But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God. John 3:21.
In His sermon on the mount, Christ presented to the people the fact that personal piety was their strength. They were to surrender themselves to God, working with Him with unreserved cooperation. High pretensions, forms, and ceremonies, however imposing, do not make the heart good and the character pure. True love for God is an active principle, a purifying agency….
The Jewish nation had occupied the highest position; they had built walls great and high to enclose themselves from association with the heathen world; they had represented themselves as the special, loyal people who were favored of God. But Christ presented their religion as devoid of saving faith. It was a combination of dry, hard doctrines, intermingled with sacrifices and offerings. They were very particular to practice circumcision, but they did not teach the necessity of having a pure heart. They exalted the commandments of God in words, but refused to exalt them in practice, and their religion was only a stumbling block to others….
Although they had hitherto held undisputed authority in religious matters, they must now give place to the great Teacher, and to a religion which knew no bounds and made no distinction of caste or position in society, or of race among nations. But the truth taught by Christ was designed for the whole human family. The only true faith is that which works by love and purifies the soul. It is as leaven that transforms human character….
The gospel of Christ means practical godliness, a religion which lifts the receiver out of his natural depravity. The one who beholds the Lamb of God knows that He takes away the sins of the world. True religion would result in an entirely different development of life and character than that seen in the lives of the scribes and Pharisees….
God does not give light that it may be hidden selfishly, and not penetrate to those who sit in darkness. Human agents are God’s appointed channel to the world. Instead of being instructed to hide their light, the Savior says to His people, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”—The Review and Herald, April 30, 1895.