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Manuscript Releases Volume Twelve : Page 140

29. Study of Growth of Ellen White's Theological Understanding

Spiritual Darkness Result of Separation From God --The spiritual darkness that covers the earth is the result of a separation from God. Christ is the light and life of the world. "Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness" (Psalm 112:4). All sin in darkness. When Christ came to this world, the Jewish rulers refused to accept His words. Wise in their own conceit, they declared that they knew all about the law of God. But Christ said to them, "Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God" (Matt. 22:29). Darkness covered the earth and gross darkness the people. The human family, and even the Lord's chosen people, had to a large extent lost the knowledge of God. The Jewish priests were teaching for doctrine the commandments of men. God was misrepresented. False ideas prevailed in regard to His character and attributes. Christ came to this world, and the light shone forth into the darkness, but the darkness comprehended it not.

Sin is death; righteousness is life. Sin cannot be changed into righteousness, but it can be taken away and the righteousness of Christ put in its place. The Saviour was manifested to take away our sin. "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life" (Romans 6:23). The Pharisees trusted in their own righteousness, of which Christ said, "Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:20). Of the Jewish leaders, He said, "Ye will not come to Me, that ye might have

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life" (John 5:40). The righteousness of Christ brings life and healing. "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him" (Col. 2:6). In Him all fullness dwells.

It is a beautiful morning. The Lord is good, and I praise His holy name. I greatly desire a clear, distinct idea of the subject of righteousness by faith in Christ. We have thought and talked on this subject far less than we should have; therefore we have dwelt in the shadow of darkness--hopeless, faithless, without power to resist the tempter. We need clearer spiritual eyesight, that like Moses we may be able to endure the seeing of Him who is invisible. There is a great work to be done in Australia, a great work to be done in the Melbourne church. In this city we should have one hundred missionaries at work, but instead there are only a few Bible workers. What does this mean? My cry is, "O God, wake up the people, and make them laborers together with Thee. Breathe into those who know the message for this time the true missionary spirit."--Ms. 20, 1892, pp. 40, 44. (Diary entry written in Preston, Victoria, Australia, August 1 and 9, 1892; August 9 part also in Ms 35, 1892.)

Learn by Searching the Scriptures --The law of God cannot be made void by the law of a nation. When the law is trampled in the dust, the sacredness of the commandments of God will be vindicated by those who are loyal to Him. We are to make no railing accusation against the nations, for this would close our way so that we could not set the light before the people. Every objection raised against the commandments of God will make a way for the advancement of truth and enable its advocates to present its value

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before men. There is a beauty and force in the truth that nothing can make so apparent as opposition and persecution. When this is revealed, many will be converted to the truth. Many who profess the truth do not know its preciousness, nor realize the richness of the assurances God has given. And they will not understand this until they are pressed into places of difficulty. But then they will understand what the Saviour means when He says, "I will manifest Myself unto them." (See John 14:21.) When surrounded by those who have not the love of God, the Christian will realize how precious it is to have communion with God and to obtain views of eternal redemption.

Day by day we are to learn by searching the Scriptures that God does not exalt one man for the purpose of controlling the minds and the practices of another. Everything that is done to direct people to follow the sayings and observe the customs of men, in opposition to what the Lord has said, is wrong. Those who dare to take the guidance of men should understand that these very men need to be guided by that Voice which has said that there is to be no lording it over God's heritage. We have need of broad-minded, deep-thinking men; but we do not need men who, because they are in positions of trust, will think that they should put the yoke upon their fellow men. Those who think that their position gives them this authority had better become Bible students. The end of all government was beautifully set forth by the Lord in the symbol of a tree that gave shelter to the beasts of the field and to the birds of the air. Nebuchadnezzar was at one time a superior ruler, a man more compassionate toward his subjects than was the ruler of any other heathen nation, and his rule was symbolized by a lofty tree. But the man who thinks it is his prerogative to command his fellow men and

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says, "You shall," and "You shall not," is entirely out of his place. He takes upon himself that which was never given him and lords it over God's purchased possession. Every man is accountable to God for his actions. The man in a position of trust who is guided by the spirit of God will always protect the weak, relieve the needy, and look after the widow and the fatherless.--Ms. 15, 1896, pp. 16-18. ("Revelation," April 27, 1896.)

God Desires to Save Sinful Man --God has revealed His character toward fallen man by giving him a Saviour, Jesus Christ. He covenanted not to stir up His wrath against the perversity of His children, not to censure them in His hot displeasure, until every advantage had been given them through all their period of probation. And even when they shall refuse His warnings, His messages of invitation, the presentation of His righteousness, when they continue to sin in the face of light and evidence, still He will not break forth upon them in His great anger. He leaves all judgment to His Son, whom He gave as a sin offering for the world.

God has a yearning desire to save the purchase of the blood of Christ from the sure result of a wrong course of action, which, if persisted in, will bring upon them the wrath of the rejected Lamb. Mercy, rich and free, is presented in the gift of Christ's righteousness. Those who scorn this precious gift, who despise and reject the Saviour, who refuse the invitation, "Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me" (Isa. 27:5), reject the offer of the attributes of a character which will constitute them sons and daughters of God. "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God,

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even to them that believe on His name:" (What name? Immanuel, the Son of God) "Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (John 1:12-14).--Ms. 26, 1896.

Cultivate Dependence on God --The faith of those who believe every word of God is accounted unto them for righteousness. We need to cultivate a trustful dependence on God, saying as did the apostle Paul, I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day. (See 2 Tim. 1:12.)--Ms. 77, 1898.

The Gift of the Holy Spirit --"The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you" (John 14:26). There is a multitude of errors in our world, but the truth is a unit always. Those who cherish the truth in the heart will manifest its sanctifying power, for true faith works by love and purifies the soul. "Nevertheless I tell you the truth," Christ declared, "It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you" (John 16:7).

This was the arrangement of the divine government. Christ's ascension was the event which in heaven's order was to mark the descent of the Holy Spirit. A vital work was to be carried on. The world's Redeemer designed to show His followers on earth His union with the Father and with man.

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"If ye love Me, keep My commandments, "Christ continued. "He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him" (verse 21).

When God's people search the Scriptures with a desire to know what is truth, Jesus is present in the person of His representative, the Holy Spirit, reviving the hearts of the humble and contrite ones. (John 15:23, 10-11 quoted.)--Ms. 158, 1898.

Not Possible for Law of God to Be Set Aside --Holiness is wholeness for God. It means perfect obedience to every precept of the law of God. This is the only true moral excellence. A character in harmony with the law of God is the only character which will receive His approval. It shows that man has by faith received Jesus Christ, who came to this world to die for the transgressors of God's law. Christ by His own obedience to the law places man on vantage ground with God, giving him another trial. Thus probation is granted to man, opportunity is given him to show his hatred of sin, the transgression of the law, and to return to his loyalty to God.

Is it possible for the law of God to be changed or set aside? Nay, verily; for that law is immutable, eternal. It is forever to hold its claim of obedience upon every soul who has opportunity to gain a knowledge of the will of God. The responsibility of men today is proportionate to the light they receive through the messages of warning God has given.

To abrogate the law of God is as impossible as it would be for God to abolish Himself. The law of God's kingdom is a transcript of His character.

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Men may talk of Christ. They may claim to be saved by Christ. They may talk of righteousness. But the only true righteousness is entire conformity to the law of Jehovah. Righteousness, goodness, virtue, purity, all mean conformity to the law of God.--Ms 60, 1900, p. 6. ("The Transgression of God's Law," August 20, 1900.)

Gospel of Christ to Be Practiced --God says, "A new heart will I give you." Every learner may be renewed in knowledge and true holiness. The ransom of an enslaved race was Christ's purpose in coming to this earth. What a pity it is that human beings cannot discern their own weakness. What a pity that they enslave their souls by lifting themselves up unto vanity. Christ alone can make us free. And when He makes us free, we are free indeed. His power breaks the yoke of bondage that binds man to the great deceiver, the originator of sin. But how many there are who are unwilling to allow Christ to break their shackles. How many there are who choose to cling to the thraldom of sin. The gospel of Christ is truly believed only when it is practiced. Faith is justified by works. Self must be hid; Christ must appear as the chiefest among ten thousand, the One altogether lovely. When an unreserved surrender of the powers of body, mind, and soul is made to the Saviour, self no longer strives for the mastery. What man needs today is the crucifixion of self and the revelation in his life of Christ, the hope of glory. Then will be fulfilled the word, "Ye are the light of the world." Then will be answered the prayer, "That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us" (John 17:21). In thought, word, and action, Christ's followers will be an exemplification of godliness. An atmosphere of peace will surround them.

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Step by step let us follow on to know the Lord, treading in His footprints, striving to live His life. He says to His followers, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 5:14,16). From the lives of God's children, the bright light of purity, of honesty, of unselfishness, is to shine forth.

As yet we have scarcely been a light to the world, because we cling to our sinful, corrupting practices. We have been too well satisfied with the twilight glow of heavenly enlightenment. We have not yet gained the experience that will make us feel at home in heaven. As yet we are but stepping over the threshold of the sanctuary containing the truths which every child of God must receive and reveal to a world lying in wickedness.--Ms. 102, 1902, pp. 5-6. ("The Relation That Should Exist Between Teacher and Students," July 27, 1902.)

Holy Spirit Needed --The Holy Spirit is greatly needed in our schools. This divine agency comes to the world as Christ's representative. He is not only the faithful and true witness to the Word of God, but He is the searcher of the thoughts and purposes of the heart. He is the source to which we must look for efficiency in the restoration of the moral image of God in man. The Holy Spirit was eagerly sought for in the schools of the prophets; His transforming influence was to bring even the thoughts into harmony with the will of God and establish a living connection between earth and heaven.

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Teachers, if you will open your hearts to the indwelling of the Spirit of God, if you will welcome the heavenly guest, God will make you laborers together with Him. In cooperation with the Master Teacher, the spirit of selfishness will be expelled, and wonderful transformations will take place.--Ms 69, 1908, p. 3. ("Teacher, Know Thyself," June 19, 1908.) White Estate Washington, D. C. October 27, 1982