It is through the truth, by the power of the Holy Spirit, that we are to be sanctified,–transformed into the likeness of Christ. And in order for this change to be wrought in us, there must be an unconditional, whole-hearted acceptance of the truth, an unreserved surrender of the soul to its transforming power.
Our characters are by nature warped and perverted. Through the lack of proper development they are wanting in symmetry. With some excellent qualities are united objectionable traits, and through long indulgence wrong tendencies become second nature, and many persons cling tenaciously to their peculiarities. Even after they profess to accept the truth, to yield themselves to Christ, the same old habits are indulged, the same self-esteem is manifested, the same false notions entertained. Although such ones claim to be converted, it is evident that they have not yielded themselves to the transforming power of the truth.
These things are not only harming their own souls, but are misleading others, who look to them as representatives of the truths which they profess to believe. Here we may see why some of our ministers as well as laymen have not greater power. They have not made an entire surrender to God. They do not realize the sinfulness of clinging to their own ways, following their own ideas, which are crude and narrow, and without symmetry. They hold tenaciously to the theory of the truth, and try to present it to others, but it is so beclouded by their own peculiarities that its brightness is obscured; it appears unattractive, and too often is refused.
Those who accept unpopular truth must receive it in the face of many opposing influences. Tradition, custom, and prejudice barricade their souls against the light. The advocates of truth must give evidence in their own character of its reforming, transforming power, or their labors will have little effect.
Again: those who do accept the truth naturally expect that the one who presents it to them is right in his ideas of general principles and of what constitutes Christian character. When associated with him, they incline to do as he does. If his practices are wrong, they almost imperceptibly become partakers of the evil. His defects are reproduced in their religious experience. Often, through their love and reverence for him, some objectionable feature of his character is even copied by them as a virtue. If the one who is thus misrepresenting Christ could know what harm has been wrought by the faults of character which he has excused and cherished, he would be filled with horror.
All who receive the truth are to stand as its representatives and advocates; the same responsibility rests in a degree upon all members of the church, whether ministers or laymen. Every soul who receives the truth should make the fullest possible surrender of himself to God,–a surrender represented as falling upon the Rock and being broken. Our old habits, our hereditary and cultivated traits of character, must all be yielded to the transforming power of Christ if we would become vessels unto honor, meet for the Master’s use, prepared unto every good work.
– The Review and Herald, April 12, 1892