“The influence of a gospel hope will not lead the sinner to look upon the salvation of Christ as a matter of free grace, while he continues to live in transgression of the law of God.”“God saw man’s hopeless condition. He looked with sorrow upon the world, which was steadily growing more and more degraded and sinful. He could not change his law to meet man’s deficiencies; for he says, ‘My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.’ But in his great love for the human race, in his desire that man should not be left to meet the penalty of his transgression, but that he should be elevated and ennobled, he ‘gave his only-begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ Christ laid aside his royal robes, and came to this earth, bringing with him a power sufficient to overcome sin. He came to live the law of God in humanity, that by partaking of his divine nature, we also might live that law.”1
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“Satan compassed the ruin of thousands through temptation to indulge appetite. He has ever thus sought to pervert the senses of man, weaken his moral power, and make him the slave of appetite; he then gains control of him, and uses him as his agent in practising crime, and all manner of wickedness. We see, at the present day, great lack of discernment in regard to right and wrong, and an absence of principle. We may trace this lamentable state of things to the general indulgence of perverted appetite, which excites the baser passions, and urges its victim on to excesses of every kind, and finally to crimes of every degree.
“Intemperance of any kind will enervate a character originally firm, noble, and independent. His fine sensibilities will be blunted, his conscience will become seared. He will form bad associations, evil communications will corrupt his good manners. One false step leads him to another, which may be fatal, and he becomes the tool of Satan. Men plunge into wild license and reckless dissipation, and call it freedom of action, when they are in veriest bondage to the most cruel tyrant who knows no compassion for the wretched victims he allures to ruin. When the world was filled with iniquity God lifted up his standard against Satan by sending his Son to the world in the likeness of sinful flesh. Christ bridged the gulf that sin had made, which separated earth from heaven, and man from God. . . .
“Here is a work for man to do. He must face the mirror of God’s law, discern the defects in his moral character and put away his sins, washing his robes of character in the blood of the Lamb. Envy, pride, malice, deceit, strife, crime will be cleansed from the heart that is recipient of the love of Christ, and cherishes the hope of being made like him when we shall see him as he is. The religion of Christ refines and dignifies its possessor, whatever his associations or station in life may be. Men who become enlightened Christians rise above the level of their former character into greater mental and moral strength. Those fallen and degraded by sin and crime may become but a little lower than the angels through the merits of the Saviour.“But the influence of a gospel hope will not lead the sinner to look upon the salvation of Christ as a matter of free grace, while he continues to live in transgression of the law of God. When the light of truth dawns upon his mind, and he fully understands the requirements of God, and realizes the extent of his transgressions, he will reform his ways, become loyal to God through the strength obtained from his Saviour, and lead a new and purer life. Those who overcome in the name of Jesus will stand about the great white throne, with crowns of immortal glory, waving the palm branches of victory. They will be sons of God, children of the heavenly King, their lives running parallel with the life of God. The joy of the Lord will be their joy, and no shadow will ever darken their heavenly home. Said Christ, ‘Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.’2
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“There is not an impulse of our nature, not a faculty of the mind or an inclination of the heart, but needs to be, moment by moment, under the control of the Spirit of God. There is not a blessing which God bestows upon man, nor a trial which he permits to befall him, but Satan both can and will seize upon it to tempt, to harass, and destroy the soul, if we give him the least advantage. Therefore however great one’s spiritual light, however much he may enjoy of the divine favor and blessing, he should ever walk humbly before the Lord, pleading in faith that God will direct every thought and control every impulse.“All who profess godliness are under the most sacred obligation to guard the spirit, and to exercise self-control under the greatest provocation. The burdens placed upon Moses were very great; few men will ever be so severely tried as he was; yet this was not allowed to excuse his sin. God has made ample provision for His people; and if they rely upon His strength, they will never become the sport of circumstances. The strongest temptation cannot excuse sin. However great the pressure brought to bear upon the soul, transgression is our own act. It is not in the power of earth or hell to compel any one to do evil. Satan attacks us at our weak points, but we need not be overcome. However severe or unexpected the assault, God has provided help for us, and in His strength we may conquer.”3
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“Every day that you remain in sin, you are in Satan’s ranks; and should you sicken and die without repentance, you would be lost. No one can force you to give your heart to Jesus, no one can compel you to throw off the yoke of Satan. You may choose to do his bidding, to be children of the wicked one; you may rob God of your time, you may refuse to serve him, because the infatuation of sin, the service of Satan, is acceptable to you. But can you afford this? Can you afford to rob God by withholding that which he has purchased for himself? Would you choose to please the Lord’s worst enemy? Would you have Christ make all that sacrifice on Calvary’s cross for you in vain? Jesus has given every evidence that he loves you, in that he died to make you happy through the treasures of his grace in this life, and to make you happy in the future immortal life.”4
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“Do not settle down in Satan’s easy-chair, and say that there is no use, you cannot cease to sin, that there is no power in you to overcome. There is no power in you apart from Christ, but it is your privilege to have Christ abiding in your heart by faith, and he can overcome sin in you, when you cooperate with his efforts, putting your will on the side of God’s will. He says, “I have overcome the world.” In him you lift up the banner as one who conquers. ‘We are more than conquerors through him that loved us.’ You may have a constant testimony in your life to the power of the grace of Christ, and may understand what are the operations of the Spirit of God. You may be living epistles, known and read of all men. You are not to be a dead letter, but a living one, testifying to the world that Jesus is able to save.”5
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“You have been pronounced a sinner, and Christ has announced Himself a Saviour. Accept the remedy God has provided for you in a sin-pardoning Saviour. How would you have felt had you been in the camp of Israel, and seen the people groaning and shrieking in distress because of their swollen and painful wounds, when the brazen serpent was uplifted, and when by one look they might be healed? Would you not have exclaimed, “why do they not look at the uplifted serpent? How strange it is that they do not perform the one simple act by which they may receive healing!” But is it not as inconsistent for you to refuse to look at the crucified Saviour? Heed the invitation: “Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”6
2. Ibid., August 1, 1878.
3. Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 421.
4. Review and Herald, December 24, 1889.
5. The Youth’s Instructor, June 29, 1893.
6. The Bible Echo, July 2, 1894.