The Sabbath-School Work. (part 4)
OUR time is so nearly gone that I can call attention only to another phase of this subject. But I hope that this to which I have called your attention will encourage every soul here to get the principle so that we can have it, every one, every day, as we come into the school, or into the church. Let us not continue for a moment in a way that any of the Sabbath-school lessons, in the book of Galatians, or in any other part of the Bible, will be in any sense dry or tedious. If it has been so with any, let it not be so longer.
There is a philosophy in bringing to us now this great principle of the book of Galatians. This is in order that we may be able to show to the world the way to the power of God. That is what the Third Angel’s Message is. We must learn it ourselves, before we can give it to the world.
There is not only a philosophy in the bringing of the study of this book to us now, but there is a philosophy in the book itself—in the way it is put together in presenting the gospel as it is, and that which annihilates all ceremonialism, root and branch.
Look at it. The first thing in the book, after the greeting, is: "Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ." Thus speaks that word always to every soul. Can anybody ever grow weary of drinking in the grace of God and his peace, which are poured out from heaven in a mighty stream? Then accept that word, and drink in of the grace of God, and his peace, in all its fullness,—the peace of God, which passeth all understanding. Then that peace will keep your hearts, and will keep your minds, through Christ Jesus. Many persons are distressed in keeping their minds where they would like to have them. They are anxious, and toiling, to keep their heart in the right way. Oh, just take in the grace and the peace of God, which are given to you in the very first thought of the book of Galatians, and that "peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Then thy peace shall be "as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea."
What is the next thought?—Oh, it is that he "gave himself for our sins,"—gave himself for our sins. For what did he give himself?—For my sins? He paid the price for all the world? Did he buy the sins of all the world?—He did. Then to whom do the sins of the world belong?—To him.
Let us leave out the great world now, and count those in this house. To whom do all the sins of all the people in this house to-day belong?—To him.
Now let us leave out all the others, and let only you and me be counted. To whom do all your sins belong to-day? Whose are they?—They are Christ’s. All mine are his; every sin that I ever had, every one that the Lord himself could find in me now,—and he could find a host,—whatever sins could be found by the mighty searching of the Lord, belong to the Lord Jesus, because he paid the price for them—he gave himself for my sins. He paid such a price that I could not ask him to forego what he paid. He gave himself for my sins; and in that he gave himself for me, sins and all.
That is where many persons mistake. They get it into their heads, somehow,—it is from Satan, of course,—that the Lord will receive them, if only they will separate themselves from their sins, and come to him without sin. But that is a satanic delusion. We can not separate ourselves from our sins. We can choose to have it so; but he is the only One who can take away our sins. He bought us and made us his own, sins and all. You belong to him, sins and all. We all belong to him, sins and all. And he can cleanse us from all sin. Only he can do it. We never can. We have all tried it. "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked," because the sin is still there, and he (the wicked) can not get rid of it. But when the Lord takes away the sin, and puts his own righteousness in the place of the sin, do you not see that that righteousness, being the very essence, the very quality of God’s own character, imparts righteousness to the believer in Jesus? And through him it is manifested to others. That is just what the Lord Jesus can do; that is what he does, for everyone who will let him have what he bought—himself, sins and all.
And what did he do it for?—"Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world." Oh, who would not wish to be delivered from this present evil world? Who would not be glad, and who is not glad, if he can be delivered from this present evil world? There is deliverance for every soul in the world. Christ has paid the price. He has done the work. And when we allow him to have what he has paid for, he does deliver. [Voice: "Praise the Lord!"] Then let every soul in the house take this deliverance to-day, and let the Lord do what he will with his own. He makes us fit to dwell with him—fit "to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light." He "hath delivered us from the powers of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son."
Then he gives us this precious gospel, which an angel from heaven could not improve. And that comes to us "by revelation." By next Sabbath every teacher can come before his class with that genuine gospel taught to him by revelation of God. It can not be taught to you by men: "they shall all be taught of God." It must be taught by revelation—the direct revelation of Jesus Christ to the soul.
And how is it done?—Oh, "it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son IN me,"—"Christ in you, the hope of glory,"—Christ in the life, the power of God,—Christ in the life, the wisdom of God,—Christ in the life, "all the fullness of God." That is this gospel.
And it is all put into the first chapter, to prepare you to see and to receive the truths in the following chapters. And, I pray you, do not pass by the first chapter of Galatians without finding the power of God. If you do, you will not be prepared to receive the truths in the chapters that follow, and you will be at sea all the way through. God has put that book together in such a way that you and I, going through the book, shall be brought into the way of God,—into the way in which he wishes us to go,—to be delivered forever from the very principle, root and branch, of ceremonialism, in whatever way it may manifest itself in the world.
Then, for your soul’s sake, brethren and sisters,—for the sake of the sifting that will come to this whole denomination, through the very study of this book of Galatians,—let every one seek the Lord with all the heart, and receive the truth that is given in the lessons before you in the first chapter. Do not go into the second chapter,—do not think of going there; you are not prepared to go there,—until you have received what God has for you in the first chapter. Then, having received the gospel as given in the first chapter; having received the power of God to deliver from this present evil world; having found God revealing his Son in you,—then you can with joy and ever-increasing light go through the following chapters of the book.
Then let there be such an awakening in this time as God calls for, in this time when the world is sunk in the condition of formalism, of the form of godliness without the power of God. God has raised us up to convey to the world the message of the true gospel,—that gospel which is indeed the power of God, because in it the righteousness of God is revealed. If that is not what we are here for, then we have no place at all. But how can we do that unless we ourselves have in very truth that true gospel, that power unto salvation?
Therefore, to prepare us for the loud cry, the crisis of the message that must be sounded to a world sunk in the form of godliness without the power, the Lord sends to us these studies in Galatians, this gospel that is so pure and true that even an angel from heaven could not improve it, that we may first be completely delivered from the form of godliness without the power.
Let us accept and study this gospel. And when it shall be allowed to reign in our everyday lives in everything, our lives will be filled with the power of the Lord in all his grace and all his goodness, and we shall be saved from all formalism. Christ in us, the hope of glory, will be revealed; and "the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets."