The following article is an extract from a sermon prepared by A.T. Jones for the Week of Prayer meetings of 1899. It was published in the Review and Herald of Feb. 21, 1899. We encourage you to read the message in its entirety.
From what I have read, you see that whoever lets any time pass between the word spoken and the thing done, is an evolutionist. The word of God to you is, Man, "thy sins are forgiven thee." Woman, "thy sins are forgiven thee." [Elder Corliss: "Didn't it say, Thy sins shall be forgiven?"] No, sir. "Thy sins are forgiven thee"--present tense, with an emphasis. "Thy sins are forgiven." I thank God this is so, because the creative energy is in that word "forgiven" to take away all sin and create the man a new creature. I believe in creation. Do you? Do you believe in the creative energy that is in the word "forgiven" spoken to you? Or are you an evolutionist and do you say, I cannot see how that can be, because I am so bad? I have been trying to do right, but I have made many failures. I have had many ups and downs and have been down a good many more times than up. If that is what you say, you are an evolutionist, for that is evolution.
Many people have been longing and longing for a clean heart. They say, “I believe in the forgiveness of sin and all that and I would take it all, if I was sure that I could hold out, but there is so much evil in my heart and so many things to overcome that I do not have any confidence.” But there stands the word, “Create in me a clean heart.” A clean heart comes by creation and by no other means; and that creation is wrought by the word of God. For He says, “A new heart also will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you.” Are you a creationist now or are you an evolutionist? Will you go out of this house with an evil heart or with a new heart created by the word of God, which has in it creative energy to produce a new heart? It speaks to you a new heart. To every one it speaks just that way, and if you allow a moment to pass between the speaking of the word and the new heart, you are an evolutionist. When you allow any time to pass between the word spoken and the fulfillment of that thing in your experience, then you are an evolutionist.
There are those in this house who have said, Yes, I want it. I am going to have it. I believe the word will accomplish it, but they have lengthened out the time until the next meeting and on and on, passing over years, and so they are just this much evolutionists. “While so many are hovering about the mystery of faith and godliness, they could have solved the matter by proclaiming [speaking abroad, telling it out], “I know that Jesus Christ is my portion forever.” The power to produce this is in the word of God, and when this is accepted, the creative energy is there producing the thing that is spoken. So you can settle the whole matter of the mystery of faith and godliness by proclaiming that you know that Christ is your portion forever.
There is a mystery in how God can be manifest in such sinful flesh as yours. But, mind you, the question is not now about the mystery; the question is, Is there such a thing as creation? Is there such a thing as a Creator, who can create in you a clean heart? Or is the whole thing simply evolution? Just now and among Seventh-day Adventists, the question from this day until the end of the world must be, Do you believe in the Creator? And when you believe in the Creator, how is it that He creates? Of course you say, it is by the word of God. Very good. Now does He create things for you by His word? Are you a creationist for the other evolutionists and then an evolutionist for the other creationists? How is it?
Another thing. The word says, “Be ye clean.” He said, back yonder, “Let there be light, and there was light.” He said to the leper, “Be thou clean,” and “immediately” he was clean. He says now to you, “Be ye clean,” and what now? Every one of you—what do you say? [Voice: “It is so.”] Then for your soul's sake put yourself upon that creative word. Recognize the creative energy in the word of God which comes to you in the Bible, for this word of God in the Bible is the same here to you today that it was when it spoke into space the worlds on high and brought light out of darkness and cleansing to the leper. That word spoken to you today, if received, creates you new in Christ Jesus. That word, spoken in the dark waste and void space of your heart, if received, produces there the light of God; that word spoken today to you afflicted with the leprosy of sin, if received, immediately cleanses you. Let it. Let it.
How shall I be clean? By the creative energy of that word, “Be ye clean.” Therefore it is written, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” John 15:3. Are you? Will you from this moment be a creationist? Or will you go on being an evolutionist?
See what a blessed thing this is. When you read the word, receive the word, and think upon the word, what is it to you all the time? O, it is creation! The creative energy is in you producing the things which the word speaks, and you are living in the very presence of the power of creation. Creation is going on in your life. God is creating in you righteousness, holiness, truth, faithfulness—every good and gracious thing.
And when this is so, your Sabbath-keeping will amount to something, because the Sabbath is a memorial of creation—the sign that He who observes it knows the Creator and is acquainted with the process of creation. But as certainly as you are an evolutionist, your Sabbath-keeping is a fraud.
Unless you recognize the word of God day by day as a creative energy in your life, your Sabbath-keeping is a fraud, because the Sabbath is a memorial of creation. It is “a sign between me and you, that [by which] ye may know that I am the Lord your God,” the Creator of all things.
In the second chapter of Ephesians, eighth to tenth verses, we read, “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
You need not expect to get any good works out of yourself. You have been trying. The evolutionist tries and is always trying without accomplishing it. Why go about trying to do good works, when you know you fail? Listen. There will never be any good thing in you of any kind whatever from now till the world's end, except it is created there by the Creator Himself, by His word, which has in it the creative energy. Do not forget that. Do you want to walk in good works when you go out of this house? It can be done only by being created in Jesus Christ unto those good works. Stop trying. Look to the Creator and receive His creative word. “Let the word of God dwell in you richly,” then those good works will appear; you will be a Christian. Then, because you live with the Creator and are in the presence of the creative energy, you will have that pleasant, quiet peace and genuine strength and building up that belong to a Christian.
When He tells you that “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them,” then recognize the Creator, recognize only the good works that are created in you, paying no attention whatever to any work that is not created there, because there is nothing good but what is created by the Lord.
Now you are created new in Christ Jesus. He says so. Thank Him that it is so. What! Will you be an evolutionist on that verse? That is the present tense, “We are his workmanship.” We are created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Are you? The word is spoken. It is the creative word. How much time are you going to allow between that word of God and your being created new? Of the creation in the beginning, you said that any man who allows even a minute to pass between the word and the thing is an evolutionist. What are you now as to this word of God, which creates men in Christ Jesus unto good works? Are you an evolutionist here? Come, let us all be creationists.
Do you not see that in this way it will not require a long, tedious wearing process to be made ready to meet the Lord in glory? So many people are looking at themselves. They know that, in the nature of things it must take them an exceedingly long time to get fully ready to meet Him. If it is done by evolution, it will never be done. But when it is done by creation, it will be both surely and quickly done. That word I have before referred to is the word everyone here may take to himself. “While so many are hovering about the mystery of faith and godliness, they could solve the matter by proclaiming abroad [by telling it out], ‘Jesus Christ is my portion forever.'”
Do you see how much we have been evolutionists? shall we quit? Come now, let us be creationists and be done with it. Let us be Sabbath-keepers truly. Let us believe the Lord. He speaks forgiveness. He speaks a clean heart. He speaks holiness; He creates it. Let Him create it in you. Stop being an evolutionist and let that creative word work for you, let that creative energy work in you, that which the word pronounces, and before you leave this house, God can get you ready to meet Him. Indeed, in that very thing you do meet Him. And when you have thus met Him and do thus meet Him every day, are you not then ready to meet Him? Do you believe that? You believe He made the worlds when He spoke, that light came by His word when He spoke, and that the leper was “immediately” cleansed when he spoke, but with yourself you think considerable time must elapse between the time when the word is spoken and the fact is accomplished. O, why will you be an evolutionist? Creation, creation—that is the thing.
You and I are to call people to the supper; we are to say to all people, “Come, for all things are now ready.” How can I call to a man that all things are now ready, when I myself am not ready? It is a falsehood to start with. My words will not reach him. They are but an empty sound. But O, when there is in that call the creative energy of the word that has made us ready, that has cleansed us from sin, that has created us unto good works, that holds us as the sun is held in the course which God has marked out—then when we go forth and say to the world lying in wickedness, “Come, for all things are now ready,” they will hear. They will hear in the call the tones of the voice of the Good Shepherd, and will be cheered to come to Him for creative energy for themselves, to make them new creatures and prepare them for the supper to which they have been called.
This is where we are in this world's history. God's mark is being set upon the people. But remember, He will never set His mark upon one who is not cleansed from every defilement. God will not set His seal to something that is not true, that is not good. Would you ask Him to set His seal to righteousness that is altogether unrighteousness? You would not have the face to do that. You know that He is too righteous to do such a thing. Then He must cleanse you so that He can put His seal to His own work. He cannot put His seal to your work. His seal belongs only to a document which He Himself has approved. Let Him write His character upon your heart and then He can set His seal there. He can write His seal of approval upon your heart, only when His creative word has accomplished its purpose in your heart.
You can see in what a Presence we are; you can see in a measure how long it would take half to exhaust such a subject as this. But, brethren, when we do stop, let us stop in the presence of creation. Let us be no more evolutionists. Let not a moment pass between the word of God spoken to you and the accomplishment of the thing in you. Thus, living in the presence of creation, walking with the Creator, upheld by creative power, inspired by the creative energy—why, with a people such as that, God can move the world in a little while.
If at the beginning you thought this was a queer subject for such an occasion as today [it was the closing service of the week of prayer] you can now see that it is a strictly present truth. There are only the two ways. There is no halfway ground. Every man and woman in the world is either a creationist or an evolutionist. Evolution is infidelity; it is death. Creation is Christianity; it is life. Choose Creation, Christianity, and Life, that you may live. Let us be creationists only and creationists forever. And let all the people say, Amen (Review and Herald, 2/21/1899)