“If we would become better acquainted with Jesus, we should love him for his goodness and excellence and we should desire to become so assimilated to his divine character that all would know that we had been with Jesus, and learned of him.”
“Sin-burdened, struggling souls, Jesus in his glorified humanity has ascended into the heavens to make intercession for us. ‘For we have not an high priest which can not be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace.’ We should be continually looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; for by beholding him we shall be changed into his image, our character will be made like his. We should rejoice that all judgment is given to the Son, because in his humanity he has become acquainted with all the difficulties that beset humanity.
“To be sanctified is to become a partaker of the divine nature, catching the spirit and mind of Jesus, ever learning in the school of Christ. ‘But 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.’ It is impossible for any of us by our own power or our own efforts to work this change in ourselves. It is the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, which Jesus said he would send into the world, that changes our character into the image of Christ; and when this is accomplished, we reflect, as in a mirror, the glory of the Lord. That is, the character of the one who thus beholds Christ is so like his, that one looking at him sees Christ’s own character shining out as from a mirror. Imperceptibly to ourselves, we are changed day by day from our ways and will into the ways and will of Christ, into the loveliness of his character. Thus we grow up into Christ, and unconsciously reflect his image.
“Professed Christians keep altogether too near the lowlands of earth. Their eyes are trained to see only commonplace things, and their minds dwell upon the things their eyes behold. Their religious experience is often shallow and unsatisfying, and their words are light and valueless. How can such reflect the image of Christ? How can they send forth the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness into all the dark places of the earth? To be a Christian is to be Christlike.
“Enoch kept the Lord ever before him, and the inspired Word says that he ‘walked with God.’ He made Christ his constant companion. He was in the world, and performed his duties to the world; but he was ever under the influence of Jesus. He reflected Christ’s character, exhibiting the same qualities in goodness, mercy, tender compassion, sympathy, forbearance, meekness, humility and love. His association with Christ day by day transformed him into the image of him with whom he was so intimately connected. Day by day he was growing away from his own way into Christ’s way, the heavenly, the divine, in his thoughts and feelings. He was constantly inquiring, ‘Is this the way of the Lord?’ His was a constant growth, and he had fellowship with the Father and the Son. This is genuine sanctification.
“Many who claim to be sanctified become boisterous, passionate, and wholly unlike Christ in words and deportment, if their wills are crossed. These show that they are not what they claim to be. The more closely one views Christ, the less disposed will he be to make high claims to holiness. He will have a humble opinion of himself and of his own goodness, but Christ will be revealed in his character.
“Christ said, ‘It is expedient for you that I go away.’ No one could then have any preference because of his location or personal contact with Christ. The Saviour would be accessible to all alike, spiritually, and in this sense he would be nearer to us all than if he had not ascended on high. Now all may be equally favored by beholding him and reflecting his character. The eye of faith sees him ever present, in all his goodness, grace, forbearance, courtesy, and love, those spiritual and divine attributes. And as we behold, we are changed into his likeness.
“Christ is soon coming in glory; and when his majesty is revealed, the world will wish that they had his favor. At that time we shall all desire a place in the mansions of heaven; but those who do not confess Christ now in word, in life, in character, can not expect that he will confess them then before his Father and the holy angels. By those who have denied him, the cry will be raised, even to the mountains, ‘Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?’ O, how happy will those be who have made themselves ready for the marriage supper of the Lamb, who are robed in the righteousness of Christ, and reflect his lovely image! They will have on the pure white linen which is the righteousness of the saints, and Christ will lead them by the side of living waters; God will wipe away all tears from their eyes, and they will have the life that runs parallel with the life of God.”1
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“Enoch ‘walked with God;’ but how did he gain this sweet intimacy? It was by having thoughts of God continually before him. As he went out and as he came in, his meditations were upon the goodness, the perfection, and the loveliness of the divine character. And as he was thus engaged, he became changed into the glorious image of his Lord; for it is by beholding that we become changed. . . .
“We are to reflect the character of Jesus. Everywhere, whether in the church, at our homes, or in social intercourse with our neighbors, we should let the lovely image of Jesus appear. This we cannot do unless we are filled with his fullness. If we would become better acquainted with Jesus, we should love him for his goodness and excellence and we should desire to become so assimilated to his divine character that all would know that we had been with Jesus, and learned of him.
“It is by carrying out in our lives the pure principles of the gospel of Christ that we honor and glorify our Father who is in Heaven. When we are doing this, we are reflecting Heaven-given light upon the dark world around us. Sinners will be constrained to confess that we are not the children of darkness, but the children of light. How shall they know this? By the fruits we bear. Men may have their names upon the church-book; but that does not make them children of light. They may hold honorable positions and receive the praise of men; but that does not make them children of light. They may shut themselves in monasteries, and clothe themselves in garments of sanctity, and yet not be the children of light. All this will not help them to shun or to overcome temptation. There must be a deep work of grace,—the love of God in the heart, and this love is expressed by obedience.
“It is Christ dwelling in the soul that gives us spiritual power, and makes us channels of light. The more light we have, the more we can impart to others around us. The more closely we live to Jesus, the clearer views shall we have of his loveliness. As we behold him in his purity, we discern more clearly our own faults of character. We yearn after him, and for that fullness that is in him, and that shines out in the perfection of his heavenly character; and by beholding we become changed into his image.
“How was it with our Saviour? He represented his Father in every act of his life, and in like manner the people of God are expected to represent Christ. Are we representing him in cross-bearing, in self-denial, in patience, and in labor for perishing souls? Let us think soberly and candidly about this matter.”2