ETER EXHORTS HIS BELOVED BRETHREN to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” He seeks to impress upon them that there is a necessity of increased knowledge daily, and that there is to be with the gospel believers a growing up in Christ, their living head. . . .
Lessons to Unlearn
It is not the learning of the great men that unfolds to them the mysteries of redemption. . . . Christ would receive the service of the learned, and of the great men, if they would join themselves to Him, but Christ could not join Himself to them; for they were not right. [Religious leaders at Jesus’ first advent] were filled with self-sufficiency and self-esteem, seeking constantly for the supremacy, spurning everything that did not bear the appearance of worldly wisdom and national pride and religious exclusiveness. His work was to correct these evils, and attract men to virtue, to purity, to humility, and to God; to divest religion of the narrow, conceited formalism which made it a rigorous burden. He presents a complete, harmonious salvation to all.
This salvation is great, because pardon to the transgressor of God’s law is proffered; a righteousness is presented which will endure the scrutiny of the Omniscient, gain victory over the powerful adversary of God and man, and an eternal reward. It is the completeness of salvation which gives it its greatness. No man can measure it with the most thorough finite perception, nor can any contemplate it and continuously make it the matter of his study, without its reaching the untraceable majesty of its Author, and finite man becoming one with the Deity. The transformation has taken place. The child of sin, of transgression, and of wrath has become the child of God; he has passed from death unto life. . . .
We would not demerit education. God designs we shall be students here as long as we remain in this world, ever learning and bearing the responsibility of teaching others by precept and example that which we have learned. But let no one place himself as a critic to measure the usefulness and the influence of his brother less educated than himself in book knowledge; for he may be much better educated in the practical knowledge of genuine godliness. . . . It is not merely the reading of the word or the theoretical knowledge of the Scriptures that gives the light and the understanding. . . .
As the man is converted by the truth, the work of transformation of character goes on. He has an increased measure of understanding, in becoming a man of obedience to God. The mind and will of God become his will, and by constantly looking to God for counsel, he becomes a man of increased understanding.
There is a general development of the mind that is unreservedly placed under the guidance of the Spirit of God. This is not a one-sided education, which develops a one-sided character; but there is revealed a harmoniously developed character. . . . He is one with Christ, having soundness and strength of principle, and clearness of perception, which is that wisdom that comes from God, who is the source of all light and understanding.
The grace of God has fallen upon the humble, obedient, conscientious soul like the Sun of righteousness, strengthening the mental faculties, and in the most astonishing manner making those who long to use their capacity in the Master’s service, small though it may be, strong continually by obedience and practice, and grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and be bearers of much fruit to the glory of God, in good works. . . .
To make God’s grace our own, we must act our part. There is a work that is laid before us to do, and this work must be done with fidelity, and the fruits we bear will manifest before God, before angels, and before men the character of our work. . . .
The more closely connected man is with the Source of all knowledge and wisdom, the more he can be advantaged intellectually, as well as spiritually, through his relation to God. He will have clearer views, unbiased by his own ideas and judgment. His views will be broadened, his discernment quickened, and his understanding enlarged to contemplate the great truths of God’s Word; and the more he gains of heavenly knowledge, the better will he understand his own weakness, and the more humble will be his views of himself.
The opening of God’s Word is followed by remarkable opening in strengthening man’s faculties; for the entrance of God’s Word is the application of divine truth to the heart, purifying and refining the soul through the agency of the Holy Spirit. He has genuine faith in the truth as it is in Jesus, and that faith works by love and purifies the soul. . . . It is the Spirit of God in the soul that quickens its otherwise lifeless faculties, and attracts the soul to God and to the truth. The intellectual talents owe all their advancement to God, and our religious life is dead and spiritless, unless the living Spirit is received from God the life-giving power. Without the enlightenment of His Spirit, we cannot appreciate the things of the heavenly world, and cannot have a relish for communion with God.
Religion is not a mere form. Pure and undefiled religion is the life of God in the soul, the abiding of Jesus in the heart. The thoughts are cultivated and trained to think and act in reference to the glory of God. The questions will arise in the mind, Will this course of action please Jesus? Shall I be able to maintain my integrity if I enter into this arrangement? Thus God will be made the counselor, and the soul will be brought into obedience to the will of God, and we shall be led into safe paths; and if we follow on to know the Lord, we shall triumph with the truth and have eternal life.
Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry. This article is excerpted from one that first appeared in the
Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, now the
Adventist Review, July 19, 1887.