In Ephesians 5:26, 27, Paul describes the condition in which God’s church is to be found when Jesus returns—without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, holy and without blemish. See also The Great Controversy, 425. Now let us consider a very practical matter. As we are living in the last days of probation on the very borders of the eternal world, if we are not in this condition now, how are we going to attain this condition in time before it is too late?
Inspiration gives us some insights as to what must take place if we are to be a part of the church triumphant. We will begin looking at the answer to this question in this editorial.
It takes time to get ready and be ready in character for the coming of Christ. Readiness for translation cannot be attained in a moment of time: “The precious graces of the Holy Spirit are not developed in a moment. Courage, fortitude, meekness, faith, unwavering trust in God’s power to save, are acquired by the experience of years. By a life of holy endeavor and firm adherence to the right, the children of God are to seal their destiny.” Ministry of Healing, 454
“When tempted to murmur, censure, and indulge in fretfulness, wounding those around you, and in so doing wounding your own soul, oh! let the deep, earnest, anxious inquiry come from your soul, Shall I stand without fault before the throne of God? Only the faultless will be there. None will be translated to heaven while their hearts are filled with the rubbish of earth. Every defect in the moral character must first be remedied, every stain removed by the cleansing blood of Christ, and all the unlovely, unlovable traits of character overcome.
“How long a time are you designing to take to prepare to be introduced into the society of heavenly angels in glory? In the state which you and your family are in at present, all heaven would be marred should you be introduced therein. The work for you must be done here. This earth is the fitting-up place. You have not one moment to lose. All is harmony, peace, and love in heaven. No discord, no strife, no censuring, no unloving words, no clouded brows, no jars there; and no one will be introduced there who possesses any of these elements so destructive to peace and happiness. Study to be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, laying up for yourselves a good foundation against the time to come, that you may lay hold on everlasting life.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 705, 706
As getting ready for heaven is a process that takes time, we must not delay making earnest preparation:
“This work of individual purification of character can not be safely delayed. Let our brethren and sisters take hold diligently of this work, cooperation with Him who ‘loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle are any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.’” Review and Herald, November 8, 1906
Delay can be fatal:
“God requires you to make more thorough efforts to subdue and control self. I was shown that God and angels are ready and waiting to help you in this important work. If you delay, if you are even dilatory, it may be too late. Your probation is lengthened, your character is now forming, and soon, my dear brother and sister, it will be stereotyped for ever. Halfway work with you will not advance you one step toward heaven. Indecision soon becomes decision in the wrong direction. Many decide to serve themselves and Satan by not making determined efforts to overcome their defects of character. While many are petting sinful propensities, expecting to be overcomers sometime, they are deciding for perdition….You cannot be wholly the Lord’s while encouraging any degree of selfishness. Such great love as the Redeemer has shown you should be received with great humility and continual rejoicing. In order to be happy, you must control your thoughts and words. It will require a masterly effort on your part; nevertheless it must be done if you are to be the acknowledged children of God. Be not weary in your efforts. Satan is battling for your souls, and he must be disappointed.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 343, 344 [Emphasis Supplied]
Friend, do you understand that you have none too much time and that if you delay in overcoming your defects of character, this delay could cost you eternal life? You might delay until there is not sufficient time for the plan of salvation to be worked out in your life. Do not delay, you have “no time—not a moment—to lose.” Maranatha, 106
(to be continued)