The Review and Herald, April 26, 1881 par. 1-11, By Mrs. Ellen G. White.
Text: “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23
The character of the Christian is shown by his daily life. Said Christ, “Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.” Our Saviour compares himself to a vine, of which his followers are the branches. He plainly declares that all who would be his disciples must bring forth fruit; and then he shows how they may become fruitful branches. “Abide in me, and I in you; as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye except ye abide in me.”
The apostle Paul describes the fruit which the Christian is to bear. He says that it “is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.” And again, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” These precious graces are but the principles of God’s law carried out in the life.
Those who have genuine love for God will manifest an earnest desire to know his will and to do it. Says the apostle John, whose epistles treat so fully upon love, “This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” The child who loves his parents will show that love by willing obedience; but the selfish, ungrateful child seeks to do as little as possible for his parents, while he at the same time desires to enjoy all the privileges granted to the obedient and faithful. The same difference is seen among those who profess to be children of God. Many who know that they are the objects of his love and care, and who desire to receive his blessing, take no delight in doing his will. They regard God’s claims upon them as an unpleasant restraint, his commandments as a grievous yoke. But he who is earnestly seeking for holiness of heart and life, delights in the law of God, and mourns only that he falls so far short of meeting its requirements.
We are commanded to love one another as Christ has loved us. He has manifested his love by laying down his life to redeem us. The beloved disciple says that we should be willing to lay down our lives for the brethren. For “every one that loveth Him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of Him.” If we love Christ, we shall love those who resemble him in life and character. And not only so, but we shall love those who “have no hope and are without God in the world.” It was to save sinners that Christ left his home in Heaven, and came to earth to suffer and to die. For this he toiled and agonized and prayed, until, heart-broken and deserted by those he came to save, he poured out his life on Calvary.
Many shrink from such a life as our Saviour lived. They feel that it requires too great a sacrifice to imitate the Pattern, to bring forth fruit in good works, and then patiently endure the pruning of God that they may bring forth more fruit. But when the Christian regards himself as only a humble instrument in the hands of Christ, and endeavors to faithfully perform every duty, relying upon the help which God has promised, then he will wear the yoke of Christ and find it easy; then he will bear burdens for Christ, and pronounce them light. He can look up with courage and with confidence, and say, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him.”
If we meet obstacles in our path and faithfully overcome them, if we encounter opposition and reproach, and in Christ’s name gain the victory, if we bear responsibilities and discharge our duties in the spirit of our Master, then, indeed, we gain a precious knowledge of his faithfulness and power. We no longer depend upon the experience of others, for we have the witness in ourselves. Like the Samaritans of old, we can say, “We have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.”
The more we contemplate the character of Christ, and the more we experience of his saving power, the more keenly shall we realize our own weakness and imperfection, and the more earnestly shall we look to him as our strength and our Redeemer. We have no power in ourselves to cleanse the soul-temple from its defilement; but as we repent of our sins against God, and seek pardon through the merits of Christ, he will impart that faith that works by love and purifies the heart. By faith in Christ, and obedience to the law of God, we may be sanctified, and thus obtain a fitness for the society of holy angels and the white-robed redeemed ones in the kingdom of glory.
It is not only the privilege but the duty of every Christian to maintain a close union with Christ, and to have a rich experience in the things of God. Then his life will be fruitful in good works. Said Christ, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit.” In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul endeavors to set before his brethren the “mystery of the gospel,” the “unsearchable riches of Christ,” and then assures them of his earnest prayers for their spiritual prosperity:–
“I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Again, he writes to his Corinthian brethren, “to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus,” “Grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; that in everything ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you; so that ye come behind in no gift, waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” These words are addressed not only to the church at Corinth, but to all the people of God to the close of time. Every Christian may enjoy the blessing of sanctification.” The Review and Herald, April 26, 1881 par. 1-11
Here are short emphasized lessons and insights from the article:
Character in Action: A Christian’s character is most evident in their daily actions and choices, reflecting whether they bear good or evil fruit.
Abiding in Christ: To bear good fruit, Christians must maintain a close, enduring connection with Christ, just as branches are connected to a vine.
Fruits of the Spirit: The Spirit produces qualities like love, joy, and patience in the lives of believers, reflecting God’s law.
Obedience as Love: Love for God is expressed through willing obedience, just as a loving child obeys their parents.
Love for All: Christians are called to love both fellow believers and those who are far from God, mirroring Christ’s self-sacrificial love.
Christ’s Yoke: Serving Christ may entail sacrifices, but relying on God’s help makes His yoke easy and His burdens light.
Personal Experience: Overcoming challenges in Christ’s name leads to personal knowledge of His faithfulness, strengthening one’s faith.
Sanctification Through Faith: Faith in Christ and obedience to God’s law lead to sanctification, preparing believers for God’s presence.
Union with Christ: Maintaining a close relationship with Christ is both a privilege and duty, resulting in a life filled with good works.
Knowing Christ’s Love: Understanding the depth of Christ’s love transforms hearts and empowers believers.
Grace and Peace: God’s grace and peace enrich believers, equipping them to await Christ’s return with hope and readiness.
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God, and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” 1 John 4:7.