Words of Hope…
We can accomplish this work only through faith in Christ, by the power of the Spirit of God living within us. Christians will feel sin tempting them, but they will keep up a constant warfare against it. They need Christ’s help to do this. Human weakness unites with divine strength, and faith exclaims, “Thanks be to God, who gives
us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).
The work of sanctification is progressive. When the sinner finds peace with God at conversion, the Christian life has just begun. Now he is to “go on to perfection,” to grow up “to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Hebrews 6:1; Ephesians 4:13; Philippians 3:14.)
Those who experience the sanctification of the Bible will be humble. They see how unworthy they are in contrast with the purity and perfection of God. The prophet Daniel was an example of true sanctification. Instead of claiming to be pure and holy, this honored prophet identified himself with the really sinful of Israel as he pleaded before God for his people. (See Daniel 10:11; 9:15, 18, 20.)
Those who walk in the shadow of Calvary’s cross will not exalt themselves or make boastful claims that they are free from sin. They feel that it was their sin that caused the agony that broke the heart of the Son of God, and this thought leads them to deep humility. Those who live closest to Jesus understand most clearly how frail and sinful humanity is, and their only hope is in the merit of a crucified and risen Savior.
The sanctification now gaining notice in the religious world carries a spirit of self-exaltation and a disregard for the law of God that identify it as foreign to the Bible. Those who teach it claim that sanctification happens instantly, and by this means, through “faith alone,” they reach perfect holiness. “Only believe,” they say, “and the blessing is yours.” No further effort is supposed to be required from the receiver. At the same time they deny the authority of God’s law, claiming that they are released from any obligation to keep the commandments. But is it possible to be holy without coming into harmony with the principles that express God’s nature and will?
The Word of God testifies against this trap-like doctrine of faith without works. It is not faith that claims God’s favor without complying with the conditions on which He grants mercy. It is presumption. (See James 2:14-24.)
Let none deceive themselves that they can become holy while they willfully violate one of God’s requirements. Known sin silences the witnessing voice of the Spirit and separates the heart from God. Though John dwells so much on love, he does not hesitate to reveal the true character of those who claim to be sanctified while living in violation of God’s law. “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him” (1 John 2:4, 5). Here is the test of everyone’s profession. If people belittle and make light of God’s law, if they break “one of the least of these commandments” and teach others to do the same (Matthew 5:19), we may know that their claims have no foundation.
The claim to be without sin is evidence that the person who makes this claim is far from holy. Such a one has no true concept of God’s infinite purity and holiness, and of how hateful and evil sin is. The greater the distance between us and Christ, the more righteous we appear in our own eyes.
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Source: Ellen G. White, The Great Hope, pp. 50, 51