Editorial – A Day of Reckoning Coming

Editor’s Note: This is a continuation of last month’s letter from Ellen White to the Oakland and Battle Creek Churches.

“Your mind, your soul, your strength are all the Lord’s. None of these talents will be left out by the Master in the reckoning that is soon to be made. We may leave them out of our reckoning, but the Lord measures with exactitude every possibility for service.

“A strict account must be rendered at that great day when Christ shall come. Day by day and hour by hour we are making our own record….We are trading with our Lord’s goods. Pharisaism will appear in abundance. But a formal church will have far less to account for in the sight of God than those who have had so great light, so many opportunities, and yet are found among transgressors.

“Those at the center of the work have manifested an avaricious spirit; they have, as it were, clothed fraud and double-dealing, conniving,—principles which God condemns in His work,—with a garment of righteousness. They have so perverted their imagination that they have supposed gain to be godliness.

“God would have wrought in a manner you have not yet realized were it not for the corrupting principles existing in the church at the very heart of the work, where it was supposed, and where it has been taught, that the counsel coming therefrom was of God. But the neglect of the measures that should have been taken to cleanse from our institutions and from our church their moral defilement, has brought the wrath of God upon His people.

“God, in His own good time will give the message to men whom you least expect, to come from men’s policy to the policy of God. The doctrine of justification by faith and the righteousness by faith was opposed, and masterly efforts made through opposition and denunciation by a formal church, whose attitude was of a character to discourage integrity and faithfulness and good works. And the result is just as it was in Christ’s day. Those who were blinded by the enemy would, from their standpoint, pronounce judgment against the living principles of truth as heresy, and if they dared, would make the press voice their sentiments with warnings and anathemas because their own preconceived opinions were not considered supreme and without a flaw.

“God has given His Word power, but at what a cost! What labor and pain, and anguish of soul have been endured! What time and money have been bestowed! And how much of God’s talents has been wasted under misconception in counter-working the work of God, at the very time the message was to go with a loud voice and ripen off the harvest of the earth! Men in high places of trust have gone from place to place as agents, working on the enemy’s side. While the workers of God, sent forth with a special message, have prosecuted their work as men who must give an account, they have not been appreciated. Their way has been hedged up, and their labor counter-worked as far as possible.

The attainment of a living faith in Christ is essential. The pardon of sins, the contrite heart, the reception of the blessed atonement through sanctification of the spirit and belief of the truth, must be wrought through personal, individual agencies. This can not be obtained or wrought out by a substitute. Each individual must arm himself with the high purpose of doing the will of God. When he does this to the full, his decision of fundamental doctrines and principles will be considered worthy of attention.