For in Jesus Christ - By the dispensation of the Gospel all legal observances, as essential to salvation, are done away; and uncircumcision, or the Gentile state, contributes as much to salvation as circumcision or the Jewish state; they are both equally ineffectual; and nothing now avails in the sight of God but that faith δι 'αγαπης ενεργουμενη, which is made active, or energetic, by love. God acknowledges no faith, as of the operation of his Spirit, that is not active or obedient; but the principle of all obedience to God, and beneficence to man, is love; therefore faith cannot work unless it be associated with love. Love to God produces obedience to his will: love to man worketh no ill; but, on the contrary, every act of kindness. Faith which does not work by love is either circumcision or uncircumcision, or whatever its possessor may please to call it; it is, however, nothing that will stand him in stead when God comes to take away his soul. It availeth nothing. This humble, holy, operative, obedient Love, is the grand touchstone of all human creeds and confessions of faith. Faith without this has neither soul nor operation; in the language of the Apostle James, it is dead, and can perform no function of the spiritual life, no more than a dead man can perform the duties of animal or civil life.
For in Jesus Christ - In the religion which Christ came to establish.
Neither circumcision - It makes no difference whether a man is circumcised or not. He is not saved because he is circumcised, nor is he condemned because he is not. The design of Christianity is to abolish these rites and ceremonies, and to introduce a way of salvation that shall be applicable to all mankind alike; see the Galatians 3:28, note; 1 Corinthians 7:19, note; compare Romans 2:29.
But faith which worketh by love - Faith that evinces its existence by love to God, and benevolence to people. It is not a mere intellectual belief, but it is that which reaches the heart, and controls the affections. It is not a dead faith, but it is that which is operative, and which is seen in Christian kindness and affection. It is not mere belief of the truth, or mere orthodoxy, but it is that which produces trite attachment to others. A mere intellectual assent to the truth may leave the heart cold and unaffected; mere orthodoxy, however bold and self-confident, and “sound,” may not be inconsistent with contentions, and strifes, and logomachies, and divisions. The true faith is that which is seen in benevolence, in love to God, in love to all who bear the Christian name; in a readiness to do good to all mankind. This shows that the heart is affected by the faith that is held; and this is the nature and design of all genuine religion. Tyndale renders this, “faith, which by love is mighty in operation.”
It is a daily working agency that is to be brought into exercise, a faith that works by love, and purifies the soul of the educator. Is the revealed will of God placed as your highest authority? If Christ is formed within, the hope of glory, then the truth of God will so act upon your natural temperament, that its transforming agency will be revealed in a changed character, and you will not by your influence through the revealings of an unsanctified heart and temper, turn the truth of God into a lie before any of your pupils; nor in your presentation of a selfish, impatient, unchristlike temper in dealing with any human mind, reveal that the grace of Christ is not sufficient for you at all times and in all places. Thus you will show that the authority of God over you is not merely in name but in reality and truth. There must be a separation from all that is objectionable or unchristlike, however difficult it may be to the true believer. FE 263.1
Inquire, teachers, you who are doing your work not only for time but eternity, Does the love of Christ constrain my heart and my soul, in dealing with the precious souls for whom Jesus has given His own life? Under His constraining discipline, do old traits of character, not in conformity to the will of God, pass away and the opposite take their place? “A new heart also will I give you.” Have all things become new through your conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ? In words and by painstaking effort are you sowing such seed in these young hearts that you can ask the Lord to water it, that it shall, with His imputed righteousness, ripen into a rich harvest? Ask yourselves, Am I by my own unsanctified words and impatience and want of that wisdom that is from above, confirming these youth in their own perverse spirit, because they see that their teacher has a spirit unlike Christ? If they should die in their sins, shall I not be accountable for their souls? The soul who loves Jesus, who appreciates the saving power of His grace, will feel such a drawing near to Christ, that he will desire to work in His lines. He cannot, dare not, let Satan control his spirit and poisonous miasma surround his soul. Everything will be placed one side that will corrupt his influence, because it opposes the will of God and endangers the souls of the precious sheep and lambs; and he is required to watch for souls as they that must give an account. Wherever God has, in providence, placed us, He will keep us; as our day our strength shall be. FE 264.1
Whoever shall give way to his natural feelings and impulses makes himself weak and untrustworthy, for he is a channel through which Satan can communicate to taint and corrupt many souls, and these unholy fits that control the person unnerve him, and shame and confusion are the sure result. The spirit of Jesus Christ ever has a renewing, restoring power upon the soul that has felt its own weakness and fled to the unchanging One who can give grace and power to resist evil. Our Redeemer had a broad comprehensive humanity. His heart was ever touched with the known helplessness of the little child that is subject to rough usage; for He loved children. The feeblest cry of human suffering never reached His ear in vain. And everyone who assumes the responsibility of instructing the youth will meet obdurate hearts, perverse dispositions, and his work is to co-operate with God in restoring the moral image of God in every child. Jesus, precious Jesus,—a whole fountain of love was in His soul. Those who instruct the children should be men and women of principle. FE 264.2Read in context »
The scribes and Pharisees had accused not only Christ but His disciples as sinners because of their disregard of the rabbinical rites and observances. Often the disciples had been perplexed and troubled by censure and accusation from those whom they had been accustomed to revere as religious teachers. Jesus unveiled the deception. He declared that the righteousness upon which the Pharisees set so great value was worthless. The Jewish nation had claimed to be the special, loyal people who were favored of God; but Christ represented their religion as devoid of saving faith. All their pretensions of piety, their human inventions and ceremonies, and even their boasted performance of the outward requirements of the law, could not avail to make them holy. They were not pure in heart or noble and Christlike in character. MB 53.1
A legal religion is insufficient to bring the soul into harmony with God. The hard, rigid orthodoxy of the Pharisees, destitute of contrition, tenderness, or love, was only a stumbling block to sinners. They were like the salt that had lost its savor; for their influence had no power to preserve the world from corruption. The only true faith is that which “worketh by love” (Galatians 5:6) to purify the soul. It is as leaven that transforms the character. MB 53.2Read in context »
Riches and worldly honor cannot satisfy the soul. Many among the rich are longing for some divine assurance, some spiritual hope. Many long for something that will bring to an end the monotony of their aimless life. Many in official life feel their need of something which they have not. Few among them go to church, for they feel that they receive little benefit. The teaching they hear does not touch the heart. Shall we make no special appeal to them? 6BC 1061.1
God calls for earnest, humble workers, who will carry the gospel to the higher classes. It is by no casual, accidental touch that the wealthy, world-loving souls can be drawn to Christ. Decided personal effort must be put forth by men and women imbued with the missionary spirit, those who will not fail nor be discouraged (The Review and Herald, April 6, 1911). 6BC 1061.2Read in context »
The Christian Home Is an Object Lesson—The mission of the home extends beyond its own members. The Christian home is to be an object lesson, illustrating the excellence of the true principles of life. Such an illustration will be a power for good in the world.... As the youth go out from such a home, the lessons they have learned are imparted. Nobler principles of life are introduced into other households, and an uplifting influence works in the community.1 AH 31.1
The home in which the members are polite, courteous Christians exerts a far-reaching influence for good. Other families will mark the results attained by such a home, and will follow the example set, in their turn guarding the home against Satanic influences. The angels of God will often visit the home in which the will of God bears sway. Under the power of divine grace such a home becomes a place of refreshing to worn, weary pilgrims. By watchful guarding, self is kept from asserting itself. Correct habits are formed. There is a careful recognition of the rights of others. The faith that works by love and purifies the soul stands at the helm, presiding over the whole household. Under the hallowed influence of such a home, the principle of brotherhood laid down in the word of God is more widely recognized and obeyed.2 AH 31.2Read in context »