When we consider our age, we taken into account the period of time that began when we were born and that reaches up to the present moment. When God looks at our life, He looks at it from a completely different perspective. When God looks at a person’s life, He is looking between now and the last day that he will spend in this world, and He knows what experiences must take place in his life between now and the last day to prepare him to be ready to enter His kingdom.
The last day of our life is spoken of throughout the Scriptures as a day of judgment. In our last study, we looked at the last night of Belshazzar and the heavenly message that was written on the wall of his banquet hall, “You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting.” Samuel 5:27. A serious thought, one that we need to carefully consider, is that every one of us is going to be weighed in those same balances.
The gospel involves not just forgiveness of sin, though that is certainly a part of it; it also involves restoration. Our character , thoughts, feelings, and even our motives are to be changed by the power of the gospel, fully restoring in us the moral image of God. There are people who would like to say that by simply being justified you have a title to heaven and are qualified to enter in. Let me put it in a very simple way so that it will be easy to understand.
Suppose that you are a blind man. You want to go places, and you have the money to afford a brand new car. Because you have the money, you may be able to obtain a title to the car; but would you be able to drive it? No, you would not, because you would not be qualified to drive, even though you owned it.
You see, you can say, “Lord, I am choosing to put my trust in Jesus,” and qualify to have a title to heaven; but in the day of judgment, if you are put in the balances and found wanting, the Lord will say to you, “Yes, the price has been paid; but you are not fit. You are not qualified.” Jesus provides the title, but you must have both a title and a fitness for heaven in order to go. “Righteousness within is testified to by righteousness without. He who is righteous within is not hard-hearted and unsympathetic, but day by day he grows into the image of Christ, going on from strength to strength. He who is being sanctified by the truth will be self-controlled, and will follow in the footsteps of Christ until grace is lost in glory. The righteousness by which we are justified is imputed; the righteousness by which we are sanctified is imparted. The first is our title to heaven; the second is our fitness for heaven.” Review and Herald, June 4, 1895.
“The robe of your character must be washed till it is spotless in the fount open for all uncleanness. Your moral worth will be weighed in the balances of the sanctuary and if you are found wanting, you will be at an eternal loss.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 155.
Some are tempted to say, “Then I will never make it.” No, you will never make it on your own. Unless the Holy Spirit comes into your heart and it is purified and you are transformed, you never will meet the standard. We are not talking about an earn-it-yourself religion. The good news is that, if you surrender to the Lord and ask Him for His Holy Spirit, He has already told you in His Word that you will receive it.
Surprisingly, there are many people who do not want to receive the Holy Spirit. They are unwilling to do so because when the Holy Spirit comes, as Jesus said, He reproves of sin. (See John 16:8.) So, when a person comes to the Lord, the first thing that the Holy Spirit does when he enters into the heart is to rebuke them. As people do not like to receive a rebuke, they begin to resist. They want to be a Christian and they want to be saved, but they do not want to totally surrender to the Lord, or open their heart to Him, because they are afraid that God will require of them something they do not want to do.
One of the things that we have to recognize and remember is that God, although He is all-powerful, does not use His power to force Himself upon anyone. If you put up a wall in response to His rebuke, though He may continue to knock at the door of your heart, He will never force His way in. Ellen White expressed it like this. “He says, ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.’ How willing is Christ to take possession of the soul temple if we will let Him! He is represented as waiting and knocking t the door of the heart. As soon as we consent to give sin up, to acknowledge our guilt, the barrier is removed between the soul and the Saviour.” Signs of the Times, September 12, 1911.
Oh, friends, I do not know your heart; but if the Holy Spirit is speaking to you saying, “I want to come in; but you know that there is sin that you do not want to give up, so I can not come in,” let me remind you that the One who loved you enough to die on the cross to save you will never, ever make a requirement of you that is actually not in your best interest. You can trust Him.
God knows exactly how many days you have until it is your last day in this world and what work must be accomplished in your life if you are to be ready for heaven. If, however, you do not open the door; if you are hanging on to something and you do not want to let go, you are slowing the process. Soon your moral worth will be weighed in the balances of the sanctuary; and if you are found wanting, you will be at an eternal loss.
Let us consider for a moment what heaven is like. To begin with, we know that it is a wonderful place and that we all want to go there. The problem that arises is that, if we went like we are, it would no longer be such a wonderful place anymore. Heaven has already experienced what it is like to have sinful beings there; and according to the Bible, it resulted in a war. That war is still going on, and God has quarantined the war so that it is restricted to this world. The issue of sin was resolved for the rest of the universe when Jesus died on the cross, through it has taken another 2,000 years to resolve it here on the earth. God is not going to take anyone from here up to heaven who would again introduce the sin element. God has given His word on this; you can read it in the Old Testament. “Affliction will not rise up a second time.” Nahum 1:9. God determined, through His infinite wisdom and knowledge, that in order for this problem to be totally solved so that sin would never take place again, it was going to take some time for the whole thing to work out; so God has allowed this problem to develop and to go on for almost 6,000 years. In order for the sin problem to be totally resolved, the element of sin must be removed from the heart and life of everyone who goes to heaven.
One of the effects that sin has had on our lives is “coarseness.” When you go to heaven and you have a conversation, do you suppose that the people you talk with will be refined?
“We are to bear the image of God, and every soul saved through the sacrifice of the Son of God must in this life be made complete in Christ. There is much to do in order to fit us for the courts of the Lord. The roughness of spirit, the coarseness of speech, the cheapness of character, must be put away, or we can never wear the garment woven in the heavenly loom, —the righteousness of Christ.” Review and Herald, July 4, 1899.
The way that God works to refine our character is to subject us to the troubles that we experience here on earth. “It is in mercy that the Lord reveals to men their hidden defects. He would have them critically examine the complicated emotions and motives of their own hearts, and detect that which is wrong and modify their dispositions, and refine their manners. God would have His servants become acquainted with their own hearts. In order to bring them to a true knowledge of their condition, He permits the fires of affliction to assail them, so that they may be purified. The trials of life are God’s workmen to remove the impurities, infirmities, and roughness from our character , and fit them for the society of pure, heavenly angels in glory.” Review and Herald, April 10, 1894.
Suppose that you were taken to heaven and someone that you know received a crown nicer than yours. What are you going to do? If you have not laid aside your envy, your jealousy, you will only carry the same disposition to heaven with you; but there will be nothing of this character in the world to come. “Nothing will exist there but love and joy and harmony. Some will have brighter crowns than others, but there will be no jealous thoughts in any heart among the redeemed. Each one will be perfectly satisfied, for all will be rewarded according to their work; for ‘they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars forever and ever.’” Signs of the Times, February 10, 1888. If we are to go to heaven, all envy and jealousy will have to come out of our lives. It is the way of this world that people look at the way that someone else is dressed and compare that with their own. Jealousy is a problem in this world, have you noticed? If, however, we are to find our place in heaven, the love of Christ must replace it. We must develop His meekness and lowliness of heart.
The Bible says a great deal about speech. When you are put into the scales, one of the big factors that will determine your moral worth is your speech. Speech is so important that when God gave the Law of the Ten Commandments to the children of Israel, two of them dealt directly with speech—the third and the ninth. Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:35–37. In reviewing your life, a large part of what you should be reviewing is your speech. Has your speech today been in harmony with the Word of God? Is it true? Does it not take God’s name in vain? Is it kind?
Closely associated with speech is evil surmising. It only takes one person to get evil surmising started in a church, and if the other people succumb to it, it can destroy a whole church. There are many examples of this in the Bible. For instance, among Jesus’ disciples, there was constant quarreling and fighting prior to the crucifixion. And, though they were all at fault because they succumbed to it, Ellen White makes it very clear that there was one person who was continually stirring things up. It was Judas. Jesus knew this, though the rest of the disciples did not realize what was going on. They believed Judas to be a very spiritual person, one of the leading disciples.
Evil surmising can take place in a family, or in a church, and wreak havoc and destruction before the majority of the people realize what is taking place. It is a very, very destructive tool of the devil. We cannot go around judging each other’s hearts and motives. We do not have that right. The devil knows that if you become involved in evil surmising, he can work through you to bring everything into disarray. If we are going to heaven, friends, we personally have to get over evil surmising and we have to help the others do so, too. “Those who are filled with envy, jealousy, and evil surmising, and who indulge in evil speaking, make it manifest that they are unfit for the kingdom of heaven, because they are not peacemakers. Through trial and test, it is proved that they are weighed in the balances and found wanting.” Signs of the Times, October 3, 1895.
Just as it was with Belshazzar, when the handwriting was on the wall, there is coming a time when it will be too late for each of us to change. We will have been weighed in the balance. What is going to be the outcome for you? We are all going to have to face the handwriting on the wall; and it is going to say, “You are weighed in the balance. . . .” How will the sentence end for you?
Do you want a transformation of character to take place in your heart, your life, and your home? If that is what you want, kneel down right now and ask the Lord to work this miracle in your heart and life.