Saturday, June 9, 2012

God's Grace Needed to Polish Us

Therefore you shall not oppress one another, but you shall fear your God; for I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 25:17, NKJV.
You are in danger of making grave mistakes in your business transactions. God warns you to be on your guard lest you indulge a spirit of crowding one another. Be careful not to cultivate the sharper's tact, for this will not stand the test of the day of God. Shrewdness and close calculation are needed, for you have all classes to deal with.... But let not these traits become a ruling power. Under proper control, they are essential elements in the character; and if you keep the fear of God before you, and His love in the heart, you will be safe.
It is far better to yield some advantages that might be gained than to cultivate an avaricious spirit and thus make it a law of nature. Petty sharpness is unworthy of a Christian. We have been separated from the world by the great cleaver of truth. Our wrong traits of character are not always visible to ourselves, although they may be very apparent to others. But time and circumstances will surely prove us and bring to light the gold of character or discover the baser metal....
Every base thought, every wrong action, reveals some defect in the character. These rugged traits must be brought under the chisel and hammer in God's great workshop, and the grace of God must smooth and polish before we can be fitted for a place in the glorious temple.
God can make these [leaders in our church institutions] more precious than fine gold, even the golden wedge of Ophir, if they will yield themselves to His transforming hand. They should be determined to make the noblest use of every faculty and every opportunity. The Word of God should be their study and their guide in deciding what is the highest and best in all cases....
The weakest follower of Christ has entered into alliance with infinite power. In many cases God can do little with men and women of learning because they feel no need of leaning upon Him who is the Source of all wisdom; therefore, after a trial, He sets them aside for people of inferior talent who have learned to rely upon Him, whose souls are fortified by goodness, truth, and unwavering fidelity, and who will not stoop to anything that will leave a stain upon the conscience.--Testimonies for the Church 4:540, 541.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Imitate Jesus and His Ethics

Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:4, 5, NKJV.
The ethics inculcated by the gospel acknowledge no standard but the perfection of God's mind, God's will. God requires from His creatures conformity to His will. Imperfection of character is sin, and sin is the transgression of the law. All righteous attributes of character dwell in God as a perfect, harmonious whole. All those who receive Christ as their personal Savior are privileged to possess these attributes. This is the science of holiness.
How glorious are the possibilities set before the fallen race! Through His Son, God has revealed the excellency to which human beings are capable of attaining. Through the merits of Christ, they are lifted from their depraved state, purified, and made more precious than the golden wedge of Ophir. It is possible for them to become companions of the angels in glory, and to reflect the image of Jesus Christ, shining even in the bright splendor of the eternal throne. It is their privilege to have faith that through the power of Christ they shall be made immortal. Yet how seldom they realize to what heights they could attain if they would allow God to direct their every step!
God permits every human being to exercise individuality. He desires no one to submerge his or her mind in the mind of a fellow mortal. Those who desire to be transformed in mind and character are not to look to others, but to the divine Example. .. .
As our Example we have One who is all and in all, the chiefest among ten thousand, One whose excellency is beyond comparison. He graciously adapted His life for universal imitation. United in Christ were wealth and poverty; majesty and abasement; unlimited power, and meekness and lowliness which in every soul who receives Him will be reflected. In Him, through the qualities and powers of the human mind, the wisdom of the greatest Teacher the world has ever known was revealed.--The Signs of the Times, September 3, 1902.