For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. 1 Timothy 4:8.
Having added patience to temperance, we are then to ascend the ladder of progress and add to patience godliness. This is the very outgrowth of patience. Said the apostle Paul, “We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope.” … Romans 5:3, 4.
Here, then, is an advance grace, godliness, which is to have the spirit and the likeness of the character of Jesus Christ. To raise us to His divine ideal is the one end of all the dealings of God with us, and of the whole plan of salvation…. The corruption of the world is seeking to steal our senses, all the unholy influences on every side are working to hold us to a low, earthly level—blinding our sensibilities, degrading our desires, enfeebling our conscience and crippling our religious faculties by urging us to give sway to the lower nature….
To draw us away from all this is the precious ladder. The eye is attracted to God above the ladder. The invitation comes from the glory above it, Come up higher. The heart is attracted. Steps are taken in advance, one after another. Higher and still higher we ascend. At every step the attraction becomes greater. Higher, holier ambitions take possession of the soul. The guilt of the past life is left behind. We dare not look down the ladder at those things which long poisoned the springs of true happiness and kindled remorse, weakened and depraved the will, and repressed every better impulse….
The aim of God’s Word is to inspire hope, to lead us to … climb step by step heavenward, with ever-increasing vigor…. We attain a likeness of character to God by the imparting of His own grace…. As wax takes the counterpart of the seal, so the soul receives and retains the moral image of God. We become filled and transfigured by His brightness, as the cloud—dark in itself—when filled with the light is turned to stainless whiteness.6Manuscript 13, 1884.