As long as there are people in this world willing to do evil, there will be chaos, deceit, hate, anger, sorrow, death, oppression, destruction, cruelty in all forms. And without the power of the Holy Spirit working continuously in our lives, we could be one of those people at any time.
We see so many things happening in the world today:
- Disease, selfishness, political unrest, gradual eroding of constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms, including freedom of religion and speech.
- Dissatisfaction, inequality, oppression, depression and abuse abound with so many voices straining to be heard, but not one ear on this earth to hear.
- The careless disregard of life of any kind, to the point that life is little more than an inconvenience.
- People reaching a breaking point, engaging in and displaying dangerous and destructive behavior toward themselves and others.
For a description of these people, let’s look at Romans 6:16: “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey … ?” They believe they are free, but in reality, they are held tightly in bondage to their master.
“Satan often finds a powerful agency for evil in the power which one human mind is capable of exerting on another human mind. This influence is so seductive that the person who is being molded by it is often unconscious of its power. God has bidden me speak warning against this evil, that His servants may not come under the deceptive power of Satan. The enemy is a master worker, and if God’s people are not constantly led by the Spirit of God, they will be snared and taken. For thousands of years Satan has been experimenting upon the properties of the human mind, and he has learned to know it well. By his subtle workings in these last days, he is linking the human mind with his own, imbuing it with his thoughts; and he is doing this work in so deceptive a manner that those who accept his guidance know not that they are being led by him at his will. The great deceiver hopes so to confuse the minds of men and women, that none but his voice will be heard.” Our High Calling, 110.
Doesn’t this sound frighteningly familiar? So many voices declaring this is the truth, no this is a lie, this is the way it happened, this is the person you should listen to, these are the facts. On and on until they make true the words found in Romans 1:22, 25, “Professing to be wise, they became fools … who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.” And as a result God will give them up to live their lives as they choose. Oh, the baleful results as described in verses 26–32. Shouts demanding acceptance of and tolerance for the great many sins that have filled this world reverberate everywhere you turn. But this shouting will one day be turned against the people of God who cannot be faithful to Him and accept or tolerate sin. However, we are instructed: “Although we should hate the sin, we should love the souls of those for whom Christ died. And then we should feel most grateful to God that we have One who is pleading in the heavens above in our behalf.
“Jesus knows the worth of every soul because it is He who paid the price for everyone. When He was in His agony at the crucifixion, He prayed there for His enemies and He said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do’ (Luke 23:34).” Christ Triumphant, 75.
There is a conspiracy afoot in this world, one 6,000 years in the making. It’s a successful one, too, in part because it is the natural outworking of what troubles this world, but also because the main protagonist is so accomplished at it and his followers so willing to do what he dictates. They think they are strong and in control, but are in fact, held so tightly in the grip of their master, that they do not realize what they are doing. They believe they are making a difference, but oh, what kind of difference!
Let’s look at the master to whom these individuals, and possibly even ourselves, have bound themselves. “I was shown Satan … the expression of his countenance is full of anxiety, care, unhappiness, malice, hate, mischief, deceit, and every evil [everything we see in the world today]. … I saw that he had so long bent himself to evil that every good quality was debased, and every evil trait was developed.” The Story of Redemption, 45.
Is it any wonder the people of the world who serve Satan, some in ignorance, exhibit these same traits?
Friends, we must remember that this world is not our home. We are only sojourners here, passing through this place to a better home. It is easy to become entangled in the troubles and efforts of the world, but we must always remember that the problems of the world are a result of sin and there is only one remedy for sin, Jesus Christ. We must keep our eyes upon Him if we wish to see Him one day as a loving Father and not an avenging Judge.
Mrs. White says of those who choose to know the truth and follow God, “When we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ, we shall have no relish for sin; for Christ will be working with us. We may make mistakes, but we will hate the sin that caused the suffering of the Son of God.” The Faith I Live By, 118.
“The gospel of Christ is to be wrought into our everyday experience. The mind must be in a state to appreciate the divine claims of the gospel. It must be girded about, and disciplined to habits of self-control and obedience. …
“The teachings of the living oracles cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. Satan has great power over the soul, to drag it down to a low level. Those who really want to learn of Christ will have to empty the soul of all its proud imaginings, that there may be room to enthrone Him there.
“The controversy between Christ and Satan is not yet ended. The latter is constantly seeking to establish his own power and authority. If he can entangle minds, he will do it. … The deceptions of Satan are manifold, but the Lord will be our helper if we seek Him earnestly.” Our High Calling, 110.
Our responsibility now is to allow the Holy Spirit to develop the character necessary to be worthy of a place with Jesus for eternity and to share the gift of salvation with everyone we can. There was a time when people at least knew about God and the sacrifice Jesus made to save them. But these days it seems that there are so few who have any concept of spiritual things in general, let alone what Jesus did for them on Calvary and what is truly available to them. There is a world to warn.
All my life I’ve heard that Jesus is coming soon and for just as long I had thought it probably would not happen in my lifetime. Look how many people have believed this same thing and they are long gone. Mrs. White talked about how bad things were during her lifetime, that surely Jesus must be coming soon. But friends, He is coming now. I can hardly believe that He will wait much longer. He is waiting for the message of salvation to be given to all the world so that everyone has a chance to choose to be His child. How will they know, if we don’t tell them?
Our efforts while on this earth are to show those held captive in Satan’s thrall that there is a God in heaven and that He loves them. By our words we can tell them, by our lives we must show them. “… many of the world … will see Christ revealed in your daily life. You will be a living epistle, known and read of all men.” Lift Him Up, 213. Satan seeks only to destroy, but Christ offers life abundantly (John 10:10).
“His heart of divine love and sympathy is drawn out most of all for the one who is the most hopelessly entangled in the snares of the enemy. With His own blood He has signed the emancipation papers of the race.
“Jesus does not desire those who have been purchased at such a cost to become the sport of the enemy’s temptations. He does not desire us to be overcome and perish. He who curbed the lions in their den and walked with His faithful witnesses amid the fiery flames is just as ready to work in our behalf, to subdue every evil in our nature. … He turns no weeping, contrite one away.” My Life Today, 317.
It is true that one day, not far off, those voices demanding acceptance and tolerance will be turned against God’s people shouting intolerance because they will not bear to hear the truth. But until then, we are encouraged by God’s loving voice saying, “Do not be conformed to this world; but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).
“As I realize how much has been done for us to keep us right, I am led to exclaim, Oh, what love, what wondrous love, hath the Son of God for us poor sinners! Should we be stupid and careless while everything is being done for our salvation that can be done? All heaven is interested for us. We should be alive and awake to honor, glorify, and adore the high and lofty One. Our hearts should flow out in love and gratitude to Him who has been so full of love and compassion to us. With our lives we should honor Him, and with pure and holy conversation show that we are born from above, that this world is not our home, but that we are pilgrims and strangers here, traveling to a better country.” Early Writings, 113.
How are we to let our hearts flow out in love and gratitude to Him and how do we honor Him with our lives? “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Some will listen, some will not. Of these, verse 16 says, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
“If you have accepted Christ as a personal Saviour, you are to forget yourself, and try to help others. Talk of the love of Christ, tell of His goodness. Do every duty that presents itself. Carry the burden of souls upon your heart, and by every means in your power seek to save the lost. As you receive the Spirit of Christ—the Spirit of unselfish love and labor for others—you will grow and bring forth fruit. The graces of the Spirit will ripen in your character. Your faith will increase, your convictions deepen, your love be made perfect. More and more you will reflect the likeness of Christ in all that is pure, noble, and lovely.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 67, 68.
“We need to contemplate Christ and become assimilated to His image through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. This is our only safeguard against being entangled in Satan’s delusive snares.” The General Conference Bulletin, April 23, 1901.
“We must keep separate from the world, if we would have the love of God abide with us. As soon as we begin to be conformed to this world, just so soon God’s Spirit begins to depart from us. But if we keep humble, live holy, harmless and separate from sinners, we shall see of the salvation of God. Let us strive to be Christians (Christ-like) in every sense of the word, and let our dress, conversation and actions preach that Christ is formed within, the hope of glory, and that we are looking for that blessed hope and glorious appearing of Jesus. Let us show to those around us, that this world is not our home, that we are pilgrims and strangers here. …
“Let those who break God’s law and teach others to do so, denounce us as fallen from grace because we keep all ten of His immutable precepts, it will not harm us. We have the satisfaction of knowing, that while they curse, Jesus has pronounced a blessing. Says the true Witness, the only Begotten of the Father, ‘Blessed are they that do His [the Father’s] commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the City’ (Revelation 22:14).
“Think ye that the commandment-keepers will be sorry, and mourn when the pearly gates of the Golden City of God are swung back upon their glittering hinges, and they are welcomed in? No, never. They will then rejoice, that they are not under the bondage of the law, but that they have kept God’s law, and therefore are free from it. They will have right to the tree of life, a right to its healing leaves. They will hear the lovely voice of Jesus, richer than any music that ever fell on mortal ear, saying, There will be no more sorrow, pain or death; sighing and crying have fled away.” The Review and Herald, June 10, 1852.
“Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.
“It is the privilege of every Christian not only to look for but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, (2 Peter 3:12, margin). Were all who profess His name bearing fruit to His glory, how quickly the whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel. Quickly the last great harvest would be ripened, and Christ would come to gather the precious grain.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 69.
“Our eyes shall then, with rapture,
The Saviour’s face behold,
Our feet, no more diverted,
Shall walk the streets of gold;
Our ears shall hear with transport
The hosts celestial sing,
Our tongues shall chant the glory
Of our Immortal King.”
Ellen G. White, The Review and Herald, June 10, 1852
(Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.)
Judy Rebarchek is a member of the LandMarks team. She can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org