Professed Believers

by Ellen White

How great and widespread must be the power of the prince of evil, which can be subdued only by the mighty power of the Spirit. Disloyalty to God, transgression in every form, has spread over our world. Those who would preserve their allegiance to God, who are active in his service, become the mark of every shaft and weapon of hell. If those who have had great light have not corresponding faith and obedience they soon become leavened with the prevailing apostasy; another spirit controls them. While they have been exalted to heaven in point of opportunities and privileges, they are in a worse condition than the most zealous advocates of error. 1888 1015

This is a most delicate subject. Many unbelieving parents manage their children with greater wisdom than many of those who claim to be children of God. They take much pains with their children, to make them kind, courteous, unselfish and to teach them to obey, and in this the unbelieving show greater wisdom than those parents who have the great light of truth but whose works do not in any wise correspond with their faith. 3SM 315

The same danger still exists. Many take it for granted that they are Christians, simply because they subscribe to certain theological tenets. But they have not brought the truth into practical life. They have not believed and loved it, therefore they have not received the power and grace that come through sanctification of the truth. Men may profess faith in the truth; but if it does not make them sincere, kind, patient, forbearing, heavenly minded, it is a curse to its possessors, and through their influence it is a curse to the world. DA 309

Many take it for granted that they are Christians, simply because they subscribe to certain theological tenets. But they have not brought the truth into practical life. They have not believed and loved it, therefore they have not received the power and grace that come through sanctification of the truth. DA 309

I feel a special interest in the movements and decisions that shall be made at this Conference regarding the things that should have been done years ago, and especially ten years ago, when we were assembled in Conference, and the Spirit and power of God came into our meeting, testifying that God was ready to work for this people if they would come into working order. The brethren assented to the light God had given, but there were those connected with our institutions, especially with the Review and Herald Office and the Conference, who brought in elements of unbelief, so that the light that was given was not acted upon. It was assented to, but no special change was made to bring about such a condition of things that the power of God could be revealed among his people.

Year after year the same acknowledgement was made, but the principles which exalt a people were not woven into the work. God gave them clear light as to what they should do, and what they should not do, but they departed from that light, and it is a marvel to me that we stand in as much prosperity as we do to-day. It is because of the great mercy of our God, not because of our righteousness, but that his name should not be dishonoured in the world. GCB APR.03,1901

Every soul in every Conference, in every part of the Lord's vineyard, has the privilege of knowing the truth. But truth is not truth to those who do not practice it. Truth is only truth to you when you live it in the daily life, showing the world what those people must be who are at last saved. GCB APR.03,1901

There are many who testify daily, I am not changed in character, only in theory . . . All may through faith gain a conqueror's crown, but many are not willing to engage in hand to hand warfare with their own imperfect dispositions. They retain attributes which make them offensive to God. Daily they are transgressing the principles of His holy law. If all would only learn the simple lesson that they must take and wear the yoke of Christ and learn of the Great Teacher His meekness and lowliness of heart, they would better fulfil their covenant to love God supremely and their neighbour as themselves. . . They must begin at the very beginning, Christ says, Take My yoke of restraint and obedience upon you, and learn of Me. . The heart will then be made right with God, through the creative power of Christ. Partakers of the divine nature, they are transformed. . . HP 162

Communion with God is the life of the soul. It is not a something which we can interpret, a something which we can clothe with beautiful words, but which does not give us the genuine experience that makes our words of real value. Communion with God gives us a daily experience that does indeed make our joy full.

Those who have this union with Christ will declare it in spirit and word and work. Profession is nothing unless, in word and work, good fruit is manifest. Unity, fellowship with one another and with Christ--this is the fruit borne on every branch of the living vine. The cleansed soul, born again, has a clear, distinct testimony to bear... HP 72

The Lord's workers cannot be too careful that their actions do not contradict their words; for a consistent life alone can command respect. If our practise harmonises with our teachings, our works will have effect; but piety that is not based upon conscientious principles is as salt without savour. To speak, and do not, is as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. It is of no use for us to strive to inculcate principles which we do not conscientiously practise. PH048 4

The strongest bulwark of vice in our world is not the iniquitous life of the abandoned sinner or the degraded outcast; it is that life which otherwise appears virtuous, honourable, and noble, but in which one sin is fostered, one vice indulged. To the soul that is struggling in secret against some giant temptation, trembling upon the very verge of the precipice, such an example is one of the most powerful enticements to sin. He who, endowed with high conceptions of life and truth and honour, does yet wilfully transgress one precept of God's holy law, has perverted his noble gifts into a lure to sin. Genius, talent, sympathy, even generous and kindly deeds, may become decoys of Satan to entice other souls over the precipice of ruin for this life and the life to come. PH048 8

The once earnest Christian who enters into these sports is on the down-grade. He has left the region pervaded by the vital atmosphere of heaven, and has plunged into an atmosphere of mist and fog. It may be some humble believer is induced to join the these sports. But if he maintains his connection with Christ, he cannot in heart participate in the exciting scene. The words he hears are not congenial, for they are not the language of Canaan. The speakers do not give evidence that they are making melody in their hearts to God. But there is unmistakable evidence that God is forgotten. He is not in all their thoughts. These parties of pleasure and gatherings for exciting sport, made up of those who profess to be Christians, are a profanation of religion and the name of God. PH154 27

There are many now teaching others who need themselves to learn what it means to be redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. They need to feel the power of saving grace....

Shall we not by dwelling in the sunshine of his [Christ's] presence, become mellowed by his grace?...

A true, loveable Christian is the most powerful argument that can be advanced in favour of Bible truth. Such a man is Christ's representative. His life is the most convincing evidence that can be borne to the power of divine grace. When God's people bring the righteousness of Christ into the daily life, sinners will be converted, and victories over the enemy will be gained. RH JAN.14,1904

This is an age of profession and pretension. On all sides we see beautiful houses erected, splendidly furnished, adorned with pictures and equipped with everything to delight the eye and gratify the taste. Looking upon outside appearances we might say, Surely here are happy homes. Yet within these mansions lust and evil passions hold sway. Husbands are killing their wives that they may gratify their unholy lust, killing them with neglect, with harshness, with overbearing and self-importance. Those who were once made in the image of God, by indulgence in evil are blotting out every semblance of the divine nature. Not only is evil prevalent in the world, in both the lower and the higher classes, but wickedness is practised even in the church by those who profess to be worshippers. The names of men are registered on the church records who indulge in card-playing, who visit questionable places of amusement, and frequent gambling hells. Under the semblance of prosperity and peace among the higher classes, there is a state of degradation which is hid from all eyes but God's. In beautiful homes, in elegant mansions, cruelty is practised such as pen can feebly picture. Yet men and women who are written down as cruel in the books of heaven among this class, presume to sing the praises of God in beautiful hymns and songs. Many preserve the appearance of innocence, while they are planning how to commit theft and practice robbery in their positions of trust. By men and women who appear to delight in religious exercises, who profess to be followers of Christ, whose names are on the church record, there are embezzlements, fraud, licentiousness, adultery, and all kinds of wickedness. At such a time as this the Lord has commanded, "Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand. . . . For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. . . . Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach." RH JUN.05,1894

Believers should be taught that even though they may be poor, they need not be unclean or untidy in their persons or in their homes. Help must be given in this line to those who seem to have no sense of the meaning and importance of cleanliness. They are to be taught that those who are to represent the high and holy God must keep their souls pure and clean, and that this purity must extend to their dress and to everything in the home, so that the ministering angels will have evidence that the truth has wrought a change in the life, purifying the soul and refining the tastes. Those who, after receiving the truth, make no change in word or deportment, in dress or surroundings, are living to themselves, not to Christ. They have not been created anew in Christ Jesus, unto purification and holiness. . . .

While we are to guard against needless adornment and display, we are in no case to be careless and indifferent in regard to outward appearance. All about our persons and our homes is to be neat and attractive. The youth are to be taught the importance of presenting an appearance above criticism, an appearance that honours God and the truth. RH JUN.10,1902

But if the transgressors of the seventh commandment were to be found only among those who do not profess to be Christ's followers, the evil would not be a tenth part as great as it now is. But the crime of adultery is largely committed by professed Christians. Both clergymen and laymen, whose names stand fair upon the church record, are alike guilty. Many who profess to be the ministers of Christ are like the sons of Eli who ministered in the sacred office, and took advantage of their office to engage in crime and commit adultery, causing the people to transgress the law of God. A fearful account will such have to render when the cases of all shall pass in review before God, and they be judged according to the deeds done in the body. RH MAR.08,1870

Many present the doctrines and theories of our faith; but their presentation is as salt without savour; for the Holy Spirit is not working through their faithless ministry. They have not opened the heart to receive the grace of Christ; they know not the operation of the Spirit; they are as meal without leaven; for there is no working principle in all their labour, and they fail to win souls to Christ. They do not appropriate the righteousness of Christ; it is a robe unworn by them, a fullness unknown, a fountain untouched. RH NOV.22F,1892

Those who dishonour God by transgressing his law may talk sanctification; but it is of the same value, and just as acceptable, as was the offering of Cain. Obedience to the commandments of God is the only true sign of sanctification. Disobedience is the sign of disloyalty and apostasy. "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." Again, Christ repeated the condition of union with him. This promise is made to every sincere Christian. Our Saviour speaks so plainly that no one need fail to understand that true love will always produce obedience. Obedience is the sign of true love. Christ and the Father are one, and those who in truth receive Christ will love God as the great centre of their adoration, and will also love one another; and in so doing they will keep the law. RH OCT.26,1897

In order to let Jesus into our hearts, we must stop sinning. The only definition for sin that we have in the Bible is that it is the transgression of the law. The law is far-reaching in its claims, and we must bring our hearts into harmony with it. Men may wrap themselves about with their own righteousness, they may reach their own standard of character, but they do not reach the standard that God has given them in his word. We may measure ourselves by ourselves, and compare ourselves among ourselves; we may say we do as well as this one or as that one, but the great question is, Do we meet the claims that Heaven has upon us? The reason why iniquity prevails to such an alarming extent is that the law of God is made void in the earth. His law spoken from Sinai and exemplified in the life of Christ, is perfect, converting the soul. It condemns every sin, and requires every virtue. Not only does it demand a correct outward deportment, but its principles reach even to the thoughts and affections of the heart. "Behold," said the psalmist, "thou desirest truth in the inward parts; and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom." In the light of the law, covetousness is seen to be idolatry, lust adultery, and anger murder. No wonder that the carnal mind is enmity against God, and not subject to his law. ST MAR.03,1890