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were directed to remove all the leaven from their houses, as they were to put away sin from their hearts. Christ warned His disciples, “Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” And the apostle Paul speaks of the leaven of malice and wickedness."'1 But in the Saviour's parable, leaven is used to represent the kingdom of heaven. It illustrates the quickening, assimilating power of the grace of God
None are so vile, none have fallen so low, as to be beyond the working of this power. In all who will submit themselves to the Holy Spirit a new principle of life is to be implanted; the lost image of God is to be restored in humanity.
But man can not transform himself by the exercise of his will. He possesses no power by which this change
can be effected. The leaven—something wholly from without must be put into the meal
before the desired change can be wrought in it.
So the grace of God must be received by the sinner before he can be fitted for the kingdom of glory. All the culture and education which the world can give, will fail of making a degraded child of sin a child of heaven. The renewing energy must come from God. The change can be made only by the Holy Spirit. All
1 Luke 12:1; 1 Cor 5.8
**All classes cicly w
There were the poor."
who would be saved, high or low, rich or poor, must submit to the working of this power.
As the leaven, when mingled with the meal, works from within outward, so it is by the renewing of the heart that the grace of God works to transform the life. No mere external change is sufficient to bring us into harmony with God. There are many who try to reform by correcting this or that bad habit, and they hope in this way to become Christians, but they are beginning in the wrong place. Our first work is with the heart.
A profession of faith and the possession of truth in the soul are two different things. The mere knowledge of truth is not enough. We may possess this, but the tenor of our thoughts may not be changed. The heart must be converted and sanctified.
The man who attempts to keep the commandments of God from a sense of obligation merely — because he is required to do so — will never enter into the joy of obedience. He does not obey. When the requirements of God are accounted a burden because they cut across human inclination, we may know that the life is not a Christian life. True obedience is the outworking of a principle within. It springs from the love of righteousness, the love of the law of God. The essence of all righteousness is loyalty to
So is every
our Redeemer. This will lead us to do right because it is right, — because right-doing is pleasing to God.
The great truth of the conversion of the heart by the Holy Spirit is presented in Christ's words to Nicodemus: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born from above, he can not see the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth. one that is born of the Spirit.”ı
The apostle Paul, writing by the Holy Spirit, says, “God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God."
The leaven hidden in the flour works invisibly to bring the whole mass under its leavening process; the leaven of truth works secretly, silently, steadily, to transform the soul. The natural inclinations are softened and subdued. New thoughts, new feelings, new motives, are implanted. A
1 John 3:3:8, margin
2 Eph. 2:4-8
new standard of char-
Often the question arises, Why, then, are there so many, claiming to believe God's word, in whom there is not seen a reformation in words, in spirit, and in character? Why are there so many who can not bear opposition to their purposes and plans, who manifest an unholy tenper, and whose words are harsh, overbearing, and passionate? There is seen in their lives the same love of self, the same selfish indulgence, the same temper and hasty speech, that is seen in the life of the worldling. There is the same sensitive pride, the same yielding to natural inclination, the same perversity of character, as if the truth were wholly unknown to them. The reason is that they are not converted. They have not hidden the leaven of truth in the heart. It has not had opportunity to do its work. Their natural and cultivated tendencies to evil have
"The maimed." ܙܙܙ
not been submitted to its transforming power. Their lives reveal the absence of the grace of Christ, an unbelief in His power to transform the character.
“Faith cometh by hear
ing, and hearing by the word of God.” The Scriptures are the great agency in the transformation of character. Christ prayed, "Sanctify them through Thy truth; Thy word is truth.”]
If studied and The merchant
obeyed, the word of God works in
the heart, subduing every unholy attribute. The Holy Spirit comes to convict of sin, and the faith that springs up in the heart works by love to Christ, conforming us in body, soul, and spirit, to His own image.
Then God can
use us to do His will. The power given us works from within outwardly, leading us to communicate to others the truth that has been communicated to us.
The truths of the word of God meet man's great practical necessity, the conversion of the soul- through faith. These grand principles are not to be thought too pure and holy to be brought into the daily life. They are truths which reach to heaven and compass eternity, yet their vital influence is to be woven into human experience. They are
1 Rom. 10:17; John 17:17