A Life-Changing Experience
by Mrs. E. G. White
Christ has said, "Without me ye can do nothing." The resolutions you may make in your own finite strength will be only as ropes of sand. But if you pray in sincerity, surrendering yourself, soul, body, and spirit, unto God, you put on the whole armor of God and open the soul to the righteousness of Christ; and this alone--Christ's imputed righteousness--makes you able to stand against the wiles of the devil. The work of every soul is to resist the enemy in the power and might of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the promise is that the devil shall flee from us. But let all realize that they are in peril, and there is no assurance of safety except as they comply with the conditions of the text. The Lord says, "Draw nigh to God." How? By secret, earnest examination of your own heart; by childlike, heart-felt, humble dependence upon God, making known your weakness to Jesus; and by confessing your sins. Thus you may draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. . . .
A mere profession of godliness is worthless. It is he that abideth in Christ that is a Christian. For "every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." In every clime, in every nation, our youth should cooperate with God. The only way a person can be pure is to become like-minded with God. How can we know God? By studying His Word. "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." . . .
When you truly repent of sin, you will not be satisfied to acknowledge simply that you are sinful, and let the matter rest there. Do you intend to remain sinful while life shall last? Do you mean to violate your conscience? Do you mean to do evil always? What does the Lord say to those who have had light, and yet have failed to live in accordance with it? "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." There is a repentance of sin that needeth not to be repented of. "And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."
Does this text mean that the human agent can remove one stain of sin from his soul? No. Then what does it mean to purify himself? It means to look upon the Lord's great moral standard of righteousness, the holy law of God, and see that he is a sinner in the light of that law. "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sin; and in him is no sin." It is through faith in Jesus Christ that the truth is accepted in the heart and the human agent is purified and cleansed. Jesus was "wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."
Is it possible to be healed, while knowingly committing sin? No; it is genuine faith that says, I know that I have committed sin, but that Jesus has pardoned my sin; and hereafter I will resist temptation in and through His might. "Every man that hath this hope in him [abiding in him] purifieth himself, even as he is pure." He has an abiding principle in the soul that enables him to overcome temptation. "Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not." God has power to keep the soul who is in Christ, when that soul is under temptation. "Whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him." That is, every one who is a true believer is sanctified through the truth, in life and character. "Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth [not professeth to do] righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous." "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; . . . because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil." Now mark where the distinction is made: "Whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither is he that loveth not his brother." "My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth."
Unless the mind of God becomes the mind of men, every effort of man to purify himself will be useless; for it is impossible to elevate man except through a knowledge of God. The outward gloss may be put on, and men may be as were the Pharisees whom Jesus describes as "whited sepulchers," full of corruption and dead men's bones. But all the deformity of soul is open to Him who judgeth righteously, and unless the truth is planted in the heart, it cannot control the life. Cleansing the outside of the cup will never make the vessel pure within. A nominal acceptance of truth is good as far as it goes, and the ability to give a reason for our faith is a good accomplishment; but if the truth does not go deeper than this, the soul will never be saved. The heart must be purified from all moral defilement. "I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness."
"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." We can see how necessary it is that there should be a union of the human and the divine. All the heart is to be enlisted in the conflict. The law of God is to be written in the heart, or the soul will never obey the truth; for the truth of God may be no truth to one who may even claim to believe it. Persons may profess to love the Saviour and yet make it manifest that love does not actuate them in His service. Why is it that the love of Christ does not wield a constraining power over the life? It is because it has never been brought into the sanctuary of the soul; it has never been made the principle of action. "With the heart, man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation."
Unless the truth is stamped upon the soul, it will not be obeyed in the life. Unless every word of profession is heart-felt, it will be but empty sound. Through neglecting to practise the truth, it loses its power over the mind and conscience; and through love of sin, the Word loses its light, and certain ruin follows. He who does not practise the truth he knows, loses the love and Spirit of God. There are many of our young men and women who will not, cannot, be witnesses for Christ unless they have altogether a different view of what it means to be children of God--heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. May the Lord work upon the hearts of our youth.
Coming out to Jesus means coming out of the world and being separate from the world. It means coming out fully on the Lord's side, realizing that though you are in the world, you are not of it, but are a living representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul says, "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." He beseeches the brethren, as dear children, to "walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called," "being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God." He admonishes them to walk in Christ Jesus even as they received Him, that they may be rooted, and grounded, and built up in Him, and established in the faith.
Originally written to a young man in spiritual crisis, this message was published in The Youth's Instructor, February 8, 15, and March 1, 1894.