January 1, 2017 – January 7, 2017
“As He [the Lord God] spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began” (Luke 1:70).
Study Help: The Signs of the Times, October 12, 1904.
“We must now begin the work of reformation by turning unto the Lord with full purpose of heart. Let the work begin, that the heart may be softened, and that Christ may mould and fashion you after His own divine image.” The Signs of the Times, February 22, 1892.
1 THE FOUNDATION OF TRUE REFORM
- How can we distinguish between true and false reforms? Isaiah 8:20; Philippians 3:9.
Note: “The safety of society, and the progress of reform, depend upon a clear definition and recognition of fundamental truth. The principles of God’s law must be kept before the people as everlasting and inexorable as the character of God Himself. Law is defined as a rule of action. … The good of society and the safety of man require that the law be respected. All enlightened law is founded on the law of Jehovah, given on Mount Sinai.” The Health Reformer, August 1, 1878.
“Every true reform has its place in the work of the gospel and tends to the uplifting of the soul to a new and nobler life.” The Ministry of Healing, 171.
- Upon whom should we place our trust? Psalm 118:8; Proverbs 3:5.
Note: “Whatever position in life we may occupy, whatever our business, we must be humble enough to feel our need of help; we must lean implicitly on the teachings of God’s word, acknowledge His providence in all things, and be faithful in pouring out our souls in prayer.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 427.
2 TRUE REFORM BEGINS WITH THE HEART
- What is the precursor to reformation? Joel 2:12, 13; Psalm 51:10; 2 Corinthians 7:11.
Note: “There is sin, enormous sin, charged against many who profess to be Christians. The great Pleader says, My claims upon the human heart have been ignored. God calls for repentance, for reformation.” The Review and Herald, December 8, 1896.
“Repentance includes sorrow for sin and a turning away from it.” Steps to Christ, 23.
“Confession will not be acceptable to God without sincere repentance and reformation. There must be decided changes in the life; everything offensive to God must be put away. This will be the result of genuine sorrow for sin. The work that we have to do on our part is plainly set before us: ‘Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before Mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow’ (Isaiah 1:16, 17). ‘If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die’ (Ezekiel 33:15). Paul says, speaking of the work of repentance: ‘Ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter’ (2 Corinthians 7:11).” Ibid., 39.
- What yearning cry at the time of Pentecost acknowledged a great personal need? Acts 2:37, 38.
Note: “How shall a man be just with God? How shall the sinner be made righteous? It is only through Christ that we can be brought into harmony with God, with holiness; but how are we to come to Christ? Many are asking the same question as did the multitude on the Day of Pentecost, when, convicted of sin, they cried out, ‘What shall we do?’ The first word of Peter’s answer was, ‘Repent’ (Acts 2:37, 38). At another time, shortly after, he said, ‘Repent, … and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out’ (Acts 3:19).” Steps to Christ, 23.
3 THE FRUITS OF TRUE REFORM
- How are reformers in these last days described? Isaiah 58:12, 13.
Note: “[Isaiah 58:8, 9, 12–14, quoted.]
“Here are given the characteristics of those who shall be reformers, who will bear the banner of the third angel’s message, those who avow themselves God’s commandment-keeping people, and who honor God, and are earnestly engaged, in the sight of all the universe, in building up the old waste places. Who is it that calls them, The repairers of the breach, The restorers of paths to dwell in?—It is God. Their names are registered in heaven as reformers, restorers, as raising the foundations of many generations.” The Review and Herald, October 13, 1891.
- What specific evidences of reform will be seen in the life? Matthew 3:8.
Note: “Nothing short of an amended life—fruits meet for repentance—will meet the requirements of God. Without such fruit, our profession of faith is of no value.” The Signs of the Times, July 7, 1887.
“No repentance is genuine that does not work reformation. The righteousness of Christ is not a cloak to cover unconfessed and unforsaken sin; it is a principle of life that transforms the character and controls the conduct. Holiness is wholeness for God; it is the entire surrender of heart and life to the indwelling of the principles of heaven.” The Desire of Ages, 555, 556.
“John separated himself from friends and from the luxuries of life. The simplicity of his dress, a garment woven of camel’s hair, was a standing rebuke to the extravagance and display of the Jewish priests, and of the people generally. His diet, purely vegetable, of locusts and wild honey, was a rebuke to the indulgence of appetite and the gluttony that everywhere prevailed. … Those who are to prepare the way for the second coming of Christ are represented by faithful Elijah, as John came in the spirit of Elijah to prepare the way for Christ’s first advent. The great subject of reform is to be agitated. … Temperance in all things is to be connected with the message, to turn the people of God from their idolatry, their gluttony, and their extravagance in dress and other things. …
“Whoever violates moral obligations in the matter of eating and dressing prepares the way to violate the claims of God in regard to eternal interests.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 62, 63.
4 REFORMATION’S BANNER—TRUTH AND LIBERTY
- By what means will I recognize what needs reforming? Psalm 119:142; John 17:17; 14:6.
Note: “The Lord requires of all who profess His name a strict adherence to truth. This will be as salt which has not lost its savor, as a light amid the moral darkness and deception of the world.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 356.
“The principle we are to uphold at this time is the same that was maintained by the adherents of the gospel in the great Reformation. …
“The banner of truth and religious liberty which these Reformers held aloft has in this last conflict been committed to us. The responsibility for this great gift rests with those whom God has blessed with a knowledge of His word. We are to receive God’s word as supreme authority. We must accept its truths for ourselves. And we can appreciate these truths only as we search them out by personal study. … The acknowledgment of the truth in word and deed is our confession of faith. Only thus can others know that we believe the Bible.” Ibid., vol. 6, 402, 403.
- What then is the relationship between liberty, sanctification, and God’s law? Psalm 119:44, 45; James 1:25; John 8:31, 32.
Note: “Entire conformity to the will of our Father which is in heaven is alone sanctification, and the will of God is expressed in His holy law. The keeping of all the commandments of God is sanctification. Proving yourselves obedient children to God’s word is sanctification. The word of God is to be our guide, not the opinions or ideas of men.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 204.
“Spurious sanctification leads directly away from the Bible. Religion is reduced to a fable. Feelings and impressions are made the criterion. While they profess to be sinless, and boast of their righteousness, the claimants of sanctification teach that men are at liberty to transgress the law of God, and that those who obey its precepts have fallen from grace. A presentation of its claims arouses their opposition, and excites anger and contempt. Thus their character is shown, for ‘the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be’ (Romans 8:7).” The Review and Herald, October 5, 1886.
5 INDIVIDUAL REFORM
- How can I reform? Romans 1:16; 2 Timothy 3:15.
Note: “Apart from divine power, no genuine reform can be effected. Human barriers against natural and cultivated tendencies are but as the sand-bank against the torrent. Not until the life of Christ becomes a vitalizing power in our lives can we resist the temptations that assail us from within and from without.” The Signs of the Times, December 1, 1914.
“Christianity proposes a reformation in the heart. What Christ works within, will be worked out under the dictation of a converted intellect. The plan of beginning outside and trying to work inward has always failed, and always will fail. God’s plan with you is to begin at the very seat of all difficulties, the heart, and then from out of the heart will issue the principles of righteousness; the reformation will be outward as well as inward.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 35.
- How can I be an active reformer? Galatians 6:9, 10; I John 1:3.
Note: “ ‘Them that honor Me I will honor’ (I Samuel 2:30). As from such a home the father goes forth to his daily duties, it is with a spirit softened and subdued by converse with God. He is a Christian, not only in his profession, but in trade, in all his business relations. He does his work with fidelity, knowing that the eye of God is upon him.
“In the church his voice is not silent. He has words of gratitude and encouragement to utter; for he is a growing Christian, with a fresh experience every day. He is a helpful, active worker in the church, laboring for the glory of God and the salvation of his fellow men.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 424, 425.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 What does true reform accomplish in the life of the believer?
2 How does repentance go hand in hand with reformation?
3 In what areas do all need to reform?
4 How can we be a light in the midst of moral darkness?
5 When will we have a genuine reform in our lives?
Copyright © 2016 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.