“The grace of Christ in the heart will always promote spiritual life, and spiritual advancement will be made. We each need a personal Saviour, or we shall perish in our sins.”
“It is no real evidence that one is a Christian because his emotions are stirred, or his spirit aroused, by the presentation of truth. The question is, Are you growing up into Christ, your living head? Is the grace of Christ manifested in your life? God gives his grace to men, that they may desire more of his grace. God’s grace is ever working upon the human heart; and when it is received, the evidence of its reception will appear in the life and character of the recipient, for spiritual life will be seen developing from within. The grace of Christ in the heart will always promote spiritual life, and spiritual advancement will be made. We each need a personal Saviour, or we shall perish in our sins. Let the question be asked of our souls, Am I growing up into Christ, my living head? Am I gaining advanced knowledge of God, and of Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent? We do not see the plants grow in the field, and yet we are assured that they do grow; and may we not know of our own spiritual strength and growth?
“Growth in grace does not come without much earnest prayer, without the humbling of self at every step. Jesus said: ‘Strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many, I say unto you, shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able.’ ‘Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat; because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.’
“ ‘Then said they unto him, What shall we do that we might work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.’ ‘And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given unto us.’ ‘And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.’
“The sum and substance of the whole matter of Christian grace and experience is comprised in believing on Christ,—in knowing God, and his Son, whom he hath sent. But here is where many fail; for they lack faith in God. Instead of desiring to be brought into fellowship with Christ in his self-denial and humiliation, they are ever seeking for the supremacy of self. As long as they refuse to fall upon the Rock and be broken, they cannot appreciate the love or the character of God. We may be one with Christ; but we must be willing to yield our own way, our own will, and have the mind that was in Christ, that we may know what it is to have fellowship with him in humiliation and suffering. Our ideas are too contracted; we must have more expanded views of Christ and the character of his work. O, if we did but appreciate the love of God, how would our hearts be enlarged, our limited sympathies expanded, till they would break from the icy barriers of selfishness; and our comprehension would be deeper than it now is, for we should look beneath the surface.
“It is because we do not know God, do not have faith in Christ, that we are not more deeply impressed with the humiliation he endured in our behalf, that his abasement does not lead every soul to the humbling of self, to the exalting of Jesus. The Lord calls upon you to humble yourselves under his mighty hand, that you may be partakers of his holiness. You are not to be above your Master, but as he was, so are you to be in the world. O, if you loved him as he has loved you, you would not shrink from a knowledge of the dark chapters of the experience of the Son of God.
“In order to be partakers with Christ in his sufferings, we must behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world. When we contemplate the humiliation of Christ, beholding his self-denial and self-sacrifice, we are filled with amazement at the manifestation of divine love for guilty man. When for Christ’s sake we are called to pass through trials that are of a humiliating nature, if we have the mind of Christ we shall suffer them with meekness, not resenting injury or resisting evil. We shall manifest the spirit that dwelt in Christ. The Christian cannot hope to live without trials. Difficulties will arise, unexpected sorrows will come, to those who are called to be the stewards of the manifold grace of God; but in the face of difficulty, those who, through faith in their Redeemer, are united to Christ as the branch is united to the living vine, will become partakers with him in his self-denial, and will go forth to shed upon those who are in darkness the light of his love. We are to understand what the sacrifice, the labors, and the sufferings of Christ are, in order that we may co-operate with him in working out the great scheme of redemption.
“Though Christ endured sorrow which no pen can portray, he did not shrink from the payment of the ransom for lost man. Let the minister and missionary look upon his example of faith and perseverance. Of him it is written: ‘He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth.’ You are not to grow weary in well-doing, but to be of good courage in the work of God. It was love that sustained Christ in his humiliation, love for perishing souls that enabled him to endure the insults, the contempt, the rejection of men, and at last led him to die on Calvary, that whosoever believeth on him might not perish, but have everlasting life. The salvation of the lost was the object of Christ’s mission to earth, and he died to redeem sinners of every race and every clime. We are to be laborers together with him; for as long as there are sinners to be saved, so long are the followers of Christ to deny self, to work intelligently, to go forth into the highways and by-ways, showing forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of darkness into his marvellous light. . . .
“We are to bear Christ’s yoke, to work as he worked for the salvation of the lost; and those who are partakers of his sufferings will also be partakers of his glory. The apostle says, ‘Ye are laborers together with God.’ Then let us take hold of his strength. Let every one who names the name of Christ among us become a laborer together with God. Let not the burden of the whole work fall on the ministers, but let every member of the church realize that he has a work to do. Let the people of God scatter abroad, moving in all directions, into cities and villages where the light of truth has not shone, that the knowledge of God may be diffused among men. Tell others what they must do to be saved. . . . Let every one surrender himself to God, accept the heavenly endowment of the Holy Spirit, and go forth to tell those who sit in darkness of a Saviour’s love and sacrifice, that they should not perish, but have everlasting life. In whatever place you take up your abode, be a light to the people, pointing out the path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in, and thus become laborers together with God.”*