Steps to Christ
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 6: Faith and Acceptance
Jesus bade the paralytic, "Rise, . . . and walk."
The sick man might have said, "Lord, if Thou wilt
make me whole, I will obey Thy word." But, no, he
believed Christ's word, believed that he was made
whole, and he made the effort at once;
he willed to walk, and he did walk.
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As your conscience has been quickened by the
Holy Spirit, you have seen something of the
evil of sin, of its power, its guilt, its woe; and
you look upon it with abhorrence. You feel that sin
has separated you from God, that you are in bondage
to the power of evil. The more you struggle to escape,
the more you realize your helplessness. Your motives
are impure; your heart is unclean. You see that your
life has been filled with selfishness and sin. You long
to be forgiven, to be cleansed, to be set free.
Harmony with God, likeness to Him—what can you do
to obtain it?
It is peace that you need—Heaven's forgiveness
and peace and love in the soul. Money cannot buy
it, intellect cannot procure it, wisdom cannot attain
to it; you can never hope, by your own efforts, to
secure it. But God offers it to you as a gift, "without
money and without price." Isaiah 55:1. It is yours
if you will but reach out your hand and grasp it. The
Lord says, "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall
be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson,
they shall be as wool." Isaiah 1:18. "A new heart also
will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within
you." Ezekiel 36:26.
You have confessed your sins, and in heart put
them away. You have resolved to give yourself to
God. Now go to Him, and ask that He will wash
away your sins and give you a new heart. Then [p. 50] believe that He does this because He has promised.
This is the lesson which Jesus taught while He was
on earth, that the gift which God promises us, we
must believe we do receive, and it is ours. Jesus
healed the people of their diseases when they had
faith in His power; He helped them in the things
which they could see, thus inspiring them with
confidence in Him concerning things which they could
not see—leading them to believe in His power to
forgive sins. This He plainly stated in the healing
of the man sick with palsy: "That ye may know that
the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins,
(then saith He to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take
up thy bed, and go unto thine house." Matthew 9:6.
So also John the evangelist says, speaking of the
miracles of Christ, "These are written, that ye might
believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and
that believing ye might have life through His name."
From the simple Bible account of how Jesus
healed the sick, we may learn something about how
to believe in Him for the forgiveness of sins. Let us
turn to the story of the paralytic at Bethesda. The
poor sufferer was helpless; he had not used his limbs
for thirty-eight years. Yet Jesus bade him, "Rise,
take up thy bed, and walk." The sick man might
have said, "Lord, if Thou wilt make me whole, I will
obey Thy word." But, no, he believed Christ's word,
believed that he was made whole, and he made the
effort at once; he willed to walk, and he did walk.
He acted on the word of Christ, and God gave the
power. He was made whole. [p. 51]
In like manner you are a sinner. You cannot
atone for your past sins; you cannot change your
heart and make yourself holy. But God promises
to do all this for you through Christ. You believe
that promise. You confess your sins and give yourself
to God. You will to serve Him. Just as surely
as you do this, God will fulfill His word to you. If
you believe the promise,—believe that you are
forgiven and cleansed,—God supplies the fact; you are
made whole, just as Christ gave the paralytic power
to walk when the man believed that he was healed.
It is so if you believe it.
Do not wait to feel that you are made whole, but
say, "I believe it; it is so, not because I feel it, but
because God has promised."
Jesus says, "What things soever ye desire, when ye
pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have
them." Mark 11:24. There is a condition to this
promise—that we pray according to the will of God. But
it is the will of God to cleanse us from sin, to make
us His children, and to enable us to live a holy life.
So we may ask for these blessings, and believe that we
receive them, and thank God that we have received
them. It is our privilege to go to Jesus and be cleansed,
and to stand before the law without shame or remorse.
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them
which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the
flesh, but after the Spirit." Romans 8:1.
Henceforth you are not your own; you are bought
with a price. "Ye were not redeemed with corruptible
things, as silver and gold;... but with the precious
blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and [p. 52] without spot." 1 Peter 1:18, 19. Through this simple
act of believing God, the Holy Spirit has begotten a
new life in your heart. You are as a child born into the
family of God, and He loves you as He loves His Son.
Now that you have given yourself to Jesus, do
not draw back, do not take yourself away from Him,
but day by day say, "I am Christ's; I have given
myself to Him;" and ask Him to give you His Spirit
and keep you by His grace. As it is by giving yourself
to God, and believing Him, that you become His
child, so you are to live in Him. The apostle says,
"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord,
so walk ye in Him." Colossians 2:6.
Some seem to feel that they must be on probation,
and must prove to the Lord that they are
reformed, before they can claim His blessing. But they
may claim the blessing of God even now. They must
have His grace, the Spirit of Christ, to help their
infirmities, or they cannot resist evil. Jesus loves to
have us come to Him just as we are, sinful, helpless,
dependent. We may come with all our weakness,
our folly, our sinfulness, and fall at His feet in
penitence. It is His glory to encircle us in the arms of
His love and to bind up our wounds, to cleanse us
from all impurity.
Here is where thousands fail; they do not believe
that Jesus pardons them personally, individually.
They do not take God at His word. It is the privilege
of all who comply with the conditions to know
for themselves that pardon is freely extended for
every sin. Put away the suspicion that God's promises
are not meant for you. They are for every [p. 53] repentant transgressor. Strength and grace have been
provided through Christ to be brought by ministering
angels to every believing soul. None are so sinful
that they cannot find strength, purity, and righteousness
in Jesus, who died for them. He is waiting to
strip them of their garments stained and polluted with
sin, and to put upon them the white robes of
righteousness; He bids them live and not die.
God does not deal with us as finite men deal with
one another. His thoughts are thoughts of mercy,
love, and tenderest compassion. He says, "Let the
wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man
his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and
He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for
He will abundantly pardon." "I have blotted out, as
a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud,
thy sins." Isaiah 55:7; 44:22.
"I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth,
saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and
live ye." Ezekiel 18:32. Satan is ready to steal away
the blessed assurances of God. He desires to take
every glimmer of hope and every ray of light from the
soul; but you must not permit him to do this. Do not
give ear to the tempter, but say, "Jesus has died
that I might live. He loves me, and wills not that
I should perish. I have a compassionate heavenly
Father; and although I have abused His love, though
the blessings He has given me have been squandered,
I will arise, and go to my Father, and say, 'I have
sinned against heaven, and before Thee, and am no
more worthy to be called Thy son: make me as one
of Thy hired servants.'" The parable tells you how [p. 54] the wanderer will be received: "When he was yet a
great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion,
and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him."
But even this parable, tender and touching as it is,
comes short of expressing the infinite compassion of
the heavenly Father. The Lord declares by His prophet,
"I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore
with loving-kindness have I drawn thee." Jeremiah
31:3. While the sinner is yet far from the Father's
house, wasting his substance in a strange country, the
Father's heart is yearning over him; and every longing
awakened in the soul to return to God is but the
tender pleading of His Spirit, wooing, entreating,
drawing the wanderer to his Father's heart of love.
With the rich promises of the Bible before you,
can you give place to doubt? Can you believe that
when the poor sinner longs to return, longs to forsake
his sins, the Lord sternly withholds him from coming
to His feet in repentance? Away with such thoughts!
Nothing can hurt your own soul more than to entertain
such a conception of our heavenly Father. He hates
sin, but He loves the sinner, and He gave Himself in
the person of Christ, that all who would might be saved
and have eternal blessedness in the kingdom of glory.
What stronger or more tender language could have
been employed than He has chosen in which to express
His love toward us? He declares, "Can a woman forget
her sucking child, that she should not have
compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget,
yet will I not forget thee." Isaiah 49:15.
Look up, you that are doubting and trembling; [p. 55] for Jesus lives to make intercession for us. Thank
God for the gift of His dear Son and pray that He
may not have died for you in vain. The Spirit invites
you today. Come with your whole heart to Jesus, and
you may claim His blessing.
As you read the promises, remember they are the
expression of unutterable love and pity. The great
heart of Infinite Love is drawn toward the sinner
with boundless compassion. "We have redemption
through His blood, the forgiveness of sins." Ephesians
1:7. Yes, only believe that God is your helper. He
wants to restore His moral image in man. As you draw
near to Him with confession and repentance, He will
draw near to you with mercy and forgiveness.
Click here to read the next chapter:
"The Test of Discipleship"