So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
KJV Romans 10:17
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After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven:
and the first voice which I heard was
as it were of a trumpet talking with me;
which said, Come up hither,
and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
And immediately I was in the spirit:
and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone:
and there was a rainbow round about the throne,
in sight like unto an emerald.
KJV Revelation 4:1-3
The rainbow spanning the heavens with its arch of light is a token of "the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature." Genesis 9:16. And the rainbow encircling the throne on high is also a token to God's children of His covenant of peace. As the bow in the cloud results from the union of sunshine and shower, so the bow above God's throne represents the union of His mercy and His justice.
As the bow in the cloud is formed by the union of the sunlight and the shower, so the rainbow encircling the throne represents the combined power of mercy and justice. It is not justice alone that is to be maintained; for this would eclipse the glory of the rainbow of promise above the throne; man could see only the penalty of the law. Were there no justice, no penalty, there would be no stability to the government of God.
It is the mingling of judgment and mercy that makes salvation full and complete. It is the blending of the two that leads us, as we view the world’s Redeemer and the law of Jehovah, to exclaim, “Thy gentleness hath made me great.” We know that the gospel is a perfect and complete system, revealing the immutability of the law of God. It inspires the heart with hope, and with love for God. Mercy invites us to enter through the gates into the city of God, and justice is sacrificed to accord to every obedient soul full privileges as a member of the royal family, a child of the heavenly King.
If we were defective in character, we could not pass the gates that mercy has opened to the obedient; for justice stands at the entrance, and demands holiness, purity, in all who would see God. Were justice extinct, and were it possible for divine mercy to open the gates to the whole race, irrespective of character, there would be a worse condition of disaffection and rebellion in heaven than before Satan was expelled. The peace, happiness, and harmony of heaven would be broken up. The change from earth to heaven will not change men’s characters; the happiness of the redeemed in heaven results from the characters formed in this life, after the image of Christ. The saints in heaven will first have been saints on earth.
The salvation that Christ made such a sacrifice to gain for man, is that which is alone of value, that which saves from sin—the cause of all the misery and woe in our world. Mercy extended to the sinner is constantly drawing him to Jesus. If he responds, coming in penitence with confession, in faith laying hold of the hope set before him in the gospel, God will not despise the broken and contrite heart. Thus the law of God is not weakened, but the power of sin is broken, and the scepter of mercy is extended to the penitent sinner (Letter 1f, 1890).
God loves His obedient children. He has a kingdom prepared, not for disloyal subjects, but for His children whom He has tested and tried in a world marred and corrupted by sin. As obedient children, we have the privilege of relationship with God. “If children,” He says, “then heirs” to an immortal inheritance.... Christ and His people are one (Letter 119, 1897).
~ To Be Like Jesus; EGW
And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus:
and great grace was upon them all.
What was the result of the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost? The glad tidings of a risen Savior were carried to the uttermost parts of the inhabited world. The hearts of the disciples were surcharged with a benevolence so full, so deep, so far-reaching, that it impelled them to go to the ends of the earth, testifying, God forbid that we should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. BLJ 270.2
As they proclaimed the truth as it is in Jesus, hearts yielded to the power of the message. The church beheld converts flocking to it from all directions. Believers were reconverted. Sinners united with Christians in seeking the pearl of great price. Those who had been the bitterest opponents of the gospel became its champions.... The only ambition of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ’s character, and to labor for the enlargement of His kingdom.... BLJ 270.3
Under their labors there were added to the church chosen ones, who, receiving the word of life, consecrated their lives to the work of giving to others the hope that had filled their hearts with peace and joy. Hundreds proclaimed the message “The kingdom of God is at hand.” They could not be restrained or intimidated by threatenings. The Lord spoke through them, and wherever they went, the sick were healed, and the poor had the gospel preached unto them. So mightily can God work when human beings give themselves up to the control of His Spirit. BLJ 270.4
To us today, as verily as to the first disciples, the promise of the Spirit belongs. God will today endow men and women with power from above, as He endowed those who on the day of Pentecost heard the message of salvation. At this very hour His Spirit and His grace are for all who need them and who will take Him at His word. BLJ 270.5
Notice that it was after the disciples had come into perfect unity, when they were no longer striving for the highest place, that the Spirit was poured out. They were of one accord. All differences had been put away. And the testimony borne of them after the Spirit had been given is the same. Mark the word: “The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul.” The Spirit of Him who died that sinners might live animated the entire company of believers.—(Australasian) Union Conference Record, June 1, 1904. BLJ 270.6
And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful,
to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;
Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.
And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.
And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.
Then Peter said,
Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have
give I thee:
In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up:
and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.
And he leaping up stood, and walked,
and entered with them into the temple,
walking, and leaping, and
And all the people saw him walking and praising God:
And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.
And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering.
And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people,
Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this?
or why look ye so earnestly on us,
as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?
The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers,
hath glorified his Son Jesus;
whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate,
when he was determined to let him go.
But ye denied the Holy One and the Just,
and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;
And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead;
whereof we are witnesses.
And his name
through faith in his name hath made this man strong,
whom ye see and know:
yea, the faith which is by him
hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
And now, brethren,
I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.
But those things,
which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets,
that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.
Repent ye therefore, and be converted,
that your sins may be blotted out,
when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.
And he shall send Jesus Christ,
which before was preached unto you:
Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things,
which God hath spoken
by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
For Moses truly said unto the fathers,
A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren,
like unto me;
him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.
And it shall come to pass,
that every soul, which will not hear that prophet,
shall be destroyed from among the people.
Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after,
as many as have spoken,
have likewise foretold of these days.
Ye are the children of the prophets,
and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham,
And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.
Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you,
in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.
KJV Acts, chapter III
For as by one man's disobedience
many were made sinners,
so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Moreover the law entered,
that the offence might abound.
But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
That as sin hath reigned unto death,
even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life
by Jesus Christ our Lord.
KJV Romans 5:19-21
As boundless grace is given to every one in order that it shall reign in him against all the power of sin, as certainly as ever sin reigned and in order that sin shall not have dominion, then if sin still reigns in anyone, if sin yet has dominion over anyone, where lies the fault? Clearly, it lies only in this, that he will not allow the grace to do for him and in him that which it is given to do. By unbelief he frustrates the grace of God. So far as he is concerned, the grace has been given in vain.
But every believer, by his very profession, says that he has received the grace of God. Then if in the believer grace does not reign instead of sin, if grace does not have dominion instead of sin, it is plain enough that he is receiving the grace of God in vain. If grace is not bringing the believer onward toward a perfect man in the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, then he is receiving the grace of God in vain. Therefore the exhortation of the Scripture is, "We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain." 2 Cor. 6:1.
The grace of God is fully able to accomplish that for which it is given, if only it is allowed to work. We have seen that grace being altogether from God, the power of grace is nothing but the power of God. It is plain enough therefore that the power of God is abundantly able to accomplish all for which it is given - the salvation of the soul, deliverance from sin and from the power of it, the reign of righteousness in the life, and the perfecting of the believer unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ - if only it can have place in the heart and in the life to work according to the will of God. But the power of God is "unto salvation to every one that believeth." Unbelief frustrates the grace of god. Many believe and receive the grace of God for the salvation from sins that are past but are content with that and do not give it the same place in the soul to reign against the power of sin, that they did to save from sins of the past. This, too, is but another phase of unbelief. So as to the one great final object of grace - the perfection of the life in the likeness of Christ - they do practically receive the grace of God in vain.
Excerpt: 'Receive Not the Grace of God in Vain' by A.T. Jones; Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, Sept. 22, 1896
Resource: 'Lessons on Faith' - A.T. Jones & E.J. Waggoner; pg. 85-88 (pdf & audio)
Therefore I say unto you,
Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink;
nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.
Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
KJV Matthew 6:25 LHU 73.1
He who has given you life knows your need of food to sustain it. He who created the body is not unmindful of your need of raiment. Will not He who has bestowed the greater gift bestow also what is needed to make it complete? LHU 73.2
Jesus pointed His hearers to the birds as they warbled their carols of praise, unencumbered with thoughts of care, for “they sow not, neither do they reap”; and yet the great Father provides for their needs. And He asks, “Are not ye of much more value than they?” LHU 73.3
“No sparrow falls without His care,
No soul bows low but Jesus knows;
For He is with us everywhere,
And marks each bitter tear that flows.
And He will never, never, never
Forsake the soul that trusts Him ever”.... LHU 73.4
God’s law is the law of love. He has surrounded you with beauty to teach you that you are not placed on earth merely to delve for self, to dig and build, to toil and spin, but to make life bright and joyous and beautiful with the love of Christ — like the flowers, to gladden other lives by the ministry of love. LHU 73.5
Fathers and mothers, let your children learn from the flowers. Take them with you into garden and field and under the leafy trees, and teach them to read in nature the message of God’s love. Let the thoughts of Him be linked with bird and flower and tree. Lead the children to see in every pleasant and beautiful thing an expression of God’s love for them. Recommend your religion to them by its pleasantness. Let the law of kindness be in your lips. LHU 73.6
Teach the children that because of God’s great love their natures may be changed and brought into harmony with His. Teach them that He would have their lives beautiful with the graces of the flowers. Teach them, as they gather the sweet blossoms, that He who made the flowers is more beautiful than they. Thus the tendrils of their hearts will be entwined about Him. He who is “altogether lovely” will become to them as a daily companion and familiar friend, and their lives will be transformed into the image of His purity (Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 95-98). LHU 73.7
[God] would adorn our characters with His own rich graces. He would have our words as fragrant as the flowers of the field (The Review and Herald, May 19, 1896). LHU 73.8
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When Jesus heard of it,
he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart:
and when the people had heard thereof,
they followed him on foot out of the cities.
And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude,
and was moved with compassion toward them,
and he healed their sick.
KJV Matthew 14:13,14
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And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying,
This is a desert place, and the time is now past;
send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages,
and buy themselves victuals.
But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart;
give ye them to eat.
And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.
He said, Bring them hither to me.
And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass,
and took the five loaves, and the two fishes,
and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake,
and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.
And they did all eat, and were filled:
and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.
And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.
And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship,
and to go before him unto the other side,
while he sent the multitudes away.
KJV Matthew 14:15-22
~~~~ ! ~~~~
And when he had sent the multitudes away,
he went up into a mountain apart to pray:
and when the evening was come,
he was there alone.
KJV Matthew 14:23
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But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves:
for the wind was contrary.
And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying,
It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying,
Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
And Peter answered him and said,
Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
And he said, Come.
And when Peter was come down out of the ship,
he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid;
and beginning to sink, he cried, saying,
Lord, save me.
And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him,
O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying,
Of a truth thou art the Son of God.
KJV Matthew 14:24-33
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And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret.
And when the men of that place had knowledge of him,
they sent out into all that country round about,
and brought unto him all that were diseased;
And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment:
and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.
KJV Matthew 14:34-36
When trouble comes upon us, how often we are like Peter!
We look upon the waves, instead of keeping our eyes fixed upon the Saviour.
Our footsteps slide, and the proud waters go over our souls.
Jesus did not bid Peter come to Him that he should perish;
He does not call us to follow Him, and then forsake us...
When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee;
and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee:
when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned;
neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
For I am the LORD thy God,
the Holy One of Israel,
KJV Isaiah 43:2,3
“Charity [agape—love,] never faileth:
but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail;
whether there be tongues, they shall cease;
whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
When I was a child,
I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child;
but when I became a man I put away childish things.
For now we see through a glass darkly,
but then face to face;
now I know in part,
but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
1 Corinthians 13:8-12. 3SG 13.2
The apostle here contrasts the mortal state with the immortal;
the present imperfect, with that which will be perfect;
the cloudy present while we walk by faith, with the open glory of the life to come.
Here, we only know in part, prophesy in part; there, that which is in part will be done away.
Here, we see through a glass darkly; there, face to face.
Here, we know in part; there, we shall know, even as we are known.
Charity, or love, will never end.
Here, it is the highest Christian grace; there, it will be the crowning glory of immortals forever and forever.
In this sense, love will never fail.
But prophecies will fail, tongues will cease, and knowledge will vanish away.
The light of heaven through the dim medium of these, and the other gifts of the Holy Spirit,
is represented as being only in part,
and is to be superseded by the perfect day of glory when we may talk face to face with God, Christ, and angels,
as our first parents talked with God in Eden before sin entered.
“And let all the people say, Amen.” 3SG 14.1
The very first effort of Satan to overthrow God’s law — undertaken among the sinless inhabitants of heaven — seemed for a time to be crowned with success. A vast number of the angels were seduced; but Satan’s apparent triumph resulted in defeat and loss, separation from God, and banishment from heaven. PP 331.1
When the conflict was renewed upon the earth, Satan again won a seeming advantage. By transgression, man became his captive, and man’s kingdom also was betrayed into the hands of the archrebel. Now the way seemed open for Satan to establish an independent kingdom, and to defy the authority of God and His Son. But the plan of salvation made it possible for man again to be brought into harmony with God, and to render obedience to His law, and for both man and the earth to be finally redeemed from the power of the wicked one. PP 331.2
Again Satan was defeated, and again he resorted to deception, in the hope of converting his defeat into a victory. To stir up rebellion in the fallen race, he now represented God as unjust in having permitted man to transgress His law. “Why,” said the artful tempter, “when God knew what would be the result, did He permit man to be placed on trial, to sin, and bring in misery and death?” And the children of Adam, forgetful of the long-suffering mercy that had granted man another trial, regardless of the amazing, the awful sacrifice which his rebellion had cost the King of heaven, gave ear to the tempter, and murmured against the only Being who could save them from the destructive power of Satan. PP 331.3
There are thousands today echoing the same rebellious complaint against God. They do not see that to deprive man of the freedom of choice would be to rob him of his prerogative as an intelligent being, and make him a mere automaton. It is not God’s purpose to coerce the will. Man was created a free moral agent. Like the inhabitants of all other worlds, he must be subjected to the test of obedience; but he is never brought into such a position that yielding to evil becomes a matter of necessity. No temptation or trial is permitted to come to him which he is unable to resist. God made such ample provision that man need never have been defeated in the conflict with Satan. PP 331.4
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:
but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able;
but will with the temptation also make a way to escape,
that ye may be able to bear it.
KJV 1 Corinthians 10:13
Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.
KJV Revelation 19:9. SD 356.1
The Lord Jesus is making experiments on human hearts through the exhibition of His mercy and abundant grace. He is effecting transformations so amazing that Satan, with all his triumphant boasting, with all his confederacy of evil united against God and the laws of His government, stands viewing them as a fortress impregnable to his sophistries and delusions. They are to him an incomprehensible mystery. The angels of God, seraphim and cherubim, the powers commissioned to cooperate with human agencies, look on with astonishment and joy, that fallen men, once children of wrath, are through the training of Christ developing characters after the divine similitude, to be sons and daughters of God, to act an important part in the occupations and pleasures of heaven. SD 356.2
To His church, Christ has given ample facilities, that He may receive a large revenue of glory from His redeemed, purchased possession. The church, being endowed with the righteousness of Christ, is His depository, in which the wealth of His mercy, His love, His grace, is to appear in full and final display. The declaration in His intercessory prayer, that the Father’s love is as great toward us as toward Himself, the only-begotten Son, and that we shall be with Him where He is, forever one with Christ and the Father, is a marvel to the heavenly host, and it is their great joy. The gift of His Holy Spirit, rich, full, and abundant, is to be to His church as an encompassing wall of fire, which the powers of hell shall not prevail against. In their untainted purity and spotless perfection, Christ looks upon His people as the reward of all His suffering, His humiliation, and His love, and the supplement of His glory, — Christ, the great center from which radiates all glory. “Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” SD 356.3