Reading No. 1–Friday, December 5, 2008
by Ellen.G. White
The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. Many had lost sight of Jesus. They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family. All power is given into His hands, that He may dispense rich gifts unto men, imparting the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless human agent. This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel’s message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure.
The efficacy of the blood of Christ was to be presented to the people with freshness and power, that their faith might lay hold upon its merits…. As the serpent was lifted up in the wilderness by Moses, and all that had been bitten by the fiery serpents were bidden to look and live, so also the Son of man must be lifted up, that ‘whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, pp. 91, 92, 93.
Justification by Faith
The grace of Christ is freely to justify the sinner without merit or claim on his part. Justification is a full, complete pardon of sin. The moment a sinner accepts Christ by faith, that moment he is pardoned. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to him, and he is no more to doubt God’s forgiving grace. –The Signs of the Times, May 19, 1898.
Justification is the opposite of condemnation. God’s boundless mercy is exercised toward those who are wholly undeserving. He forgives transgressions and sins for the sake of Jesus, who has become the propitiation for our sins. Through faith in Christ, the guilty transgressor is brought into favor with God and into the strong hope of life eternal. –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 6, pp. 1070, 1071.
The great work that is wrought for the sinner who is spotted and stained by evil is the work of justification. By Him who speaketh truth he is declared right-eous. The Lord imputes unto the believer the righteousness of Christ and pronounces him righteous before the universe. –Selected Messages, Book 1, p. 392.
The root sends its nourishment through the branch. Such is the true believer’s relation to Christ. …
When this intimacy of connection and communion is formed, our sins are laid upon Christ; His righteousness is imputed to us. He was made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. We have access to God through Him; we are accepted in the Beloved. –Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, p. 229.
What is justification by faith? It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself. When men see their own nothingness, they are prepared to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ. …
The righteousness of Christ, as a pure white pearl, has no defect, no stain, no guilt. This righteousness may be ours. Salvation, with its blood-bought, inestimable treasures, is the pearl of great price. –The Faith I Live By, p. 111.
Righteousness is holiness, likeness to God, and ‘God is love.’ 1 John 4:16. It is conformity to the law of God, for ‘all Thy commandments are righteousness’ (Psalm 119:172), and ‘love is the fulfilling of the law’ (Romans 13:10). Righteousness is love, and love is the light and the life of God. The righteousness of God is embod-ied in Christ. We receive righteousness by receiving Him. –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 18.
The Righteousness of Christ
Ample provisions have been made for all who sincerely, earnestly, and thoughtfully set about the work of perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Strength, grace, and glory have been provided through Christ, to be brought by ministering angels to the heirs of salvation. None are so low, so corrupt and vile, that they cannot find in Jesus, who died for them, strength, purity, and righteousness, if they will put away their sins, cease their course of iniquity, and turn with full purpose of heart to the living God. He is waiting to strip them of their garments, stained and polluted by sin, and to put upon them the white, bright robes of righteousness; and He bids them live and not die. In Him they may flourish. Their branches will not wither nor be fruitless. If they abide in Him, they can draw sap and nourishment from Him, be imbued with His Spirit, walk even as He walked, overcome as He overcame, and be exalted to His own right hand. –Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 2, pp. 453, 454.
The very conflicts and rebuffs we meet are to make us stronger and give stability to our faith. We are not to be swayed, like a reed in the wind, by every passing influence. Our souls, warmed and invigorated by the truths of the gospel, and refreshed by divine grace, are to open and expand, and shed their fragrance upon others. Clad in the whole armor of righteousness, we can meet any influence and our purity remain untarnished. –Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 4, p. 556.
Fellow Christian, Satan knows your weakness; therefore cling to Jesus. Abiding in God’s love, you may stand every test. The righteousness of Christ alone can give you power to stem the tide of evil that is sweeping over the world. –Prophets and Kings, p. 175.
No Relish for Sin
When we are clothed with the righ-teousness of Christ, we shall have no relish for sin; for Christ will be working with us. We may make mistakes, but we will hate the sin that caused the sufferings of the Son of God. –The Review and Herald, March 18, 1890.
Not One in One Hundred
The present message–justification by faith–is a message from God; it bears the divine credentials, for its fruit is unto holiness. Some who greatly need the precious truth that was presented before them, we fear did not receive its benefit. They did not open the door of their hearts to welcome Jesus as a heavenly guest, and they have suffered great loss. There is indeed a narrow way in which we must walk; the cross is presented at every step. We must learn to live by faith; then the darkest hours will be brightened by the blessed beams of the Sun of Righteousness.
We are not safe if we neglect to search the Scriptures daily for light and knowledge. Earthly blessings cannot be obtained without toil, and can we expect that spiritual and heavenly blessings will come without earnest effort on our part? The mines of truth are to be worked. Says the psalmist, ‘The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple’ (Ps. 119:130). The Word of God must not be kept apart from our life. It must be entertained in the mind, welcomed in the heart, and be cherished, loved, and obeyed. We need also much more knowledge; we need to be enlightened in regard to the plan of salvation. There is not one in one hundred who understands for himself the Bible truth on this subject that is so necessary to our present and eternal welfare. When light begins to shine forth to make clear the plan of redemption to the people, the enemy works with all diligence that the light may be shut away from the hearts of men. If we come to the Word of God with a teachable, humble spirit, the rubbish of error will be swept away, and gems of truth, long hidden from our eyes, will be discovered.
There is great need that Christ should be preached as the only hope and salvation. When the doctrine of justification by faith was presented at the Rome meeting, it came to many as water comes to the thirsty traveler. 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. –The Review and Herald, Sept. 3, 1889.
There are grand truths, long hidden under the rubbish of error, that are to be revealed to the people. The doctrine of justification by faith has been lost sight of by many who have professed to believe the third angel’s message. The Holiness people have gone to great extremes on this point. With great zeal they have taught, ‘Only believe in Christ, and be saved; but away with the law of God.’ This is not the teaching of the Word of God. There is no foundation for such a faith. This is not the precious gem of truth that God has given to His people for this time. This doctrine misleads honest souls. The light from the Word of God reveals the fact that the law must be proclaimed. Christ must be lifted up, because He is a Saviour who forgiveth transgression, iniquity, and sin, but will by no means clear the guilty and unrepentant soul. –The Review and Herald, Aug. 13, 1889.
The Message Bears Fruit
We are having most excellent meetings. The spirit that was in the meeting at Minneapolis is not here. All moves off in harmony. There is a large attendance of delegates. Our five o’clock morning meeting is well attended, and the meetings good. All the testimonies to which I have listened have been of an elevating character. They say that the past year has been the best of their life; the light shining forth from the Word of God has been clear and distinct–justification by faith, Christ our righteousness. The experiences have been very interesting.
I have attended all but two morning meetings. At eight o’clock Brother Jones speaks upon the subject of justification by faith, and great interest is manifested. There is a growth in faith and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. There are quite a number who have not had an opportunity to hear upon this subject before, but they are taking it in, and are being fed with large morsels from the Lord’s table. The universal testimony from those who have spoken has been that this message of light and truth which has come to our people is just the truth for this time, and wherever they go among the churches, light, and relief, and the blessing of God is sure to come in.
We have a feast of fat things, and when we see souls grasping the light we are rejoiced, looking unto Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. Christ is the great pattern; His character must be our character. All excellence is in Him. Turning from man and every other model, with open face we behold Jesus in all His glory. And their minds are filled with the grand and overpowering ideas of His excellency; every other object sinks into insignificance, and every part of moral discipline is lost which does not promote their likeness to His image. I see heights and depths that we may reach, accepting every ray of light and going forward to a greater light. The end is near, and God forbid that we shall be asleep at this time.
I am so thankful to see with our ministering brethren a disposition to search the Scriptures for themselves. There has been a very great lack of deep searching of the Scriptures, storing the mind with the gems of truth. How much we all lose because we do not put to the tax our minds to search with much prayer for divine enlightenment to understand His Holy Word.
I believe there will be a decided advance among our people, a more earnest endeavor to keep pace with the third angel’s message. –Manuscript 10, 1889.
When we bring our lives to complete obedience to the law of God, regard-ing God as our supreme Guide, and cling-ing to Christ as our hope of righteousness, God will work in our behalf. This is a righ-teousness of faith, a righteousness hidden in a mystery of which the worldling knows nothing, and which he cannot understand. Sophistry and strife follow in the train of the serpent; but the commandments of God diligently studied and practiced, open to us communication with heaven, and distinguish for us the true from the false. This obedience works out for us the divine will, bringing into our lives the righteousness and perfection that was seen in the life of Christ (MS 43, 1907). –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 1, p. 1118.
Christ imputes to us His sinless char-acter, and presents us to the Father in His own purity. There are many who think that it is impossible to escape from the power of sin, but the promise is that we may be filled with all the fullness of God. We aim too low. The mark is much higher. –The Review and Herald, July 12, 1892.
Through divine grace, supernatural power is imparted to the man, and works in mind and heart and character. It is through the impartation of the grace of Christ that sin is discerned in its hateful nature, and finally driven from the soul temple. –The Review and Herald, November 4, 1890.
The Beginning of The Loud Cry
Let every one who claims to believe that the Lord is soon coming, search the Scriptures as never before; for Satan is determined to try every device possible to keep souls in darkness, and blind the mind to the perils of the times in which we are living. Let every believer take up his Bible with earnest prayer, that he may be enlightened by the Holy Spirit as to what is truth, that he may know more of God and of Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Search for the truth as for hidden treasures, and disappoint the enemy. 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-pardon-ing Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth. For it is the work of every one to whom the message of warning has come, to lift up Jesus, to present Him to the world as revealed in types, as shadowed in symbols, as manifested in the revelations of the prophets, as unveiled in the lessons given to His disciples and in the wonderful mir-acles wrought for the sons of men. Search the Scriptures; for they are they that testify of Him.
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.
–The Review and Herald, Nov. 22, 1892.
Appropriating The Righteousness of Christ
Through Christ, restoration as well as reconciliation is provided for man. The gulf that was made by sin has been spanned by the cross of Calvary. A full, complete ransom has been paid by Jesus, by virtue of which the sinner is pardoned, and the justice of the law is maintained. All who believe that Christ is the atoning sacrifice may come and receive pardon for their sins; for through the merit of Christ, communication has been opened between God and man. God can accept me as His child, and I can claim Him and rejoice in Him as my loving Father. We must center our hopes of heaven upon Christ alone, because He is our substitute and surety.
We have transgressed the law of God, and by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified. The best efforts that man in his own strength can make, are valueless to meet the holy and just law that he has transgressed; but through faith in Christ he may claim the righteousness of the Son of God as all-sufficient. Christ satisfied the demands of the law in His human nature. He bore the curse of the law for the sinner, made an atonement for him, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Genuine faith appropriates the righteousness of Christ, and the sinner is made an overcomer with Christ; for he is made a partaker of the divine nature, and thus divinity and humanity are combined.
He who is trying to reach heaven by his own works in keeping the law, is attempting an impossibility. Man cannot be saved without obedience, but his works should not be of himself; Christ should work in him to will and to do of His good pleasure. If a man could save himself by his own works, he might have something in himself in which to rejoice. The effort that man makes in his own strength to obtain salvation, is represented by the offering of Cain. All that man can do without Christ is polluted with selfishness and sin; but that which is wrought through faith is accept-able to God. When we seek to gain heaven through the merits of Christ, the soul makes progress. Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, we may go on from strength to strength, from victory to victory; for through Christ the grace of God has worked out our complete salvation.
Without faith it is impossible to please God. Living faith enables its possessor to lay hold on the merits of Christ, enables him to derive great comfort and satisfaction from the plan of salvation.–The Review and Herald, July 1, 1890. Amen
“What is justification by faith? It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself. When men see their own nothingness, they are prepared to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ. …
“The righteousness of Christ, as a pure white pearl, has no defect, no stain, no guilt. This righteousness may be ours. Salvation, with its blood-bought, inestimable treasures, is the pearl of great price.”
–The Faith I Live By, p. 111