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What Does “Perfect in Christ” Really mean? — 64 Comments

  1. It means daily we are allowing Jesus to change our lives . as we grow in Him. and exercise our faith in God to others.

    Amen!(6)
  2. Yes, I agree with William not only our physical lives but our whole mode of thinking must change. I recommend that we read all of Chapter 39 in the Great Controversy, titled, "The Time of Trouble" which can be found here. And don't just read it quickly in order to say "I have read it" but take time and study it - carefully. Understand what the faith is that those who go through the time of trouble must have. Understand the problems that the righteous will face and what it will take to come out on the other side victorious.

    Above all else understand that the righteous go through the time of trouble with their residence in Heaven absolutely guaranteed because when probation closes all the decisions in the judgment will have been made but that will not stop the problems they face.

    Amen!(11)
  3. Faith didn't make the walls of Jericho crumble. God promised that he would do it and Joshua and the people believed & trusted God, they surrendered their will to God's will and they obeyed God's instructions to the letter and marched around Jericho many time and God performed a miracle and the walls crumbled.

    The miracle working God will pull down the Satan built strong holds in our lives when we believe, trust, surrender to and obey God.

    Amen!(13)
      • Hi William,
        Yes I agree, however when we use one word for a process we run the risk of either forgetting what it really means, or even worse new Christians can misunderstand and think we mean that faith does the miracle rather than it is God who does the miracle.

        I think that is why we have all this confusion when people say we are saved by faith - full stop. Instead of saying Jesus saves us when we have faith in Him.

        Same thing when people say 'pray' works,
        when it is God who works in response to our pray to Him.

        Amen!(18)
        • "I think that is why we have all this confusion when people say we are saved by faith - full stop. Instead of saying Jesus saves us when we have faith in Him."

          I just love that. Thank you Shirley 🙂

          Amen!(4)
        • Shirley I had the same thought about the walls of Jericho falling because of their faith. God instructed Joshua in detail what to do and how to do it and there was an implied faith if you look at it from our vantage point. Was it faith in God, or faith in the spies and Joshua? God chooses certain individuals to carry out His plans in certain circumstances. Saul, later Paul, was chosen, chastised, blinded, and instructed what was in store for him by Ananias. After Ananias questioned God about His choice, God said in Acts 9:15,16 he, Paul, is a chosen vessel of Mine and he will suffer many things for My sake. Paul did suffer many things that he wrote about. When our faith is smaller than a mustard seed, works from that kind of faith doesn't seem likely to be evident.

          Amen!(1)
        • "Magic" is Satan's counterfeit for God's "miracle", just as "luck" is Satan's counterfeit in human self credit for God's "providence" and "protection".

          Faith is God's miracle. Belief is human activity; alike Satan believes and trembles. "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." Faith is God's activity. just as "if any man lacks wisdom, let him ask of God". Faith is God's miracle in the mind, heart and will of the person, that activates God's Divine (not supernatural) miracle of activity beyond human or nature's normative capacity.

          When a person chooses to surrender to God, guided by "no man can come to God unless the Spirit of God draws him", God responds in power, love and wisdom. This includes a victorious life in Jesus Christ: "I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God" Col 2:20.

          God's miracle.

          Shirley is right that God changes lives, not my faith. William's statement that "my friend’s daughter gave an example of how her faith literally changed her life" is alien both to the point Shirley is making as well as the gist of William's full article. The truth is, "but it is only by faith" can be a distortion, following Shirley's distinction; but, "but it is only by faith" is also a truism since "without faith it is impossible to please Him/God", representative of "It is God Who is working in me, both to will and to do His good pleasure". The action of the will (mind, heart and decision), faith, is translated into action, to do.

          I ask for this "faith", to give me the state of mind that is required for God's work of miracles.

          Amen!(2)
        • Hurford, the Bible teaches that faith is how we respond to evidence. The little girl's faith DID change her life, by allowing God to work in her "to will and do...". It was the faith of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus' garment that made her whole again, according to Jesus (Mark 5:34). Faith (or unbelief) is ours to exercise in response to the evidence God brings us. It is OUR faith that overcomes the world, and it is to OUR faith that we are to "add virtue", etc.(1 Jn 5:4, 2 Peter 1:5)

          Jesus said "If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed..." (Luke 17:6)

          Faith is our active response, a choice. Unbelief is the opposite choice, a choice to allow pride to hold dominion. Faith is allowing God to work, unbelief is refusing His help. Yes, faith is not magic, it only accepts God's power in the life that is surrendered to Him in faith.

          We are saved by [God's] grace through [our] faith; which is our positive acceptance that is seen in actions of faith. "The just shall live by HIS faith". (Hab 2:4)

          Faith is not God's work, faith is what allows God to work, so His power is active in our lives as we accept His will in place of our own. Without faith, we will never receive the gift of Life in Christ, which is for "whosoever believeth". Faith is belief in action, and not just an intellectual acceptance, such as the devils have.

          Amen!(2)
        • Shirley,
          You did a wonderful job in clearly identifying that God is the One Who does miracles, in response to the faith/trust that a Believer places in Him. Your submission is especially relevant in view of the perception of some that "faith can move a mighty mountain", the human being taking credit for a magical geological shift, or a 15 degree solar reversal that quantifies into a 15 year life span extension.

          Magic is the devil's work, where Satan will use his "supernatural" power to cause wizards, witches, sorcerers and psychics to believe and give the impression that they possess "supernatural" power - a work of deception.

          Faith believes that God is faithful, Who will use "HIS DIVINE" power and Love to stop the flames from burning His faithful servants, as best suits His eternal plan of love for "saving to the utmost all who come unto God by HIM". Faith trusts God to allow the fire if in so doing it will become a testimony to the saving love of God and extend the defeat of the evil one. The best example of faith trusting the will of God in allowing adversity is prophetic in Isa 53:10-12 "Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief : when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied : by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors ; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors".

          Faith today allows some to suffer and die prematurely, shockingly sudden and without previous medical evidence, because God is putting some of His faithful servants to rest before the time of trouble. Faith trusts God to allow some of His faithful servants, today, to pass through the fire and not be burned, dumped into a cistern of boiling oil and not be deep fried, pass through the flood and not be overflowed, return some "faithful" from the throes of imminent death to the wonder of the medical profession and the world, work wonders mightily and authoritatively in the unlearned and humble and children, to give the greatest honor and glory to the God of perfect love and saving grace.

          Faith is a lot more than miracles, for the faith of the faithful originates in the heart of the One Who knows all things, and is perfect in Love and perfect in saving to the utmost. God is faithful, and the Author of the great faith of the faithful. Faith sings: "This world is not my home; I'm just ah passing through".

          Preach the Word, Shirley.
          God bless

          Amen!(0)
  4. Evidence. Evidence based faith. I am not advocating faith based on seeing is believing. But faith based on what Christ has done for me. That enough evidence for me. Evdience from the daughters testimony. Evidence of what Christ has done with our relationships strengethens our faith to stand when the heavens fall. And they will some day. The angels holding back the winds of strife will some day be instructed to let go, then Christ will come ready or not. We had better learn to rely on Him now, rather than wait until it is to late.

    Amen!(4)
  5. For Tyler Cluthe. Please remember that there is a time of trouble before probation closes at the sunday law and after it closes. The former is a testing time for the saints in the sense that they can still lose their way and the latter is still a testing but it is more a time of remonstrating that their sins might not have been all forgiven and would bring disgrace to God's name.

    Amen!(1)
    • Yes, Stephen, I think you are correct in realizing that there is a testing time before probation closes but I wonder if there hasn't always been a testing time. In the Bible I read of Noah's flood, the testing of the children of Israel at Sinai, the time before the destruction of the first temple, the events of the first advent and its persecutions, the persecutions of the Middle Ages, etc. and then there are all the little personal testing that litter the landscape in between such as the test that happened with Abraham.

      The first two paragraphs of chapter 39 in the Great Controversy make it very clear to me that Ellen White was addressing what happens after the close of probation. As an example toward the end of the second paragraph she says:
      An angel returning from the earth announces that his work is done; the final test has been brought upon the world, and all who have proved themselves loyal to the divine precepts have received "the seal of the living God." Then Jesus ceases His intercession in the sanctuary above. He lifts His hands and with a loud voice says, "It is done;" and all the angelic host lay off their crowns as He makes the solemn announcement: "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still." Revelation 22:11. Every case has been decided for life or death.
      To me that time of trouble is something special in many ways and is something for which we must especially prepare where faith will be severely tested. It also raises some interesting questions about the great controversy that has been going on for over 6000 years in the universe.

      Amen!(2)
      • Agree Tyler. However what we will soon see is unlike anything the world has seen before. Satan will throw everthing at us to break us. The true test is before close of probation as our positions will not be fixed at that time.

        Stephen

        Amen!(3)
      • Focusing on the "time of trouble" concerns me because we tend to surround it by events that must happen, and in doing so postpone its imminence. Exercise of faith is something that should be happening now, because "now" is the only time we have to work with. The Jews at the time of Christ had a view of the Messiah message that obfuscated the real Messiah when he came. I believe it is possible for us to become so focused on being "perfect for the time of trouble", that we forget that God's command for us it to be perfect even as our heavenly Father is perfect. That is a message for "now". We do not attain faith to go through the time of trouble. We should live by faith now. (I should add a whole paragraph on what that means because we sometimes use that phrase as part of the Christian vocabulary of cute phrases we use rather glibly. Suffice it to say that the book of James is a useful read at this time.)

        I have said in this forum on a number of occasions that if we regard salvation and heaven as the ultimate retirement plan, then we have got it wrong. Salvation, being saved, or whatever you call it, is about living now. I am not denying that there is a heaven. What I am saying is that we need to extend our thinking about heaven and salvation into the present and live that way now. Then, the "time of trouble", whatever form it takes, will not surprise us.

        Amen!(14)
        • Thank you fr your comments Maurice Ashton,focussing ont preparing for a time of trouble alone may derail us from the path we ought to walk on since we came to the knowledge of God, the path of faith and obedience

          Amen!(1)
        • And living our faith today strengthens that faith for the future. It is like a tree it grows each day and becomes stronger with each growth.

          Amen!(3)
        • The suddenness and magnitude of the coming trouble will overwhelm any unprepared for it. More emphasis is given in scripture on the quality of faith rather than the quantity of trouble. The trouble is mentioned more for emphasizing the need for faith, and so we won't be surprised by it (Amos 3:7). Any who experience victory in that hour will do so by faith. (1 Jn 5:4)

          Amen!(1)
      • Tyler,
        "Yes, Stephen, I think you are correct....but I wonder..."
        Is it Ok to say,
        "Yes, Stephen, I think you are correct about the Sabbath... but I wonder...."
        "Yes, Stephen, I think you are saved....but I wonder....."
        Is the "but" a continued affirmation of the truth, or a diminishing of the truth, or a limitation of the truth, or a redefinition of the truth, but I wonder.....
        Why the "but" Tyler?
        Can you put a "but" to Jesus who is truth?
        Might it be more accurate to say:
        "Yes, Stephen, I think you are correct in your understanding of what the Scripture teaches (or in representing the Word of God). I believe there has always been a testing time, of which the time of trouble will be a culmination".
        I believe that we affirm truth, not "but" it with another truth.

        Amen!(0)
        • Hurford, I am sorry that one little word bothers you so much. Perhaps the best way to look at what I said is to take the entirety of the first sentence and understand the point I was making:

          "Yes, Stephen, I think you are correct in realizing that there is a testing time before probation closes but I wonder if there hasn't always been a testing time."

          Am I disagreeing with him? No! Neither was I unspecific in what I was saying for it concerned the "testing time before probation closes" in relation to the time after.

          I think it should be clear that what I said was that I agree with the idea that there is a "testing time before probation closes" however, I also think we have been similarly tested throughout history. I was adding something to what he was saying and clarifying my previous comment by making the point that the Bible points to many events in the past where judgment and testing was done. All those times were similar BUT I believe that the time after probation closes will be vastly different in many respects.

          I also fully agree with Maurice that we need to live for Christ daily BUT because the time of trouble after probation closes is so different than what happens before it there seems to be some specific preparation needed. Historically the Seventh-day Adventist Church has always had a problem with the assurance of salvation. We have been so concerned with being good and doing the right things that our focus was on ourselves. While that is not entirely bad we should all realize that everything is about Christ. That Jesus, "became for us wisdom from God-- and righteousness and sanctification and redemption (1 Cor. 1:30 NKJV). So our focus should be mostly on what He has done for us and what He is presently doing though us and for us on our behalf.

          Those saints that live past the close of probation will be hammered with doubts about their status before God - that is the main problem for those people rather than about what they are doing. Satan will try to so discourage them concerning their lives that they would give up their faith in His promises in total despair. They will have the same experience that Christ had on the cross where He cried out, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Matt. 27:46 NKJV). What we need to get through our thick skulls is that in spite of the fact that we constantly stumble and fall and are beset with sin we are nevertheless considered perfect because of justification. That is the lesson that God's people who are alive when He comes must learn. Unfortunately most of that will be done during the extremely stressful time after probation closes - not before when it should be.

          According to Ellen White's understanding of the event it is something for which we are not preparing. She calls for us to test God's promises, to see that He does indeed fulfill the promises He makes and the greatest one of all is what He told the disciples, "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also" (Jn. 14:2-3 NKJV). The question of course is whether or not we will choose to have those experiences in preparation for that event for Jesus did raise a very serious question concerning that time, "Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?" (Lk. 18:8 NKJV read the parable that leads up to this question and understand the point He was making).

          Amen!(1)
        • Tyler, Hurford can speak for himself, and I may be wrong, but it seems to me that you missed the point of his comment.

          In communication, the word "but" is often seen as an "eraser" that erases everything that went before it. "But" is a tiny word with strong implications of rebuttal (notice the "but" in re"but"tal) and disagreement. Hurford suggested a better way of adding thoughts to the comments of another.

          Although the meaning of "but" is modified by context, the primary definition is

          conjunction
          1. on the contrary; yet:
          My brother went, but I did not.(From dictionary.com)

          It would be nice if we could complement each other's contributions and seek to curb our language of rebuttal as well as our tendency to rebut.

          If we do not disagree, let us avoid language of disagreement. I think it makes for better conversation. 🙂

          Amen!(0)
  6. I like what James had to say about it James3:2 and 4:11-12. I do believe life and death is in the power of the tongue. As Christians we should encourage one another by speaking words of Life. God is Love Jesus Love us Love covers sin. That why I read John 3:16 regular. We do have a friend and a savior in Christ.

    Amen!(4)
  7. A song says "life is easy when we are up on a mountain,but things changes when we are done in the valley" it continues to say "we talk about faith when we are up on a mountain but its down in the valley where our faith is put to test.

    Its not only having faith in the most prominent moment of life,but to stand when ever thing around us fall,to stand when its seems we are losing every ,its about standing when we see no possible solution.one of God specialty is to open ways were there are none.

    believe me it can be difficult, but even when you don't understand,just choose to trust him, you will not regret it.

    Amen!(8)
  8. Faith: an action based on promises with expected results. It will be seen by others, as Jesus "saw their faith" when the friends of the paralyzed man tore a hole in a roof. (Mark 2:5) As we do this daily, removing the obstacles that keep us from being yoked with Jesus, we are "perfect" in Him.

    A branch, perfectly connected to a living vine will always bear fruit.

    Amen!(3)
    • Robert, you wrote:

      Faith: an action based on promises with expected results.

      Do you really mean to suggest that as a good definition of faith?

      It sounds exactly like what I do when I insert my bank card into a bank machine - a transaction.

      It sounds exactly like what I do when I insert my credit card into the slot in the gas pump - a transaction whereby I exchange credit for gas.

      It also sounds suspiciously like what the Pharisees did: They kept the Torah meticulously and expected to be granted salvation as part of God's people.

      So, is that really how you see faith?

      Is there perhaps a crucial aspect lacking in your definition and my examples?

      Amen!(2)
      • Inge, your conclusion is nothing I would have thought of. I was thinking more along the lines of going confidently to wash one's clay-smeared eyes in the pool of Siloam, or touching the hem of a healer's garment and being healed of a 12-year affliction that some said was an incurable curse of God, or perhaps washing 7 times in a muddy river to be cleansed of leprosy, or going as a leper to show one's self to the priest as the Healer had commanded, or lowering the net on the right side of the boat in daylight after coming up empty after tying all night, when it's best for fishing.

        These are only a few of the many examples I could suggest as being faith: an action based on promises with expected results. Your's sound quite similar until you start talking about legalists, then you lose me.

        None of my examples above or in my original comment were merely hoping for results, or faith would have been absent. The promises of God are sure.

        How would you describe faith Inge? I'm curious now.

        From Desire of Ages: "Many hold faith as an opinion. Saving faith is a transaction by which those who receive Christ join themselves in covenant relation with God. Genuine faith is life. A living faith means an increase of vigor, a confiding trust, by which the soul becomes a conquering power."

        Yes, a transaction, like your bank card which you use with confidence in your banks ability to make good on the promised services. You expect specific results from your action of faith.

        Amen!(2)
        • Robert, I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you. I was asking whether there was perhaps something missing in your definition and my examples. (The examples you cite fit your definition, but perhaps there was more involved?)

          For instance, what is the difference between the Pharisees keeping the law with the expectation of being saved and the kind of faith that Christ commends? (It's actually inside the quote from the Desire of Ages.)

          Amen!(0)
        • I don't know exactly what word or description you are wanting me to guess at Inge, I believe the examples speak for themselves without needing to add a specific explanation. If we understand them, they explain themselves. In a word; Trust. Complete Trust. This kind of trust/faith requires knowing the One making the promises as trustworthy. Knowledge of the Truth then is a worthy pursuit as it results in faith.

          Legalists are self-sufficient and need no Helper, especially when it requires self-denial, humility and loving others who are unlovable. Faith is not exercised when salvation is merely a legal process we earn. Life through Christ is a gift requiring faith to receive.

          You seem to be pointing to the relation that must exist, which is the only way to gain the knowledge of God that brings eternal life. (John 17:3) Unless I am mistaken.

          None of the examples of faith could exist without this relation, however limited it might be at first. Faith begins at mustard seed proportions, but increases steadily as one grows in grace and in a knowledge of Jesus. This is after all where faith comes from. (Rom 10:17)

          Amen!(3)
          • Ah, yes, Robert - that's what was missing in your previous posts:

            Trust. Complete trust. This kind of trust/faith requires knowing the One making the promises as trustworthy.

            I believe that faith is a relationship word. So without a relationship with Christ (i.e. trust), any "faith" that might be exercised - like that of the Pharisees - is not saving faith.

            You wrote:

            You seem to be pointing to the relation that must exist, which is the only way to gain the knowledge of God that brings eternal life. (John 17:3)

            Indeed! But when we do not make this clear in our sharing, whether spoken or written, people can get the idea that it is merely a transaction: I do this and I get that. Faith itself can become a kind of "works" with a certain amount of faith yielding a certain amount of results.

            A relationship, on the other hand, cannot be quantified. Thus faith cannot be quantified. Jesus said that faith "as a grain of mustard seed" is sufficient to move mountains. It doesn't require a truckload. 😉 We either trust God, or we don't. And if our faith is shaky, we can fall at His feet like the desperate father who exclaimed, "Lord, I believe, help Thou my unbelief!"

            Amen!(1)
        • Actually Inge, if you look at my original comment, you will see it wasn't missing at all. "action based on promises" speaks clearly of a relationship doesn't it? How could this exist without relation?

          I think if questions arise, it might need to be explained, but in scripture it isn't elaborately defined in every case, being understood as a basic requirement. You don't trust anyone you don't know, it just isn't natural. Trust/faith comes from knowledge, and this is why the wise man held up knowledge as our highest pursuit, the knowledge of God found in His commandments, law, precepts...etc. (see Prov 2:1-5 among many other examples)
          It is the knowledge of God that Jesus said brings eternal life, and in this knowledge we "understand the fear of the Lord".

          So having faith without knowledge doesn't exist, only presumption.

          Amen!(0)
          • Robert, I'm just wondering how the Pharisees saw their works. Did they not see themselves as acting on promises? They had seen that disobedience brought dire consequences, so after Babylon, they did their best to make sure not to disobey again - so that they might inherit the promises made to Israel.

            I don't know how you see it, but it seems to me that in their focus on doing the right things, they forgot about being in covenant relationship with God. They forgot that all of God's promises and all of God's laws are about relationships. (I've known this to be termed the "relationship heresy." But try this out on the Ten Commandments, for starters, to test it for yourself.)

            With their example before us, I believe it's vital for us not to fall into the same trap, but to focus on what it means to be the people of God - a people in covenant relationship with our Creator and our Redeemer.

            Amen!(1)
        • Interesting questions you pose Inge, but I believe the truth about the Pharisees is obvious in how they "loved [not]" their fellow man, and by how Jesus rebuked them. Their flaws are too obvious to seriously conjecture about. They were convicted of their own guilt and could not escape it. You have to always remember that the Holy Spirit never sleeps on the job of convicting sinners. All are convicted of their personal need, but pride and love of sin blinds over time and eventually lies are accepted as truth and truth is treated as a lie. The Pharisees were not fooled about their true need. Their desperate efforts to rid themselves of Jesus proves their true guilt and knowledge of it. Had they been truly deceived, Jesus would have addressed them differently. God's judgments are always just.

          Faith is not difficult to comprehend and the honest seeker will always find it. There's no getting away from conviction until one determines to ignore the persistent pleading of a loving God seeking to save "to the uttermost". While we cannot hide from true conviction(Ps 139), we can harden ourselves against it. Remember Pharaoh.

          Pharisees were never focused on doing the right things, they were focused on manipulating the law to their advantage, while those who respond to conviction with humility will magnify the law and glorify God.

          You remember the 2 worshipers, both were convicted, but one allowed pride to convince himself he could earn God's favor with the "fruits" of his own labor rather than falling on the mercy of God, confessing his faults, repenting of sin, and receiving Jesus as the Lamb of God. Legalism is a cover for harbored sin. Always has been, always will be. Faith is nowhere to be found in such manipulations and pretense.

          How does Jesus describe the people of God being recognized? Their good works will glorify God. This can only happen to sinners who have received Jesus through a faith relationship. It's their good works that others see, not their devotional life details or hours in prayer and study. Those are only seen in the "secret place of the Most High", while men observe words and actions in the highways and byways of life. But unlike Pharisees, the servants of God don't parade or broadcast their good deeds, but live a quiet humble life of service, no matter the sacrifice required.

          Amen!(2)
        • Also just as a side point (just to add, not to counter anything) , one does not have to feel confident to exercise faith - - one just has to be willing to act on the evidence given.

          So it's entirely possible the man could have felt somewhat apprehensive while making his way to the pool to wash.

          Amen!(2)
        • Exactly Andrew, look at Naaman who somewhat reluctantly washed in the Jordan to cure his leprosy. But his obedience of faith resulted in accepting and worshiping the True God of Israel from that day on through a living faith. It is vital that we do all we can to encourage others to simply act in faith, as Naaman's servants did.

          Amen!(1)
        • Robert,
          Inge is correct. There is a gap in your description. First, your assertion:
          The Scripture teaches that Faith is an absolute necessity - an activity that occurs in the human mind and heart that can move mountains. All the cases you cited do consistently affirm, as you correctly interpreted, that the human must have faith. Indeed, "without faith (on the part of the person), it is impossible to please Him."

          Inge correctly cites that your submissions present an 'equal compensation' business transaction: the human observes God's "evidence", evaluates and considers the options, decides and then initiates the "transaction". Let me put it as a consideration of the difference between human transactions and salvation: a) Faith?? You do a days work and you receive pay based on a contractual agreement with an employer (equal compensation); you present your card and receives the claim of your debit(equal compensation agreed upon by both parties); you offer the check-out cashier at Walmart $2.85 and she allows you to walk out of the store with an Arnold's loaf of 100% whole wheat bread (equal compensation).

          b) Salvation: A thief, robber, murderer comes to Calvary, sees Jesus Christ hanging on the cross dying, and eventually dies. The man decides to believe that Jesus Christ died to save sinners, so he thanks Jesus Christ for his being considerate and sacrificial in dying to save humans. He goes to church. Is the man saved? Did his belief save him? No it does not. Belief is an activity in the mind that says "I know and understand what this man has done, and I believe and thank him for what he has done."

          Did this man have evidence to believe that the death of Jesus Christ can compensate for human sin, and so save any human? No. So then how did he believe it? Faith, human activity, accepts without evidence. Where did he get this "faith" to accept without evidence? No, No! There is evidence. Well, Jesus did lots of miracles to heal people, and he even resurrected three people who were dead. Ah, there is evidence for resurrection. So I believe that he can resurrect someone if He wants to. So then, that is not necessarily "faith". It is still belief.

          But back to the question above: Did the man have evidence that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ can give life to another human being? No. Which means "faith" has to go there, without evidence. How does he get this "faith"? Can human activity produce it? Sounds more like "myth", or a projection of human desire, mentally compensating for the emotional aversion to death as extinction. It is a belief without evidence; that offers no commitment to the death of self, and no resurrection into new life through Jesus Christ living in the heart.

          To extend our minds to conceptualize Jesus Christ as the God/Man, whose death compensates for the death of all humanity, and whose resurrection brings "whosoever" to eternal life, there has to be a human "faith" that accepts the information and conviction provided by the work of the Holy Spirit in the mind and heart. It is impossible without the work of the Holy Spirit.

          There is a faith with action; and there is a faith without action (Paul and James). A "faith" without action accepts the irrational and impossible as "fact", but chooses no surrender to death of the self, and no acceptance of Christ in the heart. A Faith that surrenders to the transforming work of the Holy Spirit, based on the "faith" produced by Holy Spirit's conviction that the impossible is possible and the terminal can become eternal, is a faith that moves mountains, and receives healing. No one can come to God without the drawing of the Holy Spirit. No one can know the Shepherd without the work of the Holy Spirit. No one can receive eternal life in the heart without the work of the Holy Spirit.

          Faith is an activity in the mind and heart of the human, activated by the Holy Spirit into accepting the unreal by the conviction of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. Faith is the Holy Spirit's activity in the mind and heart of the person, not only in conviction of sin, but also in conviction of surrender for the death of the self, and acceptance of the transforming work of the Holy Spirit.

          1. Belief. 2. Faith through conviction without action. 3. Faith through conviction followed by God working in us to do His will/ action. #3 is where the believer has "faith" in God, and God moves the mountain. If anyone moves a mountain, without using a shovel, it is not Inge's faith that moved the mountain. It is some supernatural power that has invisible beyond natural power, and that power can be any power, including Satan's. But if daughter of the Heavenly FAther, Inge, runs into a mountain of living hell, God will hear her cry even before she calls, and will breathe out a gentle breeze that will take the dirt outta her face. Faith can move mountains.

          God bless us all with "faith" that comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God, Divine Miracle, not supernatural satanic wand. I give HIM, the HOLY SPIRIT, the LAMB, and our FATHER, all the credit and all the praise, as FACT. None of me. All of Him.

          But it also takes all of me, and does not happen without me; for He needs all my decision in accepting HIM and commitment of the will (a real Living Will)to action, to work in me, and with me.

          Him all the praise.

          Amen!(1)
        • Inge and Robert, Good running conversation between you both. Except for the occasional defensive "I know it already" that prevents ownership of our limits of knowledge and need for learning more, you both gave a beautiful example of a conversation for learning.

          Amen!(1)
        • Robert,
          I came back for a new look at what you wrote in response to Inge's remarks to offer a more balance response to your remarks; because I know you are wrestling with great desire for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and presenting truth.
          You wrote a very beautiful statement expressing "faith's going confidently", that is truly worth sharing beyond this blog:
          "I was thinking more along the lines of going confidently to wash one's clay-smeared eyes in the pool of Siloam, or touching the hem of a healer's garment and being healed of a 12-year affliction that some said was an incurable curse of God, or perhaps washing 7 times in a muddy river to be cleansed of leprosy, or going as a leper to show one's self to the priest as the Healer had commanded, or lowering the net on the right side of the boat in daylight after coming up empty after tying all night, when it's best for fishing."
          I say again, very beautiful - in representing good truth, and in good writing skill.

          With the minor exception of the very last statement, which really is a wrestling with symbolisms rather than wrestling with truth, your entire submission represented the Word of God in truth; finishing well with a powerful quote from EGW.

          What I conversed with you about offered no contradiction to that submission. It offered two additional aspects of faith:

          What I developed further offers no contradiction to what you wrote. It sought to expand the concept of faith in two ways:
          First, Faith originates with God, the Holy Spirit giving a "measure" to each person, so that a Syrian mother can feed her son through a very bad drought, dipping into the barrel every morning and finding there enough flour, and pouring the last bit of oil and water, to make another barley cake, one for herself and one for her son, after the one for the prophet.
          Shirley puts it this way, "Faith dips into the barrel; God had another scoop ready. Faith steps into the water; God opens the Red Sea. Faith marches around Jericho; and causes the stomping feet of two million people circling the city 13 times to compromise the foundation and drop the walls. Faith promised a son in his old age; and Abraham at 99 years of age had intimate relations with his wife Sarah, using assisted fertilization technology to stimulate the ovarian response and produce a son he called Isaac.

          Secondly, Faith would still choose the fire, more purifying at seven times hotter, even if they followed their clothes to the ash dump. Faith of the faithful was eaten by lions, burned at the stake, and buried alive. Faith can rough stuff, with no post-warfare celebrations like coming back seeing, like the cancer is cured, like we thought it would make a difference when the Pastor anointed the child and the church had an all-night prayer meeting after a three - fast.

          Fire gives options, with more interesting results than dipping in muddy Jordan.

          Amen!(2)
      • I like this one from Greg Boyd:

        Faith is the willingness to act in the face of uncertainty.

        That one to me emphasises how faith can be exercised at every stage of Christian growth.
        In that sense everyone can have perfect faith at every stage of Christian growth.

        Amen!(2)
        • Strong affirm for "that one to me emphasizes.........."
          Requesting rethink of "In that sense.............." in imperfect vessels.

          Amen!(0)
        • Andrew, consider this; what is imperfect faith called?

          Unbelief.

          If it is true faith, it is "perfect" isn't it? Faith is faith. Unbelief is unbelief. I don't think there are gradients between them, percentages of faith/unbelief. We have one or the other. Faith acts on God's will in total submission to it. Anything less is unbelief.

          There must be faith at each stage, or unbelief will prevail.

          Amen!(0)
        • Hello everyone. I am grateful for this discussion. What I was hoping to get across, Bro. Thomas, is that God only expects us to exercise the faith we possess at any stage of Christian growth.

          In that sense, the faith we exercise at each stage of Christian growth is "perfect"--meaning, in the Biblical sense--"appropriate for its time" or "mature".

          By that measure, Naaman had "perfect" faith--but so did Abraham.

          Both of them overcame by their faith--even thought the faith of Naaman wouldn't ordinarily be in the same "league" as Abraham's faith.

          Amen!(2)
      • Yes Hurford, faith is the victory that overcomes the world regardless of the temporal results.

        But I would disagree on one point: God does not give "faith", but gives us evidence for exercising faith. Faith cannot be given without forcing a choice upon the unwilling. Faith, or unbelief, is our response/choice to evidence, and nothing more. If God had given faith, Eve would have remained obedient. God did give Eve His instructions and a literal world of evidence of His best intentions for mankind, and Eve had every reason to trust God. But when the moment of revealing came, Eve revealed unbelief, even after having just stated the truth as God had commanded. Knowing truth does not always lead to faith. Many, in fact all, will have known the truth* (John 16:8) but few will receive it(the evidence) in faith. Unbelief will prevail.

        *when I say "truth", this would be truth relevant to each case, no matter how ignorant, that if accepted in faith, would lead to greater truth, and if met with unbelief, will lead to greater darkness and believing lies. (Prov 4:18, 2 Thess 2:10-12, Matt 6:23)

        Example: God could make plants grow without needing soil, rain or sunlight, but uses these means instead. So God does not give the plant growth, but provides the elements that will produce growth if implemented, thus giving growth. Plant a seed in a dark place and withhold all sunlight, and what will you get? Withhold all water and what do you get? Place the seed in sterile soil and what do you get? If you give generous supplies of all the provided means, you get a healthy plant that grows wonderfully. Thus it is with truth/evidence, it can "give" us faith, or we can choose unbelief. Either response is our choice and not forced upon us, while God does His part faithfully for every living soul in providing ample evidence for exercising faith.

        If God gave actual faith, be sure that Satan would come out of hiding and lodge a great protest to the universe as evidence supporting his claims against God manipulating His creatures while saying they have freewill. Satan's whole effort is simply to eliminate the response of faith from every sinner. It's his life work. Will he be successful with us?

        It's our choice!

        Amen!(0)
        • Robert, I would suggest you take another look at your "disagree". You offered a great object lesson in the growth of the plant. Excellent and beautiful work. With one significant exception: the growth of the plant. Think it through.
          You may add the example of giving birth to a child, if you are a father. You had sex. A sperm meets an egg, bows graciously gentleman-like, and with a big smile accepts invitation to get on-board. And they live happily ever after as sperm and egg. Yes!!
          Oh, no no, suddenly their world becomes a whirlwind of phenomenal changes, moving faster than beating the traffic of millions of competing sperms; changing them into something gross-looking, misfit and useless, for quite a while. Then one day, out it comes: You and you wife had a baby. What great activity on your part, or on the part of your sperm in presenting to the US government another citizen with a fresh birth certificate and passport to the world. You did all that, didn't you? I think you would do better at taking credit for building great Babylon and puffing your chest up in pride. Why don't you first thank the God of Heaven that you had a sperm that could compete; for a friend of mine hasn't had that chance in 20 years of marriage. Another friend had several still births, and after one finally arrived, it/he died two years later from an unpredictable child choice. I think you can go back to celebrating the graduation of your son from College and reconsider how much you actually did in that process. Taking credit can be at best a great humbling admission, if we ever get past the "I am so proud of........."
          Faith is................
          God bless my brother.

          Amen!(1)
        • You may have misunderstood my illustration Hurford. Faith is applying the elements that allow God's working to take place. God does not interfere where He isn't invited. Sanctification(growth) is God's work IF we exercise faith in the means provided. We both agree on WHO does the work, but you seem to believe that God also makes the choice(of exercising faith) for us without us having a say. Pharaoh chose unbelief, Nebuchadnezzar (eventually) chose faith. God gave both rulers the evidence for faith(in effect giving them each a measure of faith), then left the choice to them. We could not exercise faith without the evidence for it that God gives us. Without this evidence, we would only have presumption at best.

          The gardener who in faith sows seed in good soil will never take credit for the work of nature's God, but actually acknowledges it by following the prescribed way of being in harmony with nature's laws. Good soil, sunny location and a source of water. Evidence gives us faith this will work every time, if the seed is good. Thus the effort.

          Amen!(0)
        • Hurford, it seems to me that you see faith the way I do - as a gift of God. Although you didn't give the reference, you did quote a portion of Ro 12:3, and I think we referenced Ro 12:9 as well. Both indicate faith as a gift of God. Since God has given to everyone a "measure" of faith, I interpret Ro 12:9 to mean a particularly large "measure of faith" to fit the context.

          I don't quite understand how Robert sees faith ...

          Amen!(0)
        • Yes Inge, it seems we see it a little different. I don't see faith being imposed by God, and I see the manner by which God gives "a measure" to every person is through the evidence He supplies. This is the gift which encourages faith, but never is forced. Why else would most be lost? They simply choose to ignore the evidence and exercise unbelief. We are saved by grace through faith, and if faith itself was given to all, none would be lost. At least that is the conclusion I have had to come to from all the evidence I have seen. I see faith as a chosen response based on the evidence given.

          This does not remove what God does, though it places the responsibility on the individual to surrender in faith rather than resist in unbelief.

          All the examples I have shared above should help to make this simple to understand. At least they do for me. I'm not sure how to make it more clear.

          I know you have read where Ellen writes that in some places where Jesus visited, He was unable to heal the sick because they had no faith. How can this be if God is actually giving faith, and not evidence for faith? Is God to blame for their lack of faith? How could that be possible when He clearly convinces "the world" through the Holy Spirit? Pharaoh was not innocent, and had ample evidence from God to condemn his unbelief. Wouldn't you agree?

          How do you read Heb 3:15-19; 4:1-3,11?

          Amen!(0)
    • Hurford, I would add (this) to your thoughts: "...the human must have (and exercise) faith."

      If faith is not exercised, we don't "have" it.

      I don't understand fully how it is an "equal compensation" business transaction when it involves us confessing, repenting and forsaking sin and in return we gain eternal life. How is that "equal compensation"?!! (It would be like trading in your rusty, broken roller skates and getting a private jet with full crew in exchange, and even this is not as unequal as eternal life in trade for our sins.)

      This somehow seems different than buying a loaf of bread at Walmart with money I earned by my labor for pay. Your example a) is more like works than faith. I have to conclude your idea of faith and mine are not the same.

      For your example b) you say the man believes in Jesus and then ask if he is saved. What does the Bible say? "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved..." (Acts 16:31) So unless you have a different definition of what it means to believe, your conclusion does not match with scripture, and you must judge the belief of another to reach that conclusion. Are you qualified to make that judgment? You then assume the man did not have evidence that Jesus' death indeed saves from sin. Why? If not, what would move the man to believe in the first place and join the church? Your example seems irrational as stated and makes no sense to me. What then is the relevance of Acts 16:31 in the light of your conclusions? I wonder if we are actually in the same conversation, using the same terms as defined by scripture. It seems not as I read your comment. Did I misunderstand something? (I am writing this with all due respect and in the only way I can put it clearly) I can't agree with your ideas at this point.

      To me the rest of your comment is a little difficult to follow and I can't say I am sure how to respond, with exception to this part where you wrote: "God bless us all with "faith" that comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" only to say that God gives the evidence (in His Word and works) which we can respond to through faith or unbelief. It is our choice which it will be.

      I don't understand what you are saying is the "gap" in my description. Can you clarify in a way I might understand better?

      Amen!(0)
      • Robert, we are not communicating effectively yet.
        You are correct in observing that salvation is not "equal compensation". Salvation is God giving us what we do not deserve.

        Second, you are correct that the Bible says "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved". Then again, the Bible says "The devil believes and trembles" - not saved. Hence we have to clarify Biblical definitions and meanings. This is the reason I offered a 3 stage level of definitions; but I must apologize that it is confusing; for it is indeed confusing when trying to uncomplicate Biblical definitions with our own complicated definitions today. We take our best shot at it, only under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. You and I have to just keep studying and praying for insight into God's Word. I would say that I believe you are on the right track in taking God's Word at face value.

        May I offer a few pointed statements:

        Beliefs can be wrong or can be truth. This is not FAITH

        Believing in Jesus Christ that results in salvation includes: Believing that Jesus Christ is God, that He is the God/Man, that He died for our sins and was resurrected to new life, that we accept it all as my vicarious crucifixion and resurrection unto new life everlasting, through Him. This is FAITH (that saves)

        The devil believes that Jesus Christ is God, the God/Man, that He died and was resurrected to save, and that He is coming again the Second time; but the devil does not accept Jesus Christ as his Savior. This is not FAITH

        There is a belief with evidence (Historical testimony that Jesus lived on earth and did miracles; and still does miracles)

        There is a belief (faith) without evidence (That Jesus Christ came from Heaven and returned to Heaven, is God in human form, and will return the second time); but it does not lead to salvation, because the believer never surrendered to God. Satan has this belief or faith. This is not FAITH

        There is a Faith (believe)without evidence (that Jesus Christ is God, Savior, Intercessor, returning the Second time), and I surrendered my life to Him completely, and so I am assured of salvation. This is FAITH, like Abraham had FAITH, like Moses had FAITH, like "BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND THOU SHALL BE SAVED".

        It is correct to say that faith is evidenced based: I know it in a limited experience, from what I experienced. Satan knows it from a much wider experience.

        It is correct that FAITH unto salvation is evidence based: The transformation in my father's life-from death unto life, is to me without question a miracle. Evidence. The transformation in my own life, and that of many others around me, is evidence. Hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit and seeing confirmation in human experience, along with conviction in my heart, is evidence.

        I have no problems in presenting nature and personal transformation to atheists, skeptics and agnostics as evidence for an "evidence based faith" argument; and have had several positive responses where such persons moved to believing in God/Christ, and in some cases surrendering their lives unto salvation. It is the authority of the Holy Spirit that provides that "evidence" in a person's mind and heart, not my arguments.

        Hope this helps with our communication of definitions and meanings, and takes us a step along the way of understanding and salvation. God bless richly. Very high appreciation for our conversation, being done in respect, searching, seeking understanding and guidance from the Lord. May God bless your continued study.

        Amen!(0)
        • I am butting into a two party discussion. Reason being that after reading the posts regarding faith. I would make an observation. There are examples to prove a point taken from multiple sources. Some from the Bible, some from our current human way of life. Evaluations are expressed by which ever one substantuates a particular belief.

          There are many stories in both the old and new Testaments that demonstrate the faith of the people involved. Abraham and Job are at the top of the list. I always use the bible and supporting texts to form my opinions.

          The source of Faith is found in Romans 12:3. Everyone is "dealt" given a measure of Faith. Ephesians 2:8 "the gift of God". Verse 9 says Faith is the gift. Grace could never be from works is a given. Explantion of what Faith is, is in Hebrews 11:1 that we all know.
          If it is not seen, one might ask what is James basing his explanation of Faith that is seen. As we all know this has been the issue for many many years between those that choose Paul or James in the issue of Faith and works.

          Amen!(1)
        • Since this is a public forum, you are more than welcome to expand the discussion Paul.

          I realize what is said about God giving every man a measure of faith. As for faith being a gift, in what way? Is it the faith or the grace or the salvation that is the gift? I believe it's the salvation, since that is what we will enjoy for eternity, the alternative being to die in our sins. Let's look at Eph 2:8 as writen:

          For [by] grace/kindness [you/we] have been saved, through faith/faithfulness, and this(salvation?) not out of you, [from] God the sacrifice/gift.

          What does Paul call the "gift of God" in Rom 6:23? Eternal life, the result of being saved from the wages of sin by the sacrifice of Jesus (John 3:16). Notice that in John 3:16 the condition for salvation is "whoever believes". This puts faith as our responsibility, not God's, who gave the gift of the Lamb of/from God.(see Rom 3:25)

          What about the measure given to every man? If you give evidence for faith, it could be said you encourage or give opportunity for faith. While God will do He can to encourage faith in us, faith is what we exercise if we accept the evidence. If God gives actual faith, He has removed our free choice. We could then blame God for Eve's failure since He obviously didn't give her faith (though He did provide enough evidence for her to exercise faith), but rather, unbelief. Does God also give unbelief? Unbelief is the opposite of faith. Read on...

          The Bible says God hardened Pharaoh's heart, but did He really? Or...did the unbelief of Pharaoh lead to the hardening of his own heart? God gave the same type of evidence to Nebuchadnezzar, who finally responded in faith. Just read Nebuchadnezzar's wonderful tribute of praise to God, it echoes the song of "Moses and the Lamb" (Rev 15:3, Dan 4:37)

          Two heathen kings, same evidence, one exercises unbelief, the other faith. God gives evidence for faith, we respond in a way that reflects our true character of either pride or humility before God. One resists, the other surrenders. Do you see how free-will works? If God gives faith, then it is not our faith. But if God did give faith, why only to some? This idea would lead some to blame God for their failures wouldn't it? When Jesus would say; "O ye of little faith...", was this blaming God for negligence? God forbid!

          Amen!(0)
        • Faith cannot begin with us fallen human beings--so that is where the initial "measure of faith" comes in--to begin the process.

          After that, exercising faith (by our choices) increases/decreases it.

          Amen!(0)
  9. Hi Andrew, what do you mean by "evidence given"? If there is already evidence then no faith is necessary unless you mean evidences of faith "rewarded" as read in the Bible.

    I always thought that I am called upon to have faith in or for something that is not presently visible.

    Amen!(1)
    • Albert, evidence is when you have evidence God exists and can be fully trusted, even though you can't see how He will answer a particular need.

      The 3 Hebrews had been given evidence of God's blessings, but did not know if it would include deliverance from the fiery furnace. They understood the reward of eternal life, and were faithful based on the evidence through God's promises to all who obey.

      Amen!(2)
    • God never asks us to have faith in Him without giving us enough evidence to evaluate His trustworthiness.

      Without prior evidence of their trustworthiness, faith is placed in an individual based on on displays of power and might rather than their character.

      In other words, faith without evidence is presumption--and makes us vulnerable to deception. We fall prey to whoever can put on the most dazzling show.

      But we practice faith based on evidence every day.
      Banks do not give loans without a credit score check. Credit history is evidence of the underlying soundness of your promises to repay the loan. Because of this, they can set out "in faith".
      You choose schools for your children based on pas performance of the institution. You do not see the outcome for your child but also set out "in faith".

      Amen!(0)
  10. By the way, Andrew - I bought a plaque the other day. It is about Faith. It reads - "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see".

    Amen!(0)
  11. Paul, great addition to the discussion, the Word:
    "The source of Faith is found in Romans 12:3. Everyone is "dealt" given a measure of Faith. Ephesians 2:8 "the gift of God". Verse 9 says Faith is the gift. Grace could never be from works is a given. Explanation of what Faith is, is in Hebrews 11:1 that we all know."

    I noticed attempts to explain those passages to fit our arguments. Thank you for just allowing the Word to speak for itself. It always does.

    Robert gave a great argument for "faith" as human activity, including his examples of Eve in the Garden of Eden (who had not known sin prior), and the decision of the thief on the cross (plenty known of sin prior). No question it is our part to play. The question still remains, how did we get it?
    Add to you list: "No one can come to God unless the Spirit of God draws him", or the discourse in John 3:1-21, or the story in John 4, or Nathaniel coming to take a look-over at Jesus Christ just prior. How did they get it?

    Just like the illustration Robert gave: Plant a seed, read a crop of corn. Or, contribute to your spouse a sperm, and wow, he graduates with an M.D. Yeah, I did it!
    May be I also did DNA, and the sinful mind can know and choose God.
    God bless.

    Amen!(0)
  12. Hi Everyone,
    What an interesting and instructive exchange from all of you. I have learned a lot from each contribution and the response(s) to them.

    The thoughts that come to me, after all the assertions and responses, are these verses from the Bible.

    1) Jesus telling Nicodemus the mystery of the working of the Holy Spirit in the start and the advancement of one's spiritual life.

    Jesus replied to him, "Truly, I tell you with certainty, unless a person is born from above a he cannot see the kingdom of God."
    Nicodemus asked him, "How can a person be born when he is old? He can't go back into his mother's womb a second time and be born, can he?"
    Jesus answered, "Truly, I tell you with certainty, unless a person is born of water and Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Don't be astonished that I said to you, 'All of you must be born from above.' The wind a blows where it wants to. You hear its sound, but you don't know where it comes from or where it is going. That's the way it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. (John 3:3-8 ISV)

    2) Jesus affirming Peter who had just confessed the divinity of Jesus when asked the question, "But who do you say that I am?"

    Then Jesus said to him, "How blessed you are, Simon son of Jonah, a since flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, though my Father in heaven has." (Matthew 16:17 ISV)

    3) The conclusion of the writer of Hebrews after the catalog of God's faithful in the "Hall of Faith" of chapter 11 of Hebrews.

    "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV)

    And two thoughts from the pen of Ellen White.

    "Our heavenly Father waits to bestow upon us the fullness of His blessing. It is our privilege to drink largely at the fountain of boundless love. What a wonder it is that we pray so little! God is ready and willing to hear the sincere prayer of the humblest of His children, and yet there is much manifest reluctance on our part to make known our wants to God. What can the angels of heaven think of poor helpless human beings, who are subject to temptation, when God's heart of infinite love yearns toward them, ready to give them more than they can ask or think, and yet they pray so little and have so little faith? The angels love to bow before God; they love to be near Him. They regard communion with God as their highest joy; and yet the children of earth, who need so much the help that God only can give, seem satisfied to walk without the light of His Spirit, the companionship of His presence.

    The darkness of the evil one encloses those who neglect to pray. The whispered temptations of the enemy entice them to sin; and it is all because they do not make use of the privileges that God has given them in the divine appointment of prayer. Why should the sons and daughters of God be reluctant to pray, when prayer is the key in the hand of faith to unlock heaven's storehouse, where are treasured the boundless resources of Omnipotence? Without unceasing prayer and diligent watching we are in danger of growing careless and of deviating from the right path. The adversary seeks continually to obstruct the way to the mercy seat, that we may not by earnest supplication and faith obtain grace and power to resist temptation. {SC 94.2}

    There are certain conditions upon which we may expect that God will hear and answer our prayers. One of the first of these is that we feel our need of help from Him. He has promised, "I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground." Isaiah 44:3. Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, who long after God, may be sure that they will be filled. The heart must be open to the Spirit's influence, or God's blessing cannot be received.

    Our great need is itself an argument and pleads most eloquently in our behalf. But the Lord is to be sought unto to do these things for us. He says, "Ask, and it shall be given you." And "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" Matthew 7:7; Romans 8:32. (SC 94, 95.)

    And since this conversation started out on "perfection" of Christian character, here is the conclusion of the matter for me. Perfection is perfect trust in God. Perfection is not merely the absence of sin but that complete, unshakable, trust in the cross of Calvary, the unspeakable love of God for us. Removal of all sin will not make us perfect for without perfect trust we will give in to unbelief again. But perfect trust in God will keep us in Christ and therefore keep all unbelief and sin away once sin is blotted out. All is the work of the grace of God on the willing heart.

    So "Let us press forward to the mark for the prize of our high calling which is in Christ Jesus. Press forward to the perfection of Christian character; be not satisfied with anything less than the fullness of God. You may attain unto the heights of character that Christ has made every provision for you to reach through his divine grace, growing up unto the full stature of men and women in Christ. Temptation will come upon you every day, but you must lay hold of the strength of Christ. Christ is our righteousness. We are not to depend on feeling, but by faith rest in the arms of his love, and claim to be the sons and daughters of God. He will make his strength perfect in our weakness. He will take the poor earthen vessels, make them vessels unto honor, and glorify himself through them; and through his love we shall love others, as he has loved us." {ST, July 1, 1889 par. 10}

    Amen!(1)

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