ST - 1892 - the living vine

                   U n i t e d   w i t h    t h e    l i v i n g    v i n e     

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           Published in  Selected Messages, Vol. 1 ( Chapter 51 )   and   Signs of the Times -  December 26, 1892     

 

Chapter 51—United With the Living Vine - - -  Christ, Our Divine Sin Bearer
[This article appeared in The Signs of the Times, December 26, 1892.]
  “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” ( 2 Corinthians 5:17). Nothing but divine power can regenerate the human heart and imbue souls with the love of Christ, which will ever manifest itself with love for those for whom He died. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. When a man is converted to God, a new moral taste is supplied, a new motive power is given, and he loves the things that God loves; for his life is bound up by the golden chain of the immutable promises to the life of Jesus. Love, joy, peace, and inexpressible gratitude will pervade the soul, and the language of him who is blessed will be, “Thy gentleness hath made me great” ( Psalm 18:35). { 1SM 336.1} 

 

 
But those who are waiting to behold a magical change in their characters without determined effort on their part to overcome sin, will be disappointed. We have no reason to fear while looking to Jesus, no reason to doubt but that He is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto Him; but we may constantly fear lest our old nature will again obtain the supremacy, that the enemy shall devise some snare whereby we shall again become his captives. We are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that worketh in you to will and to do of His good pleasure. With our limited powers we are to be as holy in our sphere as God is holy in His sphere. To the extent of our ability, we are to make manifest the truth and love and excellence of the divine character. As wax takes the impression of the seal, so the soul is to take the impression of the Spirit of God and retain the image of Christ. { 1SM 336.2} 

 

 

We are to grow daily in spiritual loveliness. We shall fail often in our efforts to copy the divine pattern. We shall often have to bow down to weep at the feet of Jesus, because of our shortcomings and mistakes; but we are not to be discouraged; we are to pray more fervently, believe more fully, and try again with more steadfastness to grow into the likeness of our Lord. As we distrust our own power, we shall trust the power of our Redeemer, and render praise to God, who is the health of our countenance, and our God. { 1SM 337.1} 

 

 
 Wherever there is union with Christ there is love. Whatever other fruits we may bear, if love be missing, they profit nothing. Love to God and our neighbor is the very essence of our religion. No one can love Christ and not love His children. When we are united to Christ, we have the mind of Christ. Purity and love shine forth in the character, meekness and truth control the life. The very expression of the countenance is changed. Christ abiding in the soul exerts a transforming power, and the outward aspect bears witness to the peace and joy that reign within. We drink in the love of Christ, as the branch draws nourishment from the vine. If we are grafted in Christ, if fiber by fiber we have been united with the Living Vine, we shall give evidence of the fact by bearing rich clusters of living fruit. If we are connected with the Light, we shall be channels of light, and in our words and works we shall reflect light to the world. Those who are truly Christians are bound with the chain of love which links earth to heaven, which binds finite man to the infinite God. The light that shines in the face of Jesus Christ shines in the hearts of His followers, to the glory of God. { 1SM 337.2} 

 

 
  By beholding we are to become changed; and as we meditate upon the perfections of the divine Model, we shall desire to become wholly transformed, and renewed in the image of His purity. It is by faith in the Son of God that transformation takes place in the character, and the child of wrath becomes the child of God. He passes from death unto life; he becomes spiritual and discerns spiritual things. The wisdom of God enlightens his mind, and he beholds wondrous things out of His law. As a man is converted by the truth, the work of transformation of character goes on. He has an increased measure of understanding. In becoming a man of obedience to God, he has the mind of Christ, and the will of God becomes his will. { 1SM 338.1} 

 

 

He who places himself unreservedly under the guidance of the Spirit of God, will find that his mind expands and develops. He obtains an education in the service of God which is not one-sided and deficient, developing a one-sided character, but one which results in symmetry and completeness. Weaknesses that have been manifested in a vacillating will and powerless character, are overcome, for continual devotion and piety bring the man in such close relation to Christ that he has the mind of Christ. He is one with Christ, having soundness and strength of principle. His perception is clear, and he manifests that wisdom which comes from God. Says James, “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom” ( James 3:13). “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace” ( James 3:17, 18). This will be the wisdom manifested by him who takes the cup of salvation and calls upon the name of the Lord. This salvation, which offers pardon to the transgressor, presents to him the righteousness that will bear the scrutiny of the Omniscient One, gives victory over the powerful enemy of God and man, provides eternal life and joy for its receiver, and may well be a theme of rejoicing to the humble, who hear thereof and are glad. { 1SM 338.2} 

 

 
                                                       The  Parable  of  the  Lost  Sheep

 

 
The beautiful parable that Christ gave of the one lost sheep, of the shepherd that left the ninety and nine to go in search of that which was lost, illustrates the work of Christ, the sinner’s condition, and the rejoicing of the universe over the salvation of the soul. The shepherd did not look carelessly over the sheep, and say, “I have ninety and nine, and it will cost me too much trouble to go in search of the straying one; let him come back, and I will open the door of the sheepfold that he may come in; but I cannot go after him.” No; no sooner does the sheep go astray than the countenance of the shepherd is filled with grief and anxiety. He counts and recounts the flock, and when he is certain that one sheep is lost, he slumbers not. He leaves the ninety and nine within the fold, and, however dark and tempestuous the night, however perilous and unpleasant the way, however long and tedious the service, he does not weary, he does not falter, until the lost is found. And when it is found, he lays the weary, exhausted sheep on his shoulder, and, with cheerful gratitude that his search has not been in vain, he bears back the wanderer to the fold. His gratitude finds expression in the melodious songs of rejoicing, and he calls upon his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, “Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost” ( Luke 15:6). So when a wanderer is found by the Great Shepherd of the sheep, heavenly angels respond to the Shepherd’s note of joy. When the lost is found, heaven and earth unite in thanksgiving and rejoicing. “Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance” ( Luke 15:7). { 1SM 339.1} 
 

 

                                Continue to Chapter 52 — Christ Our High Priest
 

 

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