A general manuscript written by Ellen G. White circa 1890.
Wholly of Grace
The light given me of God places this important subject above any question in my mind. Justification is wholly of grace and not procured by any works that fallen man can do. The matter has been presented before me in clear lines that if the rich man has money and possessions, and he makes an offering of the same to the Lord, false ideas come in to spoil the offering by the thought he has merited the favor of God, that the Lord is under obligation to him to regard him with special favor because of this gift.
There has been too little educating in clear lines upon this point. The Lord has lent man His own goods in trust–means which He requires be handed back to Him when His providence signifies and the upbuilding of His cause demands it. The Lord gave the intellect. He gave the health and the ability to gather earthly gain. He created the things of earth. He manifests His divine power to develop all its riches. They are His fruits from His own husbandry. He gave the sun, the clouds, the showers of rain, to cause vegetation to flourish. As God’s employed servants you gathered in His harvest to use what your wants required in an economical way and hold the balance for the call of God. You can say with David, “For all things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee” (1 Chronicles 29:14). So the satisfaction of creature merit cannot be in returning to the Lord His own, for it was always His own property to be used as He in His providence should direct.
God’s Favor Forfeited
By rebellion and apostasy man forfeited the favor of God; not his rights, for he could have no value except as it was invested in God’s dear Son. This point must be understood. He forfeited those privileges which God in His mercy presented him as a free gift, a treasure in trust to be used to advance His cause and His glory, to benefit the beings He had made. The moment the workmanship of God refused obedience to the laws of God’s kingdom, that moment he became disloyal to the government of God and he made himself entirely unworthy of all the blessings wherewith God had favored him.
This was the position of the human race after man divorced himself from God by transgression. Then he was no longer entitled to a breath of air, a ray of sunshine, or a particle of food. And the reason why man was not annihilated was because God so loved him that He made the gift of His dear Son that He should suffer the penalty of his transgression. Christ proposed to become man’s surety and substitute, that man, through matchless grace, should have another trial–a second probation–having the experience of Adam and Eve as a warning not to transgress God’s law as they did. And inasmuch as man enjoys the blessings of God in the gift of the sunshine and the gift of food, there must be on the part of man a bowing before God in thankful acknowledgment that all things come of God. Whatever is rendered back to Him is only His own who has given it.
Man broke God’s law, and through the Redeemer new and fresh promises were made on a different basis. All blessings must come through a Mediator. Now every member of the human family is given wholly into the hands of Christ, and whatever we possess–whether it is the gift of money, of houses, of lands, of reasoning powers, of physical strength, of intellectual talents–in this present life, and the blessings of the future life, are placed in our possession as God’s treasures to be faithfully expended for the benefit of man. Every gift is stamped with the cross and bears the image and superscription of Jesus Christ. All things come of God. From the smallest benefits up to the largest blessing, all flow through the one Channel–a superhuman mediation sprinkled with the blood that is of value beyond estimate because it was the life of God in His Son.
Now not a soul can give God anything that is not already His. Bear this in mind: “All things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee” (1 Chronicles 29:14). This must be kept before the people wherever we go–that we possess nothing, can offer nothing in value, in work, in faith, which we have not first received of God and upon which He can lay His hand any time and say, They are Mine–gifts and blessings and endowments I entrusted to you, not to enrich yourself, but for wise improvement to benefit the world.
All Is of God
The creation belongs to God. The Lord could, by neglecting man, stop his breath at once. All that he is and all that he has pertains to God. The entire world is God’s. Man’s houses, his personal acquirements, whatever is valuable or brilliant, is God’s own endowment. It is all His gift to be returned back to God in helping to cultivate the heart of man. The most splendid offerings may be laid upon the altar of God, and men will praise, exalt, and laud the giver because of His liberality. In what? “All things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee” (1 Chronicles 29:14). No work of man can merit for him the pardoning love of God, but the love of God pervading the soul will lead him to do those things which were always required of God and that he should do with pleasure. He has done only that which duty ever required of him.
The angels of God in heaven that have never fallen do His will continually. In all that they do upon their busy errands of mercy to our world, shielding, guiding, and guarding the workmanship of God for ages–both the just and the unjust– they can truthfully say, “All is Thine. Of Thine own do we give Thee.” Would that the human eye could catch glimpses of the service of the angels! Would that the imagination could grasp and dwell upon the rich, the glorious service of the angels of God and the conflicts in which they engage in behalf of men to protect, to lead, to win, and to draw them from Satan’s snares. How different would be the conduct, the religious sentiment!
Concluded Next Month
Printed in Faith and Works, pp. 19-23