The SECRET of UNITY!

Before his crucifixion, Jesus lifted up his eyes to heaven, and prayed for his disciples. He said, "I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.... Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth." (the Word and the truth is Jesus! See Prov 30:4 answered by Rev 19:13 and John 14:6: Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.)

Christ declared he sanctified himself, that we also might be sanctified. He took upon himself our nature, and became a faultless pattern for men. He made no mistake, that we also might become victors, and enter into his kingdom as overcomers. He prayed that we might be sanctified through the truth. What is truth? He declared, "Thy word is truth." His disciples were to be sanctified through obedience to the truth. He says, "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word." That prayer was for us; we have believed in the testimony of the disciples of Christ. He prays that his disciples may be one, even as he and the Father are one; and this unity of believers is to be as testimony to the world that he has sent us, and that we bear the evidence of his grace.

We are to be brought into a sacred nearness with the world's Redeemer. We are to be one with Christ, as he is one with the Father. What a wonderful change the people of God experience in coming into unity with the Son of God! We are to have our tastes, inclinations, ambitions, and passions all subdued, and brought into harmony with the mind and spirit of Christ. This is the very work that the Lord is willing to do for those who believe in him. Our life and deportment are to have a molding power in the world. The spirit of Christ is to have a controlling influence over the life of his followers, so that they will speak and act like Jesus. Christ says, "The glory which thou gavest me I have given them."

The mighty cleaver of truth has taken a people out of the world, and the rough, coarse material is to be hewed and squared and polished for the heavenly building. Those who profess to follow Christ should not be in the same condition in which they were before they made this profession. The grace of Christ is to work a wonderful transformation in the life and character of its receiver; and if we are truly the disciples of Christ, the world will see that divine power has done something for us; for while we are in the world, we shall not be of it. We are to bring our life up to the great moral standard of God. The moral law is to judge us in the last day. How unbecoming it is for us to criticise others, when God must work so great a work upon us before we can be fitted for the kingdom of heaven! Is there any of the glory of Christ in suspicion and evil surmising, in criticism and condemnation of our brethren? We should pray for those who are in error. We should present before them the perfection of Christ, but we should not accuse and condemn our brethren and friends.

There are many who seem to think that roughness and coarseness are a mark of humility; but this is a mistake. The truth of God elevates the mind, refines the taste, sanctifies the judgment, and fashions the life according to the divine Pattern. We are to be partakers of the divine nature. We are to be like the great Teacher. He came to this earth, marred and seared by the curse, that he might lift up fallen men, and elevate them so that he could give them a seat upon his throne. Bible religion will have a sanctifying influence upon character, and will prepare its receiver for association with Jesus, the angels of God, and redeemed saints. We must be fitting up so that we shall behold the King in his beauty.

Why should we not have a deeper and deeper experience every day? He must be a dull scholar who does not become more and more assimilated to the divine image, if he is brought into association with Christ from day to day. Why should there not be a growing intelligence in prayer? If a person seeks God in his closet, and pleads for help, telling the Lord his situation, he will not plead in vain. Christ told the Father of the darkness that would press upon his followers, and we may take his words, and present them to God. We are not to preach a sermon to the Lord when we engage in prayer; for God knows our need. We must be petitioners. We must plead for help for our own souls, and for the souls of others. We should lay hold of the throne of grace with that earnestness that says, "I will not let thee go, except thou bless me."

We should not think that the Lord will not regard our petitions. I have heard persons say that they could not get an evidence that the Lord heard their prayers. Where did they look for evidence? The evidence is in the word of God. They have said, "O, if I could only have a vision, or a dream, then I would know that the Lord regarded my request." But would that make it any more sure than does his word? One man said he had waited for forty years for a manifestation of God's favor before he could believe that his Heavenly Father looked with mercy upon him. He wanted some marvelous revelation that would come like a shock of electricity, and thrill his entire being; but he did not get it. We are to believe that God accepts us when we fulfill his conditions, simply because he has said that he would.

We should place ourselves on the Lord's side; and when we have done this, then with childlike confidence we should believe that the God of heaven looks with favor upon us. We cannot lean on any earthly support. The Lord God of Israel must become our helper. Have you kindled your taper at the divine altar? Have you opened the door of your heart, that Jesus might come in? You should put your powers to the stretch in the service of God, and live with an eye single to his glory.

Satan will try to cast his shadow athwart your pathway, and he will seek to misrepresent the character of God, and the nature of his promises to your mind, but you must lay hold of the mighty One. There is no help for you in self, for you are only weakness. Your strength is in having faith in God, that he may work with your efforts. If you trust implicitly in him, you will know that his going forth is prepared as the morning.

The Lord desires that we should become intelligent in divine things, that we may offer up prayers of faith. He desires us to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of his will, that there may be unity with his people. And what an influence there is for good when brethren are in harmony; and what an influence it has for evil when there are strife and dissension among those who profess to believe the truth of God! We should have self-control. We should be disciplined. Parents should educate their children to self-control, that there may be harmony in the home. It is from your conduct at your home that we shall be able to judge in a large measure whether or not you are in a real Christian. Does the peace of Christ abide in your home? Are you educating yourselves and your children for the heavenly courts? Are you, as a household, knit together in love? If we have unity in the church, we must first have it in the home; for it is from the home that the church is formed, and the tempers and dispositions displayed in the family circle are the tempers and dispositions found in the church. A well-ordered family is a powerful influence for good in the world. If we walk in the light, and train our children in the fear of the Lord, we shall reflect the light of the glory of God which shines in the face of Jesus Christ. You may never know on earth how many have responded to the light that you shed by your godly example and influence, but it will be made plain in the day of reward.

Joseph was sold into Egypt. He was put into prison. The enemy strove to overwhelm him in darkness. It seemed as though every ray of hope was extinguished; but his faith took hold on God, and it was rewarded. God brought him out of his dungeon, and made him a light to the world. Our faith is too weak; it does not reach out, and take hold of the promises of God in times of darkness. We need more sympathy and love. There is too much Phariseeism among us. We must cultivate love. We must talk of Jesus and his love, and our hearts will be softened, and subdued under divine influences. There is too much of the spirit that feels, "I am holier than thou." Many are like the Pharisee that stood praying in the temple, and said, "God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are." The publican who smote upon his breast, and would not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven, but cried, "God be merciful to me a sinner," stood higher before God than did the self-righteous Pharisee. We should seek to understand our own need. We must have the righteousness of Christ to cover us. If we have left the snow of Lebanon, and forsaken the living streams, let us return, and drink at the fountain of life.

When we are filled with enmity toward the law of God, we may know that there is something wrong with us; and we should examine our hearts, and prove ourselves whether we are in the faith. We must keep the law of God as the apple of our eye; for his law governs the whole universe. I am thankful that we have a standard with which to compare our character. How shall I know that I am following in the light of Heaven? I may know because God has given us a test for doctrine. Says the prophet, "To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." It is our privilege to know what is truth, and that no error is of the truth.

There are many who set up a standard of their own, and they trample upon the law of Jehovah. What we believe, influences our life and molds our character; and every one carries with him an atmosphere that is either a savor of life unto life or of death unto death. We are not safe a moment without that living faith that grasps the promises of God.

There will be those who will come in at the eleventh hour, and they will receive an equal reward with those who have long known the truth. And why is this?—It is because they used all their talents to the utmost of their ability, and brought all their powers to bear on the work of advancing the light of the truth. When the truth was brought to their attention, they accepted it with joy, and God could trust them with a large measure of light and power. A great work is to be done in the earth, and while men sleep, Satan sows his tares. We must awake! Jesus is ready to work mightily in our behalf.

We are anxious to hear that you are walking in the light. We want you to testify to the power of the saving grace of Christ. "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." We must rely wholly upon Christ. It will do you no good merely to talk of the righteousness of Christ; you must appropriate it by living faith. You should cultivate faith until faith is the language of your soul. May God help us to walk in the light as he is in the light. --{The Review and Herald, July 2, 1889, The Secret of Unity, By Mrs. E. G. White}

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