Chapter 8 - God's Commandment-Keeping People
Faith and Works, Chapter 8—God’s Commandment-Keeping People
Portion of a sermon at South Lancaster, Massachusetts, January 19, 1889, titled “In Him is Light,” published in The Review and Herald, February 26, 1889.
All heaven has been looking with intense interest upon those who claim to be God’s commandment-keeping people. Here are the people who ought to be able to claim all the rich promises of God; who ought to be going on from glory to glory and from strength to strength; who ought to be in a position to reflect glory to God in the works that they do. Jesus has said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
We have received the rich blessing of God, but we must not stop here. We are to catch more and more the divine rays of light from heaven. We are to stand just where we can receive the light and reflect it, in its glory, upon the pathway of others. There has never been a time when we could feel more courage and confidence in the work than at the present time. There are many in our world who do not keep the commandments of God or make any profession of so doing, and yet they claim all His blessings. They are willing to accept and appropriate His promises without heeding the conditions upon which they are based. They have no right to the blessings they claim.
But why should not those who are keeping His commandments lay hold of the promises that have been given to the children of God? We can see Christ’s righteousness in the law. In the cross of Calvary, “mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (Psalm 85:10). This is the blending that there should be in our work.
Truth and righteousness must be presented with the love of God as it was manifested in Jesus. What purity will then be seen! What a cleansing of every moral defilement will be shown to be necessary! Then, when this is done, the stubbornness of the will which has kept so many away from the light, as they behold the preciousness of the Redeemer, His mercy and pity, will all be melted away from their souls.
Every one of us must fall on the Rock and be broken. Will there be one who will retain his stubbornness? Will there be one who will cling to his self-righteousness? Will there be one who will not catch sight of the preciousness of Christ? Is there a heart here that will not be subdued by the love of Jesus? Will any retain one particle of self-esteem?
We need to come still closer to God…. Why is it that our hearts have been so insensible to the love of God? Why have we had so hard a judgment of our heavenly Father? From the light that God has given me, I know that Satan has misrepresented our God in every possible way. He has cast his hellish shadow athwart our pathway, that we might not discern our God as a God of mercy, compassion, and truth. This is why the iron has entered into our souls.
Then we have talked of the darkness that the evil one has cast upon us, and we have bemoaned our condition; and in so doing, we have only spread the shadow over other souls, and that which has injured us was an injury to them. As we have uttered our words of unbelief, others have been enshrouded in darkness and doubt.
We cannot afford to do this work. We thus put our kind heavenly Father in a false light. All this should change. We must gather up the rays of divine truth and let our light shine upon the darkened pathway of others. Heaven’s light shines for those who will follow Christ, the light of the world. He says, “He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).
What kind of recommendation do you give to the world of the religion of Christ if you go repining and complaining and filled with sorrow? Those who keep the commandments of God should make it manifest that the truth is sanctifying the soul, refining and purifying the thoughts, and elevating the character and life. Christ has died that the moral image of God might be restored in our souls and might be reflected to those around us.
We need to drink deeper and deeper of the fountain of life. I hope that not a soul will be satisfied without making thorough work for eternity, and from this time on may it be seen, both by precept and example, that you are representatives of Christ. You may have a living testimony to bear: “Hear what the Lord has done for my soul.” The Lord is ready to impart still greater blessings.
He permitted all His goodness to pass before Moses; He proclaimed His character to him as a God full of mercy, long-suffering, and gracious—forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin. Moses was to represent this character to the people of Israel, and we are to do the same.
We are to go forth to proclaim the goodness of God and to make plain His real character before the people. We are to reflect His glory. Have we done this in the past? Have we revealed the character of our Lord by precept and example? Have we not joined in the work of the enemy of souls and misrepresented our heavenly Father? Have we not been passing judgment on our brethren, criticizing their words and actions? Then the love of God has not been enthroned in our souls. Let us make a decided change.