Third Angel's Message
Christ's Righteousness vs "New Age" Ideas #14
Talks given at the 1993 General Conference Session
by A.T.Jones


Sermon No. 14

We have seen the manifestation of the natural mind--the carnal mind--in two of its ways: paganism and papacy. But there is another one that is modern. There is one that has arisen nowadays, another trick that the author of the carnal mind is playing and by which he will deceive lots of people if they have not the mind that is in Christ. Now whose mind is the carnal mind? [Congregation: "Satan's"] What is the thing that the carnal mind does mind? [Congregation: "Self."] In Satan it is self; in us it is self. We have seen how that in paganism, open, bold, naked paganism, it put that in the place of God, equal with God, in the immortality of the soul. Then we have found how that when Christianity came into the world this same carnal mind got up a counterfeit of that and covered itself--the same carnal mind--with a form of Christianity, and called it justification by faith when it was all justification by works--the same carnal mind. That is the papacy, the mystery of iniquity.

Now there is another development in Satan's working in the last days, separate from paganism as it was in itself, and separate from the papacy as it was in itself, and as it has been manifested so far. Is that so? [Congregation: "Yes."] In what form does that come? In what form does Satan work in the last days? [Congregation: "Spiritualism."] Yes, and this will exalt self. But will spiritualism always work in the name of Satan? [Congregation: "No."] The nearer we come to the second coming of the Saviour the more fully spiritualism will be professing Christ. Who is it that comes before the Saviour comes, many of them? [Congregation: "False Christs."] There will be many coming and saying, "I am Christ"; and at last Satan himself comes--as Satan? [Congregation: "No. As Christ."] He comes as Christ, he is received as Christ. So then the people of God must be so well acquainted with the Saviour that no profession of the name of Christ will be received or accepted where it is not the actual, genuine thing. But when false Christianity is presenting itself to the world, when every kind of a false Christ appears, then how alone can a person be safe? How shall a man know that these are false? Only by Him who is the true; only by having His mind itself.

Now I want to read you an expression of this last phase of the carnal mind. We have read the other two; we have read the pagan and the papal. Now when we read this last then we will have all three of the stages; we will have before us the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. And then there will be no shadow of an excuse for any one of us after that, taking any position but that which is openly and itself alone the mind of Jesus Christ and the righteousness of God according to His idea of righteousness. Will there? No excuse. When we see before us the direct expression of the false way in all three of its forms, then, even though we be not able to understand or see the other, we will know that well enough to let it alone, and take the other whether we see it or not. Would not we rather let the devil go that we see, and accept the Lord that we cannot see as we would like to? Which would you rather? I would rather take the Lord with my eyes shut, than the devil with my eyes open.

This is a monthly [Christian Science] publication--I will tell you what it is presently; but I will read a passage or two from it first. This is a discipline for the week--a course of training for each day of the week.

Let Thursday be your day for declaring your faith.

Let's see what they say faith is.
Say, 'I do believe that God is now working with me and through me and by me and for me.' Say it with a sure certainty, for it is true.

On Friday be courageous and strong and powerful; overcome all obstacles by your word; say, 'I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me.' Say this with all the strength of your being, and I tell you that you can do just whatever you want to do, even to the working of miracles.

Now that is a lie lodged like poison in words that sound almost true. That you all may see that it is a lie, I read Wednesday's discipline:

On Wednesday use the affirmations; not only the affirmations of science, but affirm all good things in yourself.

[Voice from the congregation: "That proves it is a lie."]

Don't they say God is working in me, and by me, and for me, and through me? When we have come to Jesus and have His righteousness and His goodness, then can't we affirm that we are good? [Congregation: "No."] What is the reason? [Congregation: "It is in Christ; it is not in us."] You are willing to admit then, that when you have found Jesus and all the wealth and the honor and power and the riches that there is in Him, that even then we cannot boast that we are good? Are you willing to admit that? are you? [Voice: "Yes, sir."] Are you? [Voice: "Yes, sir."] All right. That is not near all. I read more:

Affirm all good things in yourself. Praise yourself that you are so kind and loving, and that you are so honest in your intentions of serving the good; praise yourself that you are so steadfast in these same intentions; praise yourself because you are so strong and healthy.

Yes, perhaps praise yourself because you live up so strictly to the health reform so that you have good health. You have done it; praise yourself for it?

Praise yourself because you have such a sweet charitable disposition.

You can do that, can't you? [Congregation: "No."] Not when your sins are forgiven, and you are free from all these things by the power of Christ? Can't you praise yourself then for your sweet charitable disposition, that you have got such a good one? [Congregation: "No, sir."] But I read more:

Praise yourself because you see only the good in everybody and everything in all the world. Praise yourself for every good thing that you do see in yourself and for every good thing that you want to see in yourself. . . . You must praise for the good characteristic that is there to strengthen it, and praise for the good trait that seems lacking to compel it to appear, for you know that the fruit of your lips will be created for you.

Now that is what is called "Christian Science." You can read the title (holding up book). A brother handed me a copy of that thing the other day. The title is "Christian Science," and on the cover is a quotation of Scripture: "My words shall not pass away." Now, brethren, is it not about time that we began to believe the scriptures and the Testimonies? Isn't it about time we had the mind of Jesus Christ? [Congregation: "Amen!"] The mind that will confess that this from the Testimony is so, that has bothered so many of the brethren every time that it has been read. Now let us read it again and see whether you will say it is so, whether you believe it or not. It is time. Testimony No. 31, page 44:

Are you in Christ? Not if you do not acknowledge yourselves erring, helpless, condemned sinners.

You are not in Christ unless you acknowledge yourself to be that. Now is that so? [Congregation: "Yes."] Are you willing to stick to that now whether you understand how it is so or not? [Congregation: "Yes."] Will you stick to it in the face of paganism, the papacy and spiritualism, in all their phases? Then I want to know why in the world it is not time for you and me to have a mind that will not say "Amen" to any such stuff as that which I read from that anti-Christian Science thing? I read on again from the Testimony:

Are you in Christ? Not if you do not acknowledge yourselves erring, helpless, condemned sinners. Not if you are exalting and glorifying self.

Then although these folks quote the words of Christ, it is all counterfeit. You know that "Vol. IV" tells us that when Satan himself comes with the gracious words that the Saviour uttered, he will talk them with much the same tone and will pass it off on those who have not the mind of Christ. Brethren, there is no salvation for us, there is no safety for us, there is no remedy for us at all, but to have the mind of Christ.

And it goes through all our works, too. It is not simply for the minister. It is for everyone. Don't you remember the other day in the talk that Dr. Kellogg gave us on the medical missionary work, how that he saw, and had seen for a long time, the lack in the systems of medicine, to reach and make easy the mind? Don't you remember that he told us that he realized this lack in all medical practice? He had found in their practice all the way through that there was a defect in the medical systems, and that there was nothing that would reach and relieve the mind and turn it off from the diseased souls, that the body might go ahead and get well by the treatment that the physicians would give it.

Brethren, has not Christ supplied just that lack that is in all medical systems, in His own medical system that He has given us by His own Spirit? The mind of Christ, for the nurse, for the physician, to carry to the distressed and the diseased and the suffering and the perishing and get the mind of the sufferer upon Jesus Christ and have His mind, taking it away from self. Then the patient being at rest, the physician can go ahead and doctor the body and it will get well, while the patient is enjoying the blessings and peace of Jesus Christ and the mind which He gives. Don't you see how it goes through all your work, and it is the one thing everywhere? This part is not new to the doctor either. But as he was telling us about the defect in the medical systems, I want you to see that the mind of Christ will supply the defect. I read on from the Testimony:

You are not in Christ, if you are exalting and glorifying self.

Now, mark.

If there is any good in you, it is wholly attributable to the mercy of a compassionate Saviour.

Now mark this: Your birth, your reputation, your wealth, your talents, your virtues, your piety, your philanthropy, or anything else in you or connected with you, will not form a bond of union between your soul and Christ. Now, is that so? [Congregation: "Yes."] Elder Underwood: "Please read that over again."

Your birth, your reputation, your wealth, your talents, your virtues, your piety, your philanthropy, or anything else in you or connected with you [even your good works] will not form a bond of union between your soul and Christ.

"Your connection with the church, the manner in which your brethren regard you, will be of no avail unless you believe in Christ.

Now mark that emphasis:

It is not enough to believe about Him [the word "about" is italicized]; but you must believe in Him. "In Him." What does that mean?

You must rely wholly upon His saving grace.

That is Christianity. That is the mind of Christ. There is no devilism about that at all; and it can't get in there, either. Why, you find it also in "Steps to Christ." Not stated exactly as that. I will read a passage or two from Steps to Christ, beginning on page 67 and reading to page 71:

The condition of eternal life is now just what it always has been--just what it was in Paradise before the fall of our first parents--perfect obedience to the law of God, perfect righteousness.

And if you and I have not that, we will never have eternal life. We can't have it now or at any other time. If you and I have not "perfect obedience to the law of God" from the first breath we ever drew until the last one we ever draw, then eternal life does not belong to us. But just as certainly as you and I have "perfect obedience to that law of God," then eternal life is ours that very moment. But that "perfect obedience" must read, I say, from the first breath we ever drew until this one, now, tonight, and it must be until the last one we ever do draw, even though it be ten thousand years from now, in the depths of eternity. I am not asking whether you understand this, brethren; believe it, and you will understand it. "Well, doesn't this contradict something he has been preaching before?" It does not contradict what I have been preaching; it is what I have preached all the time, and what every other man preaches who preaches the gospel.

The condition of eternal life is now just what it always has been--just what it was in Paradise before the fall of our first parents--perfect obedience to the law of God, perfect righteousness. If eternal life were granted on any condition short of this, then the happiness of the whole universe would be imperiled. . . . We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God.

That is so. Then how in the world are we ever going to have eternal life? [Congregation: "Through Christ."] Ah! "the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." But we have got to have "perfect righteousness" before we can have that gift, don't you see? Oh then, just like the Lord, He comes and says, "Here, in Christ, is perfect righteousness; here is perfect obedience to the law of God from birth to the grave; you take that and that will fully meet the condition on which alone anyone can have eternal life."

All right. Are you not glad of it? [Congregation: "Yes."] I am so glad of it that I don't know what else to do than to be glad. Oh, He wants me to have eternal life. I haven't a thing to merit it; I haven't a thing that will meet the condition upon which alone it can be granted. Everything that I have would ruin the universe if He should grant me eternal life upon it. Well, He can't do that; but He wants me to have eternal life; He wants me to have it so bad that He died that I might have it. [Congregation: "Amen!"] And oh, then again I say, it is just like God, who is love, as He is, He comes and says, "Here, in Christ, is perfect obedience from the first breath you ever drew, until the last one, and you take Him and His righteousness and then you have got the other." That is the condition. Good! Good! Yes, sir.

We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God. But Christ has made a way of escape for us.

Thank the Lord!

He lived on earth amid trials and temptations such as we have to meet. He lived a sinless life. He died for us and now he offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness.

What a trade! What a trade! Brethren, isn't it awful that men will so hesitate and linger and dally before they will surrender up everything and make that blessed trade? Isn't it awful?

If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ's character stands in place of your character and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned.

Yes sir, you and I, when we have done that, you and I stand before God, just as though we had never committed a sin in this world--just as though we had been angels all the time. Brethren, God is good! He is good! Oh, our Saviour is a wonderful Saviour! [Congregation: " Amen!"] Brethren, That is so. Let us let Him have His own way.

"More than this." Could there be any more, think ye? Why the Lord says so:

More than this, Christ changes the heart; He abides in your heart by faith.

That is the blessedness of it. What good would eternal life do me with such a heart. No, He does not stop at that; He changes the heart.

You are to maintain this connection with Christ by faith and the continual surrender of your will to Him. That is the thought we had last night; it is the same lesson right along.

And so long as you do this, He will work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure. So you may say. . .

You may say--God has given us permission to say, He has told us that we may say. . .

You can't do otherwise. Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is the same here in our flesh now, as He was when he was here before in the flesh.

Works of righteousness, obedience. So we have nothing in ourselves of which to boast.

Thank the Lord. Do not begin to boost yourself up and to boast of yourself, and say, "I am rich now, and increased in goods; now I am wise; now I am all right." No. Isn't the man that will say that at such a time as that, isn't he the worst creature in this universe? How could he be worse? When he was entirely lost, helpless and undone, and he confessed it and said so, and then the Lord has such wonderful compassion that He gives him everything He has in the universe, and then that man stands up and begins to boast of how good he is and how great he is; what greater reproach could he possibly put on the goodness of the Lord? No sir. "Let him that glorieth glory in the Lord." [Congregation: "Amen!"] Let us do it then.

So we have nothing in ourselves of which to boast. We have no ground for self-exaltation.

The man that takes Jesus as He is, will always be humble. It makes a man humble to take Christ by faith. But if he does not take Him by faith but earns it, of course he has something to boast about.

Our only ground for hope is in the righteousness of Christ imputed to us and in that wrought by His Spirit working in and through us.

Our only ground for hope is Christ's righteousness imputed to us and this righteousness wrought in us by the Holy Spirit is the works we do. Then the very next paragraph is that about the satanic belief and what genuine faith is, which we studied in previous lessons. It is all one subject.

Now then page 71:

The closer you come to Jesus, the more faulty you will appear in your own eyes; for your vision will be clearer, and your imperfections will be seen in broad and distinct contrast to His perfect nature. This is evidence that Satan's delusions have lost their power.

What is the condition of that man then who begins to think himself pretty good? And praises himself? Satan's delusion is upon him. Even if he has lived with the Lord fifteen or twenty years, if he begins now to think he is quite good--what is the condition of that man? He is deluded by satan. He is under satanic delusions. That is all. There was a man that lived with Jesus Christ thirty years. When he first began, in the earliest years of his life with Christ, he said, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me." And nearly thirty years after this near the close of his life, he said this: "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I" was chief? [Congregation: "Am chief."] No, was chief. [Congregation: "No, 'Am chief.'"] Oh, no. When he was Saul of Tarsus, persecuting the saints, then he was the chief of sinners. [Congregation: No. "Am chief."] Amen. Exactly.

"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am chief." When? [Congregation: "Now."] When he had lived thirty years with Jesus Christ? [Congregation: "Yes."] Yes. "I am chief." Oh, he had such a view of the Lord Jesus, of His holiness, of His perfect purity, that when He looked at Himself, considered Himself, as separated from Christ, he was the worst of all men. That is Christianity. That is the mind of Christ. The other is the mind of Satan.

So then:

This is evidence that Satan's delusions have lost their power; that the vivifying influence of the Spirit of God is arousing you. No deep seated love for Jesus can dwell in the heart that does not realize its own sinfulness. The soul that is transformed by the grace of Christ will admire his divine character; but if we do not see our own moral deformity, it is unmistakable evidence that we have not had a view of the beauty and excellence of Christ. The less we see to esteem in ourselves the more we shall see to esteem in the infinite purity and loveliness of our Saviour.

That is Christianity, brethren. Now let us go to studying the Bible for just what it says. What do you say? Brethren, we are in a fearful position here at this Conference, at this meeting. It is just awful. I said that once before, but I realize it tonight more than I did then. I can't help it, brethren. I can't help it. We are in a fearful position here. Not a soul of us ever dreams what fearful destinies hang on the days that pass by here. [Elder Olsen: "That is so."] That is so. Brethren, as the days go on, is our earnestness in seeking God deepening? Is it? Is it? or is it rather coming to a lull?

The first lessons, when we started in here, they were fresh; they were new; they brought truth in strong, plain, positive lines so we could see, and they had an effect. Hearts were moved as the Scripture says, "as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind."

But, brethren, has the breeze slackened up? What now? If our impressions, our sense of need, our earnestness is not found deeper, brethren, as these meetings go on, then there is something the matter with each one of us. I am not talking about us as a whole class merely in a general way; the only way we can get at this is each one individually for himself; if I am not doing that, if you are not doing that, there is something wrong.

Now, brethren, another thought. We have been obliged, by the Spirit of God, we have been obliged to look at the workings of the carnal mind, and what it will do for man and how it will deceive him in every way--paganism, papacy, and the image of the papacy, the dragon, the beast and the false prophet--we have seen it and the Lord means a lesson in it to us. Now as we have seen it, brethren, just let each one of us let go all holds, let the soul drop right out of everything into just that childlike readiness to receive what God has to give. [Congregation: "Amen!"] Let the searching of heart go one, and the confession of sin. Did not Jesus say to us, "Be zealous therefore, and repent"? "Be zealous therefore and repent." What does that "therefore" mean? For this reason; for these reasons. Let us see what He said before that.

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased in good, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore and repent."

How much does that "therefore" cover? All of it? [Congregation: "Yes, sir."] The first thing He says is, "I know thy works", and the last, "Be zealous therefore, and repent." Are you ready to repent of your works now? Are you? Are you ready to admit that your works that you have done, are not as good as Jesus Christ would have done them if He had been here Himself and done them instead of you? [Voice: "Yes, a thousand times."] Good. How much good are these works going to do you? Are they perfect? Are they righteous works? "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin." Are there, or have there been, any works about you that have not been of faith? that have had self in them?

Do not forget that garment that we are to buy--that garment "woven in the loom of heaven," and not one thread of human invention in it. Then if you and I have stuck up a single thread of our invention in that life that we have professed to be living in Christ, we have spoiled the garment. Brethren, do you suppose you and I have gone on these fifteen or twenty years so absolutely perfect that we have never got a thread of human invention into our character by our deeds? [Congregation: "No."] Then we can repent of that, can't we? [Congregation: "Yes."] I simply call attention to that, that part tonight.

And now for the few minutes that remain let us read a few passages of Scripture. Isa. 59:6. What chapter does this 59th chapter follow? [Congregation: "The 58th."] Where does the 58th chapter apply? [Congregation: "It applies now."]

Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works; their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands.

Then what has that people been trying to do? What has that people been trying to do with their works? [Congregation: "Cover themselves with their works."] When He says, "they shall not cover themselves with their works," that shows on the face of it that they have been trying to cover themselves with their works. Now does He tell the truth? [Congregation: "Yes."] Then when He says to you and me that we have been trying to cover ourselves with our works, then does not He say in that that we have been really--whatever we profess--trusting in righteousness or justification by works? [Congregation: "Yes."] Then is not that what the Laodicean message says, "I know thy works." And what have our works done for us? Made us wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. What does He want us to have? "White raiment, that thou sayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear."

What is our condition? You know well enough that our efforts at that have not accomplished much. Every one has tried to do his very best--you know yourself that it was the most discouraging thing that you ever tried to do in this world. you know yourself that you have actually sat down and cried because you could not do well enough to risk the Judgment. [voice: "Could not do well enough to satisfy ourselves."] No. We ourselves were able to see our nakedness when we had tried our best to cover ourselves. You know that is so. Now, brethren, the Lord said so, didn't He? [Congregation: "Yes, sir."] Is it not time that we said, "Lord, that is so?" I quote it: "Neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands."

Now the Lord wants us to be covered; He wants us to be covered, so that the shame of our nakedness shall not appear. He wants us to have His perfect righteousness according to His own perfect idea of righteousness. He wants us to have that character that will stand the test of the judgment without a hitch or a question or a doubt. Let us accept it from Him as the free blessed gift it is.

Now brethren, in the next lesson, my thought is now that we will enter directly upon the direct straightforward Scripture, exactly what it says to you and me, as to how we can have Jesus Christ and all His righteousness and everything that He has, without a particle of discount. What do you say? [Congregation: "Amen."]