Are You Walking in the Footsteps of Enoch?

What a wonderful life! Just think, walking with God, not just for a day or a week or a year, but for three hundred years! How many Christians are able to walk with God even for an hour? You may say, "Things were different in those days. Enoch was not surrounded by worldliness and temptations as we are." But God's messenger tells us. . .

-Lay Activities Secretary, Tanzania Union, at the time this article was written

"And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, . . . and he was not for God took him" (Gen 5:22,24).

What a wonderful life! Just think, walking with God, not just for a day or a week or a year, but for three hundred years! How many Christians are able to walk with God even for an hour? You may say, "Things were different in those days. Enoch was not surrounded by worldliness and temptations as we are." But God's messenger tells us:

Enoch's heart was upon eternal treasures. . . . The greater the existing iniquity, the more earnest was his longing for the home of God. While still on earth was his longing for the home of God. While still on earth, he dwelt, by faith, in the realms of light. . . . Day by day he had longed for a closer union; nearer and nearer had grown the communion, until God took him to Himself. . . . To such communion God is calling us. As was Enoch's so must be their holiness of character who shall be redeemed from among men at the Lord's second coming.--Testimonies, vol. 8, pp.330, 331.

To such a union, dear reader, God is calling us. And if we are to be taken as Enoch was, we must have that close communion with Jesus and that holiness of character that was experienced by this first saint ever to be taken into heaven.

The greatest desire of every Seventh-day Adventist is to be translated when Jesus comes. From the cradle to grave, our greatest longing is to be living when Christ and all His holy angels burst the heavens with their glory. Since this is the theme of our life, don't you think it would be well for us to study the lives of the men who have been translated? God's people are urged to study the lives of Enoch, Elijah, and John the Baptist. Shall we not heed this in heaven-sent counsel and ferret out the secrets in the lives of these great men of God?

Enoch Walked With a Prayer in His Heart

To you who would find the way of triumphant Christian living: " ' Pray always; that is, be ever in the spirit of prayer, and then you will be in readiness for your Lord's coming." --Ibid., vol. 5, p. 235.

Prayer is vital in the life of all God's servants, and Enoch's life was no exception. Here is the great secret of his life--he prayed without ceasing. That is, he was always in the spirit of prayer. This lifeline between heaven and earth was never broken. To be always in the spirit of prayer does not mean to be on our knees all the time. The Spirit of Prophecy point out:

They cannot be constantly upon their knees, but they can be uplifting their hearts to God. This is the way that Enoch walked with God. Be careful lest self-sufficiency come in and you drop Jesus out. ---Ibid., p. 596.

Oh, if we could just realize how much we are mission because we have not learned this secret of constantly uplifting our hearts to God! The great blessing that Jesus is so anxious to bestow cannot be realized because of our self-sufficiency and indifference to His love. Communion with God was a way of life to Enoch. If God's remnant is to experience what Enoch experienced, then they must pray as he prayed.

Unceasing prayer is the unbroken union of the soul with God, so that life God flows into our life; and from our life, purity and holiness flow back to God. --Steps to Christ, p. 98.

What a beautiful picture! Life from God flowing into our lives giving purity and holiness so that our lives may flow back to Him. How Jesus longs for us to have this experience in Him!

In the midst of life's activities, when everything is so complex and the cares of this life seem to press us down, it is easy to drop Jesus out of our life and break the contact with heaven. But if we are to endure to the end, we must learn to walk in this busy world and steadfastly maintain our communion with God.

In the midst of a life of active labor, Enoch steadfastly maintained his communion with God. The greater and more pressing his labors, the more constant and earnest were his prayers. He continued to exclude himself at certain periods from all society. . . . Communing thus with God, Enoch came more and more to reflect the divine image.—Gospel Workers, p. 52.

Prayer is the key to Godlikeness. Prayer is a moment-by-moment experience that must be carried through each day. Prayer is the only way that we can gain the victory over sin and weakness of character. The pen of inspiration observes:

Prayer is heaven's ordained means of success in the conflict with sin and the development of Christian character.—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 564.

When the physical body is weary from a day of toil, and when we are tempted to hurry through our prayers, or not to pray at all, let us remember that all the combined physical powers of this earth cannot compare with one simple petition sent heavenward by an earnest child of God.

When Satan presses his suggestions upon our minds, we may, if we cherish a 'Thus saith the Lord,' be drawn into the secret pavilion of the Most High.— Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 393.

Enoch Died Daily to Self

A reformation is needed! Our souls must be cleansed of selfishness if we would see God.

True conversion is a change from selfishness to sanctified affection for God and for one another. Will Seventh-day Adventists now make a thorough reformation, that their sin-stained souls may be cleansed from the leprosy of selfishness?—Selected Messages. vol. 1, p. 115.

Of all the things in the Christian life, self is the biggest obstacle to overcome. We never realize how much self there really is until we have a close communion with our dear Jesus. Enoch's greatest victory, as was Paul's, was to die daily. Oh, how difficult, yes, impossible, this is without a constant awareness of Jesus in our life. When we realize that all impatience, irritability, jealousy, and all feeling of being mistreated is a form of selfishness, we then see that dying to self can only be accomplished by a power-filled life that comes from beholding Christ. In point are these words:

What they need is to behold Jesus. Daily we need the fresh revealing of His presence. We need to follow more closely His example of self-renunciation and sacrifice. ... It is not only at the beginning of the Christian life that this renunciation of self is to be made. At every advance step heavenward it is to be renewed.—Testimonies, vol. 8, pp. 316, 317.

Enoch followed our holy pattern in dying to self. He was a devout student, studying the definite features of holiness and perfection of our Saviour, and then applying these features to his own life. What power-filled lives we could live if we were only willing to imitate our Pattern. Why do we fail? Why have Seventh-day Adventists as a people been so long in preparing for Christ's return? The answer may be found in the following inspired comment:

Many fail of imitating our holy Pattern because they study so little the definite features of that character. So many are full of busy plans, always active; and there is no time or place for the precious Jesus to be a close, dear companion. They do not refer every thought and action to Him, inquiring: "Is this the way of the Lord?" If they did they would walk with God, as did Enoch.—Ibid., vol. 6, p. 393.

Dear reader, Have you been guilty of busy plans for the Lord, always in a whirl of activity, so busy that there is no time or place for the Lord to be your companion? Church elders, deacons, deaconesses, Sabbath school superintendents, home missionary leaders, Dorcas leaders, church pastors, Bible Instructors, and everyone engaged in the Lord's work—every layman and every worker—let us take inventory of ourselves. Do we refer every thought and action to Jesus, asking, "Is this the way of the Lord?" If we do, then we are walking with God as Enoch did. If Jesus is not your constant guide and companion, it is because self has become so big that there is no room for Christ. What a tragedy!

Enoch Experienced Righteousness by Faith

God's people are asleep! What will cause us to arouse from our lethargy? "Awake to righteousness, and sin not: for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame" (1 Cor. 15:34). This text tells us that some are sleeping and therefore do not have the righteousness of Christ and know not God. Goodspeed puts it this way: "For some of you are utterly ignorant about God." *

We can say with Paul, What a shame! We have everything on our bookshelves to increase our knowledge of God. The Holy Word, inspired testimonies, thou sands of pages about God and His great love, and yet we sleep on, content in our sins and ignorance. The text calls for us to awake to Christ's righteousness. We are told that by beholding Christ, the sinner becomes changed. When this takes place one is no longer satisfied with sin. He abhors sin and the temptations that are associated with it. He strives for perfection in Christ, and Christ in turn gives the sinner power to be perfect.

Some of you may be asking, What is righteousness by faith? It has been felt by many of our laymen that this subject can only be understood by the minister or by the theologian. How untrue this is! It is so simple that even the smallest child can comprehend. Righteousness by faith is simply knowing what is right and doing what is right. It is best explained by using three steps. The first step is the sinner seeking to know what is right; the second step is the sinner willing to do what is right; the third step, God's step, is the sinner doing what is right not by his own righteousness, which is as filthy rags, but through the righteousness of Christ that gives us power to become sons and daughters of God (John 1:12, 13). Everyone of us has been willing to take this first step, but when we come to the second step, ofttimes we have faltered and failed. Therefore God could not take the third step with us. Consequently we have not the power that is needed to finish the work. John 1:12 says that we must have power from God before we can be sons and daughters of God.

Dear friend, if you want the power of God in your life, just be willing to do what is right no matter what the cost may be, and our dear Jesus will send you power unlimited—power to humbly and lovingly obey his commandments.

Righteousness by faith, then, is nothing more than loving obedience to Jesus Christ.

Righteousness by Faith to Be Preached to All the World

Whatever else will be preached in time's last hour—signs of Christ's coming, the Sabbath, et cetera—all may be sure that the preaching will be in the setting of the righteousness by faith message. This is ably set forth in numerous references in Ellen G. White's works. Here are a few:

The message of Christ's righteousness is to sound from one end of the earth to the other to prepare the way of the Lord. This is the glory of God, which closes the work of the third angel.—Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 19.

This is the testimony that must go throughout the length and breadth of the world.—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 94.

If this is the message that is to be preached to the world, it is high time that we experienced it in the individual life, so that we can take it to others.

Our churches are dying for the want of teaching on the subject of righteousness by faith in Christ, and on kindred truths.—Gospel Workers, p. 301.

There is not one in one hundred who understands for himself the Bible truth on -this subject [justification by faith] that is so necessary to our present and eternal welfare.—Review and Herald, September 3, 1889.

Remember, this is the message that is to sound from one end of the earth to the other to prepare the way of the Lord. And yet, whole churches are dying for the want of this teaching and only one in a hundred understands it for himself. Brothers and sisters, it is time to awake to this vital truth that gives the power that is needed to finish the work.

Righteousness by Faith Is a Call to Perfection

Righteousness by faith leads to holiness, sanctification, and perfection through Jesus Christ, our Saviour.

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect (Matt. 5:48).

God has one standard for the individual Christian and that is perfection and holinesss. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father ... is perfect." This standard is the testimony of Jesus to the last church.

God requires perfection of His children. His law is a transcript of His own character, and it is the standard of all character.—Christ's Object Lessons, p. 315.

Righteousness by faith is a call to perfection in the individual life through Christ. He who lays hold upon the righteousness of Christ may become a perfect man in Christ Jesus.—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 150. (Emphasis supplied.)

If this is the standard, and God will accept nothing less, how can the sinner ever become perfect?

Christ in His humanity wrought out a perfect character, and this character He offers to impart to us.—Christ's Object Lessons, p. 311.

This perfect character will be imparted to us only if we are willing to refer every word and action to Him, inquiring, "Is this the way of the Lord?" Cultivating this pat tern, we can walk perfectly with God as Enoch did. "Those who receive the seal of the living God . . . must reflect the image of Jesus fully."—Early Writings, p. 71. Let us remember this:

When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness.—Christ's Object Lessons, p. 312.

In this one quotation from the messenger of the Lord we find the secret of living a perfect life. This was the experience of the first man ever to enter heaven. Enoch submitted himself completely to Christ. Then his heart, his will, his mind, became one with Christ. His thoughts became Christ's thoughts, and finally he was able to live Christ's life and be completely clothed in the garment of Christ's righteousness.

When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.—Ibid., p. 69.

To all who are longing for translation, this is the formula that we must follow: "Awake to righteousness, and sin not." Let us walk with God as Enoch did.

* From Smith and Goodspeed, The Complete Bible: An American Translation. Copyright 1939 by the University of Chicago.

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-Lay Activities Secretary, Tanzania Union, at the time this article was written

January 1972

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