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Manuscript Releases Volume Fifteen : Page 269

35. The Motive Determines the Quality of the Act

The daily life of the Christian should bring no discredit upon our holy faith. The motive of the heart, as well as the words and actions, is weighed in estimating our moral worth. Those who rejected Christ, the Lord of glory, knew not that He was the Prince of life, else they would not have crucified Him.

Reliance on forms and ceremonies will not save us. The lawyer whom Christ found wanting in love to God and to his neighbor, which is the very essence of religion, could have vindicated himself on the ground of ceremonial correctness. He could have said with Paul that, as touching the law, he was blameless. But the Lord defines Bible religion as a principle in the soul, not merely the performance of virtuous acts, although virtuous acts are the natural fruit of this principle in the soul. It is the spirit in which the acts are performed rather than the performance that counts with God.

A man may give his goods to feed the poor, his body to be burned, yet if he is not actuated by the living principles of love for God and man his work is a failure. God looks at the heart. We must repent and believe.-- Letter 22, 1889. Ellen G. White Estate Washington, D. C. February 13, 1986.