The Saviour said again: “Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the wayside. But he that received seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful” (Matthew 13:18–22).
Those who do not follow true Christian principles, whose natural and cultivated tendencies to wrong have not been changed by the grace of God, have no root in themselves; and therefore they lose the interest which they once felt in the truth. They return to their sinful practices. They may continue to make a profession of Christianity, but they do not go on from grace to grace. For a time they are neither cold nor hot, but they finally become hardened to all good impressions. They grow careless, worldly, inattentive. They hear the truth but do not receive it. Of this class Christ says: “Every one that heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell; and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:26, 27).
Of Chorazin and Bethsaida, cities in which so many of Christ’s mighty works were done, which were exalted to heaven by being honored with His presence, the Saviour declared: “Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee” (Matthew 11:21–24).
Those who have been favored with great light and many opportunities, but who have not accepted the light nor improved the opportunities, who have not followed correct principles in dealing with their brethren or with unbelievers, will receive punishment in accordance with their sin. They will meet with some sad surprises in the last great day, when every case shall be brought up in review before God. In their record they will see that which will fill them with shame, but nothing can be changed. All is beyond recall.
Christ has made every provision for the sanctification of His church. He has made abundant provision for every soul to have such grace and strength that he will be more than a conqueror in the warfare against sin. The Saviour is wounded afresh and put to open shame when His people pay no heed to His word. He came to this world and lived a sinless life, that in His power His people might also lead lives of sinlessness. He desires them by practicing the principles of truth to show to the world that God’s grace has power to sanctify the heart.
Atlantic Union Gleaner, January 17, 1906.