Editorial – Counsel from the True Witness

God will save the vilest and the most degraded sinner, if that person will listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. (See The Desire of Ages, 258.) The following letter from Ellen White to a Seventh-day Adventist denominational leader, written in 1888, is proof of the earnestness with which God tries to arouse and save those who are in sin. But as we will see, in future editorials containing later parts of the same letter, God cannot save us in our sins. He can only save us if we are willing to repent, confess, and forsake our sins.

“I have had much burden of soul in your behalf, but at the same time strong confidence in God that He would on this occasion lead you to see your mistakes and errors. I so much desire that you, for your own sake and for Christ’s sake, should so humble your heart by confessing your sins, that the burden shall be lifted from your soul . . . .

“I am made sad to see my brethren cherishing doubts and talking doubts in regard to the light God has been pleased to give them. We shall all have to wrestle with doubts, for this is a constitutional tendency with not a few, while others believe on the simple evidence that God has been pleased to give them. But doubt is the atmosphere which surrounds many souls at the present time. . . .

“I feel so grateful to God that it is not too late for wrongs to be righted. I ask you, my brother, will you consider the value of your soul? Shall Jesus Christ have died for you in vain? . . . My heart is sore and sad, because you have not heeded the light you have had. . . .

“Why, oh, why, have you disregarded the voice of warning and reproof? Why did you not receive the light, and render to the Master earnest, sincere service? Had you been meek and lowly of heart, you could have reflected pure, steady beams of light upon the pathway of others. Those who receive the light that God graciously gives them, with a heart to obey, evidence a more than common sensibility. . . .

“God’s people must be suspicious of their lower nature. They must war against fleshly lusts. The evil heart of unbelief is constantly at war with the purposes of God, tempting souls away from the side of Christ into forbidden paths. Unjust, cruel prejudice and cavils arise against the agencies God has seen fit to employ to reprove and correct the erring. This unbelief hinders those that are corrected from receiving the light that is given them, and therefore they do not submit to God, but work at cross purposes against God’s will.

“Objections are listened to, received, and this leads to the arising of still more difficulties and the forgetting of the inherent evidence which comes with the message from God. Therefore we do not receive the support and divine grace which God is ready to impart. The light is refused and darkness and unbelief accepted, and as the result he will bring forth fruit of that which is in his heart, which is evil fruit . . . . [Mark 7:21, 22 quoted.]” Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, 157, 158.

Questions we should ask ourselves concerning this letter:

  1. Since it is not too late for wrongs to be righted, am I getting all wrongs in my life righted before it becomes too late?
  2. Am I humble enough to accept warning and reproof in whatever way God sends it?
  3. Am I suspicious of my lower nature?
  4. Am I warring against fleshly lusts?
  5. Am I listening to objections and not listening to the weight of evidence and thereby not receiving the support and divine grace which God is ready to give to me?