Faith, Trust, and Obedience

In Romans 12:3, Paul makes this statement about faith: “… God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” Faith is one of the main ingredients in the recipe for salvation, but do we really understand it and utilize it properly?  Hebrews tells us what faith is: “Now faith is the substance [realization] of things hoped for, the evidence [confidence] of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1. Like you, I have read this scripture many times and contemplated its meaning. The mysteries of God are far deeper than the human mind, but let’s see if we can reach at least an elementary understanding of faith.

Faith, or a belief, in the secular world is based on what might be considered to be facts. There are many beliefs about the age of the earth and mankind that stem from faith in certain scientific criteria. People have faith that scientists are smart enough to figure out such things and know what they are talking about. So worldly faith is believing something to be true even with little or no proof.

Christians, on the other hand, believe in a Higher Being that has greater knowledge than mankind. They believe that God, through His Son Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit, inspired the creation of the Bible so that we might know how to live a holy life. Most religious beliefs are based on faith in something or someone, but Christians are the only group that believe solely in the word of God as the source for their faith in Him.

When we talk about Christians, I do not mean every group of people that professes to be Christians, but those who strive to live by “… every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4. It is this group that chooses to live by faith in God’s word as the basis of their belief. Yet as a people, we sometimes have trouble with our own faith, because knowing and following are totally different things. The exercise of our faith becomes the problem, yet faith grows only by exercising it. The more we mistrust ourselves, the more faith in God’s word can work in our lives.

“We must have an increase of faith, else we cannot be renewed in the divine image, and love and obey the requirements of God. Let the prayer go forth from unfeigned lips, ‘Lord, increase my faith; give me divine enlightenment; for without help from Thee I can do nothing.’ Come in humility and bow before God; open before the Lord your Bibles, containing the divine promises; take your position upon them; make a covenant with God that you will answer His requirements; tell Him you will believe, without any other evidence except the naked promise. This is not presumption; but unless you work with zeal, unless you are earnest and determined, Satan will obtain the advantage, and you will be left in unbelief and darkness. The words and promises of God are the only foundation of our faith. Take the word of God as truth, as a living, speaking voice to you, and obey faithfully every requirement. God is faithful, who hath promised. He will work with the efforts of superintendents and teachers. Our blessings are limited by the weakness of our faith. God is not unwilling to bestow; He is a reservoir of power. We must cherish meekness and lowliness of heart.” Testimonies on Sabbath-School Work, 28

Like the wind, faith cannot be seen or touched. But as the wind is felt as it blows across our skin, or seen as it plays in the leaves of the trees, we also can see the results of faith when it is exercised to do God’s will in our lives and the lives of others. The key is to exercise faith and to listen as God tells us how to use our faith according to His will.

In Genesis 6, we find the well-known story of Noah and the ark. In verses 13 and 14, the Bible tells us God talked to Noah: “And God said to Noah, ‘The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.’ ” Noah exercised his faith in God by building a huge boat on dry ground, at a time when it had never rained on the earth before. Do you think we would have that kind of faith today?

We do not know how God talked to Noah, but I imagine that Noah was a man of prayer and that God talked to him during those prayerful moments. If we have faith in God, we will want to spend as much time as possible to know His will in our lives. I believe Noah was praying, discussing with Him the wickedness of the people around him and asking how he could witness to them and God showed Noah how beyond anything he could imagine—by building an ark.

God said, “And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die.” And then He told Noah, “But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.” Genesis 6:17–19

For 120 years Noah built his ark in the face of taunts and ridicule. He stood as a firm witness for God. As he built, he preached the coming destruction of the world and the only path of salvation. His faith sustained him through trial and hardship, through painstakingly-detailed work on the ark that would be the salvation of his family and anyone else who would accept God’s message. The ark was a representation of Jesus who shelters us under His wings of salvation. It also represents the protection that the people of the last days will receive when faced with unparalleled hardship and evil. Were it not for his faith in the soon-coming Saviour, promised to Adam and to the following generations, Noah would have failed in his endeavor, but God sustained him because he believed Him.

Faith is not only believing that God exists and created everything, but it is also trusting in all that He says. Abraham is another example of faith in God. The Bible says, “And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” Genesis 15:6. Paul remarks on this scripture when addressing the Galatians to help them understand that the Holy Spirit worked miracles in their lives by their faith in God, and in the promise of the resurrection in Christ Jesus rather than in works of the law. By faith they came to believe that Jesus was the Messiah and by faith they accepted Him as their Saviour. By faith they, like Abraham, walked away from the things of this world to embrace and trust in the faith that God had measured out to each of them.

Abraham walked out of the land of Ur and into a wilderness. He exercised his faith in God, not needing the details of what was before him, being willing to leave his old life behind. Abraham led a most difficult life compared to us today. His home was a tent, and he had no country of his own. He was a true sojourner and pilgrim. His faith in God was so great that he followed wherever the Spirit led and did not complain about his plight. He let his works prove his faith in God’s word and believed in His promises. He not only professed belief in God, but showed his faith by his trust and obedience to His word.

“ ‘Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the friend of God.’ James 2:23. And Paul says, ‘They which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.’ Galatians 3:7. But Abraham’s faith was made manifest by his works. ‘Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?’ James 2:21, 22. There are many who fail to understand the relation of faith and works. They say, ‘Only believe in Christ, and you are safe. You have nothing to do with keeping the law.’ But genuine faith will be manifest in obedience. Said Christ to the unbelieving Jews, ‘If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.’ John 8:39. And concerning the father of the faithful the Lord declares, ‘Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.’ Genesis 26:5. Says the apostle James, ‘Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.’ James 2:17. And John, who dwells so fully upon love, tells us, ‘This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.’ 1 John 5:3.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 153, 154

If there is one thing that God’s remnant people can learn, it is how to exercise their faith in God. If we were honest with ourselves, how many times has the Spirit urged us to do something, but we did not listen? One of the hardest things in the Christian walk is to set our own desires aside to follow the voice of Jesus. If we truly have faith, we would be willing to trust His guidance. Sometimes that guidance goes directly against our own desires. Trusting God to know what is best in our lives is the true meaning of being faithful. Stepping out in faith to do God’s work is to demonstrate that trust. The measure of faith given to each of us is exactly what we need to do our part in His work and, through that work, our faith will grow and reproduce itself over and over.

“If we would be growing plants in the Lord’s garden, we must have a constant supply of spiritual life and earnestness. Growth will then be seen in the faith and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no halfway house where we may throw off responsibility and rest by the way. We are to keep advancing heavenward, developing a solid religious character. The measure of the Holy Spirit we receive will be proportioned to the measure of our desire and the faith exercised for it.” In Heavenly Places, 336

“Our faith should lay hold upon God, and we should expect success. The great multitude was fed with a very meager supply. Let our scattered supply be placed in missionary work, and God will multiply it as we shall impart to others, so that all may eat and be filled. We are not to stop our work and measure our advance in the work by the means at hand. To do this is to show a very limited faith. As God said to Moses, so He says to us, ‘Go forward.’ We are to diffuse the gospel over the whole earth, and, be our means large or small, we are to plan and work in faith, realizing our responsibility as God’s human agents to whom He has given this great work. Then stop fretting over the evils that you cannot help and do your work in sincerity and faith, that your characters may be formed after the divine pattern.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 2, 284

Many do not know how to exercise their faith. They have kept it safely hidden lest anyone might steal it. In Jesus’ parable about the servants and the minas, we see that only those who use their faith will see an increase (Luke 19). The answer is quite simple, if we listen to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit as He guides us in doing the will of God, we will be exercising our faith in the way God wants us to use it. We must be willing to step out in faith, not worrying about the where or how, to be ready to follow where He leads.

Some are urged to hand out a pamphlet, others to minister to the needy by providing food or clothing, while others are called to leave their home to reach people of a far-away land. Some can work in their neighborhoods, others within their homes among their family members or children. But each must listen carefully to the urging of the Holy Spirit and not turn away because it seems too hard or uncomfortable. Jesus knows each heart and what is needed to fulfill His purpose in our lives. We must want to use our faith so that it will grow and influence others towards salvation and lead them to follow God’s plan for their lives.

Revelation 14:12 says, “Here is the patience [perseverance] of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” What is the “faith of Jesus”? As His people, we must have this faith. Jesus said, “And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” John 8:29. Jesus had perfect trust that His Father would lead Him down a perfect path of righteousness. The essence of the faith of Jesus was obedience to His Father. Perfect faith works in conjunction with what we do.

If Jesus had not had this kind of faith, and I say this reverently, He would never have qualified as our sacrifice. He would have been blemished and unfit, and all would have been lost. Only the perfect, unblemished Lamb of God could be the ultimate sacrifice to save mankind. The faith of Jesus had to be expressed in perfect obedience to all of God’s holy law. He added nothing nor did He take anything from it; He accepted it as it was written and obeyed even unto death. What a powerful example Jesus set for us. And like we must be, He was guided by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Remember, Jesus laid aside His glory and power to be born a man, clothed with our nature. In this way He demonstrated the power of faith so that we could live a perfect life. I do not believe we fully appreciate the trust Jesus showed by setting aside all He had in heaven to come to this earth as a man. “But made Himself of no reputation [laying aside His divinity], taking the form of a bondservant [slave/servant], and coming in the likeness of men [the nature of fallen man]. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:7, 8

God expects those who bear the name of Christ to represent Him in every way—pure in their thoughts and words, noble and uplifting in their actions and deeds. There will be nothing of self in the life of the true Christian, for self has died. And once they have reached this state of purity, they then are to draw those around them nearer to the Saviour.

There was no selfishness in the life of Christ. Bearing our nature, He lived a life wholly devoted to the service of others. God’s word to us is, “Be ye therefore perfect.” Matthew 5:48 KJV. And that we might obey this word, He sent His only-begotten Son to live a perfect life in our behalf. At our disposal, we have His example and the strength by which He lived this life. In thought, word, and act, Jesus was sinless. Perfection marked all that He did. He points us to the path that He trod, saying, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24 KJV

Is it any wonder Paul writes, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5. If we have the mind of Jesus, we will have perfect faith and trust. His perfect obedience is our example. Jesus was not presumptuous; He did not go further than His Father led. We must be on guard lest we overstep where God is leading us. Satan is always ready to pervert our faith, if possible. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan, He was urged to use His faith to test God. But Jesus maintained His faith in the Father.

“The Redeemer of the world wavered not from His integrity and showed that He had perfect faith in His Father’s promised care. He would not put the faithfulness and love of His Father to a needless trial, although He was in the hands of the enemy, and placed in a position of extreme difficulty and peril. He would not, at Satan’s suggestion, tempt God by presumptuously experimenting on His providence. Satan had brought in scripture which seemed appropriate for the occasion, hoping to accomplish his designs by making the application to our Saviour at this special time.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 282

Ancient Israel faced many trials, and perished in the desert because they lacked faith. Jesus told the parable of the wedding feast which addresses this lack of faith in His people, from ancient Israel of the wilderness to the Israel of Jesus’ day and finally spiritual Israel today. As God’s people, we will face many trials and be tested to see if our faith is great enough to see us through our own time.

“There are two classes in our world. The Lord has sent out the message to those who are represented by the first class, who have had great privileges and opportunities, who have had great light and innumerable blessings. They have been intrusted by the Lord with the living oracles. They are represented by the class to whom the king sent an invitation to the marriage feast. Jesus said, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that are bidden to the wedding; and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready; come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise; and the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth; and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good; and the wedding was furnished with guests.’ ” The Review and Herald, April 2, 1895

The wedding guests are those who have heard the message of salvation through Christ, some have accepted the message as truth while others scorned it. The wedding feast is the coming of Christ and all who have heard the message were called. Those who had been given great knowledge and the testimonies of the apostles and prophets, did not appreciate what was given to them. Their faith waned in the face of daily life and trials and they did not cherish the gift they were given. They squandered their time to prepare for the feast they knew was at hand, and in the end, rejected what had been given them as a testimony of God’s love for the world.

So, the King sent out His servants, who were few in these last days, to give out the final call to accept the invitation to become one of His true followers. They did not go to the people who had squandered the previous truth, but to those who had not yet heard the message. The call was to come out of Babylon and into His truth, and many heard the message. Some came out of curiosity, others out of firm belief. Those who had not developed faith, trust, and obedience in God were cast out. They had a desire to follow, but, in the end, their faith was not exercised, and they lost salvation.

“How few respond to the gracious invitation of heaven. Christ is insulted when His messages are despised, and His gracious, winning, liberal invitation is rejected. Those that were bidden to the marriage feast at first, began to make excuses. They allowed minor things to occupy their attention, and lost their eternal interests out of their reckoning. While some made temporal interests their excuse, and were totally indifferent toward the messages and messengers, others manifested a spirit of determined hatred, and took the Lord’s servants and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. A power from beneath moved upon human agencies who were not under the direct influence of the Holy Spirit. There are two distinct classes—those who are saved through faith in Christ and through obedience to His law, and those who refuse the truth as it is in Jesus. It will be impossible for those who refuse Christ through the period of probation to become justified after the record of their lives has passed into eternity. Now is the time to work for the salvation of men; for probation still continues.” Ibid.

God has been faithful to us in every way. He has endured our sinfulness with compassion and mercy, and in His perfect faithfulness sent His Son to us. His righteousness is without measure. “Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist.” Isaiah 11:5. “Your testimonies, which You have commanded, are righteous and very faithful.” Psalm 119:138. Considering that God is faithful to us and to His word, we have nothing to fear if we in return give our will over to Him. We must exercise our faith by stepping out of our comfort zone and into a faithful walk with Jesus.

Faith, trust, and obedience is our only avenue to happiness in Christ Jesus. Obedience to His commandments, obedience to His Spirit’s leading, obedience in the face of no evidence except our faith in Him who promises to be faithful in all things. We must trust in the power of the Creator of all that exists. If He can create the wonders we see around us, we can trust, by faith, that He will lead us to do greater works in His name than we can imagine. We just have to trust and obey.

Michael C. Wells is director of Anointing Oil Ministries.

Trust in the Lord

“Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass. And He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”
Psalm 37:1–11

In these eleven verses we have set before us something to do and something not to do, noting first what we’re told not to do. Verse 1 reads, “Fret not thyself.” You will find this repeated in the seventh and eighth verses. Apparently, it is one of the great themes in this scripture. Don’t get anxious; don’t get worried; don’t murmur and complain; don’t be bothered about anything. Somebody says, Well, that’s very well for David to write down there, but David didn’t live in our time. That is true, but the Holy Spirit does and He’s the One who inspired this.

Take a look at the other side of the coin and see what we are to do if we are not to fret. We are to trust. Consider the wonderful message of this same Psalm as it relates to trust. Note that trust is not a substitute for work. You’ll find that in the 3rd verse. “Trust in the Lord, and do good.” Trust in the Lord, and do something. Faith is not a substitute for action, rather it inspires action. As someone has said, Faith is so good it works.

Another sidelight occurs in the latter part of the third verse, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land.” Dwell means to live, to stay, to inhabit; in other words, the way to meet problems is not to run away because they fret us. Settle down and meet the problem by trusting God and by doing good. And what is the result? “Verily thou shalt be fed,” satisfied, physically and spiritually. Another translation says, “And enjoy security.” Philippians 4:19 echoes that wonderful promise: “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Now notice Psalm 37:4: “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” That is also translated, “He shall give thee the petitions of thy heart.” In other words, He will give you what you ask for. Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find” (Matthew 7:7). Trust, then, is not a substitute for prayer, just as it is not a substitute for work. Rather it inspires prayer as it inspires work. The more we trust God the more our petitions will be sent to Him.

Paul says in Philippians 4:6, “Be careful [anxious] for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” What a wonderful combination of trust and prayer. What a difference it makes to God and to us if our prayers are banging on the door as if God had to be waked up and we were trying to change His mind and get Him interested, or whether we come as children to a loving father or mother, saying, I know you’re interested and here is the thing that’s on my heart. Trust and prayer belong together. Notice the wonderful promise, “And He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” What an order!

There’s not a craving in the mind

Thou dost not meet and still;

There’s not a wish the heart can have,

Which Thou dost not fulfill.
Frederick William Faber, 1860.

What a God! He is there at the center of the universe, marshalling all the forces of omnipotence to give you what you want, to grant your heart’s desires, not only to fill your needs, your basic requirements, but even to gratify your wishes. What a friend! Oh, to trust Him, to come with confidence knowing that He’s waiting to hear our requests. “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things” (Romans 8:32)? He loves to give.

“Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5). Notice the marginal reading: “Roll thy way upon the Lord.” The picture is of a burden too heavy for us. Jesus says to let go of it and let it roll on Him. Peter picks up the thought and echoes it in 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” That word translated casting has the thought of flinging, throwing the burden down at Jesus’ feet, an active choice of the mind, choosing to let go of the worry, the fretting care and giving it to Jesus. “Cast thy burden on the Lord. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.” The trust goes with the committal. As we turn over the burden to Him, we are to believe He accepts it and accepts us, and makes Himself responsible for our success. “Trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.” As another translation puts it, “Leave all to Him, rely on Him and He will see to it.” Will He do it? Oh, He says He will. He will act without any question.

Now that beautiful seventh verse: “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” A part of trusting is resting and waiting. Trust does not do away with the need for waiting. Some people suppose that if a man had faith, enough faith, strong enough faith, that he could get things done in an instant. They’re looking for somebody like that. The devil will have some miracle workers around before long to show us spectacular miraculous things, but they’ll be from hell, not from heaven. The people of God in this last generation are distinguished by patience. Revelation 14:12 says, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” And patience is developed by waiting.

So, trust is not a substitute for waiting. Trust is not something that makes waiting unnecessary. Trust inspires waiting. It keeps us hopeful during the waiting period, whether it be long or short. In James there is a parallel statement. “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth” (James 5:7, first part). Whether it’s apples or pears, grapes or strawberries, the farmer must wait for the harvest. There is no way to put in the plant today and reap the crop tomorrow. “The husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh” (verses 7, last part, 8).

Notice that expression again, “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37:7). The margin says on rest, “Be silent to the Lord.” In an earlier verse we learned that we are to pour out our heart’s requests in supplication; we are to make known our desires in petitions but along with it we are to learn to be silent. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). In the quietness God will speak. Be silent to the Lord and wait patiently for Him. When we are waiting, wondering, it is sometimes a hard time to be still, but trust is exhibited in quietly, patiently, calmly waiting. When we have prayed, when we have worked, there’s a time to wait – quietly, trustfully, before God.

Think of Joseph in Egypt, ten years in Potiphar’s house as a slave, then unjustly accused and thrown into prison. Then his hopes are raised as, having interpreted the dreams of the butler and the baker, he is promised that he will be remembered in the throne room. Nevertheless, the chief butler forgot him. Can you imagine how Joseph felt, forgotten? But it was all in God’s providence. We usually think that God is always working to help people to remember things, but He also lets some people forget things. And it might be that God could allow somebody to forget something that you want them very much to remember. But after two years, one day that man woke up. The hour had struck. God’s time had come, and Joseph left the dungeon forever to be the prime minister of Egypt. Joseph had learned the lesson of crying to God for help, doing anything and everything he could to work out the plan, and then waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting. Thank God for these precious lessons. Resign yourself unto the Lord and wait.

Trust, true trust, goes deeper, higher, further than anything we’ve yet looked at. Trust enables us, when we have prayed, when we have worked, when we have waited, to accept a result which is contrary to the thing we thought we wanted. Trust enables us to join with Paul in saying we know that “All things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28). And we love God enough to trust Him and we trust Him knowing that He loves us.

Take this beautiful passage in Steps to Christ, page 122: “Jesus is our friend; all heaven is interested in our welfare. We should not allow the perplexities and worries of everyday life to fret the mind and cloud the brow. If we do, we shall always have something to vex and annoy. We should not indulge a solicitude that only frets and wears us, but does not help us to bear trials.

“You may be perplexed in business; your prospects may grow darker and darker, and you may be threatened with loss; but do not become discouraged; cast your care upon God, and remain calm and cheerful. Pray for wisdom to manage your affairs with discretion, and thus prevent loss and disaster. Do all you can on your part to bring about favorable results. Jesus has promised His aid, but not apart from our effort. When relying upon our Helper, you have done all you can, accept the result cheerfully.”

That’s true with a crop, it’s true with a business, it’s true in our medical work as we try to help sick people. It’s true with every human circumstance. We are to pray, asking for what we believe is God’s will. We are to work seeking to accomplish what we believe is God’s will. We are to wait whether the time be long or short till the answer comes and if that answer comes as we’ve expected, how joyously we pour out our song of thanksgiving, but if a final answer that comes is no, trust still carries on, trust still says, Lord, I thank Thee.

This was the lesson that Jesus was seeking to teach Martha and Mary as recorded in John 11. You remember that Lazarus fell sick and, knowing of Christ’s love for their brother, they simply sent Him the message, “The one You love is sick” (John 11:3, last part). They thought Jesus would drop everything and come, but He just stayed where He was. Pretty soon Lazarus died and they thought, What does all this mean? They couldn’t figure it out. Had Jesus forsaken them? No. Had He forgotten them? No. He had sent them the message in answer to their message, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God” (verse 4). And how wonderfully it finally worked out.

Friends, we must never, and I stress this, we must never make our faith in God dependent upon the way He answers our prayers. He knows better than we do. He loves us better than we love ourselves. To trust Him does not mean that we get what we want; it means that we learn to submit to His way so that He gets what He wants. Somebody says, but Brother Frazee, you just read that if we delight ourselves in the Lord that He will give us the desires of our heart. Precisely. And Martha and Mary got more than they desired when their brother came back from the grave. It was a far more abundant answer than if Christ had come and simply broken the fever and raised up the sick man. God has a thousand ways of answering our prayers of which we know nothing. Sometimes the explanation of the answer awaits the eternal world. Jesus said to Peter, “What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter” (John 13:7).

In The Ministry of Healing, 474, we are told: “In the future life the mysteries that here have annoyed and disappointed us will be made plain. We shall see that our seemingly unanswered prayers and disappointed hopes have been among our greatest blessings.” We love to read about marvelous, spectacular answers to prayer and they are wonderful. The lines in the top right corner express a great truth.

We have never learned really to trust until we’ve mastered the principles set out in Psalm 37. Far on past the answers that are spectacular, far on past those experiences, comes the chapter on trusting God when there seems to be no answer or when the answer is no. This instead of coming from less faith is possible only when there’s more faith.

The apostle Paul had a thorn in his flesh. His eyesight had been left greatly diminished after that meeting with Christ on the road to Damascus and how that scholarly man longed for good eyesight that he might continue his earnest study of the Old Testament scrolls and that he might write out the messages to the churches, but for reasons that God did not see fit fully to explain, Paul was left with poor eyesight. He carried that thorn in the flesh all his life, and he says, “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me” (2 Corinthians 12:8). God finally said no to Paul and answered him: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly” then he says, “will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, … in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (verses 9, 10).

Oh friends, prayer and trust and waiting and even work, all joined together, are not some sort of slot machine where you put in a quarter and wait and here comes the candy bar or the toy. There is more to it than that. We’re not dealing with a computer; we’re dealing with a Creator who is our friend. And He knows better than we do what we need. If He knows and He loves us, why worry our heads about it? Why not just wait until He gives it to us? Trusting Him means that we have faith in what He says and we choose to cooperate with Him and He has said that it is a part of His plan to grant us an answer to the prayer of faith that which He would not bestow did we not thus ask.

To trust Jesus means that we pray because He has asked us to pray. We work because He has invited us to be partners with Him. We wait because that is His assignment. And through it all, in it all, and after all, we trust, we believe that He is in charge, that He is seated on the throne and that He is marshalling all the powers of the universe to carry out in our lives that which is best for us. Trust Him then. Trust Him when dark days assail. Trust Him when there seems to be no answer. Trust Him patiently, calmly waiting.

Sometimes when hearts are weak

He gives the very gifts believers seek;

But often faith must learn a deeper rest,

And trust God’s silence when He does not speak;

For He whose name is love

Will send the best to those who seek.


He knows, He loves, He cares;

Nothing this truth can dim.

He gives His very best to those

Who leave the choice to Him.


The Weaver, Source Unknown

Elder W.D. Frazee studied the Medical Missionary Course at the College of Medical Evangelists in Loma Linda, California. He was called to Utah as a gospel medical evangelist. During the Great Depression, when the church could not afford to hire any assistants, Elder Frazee began inviting professionals to join him as volunteers. Thus began a faith ministry that would become the foundation for the establishment of the Wildwood Medical Missionary Institute in 1942. He believed that each person is unique, specially designed by the Lord, of infinite value, and has a special place and mission in this world which only he can fill. His life followed this principle and he encouraged others to do the same.

Mining for Gems

An Inexhaustible Source of Strength, Power, and Grace

There is a passage in the book Education which deserves contemplation. It reads, “The most valuable teaching of the Bible is not to be gained by occasional or disconnected study. Its great system of truth is not so presented as to be discerned by the hasty or careless reader. Many of its treasures lie far beneath the surface, and can be obtained only by diligent research and continuous effort. The truths that go to make up the great whole must be searched out and gathered up, ‘here a little, and there a little’ (Isaiah 28:10).” Education, 123.

Scripture and inspired writings often present critical points of faith and sources of strength that are not readily apparent to the surface reader—“the hasty or careless reader.” These hidden gems need to be ferreted out by diligent searching and critical reasoning. Inspiration equates this effort with mining. By this diligent effort, “the intellect will find themes of the most elevated character to call out its powers. There is nothing that will so endow with vigor all our faculties as bringing them in contact with the stupendous truths of revelation. The effort to grasp and measure these great thoughts expands the mind. We may dig down deep into the mine of truth, and gather precious treasures with which to enrich the soul. Here we may learn the true way to live, the safe way to die.” The Review and Herald, January 4, 1881.

Note that our study of Scripture and inspired writings not only teach us “the true way to live,” but also “the safe way to die,” the latter being perhaps a seldom considered blessing.

An example of a hidden gem in Scripture—and there are many—occurs in Paul’s letter to the Hebrews. In chapter 3, Paul spends a good bit of time explaining to them that Jesus is greater than Moses. To ensure that his readers understand why this is true and to help them understand the importance of faith in Christ as their Redeemer—and to comprehend that which makes Him greater than Moses, he provides some strong words of caution: “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12).

It should be recognized that here Paul equates unbelief with having an evil heart. We can conclude therefore that if we believe in and accept Christ Jesus as “the Apostle and High Priest of our confession” (Hebrews 3:1), we have a good heart, which, according to Jesus, is essential to achieving behavioral compliance with His word.

A Good Heart

When Christ was explaining the meaning of the Parable of the Sower to His disciples, He said, “But the ones [seeds] that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15).

The importance of having a good heart cannot be underestimated. Those with a good heart readily accept the word of God, “keep it and bear fruit.” God expects nothing more—and nothing less—of His followers.

When we possess a good heart, we naturally possess a good character. The result is an assurance of victory.

“Young men and women should regard a good character as a capital of more value than gold or silver or stocks. It will be unaffected by panics and failures, and will bring rich returns when earthly possessions shall be swept away. … Integrity, firmness, and perseverance are qualities which all should seek earnestly to cultivate; for they clothe the possessor with a power which is irresistible, a power which makes him strong to do good, strong to resist evil, strong to bear adversity.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 656.

Inspired writings as well as Scripture contain these hidden gems. An interesting example occurs in a passage from a manuscript Sister White wrote in 1912, just a few years before her death.

“God’s children are always being tested in the furnace of affliction. If they endure the first trial, it is not necessary for them to pass through a similar ordeal the second time; but if they fail, the trial is brought to them again and again, each time being still more trying and severe. Thus opportunity after opportunity is placed before them of gaining the victory and proving themselves true to God. But if they continue to manifest rebellion, God is compelled at last to remove His Spirit and light from them.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1146.

A careful analysis of this passage reveals that failure to successfully endure our trials is a manifestation of rebellion. While some might consider that a rather bold and severe conclusion, its truth can be confirmed with some further “mining” of scripture and Inspiration.

There are unnumbered promises in God’s word in which divine assistance is assured to enable us to persevere when we are engaged in our daily battle with the enemy. One of the strongest is given in the first few verses of Peter’s second epistle.

“Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:1–4).

If Jesus Christ “has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness,” there remains nothing more that we could require to successfully overcome every encounter with the temptations that Satan daily throws across our path. The problem, therefore, lies with “an evil heart of unbelief,” which causes us to fail to grasp the grace freely provided that enables us to overcome every effort of the enemy of souls to lead us astray. Failure to accept as absolute truth the promise of divine aid, and therefore fail to act on that promise, is indeed an act of rebellion.

It should be recognized that in all cases, when we fail to resist Satan’s efforts to lead us astray, we are committing a transgression of the divine will and are reckoned as a rebel in the books of heaven.

It should also be recognized that the power to resist temptation is provided in all its fullness in the grace so freely dispensed at our command and reception. Confirmation of the liberal dispensation of the power to overcome is provided in the following passage.

“ ‘Grace and peace’ will be multiplied ‘through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.’ Here is the Source of all spiritual power, and faith must be in constant exercise, for all spiritual life is from Christ. Knowledge of God inspires faith in Him as the only channel to convey heaven’s blessing to the soul, elevating, ennobling, refining the soul, as—through the knowledge of God—it is brought up to the high attainment of glory and virtue. ‘According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue.’ ” Our High Calling, 67.

That “high attainment of glory and virtue” is—or should be—the objective of every Christian. By taking advantage of the grace and power so freely provided by Christ’s sacrifice, that attainment is indeed possible. Failure to take that advantage, failure to grasp that Mighty Arm in times of temptation and successfully overcome, according to the previously cited passage from the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, is indeed rebellion.

Acknowledgment that we need divine assistance in our daily battle with the powers of evil is an essential step in overcoming self, in the crucifixion of the old man and becoming a new man in Christ Jesus.

Paul addresses this issue fairly directly in the third chapter of Colossians, a chapter that is loaded with hidden gems, and a chapter that repeats a concept that Paul expresses in different words in his second letter to the Corinthians.

In Colossians 3:2, Paul says to “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” In 2 Corinthians 10:5, he pleads that his readers should be “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” The consistency of these two passages should be evident, and the fact that Paul provides this counsel twice to two different churches should give us some indication of its importance.

It should also be evident why, very early in holy writ, we are advised, “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little” (Isaiah 28:10). This is the technique that reveals those hidden gems that, once discovered, increase our faith, smooth the rough places, and straighten the crooked paths.

John R. Pearson is the office manager and a board member of Steps to Life. He may be contacted by email at:

To Fear or Not to Fear, That is the Question

In this world marred by sin, fear is a natural response for survival and the preservation of life. Imagine fearlessness leading one to walk into oncoming traffic, step off rooftops, or jump out of an airplane without a parachute. You would deem this person insane and restrain them for their own good.

Yet the majority of the human race continually perform acts that shorten their lifespan. There is a common phrase, “to hammer a nail into your coffin” or “death by inches.” Our bad habits and lifestyle can be just as dangerous.

Apart from preserving the body, fear is necessary in preserving the soul. The Bible says, “Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart” (1 Samuel 12:24).

So what is fear? It is an anxious feeling caused by an anticipation of some imagined event or experience.

President Franklin Roosevelt famously stated, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” He went on to say, “Nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” In saying this, he was trying to prevent the population from running to the banks in mass to remove their money, which would cause more damage to the economy.

Karl Albrecht, Ph.D., states that there are five basic fears:

  1. Extinction: Fear of ceasing to exist.
  2. Mutilation: Fear of losing part of the body structure.
  3. Loss of Autonomy: Fear of being overwhelmed, physically paralyzed (claustrophobia or emotionally controlled by circumstances).
  4. Separation: Fear of abandonment, social rejection.
  5. Ego-death: Fear of humiliation, shame, loss of integrity.

I would venture to say that when we fear the Lord, we never need fear Karl Albrecht’s list of fears.

The logical thought process would lead to the conclusion that there are, in essence, only two types of fear. We either fear God and give glory to Him, or fear man and live for this world.

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24).

Both Luke and Matthew inform us whom to fear: “But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him” (Luke 12:5).

“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).

Who has the power to cast into hell? Only God, my friend. Man may kill the body, but only God can permanently destroy.

Another convincing verse: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

In other words, the consequences of rejecting God’s offer of salvation is to be permanently separated from Him and joined with Satan and his evil angels and accept the final punishment of permanent death.

Job 28:28 states, “And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.”

There was a time in this world when man was first created that fear did not exist, simply because there was nothing to cause fear. Our first parents experienced perfect love, harmony, and face to face communion with the Creator of the universe. But as soon as Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they experienced nakedness and fear. The protective covering created by Jesus was lifted and fear was born.

“And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:7–10).

Think of this: Adam was the happy, open faced, contented man, in the prime of his life, given the privilege of naming the animals and appointed caretaker of the earth. He lived in the most magnificent garden home with his beautiful wife, and best of all, he had available to him face to face communion with the Majesty of Heaven. Adam did not have to work long tiring hours or sweat and strain to make a living. He was provided everything he needed for his enjoyment. After he sinned, he experienced emotions that were foreign to him: shame, fear, regret, and loss of his perfect home. He and his wife were removed from their sanctuary home and for the first time saw the results of their sin.

“As they witnessed the drooping flower and the falling leaf, the first signs of decay, Adam and his companion mourned more deeply than men now mourn over their dead.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 62.

We as sinful humans grieve for a loved one and we know how painful an experience that is; however, our first parents, with their first experience in sin, felt the pain of death so much more deeply.

The first lie ever told, “Ye shall not surely die,” was now a reality. Creation began to experience aging, which is in reality a slow death. The animals were no longer in harmony and worst of all, Cain, the firstborn son, murdered his brother Abel.

Sin is a trap of fear—fear of man with negative feelings and experiences, which is a snare of Satan. If we fear man, we are drawn into Satan’s trap, but there is safety in trusting the Lord with godly fear.

“The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe” (Proverbs 29:25).

Ellen White warns us about our worldly fear in Gospel Workers, 261, 262: “Faith takes God at His word, not asking to understand the meaning of the trying experiences that come. But there are many who have little faith. They are always fearing and borrowing trouble. Every day they are surrounded by the tokens of God’s love, every day they enjoy the bounties of His providence; but they overlook these blessings. And the difficulties they encounter, instead of driving them to God, separate them from Him, by arousing unrest and repining. …

“Jesus is their Friend. All heaven is interested in their welfare, and their fear and repining grieve the Holy Spirit. Not because we see or feel that God hears us are we to believe. We are to trust His promises. When we come to Him in faith, we should believe that every petition enters into the heart of Christ. When we have asked for His blessing, we should believe that we receive it, and thank Him that we have it. Then we are to go about our duties, assured that the blessing will be sent when we need it most. When we have learned to do this, we shall know that our prayers are answered. God will do for us ‘exceeding abundantly,’ ‘according to the riches of His glory’ and ‘the working of His mighty power’ (Ephesians 3:20; Philippians 4:19; Ephesians 1:19).”

Then what is our duty?  

“My son, if thou wilt receive My words, and hide My commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:1–5).

“And now Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul” (Deuteronomy 10:12).

Notice the intensity of desire, the desperate need to seek after the Lord and the fear of offending Him expressed in these verses. Fearing God produces a hatred towards evil, confidence in being a blessing to others and is a fountain of life-giving wisdom and knowledge.

For many years now I have heard in the churches a discussion of the word FEAR. Teachers of the Word try to analyze the meaning and dilute the intensity of the Word by describing the meaning as a mere “respect” or “reverence.” For what purpose?  Is it because we like to be pampered and coaxed to soften the blow of God’s word? I am no theologian, but as I read the Bible, I believe what it says. Revelation 14:6, 7 says, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, … Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”

The wise man, Solomon, said, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14).

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to fear God and trust Him completely to the extent that we would fear nothing else? I pray that this will be our experience.

Revella Knight is a registered nurse and writes from her home in Northwest Arkansas.

Promises for the Time of Trouble

“After these things I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened. And out of the temple came the seven angels having the seven plagues, clothed in pure bright linen, and having their chests girded with golden bands. Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever. The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, and no one was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.”

Revelation 15:5–8

The image that comes to mind when we read the details of the seven last plagues described in Revelation 16 is not a pretty one: foul and loathsome sores, every creature in the sea dying, all the rivers and streams turning to blood, incredible sunburns, pain so severe that people gnaw their tongues in anguish, hailstones weighing almost 130 pounds. The mind’s eye can hardly conjure up an image that encompasses such pain, misery, and destruction.

It will indeed be a terrible time, referenced in two very familiar Bible texts.

“For thus says the Lord:

‘We have heard a voice of trembling,

Of fear, and not of peace.

Ask now, and see,

Whether a man is ever in labor with child?

So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins

Like a woman in labor,

And all faces turned pale?

Alas! For that day is great,

So that none is like it;

And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble,

But he shall be saved out of it’ ” (Jeremiah 30:5–7).


“At that time Michael shall stand up,

The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people;

And there shall be a time of trouble,

Such as never was since there was a nation,

Even to that time.

And at that time your people shall be delivered,

Every one who is found written in the book” (Daniel 12:1).


Both of these texts—Jeremiah and Daniel—refer to what Adventists rightfully call “Jacob’s time of trouble,” or more commonly, “the time of trouble.” But notice how each of these passages ends. Daniel says, “And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book,” and Jeremiah says, “But he shall be saved out of it,” “he” being Jacob, a symbol in this instance of God’s people—those, as Daniel noted, whose names are written in the book of life.

Although this will be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, and although it will take extreme faith to endure the troubles that arise during this awesome time, God’s word gives us great hope, great assurance, and great promises that we can confidently claim that He will see us through this unprecedented period of time. Let’s look at just a few of those promises.


  1. First of all, note that the person for whom this time is named survived his personal time of trouble by claiming God’s promise. On Jacob’s return to his homeland, when he feared Esau’s attack, he reminded God of the promise He had made to him. In Genesis 32:9 we have Jacob’s prayer in which he reiterates that promise: “Then Jacob said, ‘O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the Lord who said to me, “Return to your country and to your family, and I will deal well with you …” ’ ” Jacob claimed this promise that God would “deal well” with him, and He did! That is essentially the same promise that God gives to His people in Daniel—“your people shall be delivered,” and in Jeremiah—“he shall be saved out of it.” Jacob was also undoubtedly aware of the promise that God had made to Abraham and that had been repeated to Isaac and himself that God would make of them a great nation. Surely he recognized that for that to occur, God would have to see him through this threat from Esau, although that realization did not make Esau’s approach any less foreboding.


  1. When the seven last plagues come, the saints will have a place to hide. Psalm 91 provides a litany of some of the most encouraging promises in all the Bible. The entire psalm offers a wealth of comfort, but since we are addressing the plagues of the last days, consider only verses 9 and 10, which specifically address the plagues of God’s wrath:

“Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,

Even the Most High, your dwelling place,

No evil shall befall you,

Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling.”


Here the psalmist provides a very specific promise for a very specific time.


  1. Scripture makes it clear that God will provide us with the necessities of life during the time of Satan, in his effort to make God’s people—indeed, all people—break the fourth commandment, will succeed in preventing anyone who refuses to accept his mark from buying or selling. Nevertheless, God assures us in Isaiah 33:15, 16 that bread and water is assured for each saint “who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, … who despises the gain of oppressions, who gestures with his hands, refusing bribes, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, And shuts his eyes from seeing evil.” It is a wonderful promise, but one—like all promises—with conditions. The specific condition in this specific instance is that the recipient of this promise must be one who “walks righteously.” Only those who are obedient to all of God’s commandments can be thus considered.


  1. In Daniel 12:1, it is made clear that this time of trouble will be such as has never before occurred on earth. With this forewarning, what is a wise Christian to do? Proverbs 22:3 tells us: “A prudent man foresees the evil and hides himself.” God, in His almost incomprehensible mercy, has forewarned His people and given us type and antitype of the protection from destruction that He so lovingly provides. Just as the children of Israel were protected by the typical blood of the lamb when they spread it on their doorposts, we are protected by the antitype: the blood of the real Lamb of God. Isaiah 26:20 gives us an illustration of the actions the prudent man takes as he by faith claims the protection that the antitypical blood provides: “Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past.” Colossians 3 describes in detail what is involved in entering by faith that chamber of safety and being hid with Christ in God.


  1. Daniel 12:1 notes that those who are saved from this terrible time to come are those whose names are written in the records in heaven. By taking advantage of the provisions given us so plainly in God’s word, we can be assured that our names are indeed written in the Book of Life, and Revelation 3:5 tells us that “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” When we surrender our will to God’s will and determine to walk the narrow way, serving God in whatever capacity His providences lead us, our names are entered into that heavenly record.


  1. In Revelation 12:12, we are given this warning: “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” Too often, Adventists dwell on this threat, failing to remember that God is bigger than the devil. We can be assured of this, if we need any assurance, because God banished the devil from heaven. But, we also need to remember that the devil is stronger than any of us. However, if we follow the counsel of 2Corinthians 3:18, beholding the face of our loving Saviour, rather than dwelling on the works of Satan, we will become more and more like Jesus. Let us remember the counsel Paul gives us in Philippians 4:8. Whatsoever things are honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report—think on these things. Malachi 3:16, 17 sums up this concept: “Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on His name. ‘They shall be Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.’ ”

It is important that all engage in self-examination from time to time to be sure that we have not concentrated so much on Satan’s sinful attributes that we have inadvertently incorporated vestiges of those traits in our character. By beholding, we become changed. Are we beholding the lovely character of Christ, or the unrighteousness of Satan?


  1. The Bible indicates clearly that as we near the end, the Lord is going to slowly but surely withdraw His Spirit from this world and that the love of many will grow cold. The Bible-believing Christian sees evidence of this more and more clearly with each passing day. However, even in the face of this irrefutable evidence of the approach of “that day,” we need not fear. The Lord has given us sufficient evidence of His power for this time, too. It is up to us to ask for, believe, and claim this promised power. Matthew 7:7 tells us to ask and we will receive. Mark 11:24 repeats that promise: “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” In Luke 11:13, the Lord has promised the gift of the Holy Spirit, and Inspiration tells us that this gift brings all other blessings in its train. Among those blessings are love, joy, and peace, exactly the blessings we need to maintain our walk on the narrow way during the time of trouble.


  1. The final promise we will look at is a special one for those who have family members, especially children, who have lost their way and departed from the path of truth and righteousness. Surprisingly, it is the prophet of doom who provides some of the most reassuring and comforting promises about this heart-breaking situation. In Jeremiah 24:7, the prophet writes, “Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.” When you claim this promise and read it to yourself, substitute your child’s name in the appropriate place. It then reads, “Then I will give [your child] a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord, and he shall know My name, and I will be his God, for he shall return to Me with his whole heart.”

We can use the same principle with Jeremiah 31:16, 17: “Thus says the Lord: ‘Refrain [Mom and Dad], your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for your work shall be rewarded,’ says the Lord, ‘And [your children] shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope in your future,’ says the Lord, ‘that your children shall come back to their own border.’ ”

There are indeed some rough waters ahead over which we must sail. However, come what may, we have a promise and an anchor. What more can we ask for? God Himself has promised us safety and victory. Notice this last promise from Isaiah 43.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.

When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,

Nor shall the flame scorch you.

For I am the Lord your God,

The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

I gave Egypt for your ransom,

Ethiopia and Seba in your place.

Since you were precious in My sight,

You have been honored,

And I have loved you;

Therefore I will give men for you,

And people for your life.

Fear not, for I am with you;

I will bring your descendants from the east,

And gather you from the west” (Isaiah 43:2–5).

And finally, let us remember always that God will keep in perfect peace those whose mind is stayed on Him, because he trusts in Him (Isaiah 26:3).

All Bible quotes NKJV unless otherwise noted.

John R. Pearson is the office manager and a board member of Steps to Life. He may be contacted by email at:

Justification by Faith

Numerous errors are being circulated today, among God’s people, regarding justification by faith, sanctification and other salvation doctrines. As a result, many are being misled and captivated by gross errors, most of which have originated in the churches of the world which we know as Babylon. Concerning justification, the servant of the Lord has told us, “The enemy of man and God is not willing that this truth should be clearly presented; for he knows that if the people receive it fully, his power will be broken.” The Review and Herald, September 3, 1889. Is it any wonder then that Satan has infiltrated God’s true church with some of his ministers whom he has inspired to preach a false justification by faith?

Recently I found these alarming inspired passages concerning righteousness by faith. “There is not one in one hundred who understands for himself the Bible truth on this subject that is so necessary to our present and eternal welfare.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 360. “Our churches are dying for the want of teaching on the subject of righteousness by faith in Christ.” This Day With God, 93.

These very disturbing facts have led me to prepare this series. First let us note that, strange as it may seem, the teaching and preaching of error to our people can, at times, result in a great blessing. How could this be possible? Let us take courage from the following counsel from the Lord. “Every time that error is advanced, it will work for good to those who sincerely love God; for when the truth is shadowed by error, those whom the Lord has made His sentinels will make the truth sharper and clearer. They will search the Scriptures for evidence of their faith. The advancement of error is the call for God’s servants to arouse, and place the truth in bold relief.” The Signs of the Times, January 6, 1898. This we shall endeavor to do.

The Basis of Justification by Faith

The Scriptures introduce the basis or the foundation upon which justification by faith rests by explaining what Christ wants to do for us. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17. “For the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” John 6:33.

That which Christ has provided for us and wants to do for us is the basis or foundation of justification by faith. In the Bible, both Adam and Christ represent the human race. Therefore, what occurred with Adam and Christ has to do, in a spiritual sense, with everyone born into this world. For example, when Adam, the representative of our race, was tempted to rebel against God and in doing so, sinned, he brought death upon himself and all his descendents. When Christ became our representative by coming to earth in human flesh, He likewise was tempted by the devil to sin. But He did not rebel as Adam had done; He obeyed God. And because of His victory over Satan, He was able and willing to die for our sins so that the sentence of death could be reversed to eternal life—if we accept the gift.

Thus, the result of Adam’s sin was that all have likewise sinned and received the death penalty. But, praise God, the Son of God chose to take the place of Adam as head and representative of the human race and by His death on the cross, He paid the penalty of our death sentence, providing an offer of redemption to all who will believe in Him as we read in John 3:16, 17: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.”

Throughout the entire word of God this basis for justification by faith is confirmed. For example, in Romans 5:12, 17–19 we read: “Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men in condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous.”

The Spirit of Prophecy, which is always in harmony with the Bible, likewise teaches that Jesus, in order to save us, took the place of Adam as our representative. “Jesus humbled Himself, clothing His divinity with humanity, in order that He might stand as the head and representative of the human family.” The Signs of the Times, January 16, 1896.

The Conditions

Now let us consider the conditions upon which justification by faith and sanctification are possible for individuals. You may be asking, are there really conditions for a man to be justified? Is not justification a free gift? In 1893, Ellen White wrote to A.T. Jones from New Zealand. Jones, of course, was one of the two men who had presented the truth of righteousness by faith in 1888. However, by 1893, he had begun to proclaim that there are no conditions for justification. The Lord showed his mistake to Ellen White in a vision. The following sentence is from the letter she wrote to him to deliver God’s message. “There are conditions to our receiving justification and sanctification, and the righteousness of Christ.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 377. Meeting the conditions does not mean that we make a payment for our salvation. Man’s works, either before or after justification, are valueless in themselves. They cannot purchase salvation. Salvation is a free gift to those who meet the conditions.

Adam chose to believe the lie of Satan. By sinning he accepted the conditions for believing the lie of Satan that he would become as the gods. He ignored God’s truth, that the wages of sin is death. But when we choose to believe what Christ says, this process is reversed. We reject Satan and accept the following conditions laid down by Christ in order that we might escape death and receive eternal life:

  1. We accept by faith Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice on Calvary’s cross for us.
  2. We surrender completely, repent and confess our sins to God.
  3. We believe that God forgives our individual sins.
  4. We personally experience the gift of justification by being born again.
  5. We abide in Christ through a continual, loving relationship of trust and obedience.

Condition One – Accept and Believe

Condition one requires that we believe and personally accept Christ’s sacrifice. It is important that we realize that there is much more in the term “believe” than many have supposed. In fact, all five of the listed conditions are embodied in the words, “Whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Belief entails more than a mere verbal or emotional assent. To understand the real depth of what belief means, we must first understand what took place as a result of Christ’s death on the cross.

In Romans 6:23 we read, “The wages of sin is death.” Is Paul here speaking about the first or the second death? God’s word gives us the answer in Revelation 20:6. “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power.” And why does the second death have no power? Because Jesus died the second death for those who believe in Him and accept Him as their Substitute. Praise God!

Condition Two – Surrender

The process of surrender involves repentance, confession and death to self and sin. In Acts 2:38, Paul enjoined upon us the necessity of repentance. “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.” Now notice the importance that Ellen White gives to this condition. “Repent, repent, repent, was the message rung out by John the Baptist in the wilderness. Christ’s message to the people was, ‘Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise
perish,’ (Luke 13:5) and the apostles were commanded to preach everywhere that men should repent.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 19.

Can we repent in our own strength? We certainly cannot. Through His servant, the Lord says, “Who is desirous of becoming truly repentant? What must he do? —He must come to Jesus just as he is, without delay. He must believe that the word of Christ is true, and believing the promise, ask, that he may receive. When sincere men desire to pray, they will not pray in vain. The Lord will fulfill His word, and will give the Holy Spirit to lead to repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ibid., Book 1, 393.

How important are these conditions? God’s prophet wrote: “Those who have not humbled their souls before God in acknowledging their guilt, have not yet fulfilled the first condition of acceptance. If we have not experienced that repentance which is not to be repented of, and have not with true humiliation of soul and brokenness of spirit confessed our sins, abhorring our iniquity, we have never truly sought for the forgiveness of sin; and if we have never sought, we have never found the peace of God. The only reason why we do not have remission of sins that are past is that we are not willing to humble our hearts and comply with the conditions of the word of truth.” Steps to Christ, 37, 38.

Condition Three – Believe that God Forgives

We must believe that God forgives our sins and before God can forgive our sins, we must take certain steps. “Man must be emptied of self before he can be, in the fullest sense, a believer in Jesus.” The Desire of Ages, 280. This is very important: for Jesus says to the unforgiven, “I never knew you.”

“You have not exercised genuine repentance toward God for the transgression of His holy law, and you cannot have genuine faith in Me, for it was My mission to exalt God’s law.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 239. “To believe in Jesus is to take Him as our Redeemer and our Pattern.” Historical Sketches, 188. After we have met these specified conditions so that we can truly believe in Christ, then we can believe that “the moment we ask for forgiveness in contrition and sincerity, God forgives. Oh, what a glorious truth! Preach it, pray it, sing it.” The Signs of the Times, September 4, 1893.

Condition Four – Experience the New Birth

Christ told Nicodemus that before a man can see the kingdom of God, he must be born again. When God forgives a man, He provides him with a new heart, a new birth. In Ezekiel 36:26 we read, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”

Many do not realize that justification by faith includes the new birth, which involves gaining a new mind. However, inspiration clearly reveals this truth. “To be pardoned in the way that Christ pardons, is not only to be forgiven, but to be renewed in the spirit of our mind.” The Review and Herald, August 19, 1890.

The renewing of the mind takes place when we come to the Lord, just as David did after he had sinned with Bathsheba. Consider his prayer in Psalms 51, 2, 7, 10. “Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”

Ellen White wrote this in commenting upon David’s experience: “But forgiveness has a broader meaning than many suppose.…God’s forgiveness is not merely a judicial act by which He sets us free from condemnation. It is not only forgiveness for sin, but reclaiming from sin. [I like that!] It is the outflow of redeeming love that transforms the heart. David had the true conception of forgiveness when he prayed, ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.’” Mount of Blessings, 114.

As Water to the Thirsty

Are you beginning to get a clearer picture of justification by faith? Ellen White wrote that when the doctrine of righteousness by faith is presented in all its purity it is “as water comes to the thirsty traveler.” In my younger days, I often hiked in the desert. I well remember once when I was completely out of water and desperate. I suddenly discovered a very small stream trickling into the sand. It was coming from a far off mountain, but still contained enough water to quench my thirst. How thankful to God I was for finding the water.

When we discover the marvelous truth of justification by faith, we, too, will exclaim with Ellen White, “The sweetest melody that comes from God through human lips—justification by faith, and the righteousness of Christ.” Testimonies, vol.6, 426.

At justification heavenly peace floods the soul. Paul tells us in Romans 5:1, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” What a glorious truth, that when we are justified, we stand faultless before God because we are clothed in the beautiful garments of Christ’s righteousness.

“As the penitent sinner, contrite before God, discerns Christ’s atonement in his behalf, and accepts this atonement as his only hope in this life and the future life, his sins are pardoned. This is justification by faith.…[For] pardon and justification are one and the same thing. Through faith, the believer passes from the position of a rebel, a child of sin and Satan, to the position of a loyal subject of Christ Jesus, not because of an inherent goodness, but because Christ receives him as His child by adoption. . . . Thus man, pardoned and clothed with the beautiful garments of Christ’s righteousness, stands faultless before God.” SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1070.

The more we understand about righteousness by faith, the more glorious it becomes. But remember that, “Without the transforming process which can come alone through divine power, the original propensities to sin are left in the heart in all their strength, to forge new chains, to impose a slavery that can never be broken by human power. But men can never enter heaven with their old tastes, inclinations, idols, ideas, and theories.” The Review and Herald, August 19, 1890.

But praise the Lord, through justification by faith the image of Christ is stamped upon the mind, heart and soul making it possible for man to have the mind of Christ as did the apostle Paul. Are you asking, But how can a man be holy? In Christ’s Object Lessons, 163, we find this amazing statement: “As the sinner, drawn by the power of Christ, approaches the uplifted cross and prostrates himself before it, there is a new creation. A new heart is given him. He becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus. Holiness finds that it has nothing more to require. God Himself is ‘the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.’ Romans 3:26.”

The reception of a new heart and the righteousness of Christ is what makes a man holy. Can you imagine, of a born again man, it is said that holiness “finds that it has nothing more to require?” Ibid., 163. But do not forget, a man will not feel or say that he is holy. Yet this is the way God looks upon him, because of Christ whose righteousness is accounted to him.

“When the sinner is converted he receives the Holy Spirit, that makes him a child of God, and fits him for the society of the redeemed and the angelic host. He is made a joint heir with Christ.” The Southern Work, 12. “The grace of Christ purifies while it pardons, and fits man for a holy heaven.” That I May Know Him, 336.

It is Christ’s indwelling righteousness that both justifies and fits men for heaven. “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27. When justification is completed, sanctification has just begun, for Jesus begins to live out His life within man, imparting His righteousness, making him fit and still more fit for heaven as he develops a character according to the pattern Christ Jesus.

The experience of the apostle Paul is to be our daily experience. He wrote in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Christ’s Righteousness Instead of Man’s Sinfulness

What wonderful news! In forgiving our past disobedience the obedience of Christ is placed to the account of the repentant sinner. “The law demands righteousness, and this the sinner owes to the law; but he is incapable of rendering it. The only way in which he can attain to righteousness is through faith. By faith he can bring to God the merits of Christ, and the Lord places the obedience of His Son to the sinner’s account. Christ’s righteousness is accepted in place of man’s failure, and God receives, pardons, justifies, the repentant, believing soul, [and] treats him as though he were righteous, and loves him as He loved His Son.” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 367.

God loves us as He loved His Son. How incomprehensible! But, beloved, it is true. Oh, what a salvation! The true Christian does not work to be saved. He works the works of Christ because he is saved. Such an experience fills the heart with unspeakable joy and peace. He is having a true and living relationship with his Savior, an experience that makes it possible for him to achieve victory over every temptation and sin.

Condition Five – Continual Obedience

It is through obedience that we maintain our sanctified state, and also, we have learned, continual obedience is the only way we can retain our justified state as well. In Selected Messages, Book 1, 366, we read: “While God can be just, and yet justify the sinner through the merits of Christ, no man can cover his soul with the garments of Christ’s righteousness while practicing known sins, or neglecting known duties. God requires the entire surrender of the heart, before justification can take place; and in order for man to retain justification, there must be continual obedience, through active, loving faith that works by love and purifies the soul.”

Now for one more grand truth. Did you know that as long as we maintain our justification and our sanctification that eternal life has already begun for us here and now? “It is through the Spirit that Christ dwells in us; and the Spirit of God, received into the heart by faith, is the beginning of life eternal.” The Desire of Ages, 388.

This truth is further confirmed by the prophet John. “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God: and that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” 1 John 5:11–13.

No wonder Paul exclaimed in 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18. “Rejoice evermore.…In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” No wonder Ellen White proclaims, “Preach it, pray it, sing it.”

Lawrence Nelson retired after thirteen years as General Conference Associate Youth Director, and is now speaker of Keep the Faith Audio Tape Ministry.

False Justification by Faith, Part II

Back in the Dark Ages, God began to prepare a people for the Second Coming of Jesus by using Martin Luther to start the great Protestant Reformation in the preaching of justification by faith. Then in 1844 God brought forth His Advent movement preaching the additional truth that the divine law of God, contained in the most holy place within the heavenly sanctuary, must be obeyed in order for us to fully receive the righteousness of Christ. Many within the church, in their zeal to preach the law, did so in a legalistic way forgetting that we need Jesus in our hearts before we are able to keep the law and live the Christian life.

Ellen White addressed this problem when she wrote, “As a people, we have preached the law until we are as dry as the hills of Gilboa that hath neither dew nor rain.” Review and Herald, March 11, 1890.

To help the servant of the Lord meet this legalistic problem, the Lord sent E. J. Waggoner and A. T. Jones to preach justification by faith with the law. But many within the church, especially its leaders, thought they were trying to do away with the law. This is why the Minneapolis Conference of 1888 rejected the message of justification by faith.

Today we are facing the imminent return of Jesus, and once again Satan has infiltrated God’s true church with the celebration of New Theology. This theology proclaims a false justification by faith by teaching that all that is needed for salvation is love and unity. No one need be concerned about the law, since Christ kept it for us, they say. As a result millions among us have been duped to believe the lie of Satan that the divine law of God cannot be kept, even in the power of almighty God.

We need to have our eyes opened that through an experience of the new birth, born of repentance, confession, forgiveness and obedience, we are clothed with Christ’s righteousness and thus fit for heaven.

False Justification Enters the SDA Church

How is this false teaching of justification by faith affecting the Seventh-day Adventist Church? From the Remnant Herald, No. 43, November 1998, I gleaned the following.

In 1975, Bill Hibbles began an interdenominational Pentecostal-styled church near Chicago focused on church growth. Today about seventeen thousand adults attend his weekend seeker services and six thousand attend the midweek believers services. By all human standards the Willow Creek Church is a great success. This church has formed the Willow Creek Association (WCA), and presently over two thousand two hundred churches have joined. At least fifty-six of those are Seventh-day Adventist churches. They are listed on the WCA’s web site.

The Willow Creek Association is an organization of a fallen church of Babylon. It is a charismatic, Sunday-keeping church. These conferences and churches have now gone to a fallen church of Babylon in order to be better Seventh-day Adventists. Just as well may they go to the witch of Endor. They have entered Babylon, it will be well nigh impossible to recover such denominational entities for they have done so in the full light of truth.

An article in the Adventist Review, December 18, 1997, promotes this association by stating:

  1. Adventists should give Willow Creek a fair shake.
  2. Adventists should continue gleaning from Willow Creek.
  3. Gleaning from Willow Creek’s message does not mean forfeiting our message.

How can we be so blind? “Adventists, both pastors and lay people constantly make up one of the largest groups at Willow Creek’s half dozen annual seminars.” Ibid.

God’s flock worldwide must be warned concerning this phenomenon within the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Work of the Omega

Elder Robert Pierson, former President of the General Conference, foresaw what was about to take place as a result of this new theology of a false justification by faith. In the October 1977, Ministry Magazine he wrote, “It would be well for every Seventh-day Adventist leader to prayerfully study the several plans of the apostate angel of light as he seeks to thwart the triumph of the Advent movement. Get out your Bibles and the Spirit of Prophecy, especially in Selected Messages, Book 1,193–205, and on your knees consider the startling facts faithfully chronicled by the Lord’s servant. Now note well what Ellen White, in this reference, warns could mark the work of the omega.

  1. The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church would be disregarded. (Ibid., 204.)
  2. The truth will be criticized, scorned and derided. (Ibid., 201.)
  3. It will make of no effect the truth of heavenly origin. (Ibid., 204.)
  4. The religion would be changed. (Ibid.)
  5. The Sabbath, of course, would be lightly regarded, as also the God who created it. (Ibid., 205.)
  6. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the past fifty years would be accounted as an error. (Ibid., 204.)
  7. There would be a supposition that a great reformation was about to take place among Seventh-day Adventists and that this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith. (Ibid.)
  8. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced. (Ibid.)
  9. The new philosophy would ‘rob the people of God and their experience, giving them instead a false science.’ (Ibid.)
  10. It would seek to weaken the preaching of the second advent by teaching “that the scenes just before us are not of sufficient importance to be given special attention.” Ibid.
  11. Books of a new order would be written. (Ibid.)
  12. A new organization would be established. (Ibid.)
  13. Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of this new movement.” Ibid., 205.

Now go back over these thirteen points. Study them carefully and prayerfully. You may have to meet them sooner than you expect. The seeds of such apostasy are in the churches of Christendom all around us. Before Jesus returns, the Seventh-day Adventist Church may well be confronted with a crisis that will exceed in magnitude the Kellogg alpha apostasy. It “will be of a most startling nature.” Ibid., 197.

I believe we are in the omega crisis now. This is none other than the work of spiritualism, which has invaded God’s true church. In Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 405, we read, “Spiritualism is now changing its form, veiling some of its most objectionable and immoral features, and assuming a Christian guise. Formerly it denounced Christ and the Bible, now it professes to accept both. The Bible is interpreted in a manner that is attractive to the unrenewed heart, while its solemn and vital truths are made of no effect. A God of love is presented; but His justice, His denunciation of sin, the requirements of His holy law, are all kept out of sight. Pleasing, bewitching fables captivate the senses of those who do not make God’s word the foundation of their faith. Christ is as verily rejected as before; but Satan has so blinded the eyes of the people that the deception is not discerned.” Jesus gives a test by which false teachers may be distinguished from the true. (See Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 145.)

Vatican II and Celebration

The Vatican II Papal document stated that it is their objective, through the celebration movement, to bring the whole of humanity into one fold (meaning the Roman Catholic Church). According to this document, the objectives of the second Vatican Council are:

  1. Let there be a custom application [use] of the word celebration.
  2. Let there be a custom of revival in celebration worship in which the people will be involved directly with both verbal and physical participation.
  3. Let there be a custom of celebration worship dialog between the pastor and the people.
  4. Let us use as much variety in worship as is possible.
  5. Let music, while they worship there, be the most effective.
  6. Lessen, [narrow] the difference, between the Eucharist and the Lord’s Supper. Teach people that the Eucharist and the Lord’s Supper is the foundation of Christian unity, friendship and celebration of the Lord’s day [Sunday].
  7. Do your best to encourage observation of Sunday, including rest from work.

As a result of these Vatican objectives, celebration began in the Catholic Church and soon the Pentecostal charismatic churches followed. The old method of Jesuit infiltration of Protestant churches was suspended by the new infiltration of Catholic philosophy called love and unity. The second Vatican Council added its blessing by no longer calling the Protestant Churches heretics but brethren separated from the Mother Church.

The Vatican II Council then began to emphasize the Holy Spirit by holding revivals among its nuns and priests. The result was startling. Tens of thousands of priests and nuns began speaking in tongues. Now both the Catholic and the Protestant had something in common. They both spoke in tongues in the celebration movement.

Confronting Celebration

John Janiuk confronts the celebration movement with the Three Angels’ Message in his book, The Great Controversy Endgame, No. 2. He clearly differentiates between what is true and what is false justification by faith.

“The Three Angels’ Message is God’s call to leave Babylon. It is the message of separation.…The celebration movement calls for unity of all churches.

“The Three Angels’ Message is a warning message, but the celebration movement is the message of peace and security, love and unity. Sin and the law of God are treated lightly.

“The foundation of the Three Angels’ Message is the message of the everlasting gospel (true justification by faith).…The foundation of the celebration movement is a false gospel (a false justification)—salvation in sin—‘you will be sinning until the Second Coming of Christ.’ It is a gospel without power. If you sin before and after accepting the gospel, where is the power of the gospel? The truth is, if you accept a false gospel you have no power from God.…Satan demonstrated his power with great effect in Eden, and we are still affected by that same power today. Today he says that we cannot keep God’s commandments. If you believe his lies then you will not obey God’s law.

“The Bible says: ‘…here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.’ The pen of Inspiration says: ‘Christ left His heavenly home, and came to this world to show that only by being connected with divinity can man keep the law of God. In itself, humanity is tainted and corrupt, but Christ brought moral power to man, and those who live in communion with Him overcome, as He overcame.” Signs of the Times, December 10, 1896.

“‘He who has not sufficient faith in Christ to believe that He can keep him from sinning, has not the faith that will give him an entrance into the kingdom of God.” Review and Herald, March 10, 1904. (See also Acts of the Apostles, 523.)

A Call to Righteousness

“The Three Angels’ Messages are calling the whole of humanity to ‘Fear [reverence] God’ in complete surrender to God and His Word, and also His will, the Ten moral Commandments and the gospel. But the celebration movement depends on theology which ‘Is interpreted in a manner that is attractive to the unrenewed hearts, while its solemn and vital truths are made of no effect. A God of love is presented; but His justice, His denunciation of sin, the requirements of His holy law, are all kept out of sight.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 405.

“The Three Angels’ Messages call to ‘Give glory to Him.’ Mrs. White says: ‘To give glory to God is to reveal His character in our own, and thus make Him known. And in whatever way we make known the Father or the Son, we glorify God.” SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 979. But the celebration movement does not preach this.

“The Three Angels’ Messages proclaim ‘For the hour of His judgment is come.’ This is the pre-advent, Investigative Judgment, which began in the year 1844. The celebration movement does not warn the people about this. However, if the subject is mentioned they say: ‘Do not be afraid of the judgment, if you believe in Jesus, don’t worry about it.’

‘Worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.’ God tells us to keep holy the Sabbath day as a special day in memorial of His creation and redemption. But the purpose, goal, and aim of the celebration movement according to Vatican II is to observe Sunday and recognize the Pope as the Vicar of Jesus Christ and submit to him.

Babylon is Fallen, Come Out of Her

“The Second Angel’s Message says: ‘Babylon is fallen.’ Why? Because Babylon rejected the Biblical truths. Revelation 18:2 describes the last day condition of Babylon. The fallen churches [Catholic and Protestant] attacked the Seventh-day Adventist church with the celebration movement. The Bible says ‘a habitation of devils.’ Of course, God still has, in these fallen churches, some individuals who are the children of God. Our message, especially in the time of the loud cry will be ‘Come out of her, my people’ Revelation 18:4.

“The Third Angel’s Message is the most fearful of any before. This message was proclaimed to mortal man, as a warning against receiving the mark of the beast (observance of Sunday as the Sabbath). According to the document of Vatican Synod II the purpose of the celebration movement is that the whole world shall observe Sunday and submit to the Papacy. It does not matter to them what else you believe so long as you submit to those two things. Do you see where this movement is leading us?

“The Three Angels’ Messages are summarized in Revelation 14:12 and describe what people will be like after they accept these messages. ‘Here is the patience of the saints, here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.’ Here is presented the main characteristics and qualities of God’s people:

  1. The patience of the saints
  2. They keep the commandments of God
  3. They have the faith of Jesus

“But the celebration movement says: ‘We cannot keep the commandments of God.’ ‘Men who are under the control of Satan repeat these accusations against God, in asserting that men cannot keep the law of God.’ Signs of the Times January 16, 1896. (We must) ‘not only accept Christ as Saviour of the world, but as a personal Saviour from sin and sinning. Faith is nothing if it falls short of this.’ Signs of the Times August 26, 1889.” The Great Controversy Endgame, No. 2.

Music, Love and Praise!

The heart of celebration worship is found in its music, Contemporary Christian or Christian rock. Their message is love and praise for the most part. It does not call to repentance, appeal for sacrifice, or for prayer for sinners. The Second Coming is almost absent. Bible doctrines are not found.

Pioneering Seventh-day Adventists sang many hymns containing its message. They did so because they believed that God had called them to proclaim a message even in their singing. The current Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal has a topical index of hymns. Nearly every major doctrine is represented there: Salvation through faith in Christ, the Second Coming, the Sabbath, the judgment, the sleep of the dead, stewardship and even the sanctuary along with still others. God intended that the great hymns of faith should be used to teach His end-time message.

For example, No. 412 in the Hymnal illustrates this point. “Reconciled by His death for my sin, Justified by His life pure and clean, Sanctified by obeying His word, Glorified when returneth my Lord.” What a wonderful balance, a presentation of the gospel that is given in such songs. Preachers and laity would both be less likely to stray from the path of truth if they paid attention to the message of such songs.

“The great fear is that these contemporary songs are replacing the message songs entirely and are doing their part to produce a generation devoid of doctrinal certainty. A church’s music…is an essential part of its self-identity, its witnessing package, and even its survival kit.” Adventists’ Affirm, 1998, 8–21.

The ex-choir director of heaven uses his celebration music to charm people, to bind them to himself and to control them. He uses emotionally oriented religion that depends on feeling rather than on the word of God.

The Greatest Challenge Facing SDAs

Samuel Koranteng-Pipim, while at Andrews University, wrote in his doctorate thesis entitled, Receiving the Word, 38, the following, “The greatest challenge facing the Seventh-day Adventist Church does not come from the independent right, who operate from without, but rather from the liberal left, who are working from within. These moderate liberals seek to redefine historic Adventist beliefs according to their new views of the Bible. Indeed, as some of the Adventist scholars have begun using the historical-critical approaches of liberal theology, the church has been challenged in its distinctive truths, such as the prophetic significance of 1844, the necessity of Christ’s substitutionary atonement for sinners, and the self-understanding of the Seventh-day Adventist Church as God’s end-time remnant. At the same time the church has been thrown into turmoil over abortion, polygamy, divorce and remarriage and women’s ordination and homosexuality.”

Can you imagine an Adventist professor of religion who wrote in the Spectrum of May 1993 on page 46 an article entitled, “Apocryphy, Who Needs It?” In the beginning of this article there is a thought-provoking question. “How seriously should Adventists take apocalyptic books like Daniel, Revelation and The Great Controversy?” This theologian answers, “Perhaps we should replace them with the gospel of love, acceptance and forgiveness.” This is the central message of the celebration movement and its worship services.

Contrary Advice

Professor Steve Daily, who taught at La Sierra University and was also their chaplain, is one of the most liberal among us today. He suggests some practical things Adventists can do to contribute to this goal. Among these are:

  1. We can cease to think or speak of ourselves as the remnant church and see ourselves as a part of God’s larger remnant.
  2. We can take advantage of the special opportunities we have to attend other churches, since they meet on a different day, to befriend them and learn from them and share with them and affirm the good things we see in them.
  3. Each of us can make a special effort to maintain active membership in at least one non-Adventist community service organization to combat our natural tendency to isolation.
  4. We can involve ourselves in inter-denominational Bible study and a charismatic intercessory prayer group to broaden our spiritual perspectives.

(Excerpted from Steve Daily’s book, Adventists for a New Generation, 315, 316.)

Such advice is absolutely contrary to the Spirit of Prophecy. Is this the time for Seventh-day Adventists to seek such new light on worship, church growth and learning from others? (See Early Writings, 124, 125.)

Let us never forget that God will finish His work in His church and then He will finish His work in the world. But if we, as a church, reject true justification by faith and continue to proclaim a false justification, then true revival and reformation will not take place. We will not receive the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain and we will never finish God’s work in this world. We will lose our identity, our credibility and the purpose for our existence.

What a tragedy this would be! May God give us wisdom, understanding, knowledge and power to fulfill this for His honor and glory and also for the salvation of the people of the world. Then we will go home to praise Him who loved us and gave Himself for us. If you have discovered that the church you attend has become a celebration church in doctrine, in music and worship, may God grant you heavenly wisdom to know what you can do to help restore a worship service in which God can bless. It may be that the Lord will lead you to a nearby church with a historic Seventh-day Adventist pastor. Praise God, He still has many. And if need be, God may lead you to a nearby home church or have you begin a home church in which it can be truly said, “Here is the patience of the saints. Here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”

The Lion and the Lamb

“And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

“And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain.” . . . Revelation 5:5, 6.

“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29.

The Lion is Also the Lamb

Scholars state that John wrote Revelation before his gospel and epistles. It is no’t likely anyone had a question as to who the slain Lamb was, but with John’s gospel record of John the Baptist speaking, as Jesus came toward him, all discussion certainly would have been settled. And perhaps the most beautiful of all religious concepts takes on deeper meaning—the Lion is also a Lamb.

Think about that. We long for the time when the lion and the lamb shall lie down together. Truthfully, until the fullness of the lion and the lamb are reproduced in a final generation, until a balance is developed in us of all that is strong and noble, meek and lowly, Jesus cannot come, for the world has yet to have that witness manifested.

Are You Unbalanced?

Everyone reading this is probably yet unbalanced. I make no sweeping assertions. It is entirely possible that Enochs walk among us. I just do not know any. Perhaps you do. In the balance God desires to recreate ,we are likely to be more lion or more lamb at present.

“Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” Genesis 49:9, 10.

Characteristics of the Lion

Let us take a look at some of the characteristics of our Lion in Scripture. Whether as the young lion ready to pounce, or the old lion lying in his regal nobility, who shall rouse him? He holds the scepter; the kingship, the royalty, the nature of rule is unmistakable.

We are supposed to be children of a King, brethren of a King, espoused to a King. It is stated in different ways throughout the Bible. As such, we are to exemplify the highest traits of nobility and the welfare a king would bestow upon his children, his family, and his bride. As a people, have we not been given the finest counsels and opportunities in regard to doctrine, health, clothing, education and service in the King’s world? Unless we are living up to the privileges and responsibilities of all the counsel of God, we cannot possibly be fit representatives to complete His work on earth.

Far too many among God’s professed people are unbalanced when it comes to these things. This writer has met many who maintain a sharp and keen awareness of last day events and doctrinal matters, but their dietary practices are obviously lacking. Or the reverse is seen—people are deeply into health reform who seem to have little grasp of the issues that confront us as a people living at the end of all time. In areas of modesty, the education of our children and the influences that Satan seeks to derail our noble calling, how less than noble and regal is the life of God’s professed church! As the world sinks into rank, deplorable foolishness and sordid immorality, how closely the church follows but a mile or two behind; so where the world once was decades ago, the professed people of God are today! How true shall it be that those ready for translation will be viewed as odd, singular, straight-laced extremists. Ah! But this is not permission to be “gazing stocks” either. Balance under the roof of our King. Balance. Jesus carried Himself in the perfect balance of noble traits and terrible exactness. Ask anyone in the temple when He cleansed it! Ask the Jewish leaders when He dismantled their whole program in Matthew 23!

“And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at His doctrine: For He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” Matthew 7:28, 29.

Lions Have Authority

A lion roars, and everything around pays attention. I heard a lion roar at a zoo once. I not only felt it in my stomach, but, amazingly enough, it seemed to reverberate right through the ground into my feet. It was an awesome experience, indeed. And mind you, the lion was lying down! He was not angry. He was not shouting. He just had something to say, and you definitely paid attention.

So it was with Jesus. People were enthralled with His teaching, because they could see and perceive that He truly meant what He said. There was no equivocation in His voice. He knew what He believed, why He believed it, and how He needed to get His points across to the people. Oh, to have that perfect balance of authority in our own witnessing, that the world around us should know that we KNOW what we believe and why we believe it is God’s quest for our lives. The world will know, when God has a balanced, authoritative people.

“And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of Him through all the region round about.” “And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power He commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.” Luke 4:14, 36.

Lions are Powerful

Among all carnivores, the big cats are the most powerful, and the lion is a most fearless creature. It will tangle with anything but a full-grown elephant. And even there, recent nighttime photography has shown lions bringing down young elephants five times their size, right in the midst of surprised herds, if food supplies grow too short. The lion is a powerful creature.

Jesus had power. At times it just exploded in a wealth of influence on those around Him. At other times it was an undertone, a sense that, even when He was only walking, people expected something to happen.

Oh, that God would bring power among His people, a fearlessness that would give us the true spirit of Protestantism to stand up against sin and all that is opposed to the kingdom of God and to proclaim the truth regardless of who or what resists and retaliates!

The entire planet is soon to be arranged in a final rebellion towards God and His people. Are we ready for this? Do we have the power from on high that moved the world in former times? We do not, and we best plead for it before we are surrounded by forces bent on our failure and destruction, as already exists against Christians in many parts of the world. We need power. We also need balance, that such power is not abused, misused, or taken for granted. God cannot entrust power to an unbalanced people.

Lions are Fierce Creatures

“If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity. If I be wicked, woe unto me; and if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head. I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction; For it increaseth. Thou huntest me as a fierce lion: and again Thou shewest Thyself marvelous upon me.” Job 10:14–16.

Indeed! What a picture of God’s people in the coming time of trouble when it will seem as though Satan has won, and all is surely lost. Yet out of the terror of the moment arises the fierce and mighty Jesus to arrest the attention of the world and rescue His agonizing servants from a planet gone mad.

The Lion is a fierce creature. It is not an animal any other creature of the plains takes lightly. Though Job saw a fierceness in his situation, he still marveled at God. His character is beyond reproach. He knows what He is doing, despite our absolute ignorance of a situation.

The situation in Adventism has reached a major crisis, especially among those proclaiming the fullness of truth. All seems confusion. It is going to get worse. Oh yes, God will take the reigns. Praise His name for that. The terror will lie in whom He takes the reigns from and their wicked response. God will no longer be trifled with. When He comes down on the Romanism prevailing among a people professing to rejoice in light, His fierceness and their response will show an entanglement of commotion on which only God will have a handle.

“And when He had made a scourge of small cords, He drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, ‘Take these things hence; make not My Father’s house an house of merchandise.’ And His disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten Me up.” John 2:15–17.

Where are the lions, beloved? Where are the lions? God’s church needs lions!

“’I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and My judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent Me.’” John 5:30.

“Then said Jesus unto them, ‘When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself, but as My Father hath taught Me, I speak these things.’” John 8:28.

Characteristics of the Lamb

How dependent is the Lamb. How dependent was Jesus upon His Father. How dependent we should be in all things heard, believed, taught and lived. Without that dependence, failure is at the door. Without that dependence, self rises up; self tries to rule, and self corrupts the soul.

Make no mistake, sheep are not robots. They must eat where the Good Shepherd leads them, drink at the waters He provides, rest where He stops, and follow His voice wherever it leads. They have their part to do, and without it, they will die. Our dependence upon God’s power does not lessen the use of it in our lives. A gift is a gift. But a gift on a back shelf, or in a closet, is of no benefit to anyone. Though salvation by grace through faith is a gift from God, let no one deceive themselves that so prized a gift is to collect dust. It is anything but an ornament or knick-knack. Depending on His Father certainly did not lessen Jesus’ use of that connection. He is our example in all things.

Sheep are not necessarily busy. They lead fairly mundane lives. Like all illustrations using earthly things, it has its limitations. On the other hand, it is very possible to become so busy that all hearing of the Shepherd’s voice gets lost in the shuffles of life. Dependency on God is replaced by dependency on an employer, a paycheck, insurance companies, government, husbands, wives, preachers and leaders. The chain is only as strong as the weakest link. Everyone agrees, yet so much improper dependency exists in the church it keeps us in this world. We are not leaving it until complete dependency and cooperation with God becomes daily habit.

“’Which of you convinceth Me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe Me?’” John 8:46.

“’Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.’” John 14:30.

The Lamb is Innocent

The innocent Lamb of God.—not guilty of any wrong, nothing in Him of corruption, nothing in Him of sinful practice and perpetuation, tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin.

Beloved, we must have innocence before the throne of God. We must partake of the divine nature that we may escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. It is the hour of judgment! These are the final moments of earth’s history! Every thought, every word, every action, must be pure and holy, true and righteous, spotless and clean, if we are to be ready for translation. Jesus comes for a clean church, not a dirty one. He cannot come for a dirty church. He will not come for a dirty church.

Righteousness by faith, character perfection, IS the fullness of the balance of God in life. Let no one on earth denounce the work of God for this last generation. Oh fools and slow of heart to believe! Professors of true religion who deny the power of Jesus to cleanse His earthly temples from all defilement and impurity! Apostates! Ringleaders! False teachers with damnable heresies, denying the Lord that bought them. Would they be saved IN their sins or FROM their sins? Shall threads of compromise, worldliness and humanism be woven into a translation garment? Never! Those who perpetuate the lie that the commandments of God cannot be kept by one in Christ, walking after the Spirit, those who maintain that the righteousness of the law cannot be reproduced in those who maintain a living connection to the Vine, shall reap what they sow. Those who occupy positions of trust, in any institution, who allow so foul a doctrine to be held among its teachers and who feel their institution is beyond falling . . . how great the fall when it comes!

Will the innocent in Christ Jesus please stand up? No takers? Indeed. But the God of heaven knows. The Holy Spirit continues to work, and Jesus shall come for them when His character is reproduced in their lives. The forces of hell, especially among the religious, will show the anger of the dragon upon these lambs.

“Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you.” II Corinthians 10:1.

Lambs Are Meek and Gentle

Here is where many display imbalance. It is often in the home where the familiarity of family life leads to various displays lacking in these traits of character among professed believers. We live in a world filled with aggression, anger, and hatred. Only through tenderness, gentleness and meekness can much of that wall be broken down, especially in homes where youth fall prey to the influences of this sinful world.

How many times I have seen parents demanding of their children, and I have thought, “How we learn so hard. If only they saw our broken hearts more than our frustration. If only they heard gentle entreaty, rather than military command. How different things might be.”

How many have been lost in the cracks of church life because of the lack of gentleness in the way they were approached? How many have given up because of the “in your face,” or self-righteous attitudes demonstrated? Ambassadors such as this, Jesus does not need. The balance is a fine one. The balance is so needed. Balance is everything. “And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” Jude 22, 23.

“’Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.’” Matthew 11:29.

Lambs Are Unthreatening

Lambs are certainly meek and lowly. They are so unthreatening. That is why children are so drawn to them. If you have ever attended an agricultural fair and walked through the sheep barn, you have seen how the children cannot get in enough petting! That must be why children loved Jesus. He was so unthreatening, at least to those with nothing to cover up and hide.

Being meek is not being a doormat for anyone. On the other hand, the Lamb was dumb before His shearers; He suffered patiently; there was no guile in His mouth, no reviling heard from His lips and no threatening.

We Need Balance

Balance. We all see ourselves in this mix somewhere. Some are far more the lion. Some, far more the lamb. Some will speak up in an instant and be a bull in a china shop, while others quietly go about their business, often saying nothing when a crisis hits.

Just so you understand the importance of all this, just so you understand how important Satan sees all this, behold, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Matthew 7:15.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” I Peter 5:8.

Well, well. It appears Diabolos knows what God is striving for and seeks to get into the mix, which is to be expected. There is a counterfeit lion and a counterfeit lamb. We do well to know the difference, by experience, now, before it is too late.

Balance. While everything is about to enter a final time of perfect imbalance, a people shall arise and shine, fair as the moon, clear as the sun and terrible as an army with banners.

Seek God’s Balance

Beloved, do not delay; do not allow anything to keep you from the most glorious moment in the history of the universe. Seek the Lion. Seek the Lamb. Seek that balance that can be all things to all men.

Now, to give you an unbelievable mix of balance, God’s balance perfectly displayed and to be wondered at, look at these verses:

“And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Revelation 6:15–17. [Emphasis supplied.]

The wrath of a lamb? Could there be a more convoluted picture? What could possibly be more wondrous? Yet, it shall be so. A balance of Lion and Lamb so perfect the human race will be seized with a terror unimaginable, with a sense of rejection, of fear, of utter loss and hopelessness that calls forth a request of death, for to see the face of Him they have slighted and rejected is a fate worse than death.

But for God’s faithful it is the face of rescue, of triumph and victory! It is the face of acceptance, love and joy unspeakable. It is that Face that calls forth the shout, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us!”

Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Faith vs. Feeling

We have probably heard the story of David and Goliath numerous times, but it is a story that contains significant lessons for us today. I would like to focus on one aspect of this story—faith versus feeling. In the story, the Philistines were going to wage war against the Israelites. (See 1 Samuel 17.) The Israelites were on one mountain, and the Philistine army was on another mountain, with a valley between them. (Verse 3.) Goliath would come out of the Philistines’ camp and taunt the Israelites. He was a pretty good-sized man at “six cubits and a span.” (Verse 4.) There are different estimates of how tall he really was, but it was somewhere between 9 and 11 feet!


Goliath would taunt the Israelites by asking them to send one of their mightiest warriors down to him so they could fight. The challenge was, if I (Goliath) win, you are going to be our servants. If you win, the Philistines will be your servants. The devil had a definite purpose for this. The devil has always liked to ridicule God’s people, and if he could put them in servitude to the Philistines,he could use them as sport, ridicule them, and do whatever he wanted with them. Goliath said, “If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us. And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together. When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.” Verses 9–11.

Put yourself in their position. How would you like to fight someone who was 11 feet tall, who had armor on from head to toe? If you shot an arrow at him, it would not penetrate through his armor. He had a helmet of brass, and there was no space upon him that was not covered. (Verses 5–7.) It would be a discouraging situation would it not? Israel was greatly afraid. Goliath challenged the Israelite nation for 40 days, every morning and evening, ridiculing and taunting them—Come on, just bring out your best warrior to fight me! Day in and day out he taunted them. (Verse 16.)

David Arrives

David was sent by his father, Jesse, to give food to the army. Jesse’s three eldest sons were fighting with Saul in this battle. So here comes David; he gives his food to the captain of their thousand, as his father bid him do. (Verses 17, 18.) Then he went out to the battle lines to see his brothers. As he approaches the scene, he hears the commotion. He sees the two armies lined up ready for battle. He sees Goliath step forward to taunt the Israelites again, and they all turn and run for cover. David discovers that Goliath has been taunting the Israelites for 40 days, and no one has yet answered the challenge. “For Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in array, army against army. And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage, and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren. And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard [them]. And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid.” Verses 21–24.

Saul had let it be known that if anyone wanted to challenge Goliath that he would give that person a lot of wealth. He said he would set their families free, and the soldier would have Saul’s daughter as a wife—great rewards for going out to do battle with Goliath! But the Bible says, “And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who [is] this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” Verse 26. David said, forget about the rewards,we want to take the reproach away from us. This Philistine is coming out here, and we are not even answering the challenge.

Goliath’s stature did not intimidate David as it did all of Israel. David could care less how big he was. So David began going around the camp of Israel saying, We need to take care of this guy. He’s defying Israel, so in essence he is defying the God of heaven. He is taunting and ridiculing us, and no one is answering the challenge. Not even Saul. Remember, Saul was head and shoulders above his brothers —he was a big man, too. (See 1 Samuel 9:2.) Saul should have been the one answering the challenge, since he was the biggest. He should have been out doing battle with this Philistine, but the Bible tells us that the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and if we depart from the Spirit of the Lord, we have no courage of our own. That is what happened to Saul. Saul departed from the Spirit of the Lord and an evil spirit took control of him. Now he had no confidence that God would save him. (See 1 Samuel 16:14–16.)

David Accepts the Challenge

David continues talking to the camp of Israel, trying to get them to do something about Goliath. Word gets around to Saul that there is a shepherd boy making noise about taking care of this Philistine and that he would do it. Saul tells them to bring the shepherd boy to him. David comes up, with no armor on, and he says, “I will take care of this Philistine.”Saul said, “I do not think you understand who you are up against. This man is 11 feet tall, and you are nothing but a little shepherd boy.” David replies, “Yes, so what? I am going to take care of him. Who’s on my side?”

Notice David’s credentials: “Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.” 1 Samuel 17:36, 37.

No Presumption

David is not being presumptuous here. He is not rushing into something of which he has no foreknowledge. An angel had appeared to David and told him he was going to win a battle. “David is not careful to explain to his [eldest] brother [Eliab] that he had come to the help of Israel; that God had sent him to slay Goliath. God had chosen him to be a ruler of Israel; and as the armies of the living God were in such peril, he had been directed by an angel to save Israel.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 371. David was not rushing headlong into something presumptuously; he was not being reckless. God had already told him this would happen and what he was to do.

But David, humble and unassuming, just said to Saul, I herd my father’s sheep, and when I am out in the field and a bear comes to take my lamb away, I chase that bear down and kill him and I take that lamb right out of his mouth. The same with the lion, but it is the Lord who helped me. You see, he had an experience with the Lord before, and now the Lord trusted him with something big like this.

Prepared for Battle

Saul brought out his entire armor, which probably weighed over 100 pounds, and put it on David, this little shepherd boy. Can you imagine the sight? His sword was probably dragging the ground; the coat was down past his knees, and the helmet was over his eyes. As David walks out of Saul’s tent, all of the curious spectators are watching him go out to do battle with Goliath. David thinks about how he had just told Saul that it was the Lord that had delivered him from the lion and the bear. I cannot use this stuff, he says to himself. I have not even tested it; I do not know if it even works. How can I fight with the weight of all of this armor on me? So he turns and begins to retrace his steps. (Verses 38, 39.)

The curious spectators are sure that David has become afraid and changed his mind, but that was not the thoughts of David. He returned to the king and humbly said, “Saul, I have never worn armor before; I want to take it off.” So he laid off the armor, and with a staff in one hand and a sling in the other, he walked down to the brook and picked up five smooth stones. He put the stones in his shepherd’s bag and went out to meet Goliath. Verse 42 tells us that when the Philistine saw David he disdained him because he was but a youth. Goliath was insulted. He was expecting to see the greatest warrior of Israel come out against him with all of his armor on, and here is a little shepherd boy with a staff in his hand standing before him. Goliath said, “[Am] I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves?” Verse 43. “What are you going to do,” Goliath bellowed, “herd me around like you do your dog or your sheep?” He was ready to do battle, and here was a little shepherd boy.

“Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.” Verses 45, 46.

David is standing in the valley, and there are thousands of spectators, on either side of the valley, from the armies of Israel and Philistine. The whole, entire assembly heard what David said. He was not only going to take Goliath, he said, but the entire Philistine army would be defeated that day. “And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle [is] the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands.” Verse 47.

“There was a ring of fearlessness in his [David’s] tone, a look of triumph and rejoicing upon his fair countenance. This speech, given in a clear, musical voice, rang out on the air, and was distinctly heard by the listening thousands marshaled for war. The anger of Goliath was roused to the very highest heat. In his rage he pushed up the helmet that protected his forehead and rushed forward to wreak vengeance upon his opponent. The son of Jesse was preparing for his foe.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 648.

Goliath was so furious he started coming for David. Instead of turning to run, David ran right for Goliath, and while he was running he took one of the five smooth stones from his bag. He put the stone in his sling; he flipped that sling, and the stone flew through the air and imbedded itself right in the forehead of Goliath. Immediately Goliath’s hands flew up as if groping in darkness; blindness overtook him, and he stood there wavering as the thousands of the two armies looked on. All of a sudden this big giant fell, as though he was a mighty oak struck by lightning. David wasted no time. He jumped upon Goliath, drew Goliath’s own sword and cut off his head. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. Israel was ready to fight—now that the giant was gone! They chased the Philistines all the way to Ekron. (Verses 48–52.)

Lessons for us

What lessons can we learn from this story? I see a man of faith here—a little shepherd boy. “The mind should be educated to exercise faith rather than to cherish doubt, suspicion, and jealously. We are too prone to regard obstacles as impossibilities.” Review and Herald, March 17, 1910. Is that not what we are prone to do? We see something ahead of us, and we always say it is too big. We do not have enough money; we do not have enough resources, etc., etc. God expects us to use our minds, of course, but we are too prone to look at obstacles as impossibilities.

Govern the Circumstances

Let us look at our characters for a moment. We look at defects in our character, and they appear as big mountains in front of us, but we should never cherish doubt in our minds of what can happen. Ellen White says that we are too prone to look at obstacles as impossibilities. Just like Israel. That giant probably looked twice as big to them because of their doubt. “To have faith in the promises of God, to go forward by faith, pressing on without being governed by circumstances is a lesson hard to learn. Yet it is a positive necessity that every child of God should learn this lesson.” Ibid. What does it say? To walk forward by faith, pressing on without being governed by circumstances—how many of us allow the circumstances around us to govern us instead of us governing the circumstances and trusting in the Lord?

This is a lesson that is hard to learn, Mrs. White says, but it is absolutely necessary that we learn it; that we do not allow the circumstances to govern us, no matter what they are. We must learn to trust the Word of God explicitly, just like David did. He had been warned that morning by an angel that he was to fight a battle that day for the Lord. When God tells us to do something, we often stall in doing it. What does the devil do then? He creates circumstances where we will not be able to fulfill the duty. If we do not act, the devil is going to act for us, and when God tells us to do something, we had better act, instead of allowing the circumstances to govern us. “Faith is simple in its operation and powerful in its results.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, 322. Did God defeat Goliath with something very simple? A sling and a stone! Very simple. Faith is simply taking what God’s Word says and acting upon it. But many times we are like Israel of old—we allow the circumstances to govern us. What happens then? We have wrong feelings. Oh, they were afraid; they were dismayed. How often does that happen to us? We begin to be governed by our feelings instead of by faith.

Do not let Feelings Control

Feelings take control, and faith is out the window. “Faith and feeling are as distinct as the east is from the west. Faith is not dependent on feeling. We must earnestly cry to God in faith, feeling or no feeling, and then live our prayers.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1073. Do not wait for a certain feeling. It does not make any difference; we need to move forward by faith.

“Faith is not dependent on feeling. Daily we should dedicate ourselves to God and believe that Christ understands and accepts the sacrifice, without examining ourselves to see if we have that degree of feeling that we think should correspond with our faith. Have we not the assurance that our heavenly Father is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him in faith than parents are to give good gifts to their children? We should go forward as if to every prayer that we send to the throne of God we heard the response from the One whose promises never fail.” Our High Calling, 120.

We are to move forward as though that prayer is lodged at the throne of heaven and has already been answered. Too many times we allow our feelings to get in the way. We want to have some feeling to know that we are right with God, that our sins are forgiven. We want to have some degree of feeling, but faith is not dependent upon what we feel. Faith simply takes what God’s Word says and acts upon it. (See The Signs of the Times, September 9, 1889.) When we pray we are to pray as though that prayer is already lodged at the throne of heaven and has already been answered. Move forward!

“Genuine faith is founded on the Scriptures; but Satan uses so many devices to wrest the Scriptures and bring in error, that great care is needed if one would know what they really do teach. It is one of the great delusions of this time to dwell upon feeling.” Review and Herald, November 25, 1884. One of the greatest delusions of Satan is to get us to dwell upon our feelings. How many of us go on what we feel instead of what God’s Word says? We need to increase our faith, should we not? Just like the disciples, we need to pray, Increase our faith, Lord.

“Feelings, whether encouraging or discouraging, should not be made the test of the spiritual condition. [Whether you are depressed, like the Israelite nation, or elated, does not make any difference; move by faith.] By God’s Word we are to determine our true standing before him. Many are bewildered on this point. When they are happy and joyous, they think that they are accepted by God. When a change comes, and they feel depressed, they think that God has forsaken them.” Ibid., February 28, 1907.

How many of us have gone through that experience? Perhaps we have gone through some depressing times, and automatically we think that God has forsaken us. In such a case we need to claim Hebrews 13:5: ” . . . For He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” We need to have such promises in store, because if we ever feel depressed and feel that the Lord has forsaken us, we can point to these promises and say, Lord you promised you would never forsake us. We are to determine our standing with God by studying His Word and by seeing what our true standing is before Him. If there is correction that needs to be made, we need to make that correction, but never are we to rely upon our feelings.

Here is another startling statement.

“Faith is not feeling. ‘Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’ [Hebrews 11:1.] The religion that takes the position of secluded enjoyment, that is satisfied to contemplate the religion of Jesus Christ, and that keeps its possessor from an experimental knowledge of its saving power, is a deception.” The Youth’s Instructor, February 10, 1898.

Increase Faith

How can we have our faith increased? If you had been in a hospital bed for three or four weeks,do you think you would feel strong? What happens to the muscles? They begin to weaken and to lose their tone. Our faith is no different. If we do not exercise faith, we are going to be spiritually weak. Every day we have an opportunity to exercise our faith. It must be exercised from day to day. Just read the story of David and let it encourage your heart. God will fight for His people. The battle is not ours; it is the Lord’s, but we need to cooperate with Him just as David did, not by backing down, but going forward, meeting the circumstances as they are and not allowing them to shake us.

Faith becomes strong by coming into conflict with doubts and opposing them. What is the counsel? You have today to exercise your faith. If we begin doubting and allow darkness to fill our hearts and we become discouraged, it is then time to lift up a prayer unto the Lord and sing a melody unto Him. That is what David did. He took out his harp and began playing praises to the Lord on his harp. The longer we allow our feelings of discouragement to take control of us, the worse we will become. We cannot allow it.

I know it is easy to say, but this is the only way that our faith will grow. When we are faced with these discouraging situations and we are full of doubt, then is the time to exercise faith! “The experience gained in these trials is of more value than the most costly jewels.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 555. We will have our reward in heaven, but faith is what is going to be needed to endure until the end. If we do not have it, we are not going to make it.

Do you want to have David’s experience—moving forward, not allowing the circumstances to govern you, taking control of the circumstances through the arm of the Lord? Remember the story of David and Goliath. The more we dwell upon our problems, the bigger they get, like Goliath; but the faster we exercise faith and trust in the Lord, those doubts and discouragements are going to vanish away.

We can lift one another up; we can come together and edify one another; we can build one another up in faith, but this is an individual experience between you and God. First of all you must learn not to trust yourself. All trust in self must be eradicated from the life before you can have true faith. “By faith—faith that renounces all self-trust—the needy suppliant is to lay hold upon infinite power.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 159.

Mike Bauler pastors the Historic Message Church in Portland, Oregon. He may be contacted by e-mail at

Faith That Works

We know there is coming a great time of trouble before Jesus returns. Some of us might be in prisons, in mountain caverns, or in the woods somewhere. At that time, it will be comforting to remember the things that we have studied while there was freedom.

In an article by Elder Robinson in The Review and Herald in 1931, he wrote, “There can be no doubt in the mind of any true Seventh-day Adventist that the supreme need of God’s remnant people is true vital godliness as a preparation for the advent of Christ and for the tests that are to come upon them before that event. This need places upon the ministry the solemn responsibility of giving to the flock of God, in a clear, tangible, and definite way, such instruction as will help them to understand how to obtain the experience that will bring into their lives complete victory over sin. On the one hand we see the great success of the enemy in deceiving earnest souls by causing them to depend in a greater or lesser degree upon some works of their own, at least as a partial means of salvation.”

That paragraph records one of the great battlefields between the sixteenth century reformers and the Roman Catholic church, which, in fact, has never changed its position. One day I turned the radio on in my car and listened to a Catholic program. The person speaking was actually attacking Protestantism by trying to prove that salvation came by faith and works. Martin Luther said that no, salvation does not come by faith and works. Works have no merit of any kind to gain any part of your salvation. Ellen White said that if you said to the angels that our works had something to do with our salvation, they would consider it treason against the government of God.

James 2 is used by Roman Catholics in a powerful way to try to prove that salvation comes by faith and works.

Elder Robinson continued in his article, “On the other hand, is there not danger that the minister, in order to emphasize the truth that these deluded souls need, will, while presenting the riches of the grace of Christ in affording a full and complete salvation, fail to make equally clear the part every man himself must act in cooperation with God in order to receive the benefits of the atonement?

“The minister himself may understand this, and his life may be consistent. He may not in the course of his exposition of the doctrine of the righteousness by faith completely ignore the effort that is necessary to maintain a Christian experience. Yet if by dwelling disproportionately upon one side of the question, he leaves his hearers or readers to feel they may enter into a life of victory in which they are more or less passive, trusting Jesus to do everything for them without active, vigilant cooperation on their part, he has seriously failed to bring effective righteousness into their lives.”

That belief is very popular today, even among Seventh-day Adventists. People want a passive religion where Christ does everything and they do nothing, expecting to simply sit in a comfortable seat and allow Jesus to drive them to heaven.

Quoting Matthew 11:28–30 to prove their point, people have often said that it is easier to be saved than lost. Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

It says, “My yoke is easy.” However, if you look at the Greek word that is used there, it does not mean easy. The word easy is actually a dynamic equivalence in translation. If you translate it literally it would read “My yoke is kind.”

Though this text is used to try to show that it is easier to be saved than be lost, it is not true. You do not have to do anything to be lost.

Ellen White says, “This is an age famous for surface work, for easy methods, for boasted holiness aside from the standard of character that God has erected. All short routes, all cutoff tracks, all teaching which fails to exalt the law of God as the standard of religious character, is spurious. Perfection of character is a lifelong work, unattainable by those who are not willing to strive for it in God’s appointed way, by slow and toilsome steps. We cannot afford to make any mistake in this matter, but we want day by day to be growing up into Christ, our living Head.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 500. [Emphasis in original.]

When you are a young person growing up in a Christian home, it is very easy to assume that if you work at it you will attain perfection of character. However, attaining perfection of character takes a lifetime of slow, toilsome steps. She says, “We cannot afford to make any mistake in this matter, but we want day by day to be growing up into Christ, our living Head.” Ibid.

Paul wrote to the Ephesians “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ” (Ephesians 4:14, 15).

Christ is our living head. Concerning Him, Ephesians 1:22 says that “He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church.”

At the Minneapolis General Conference in 1888, the subject of righteousness by faith was presented. This message was preached by Jones and Waggoner all over the country, but it was rejected by many Adventist leaders. However, in 1893 Ellen White sent to Elder A. T. Jones a caution concerning his preaching. She said, “I was attending a meeting, and a large congregation were present. In my dream you were presenting the subject of faith and the imputed righteousness of Christ by faith. You repeated several times that works amounted to nothing, that there were no conditions. The matter was presented in that light that I knew minds would be confused, and would not receive the correct impression in reference to faith and works.” Notebook Leaflets, vol. 1, chapter 21.

It was the way in which the message was presented that was in error, in a way that minds would be confused, and not the message itself. The result was that the relationship between faith and works would not be understood correctly.

Elder Robinson in this article went on to write, “Surely such a caution should be passed on so that our ministry today may have the benefit of it. In order to make apparent this danger [of not understanding the balance between faith and works] there follow a few of these quoted statements of Mrs. White, pointing out the worthlessness of man’s efforts as being in themselves meritorious as a means of salvation.”

Our works have absolutely no merit in gaining salvation; we are saved on the basis of the merits of Jesus Christ. If you believe that you are saved by both faith and works, Ellen White says the devil knows that he will overcome you.

Elder Robinson writes, “Following each of these quotations in shorter lines are other statements taken from the same article which cannot be ignored if a balanced presentation is to be assured. These statements are designated by the letters A and B, A presenting one side of the question, B the other side of the question. For the sake of brevity, a few typical instances are given, and these are limited to The Review and Herald articles, immediately following the Minneapolis conference.”

“There are many who seem to feel that they have a great work to do themselves before they can come to Christ for His salvation. They seem to think that Jesus will come in at the very last of their struggle and give them help by putting the finishing touch to their life-work. It seems difficult for them to understand that Christ is a complete Saviour, and able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him. (See Hebrews 7:25.) They lose sight of the fact that Christ Himself is ‘the way, the truth, and the life’ (John 14:6).” The Review and Herald, March 5, 1889.

The truth is that you need Christ’s help at the beginning of your Christian journey and all along the way. Ellen White says that we cannot keep ourselves from sin for one moment without Jesus (see The Ministry of Healing, 180).

It is in our weakness that Jesus can keep us from falling. When Peter walked on water to reach Jesus provides an illustration of living the Christian life. The impossible becomes possible when we fix our eyes on Jesus, and He is ever willing to help all who call on Him. He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5, last part). We must not feel that we have to do something first and then Jesus will help us from then on.

In this same article Ellen White says, “Sabbath afternoon I had freedom in presenting to the people the necessity of obeying the law of God. It is not enough to say that we believe. We must have that genuine faith which works by love, and purifies the soul. God has given us a perfect standard of righteousness in His law.” …

“When the Spirit of God begins to work upon the hearts of men, the fruit is seen in confession of sin, and restitution for wrongs. All through the meetings, as the people sought to draw nearer to God, they brought forth works meet for repentance by confessing one to another.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, Chapter 30.

Here Ellen White talks about fruits meet or appropriate for repentance, referring to the statement made by John the Baptist to the Jewish leaders found in Matthew 3:8. She also talks about the faith that works by love. “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6). We are not saved by faith and works. However, we are saved by faith that works. Works are the result of faith and not the cause of any merit of our salvation.

“We thank the Lord with all the heart that we have precious light to present before the people, and we rejoice that we have a message for this time which is present truth. The tidings that Christ is our righteousness has brought relief to many, many souls, and God says to His people, ‘Go forward.’ The message to the Laodicean church is applicable to our condition.” …

“We thank God that there are souls who realize that they are in need of something which they do not possess—gold of faith and love, white raiment of Christ’s righteousness, eye-salve of spiritual discernment.” The Review and Herald, July 23, 1889.

Christ is our righteousness. Paul says, “But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). We see from this that Jesus is to us “righteousness and sanctification and redemption.”

In this same article is the following statement: “When the Lord gives us a work to do, if we do it in His fear, it will be wholly acceptable to God. Not one jot or tittle of His promises will fail to those who act their part with fidelity, who live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. We are to believe and obey the commandments of God.” The Review and Herald, July 23, 1889.

Not only are we to believe but we are to obey. To be perfect means to have the love of God within. Those who truly love God will want to obey His word.

“All who profess to believe the Lord is soon coming, should reveal their faith by corresponding works. … diligent zeal must be manifested to set the truth before the people by personal work. But the most enthusiastic zeal will accomplish nothing without the co-operation of God. Divine power must combine with human effort.” Ibid., August 13, 1889.

“The doctrine of justification by faith has been lost sight of by many who have professed to believe the third angel’s message.” Ibid.

“Divine power must be combined with human effort.” Ibid., September 8, 1896.

“If Satan can succeed in leading man to place value upon his own works as works of merit and righteousness, he knows that he can overcome him by his temptations, and make him his victim and prey. Lift up Jesus before the people. Strike the door-posts with the blood of Calvary’s Lamb, and you are safe.” Ibid., September 3, 1889.

Well does the devil know that by believing human works have some merit makes you an easy prey. Salvation is completely of grace. The struggle we do have is to learn to live by faith.

“There is indeed a narrow way in which we must walk; the cross is presented at every step. We must learn to live by faith; then the darkest hours will be brightened by the blessed beams of the Sun of Righteousness. …

“Earthly blessings cannot be obtained without toil, and can we expect that spiritual and heavenly blessings will come without earnest effort on our part? …

“Those who believe that God for Christ’s sake has forgiven their sins, should not, through temptation, fail to press on to fight the good fight of faith. Their faith should grow stronger until their Christian life, as well as their words, shall declare, ‘The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth me from all sin’ (1 John 1:7, last part).” Ibid.

We are told, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12).

How would you explain the fight of faith? I have discovered that within Seventh-day Adventist circles there are many differences of opinion on this subject.

In 1890 Ellen White wrote an article in The Review and Herald in which she has some interesting statements about the law and the gospel. She says, “Do not stand as many of you have done, apparently wavering between dependence upon the righteousness of Christ, and dependence upon your own righteousness. Deception has come upon some minds until they have thought that their own merits were of considerable value. Their minds are confused and perplexed where all is clear and plain. The end is near! We have no time to halt between two opinions.” Ibid., May 27, 1890.

Now is not the time to remain confused. Our dependence is not on anything that we can do. Our dependence is on Christ alone.

Paul presents this same dichotomy in writing to the Philippian church. He says, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12, 13). [Emphasis supplied.] Here Paul makes it clear that although it sounds like you are working it out, actually, it is God working in you.

In an article recorded in Testimonies, vol. 4, 383, Ellen White was shown a panoramic view of the judgment of the entire world, but more specifically, concerning those who profess to be Seventh-day Adventists.

As she looked, she was particularly concerned about certain people. She said, “They had presumed too much upon the mercy of God.” Ibid., 385. They had not cooperated with the Holy Spirit to develop a perfect character. It is something I believe we should study often so that we don’t become lackadaisical and settle down accepting a passive, easy religion that is so common today. The Bible predicted this to be a problem in the last days. In 2 Timothy 3:5, it says the people will have a “form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away.” Those described here are professed Christians.

Are you aware of the fact that as we approach the end of the world’s history there is going to be a revival such as the world has never seen? It is going to look as if the whole world has been converted. Inspiration tells us that they are going to come to the Seventh-day Adventists and say that the whole world has been converted. If you would just cooperate, the millennium could begin. But because there are a few people who refuse to deny their faith and cooperate with the masses, a decision will be made to introduce a death decree and get rid of the non-conformists.

“We must unite with Christ. There is a reservoir of power at our command, and we are not to remain in the dark, cold, sunless cave of unbelief; or we shall not catch the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness.” The Review and Herald, January 24, 1893.

“Satan is now working with all his insinuating, deceiving power, to lead men away from the work of the third angel’s message, which is to be proclaimed with mighty power. When the enemy sees that the Lord is blessing His people, and preparing them to discern his delusions, he will work with his masterly power to bring in fanaticism on one hand and cold formalism on the other, that he may gather in a harvest of souls. Now is the time to watch unceasingly. Watch for the first step of advance that Satan may make among us.” Ibid. Whenever there is a revival and reformation movement, the devil tries to destroy it by bringing in fanaticism on one hand and cold formalism on the other.

“Some will not make a right use of the doctrine of justification by faith. They will present it in a one-sided manner, making everything of faith, and belittling works. Others will seize the points that have a leaning toward error, and will ignore works altogether. Now, genuine faith always works by love; it supplies a motive power. Faith is not an opiate, but a stimulant. Looking to Calvary will not quiet your soul into nonperformance of duty, but will create faith that will work, purifying the soul from all selfishness. In laying hold of Christ by faith, we but just begin our work. Every man has corrupt and sinful habits that must be overcome through vigorous warfare. Every soul must fight the fight of faith. He who is a follower of Christ, cannot deal deceitfully; he cannot be hard-hearted and devoid of sympathy. He cannot be coarse in speech. He cannot be a surmiser of evil, an accuser of the brethren. He cannot be full of pomposity and self-esteem. He cannot be overbearing, using harsh words, and censuring and condemning those around him. …

“To be a Christian requires more than a profession of faith. There must be an earnest effort to conquer through the grace freely given of God.” Ibid.

Today, our prayer should be: “Then the language of the soul will be, Lord, take my heart; for I cannot give it. It is Thy property. Keep it pure, for I cannot keep it for Thee. Save me in spite of myself, my weak, unchristlike self. Mold me, fashion me, raise me into a pure and holy atmosphere, where the rich current of Thy love can flow through my soul.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 159.

(Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.)

Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by email at:, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.