners to be righteous--that it will not say that men have kept it when they have violated it--is in itself sufficient evidence that it is good. Men applaud an incorruptible earthly judge, one who cannot be bribed and who will not declare a guilty man innocent. Surely, they ought to magnify the law of God, which will not bear false witness. It is the perfection of righteousness and therefore it is forced to declare the sad fact that not one of Adam's race has fulfilled its requirements.

Moreover, the fact that to do the law is simply man's duty shows that when he has come short in single particular he can never make it up. The requirements of each precept of the law are so broad--the whole law is so spiritual-- that an angel could render no more than simple obedience. Yea, more, the law is the righteousness of God--a transcript of His character--and since His character cannot be different from what it is, it follows that even God Himself cannot be better than the measure of goodness demanded by His law. He cannot be better than He is and the law declares what He is. What hope, then, that one who has failed, in even one precept, can add enough extra goodness to make up the full measure? He who attempts to do that sets before himself the impossible task of being better than God requires, yea, even better than God Himself.

But it is not simply in one particular that men have failed. They have come short in every particular. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Not only so, but it is impossible for fallen man, with his weakened power, to do even a single act that is up to the perfect standard. This proposition needs no further proof than a restatement of the fact that the law is the measure of God's righteousness. Surely there are none so presumptuous as to claim that any act of their lives has been or could be as good as if done by the Lord Himself. Everyone must say with the Psalmist, My goodness extendeth not to Thee. Ps. 16:2.

This fact is contained in direct statements of Scripture. Christ, who needed not that any should testify of man; for he knew what was in man (John 2:25), said, For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornication, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness; all these evil things come from within and defile the man. Mark 7:21-23. In other words, it is easier to do wrong than it is to do right, and the things which a person naturally does are evil. Evil dwells within, and is a part of the being. Therefore, the apostle says, The carnal [fleshly, natural] mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. Rom. 8:7, 8. And again, The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. Gal. 5:17. Since evil is a part of man's very nature, being inherited by each individual from a long line of sinful ancestors, it is very evident that whatever righteousness springs from him must be only like filthy rags (Isa. 64:6), compared with the spotless robe of the righteousness of God.

The impossibility of good deeds proceeding from a sinful heart is thus forcibly illustrated by the Saviour, For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble-bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil; for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. Luke 6:44,45. That is to say, a man cannot do good until he first becomes good. Therefore, deeds done by a sinful person have no effect whatever to make him righteous, but, on the contrary, coming from an evil heart, they are evil and so add to the sum of his sinfulness. Only evil can come from an evil heart, and multiplied evil cannot make one good deed; therefore, it is useless for an evil person to think to become righteous by his own efforts. He must first be made righteous before he can do the good that is required of him and which he wants to do.

The case, then, stands thus: 1) The law of God is perfect righteousness, and perfect conformity to it is demanded of everyone who shall enter the kingdom of heaven. 2) But the law has not a particle of righteousness to bestow upon any man, for all are sinners and are unable to comply with its requirements. No matter how diligently nor how zealously a man works, nothing that he can do will meet the full measure of the law's demands. It is too high for him to attain to; he cannot obtain righteousness by the law. By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified [made righteous] in His sight. What a deplorable condition! We must have the righteousness of the law or we cannot enter heaven, and yet the law has no righteousness for one of us. It will not yield to our most persistent and energetic efforts the smallest portion of that holiness without which no man can see the Lord.

Who, then, can be saved? Can there, then, be such a thing as a righteous person? Yes, for the Bible often speaks of them. It speaks of Lot as that righteous man. It says, Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him, for they shall eat the fruit of their doings (Isa. 3:10), thus indicating that there will be righteous persons to receive the reward, and it plainly declares that there will be a righteous nation at the last, saying, In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. Isa. 26:1,2. David says, Thy law is the truth. Ps. 119:142. It is not only truth, but it is the sum of all truth; consequently, the nation that keeps the truth will be a nation that keeps the law of God. Such will be doers of His will, and they shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. Matt. 7:21.

The Lord Our Righteousness

The question, then, is, How may the righteousness that is necessary in order that one may enter that city, be obtained? To answer this question is the great work of the gospel. Let us first have an object lesson on justification or the imparting of righteousness. The fact may help us to a better understanding of the theory. The example is given in Luke 18:9-14 in these words:

And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others; Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

This was given to show how we may not, and how we may, attain to righteousness. The Pharisees are not extinct; there are many in these days who expect to gain righteousness by their own good deeds. They trust in themselves that they are righteous. They do not always so openly boast of their goodness, but they show in other ways that they are trusting to their own righteousness. Perhaps the spirit of the Pharisee--the spirit which would recount to God one's own good deeds as a reason for favor--is found as frequently as anywhere else among those professed Christians who feel the most bowed down on account of their sins. They know that they have sinned, and they feel condemned. They mourn over their sinful state and deplore their weakness. Their testimonies never rise above this level. Often they refrain for very shame from speaking in the social meeting, and often they do not dare approach God in prayer. After having sinned to a greater degree than usual, they refrain from prayer for some time, until the vivid sense of their failure has passed away or until they imagine that they have made up for it by special good behavior. Of what is this a manifestation? Of that Pharisaic spirit that would flaunt its own righteousness in the face of God; that will not come before Him unless it can lean on the false prop of its own fancied goodness. They want to be able to say to the Lord, See how good I have been for the past few days; you surely will accept me now.

But what is the result? The man who trusted in his own righteousness had none, while the man who prayed, in heart-felt contrition, God be merciful to me, a sinner, went down to his house a righteous man. Christ says that he went justified; that is, made righteous.

Notice that the publican did something more than bewail his sinfulness; he asked for mercy. What is mercy? It is unmerited favor. It is the disposition to treat a man better than he deserves. Now the Word of Inspiration says of God, as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him. Ps. 103:11. That is, the measure by which God treats us better than we deserve when we humbly come to Him, is the distance between earth and the highest heaven. And in what respect does He treat us better than we deserve? In taking our sins away from us, for the next verse says, As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. With this agree the words of the beloved disciple, If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9.

For a further statement of the mercy of God, and of how it is manifested, read Micah 7:18,19, Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He retaineth not his anger forever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast their sins into the depths of the sea. Let us now read the direct Scripture statement of how righteousness is bestowed.

The apostle Paul, having proved that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, so that by the deeds of the law no flesh shall be justified in His sight, proceeds to say that we are justified [made righteous] freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness; that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. Rom. 3:24-26.

Being made righteous freely. How else could it be? Since the best efforts of a sinful man have not the least effect toward producing righteousness, it is evident that the only way it can come to him is as a gift. That righteousness is a gift is plainly stated by Paul in Rom. 5:17: For if by one man's offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by One, Jesus Christ. It is because righteousness is a gift that eternal life, which is the reward of righteousness, is the gift of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Christ has been set forth by God as the One through whom forgiveness of sins is to be obtained; and this forgiveness consists simply in the declaration of His righteousness (which is the righteousness of God) for their remission. God, who is rich in mercy (Eph. 2:4) and who delights in it, puts His own righteousness on the sinner who believes in Jesus, as a substitute for his sins. Surely, this is a profitable exchange for the sinner, and it is no loss to God, for He is infinite in holiness and the supply can never be diminished.

The scripture that we have just been considering (Rom. 3:24- 26) is but another statement of verses 21, 22, following the declaration that by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be made righteous. The apostle adds, But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnesssed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe. God puts His righteousness upon the believer. He covers him with it, so that his sin no more appears. Then the forgiven one can exclaim with the prophet:

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

Isa. 61:10. But what about the righteousness of God without the law? How does that accord with the statement that the law is the righteousness of God, and that outside of its requirements there is no righteousness? There is no contradiction here. The law is not ignored by this process. Note carefully: Who gave the law? Christ. How did He speak it? As one having authority, even as God. The law sprang from Him the same as from the Father and is simply a declaration of the righteousness of His character. Therefore the righteousness which comes by the faith of Jesus Christ is the same righteousness that is epitomized in the law, and this is further proved by the fact that it is witnessed by the law.

Let the reader try to picture the scene. Here stands the law as the swift witness against the sinner. It cannot change, and it will not call a sinner a righteous man. The convicted sinner tries again and again to obtain righteousness from the law, but it resists all his advances. It cannot be bribed by any amount of penance or professedly good deeds. But here stands Christ, full of grace as well as of truth, calling the sinner to Him. At last the sinner, weary of the vain struggle to get righteousness from the law, listens to the voice of Christ and flees to His outstretched arms. Hiding in Christ, he is covered with His righteousness, and now behold! he has obtained, through faith in Christ, that for which he has been vainly striving. He has the righteousness which the law requires, and it is the genuine article, because he obtained it from the Source of Righteousness, from the very place whence the law came. And the law witnesses to the genuineness of this righteousness. It says that so long as the man retains that, it will go into court and defend him against all accusers. It will witness to the fact that he is a righteous man. With the righteousness which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith (Phil. 3:9), Paul was sure that he would stand secure in the day of Christ.

There is in the transaction no ground for finding fault. God is just and at the same time the Justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. In Jesus dwells all the fullness of the Godhead. He is equal with the Father in every attribute. Consequently the redemption that is in Him--the ability to buy back lost man--is infinite. Man's rebellion is against the Son as much as against the Father, since both are one. Therefore, when Christ gave Himself for our sins, it was the King suffering for the rebellious subjects--the One injured passing by, overlooking, the offense of the offender. No skeptic will deny that any man has the right and privilege of pardoning any offense committed against himself; then why cavil when God exercises the same right? Surely if He wishes to pardon the injury done Himself, He has the right, and more because He vindicates the integrity of His law by submitting in His own Person to the penalty which was due the sinner. But the innocent suffered for the guilty. True, but the innocent Sufferer gave himself voluntarily, in order that He might in justice to His government do what His love prompted, namely, pass by the injury done to Himself as the Ruler of the universe.

Now read God's own statement of His own Name--a statement given in the face of one of the worst cases of contempt ever shown Him:

And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long- suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty. Ex. 34:5-7.

This is God's name. It is the character in which He reveals Himself to man, the light in which He wishes men to regard Him. But what of the declaration that He will by no means clear the guilty? That is perfectly in keeping with His longsuffering, abundant goodness and His passing by the transgression of His people. It is true that God will by no means clear the guilty. He could not do that and still be a just God. But He does something which is far better. He removes the guilt, so that the one formerly guilty does not need to be cleared--he is justified and counted as though he never had sinned.

Let no one cavil over the expression, putting on righteousness, as though such a thing were hypocrisy. Some, with a singular lack of appreciation of the value of the gift of righteousness, have said that they did not want righteousness that was put on, but that they wanted only that righteousness which comes from the life, thus depreciating the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all that believe. We agree with their idea insofar as it is a protest against hypocrisy, a form of godliness without the power, but we would have the reader bear this thought in mind: It makes a vast deal of difference who puts the righteousness on. If we attempt to put it on ourselves, then we really get on nothing but a filthy garment, no matter how beautiful it may look to us, but when Christ clothes us with it, it is not to be despised nor rejected. Mark the expression in Isaiah: He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness. The righteousness with which Christ covers us is righteousness that meets the approval of God, and if God is satisfied with it, surely men ought not to try to find anything better.

But we will carry the figure a step further and that will relieve the matter of all difficulty. Zech. 3:1-5 furnishes the solution. It reads thus:

And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee; is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the Angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair miter upon his head. So they set a fair miter upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the Angel of the Lord stood by.

Notice in the above account that the taking away of the filthy garments is the same as causing the iniquity to pass from the person. And so we find that when Christ covers us with the robe of His own righteousness, He does not furnish a cloak for sin but takes the sin away. And this shows that the forgiveness of sins is something more than a mere form, something more than a mere entry in the books of record in heaven, to the effect that the sin has been canceled. The forgiveness of sins is a reality; it is something tangible, something that vitally affects the individual. It actually clears him from guilt, and if he is cleared from guilt, is justified, made righteous, he has certainly undergone a radical change. He is, indeed, another person, for he obtained this righteousness for the remission of sins, in Christ. It was obtained only by putting on Christ. But if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. 2 Cor. 5:17. And so the full and free forgiveness of sins carries with it that wonderful and miraculous change known as the new birth, for a man cannot become a new creature except by a new birth. This is the same as having a new, or a clean, heart.

The new heart is a heart that loves righteousness and hates sin. It is a heart of willingness to be led into the paths of righteousness. It is such a heart as the Lord wished Israel to have when he said, O that there were such a heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever! Deut. 5:29. In short, it is a heart free from the love of sin as well as from the guilt of sin. But what makes a man sincerely desire the forgiveness of his sins? It is simply his hatred of them and his desire for righteousness, which hatred and desire have been enkindled by the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit strives with all men. It comes as a reprover. When its voice of reproof is regarded, then it at once assumes the office of comforter. The same submissive, yielding disposition that leads the person to accept the reproof of the Spirit, will also lead him to follow the teachings of the Spirit, and Paul says that as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Rom. 8:14.

Again, what brings justification or the forgiveness of sins? It is faith, for Paul says, Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Rom. 5:1. The righteousness of God is given unto and put upon everyone that believeth. Rom. 3:22. But this same exercise of faith makes the person a child of God; for, says the apostle Paul again, Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Gal. 3:26.

The fact that everyone whose sins are forgiven is at once a child of God is shown in Paul's letter to Titus. He first brings to view the wicked condition in which we once were and then says (Titus 3:4-7):

But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward men appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Note that it is by being justified by His grace that we are made heirs. We have already learned from Rom. 3:24, 25 that this justification by His grace is through our faith in Christ, but Gal. 3:26 tells us that faith in Christ Jesus makes us children of God; therefore, we know that whoever has been justified by God's grace-- has been forgiven--is a child and an heir of God.

This shows that there is no ground for the idea that a person must go through a sort of probation and attain to a certain degree of holiness before God will accept him as His child. He receives us just as we are. It is not for our goodness that He loves us but because of our need. He receives us, not for the sake of anything that He sees in us but for His own sake and for what He knows that His Divine power can make of us. It is only when we realize the wonderful exaltation and holiness of God and the fact that He comes to us in our sinful and degraded condition to adopt us into His family that we can appreciate the force of the apostle's exclamation, Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. 1 John 3:1. Everyone upon whom this honor has been bestowed will purify himself, even as He is pure.

God does not adopt us as His children because we are good but in order that He may make us good. Says Paul, God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loves us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us [made us alive] together with Christ (by grace ye are saved), and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. Eph. 2:4-7. And then he adds, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Verses 8-10. This passage shows that God loved us while we were yet dead in sins. He gives us His Spirit to make us alive in Christ, and the same Spirit marks our adoption into the Divine family, and He thus adopts us that, as new creatures in Christ, we may do the good works which God has ordained.

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A.G. Daniells

Christ Our Righteousness

Part 2 of 3

 CHAPTER FOUR

Message Set Forth at the Minneapolis Conference

The message of Righteousness by Faith came clearly and fully into the open at the General Conference held at Minneapolis, Minn., in November, 1888. It was made the one great subject of study in the devotional part of the Conference. It would seem that the presentation of the subject had been anticipated, and that there was an understanding that it would receive a thorough discussion in the Conference. At any rate, that was what took place.

The message was not received alike by all who attended the Conference; in fact, there was serious difference of opinion concerning it among the leaders. This division of opinion may be classified as follows:

Class 1. – Those who saw great light in it and gladly accepted it; who believed it to be a most essential phase of the gospel, and felt that it should be given great emphasis in all efforts to save the lost. To this class the message appeared to be the real secret of a victorious life in the conflict with sin, and that the great truth of being made righteous by faith in the Son of God was the most pressing need of the remnant church in preparing for translation at the second advent.

Class 2. – There were some, however, who felt uncertain about the "new teaching," as they termed it. They seemed unable to grasp it. They could not reach a conclusion. As a result, their minds were thrown into a state of perplexity and confusion. They neither accepted nor rejected the message at the time.

Class 3. – But there were others who were decidedly opposed to the presentation of the message. They claimed that the truth of righteousness by faith had been recognized by our people from the very first, and this was true theoretically. For this reason they saw no occasion for placing such great stress and emphasis upon the subject as was being done by its advocates. Furthermore, they feared that the emphasis placed upon this theme of righteousness by faith would cast a shadow upon the doctrines that had been given such prominence from the beginning of our denominational history; and since they looked upon the preaching of those distinctive doctrines as the secret of the power and growth of our movement, they were fearful that if these doctrines were overshadowed by any teaching or message whatsoever, our cause would lose its distinctive character and force. Because of these fears, they felt in duty bound to safeguard both cause and people by decided opposition.

This difference of views among the leaders led to serious results. It created controversy, and a degree of estrangement which was most unfortunate. But through the intervening years there has been steadily developing the desire and hope - yes, the belief - that someday the message of Righteousness by Faith would shine forth in all its inherent worth, glory, and power, and receive full recognition. And during this same time, misapprehension and opposition have been disappearing. With many, there is now a pressing conviction that this message of Righteousness by Faith should be studied, taught, and stressed to the fullest extent that its importance demands.

No complete report of the presentation and discussion of the message of Righteousness by Faith at the Minneapolis Conference was published. Oral reports were given by those in attendance. But through subsequent writings of the Spirit of prophecy, information is furnished regarding the developments in

connection with the giving of the message and its reception and also its rejection, and it is quite necessary to become familiar with this inspired information in order to understand better our present situation. It would be far more agreeable to eliminate some of the statements given by the Spirit of prophecy regarding the attitude of some of the leaders toward the message and the messengers. But this cannot be done without giving only a partial presentation of the situation which developed at the Conference, thus leaving the question in more or less of mystery.

The Source From Which the Message Came

It became necessary for positive assurance to be given that the message of Righteousness and Justification by Faith that came at that time was by the direct leading of God, because of the confusion that had resulted by the opposition raised against it. The statements which follow should remove all question of doubt regarding the source of the message set forth at the Minneapolis Conference:

"The present message - Justification by Faith - is a message from God; it bears the divine credentials, for its fruit is unto holiness." – Review and Herald, Sept. 3, 1889.

"Messages bearing the divine credentials have been sent to God's people; the glory, the majesty, the righteousness of Christ, full of goodness and truth, have been presented; the fullness of the Godhead in Jesus Christ has been set forth among us with beauty and loveliness, to charm all whose hearts are not closed with prejudice. We know that God has wrought among us. We have seen souls turned from sin to righteousness; we have seen faith revived in the hearts of the contrite ones." – Review and Herald, May 27,1890.

Its Varied Reception

As previously stated, some who attended the Minneapolis Conference received the message of Righteousness by Faith with great satisfaction. It was to them a message of life. It gave them a new appreciation of Christ, a new vision of His great sacrifice on the cross. It brought to their hearts peace and joy and hope. It was the supreme element needed to prepare a people to meet God.

These individuals returned to their churches with a new unction to preach the gospel of salvation from sin, and to help their brethren to accept by faith the righteousness of Christ as revealed in the gospel. Sister White herself took a very active, earnest part in this work, and reported through the Review some of her experiences. For example:

We thank the Lord with all the heart that we have precious light to present before the people, and we rejoice that we have a message for this time which is present truth. The tidings that Christ is our righteousness has brought relief to many, many souls, and God says to His people, 'Go forward.' The message to the Laodicean church is applicable to our condition. How plainly is pictured the position of those who think they have all the truth, who take pride in their knowledge of the word of God, while its sanctifying power has not been felt in their lives. The fervor of the love of God is wanting in their hearts, but it is this very fervor of love that makes God's people the light of the world....

"In every meeting since the General Conference, souls have eagerly accepted the precious message of the righteousness of Christ. We thank God that there are souls who realize that they are in need of something which they do not possess, - gold of faith and love, white raiment of Christ's righteousness, eye salve of spiritual discernment. If you possess these precious gifts, the

temple of the human soul will not be like a desecrated shrine. Brethren and. sisters, I call upon you in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, to work where God works. Now is the day of gracious opportunity and privilege. " – Review and Herald, July 23, 1889.

Eight months later this word from her pen appeared:

I have travelled from place to place, attending meetings where the message of the righteousness of Christ was preached. I considered it a privilege to stand by the side of my brethren, and give my testimony with the message for the time; and I saw that the power of God attended the message wherever it was spoken." – Review and Herald, March 18,1890.

Of a meeting in South Lancaster she stated:

"I have never seen a revival work go forward with such thoroughness, and yet remain so free from all undue excitement. There was no urging or inviting. The people were not called forward, but there was a solemn realization that Christ came not to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance. The honest in heart were ready to confess their sins, and to bring forth fruit to God by repentance and restoration, as far as it lay in their power. We seemed to breathe in the very atmosphere of heaven. Angels were indeed hovering around. Friday evening, the social service began at five, and it was not dosed until nine.... There were many who testified that as the searching truths had been presented, they had been convicted in the light of the law as transgressors. They had been trusting their own righteousness. Now they saw it as filthy rags, in comparison with the righteousness of Christ, which is alone acceptable to God. While they had not been open transgressors, they saw themselves depraved and degraded in heart. They had substituted other gods in the place of their heavenly Father. They had struggled to refrain from sin, but had trusted in their own strength. We should go to Jesus just as we are, confessing our sins, and cast our helpless souls upon our compassionate Redeemer. This subdues the pride of the heart, and is a crucifixion of self." – Review and Herald, March 5, 1889.

What a mighty revival of true godliness, what a restoration of spiritual life, what a cleansing from sin, what a baptism of the Spirit, and what a manifestation of divine power for the finishing of the work in our own lives and in the world, might have come to the people of God if all our ministers had gone forth from that Conference as did this loyal, obedient servant of the Lord!

The Opposition

How sad, how deeply regrettable, it is that this message of righteousness in Christ should, at the time of its coming, have met with opposition on the part of earnest, well-meaning men in the cause of God! The message has never been received, nor proclaimed, nor given free course as it should have been in order to convey to the church the measureless blessings that were wrapped within it. The seriousness of exerting such an influence is indicated through the reproofs that were given. These words of reproof and admonition should receive most thoughtful consideration at this time:

"God has raised up men to meet the necessity of this time who will 'cry aloud and spare not,' who will lift up their 'voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.' Their work is not only to proclaim the law, but to preach the truth for this time, - the Lord our righteousness....

"But there are those who see no necessity for a special work at this time. While God is working to arouse the people, they seek to turn aside the message of warning, reproof, and entreaty. Their influence tends to quiet the fears of the people, and to prevent them from awaking to the solemnity of this time. Those who are doing this, are giving the trumpet an uncertain sound. They ought to be awake to the situation, but they have become ensnared by the enemy." – Review and Herald, Aug. 13, 1889.

Mark the serious indictment which follows:

"You will meet with those who will say, 'You are too much excited over the matter. You are too much in earnest. You should not be reaching for the righteousness of Christ, and making so much of that. You should preach the law.' As a people we have preached the law until we are as dry as the hills of Gilboa, that had neither dew nor rain. We must preach Christ in the law, and there will be sap and nourishment in the preaching that will be as food to the famishing flock of God. We must not trust in our own merits at all, but in the merits of Jesus of Nazareth." – Review and Herald, March 11,1890.

Note also the serious implication in the following statements:

"Some of our brethren are not receiving the message of God upon this subject. They appear to be anxious that none of our ministers shall depart from their former manner of teaching the good old doctrines. We inquire, Is it not time that fresh light should come to the people of God, to awaken them to greater earnestness and zeal? The exceeding great and precious promises given us in the Holy Scriptures have been lost sight of to a great extent, just as the enemy of all righteousness designed that they should be. He has cast his own dark shadow between us and our God, that we may not see the true character of God." – Review and Herald, April 1, 1890.

"God has sent to His people testimonies of truth and righteousness, and they are called to lift up Jesus, and to exalt His righteousness. Those whom God has sent with a message are only men, but what is the character of the message which they bear? Will you dare to turn from, or make light of, the warnings, because God did not consult you as to what would be preferred? God calls men who will speak, who will cry aloud and spare not. God has raised up His messengers to do His work for this time. Some have turned from the message of the righteousness of Christ to criticize the men. – "Review and Herald, Dec. 27, 1890.

"The Lord has sent a message to arouse His people to repent, and do their first works; but how has His message been received? While some have heeded it, others have cast contempt and reproach on the message and the messenger. Spirituality deadened, humility and childlike simplicity gone, a mechanical, formal profession of faith has taken the place of love and devotion. Is this mournful condition of things to continue? Is the lamp of God's love to go out in darkness?" – Review and Herald, Extra, Dec. 23, 1890.

Lest we miss the force of these heart-searching messages, let us recount the salient points:

1. God raised up men to meet the necessity of the time.

 

2. Some sought to turn aside the message, and to prevent an awakening among the people.

3. Such persons were ensnared by the enemy, and gave the trumpet an uncertain sound.

4. These men declared that the law should be preached, - not the righteousness of Christ.

5. The exhortation is to preach Christ in the law.

6. Some were fearful of a departure from the former manner of preaching the good old doctrines.

7. God raised up men to herald the message of Righteousness by Faith.

8. The challenge: "Will you dare to turn from, or make light of, the warnings?"

9. The twofold result of rejecting the message.

a. Deadening of spirituality.

b. Influx of a mechanical, formal profession of faith.

10. The climactic question: "Is this mournful condition of things to continue?"

Verily it is a sobering resume!

The Results of Division of Opinion

The division and conflict which arose among the leaders because of the opposition to the message of righteousness in Christ, produced a very unfavorable reaction. The rank and file of the people were confused, and did not know what to do. Concerning this reaction, we read:

"If our brethren were all laborers together with God, they would not doubt but that the message, he has sent us during these last two years is from heaven. Our young men look to our older brethren, and as they see that they do not accept the message, but treat it as though it were of no consequence, it influences those who are ignorant of the Scriptures to reject the light. These men who refuse to receive truth, interpose themselves between the people and the light. But there is no excuse for anyone's refusing the light, for it has been plainly revealed. There is no need of anyone's being in ignorance. . . . Instead of pressing your weight against the chariot of truth that is being pulled up an inclined road, you should work with all the energy you can summon to push it on." – Review and Herald, March 18,1890.

"For nearly two years, we have been urging the people to come up and accept the light and the truth concerning the righteousness of Christ, and they do not know whether to come and take hold of this precious truth or not. They are bound about with their own ideas. They do not let the Saviour in." – Review and Herald, March 11, 1890.

"Some have turned from the message of the righteousness of Christ to criticize the men. . . . The third angel's message will not be comprehended, the light which will lighten the earth with its glory will be called a false light, by those who refuse to walk in its advancing glory. The work that might have been done, will be left undone by the rejectors of truth, because of their unbelief. We entreat of you who oppose the light of truth, to stand out of the way of God's people. Let Heaven sent light shine forth upon them in clear and steady rays." – Review and Herald, May 27, 1890.

"There is sadness in heaven over the spiritual blindness of many of our brethren. . . . The Lord has raised up messengers and endued them with His Spirit, and has said, 'Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.' Let no one run the risk of interposing himself between the people and the message of

Heaven. The message of God will come to the people; and if there were no voice among men to give it, the very stones would cry out. I call upon every minister to seek the Lord, to put away pride, to put away strife after supremacy, and humble the heart before God. It is the coldness of heart, the unbelief of those who ought to have faith, that keeps the churches in feebleness." – Review and Herald, July 26,1892.

The solemn import of these Heaven-indited words should not be missed. Mark well these crystal-clear statements:

1. The message of 1888-90 was from heaven.

2. Its rejection by some of the more experienced brethren led the younger men into uncertainty and confusion.

3. Those who rejected the message, interposed themselves between the people and the light.

4. There is no excuse; the light has been plainly revealed.

5. The reason men are slow to take hold of this precious truth is that they are bound about with their own ideas.

6. The course of some has been to turn from the message to criticise the messengers.

7. Those who refuse to walk in this advancing light, will be unable to comprehend the third angel's message.

8. Those who refuse to walk in this heavenly light, that is to lighten the earth with its glory, will call it a "false light."

9. As a result of their unbelief, important work will be left undone.

10. Solemn entreaty to those who oppose the light to "stand out of the way" of the people.

11. Such spiritual blindness causes "sadness in heaven."

12. The positive assurance that God "raised up messengers and endued them with His Spirit."

13. If there had been no human voice lifted to give the message, the very stones would have cried out.

14. The call to every minister to humble the heart before God in order that spiritual strength may come to the church.

Surely comment on such solemn warnings and entreaties would be superfluous.

Fundamental Principles Involved

Back of the opposition is revealed the shrewd plotting of that master mind of evil, the enemy of all righteousness. The very fact of his determination to neutralize the message and its inevitable effects, is evidence of its great value and importance; and how terrible must be the results of any victory of his in defeating it! Concerning Satan's shrewd planning, we are given plain warning:

"The enemy of man and God is not willing that this truth [justification by faith] should be clearly presented; for he knows that if the people receive it fully, his power will be broken. If he can control minds so that doubt and unbelief and darkness shall compose the experience of those who claim to be the children of God, he can overcome them with temptation." – Review and Herald, Sept. 3,1889.

"Our present position is interesting and perilous. The danger of refusing light from heaven should make us watchful unto prayer, lest we should any of us have an evil heart of unbelief. When the Lamb of God was crucified on Calvary, the death knell of Satan was sounded; and if the enemy of truth and righteousness can obliterate from the mind the thought that it is necessary to depend upon the righteousness of Christ for salvation, he will do it. If Satan can succeed in leading man to place value upon his own works as works of merit and righteousness, he knows that he can overcome him by his temptations, and make him his victim and prey. Lift up Jesus before the people. Strike the doorposts with the blood of Calvary's Lamb, and you are safe." – Review and Herald, Sept. 3, 1889.

Once more let us summarize these statements, because of their far-reaching importance:

1. It is Satan who is unwilling that the truth of Righteousness by Faith shall be presented.

2. The reason is that, if this truth is fully received by the people, his power will be broken.

3. If Satan can throw about the people doubt and unbelief, he can overcome them through temptation.

4. It is Satan's endeavor to obliterate from the mind that it is necessary to depend upon the righteousness of Christ for salvation.

5. Satan knows that if he can lead men to depend upon their own works for righteousness, they will be his victims.

6. Therefore the call is sounded: Lift up the crucified Saviour, and place your trust in His blood.

What a challenge to prayer is here presented! How we should seek God in humility for the anointing of the heavenly eyesalve! Only by the full acceptance and appropriation of these glorious provisions can a people be prepared to stand without spot or wrinkle before a holy God at His coming. Only thus may His commandments be truly kept, and only by this divine power can the church finish its great commission.

CHAPTER FIVE

The Message Of 1888 Marks A New Era In The Proclamation Of The Third Angel's Message

Careful study of the instruction given by the Spirit of prophecy leads to the deep conviction that the coming of the message of Righteousness by Faith at the Minneapolis Conference, was a signal providence of God - a providence designed to initiate the beginning of a new era in the finishing of His work. The following statement, written just four years after the Minneapolis Conference in 1888, affords basis for this conclusion:

"The time of test is just upon us, for the loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth." – Review and Herald, Nov. 22,1892.

Almost alarming in character are the statements in the foregoing paragraph. They have a very important bearing on the work which Seventh-day Adventists are carrying forward, and therefore are of the greatest interest to all who are connected with the work of proclaiming the third angel's message. Let us reread the paragraph from an analytical standpoint:

1. The time of test is just upon us.

2. The loud cry of the third angel has already begun.

3. It began in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ (the message of 1888).

4. This marks the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth.

The events mentioned in this paragraph are the same as those brought to view in Revelation 18:1, 2: "After these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird."

The explanation of this scripture, as given by the Spirit of prophecy, should be carefully noted:

"I saw angels hurrying to and fro in heaven, descending to the earth, and again ascending to heaven, preparing for the fulfillment of some important event. Then I saw another mighty angel commissioned to descend to the earth, to unite his voice with the third angel, and give power and force to his message. Great power and glory were imparted to the angel, and as he descended, the earth was lightened with his glory. The light which attended this angel penetrated everywhere, as he cried mightily, with a strong voice.... The work of this angel comes in at the right time to join in the last great work of the third angel's message, as it swells to a loud cry. And the people of God are thus prepared to stand in the hour of temptation, which they are soon to meet. I saw a great light resting upon them, and they united to fearlessly proclaim the third angel's message." – "Early Writings," p. 277.

The panorama of events presented in the foregoing paragraph is so extensive and so full of meaning that it may be helpful to note each event separately:

1. A mighty angel comes down from heaven to earth.

2. The work of this angel is:

a. To unite his voice with the third angel.

b. To give power and force to the third angel's message.

3. Great power and glory were imparted to this angel:

a. The earth was lightened with his glory.

b. The light penetrated everywhere.

4. The work of this mighty angel comes in at just the right time to join in the last great work of the third angel's message.

5. As a result of the coming of this mighty angel, the message swells into a loud cry.

6. The power attending this mighty angel prepares the people of God to stand in the hour of trial.

7. This preparation is recognized by heaven in the bestowal of "a great light" to rest upon God's people.

8. The culmination of all these events is a united people, fearlessly proclaiming the third angel's message.

Inseparably connected with this program of great events is the visitation of the "latter rain" upon the remnant church. Note the following paragraph:

"While the work of salvation is closing, trouble will be coming on the earth, and the nations will be angry, yet held in check so as not to prevent the work of the third angel. At that time the 'latter rain,' or refreshing from the presence of the Lord, will come, to give power to the loud voice of the third angel, and prepare the saints to stand in the period when the seven last plagues shall be poured out." – "Early Writings," pp. 85, 86.

This places the latter rain visitation with the loud cry, the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, and the flooding of the earth with the light of the third angel's message.

This is a program of truly thrilling events. It was outlined by the Spirit of prophecy at the very beginning of our movement. And then, to awaken and arouse us to its serious import, a most solemn and impressive message regarding the same events was given us following the memorable Conference of 1888. The following vital statements taken from that message will give emphasis to the subject under consideration:

1. An Eventful Period of Time.

"The days in which we live are eventful and full of peril. The signs of the coming of the end are thickening around us, and events are to come to pass that will be of a more terrible character than any the world has yet witnessed."

2. The "Loud Cry" Begins.

"The time of test is just upon us, for the loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the

angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth."

3. The Essential Preparation to Stand in the Time of Trouble.

"If you would stand through the time of trouble, you must know Christ and appropriate the gift of His righteousness, which He imputes to the repentant sinner."

4. The Message to Be Preached.

"A work is to be accomplished in the earth similar to that which took place at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the days of the early disciples, when they preached Jesus and Him crucified. Many will be converted in a day; for the message will go with power."

"The theme that attracts the heart of the sinner is Christ, and Him crucified. On the cross of Calvary, Jesus stands revealed to the world in unparalleled love. Present Him thus to the hungering multitudes, and the light of His love will win men from darkness to light, from transgression to obedience and true holiness. Beholding Jesus upon the cross of Calvary arouses the conscience to the heinous character of sin as nothing else can do."

"Christ has not been presented in connection with a law as a faithful and merciful high priest, who was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. He has not been lifted up before the sinner as the divine sacrifice. His work as sacrifice, substitute, and surety, has been only coldly and casually dwelt upon; but this is what the sinner needs to know. It is Christ in His fullness as a sin-pardoning Saviour, that the sinner must see; for the unparalleled love of Christ, through the agency of the Holy Spirit, will bring conviction and conversion to the hardened heart."

5. The Power That Gives Efficiency to the Preaching.

"The work of the Holy Spirit is immeasurably great. It is from this source that power and efficiency come to the worker for God; and the Holy Spirit is the Comforter, as the personal presence of Christ to the soul."

When the earth is lightened with the glory of God, we shall see a work similar to that which was wrought when the disciples, filled with the Holy Spirit, proclaimed the power of a risen Saviour."

"The revelation of Christ by the Holy Spirit brought to them [the disciples] a realizing sense of His power and majesty, and they stretched forth their hands unto Him by faith, saying, 'I believe.' Thus it was in the time of the early rain; but the latter rain will be more abundant. The Saviour of men will be glorified, and the earth will be lightened with the bright shining of the beams of His righteousness." – The foregoing five quotations are from the Review and Herald, Nov. 22, and 29, 1892; article entitled, "The Perils and Privileges of the Last Days."*

* See Appendix, pp. 122-128.

It will be seen that all these events are associated together to be in operation at the same time. Placed in their natural order, they stand as follows:

1. The revelation and appropriation by faith of the righteousness of Christ.

 

2. The bestowal of the latter rain.

3. The impartation of great power to the receivers.

4. The swelling of the third angel's message into the "loud cry."

5. The enlightening of the earth with the "bright shining of the beams of righteousness."

It is evident that the beginning, or opening, of all these events is at the same time. The appearance of one is a signal for all to appear.

And now mark the positive declaration:

"The loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth." – Review and Herald, Nov. 22,1892.

This was declared in 1892. What marked the fresh, or new, revelation of the righteousness of Christ and the beginning of the loud cry? As the statement itself points out, it was "the revelation of the righteousness of Christ" as set forth at the Minneapolis Conference.

Now these important manifestations are ordained of God for the finishing of His work in the earth. When they began, they marked the starting point for that closing work. That place, that hour, was reached in 1888.

This is a tremendous conclusion, but what other conclusion can be reached with all the statements before us? Why should this conclusion be thought incredible? We believe the statements to be true. We have looked for their fulfillment. Our waiting for the fulfillment has been anxious and long. The fulfillment will be witnessed by someone. Why may we not see it and be in it?

Should we not seek most seriously and earnestly to know what may be hindering the fulfillment in all its power? And why should we not pray for a yearning desire to co-operate fully with the Lord in hastening His work to its close?

CHAPTER SIX

The Third Angel's Message in Verity

A Serious question arose in the minds of some who heard the message of Righteousness by Faith presented at the Minneapolis Conference, as to the relation that message bore to the third angel's message. In their perplexity, a number wrote to Mrs. E. G. White for an expression of her views on this question.

Regarding this inquiry and her reply, we have her published statement, as follows:

"Several have written to me, inquiring if the message of justification by faith is the third angel's message, and I have answered, 'It is the third angel's message in verity." – Review and Herald, April 1, 1890.

There is more in this statement than a brief, clear, positive answer to a question. It has a deep, vital meaning. It sounds a serious warning, and makes an intelligent, earnest appeal to every believer in the third angel's message. Let us give the statement careful study.

Justification by faith, it is affirmed, is "the third angel's message in verity." The words "in verity" mean, in fact, in reality, in very truth. That means that the message of justification by faith and the third angel's message are the same in purpose, in scope, and in results.

Justification by faith is God's way of saving sinners; His way of convicting sinners of their guilt, their condemnation, and their utterly undone and lost condition. It is also God's way of canceling their guilt, delivering them from the condemnation of His divine law, and giving them a new and right standing before Him and His holy law. Justification by faith is God's way of changing weak, sinful, defeated men and women into strong, righteous, victorious Christians.

Now if it be true that justification by faith is "the third angel's message in verity," – in fact, in reality, - it must be that the genuine understanding and appropriation of the third angel's message is designed to do for and in those who receive it, the full work of justification by faith. That this is its purpose, is evident from the following considerations:

1. The great threefold message of Revelation 14, which we designate by the term "the third angel's message," is declared to be "the everlasting gospel." Rev. 14:6.

2. The message makes the solemn announcement that the "hour of His judgment is come."

3. It admonishes all who are to meet God at His great tribunal, to be judged by His righteous law, to "fear God, and give glory to Him," - and to "worship Him that made heaven, and earth." Verse 7.

4. The result, or fruitage, of this message of warning and admonition is the development of a people of whom it is declared: "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Verse 12.

In all this we have the facts of justification by faith. The message is the gospel of salvation from sin, condemnation, and death. The judgment brings men and women face to face with the law of righteousness, by which they are to be tried. Because of their guilt and condemnation, they are warned to fear and worship God. This involves conviction of guilt, repentance, confession, and renunciation. This is the ground of forgiveness, cleansing, and justification. Those who enter into this experience have had wrought into their characters the sweet, beautiful grace of patience, in an age of all-pervading irritability and fiery temper, which is destroying the peace, happiness, and safety of the human race. What is that but justification by faith? The word declares that, "being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Rom. 5: 1.

But more still, these believers "keep the commandments of God." They have experienced the marvelous change from hating and transgressing the law of God, to loving and keeping its righteous precepts. Their standing before the law has been changed. Their guilt has been canceled; their condemnation has been removed, and the death sentence has been annulled. Having accepted Christ as Saviour, they have received His righteousness and His life.

This wondrous transformation can be wrought only by the grace and power of God, and it is wrought for those only who lay hold of Christ as their substitute, their surety, their Redeemer. Therefore, it is said that they "keep the faith of Jesus." This reveals the secret of their rich, deep experience. They laid hold of the faith of Jesus, – that faith by which He triumphed over the powers of darkness.

"When the sinner believes that Christ is his personal Saviour, then, according to His unfailing promises, God pardons his sin, and justifies him freely. The repentant soul realizes that his justification comes because Christ, as his substitute and surety, has died for him, as his atonement and righteousness. " – Review and Herald, Nov. 4, 1890.

As already pointed out, we find in the experiences of those who triumph in the third angel's message all the facts of justification by faith. For this reason, it is quite true that justification by faith is "the third angel's message in verity."

And here it may be well to call attention to the fact that both justification by faith and the third angel's message are the gospel of Christ in verity. This is made apparent by a statement from the apostle Paul, who declares that the "gospel of Christ ... is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth. . . . For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith." Rom. 1: 16, 17.

The facts here presented are these:

1. The gospel is a manifestation of God's power at work, delivering sinners from their sins and planting in them His own righteousness.

2. But this is done for those only who believe.

3. This is being made just, or righteous, by faith.

4. And this is the purpose of both the message of justification by faith and the third angel's message.

What, then, is the important lesson to be gained from the statement we have had under examination? What is the warning it sounds? Plainly the following:

That all who accept the third angel's message should enter into the experience of justification by faith. They should have Christ revealed to and in them. They should know by personal experience the work of regeneration. They should have the fullest assurance that they have been born anew, from above, and that they have passed from death unto life. They should know that their guilt has been canceled, that they have been delivered from the condemnation of the law, and are thus ready to appear before the judgment seat of Christ. They should know by victorious experience that they have laid hold of, and are being kept by, "the faith of Jesus," and that by this faith they are empowered to keep the commandments of God.

To fail to enter into this experience, will be to miss the real, vital, redeeming virtue of the third angel's message. Unless this experience is gained, the believer will have only the theory, the doctrines, the forms and activities, of the message. That will prove a fatal and awful mistake. The theory, the doctrines, even the most earnest activities of the message, cannot save from sin, nor prepare the heart to meet God in judgment.

It is regarding the danger of making this fatal mistake that we are warned. Formalism -having "the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law," without having a living experience in Christ - is the hidden rock that has wrecked untold thousands of professed followers of Christ. It is against this danger that we are seriously warned.

But there is more than warning in this statement. There is appeal also - an earnest, winsome appeal to enter into fellowship with Christ Jesus our Lord. There is a call to the highest tablelands of Christian experience. There is assurance that when justified by faith, we shall have peace with God, and shall be able continually to rejoice in hope of the glory of God. There is promise that we shall not be put to shame by defeat in our conflict with sin, because the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given unto us. Rom. 5:1-5.

O that we had all listened as we should to both warning and appeal as they came to us in that seemingly strange, yet impressive, way at the Conference of 1888! What uncertainty would have been removed, what wanderings and defeats and losses would have been prevented! What light and blessing and triumph and progress would have come to us! But thanks be unto Him who loves us with an everlasting love, it is not too late even now to respond with the whole heart to both warning and appeal, and receive the great benefits provided.

CHAPTER SEVEN

A Fundamental, All-Embracing Truth

In preceding chapters the subject of Righteousness by Faith has been dealt with largely in its historical aspect, – the time, the place, and the manner in which the Lord chose to bring His people face to face with this vital, fundamental truth of the gospel for the purpose of adding strength, power, and expansion to the proclamation of the third angel's message which had been so signally entrusted to them. We now come to an analysis of the subject in its broad aspect, as it is presented in the writings of the Spirit of prophecy.

The Minneapolis Conference adjourned with the minds of the delegates in more or less uncertainty and confusion regarding the message of Righteousness by Faith that had been set forth. But the presentation of this vital truth, with all the agitation, discussion, and perplexity it occasioned, was not in vain by any means. It started new thought and study regarding the great theme of justification by faith, and led many into a better, richer appreciation of the Saviour as their substitute and surety. Among the greatest of all the blessings that have followed that meeting has been the abundant instruction which the Lord has sent to His people through the Spirit of prophecy regarding our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and how to live His life by faith. This instruction is truly illuminating.

It is worthy of note that since the Minneapolis Conference there have come to us, through the Spirit of prophecy, the following volumes of instruction:

"Steps to Christ," in 1892.

"Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing," in 1896.

"The Desire of Ages," in 1898.

"Christ's Object Lessons," in 1900.

"Ministry of Healing," in 1905.

"Acts of the Apostles," in 1911.

It is well known to all who have read these books that the great dominant theme is Christ, – His victorious life in humanity, His atoning sacrifice on the cross, and how He now may be made unto us poor mortals, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.

Besides these intensely spiritual books, scores and scores of messages have been sent to us through the Review and Herald, which contain the clearest and most helpful instruction regarding the subject of righteousness by faith. All this is of priceless value to the church. It throws a flood of light upon the great problem of redemption in all its phases.

In studying further into the subject of Righteousness by Faith, as set forth in the Spirit of prophecy, it is important that there should be a clear understanding of its scope. This is not a doctrine of limited intent or of minor consequence. It is not a subject with which one may or may not be familiar and fare as well. Righteousness by Faith, in its larger meaning, embraces every vital, fundamental truth of the gospel. It begins with man's moral standing when created, and deals with –

1. The law by which man is to live.

2. Transgression of that law.

3. Penalty for transgression.

4. Problem of redemption.

 

5. Love of Father and Son which made redemption possible.

6. Justice in accepting a substitute.

7. Nature of the atonement.

8. Incarnation.

9. Sinless life of Christ.

10. Vicarious death of the Son of God.

11. Burial, resurrection, and ascension.

12. The Father's assurance of a satisfactory substitution.

13. The coming of the Holy Spirit.

14. Ministry of Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary.

15. The part required of the sinner in order to be redeemed.

16. Nature of faith, repentance, confession, obedience.

17. Meaning and experience of regeneration, justification, and sanctification.

18. Need and place of the Holy Spirit and word of God in making real to men what was made possible on the cross.

19. Victory over sin through the indwelling Christ.

20. Place of works in the life of the believer.

21. Place of prayer in receiving and holding the righteousness of Christ.

22. The culmination and deliverance in the return of the Redeemer.

This is the great sweep of truth embraced in the short phrase "Righteousness by Faith." "A small key," says Pierson, "may open a very complex lock and a very large door, and that door itself may lead into a vast building with priceless stores of wealth and beauty." The brief phrase, "Righteousness by Faith," opens the door to all the priceless stores of the wealth and glory of the gospel in Christ Jesus our Lord.

It is worth while to note at this point some of the expressions found in the writings of the Spirit of prophecy which serve to introduce or provide appropriate framework for this beautiful truth.

It Bears the Divine Credentials

"The present message - justification by faith - is a message from God; it bears the divine credentials, for its fruit is unto holiness. " – Review and Herald, Sept. 3, 1889.

A Precious Thought

"The thought that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, not because of any merit on our part, but as a free gift from God, seemed a precious thought." – Review and Herald, Sept. 3, 1889

It Is Sweetest Melodies

"The sweetest melodies that come from human lips, - justification by faith, and the righteousness of Christ. " – Review and Herald, April 4, 1895.

It Is a Pure White Pearl

"The righteousness of Christ, as a pure white pearl, has no defect, no stain, no guilt. This righteousness may be ours." – Review and Herald, Aug. 8, 1899.

In its truest sense, righteousness by faith is not a theory; it is an experience, a vital change which takes place in the believer in Christ. It gives the sinner a new standing before God. It is the essence of Christianity, for we read:

"The sum and substance of the whole matter of Christian grace and experience is contained in believing on Christ, in knowing God and His Son whom He hath sent." "Religion means the abiding of Christ in the heart, and where He is, the soul goes on in spiritual activity, ever growing in grace, ever going on to perfection." – Review and Herald, May 24, 1892.

To lose sight of this wonderful, fundamental, all-embracing truth is to miss that which is vital in the plan of redemption.

CHAPTER EIGHT

The Deadly Peril of Formalism

Interwoven all through the instruction given by the Spirit of prophecy regarding the great importance of receiving, experiencing, and proclaiming the gracious truth of Righteousness by Faith, we find impressive warnings concerning the great peril of formalism.

Righteousness by Faith is not formalism. The two are direct opposites. Righteousness by Faith is an experience, a reality. It involves a complete transformation of the life. He who has entered into this new life has experienced deep contrition, and has made sincere, heartfelt confession and repudiation of sin. With his divine Lord, he has come to love righteousness and hate iniquity. And being justified, - accounted righteous by faith, - he has peace with God. He is a new creature; old things have passed away; all things have become new.

Formalism is vastly different. It is of the head, and deals with externals. It stops with the theory of religion. It goes no deeper than the form and the pretense. Hence it is like salt without savor. It is a joyless, loveless religion, for it does not bring peace, assurance, and victory. Formalism springs from and thrives in the natural heart, where it has its root. It is one of those subtle, all-pervading evils which the Redeemer came to uproot and eliminate from the human heart.

Formalism has always been a real peril to the church. A Christian writer of modern times has referred to this subtle peril as follows:

"The gospel of externalism is dear to the human heart. It may take the form of culture and moralities; or of 'services' and sacraments and churchly order; or of orthodoxy and philanthropy. These and such things make themselves our idols; and trust in them takes the place of faith in the living Christ. It is not enough that the eyes of our heart should have once seen the Lord, that we should in other days have experienced 'the renewing of the Holy Ghost.' It is possible to forget, possible to 'remove from Him that called us in the grace of Christ.' With little change in the form of our religious life, its inward reality of joy in God, of conscious sonship, of fellowship in the Spirit, may be utterly departed. The gospel of formalism will spring up and flourish on the most evangelical soil, and in the most strictly Pauline churches. Let it be banned and barred out never so completely; it knows how to find entrance, under the simplest modes of worship and the soundest doctrine. The serried defense of Articles and Confessions constructed against it will not prevent its entrance, and may even prove its cover and intrenchment. Nothing avails, as the apostle says, but a constant 'new creation.' The life of God in human souls is sustained by the energy of His Spirit, perpetually renewed, ever proceeding from the Father and the Son. 'The life that I live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.' This is the true orthodoxy. The vitality of his personal faith in Christ kept Paul safe from error, faithful in will and intellect to the one gospel." – G. G. Findlay, in his exposition of "The Epistle to the Galatians" (Expositor's Bible), pp. 42, 43.

The warnings of the Spirit of prophecy deal with this peril in its many phases, as the following extracts clearly indicate:

Formalism in Preaching

"Scores of men have preached the word when they themselves had not faith in it, and did not obey its teachings. They were unconverted, unsanctified, unholy. But if we would stand the test, piety must be brought into the life. What we want is inspiration from the cross of Calvary. Then God will open eyes to see that we are not to expect to do any work for the Master successfully, unless we connect with Christ. If we are indeed laborers together with God, we shall not have a dead, scientific religion, but our hearts will be infused with a living power, even the Spirit of Jesus." – Review and Herald, Jan. 31, 1893.

"Many present the doctrines and theories of our faith; but their presentation is as salt without savor; for the Holy Spirit is not working through their faithless ministry. They have not opened the heart to receive the grace of Christ; they know not the operation of the Spirit; they are as meal without leaven; for there is no working principle in all their labor, and they fail to win souls to Christ. They do not appropriate the righteousness of Christ; it is a robe unworn by them, a fullness unknown, a fountain untouched." – Review and Herald, Nov. 29, 1892.

"Ministers are wanted who feel the necessity of being laborers together with God, who will go forth to bring the people up in spiritual knowledge to the full measure of Christ. Ministers are wanted who will educate themselves by solemn, reverential communion with God in the closet, so that they shall be men of power in prayer. Piety is degenerating into a dead form, and it is necessary to strengthen the things that remain that are ready to die." – Review and Herald, May 24, 1892.

"A man may preach pleasing, entertaining sermons, yet be far from Christ as regards religious experience. He may be exalted to the pinnacle of human greatness, yet never have experienced the inward work of grace that transforms the character. Such a one is deceived by his connection and familiarity with the sacred truths of the gospel, which have reached the intellect, but have not been brought into the inner sanctuary of the soul. We must have more than an intellectual belief in the truth." – Review and Herald, Feb. 14, 1899.

"Could we now leave the cold, traditional sentiments which hinder our advancement, we would view the work of saving souls in an altogether different light." – Review and Herald, May 6, 1890.

Theory of Truth Not Sufficient

"Our doctrines may be correct; we may hate false doctrine, and may not receive those who are not true to principle; we may labor with untiring energy; but even this is not sufficient.... A belief in the theory of the truth is not enough. To present this theory to unbelievers does not constitute you a witness for Christ." – Review and Herald, Feb. 3, 1891.

"The trouble with our work has been that we have been content to present a cold theory of the truth." – Review and Herald, May 28, 1889.

"How much more power would attend the preaching of the word today, if men dwelt less upon the theories and arguments of men, and far more upon the lessons of Christ, and upon practical

godliness." – Review and Herald, Jan. 7, 1890.

The Only Way Truth Becomes of Value to the Soul

"The truth is of no value to any soul unless it is brought into the inner sanctuary, and sanctifies the soul. Piety will degenerate, and religion become a shallow sentimentalism, unless the plow-share of truth is made to go deep into the fallow ground of the heart." – Review and Herald, May 14, 1892.

"A theoretical knowledge of the truth is essential. But the knowledge of the greatest truth will not save us; our knowledge must be practical.... . The truth must be brought into their hearts, sanctifying and cleansing them from all earthliness and sensuality in the most private life. The soul temple must be cleansed. – Review and Herald, May 24, 1887.

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The greatest deception of the human mind in Christ's day was, that a mere assent to the truth constitutes righteousness. In all human experience a theoretical knowledge of the truth has been proved to be insufficient for the saving of the soul. It does not bring forth the fruits of righteousness. A jealous regard for what is termed theological truth, often accompanies a hatred of genuine truth as made manifest in life. The darkest chapters of history are burdened with the record of crimes committed by bigoted religionists. The Pharisees claimed to be children of Abraham, and boasted of their possession of the oracles of God; yet these advantages did not preserve them from selfishness, malignity, greed for gain, and the basest hypocrisy. They thought themselves the greatest religionists of the world, but their so-called orthodoxy led them to crucify the Lord of glory.

"The same danger still exists. Many take it for granted that they are Christians, simply because they subscribe to certain theological tenets. But they have not brought the truth into practical life. They have not believed and loved it, therefore they have not received the power and grace that come through sanctification of the truth. Men may profess faith in the truth; but if it does not make them sincere, kind, patient, forbearing, heavenly-minded, it is a curse to its possessors, and through their influence it is a curse to the world." – "The Desire of Ages," pp. 309, 310.

"The tremendous issues of eternity demand of us something besides an imaginary religion, - a religion of words and forms, where the truth is kept in the outer court, to be admired as we admire a beautiful flower; they demand something more than a religion of feeling, which distrusts God when trials and difficulties come. Holiness does not consist in profession, but in lifting the cross, doing the will of God." – Review and Herald, May 21, 1908.

"In the lives of many of those whose names are on the church books there has been no genuine change. The truth has been kept in the outer court. There has been no genuine conversion, no positive work of grace done in the heart. Their desire to do God's will is based upon their own inclination, not upon the deep conviction of the Holy Spirit. Their conduct is not brought into harmony with the law of God. They profess to accept Christ as their Saviour, but they do not believe that He will give them power to overcome their sins. They have not a personal acquaintance with a living Saviour, and their characters reveal many blemishes. "– Review and Herald, July 7, 1904.

"Our hope is to be constantly strengthened by the knowledge that Christ is our righteousness.... The meager views which so many have had of the exalted character and office of Christ have narrowed their religious experience, and have greatly hindered their progress in the divine life. Personal religion among us as a people is at a low ebb. There is much form, much machinery, much tongue religion; but something deeper and more solid must be brought into our religious experience.... What we need is to know God and the power of His love, as revealed in Christ, by an experimental knowledge.... Through the merits of Christ, through His righteousness, which by faith is imputed unto us, we are to attain to the perfection of Christian character." – "Testimonies," Vol. V, pp. 742-744 (written in 1890).

Cold, Legal Religion – A Christless Religion

"A cold, legal religion can never lead souls to Christ; for it is a loveless, Christless religion." – Review and Herald, March 20, 1894.

"The saving salt is the pure first love, the love of Jesus, the gold tried in the fire. When this is left out of the religious experience, Jesus is not there; the light, the sunshine of His presence, is not there. What, then, is the religion worth? – Just as much as the salt that has lost its savor. It is a loveless religion. Then there is an effort to supply the lack by busy activity, a zeal that is Christless" – Review and Herald, Feb. 9,1892.

Formal Religion Devoid of Saving Faith

"High pretensions, forms, and ceremonies, however imposing, do not make the heart good and the character pure. True love for God is an active principle, a purifying agency.... The Jewish nation had occupied the highest position; they had built walls great and high to enclose themselves from association with the heathen world; they had represented themselves as the special, loyal people who were favored of God. But Christ presented their religion as devoid of saving faith." – Review and Herald, April 30,1895.

"It is possible to be a formal, partial believer, and yet be found wanting, and lose eternal life. It is possible to practice some of the Bible injunctions, and be regarded as a Christian, and yet perish because you are lacking in essential qualifications that constitute Christian character. " – Review and Herald, Jan. 11, 1887.

"To subscribe the name to a church creed is not of the least value to anyone if the heart is not truly changed. . . . Men may be church members, and may apparently work earnestly, performing a round of duties from year to year, and yet be unconverted." – Review and Herald, Feb. 14, 1899.

"There is a form of religion which is nothing more than selfishness. It takes pleasure in worldly enjoyment. It is satisfied with contemplating the religion of Christ, and knows nothing of its saving power. Those who possess this religion regard sin lightly because they do not know Jesus. While in this condition they estimate duty very lightly." – Review and Herald, May 21, 1908.

"It is painful to see the unbelief that exists in the hearts of many of God's professed followers. We have the most precious truths ever committed to mortals, and the faith of those who have received these truths should correspond to their greatness and value." – Review and Herald, March 5, 1889.

"There are many who do not feel averse to suffering, but they do not exercise simple, living faith. They say they do not know what it means to take God at His word. They have a religion of outward forms and observances." – Review and Herald, March 5,1889.

"All who assume the ornaments of the sanctuary, but are not clothed with Christ's righteousness, will appear in the shame of their own nakedness." "Testimonies," Vol. V, p. 81.

"The five foolish virgins had lamps (this means a knowledge of the Scripture truth), but they had not the grace of Christ. Day by day they went through a round of ceremonies and external duties, but their service was lifeless, devoid of the righteousness of Christ. The Sun of Righteousness did not shine in their hearts and minds, and they had not the love of the truth which conforms to the life and character, the image and superscription, of Christ. The oil of grace was not mingled with their endeavors. Their religion was a dry husk without the true kernel. They held fast to forms of doctrines, but they were deceived in their Christian life, full of self-righteousness, and failing to learn lessons in the school of Christ, which, if practiced, would have made them wise unto salvation." – Review and Herald, March 27,1894.

Danger in Depending Upon Human Plans and Methods

"While we are incased in self-righteousness, and trust in ceremonies, and depend on rigid rules, we cannot do the work for this time." – Review and Herald, May 6,1890.

"The observance of external forms will never meet the great want of the human soul. A mere profession of Christ is not enough to prepare one to stand the test of the judgment." – Review and Herald, Jan. 25,1887.

"Let us not forget that as activity increases, and we become successful in doing the work that must be accomplished, there is danger of our trusting in human plans and methods. There will be a tendency to pray less, and to have less faith." – Review and Herald, July 4, 1893.

"Spiritual things have not been discerned. Appearance and machinery have been exalted as of power, while the virtues of true goodness, noble piety, and heart holiness, have been made a secondary consideration. That which should have been made first has been made last and of least importance. " – Review and Herald, Feb. 27, 1894.

"When fastings and prayers are practiced in a self-justifying spirit, they are abominable to God. The solemn assembly for worship, the round of religious ceremonies, the external humiliation, the imposed sacrifice, - all proclaim to the world the testimony that the doer of these things considers himself righteous. These things call attention to the observer of rigorous duties, saying, This man is entitled to heaven. But it is all a deception. Works will not buy for us an entrance into heaven. . . . Faith in Christ will be the means whereby the right spirit and motive will actuate the believer, and all goodness and heavenly-mindedness will proceed from him who

looks unto Jesus, the author and finisher of his faith." – Review and Herald, March 20, 1894.

"There are many who seem to imagine that outside observances are sufficient for salvation; but formalism, rigorous attendance on religious exercises, will fail to bring the peace of God which passeth understanding. It is Jesus alone who can give us peace."

– Review and Herald. Nov. 18, 1890.

"Those who have not a daily experience in the things of God will not move wisely. They may have a legal religion, a form of godliness, there may be an appearance of light in the church; all the machinery - much of it human invention - may appear to be working well, and yet the church may be as destitute of the grace of God as were the hills of Gilboa of dew and rain." – Review and Herald, Jan.31,1893.