Through Faith Alone|
A general manuscript written by Ellen G. White circa 1890.
Discussions may be entered into by mortals strenuously advocating creature merit, and each man striving for the supremacy, but they simply do not know that all the time, in principle and character, they are misrepresenting the truth as it is in Jesus. They are in a fog of bewilderment. They need the divine love of God which is represented by gold tried in the fire; they need the white raiment of Christ's pure character; and they need the heavenly eyesalve that they might discern with astonishment the utter worthlessness of creature merit to earn the wages of eternal life. There may be a fervor of labor and an intense affection, high and noble achievement of intellect, a breadth of understanding, and the humblest self-abasement, laid at the feet of our Redeemer; but there is not one jot more than the grace and talent first given of God. There must be nothing less given than duty prescribes, and there cannot be one jot more given than they have first received; and all must be laid upon the fire of Christ's righteousness to cleanse it from its earthly odor before it rises in a cloud of fragrant incense to the great Jehovah and is accepted as a sweet savor.
I ask, How can I present this matter as it is? The Lord Jesus imparts all the powers, all the grace, all the penitence, all the inclination, all the pardon of sins, in presenting His righteousness for man to grasp by living faith--which is also the gift of God. If you would gather together everything that is good and holy and noble and lovely in man and then present the subject to the angels of God as acting a part in the salvation of the human soul or in merit, the proposition would be rejected as treason. Standing in the presence of their Creator and looking upon the unsurpassed glory which enshrouds His person, they are looking upon the Lamb of God given from the foundation of the world to a life of humiliation, to be rejected of sinful men, to be despised, to be crucified. Who can measure the infinity of the sacrifice!
Christ for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. And any works that man can render to God will be far less than nothingness. My requests are made acceptable only because they are laid upon Christ's righteousness. The idea of doing anything to merit the grace of pardon is fallacy from beginning to end. "Lord, in my hand no price I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling."
What Man Cannot Do
Man can achieve no praiseworthy exploits that give him any glory. Men are in the habit of glorifying men and exalting men. It makes me shudder to see or hear of it, for there have been revealed to me not a few cases where the homelife and inner work of the hearts of those very men are full of selfishness. They are corrupt, polluted, vile; and nothing that comes from all their doings can elevate them with God, for all that they do is an abomination in His sight. There can be no true conversion without the giving up of sin, and the aggravating character of sin is not discerned. With an acuteness of perception never reached by mortal sight, angels of God discern that beings hampered with corrupting influences, with unclean souls and hands, are deciding their destiny for eternity; and yet many have little sense of what constitutes sin and the remedy.
We hear so many things preached in regard to the conversion of the soul that are not the truth. Men are educated to think that if a man repents he shall be pardoned, supposing that repentance is the way, the door, into heaven; that there is a certain assured value in repentance to buy for him forgiveness. Can man repent of himself? No more than he can pardon himself. Tears, sighs, resolutions--all these are but the proper exercise of the faculties God has given to man, and the turning from sin in the amendment of a life which is God's. Where is the merit in the man to earn his salvation, or to place before God something that is valuable and excellent? Can an offering of money, houses, lands, place yourself on the deserving list? Impossible!
There is danger in regarding justification by faith as placing merit on faith. When you take the righteousness of Christ as a free gift you are justified freely through the redemption of Christ. What is faith? "The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). It is an assent of the understanding to God's words which binds the heart in willing consecration and service to God, Who gave the understanding, Who moved on the heart, Who first drew the mind to view Christ on the cross of Calvary. Faith is rendering to God the intellectual powers, abandonment of the mind and will to God, and making Christ the only door to enter into the kingdom of heaven.
When men learn they cannot earn righteousness by their own merit of works, and they look with firm and entire reliance upon Jesus Christ as their only hope, there will not be so much of self and so little of Jesus. Souls and bodies are defiled and polluted by sin, the heart is estranged from God, yet many are struggling in their own finite strength to win salvation by good works. Jesus, they think, will do some of the saving; they must do the rest. They need to see by faith the righteousness of Christ as their only hope for time and for eternity.
God Works, and Man Works
God has given men faculties and capabilities. God works and cooperates with the gifts He has imparted to man, and man, by being a partaker of the divine nature and doing the work of Christ, may be an overcomer and win eternal life. The Lord does not propose to do the work He has given man powers to do. Man's part must be done. He must be a laborer together with God, yoking up with Christ, learning His meekness, His lowliness. God is the all-controlling power. He bestows the gifts; man receives them and acts with the power of the grace of Christ as a living agent.
"Ye are God's husbandry" (1 Corinthians 3:9). The heart is to be worked, subdued, plowed, harrowed, seeded, to bring forth its harvest to God in good works. "Ye are God's building." You cannot build yourself. There is a Power outside of yourself that must do the building of the church, putting brick upon brick, always cooperating with the faculties and powers given of God to man. The Redeemer must find a home in His building. God works and man works. There needs to be a continual taking in of the gifts of God, in order that there may be as free a giving out of these gifts. It is a continual receiving and then restoring. The Lord has provided that the soul shall receive nourishment from Him, to be given out again in the working out of His purposes. In order that there be an outflowing, there must be an income of divinity to humanity. "I will dwell in them, and walk in them" (2 Corinthians 6:16).
The soul temple is to be sacred, holy, pure, and undefiled. There must be a copartnership in which all the power is of God and all the glory belongs to God. The responsibility rests with us. We must receive in thoughts and in feelings, to give in expression. The law of the human and the divine action makes the receiver a laborer together with God. It brings man where he can, united with divinity, work the works of God. Humanity touches humanity. Divine power and the human agency combined will be a complete success, for Christ's righteousness accomplishes everything.
Supernatural Power for Supernatural Works
The reason so many fail to be successful laborers is that they act as though God depended on them, and they are to suggest to God what He chooses to do with them, in the place of their depending on God. They lay aside the supernatural power and fail to do the supernatural work. They are all the time depending on their own and their brethren's human powers. They are narrow in themselves and are always judging after their finite human comprehension. They need uplifting, for they have no power from on high. God gives us bodies, strength of brain, time and opportunity in which to work. It is required that all be put to the tax. With humanity and divinity combined you can accomplish a work as enduring as eternity. When men think the Lord has made a mistake in their individual cases, and they appoint their own work, they will meet with disappointment.
"By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8). Here is truth that will unfold the subject to your mind if you do not close it to the rays of light. Eternal life is an infinite gift. This places it outside the possibility of our earning it, because it is infinite. It must necessarily be a gift. As a gift it must be received by faith, and gratitude and praise be offered to God. Solid faith will not lead anyone away into fanaticism or into acting the slothful servant. It is the bewitching power of Satan that leads men to look to themselves in the place of looking to Jesus. The righteousness of Christ must go before us if the glory of the Lord becomes our rereward. If we do God's will, we may accept large blessings as God's free gift, but not because of any merit in us; this is of no value. Do the work of Christ, and you will honor God and come off more than conquerors through Him that has loved us and given His life for us, that we should have life and salvation in Jesus Christ.
Printed in Faith and Works, pp. 23-28.
Word Our Assurance
Our Righteousness A Morning Talk
Faith Alone Part 1
Faith Alone Part 2
Was Secured by the Death of Christ
Those Things Which are Above Part 1
Those Things Which are Above Part 2
Our Loving Comforter and Restorer
to Show Christ to the World
Him Take Hold of My Strength"
G. White's Last Recorded Letter
Joy of Giving
New Year's Day Letter
Letter of Comfort and Assurance
Prayer of Consecration
for the Tempted
Fair Flowers of Promise
Godís Love is Manifested, Part 1
Godís Love is Manifested, Part 2
are Complete in Him," Part 1
are Complete in Him," Part 2
are Complete in Him," Part 3
Will Give You Rest"
as Christ Worked
Character of God Revealed in Christ
God Desires Us to Be
Plans the Best
and it shall be given you, Part 1
and it shall be given you, Part 2
Meaning of God's Pardoning Love, Part 1
Meaning of God's Pardoning Love, Part 2
Foundation of Our Peace
Thing Impossible With God
Spans the Gulf of Sin, Part 1
Spans the Gulf of Sin, Part 2
New Year's Day Letter
Mighty and Inspiring Conflict
Word a Treasure House
You May Trust
Filled with Thankfullnes to God
and Godís Love; Sin, Judgment, and the Shortness of Time
for the New Year