Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
We may have high anticipations in regard to the things of this life, but we shall meet with disappointment. We shall find that they fade away. But here is “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.” We want our thoughts to be fixed on the things that will abide, not upon those that pass away with the using. If we fix our hopes on the future, immortal world, we shall not be disappointed.
When Christ came into this world, He saw that men had left the future, eternal life out of their reckoning. He came to present that life before us, that by beholding it we might be led to change our relation to the things of this life, that our affections might be placed upon the things above, and not upon the things of the earth, so soon to pass away. The shadow that Satan has caused to intervene between our souls and God, Christ seeks to roll back, that the view of God and eternity may become clear. While He does not despise this world, He places it in its proper position of subordination. And then He places the things of eternity in their relative importance before us, that we may fix the eye of faith upon the unseen. The things of temporal interest have power to engross the thoughts and affections, and it is important that we should be constantly educating and training our minds to dwell upon things of eternal interest. Will this make us unhappy? Will it cause us to have a hard time here? No, indeed. Receiving the gift of God will make everything in life easy. The more of the Spirit of God, the more of His grace, is brought into our daily experience, the less friction there will be, the more happiness we shall have, and the more we shall impart to others.
We read in the Bible about the resurrection of Christ from the dead; but do we act as though we believed it? Do we believe that Jesus is a living Savior, that He is not in Joseph’s new tomb, with the great stone rolled before it, but that He has risen from the dead, and ascended on high, to lead captivity captive, and to give good gifts unto men? He is there to plead our cases in the courts of heaven. He is there because we need a friend in the heavenly court, one who is to be our advocate and intercessor. Then let us rejoice in this. . . . Many judge of their religious state by their emotions; but these are not a safe criterion. Our Christian life does not depend upon our feelings, but upon our having a right hold from above. We must believe the words of God just as He has spoken them; we must take Christ at His word, believe that He came to represent the Father, and that the Father, as is represented in Christ, is our friend, and that He desires not that we should perish, or He would never have given His Son to die our sacrifice. The cross of Calvary is an eternal pledge to every one of us, that God wants us to be happy, not only in the future life, but in this life. . . .
We should not cast ourselves away, saying, “I am a sinner, and when I become good enough, I will come to Christ; then I can believe and pray.” You will never be good enough of yourselves to merit the favor and help of God. You must come just as you are. Christ meets you as you draw nigh to Him. Place your hand in the hand of Jesus, and He will direct you. Believe that He keeps you, and then it will be found that in the trial of your faith you will come off more than conqueror through Him that loved you. We gain the victory through faith in Christ’s power to save us. Then the trial of our faith will be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Christ. You will praise God that you have found in Christ a present help in every time of need. . . .
What is it to be a Christian? It is to be Christlike. To be a Christian is to act as Christ acts, to have His spirit at all times, in all places, and under all circumstances. When we are brought into adverse circumstances, when our natural feelings are stirred, and we want to give vent to them, then our faith is tried; then we are to manifest the meekness and gentleness of Christ. . . . “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body”—the whole man. What we want is to be under the control of Jesus. We do not want our own way. I have heard some plead as an excuse for their wrong course, “You know that it is my temperament, it is my disposition, transmitted to me from my parents.” Yes; and they have cultivated it, and educated themselves in it, and thus excused all their wrongdoing. Instead of yielding to temptation, they should lay hold upon the arm of Infinite Power, saying, “I will come to God just as I am, and plead with Christ to give me the victory. I shall be more than conqueror through him that loved me.”
In order to understand how great the love of Jesus is for you, look to Calvary. You can then know something of the depth, the breadth, and the height of that love, and you can see something of the condescension of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, as step by step the Savior descended into the valley of humiliation. He did not stoop to sin, to defilement, but He stood on this atom of a world to battle with Satan and his host, and here to win for us an immortal inheritance, an inheritance which is incorruptible, and undefiled, and which fadeth not away. When He ascended on high, and led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men, He left the battle in our hands, but we are not to fight in our own strength; we should certainly fail if we attempted it. Christ is there present with the Father, to bring to our help the unseen intelligences, the angels of God. What we need is the simplicity of faith, the meekness and humility of Christ. Then we shall trust wholly in the Lord of heaven, and He will be at our right hand to help us. n
This article was first published in the Review and Herald, March 8, 1892. Ellen G. White, its author, was one of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Her life and work testified to the special guidance of the Holy Spirit.