It is impossible for man to save himself. He may deceive himself in regard to this matter, but he cannot save himself. Christ’s righteousness alone can avail for his salvation, and this is the gift of God. This is the wedding garment in which you may appear as a welcome guest at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Let faith take hold of Christ without delay, and you will be a new creature in Jesus, a light to the world.
Christ is called “the Lord our righteousness,” and through faith each one should say, “The Lord my righteousness.” When faith lays hold upon this gift of God, the praise of God will be upon our lips, and we shall be able to say to others, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29 We shall then be able to tell the lost concerning the plan of salvation, that while the world was lying under the curse of sin, the Lord presented terms of mercy to the fallen and hopeless sinner, and revealed the value and meaning of His grace. Grace is unmerited favor. The angels, who know nothing of sin, do not understand what it is to have grace exercised toward them; but our sinfulness calls for the exercise of grace from a merciful God. It was grace that sent our Savior to seek us as wanderers and bring us back to the fold.
Have you a sense of want in your soul? Do you hunger and thirst after righteousness? Then this is an evidence that Christ has wrought upon your heart, and created this sense of need, in order that He may be sought after to do those things for you through the endowment of His Holy Spirit which it is impossible for you to do for yourself. The Lord specifies no conditions except that you hunger for His mercy, desiring His counsel, and long for His love. “Ask!” The asking makes it manifest that you realize your necessity, and if you ask in faith, you will receive. The Lord has pledged His word, and it cannot fail. That you feel and know that you are a sinner is sufficient argument in asking for His mercy and compassion. The condition upon which you may come to God is not that you shall be holy, but that you shall ask God to cleanse you from all sin and purify you from all iniquity. Then why wait longer? Why not take God at His word, and Say: “Here, Lord, I give myself to Thee,”Tis all that I can do?”
If Satan comes to cast his shadow between you and God, accusing you of sin, tempting you to distrust God and doubt His mercy say: I cannot allow my weakness to come between me and God; for He is my strength. My sins, which are many, are laid upon Jesus, my divine Substitute and Sacrifice. “Nothing in my hand I bring. Simply to thy cross I cling.”
No man can look within himself and find anything in his character that will recommend him to God, or make his acceptance sure. It is only through Jesus, whom the Father gave for the life of the world, that the sinner may find access to God. Jesus alone is our Redeemer, our Advocate and Mediator; in Him is our only hope for pardon, peace, and righteousness. It is by virtue of the blood of Christ that the sin-stricken soul can be restored to soundness. Christ is the fragrance, the holy incense which makes your petition acceptable to the Father. Then can you not say: “Just as I am, without one plea, But that thy blood was shed for me, And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come.”
Coming to Christ does not require severe mental effort and agony; it is simply accepting the terms of salvation that God has made plain in His Word. The blessing is free to all. The invitation is, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” Isaiah 55:1, 2
Then come, and seek, and find. The reservoir of power is open, is full and free. Come with humble hearts, not thinking that you must do some good work to merit the favor of God, or that you must make yourself better before you can come to Christ. You are powerless to do good, and cannot better your condition. Apart from Christ we have no merit, no righteousness. Our sinfulness, our weakness, our human imperfection make it impossible that we should appear before God unless we are clothed in Christ’s spotless righteousness. We are to be found in Him not having our own righteousness, but the righteousness which is in Christ. Then in the name that is above every name, the only name given among men whereby men can be saved, claim the promise of God, saying, “Lord, forgive my sin; I put my hands into Thy hand for help, and I must have it, or perish. I now believe.” The Saviour says to the repenting sinner, “No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6 and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37 “I am thy salvation.” Psalms 35:3
When you respond to the drawing of Christ, and join yourself to Him, you manifest saving faith. To talk of religious things in a casual way, to pray for spiritual blessings without real soul hunger and living faith, avails little. The wondering crowd that pressed close about Jesus realized no accession of vital power from the contact. But when the poor, suffering woman, who for twelve years had been an invalid, in her great need put forth her hand and touched the hem of His garment, she felt the healing virtue. Hers was the touch of faith, and Christ recognized that touch. He knew that virtue had gone out from Him, and turning about in the throng, He asked, “Who touched me?” Luke 8:45 Surprised at such a question, the disciples answered, “Master, the multitude throng thee,…and sayest thou, Who touched me? And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.” Luke 8:45-48 The faith which avails to bring us in vital contact with Christ expresses on our part supreme preference, perfect reliance, entire consecration. This faith works by love and purifies the soul. It works in the life of the follower of Christ true obedience to God’s commandments; for love to God and love to man will be the result of vital connection with Christ. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Romans 8:9
Jesus says, “I am the vine, ye are the branches.” John 15:5 Can we conceive of a more intimate relation than this implies? The fibers of the branch are identical with those of the vine. The communication of life, strength, and nourishment from the trunk to the branches is unobstructed and constant. The root sends its nourishment through the branches. Such is the believer’s relation to Christ, if he abides in Christ and draws his nourishment from Him. But this spiritual relation between Christ and the soul can be established only through the exercise of personal faith. “Without faith it is impossible to please him.” Hebrews 11:6; for it is faith that connects us with the power of heaven, and brings us strength for coping with the powers of darkness. “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” I John 5:4 Faith familiarizes the soul with the existence and presence of God, and, living with an eye single to the glory of God, more and more we discern the beauty of His character, the excellence of His grace. Our souls become strong in spiritual power; for we are breathing the atmosphere of heaven, and realizing that God is at our right hand, that we shall not be moved. We are rising above the world, beholding Him who is the chief among ten thousand, the one altogether lovely, and by beholding we are to become changed into His image.
E. G. White, Selected Messages, vol. one, pp. 331-335