Stand Fast . . . Therefore."

Health reform is an essential accompaniment of our message for today, and we shall, in a moment, see the reason why.

By EDWIN G. ESSERY, M.D., Medical Secretary, Middle East Union Mission

By EDWIN G. ESSERY, M.D., Medical Secretary, Middle East Union Mission

The master stroke of Satan, to which he returns again and again in his efforts to snare human souls, is the old Galatian bewitchment—the striving after perfection "by the flesh." The gos­pel of externalism is always dear to the human heart, and we must, therefore, constantly be on our guard, lest anything entangle us with the "yoke of bondage," thus removing us from "the liberty wherewith Christ bath made us free."

Health reform is an essential accompaniment of our message for today, and we shall, in a moment, see the reason why. But we must take care lest our health principles degenerate into a matter of "Touch not, taste not, handle not." When individ­uals fall into this, or any other formalism, they lose the deep joy of fellowship in the Spirit and become removed from the grace of Christ. Fur­thermore, such people, like Judaizers of Paul's day, tend to "trouble" others and, with misplaced zeal, make "the heart of the righteous sad" whom the Lord hath "not made sad."

I have not space to go into this subject in de­tail, but for my present purpose it will suffice for me to say rather crudely but plainly that we can­not be saved by giving up a cup of tea or a lamb chop ! But who said we could? No one, obvi­ously. The gospel of works is rarely seen in so blatant a guise. Satan is far too clever for that. It should ever be remembered that the central fea­ture of our message is righteousness by faith. In these days when people trust so much in their own merits, we must keep this great truth absolutely untarnished. As Luther finely says, "If the article of justification be once lost, then is all true Chris­tian doctrine lost. . . . He then that strayeth from this Christian righteousness must needs fall into the 'righteousness of the law' ; that is to say, when he hath lost Christ, he must fall into the confidence of his own works."—Luther on Galatians, p. 136.

Seventh-day Adventists do not believe that the keeping of the Sabbath or any of the other com­mandments, or abstinence from this or that article of food or drink, can ever give them the slightest credit with God. Christ alone is our righteous­ness. Either we accept Him to stand in our stead, or we are left naked or clothed in filthy rags. This is God's method; it lays the glory of man in the .dust, and does for him that which he cannot do for himself. In the whole plan of salvation there is no place at all for human merit. The glory is All His.

"What, then," one may ask, "is the real place of health reform?" This is a very wide subject, and I must leave its fuller discussion to later arti­cles, but the little I can say now will enable the reader to gauge its importance. We should, first of all, be clear that when the sinner accepts Christ as his personal Saviour, he is, in the words of Scripture, "Justified" ; that is, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to him, and he then stands be­fore God as though he had never sinned. But the -plan of salvation does not stop there; the right­eousness which is imputed to the sinner, will, through the work of sanctification, gradually be imparted to him.

At no step of the way will one who has soyielded his life to his Lord, feel that there is any merit in these things. God forbid that anything which the controlling Spirit will use in the re­newed life as an aid to sanctification, should, through carelessness, be perverted by Satan into a subtle system of works. "Having begun in the Spirit," we cannot now be "made perfect by the flesh." The old man is dead, but Christ liveth, and Christ in us is "the hope of glory."

"And every virtue we possess And every goodness known, And every thought of holiness, Are His alone."

May God help us to have an intelligent under­standing of the true scope and purpose of health reform, and may we be saved from the Galatian heresy.

Now the true objective of health reform for one who is justified is that he intelligently yield his body as an instrument "of righteousness unto God." Note the following statements in this con­nection: "The body is the only medium through which the mind and the soul are developed for the upbuilding of character."—Ministry of Healing, p. 130. "A pure, healthy life is most favorable for the perfection of Christian character."—Counsels on Health, p. 41. There are other important thoughts from the Testimonies which amplify these statements, and show that health reform is of far wider scope and of much greater importance than is generally realized.

We should understand, therefore, that health re­form is no fetish, no substitute for divine grace, no subtle system whereby the unregenerate may "climb up some other way," but definite light for the remnant church who, in a special sense, are called to show forth "the praises of Him" who hath called us into His "marvelous light." Let us, there­fore, no more be children in the things of salvation, but let us intelligently understand the laws of our physical being, and, by obedience to the principles of health, yield ourselves more fully to Jesus, that He may will and do of His good pleasure in us.

Advertisement - Digital Discipleship (300x250)

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

By EDWIN G. ESSERY, M.D., Medical Secretary, Middle East Union Mission

July 1946

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

Remember: There Is Always a Man

The distribution of responsibility is the test of good leadership.

World's Penchant for Peace

A look at recent world trends.

Work Among African Natives

The challenge of a world task.

Evangelism in Wartime Tokyo

A report from Japan.

Preaching Through Translators

Sometimes it is necessary for missionaries and those who are visiting our overseas di­visions to preach through the medium of transla­tors.

Determining Factors in Our Broadcasting

From a chapel talk at the Theological Seminary.

God's Part in Securing Decisions

What is God's part? What is ours?

"Breaking Into Print"

Advice for getting published.

Omissions in New Revised Standard Version

The most perplexing aspect of the Revised Standard Version of the New Testament pub­lished in February, 1946, is the fact that the revisers have whittled down the sacred text.

Movable Letter Illuminated Sign

Efficient Evangelistic Methods and Pastoral Technique.

Correspondence Bible School, Africa

It is increasingly evident that the correspondence method of teaching the Bible is becoming one of the most effective means for soul winning.

Revivals in Small Churches

I believe the first prerequisite for a success­ful effort in either a small church or a large church is the right relationship of oneself with God.

Church Bulletin for Evangelistic Service

Too many times our methods of evangelism do not measure up to the message we bear.

Medicine and the Changing World*

Our Health Message a Part of Our World Mission

Dietitians as Teachers of Nutrition

It would be an ideal arrangement for many of our larger conferences to employ at least one specially trained food worker, who could devote her entire time to health promotion exclusively along the lines of food and nutrition.

Get Your Food Firsthand

Substance of health talk in an evangelistic series of meetings.

The Gospel Song in History

The monthly music of the message column.

Six Types in Every Audience

The majority of our hearers are just plain, average folk. But in every audience there are certain variant types that need to be recognized and provided for, without overemphasis.

Editorial Postscripts

From the Ministry back page.

Editorial Keynotes

Out of Step in the March of Mankind

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - Southern Adv Univ 180x150 - Animated

Trending

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - Healthy and Happy Family - Skyscraper 160x600