"Ye are Complete in Him," Part 1
Abstract of a sermon at Melbourne, Australia, December 19, 1891
by Mrs. E. G. White
[Colossians 2:1-9 read.] Now mark the following words: "And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power."
"Ye are complete in him." Is not this a wonderful statement? Notwithstanding all our various temperaments, our different defects and imperfections, notwithstanding the attacks of the enemy, his grievous temptations and suggestions, we are said to be complete in Him who is the head of all principality and power. Very much has been presented before you in the words which I have read, but we shall be able to notice but few of the points contained in this scripture, in the short address which I shall give. But I desire that you should be able in some measure to comprehend the possibilities to which we may attain in our Christian life. We are to walk even as Christ walked, or the words of inspiration would not so present the course of the follower of Christ: "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him."
In order to attain to this high calling of God in Christ Jesus, you must begin the day with your Saviour. The very first outbreathing of the soul in the morning should be for the presence of Jesus. "Without me," He says, "ye can do nothing." It is Jesus that we need. His light, His life, His Spirit must be ours continually. We need Him every hour. And we should pray in the morning that, as the sun illuminates the landscape and fills the world with light, so the Sun of Righteousness should shine into the chambers of mind and heart, and make us all light in the Lord. We cannot do without His presence one moment. The enemy knows when we decide to do without our Lord, and he is there ready to fill our minds with his evil suggestions, that we may fall from our steadfastness; but it is the desire of the Lord that from moment to moment we should abide in Him, and thus be complete in Him, accepted in the Beloved. God designs that every one of us shall be perfect in Him, so that we may represent to the world the perfection of His character. He wants us to be set free from sin, that we shall not disappoint the heavenly intelligences, that we may not grieve our divine Redeemer. He does not desire us to profess Christianity and yet not avail ourselves of that grace which is able to make us perfect, that we may be found wanting in nothing, but unblamable before Him in love and holiness.
"Well," I hear one say, "if that is what I must be, I might as well give up, for I can never reach that standard." But this is what you must be, or you will never enter heaven, and heaven is our desire and aim. But we desire to enter heaven, for there there is no disappointment, no sorrow, no sin, no one who shall say, "I am sick." There, there is no burial train, no mourning, no death, no parting, no broken hearts; and Jesus is there, peace is there. Oh, we must be with Him, for in His presence is fullness of joy, at His right hand there are pleasures forevermore! And it is here that we must behold Him, and become changed into His image. "We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." Oh, it is important that we behold Him here by the eye of faith, that we may be made like Him, but what will it be to behold Him as He is without one dimming veil between?
And who is He?--He is the One who has made an infinite sacrifice in our behalf, the One who has brought eternal redemption to our view; and should we behold in Him all He is to us, how gladly would we yield our hearts to Him, to love Him and obey Him! Can we not do it now? Is there not need that we behold Him by faith, and become changed into His image, when the world is covered with moral darkness like the pall of death, that we may reflect light into the gloom, that as we flash the light of heaven along the pathway of those who are in perplexity and error, they may see that there is brightness and attractiveness in the Christian's hope? But all this depends upon your reception of the Holy Spirit. It is your privilege to be anointed from on high, or you cannot represent Jesus as He is, and the world cannot take knowledge of you that you have been with Him, and have learned of the Divine Teacher. You are to walk in Him, to love Him, because He first loved you.
Jesus did not seek you and me because we were His friends, for we were estranged from Him, and unreconciled to God. It was while we were yet sinners that Christ died for us. But He has promised to give us His Holy Spirit, that we may become assimilated to His nature, changed into His image. Therefore we must put away everything like passion, impatience, murmuring, and unrest, and find a place for Jesus in the heart. We must have the buyers and the sellers cleared out of the soul temple, that Jesus may take up His abode within us. He stands at the door of the heart as a heavenly Merchantman; He knocks there, saying, Open unto Me, buy of Me the heavenly wares, buy of Me the gold tried in the fire, which is faith and love, the precious, beautiful attributes of our Redeemer, which will enable us to melt our way into the hearts of those who do not know Him, those who are cold and alienated from Him through unbelief and sin. He invites us to buy of Him the white raiment, which is His glorious righteousness, and the eyesalve, that we may discern spiritual things. Oh, shall we not open the heart's door to this heavenly voice? He says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
But everyone who is Christ's, who has tasted of the powers of the world to come, has crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts. As the physical nature is sustained by the food we eat, so the spiritual nature must be sustained by the word and Spirit of God. God desires us to have a healthful experience. We shall be feeble and dying Christians if we have the experience described by the apostle as fashioned after "the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." It is Christ abiding in our hearts by faith that we must have, and then we shall manifest the fruits of the Spirit, which the Word of God declares are "love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance."
But sometimes those who profess to be followers of Christ will say, "You must not be surprised if I am rough, if I speak bluntly, if I manifest temper, for it is my way." You ask us not to be surprised. Is not heaven surprised at such manifestations, since the plan of salvation has been devised, since an infinite sacrifice has been made on Calvary's cross, that we might reflect the image of Jesus? Will your way enter heaven? Suppose one comes up to the pearly gates and says, "I know that I have been rude and unkind, and it is my disposition to lie and to steal, but I want an entrance into the heavenly mansions." Will that way find an entrance into the portals of the heavenly city?--No; it is those who keep Christ's way that will enter there. He says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." If anyone thinks he can climb up some other way, he will find that it will not lead him to the mansions of glory. We want Christ's way, His life must be in us. Jesus has said, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. . . . He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him." We should study to understand the meaning of these words, for they are of vital importance to us. Jesus has explained their significance. He says, "It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."
We should take time to study the Bible, for we must know what saith the Scripture. The Bible is the garden of God, and as we see the lovely flowers of promise, we should gather them to our souls, for "exceeding great and precious promises" have been given unto us, that by these we might become "partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
(Continued Next Month)