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SD - Sons and Daughters of God (1955)FOREWORD FROM A LIFE RICH IN EXPERIENCE AND A HEART ENLIGHTENED BY DIVINE REVELATIONS, ELLEN G. WHITE, AS SHE JOURNEYED ALONG LIFE'S PATHWAY, WAS EVER READY TO LEND A HELPING HAND OR SPEAK AN ENCOURAGING WORD. EVERY CHRISTIAN WAS TO HER A SON OR A DAUGHTER OF GOD, WITH UNLIMITED OPPORTUNITIES STRETCHING BEFORE HIM, AND ANGELS OF GOD BY HIS SIDE TO GUARD AND GUIDE HIM. FROM HER TIRELESS AND INSPIRED PEN THERE FLOWED A STEADY STREAM OF MESSAGES OF ENCOURAGEMENT, COUNSEL, INSTRUCTION, AND ENLIGHTENMENT. FROM WEEK TO WEEK THROUGH THE YOUTH'S INSTRUCTOR SHE SPOKE TO THE YOUTH OF THE CHURCH, AND IN THE REVIEW AND HERALD ADDRESSED ITS MEMBERS GENERALLY. HER BOOKS PRESERVED THE INSTRUCTION AND WARNING IN MORE PERMANENT FORM FOR ALL TO READ. MANY BENEFITED BY COMMUNICATIONS ADDRESSED TO THEM PERSONALLY. IN THIS VOLUME, WITH ITS DAILY DEVOTIONAL READINGS, HAVE BEEN ASSEMBLED APPROPRIATE COUNSEL AND INSTRUCTION DRAWN FROM THESE ACCUMULATED E. G. WHITE WRITINGS AS KEPT ON FILE IN THE OFFICE OF THE ELLEN G. WHITE PUBLICATIONS. MANY TIMES THE MESSAGE OF THE DAY REFLECTS A FRESHNESS OF APPROACH AS ELLEN WHITE, UNDER THE VARIED CIRCUMSTANCES OF HER EXPERIENCE, PASSED ON WORDS OF CHEER AND ENCOURAGEMENT. IN EACH CASE, WHETHER DRAWN FROM BOOK, PERIODICAL ARTICLE, OR MANUSCRIPT, THE SOURCE REFERENCE IS GIVEN. THE VOLUME HAS BEEN COMPILED UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE TRUSTEES WITH WHOM MRS. WHITE LEFT THE CARE OF HER WRITINGS, AND IN HARMONY WITH HER DIRECTIONS TO THIS BOARD. IT CAN READILY BE SEEN THAT IN AN ENDEAVOR TO HOLD THE READING OF EACH DAY TO ONE PRINTED PAGE AND AT THE SAME TIME GIVE A WELL-ROUNDED PRESENTATION, IT HAS BEEN NECESSARY AT TIMES TO SHORTEN SOME OF THE STATEMENTS SELECTED. SUCH OMISSIONS ARE INDICATED BY MARKS OF ELLIPSIS. THAT THIS VOLUME MAY LEAD EACH READER TO A DEEPER APPRECIATION OF WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CHILD OF GOD, IS THE SINCERE WISH OF THE PUBLISHERS AND THE TRUSTEES OF THE ELLEN G. WHITE PUBLICATIONS.WASHINGTON, D.C.Chap. 1 - We are Sons and Daughters of God That God Created Man in His Own Image God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Genesis 1:27. All heaven took a deep and joyful interest in the creation of the world and of man. Human beings were a new and distinct order. They were made "in the image of God," and it was the Creator's design that they should populate the earth. They were to live in close communion with heaven, receiving power from the Source of all power. Upheld by God, they were to live sinless lives. The holy pair were not only children under the fatherly care of God, but students receiving instruction from the all-wise Creator. They were visited by angels, and were granted communion with their Maker, with no obscuring veil between. . . . The mysteries of the visible universe--"the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge"--afforded them an exhaustless source of instruction and delight. The laws and operations of nature, which have engaged men's study for six thousand years, were opened to their minds by the infinite Framer and Upholder of all. They held converse with leaf and flower and tree, gathering from each the secrets of its life. With every living creature, from the mighty leviathan that playeth among the waters, to the insect mote that floats in the sunbeam, Adam was familiar. He had given to each its name, and he was acquainted with the nature and habits of all. God's glory in the heavens, the innumerable worlds in their orderly revolutions, "the balancings of the clouds," the mysteries of light and sound, of day and night,--all were open to the study of our first parents. God created man a superior being; he alone is formed in the image of God, and is capable of partaking of the divine nature, of cooperating with his Creator and executing His plans. 8 That we should be Called the Sons of God Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not; because it knew him not. 1 John 3:1. As John thought of the love of Christ, he was led to exclaim, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God." People think it a privilege to see a royal personage, and thousands go great distances to see one. How much greater privilege it is to be sons and daughters of the Most High. What greater privilege could be conferred on us than to be given entrance into the royal family? In order to become the sons and daughters of God, we must separate from the world. "Come out from among them, and be ye separate," the Lord says, "and I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters." . . . There is a heaven before us, a crown of life to win. But to the overcomer only is the reward given. He who gains heaven must be clothed with the robe of righteousness. "Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." In the character of Christ there was no discord of any kind. And this must be our experience. Our lives must be controlled by the principles that controlled His life. Through the perfection of the sacrifice given for the guilty race, those who believe in Christ, coming unto Him, may be saved from eternal ruin. . . . Let no one be so deluded by the enemy as to think that it is a condescension for any man, however talented or learned or honored, to accept Christ. Every human being should look to heaven with reverence and gratitude, and exclaim with amazement, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God." 9 That when Christ Appears we Shall be Like Him Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:2. We are not to settle down, expecting that a change of character will come to us by some miraculous work, when Jesus shall appear in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. No, my young friends, we are judgment-bound, and probation is granted to us here in this life, in order that we may form characters for the future, immortal life. Let none imagine that selfishness, self-esteem, and self-indulgence are compatible with the Spirit of Christ. Upon every truly converted man or woman there rests a responsibility that we cannot rightly estimate. The maxims and ways of the world are not to be adopted by the sons and daughters of the heavenly King. In separating from the world, we shall encounter difficulties on every hand. But here is comfort for us: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." We should show by our words and works that we recognize the great responsibility laid upon us. Our light should shine so clearly that others can see that we glorify the Father in our daily lives; that we are connected with heaven and are joint heirs with Jesus Christ. To have fellowship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ is to be ennobled and elevated, and made a partaker of joys unspeakable and full of glory. Food, clothing, station, and wealth may have their value; but to have a connection with God . . . is of priceless value. . . . And although it "doth not yet appear what we shall be," "when Christ, who is our life, shall appear," "we shall be like him." 10 That we are Purified as Christ is Pure And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. 1 John 3:3. Christ would elevate and refine man's mind, purifying it from all dross, that he may appreciate the love that is without a parallel. Through repentance, faith, and good works he may perfect a righteous character, and claim, through the merits of Christ, the privileges of the sons of God. The principles of divine truth, received and cherished in the heart, will carry us to a height of moral excellence that we had not deemed it possible for us to reach. . . . "And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." Holiness of heart and purity of life were the great subjects of the teachings of Christ. In His sermon on the mount, after specifying what must be done in order to be blessed, and what must not be done, He says, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Perfection, holiness,--nothing short of this would give them success in carrying out the principles He had given them. Without this holiness, the human heart is selfish, sinful, and vicious. Holiness will lead its possessor to be fruitful, and abound in all good works. He will never become weary in well-doing; neither look for promotion in this world; but he will look forward to be promoted by the Majesty of heaven when He shall exalt His sanctified and holy ones to His throne. . . . Holiness of heart will produce right actions. As God is pure in His sphere, so man is to be pure in his. And he will be pure if Christ is formed within, the hope of glory; for he will imitate Christ's life and reflect His character. The princely dignity of the Christian character will shine forth as the sun, and the beams of light from the face of Christ will be reflected upon those who have purified themselves even as He is pure. Purity of heart will lead to purity of life. 11 That God Sent His Son to Die that we Might Live Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10. In redemption God has revealed His love in sacrifice, a sacrifice so broad and deep and high that it is immeasurable. "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. . . ." When Adam's sin plunged the race into hopeless misery, God might have cut Himself loose from fallen beings. He might have treated them as sinners deserved to be treated. He might have commanded the angels of heaven to pour out upon our world the vials of His wrath. He might have removed this dark blot from His universe. But He did not do this. Instead of banishing them from His presence, He came still nearer to the fallen race. He gave His Son to become bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, . . . full of grace and truth." Christ by His human relationship to men drew them close to God. He clothed His divine nature with the garb of humanity, and demonstrated before the heavenly universe, before the unfallen worlds, how much God loves the children of men. The gift of God to man is beyond all computation. Nothing was withheld. God would not permit it to be said that He could have done more or revealed to humanity a greater measure of love. In the gift of Christ He gave all heaven. The Highest, who was with the Father before the world was, submitted to humiliation, that He might uplift humanity. Prophecy withdraws the veil, that we may behold the throne of heaven, that we may see upon that throne, high and lifted up, One who in human form, came to our world to suffer, to be lacerated with stripes, and bruised for our iniquities. Thus God showed His love for man. With Christ He gave all heaven, that the moral image of God might be restored in man. . . . His grace in all its vastness is provided for all. 12 That Power is Given us to Become the Sons of God But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. John 1:12. Divine sonship is not something that we gain of ourselves. Only to those who receive Christ as their Saviour is given the power to become sons and daughters of God. The sinner cannot, by any power of his own, rid himself of sin. For the accomplishment of this result, he must look to a higher Power. John exclaimed, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Christ alone has power to cleanse the heart. He who is seeking for forgiveness and acceptance can say only,-- "Nothing in my hand I bring; Simply to Thy cross I cling." But the promise of sonship is made to all who "believe on his name." Every one who comes to Jesus in faith will receive pardon. The religion of Christ transforms the heart. It makes the worldly-minded man heavenly-minded. Under its influence the selfish man becomes unselfish, because this is the character of Christ. The dishonest, scheming man becomes upright, so that it is second nature to him to do to others as he would have others do to him. The profligate is changed from impurity to purity. He forms correct habits; for the gospel of Christ has become to him a savor of life unto life. God was to be manifest in Christ, "reconciling the world unto himself." Man had become so degraded by sin that it was impossible for him, in himself, to come into harmony with Him whose nature is purity and goodness. But Christ, after having redeemed man from the condemnation of the law, could impart divine power, to unite with human effort. Thus by repentance toward God and faith in Christ, the fallen children of Adam might once more become "sons of God." When a soul receives Christ, he receives power to live the life of Christ. 13 That the Church Is the Object of God's Supreme Regard That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:27. The church, enfeebled and defective though it be, is the only object on earth on which Christ bestows His supreme regard. He is constantly watching it with solicitude, and is strengthening it by His Holy Spirit. Will we, as members of His church, allow Him to impress our minds and to work through us to His glory? Christ loves His church. He will give all needed help to those who call upon Him for strength for the development of Christlike character. But His love is not weakness. He will not serve with their sins or give them prosperity while they continue to follow a wrong course of action. Only by faithful repentance will their sins be forgiven; for God will not cover evil with the robe of His righteousness. He will honor faithful service. He will abundantly bless those who reveal to their fellowmen His justice, mercy, and love. Let those who are engaged in His service walk before Him in true humility, following faithfully in His footsteps, cherishing the holy principles which will live through the eternal ages. Let them in word and action show that they obey the laws which are obeyed in heaven. The church is the repository of the riches of the grace of Christ; and through the church will eventually be made manifest, even to "the principalities and powers in heavenly places," the final and full display of the love of God.... The church is God's fortress, His city of refuge, which He holds in a revolted world.... It is the theater of His grace, in which He delights to reveal His power to transform hearts. God's love for His church is infinite. His care over His heritage is unceasing. 14 We are His Sons and Daughters I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18. The Creator of the universe addresses you as an affectionate Father.... Your heavenly Father proposes to make you a member of the royal family, that through His exceeding great and precious promises you may be a partaker of the divine nature.... The more you partake of the character of the pure, sinless angels, and of Christ your Redeemer, the more vividly will you bear the impress of the divine, and the more faint will be the resemblance to the world. "I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters...." What a promise is here made upon condition of obedience!.... He promises to be a Father unto you. Oh, what a relationship is this! higher and holier than any earthly tie. If you make the sacrifice, if you have to forsake father, mother, sisters, brothers, wife, and children for Christ's sake, you will not be friendless. God adopts you into His family; you become members of the royal household, sons and daughters of the King who rules in the heaven of heavens. If you call God your Father, you acknowledge yourselves His children, to be guided by His wisdom, and to be obedient in all things, knowing that His love is changeless. You will accept His plan for your life. As children of God, you will hold His honor, His character, His family, His work, as the objects of your highest interest. It will be your joy to recognize and honor your relation to your Father, and to every member of His family. God is our Father, a tender parent, solicitous for His spiritual children. He is pledged to be the protector, counsellor, guide, and friend, of all who are obedient to Him. 15 If Children, then Heirs And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. Romans 8:17. All who enter into a covenant with Jesus Christ become by adoption the children of God. They are cleansed by the regenerating power of the Word, and angels are commissioned to minister unto them. They are baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. They pledge themselves to become active members of His church in the earth. They are to be dead to all the allurements of worldly desires; but in conversation and godliness, they are, through sanctification of the Spirit to exert a living influence for God. "Heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ,"--what an exalted, dignified position! Separate and distinct from the world, secure from the wily snares of Satan! By their baptismal vows, God's professed followers have pledged themselves to stand in opposition to evil. The enemy of souls will work with all craft to corrupt their minds. He will seek to introduce his methods into their service for the Master. But there is safety for them if they will heed the injunction: "... be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." Man is honored by being made a co-partner in God's firm, by being accepted as a worker in the great centers He has established.... By appointment, the Lord our Redeemer is heir of God, and those who are co-laborers with Him in the work of saving souls, are joint heirs with Him. . . . To be an overcomer is to be placed in the ranks of those who have the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. To what greater honor could we aspire than to be called the children of God? What greater rank could we hold, what greater inheritance could we find, than that which comes to those who are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ? 16 He Knows our Needs Before we Ask Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. Matthew 6:8. If God, the divine artist, gives to the simple flowers, that perish in a day, their delicate and varied colors, how much greater care will He have for those who are created in His own image? ... If men love and obey God, and do their part, God will provide for all their wants. ... No man can add one cubit to his stature, no matter how solicitous he may be to do so. It is no less unreasonable to be troubled about themorrow and its needs. Do your duty, and trust in God; for He knows of what things you have need. . . . He watches over us with more tenderness than does a mother over an afflicted child.... God is a friend in perplexity and affliction, a protector in distress, a preserver in the thousand dangers that are unseen to us. God dwells in every abode; He hears every word that is spoken, listens to every prayer that is offered, tastes the sorrows and disappointments of every soul, regards the treatment that is given to father, mother, sister, friend, and neighbor. He cares for our necessities, and His love and mercy and grace are continually flowing to satisfy our need. . . . In His care we may safely rest. God helps the feeble, and strengthens those who have no strength. In the fields where the trials and the conflicts and poverty are the greatest, God's workmen must have increased protection. To those laboring in the heat of the conflict, God says, "The Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand." Our Lord adapts Himself to our special needs. He is a shade on our right hand. He walks close by our side, ready to supply all our necessities. He comes very near to those who are engaged in willing service for Him. He knows every one by name. O what assurances we have of the tender love of Christ. 17 Every Good and Perfect Gift is from Him Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:17. The power of God is manifested in the beating of the heart, in the action of the lungs, and in the living currents that circulate through the thousand different channels of the body. We are indebted to Him for every moment of existence, and for all the comforts of life. The powers and abilities that elevate man above the lower creation, are the endowment of the Creator. He loads us with His benefits. We are indebted to Him for the food we eat, the water we drink, the clothes we wear, the air we breathe. Without His special providence, the air would be filled with pestilence and poison. He is a bountiful benefactor and preserver. The sun which shines upon the earth, and glorifies all nature, the weird solemn radiance of the moon, the glories of the firmament, spangled with brilliant stars, the showers that refresh the land, and cause vegetation to flourish, the precious things of nature in all their varied richness, the lofty trees, the shrubs and plants, the waving grain, the blue sky, the green earth, the changes of day and night, the renewing seasons, all speak to man of his Creator's love. He has linked us to Himself by all these tokens in heaven and in earth. We may state to Him our temporal matters, asking Him for bread and raiment as well as for the bread of life and the robe of Christ's righteousness.... The gifts of Him who has all power in heaven and earth are in store for the children of God. Gifts so precious that they come to us through the costly sacrifice of the Redeemer's blood; gifts that will satisfy the deepest craving of the heart; gifts lasting as eternity, will be received and enjoyed by all who will come to God as little children. Take God's promises as your own, plead them before Him as His own words, and you will receive fulness of joy. 18 He Manifests His Love Toward Us In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 1 John 4:9. Every manifestation of creative power is an expression of infinite love. The sovereignty of God involves fullness of blessing to all created beings. The psalmist says: "Strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand. Righteousness and judgment are the foundation of thy throne: Mercy and truth go before thy face. Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound; They walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance. In thy name do they rejoice all the day; And in thy righteousness are they exalted. For thou art the glory of their strength...." Psalm 89:13-18, R.V. The history of the great conflict between good and evil, from the time it first began in heaven to the final overthrow of rebellion and the total eradication of sin, is also a demonstration of God's unchanging love.... The law of love being the foundation of the government of God, the happiness of all intelligent beings depends upon their perfect accord with its great principles of righteousness. God desires from all His creatures the service of love,--service that springs from an appreciation of His character. He takes no pleasure in a forced obedience.... So long as all created beings acknowledged the allegiance of love, there was perfect harmony throughout the universe of God. It was the joy of the heavenly host to fulfill the purpose of their Creator. They delighted in reflecting His glory and showing forth His praise. And while love to God was supreme, love for one another was confiding and unselfish. There was no note of discord to mar the celestial harmonies. 19 He is Near to All that Call Upon Him The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. Psalm 145:18. God is pleased when we keep our faces turned toward the Sun of Righteousness.... When we are in trouble and pressed down with anxieties, the Lord is near, and He bids us cast all our care upon Him, because He cares for us. . . . He comes to all His children in their affliction. In time of danger He is their refuge. In sorrow, He offers them joy and consolation. Shall we turn from the Redeemer, the fountain of living water, to hew out for ourselves broken cisterns, which can hold no water? When danger approaches, shall we seek for help from those as weak as ourselves, or shall we flee to Him who is mighty to save? His arms are open wide, and He utters the gracious invitation, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." ... It is not the manifestation of His great and awful majesty and unparalleled power that will leave us without excuse if we refuse Him our love and obedience. It is the love, the compassion, the patience, the long-suffering that He has shown which will witness against those who do not offer Him the willing service of their lives. Those who turn to God with heart and soul and mind will find in Him peaceful security. . . . He knows just what we need, just what we can bear, and He will give us grace to endure every trial and test that He brings upon us. My constant prayer is for a greater nearness to God. Every provision has been made to meet the needs of our spiritual and our moral nature.... Light and immortality are brought to light through the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus has said that He has set before us an open door, and no man can shut it. The open door is before us, and through the grace of Christ, beams of merciful light stream forth from the gates ajar. 20 Enoch, a Son of God, Walked with the Father And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. Genesis 5:24. Of Enoch it is written that he lived sixty-five years, and begat a son. After that he walked with God three hundred years.... After the birth of his first son, Enoch reached a higher experience; he was drawn into a closer relationship with God. He realized more fully his own obligations and responsibility as a son of God. Enoch's righteous life was in marked contrast with the wicked people around him. His piety, his purity, his unswerving integrity were the result of his walking with God, while the wickedness of the world was the result of their walking with the deceiver of mankind. There never has been and never will be an age when the moral darkness will be so dense as when Enoch lived a life of irreproachable righteousness. In the midst of a life of active labor, Enoch steadfastly maintained his communion with God. The greater and more pressing his labors, the more constant and earnest were his prayers.... After remaining for a time among the people laboring to benefit them by instruction and example, he would withdraw, to spend a season in solitude, hungering and thirsting for that divine knowledge which God alone can impart. Communing thus with God, Enoch came more and more to reflect the divine image. His face was radiant with a holy light, even the light that shineth in the face of Jesus. As he came forth from these divine communings, even the ungodly beheld with awe the impress of heaven upon his countenance. We, too, are to walk with God. When we do this, our faces will be lighted up by the brightness of His presence, and when we meet one another, we shall speak of His power, saying, Praise God. Good is the Lord, and good is the word of the Lord.... And those who will be translated at the close of time, will be those who commune with God on earth. 21 He is the Express Image of the Father Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. Hebrews 1:3.