The last study we had here was an effort to get as plainly as possible before this people, the difference between a pagan belief and the faith of Jesus Christ; the difference between justification by works under the heading of justification by faith--the difference between that and justification by faith as it is. That was the effort; that was the aim. And you will remember how it was done. And that brought us to the subject that is ever before us now: that we must have the teaching of righteousness according to righteousness. And this can be, as we have found, only according to God's idea of righteousness and not our own, and in order to have God's idea of righteousness instead of our own, we must have the mind that can comprehend it, and that alone is the mind of Jesus Christ. Whoever has not the mind of Christ itself, whoever has not yielded up himself and all that he has and is and received the mind of Christ instead, does not know, and he cannot know what righteousness by faith is; he cannot know what justification by faith is. He may profess it; he may assent to it; he may claim it, but he cannot know it, for no man can know it with the natural mind. Let us turn now and read from the Bible where it says so. 1 Cor. 2:14:
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him.
That is just the way the righteousness by faith has been treated by hundreds of people who profess to believe it.
Elder Lewis Johnson: The priests of the State church in Scandinavia preach it that way.
Elder Jones: Yes, the Catholics all preach it that way. With the natural mind it belongs that way. And it will always be that way with the man who has not the mind of Christ. But the man who has not that mind does not know it. He thinks he is straight; he thinks he has got the righteousness of God which is by faith. And yet what he has is not so good but what he has to do ever so much himself in order to patch it up and complete it; but yet he thinks that that is righteousness by faith. "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
How can a man then know the righteousness of God with the natural mind? Now, I just appeal to you. I do not care who you are, whether you have ever heard of Christ before in your life. Now just take that verse as it reads; how can a man know the righteousness of God for himself with the carnal mind--the mind of Satan, for that is what the carnal mind is. Now, can that man do it? [Congregation: "No."] Can the mind of Satan know the righteousness of God?
Again: the righteousness of God as expressed in letters, in words, in the ten commandments is the law of God. Now all agree with that; there is not a Seventh-day Adventist that will not agree with that. The difficulty is, so many people try to get the righteousness of God out of the law by the law. Some try to get it--No. They actually get it without the law, by the faith of Jesus Christ, which is "unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference." "For now . . .' (and that means now!) "Now the righteousness of God without the law, is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets, even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference." Rom. 3:21, 22.
He who obtains it in that way has it, but I say we all agree, every Seventh-day Adventist will confess, that the ten commandments express in letters, in words, the righteousness of God.
Now, then, "The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be." How then can the carnal mind know the righteousness of God? How can the carnal mind be subject to it? It cannot be, says the Lord. Then the man who has only the carnal mind, who knows only the natural birth and has not the mind of Jesus Christ, the man who has not had the natural mind of Christ there, cannot know the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ. And now, just now, when the Lord wants to reveal to us the righteousness of God according to righteousness, to give to us the teaching of righteousness according to righteousness, now as never before on earth, it is that we need and must have the mind of Jesus Christ alone.
Now, "the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Is the mind of Christ subject to the law of God? [Congregation: "Yes."] Was it ever anything else? [Congregation: "No."] The mind of Christ was subject to the word of God always. The whole Bible, of course is simply the drawing out of the law of God as it is in Christ. Well then, was not the mind of Christ always subject to the law? to the whole word of God just as it is? [Congregation: "Yes."] There was never any hitch upon that. Wherever the word of God was read, how did the mind of Christ receive it? It instantly received it. He would not say, "Now how can that be, I wonder." Don't you suppose He said, "Well now I think that means this way." Didn't He say, "Are not you a little too strong about reading that text?" "Can't you modify it just a little?" Did He ever get troubled over what the Bible said about anything or what the Lord would say? No. Whenever the word of God was spoken, the mind of Christ instantly responded.
Brethren, I know that you can know and that any man in this world can know and can have just that kind of a mind. I know that you can have just such a mind, that whenever the word of God speaks the response is instantaneous, and there is no question or doubt or sign of rejection. Now you can see upon this very thing, that if you and I have such a mind as that, then when the word of God is read, there is no rising up, or objection, or dissent--is that the mind of Christ? [Congregation: "Yes."] Then it is easy enough to know whether we have the mind of Christ or not.
If your mind or my mind, if your disposition or my disposition or yourself or myself is not in that surrendered condition--that position of surrender unto God--that whenever He speaks in the word there or by His prophets and there is anything in that mind or in that heart that raises up any objection or dissent, then whose mind have we? [Congregation: "The carnal mind."] That is the mind that started out to object in the first place. The time has come to get rid of that thing.
But I say that a man can have just that kind of a mind whenever and whatever the word of God speaks there is instant response. There is nothing in that mind or about it in the world that can rise up in objection against it. That mind is not natural to a man, but a man can have it, and can know that he has it and that is the mind that we are to have. That is the mind to which the Lord can reveal His righteousness according to righteousness; because it is the mind that receives from God just what God has to give in God's own way and not in any way that I would fix up or modify or discount it.
So then the man who receives the idea, the truth, of justification by faith or righteousness by faith, according to his own idea or his own view of it, simply cannot do it; he simply has not got it; that is all. It is just that same satanic idea of righteousness by faith; it is simply the same Roman Catholic system of justification by works, passing it off for Justification by Faith. And the time has come now in a great deal more serious sense than nine-tenths of us dream of, when we need to know that we have the righteousness of God and Justification by Faith in another sense than the Roman Catholics use it. That is settled.
I will read a passage or two that will connect with what we had the other night. In Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, page 186, I read the passage about the Laodicean message: what it is designed to do:
The man that is so anxious and so dreadfully afraid that you will not let him have any works to do and that you are going to destroy all his works--if Christ is dwelling in His heart, He will find works to do. Brethren, don't be so anxious about works; find the Lord Jesus Christ and you will find work, more than you can do. [Congregation: "Amen!"] But the difficulty is, when the people get their minds on works and works and works instead of upon Jesus Christ in order to work, they pervert the whole thing. Satan does not care how much a man professes justification by faith, and righteousness by faith, so long as he keeps his mind on works. That is just the thought that is before us here in this definition of faith that we read the other night. Let me read it again. page 69, Steps to Christ:
They believe that, but what power does their believing it bring to them to make them righteous, or to enable them to do good works? What power is there in their belief? What power does that give to them? [Congregation: "None."] No, it is away off there, simply as a theory, held off to look at, held as a theory, held as a creed; and so, a spirit even, can believe in the existence and power of God; he can believe the truth of the Bible; he can believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, the Holy One of God, and be a devil. And in the form of a papist he can believe all this is this way and profess justification by faith at the same time, and he can be a great stickler for what they call "good works" at the same time. Yes, he can work the very skin off his bones in order to be good, in order to be righteous, in order to move God, as we read the other night. You know they do it. You know they make pilgrimages and do penances, and fairly wear themselves out, and in addition to these things they will shut themselves off from every earthly comfort.
But who is doing the work? Who in these things does the work? Self does the work in order to be righteous, in order to have that treasure of merit that will give an increase of grace in this world and an increase of glory in heaven. That is what it is for, is it not? [Congregation: "Yes."] Who is doing it then? [Congregation: "Self"] Yes, sir. Has the mind, as the heart been yielded to God? Are the affections fixed upon Him? Is the surrender of all to Him? No. And therefore it is still self in all.
Who then is to do the work in order that it may be good works always? Let us read again: "If Christ is dwelling in our hearts, He will work in us 'both to will and to do of his good pleasure.' We shall work as He works; we shall manifest the same spirit. And thus, loving Him and abiding in Him, we shall 'grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ'" Now, then, that is what the Lord wants, that is what the mind of Christ is. As we had the thought the other evening--I cannot have the mind of Christ separate from Him. I cannot have the mind of Christ without having Him personally. But the personal presence of Jesus Christ is just what He wants to give us by the Holy Spirit in the outpouring of the latter rain just now. The personal presence of Christ is what He wants to give us.
Then the rest of that definition of belief: A person may believe in the existence and power of God; he may believe the truth of the Bible; he may believe and say that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the Son of God, the Holy One of God, and yet be a devil. But that is not faith. There is no power in that kind of belief to help anybody. Is not that the secret of all these exhortations that have come to us in the Testimonies all these years, that the truth must not be kept in the outer court, but must be brought into the inner sanctuary of the soul; is not that what this means? [Congregation: "Yes."] Is not the idea there that men will hold the truth away off and look at it as a theory and put their own construction upon it and their own interpretation into it and then go about of themselves to do what they believe? That is not faith.
Here is faith: "Where there is not only a belief in God's word, but a submission of will to Him; where the heart is yielded to Him, the affections fixed upon Him." Now these are weighty expressions; they are worth considering. "The submission of the will to Him," is it done? Is your will submitted to Him never to be taken back, or exercised in your own way or for yourself? Is your will surrendered to Him? Yours? Yours, I mean? Has He your will? Says one, "I think He has." Well, you want to know it. "Well," says another, "I have been trying to submit my will to Him." Well, stop your trying and submit your will to Him and be done with it and know it.
"The submission of the will to Him," is your will submitted to Him? Is it gone so that you know it is gone, and that you have no wish or impulse or any inclination ever in any situation to use it yourself? Is it gone? You can know it. You can know whether that is done. [Voice: "How?"] How? Why by doing it, telling the Lord it is done and it is so. Of course a man knows it is so when it is done. [A voice: "If he does not know it, it is not done."] Exactly.
If a man does not know it, that is the strongest possible evidence that he could have that it is not done. And when it is done, ah! He knows it. That is the very thing. When it is done he becomes a spiritual man, and he knows what he never knew before in his life. The natural man cannot receive it, he cannot understand it, he never can. How in the world can I understand what there is in the doing of a thing I never did? Here is something that you have done, you know how it goes, but I never did it, and yet I want you to explain it all to me so that I will understand just how it is done, without the doing of it myself. Brethren, that is not straight, and much less is it straight in this thing, for this is to be known, and can be known only between God and the individual himself. "They shall be all taught of God." One can tell another that it is a fact; one can tell another that he knows that it is a fact. But no one can give it to another, so that my brother can get it from me. I can tell him it is a fact, and that he can know it, but he must learn it from God. You do it simply by yielding to God. That is the only way any man can do it or know it. Lots of people do not understand how, but the worst difficulty is they will not do it when you tell them how.
Now I ask again, Is your will submitted to Him? Is that thing done? Have you gone over that barrier and stand where you know that you stand there and that you know that your will is surrendered to Him, for Him to use in His way, and that there is no further question about it, and no dissent from it in any way? Now is your will submitted to God for Him to use as He pleases and you have no objection to raise at all; you have no thought or inclination to use it your way; you want Him to do His way, and that is all you care for? Is that so? Is your will there? [Congregation: "Yes."]
Are any here in whom it is not so? You just go and tell the Lord all about it. Tell Him, "Lord, I submit everything to thee; everything goes; nothing stays; I do not retain a single thing; all is gone; everything, will and all--to thee, that thou mayest use it both to will and to do." [Congregation: "Amen."] Brethren, we every one need to do just that, here, each day. The Lord wants to come in here in just the way that that will let Him in.
But as long as I reserve some of my will, I will go my way in spite of myself, I cannot have God use me fully. He cannot come in fully, Christ cannot come in fully, unless there is a full submission to Him. Let there be some dying here. Let there be some actual dying to self. That is what it means; it means death: and of course people never struggle to die. They struggle to stay alive, if there are any struggles.
Bear in mind that it is not enough to "want" to die. Go ahead and die; that is what the Lord wants. Says one, How shall I do that? He tells how: "Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed." Dead indeed. Brother Durland read to us here yesterday, "He that is dead is freed from sin." It is so. "Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin," and God will furnish the fact. The point is, brethren, we need to get acquainted with the Lord. The trouble is, people are not personally acquainted with the Lord and do not know how these things are with Him.
"Where the heart is yielded to Him." How much of it? [Congregation: "All of it."] Is it done? [Congregation: "Yes."] The whole heart is gone? Everything is gone? Well, says one, I have yielded all I know. Well, now just take the other step, and yield all you do not know.
Why, brethren, let us bear this in mind to start with and never try to forget it, because the further you go the more you will see it is a fact, that when we get hold of the gospel of Jesus Christ just as it is, we find at every turn and in every phase of it, the mystery of God. At every point and in every turn, you find a place and a situation in which nothing can explain it but God, and all you can do is to believe that God is there. It is so and you will know the fact, and let Him go ahead and explain it. It will take eternity to do that. What He wants you and me to do is to be glad that we have eternity before us in which for Him to explain it to us. I am going to be glad that I have eternity to live in--not bother about whether I understand this, that, or the other. No. God forbid that we should throw away eternal life because we cannot understand all that God understands. But, ah! There is the same spirit again that Satan had--to be equal with God and not submit to any unless we can understand all. Let that mind be put away. And let us believe the Lord and let Him take His own good time to explain it.
Well, then, is your heart yielded to Him? Now that thought I had a moment ago. Many say, "I have surrendered to the Lord all I know." That is not enough. What you want to do is to surrender to Him all you know and all you do not know. Because when I surrender to Him only what I know, there are a good many things left that I do not know, a good many situations where I will meet myself, and good many things will come up, and I will meet something that will be very attractive and desirable to me, and if I have not surrendered all, what then? There will be a contest, whether I will surrender that or not. So I am kept constantly in hot water to know whether I am surrendered to the Lord or not. The Lord wants you to get out of the hot water and stay out. Surrender everything you know and everything you do not know. Let everything go to Him, with no reservation now or evermore. Then you are not afraid of anything; you do not care if you drop into the bottom of the sea the next minute. It is all surrendered; You are in His hands--and then you have got something. That man has got something; he has something never had before, and he has something that he cannot get until he does just that thing.
"The affections fixed upon Him." Are your affections fixed there, so that He takes precedence of everything? So that He is first before everything? Nothing at all coming into the account anywhere or at any time? Is that so? When a man does that he has got something; he has indeed, and he knows it. Well, says one, is not a man to care for his wife and children? Why, they are all surrendered to the Lord too and cannot the Lord care for them a great deal better than you can without being surrendered to him? They are surrendered too, and instead of the situation being this: that when my affections are fixed upon him they are severed from those who are dear to me, it is the other way; when my affections are fixed upon him, they are intensified and deepened and glorified, upon those who are tenderly connected with me. Why, people miss it all when they think that to fix the affections on God is going to separate them from somebody they like while on the earth; it is the only way they can love properly those whom they think they like on the earth.
Well, now, is it so? Is the will submitted to Him? Is your heart yielded to God, so that your affections are fixed upon Him? Is it done, so that you can stand before Him and thank the Lord that it is so? I do not mean to stand up in the congregation and say that it is so but just tell it over to the Lord that it is so. People will get up in the congregation and say things there that they will not say to the Lord. You tell it to the Lord. Tell Him that your will is given up bodily to Him. Submit the whole thing without a particle of reservation now or evermore, and just tell Him that your heart is yielded up to Him, for it is good for nothing and you want His heart instead of yours. And after that your affections are fixed upon Him, and that there they stay. And they will stay there. Tell Him that all the time, every day; tell Him wherever you go. Live with Him, brethren; live with Him; live with Him; that is what He wants. Why He is raised from the dead, and we are raised up with Him that we may live with Him. Rom. 6:8. His personal presence is to be with us. That is what the Laodicean message is to do for us; it brings the presence of Christ to live in us.
This you can do alone for yourself and nobody else can do it for you. Brethren, let us go to doing that. Let us get into that place. When a man is there, then he simply waits the direction of the Lord; waits the time of the Lord. When the Lord gets ready to pour out His Holy Spirit there is nothing to hinder. If there be something that he does not know, Oh well, that was surrendered long ago. It may be as dear as the right eye, but that went long ago. It is gone, thank the Lord, and so there is nothing between you and Him and He can pour out His Spirit whenever He pleases. That is where He wants you and me to stand in this Conference, waiting for Him to give us that teaching of righteousness according to righteousness.
Now how much of Christ are we to have? When the personal presence of Christ comes to us He will be closer to us than if He would come in here to meeting with us every day. Is that so? [Congregation: "Yes, sir."] Well, then, that is the gospel, is it not? That is the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ. That is the gospel, "for therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith." Rom. 1:17. Oh, no! From faith to works! The righteousness of God is revealed from faith to works! "the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith" Thank the Lord.
The presence of Christ, the personal presence of Christ--"Christ in you the hope of glory"--that is the gospel, isn't it? Now, see here--and there is not any need of their being a particle of misunderstanding about this question of faith and works, or a particle of hesitation about it--see here: Christ was in the world once, wasn't He? [Congregation: "Yes."] He did not do anything of Himself. "Of mine own self I can do nothing." The Father dwelt in Him. He did the works. "The Father that dwelleth in me He doeth the works." John 14:10. "As my father hath sent me, even so send I you."
As God was in Christ, Christ is to be in us. Is that so? [Congregation: "Yes."] Is Christ the same yesterday, today and forever? [Congregation: "Yes."] How did He act when He was on earth, in our flesh that He had? How did He act in that, when He was here before? He went about doing good; He cared for the sick, sympathized with them. "He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows." Bears our sickness. His sympathy with the sick was so close that when He went to minister to them He actually entered into their feelings. He actually bore their sicknesses. How will He act when He is in our flesh now? [Voice: "He will act the same way."] How will He act when He is in your flesh? When He is in the flesh now? [Voice: "As He acted then."]
Don't you see then how that the works take care of themselves in Him who has faith in Jesus Christ. I do not mean that satanic belief. I mean the man that has faith. Then don't you see what those people miss who get their minds on works more than on Christ? They miss the very incentive and the very power that alone can do the things that are good, to reach and minister to the sick in the right spirit, to visit the poor and minister to them in the right spirit. Have not you seen people that have ministered to the poor and the sick, in a way that makes those people feel worse than if they had not gone there at all? That is not the kind of ministering that Jesus Christ does. That is not the kind of ministering He does. No, sir. It is Christ in you. And when He goes with you and in you there stands the testimony, "It will win even from worldlings the statement, 'They are like Jesus.'"
What does He want the world to see in us? [Congregation: "Christ."] He wants the world to see in our lives, Jesus Christ--the life of Christ, Christ in you the hope of glory--and they will know it, and you will know it. Be sure that Christ is there, and the Spirit of the Lord will convey to peoples' minds that He is there. But as certainly as you and I appear instead of Christ, that is all that will appear, and the world will see only that.
Now brethren, is there any real need of anybody getting any misunderstanding of having any hitch at all about whether righteousness by faith, justification by faith carries with it in itself the very living virtue of God to work in God's way? Is there any need of it? No. Not the least. And it will never be done by any mind that is submissive to God. It will not be done by the mind that is yielded to God and wanting to have God's way, Christ first and last, and through all and in all and over all. Because then he becomes so acquainted with Christ that he knows that faith in Jesus Christ brings that divine presence and that divine power and that divine virtue and that divine grace that will so make him who receive it, so move upon him, that he who has the most faith will be the one of all the world that will do the most work. Why you cannot separate it. The divine life is in it; the divine power is in it; the divine word is in it.
Did not Paul strive, says one, and does not the Saviour say, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate"? Yes, he does, and Paul tells us how. Let us turn and read that. It is right upon this very line, and then we will quit for tonight. It is in the first chapter of Colossians, the 25th verse and onward: The gospel "whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and generations but now is made manifest to his saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles."
What is it that God wants to make known, at this time, to you and me? He wants to make known "what is the riches of the glory of this mystery." That is a great deal, is it not? How great are the riches of the glory of the mystery of God? How great? As great as God. Then how can we know them except by the mind of Christ, which is brought to us by the Holy Spirit bringing His presence?
Now, then: "Which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: whereunto I also labor, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily."
How can I strive when I have nothing to strive with? "Without me ye can do"--How much? [Congregation: "Nothing."] Is that so? [Congregation: "Yes."] Then without Christ I want to know how you are going to strive. Without Him how are you going to strive? I want you to think of that. "Without me ye can do nothing." "Dead in trespasses and sins." Is that so? How can a dead man strive? " When we were without strength." Rom. 5:6. Were we without strength? [Congregation: "Yes."] That is so. Then how can a man strive who has no strength? Don't you see, then, that it is an utter satanic perversion of the divine idea, to go to striving and working and wearing the life out in order to get to Christ to obtain this gift of justification. No. It is the free gift of God to every man, and every man who receives it, receives Jesus Christ Himself indeed. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation unto every one that believeth. Then he who surrenders all, yields all, and obtains that power of God, that living Saviour--to whom is given all power in heaven and earth--he has something to strive with; he has strength that he can put to a good purpose; he has power with which he can do something.
Then where does the striving come in? to find the Lord? or to use the power which the Lord gives, which He puts into us? Which is it? [Voice: "To use the power."] Assuredly. Then do not let us get it on the wrong side, brethren; let us have it on the right side.
"Striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily." As he says in that other place: "The love of Christ constraineth us." 2 Cor. 5:14. Constrains, impels, drives on with an irresistible force. That is the idea that is in the word striving. Other translations give it, "agonize" to enter into the strait gate. And they do really and bodily agonize and wear themselves out, doing penance, just like any other Catholic--and they will do it all in order to move the Lord, so that He will have pity on them. That is not the thought.
It is agonizing, but everybody who is acquainted with it, knows that the word is taken from the Greek games, the Greek races. One who entered the games was an agonistes. They started out to run a race. Now what does he do? He just strains every nerve to win the race; every faculty of his being is devoted to the object before him, isn't it? [Congregation: "Yes, sir."] Now that is bodily exercise; that is bodily striving, agonizing. Is this that kind that Christ is talking about? [Congregation: "No."] What kind is this? Spiritual. Yes, of course. Then carrying that thought from bodily exercise, that bodily straining of every nerve, carrying that into the spiritual realm, what does it signify? Doesn't it signify that complete surrender of the will to Christ, that surrender of the heart, and the affections to Him, that makes no reserve? And there is no reservation; it yields everything to Him, every fiber of the being is devoted to the one object and the glory of God. Is not that so? Then His power moving us, His divine power urging us on, don't you see? I say again that in all cases he who believes in Jesus Christ most fully will work most for Him.
Now let us have this word, and that will be the best close I could make to the whole thing tonight. Steps to Christ, page 79: "The heart that rests most fully upon Christ will be the most earnest and active in labor for Him." Amen. [Congregation: "Amen."] Do not forget that now. Do not think that the man who says that he rests wholly upon Jesus Christ is either a physical or a spiritual loafer. If he shows this loafing in his life, he is not resting on Christ at all but on his own self.
No, sir, the heart that rests most fully upon Christ will be most earnest and active in labor for Him. That is what real faith is. That is faith that will bring to you the outpouring of the latter rain; that is faith that will bring to you and me the teaching of righteousness according to righteousness--the living presence of Jesus Christ--to prepare us for the loud cry and the carrying of the third angel's message in the only way in which it can be carried from this Conference.