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Manuscript Releases Volume Fifteen : Page 253

32. Instruction to Believers

The first chapter of Colossians is a decided address to every believer. The Holy Spirit indited this instruction for the help of those who should afterward compose the church, as well as for those to whom Paul addressed his letter.

The apostle writes: [Col. 1:1-11, quoted].

This Scripture speaks of the vital union which should exist between Christ and His disciples. Constantly we are to strive to obtain this union. The religion which consists only of profession is but a pretense. Those whose union with Christ ends with the writing of their names on the church roll are not channels of light.

"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son" [verses 12, 13]. The great object for which Christ came to our world was to demonstrate the falsity of Satan's claim to the sovereignty of the world and to reassert the original and supreme ownership of God and His supreme authority. As the Restorer and Life-giver, Christ placed Himself in the enemy's pathway. He planted His cross midway between heaven and earth, that He might wrestle with and overcome the powers of darkness. He gave His life for the life of sinners, and Satan, the prince of the world, was cast out.

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[Col. 1:14-23, quoted.]

We have been taught by God concerning the great plan of redemption. This should be to us a matter of earnest thanksgiving. God's promises will never fail if we constantly watch unto prayer. Having learned the excellent way, we are to be sanctified body, soul, and spirit. We are to be purified and cleansed through the washing of the Word. I am instructed to say that it is the privilege of everyone to be grounded and settled in the faith. No one who exercises that faith which works by love and purifies the soul will be moved away from the hope of the gospel.

Cherishing goodness in the heart is a work which many have strangely neglected. Those whose hearts are sanctified and cleansed will follow no sharp practices. God despises a selfish, covetous spirit. Evil passions fill the heart that is actuated by selfishness. Selfishness leads to oppression, and as acts of oppression are repeated, the intellect is corrupted, and fails to make correct decisions.

In no case will Christ serve with unfair, unfaithful dealing. "You, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight" [verses 21, 22]. God calls for intelligent Christians, for men and women who are filled with the knowledge of His will. We need to feel the converting power of truth. This will remove the arbitrary exactions which have done such harm, casting a cloud over the minds of men. The Lord calls for men and women who by their good works show that the truth as brought about a change in their lives. His workers are now to draw out the threads of selfishness which have marred the pattern.

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Our knowledge should give spirituality to the understanding. Our knowledge of the Scriptures should be practical. The Lord is pleased when those who are connected with Him are filled with a knowledge of His will. His servants should daily gain more knowledge of Him. Daily they should grow in grace and in spiritual understanding, strengthened with might according to His glorious power. They are to increase in spiritual efficiency, that they may give strength to the people of God.

God does not ask sinners to enter His service with their natural traits of character, to make a failure before the heavenly universe and before the world. He does not ask a man who is unconverted to attempt to serve Him. Those who have not been brought under the control of the law of justice and mercy might better step down from their position of authority until they learn that the Lord will have mercy and not sacrifice.

The hard, cruel spirit which judges and condemns has left the trace of the enemy upon everything. But mercy is to come in and lay her broad impress upon every plan. The world is to see principles different from those which have hitherto been presented. Christ has erected the cross. He does not call upon any man to manufacture tests and crosses for His people. He presents His requirements before them, and gives them the invitation, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and my burden is light" [Matt. 11:28-30]. Wear My yoke, and in your daily experience you will find the rest which comes only to the obedient.

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Christ invites all to come to Him, but when they come, they are to lay aside their sins. All their vices and follies, all their pride and worldliness, are to be laid at [the foot of] His cross. This He requires because He loves them, and desires to save them, not in their sins but from their sins. He who accepts the truth longs for transformation, and the light comes to him in bright rays.

The truth is to be believed and practiced, because Christ asserts it to be the word of the living God. The brightest beams of light from the threshold of heaven are thrown on the pathway in which God requires His people to walk. When sinners accept Christ as their personal Saviour, they realize the greatness of God's gift to them, and praise and thanksgiving flow to the divine Giver.

The recovery of souls from sin is to be a revenue of goodness to men and of glory to God.

But how many offer praise and thanksgiving to God? How many, by thanking the Giver, show that they appreciate their blessings? How many give thanks to the Father, "which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light? We have redemption through His blood. He has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of His Son. The heavenly angels are constantly engaged in serving us, bringing to us the most wonderful opportunities. Why then should we be so slow to express our thanksgiving? Whoso offereth praise glorifieth God. A fragrant atmosphere surrounds the believing, thankful soul who offers grateful praise to His heavenly Father. Let all appreciate the blessings of the Lord. We reflect bright beams of light when in the home and in the church we express our appreciation of the Lord's goodness.

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[Col. 1:26-29, quoted.] Through His human instrumentalities God desires to demonstrate the power of His grace. By His saints He would make known among the Gentiles the riches of His plan of redemption.

In all wisdom people are to be warned and taught. Those who are seeking to win souls to Christ must be guarded in every action, lest they make a wrong impression on those for whom they are working. The Lord will give success to those who in spiritual and temporal lines will deal faithfully with human minds. Let those who work for Christ put on Christ. Then there will be a continual advancement in knowledge and understanding, an advancement that will make an impression on the world.

Those who are daily learning of Christ will become so meek and lowly that Christ can lead them. He will go before them, as their righteousness. As they follow in His footsteps, fulfilling His requirements, many will take knowledge of them that they have been with Christ. Their lives are conformed to the truth, and as they reveal the Saviour's character in their lives, they are doing the work that He did. As they behold Christ, they are changed from glory to glory, from character to character. Such believers will move the world. Let us strive for Christ's peace and gentleness, that it may be said of us as it was said of Him, "Thy gentleness hath made me great."--Ms 44, 1901. Ellen G. White Estate Washington, D.C. December 5, 1985. Entire document.