Someday, every one of us is going to be on this world for the last day of our life. Every day that we live should be a day that we live in reference to that fact, because whether we live until Jesus returns, or die first, there will come a day when our destiny is fixed for eternity and there will be nothing that we can do to change it.
There is a story of a man facing judgment. It was Belshazzar’s last day on this earth, and we are told that he was giving a party. “They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, and iron, wood and stone.” Daniel 5:4. Have you ever read the text in the Bible that says, “The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth”? Ecclesiastes 7:4. “In the same hour the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the king’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other.” Daniel 5:5, 6. Commenting on this verse, Ellen White tells us that, “When God makes men fear, they cannot hide the intensity of their terror.” The Youth’s Instructor, May 19, 1898.
So, Belshazzar called in all of the wise men, those that understand science and philosophy, that they might tell him the meaning of the writing; but they could not do so. “The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spoke, saying to the wise men of Babylon, ‘Whoever reads this writing, and tells me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck; and he shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.’” Daniel 5:7. Philosophy and science have their proper place, but learning and education will not save you on your last day on earth unless you know the God of heaven.
The queen mother then came to Belshazzar and said, “There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers. Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.” Verses 11, 12.
So Daniel came in and gave the interpretation of the handwriting that was on the wall. He began by reviewing with him the providence of God in the life of Nebuchadnezzar.
“But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him. Then he was driven from the sons of men, his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. They fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till he knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses. But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this, And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven.” Verses 20–23. By his actions, Belshazzar had despised the God of heaven.
“The fingers of the hand were sent from Him, and this writing was written. And this is the inscription that was written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of each word. MENE; God has numbered your kingdom and finished it.” Verses 24–16.
The time is going to come when we will be in this world for our last day, and our character is going to be put into that balance. Though there are stories in the Bible about people who were going in a certain direction who came to a point late in their life when they decided to reverse their direction, those cares are few in number.
“Many are quieting a troubled conscience with the thought that they can change a course of evil when they choose; that they can trifle with the invitations of mercy, and yet be again and again impressed. They think that after doing despite to the Spirit of grace, after casting their influence on the side of Satan, in a moment of terrible extremity they can change their course. But this is not so easily done. The experience, the education of a lifetime, has so thoroughly molded the character that few then desire to receive the image of Jesus.” Steps to Christ, 33.
The judgment is the heart of the message that God has given to Seventh-day Adventists. Our whole message has to do with judgment, because we are living in the end times when the judgment is taking place.
When, in the judgment, we are weighed in God’s balances; every detail of our character will be examined. “God weighs every man in the balances of the sanctuary. In one scale is placed His perfect, unchangeable law, demanding perfect obedience. If in the other there are years of forgetfulness, of rebellion, of self-pleasing, with no repentance, no confession, no effort to do right, God says, “‘Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.’” Youth’s Instructor, July 31, 1902.
None of us can weigh out unless someone takes away our guilt and in its place supplies us with the righteous fulfillment of the Law. That is what the gospel is all about.
We are living in a time when people have become unconcerned about this judgment. They believe that they can live in any way that they please and that it is sufficient to just say, “Lord, I am confessing my sins,” and their sins will be forgiven. But as we just read, if there has been no repentance and no effort to do right, God will say, “No, you are not going to weigh out.”
“A decree went forth to slay the saints, which caused them to cry day and night for deliverance. This was the time of Jacob’s trouble. Then all the saints cried out with anguish of spirit, and were delivered by the voice of God. The 144,000 triumphed. Their faces were lighted up with the glory of God. Then I was shown a company who were howling in agony.” Early Writings, 36.
What were they howling and in agony about? “On their garments [that is, their garments of character] was written in large characters, ‘Thou art weighed in the balance, and found wanting.’ I asked who this company were. The angel said, ‘These are they who have once kept the Sabbath and have given it up.’” Ibid., 37.
Now when the national Sunday Law is passed, there is going to be a multitude who are going to give up the Sabbath in order to obtain food and clothing. When that temptation comes to you, I hope that you will remember this reference in this story.
“I heard them cry with a loud voice, ‘We have believed in Thy coming, and taught it with energy.’ And while they were speaking, their eyes would fall upon their garments and see the writing, and then they would wail aloud. I saw that they had drunk of the deep waters, and fouled the residue with their feet—trodden the Sabbath underfoot—and that was why they were weighed in the balance and found wanting.” Ibid.
Sin is the transgression of the Law. When your time comes to be weighed, the Law is going to be on the other side of the balances. The Law demands perfect obedience, and therefore, if you are going to weigh out, you must be diligent and say, “Lord, help me by Your grace to get all sin out of my life now.” That is one of the great problems for a lot of people in our generation. You think this over, relative to some people that you know, and you will realize that many of them plan to get sin out of their lives at some future time; but not now. It has been estimated that there are three million Seventh-day Adventists in the United States. There are not, however, three million Seventh-day Adventists in church every Sabbath. Where are these people? They know our message, and they profess their belief in it; but they are not living it.
Let me share some statements with you. “Since Jesus has made such an infinite sacrifice for us, how cruel it is that we should remain indifferent. Individually, we have cost the life of the Son of God, and He desires us to walk out by living faith, believing in Him with all the heart. He would have you bring the truth of God into the inner sanctuary [that is, your mind], to soften and subdue the soul; for when Christ is dwelling in your heart by faith, you will love those for whom He died. Suppose that the trump of God should sound tonight, who is ready to respond with gladness? How many of you would cry, “Oh, stay the chariot wheels; I am not ready”? Of how many would it be written, as it was written of Belshazzar, “Thou art weighed in the balances and art found wanting”? To be wanting in that day is to be wanting forever; for when Christ shall come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, we must be all ready to be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Your only safety is in coming to Christ, and ceasing from sin this very moment.” Signs of the Times, August 29, 1892. Do you see what it means to come up to the last day and be wanting? Our only safety is in coming to Christ and ceasing from sin this moment.
If you decide that you are going to quit some sin in your life tomorrow, you have, at the same time, decided that you are still going to do it today. Now, if you decide that you are going to sin today, can Jesus be your Lord and Saviour today? No, He cannot. You have placed yourself outside of the vale of mercy; and if you should die today, you are lost.
“It is possible to be a partial, formal believer, and yet be found wanting and lose eternal life. It is possible to practice some of the Bible injunctions and be regarded as a Christian, and yet perish because you lack qualifications essential to Christian character. If you neglect or treat with indifference the warnings that God has given, if you cherish or excuse sin, you are sealing your soul’s destiny. You will be weighed in the balance and found wanting. Grace, peace, and pardon will be forever withdrawn; Jesus will have passed by, never again to come within reach of your prayers and entreaties.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 405.
Friends, this is serious business. Are you praying every day and saying, “Lord, please fill me with Your Holy Spirit. Give me any rebuke I need, just do not take Your Holy Spirit from me”?
I find that there are many people who have a lot of questions about counsel and believe that in whatever we do, we should follow counsel. The Bible does say that in a multitude of counsel there is safety. We do need to move in harmony with counsel, but we also need to remember that from whomever we are receiving counsel, it does not matter who it is, unless that person is giving evidence that the Holy Spirit is working in their life, we cannot depend on their counsel.
“I might say much more, but have not the strength today. You are already confused by men whose counsel is erratic. If you will come out from these men and be separate, you will be in a much better position to advance the work. There is no safety in following the counsel of men who are not vivified by the Holy Spirit, but must be reformed, else they will be weighed in the balances of the sanctuary, and found wanting.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 14, 50.
Someday, though, we do not know when, we are going to be placed in the balances. The weight of our character, when put in the balance, will be determined by the motives that caused us to act. If we do not have the love of Jesus in our heart, we may be doing the right things, but we will not weigh out.
“God is weighing our characters, our conduct, and our motives in the balances of the sanctuary. It will be a fearful thing to be pronounced wanting in love and obedience by our Redeemer, who died upon the cross to draw our hearts unto Him. God has bestowed upon us great and precious gifts. He has given us light and a knowledge of His will, so that we need not err or walk in darkness. To be weighed in the balance and found wanting in the day of final settlement and rewards will be a fearful thing, a terrible mistake which can never be corrected.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 370.
“When this church is weighed in the balance of the sanctuary, it is found wanting, having left its first love. The True Witness declares, ‘I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and has found them liars: and hast borne, and hast patience, and for My name’s sake has laboured, and hast not fainted.’ [Revelation 2:2, 3.] Notwithstanding all this, the church is found wanting. What is the fatal deficiency?—‘Thou hast left thy first love.’ Is not this our case? Our doctrines may be correct; we may hate false doctrine, and may not receive those who are not true to principle; we may labor with untiring energy; but even this is not sufficient. What is our motive? Why are we called upon to repent?—‘Thou hast left thy first love.’” Selected Messages, Book 1, 370.
You see, if you do not have the love of Jesus in your heart, you can be doing the right thing, but fail to weigh out. The people in the Ephesian church were not heretics. In fact, those who professed to be apostles, but whom they found were not, they cast out. Their doctrines were right and they hated error, but that is not enough. There will come a time when you will be weighed, and doctrines alone are not enough. If you do not have the love of Jesus inside, you will be wanting; you will be lacking.
“You may manifest great zeal in missionary effort, and yet because it is corrupted with selfishness, and it is nought in the sight of God; for it is a tainted, corrupted offering. Unless the door of the heart is open to Jesus, unless He occupies the soul temple, unless the heart is imbued with His divine attributes, human actions when weighed in the heavenly balances, will be pronounced ‘Wanting.’” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 961.
Oh friends, each one of us is coming to our last day in this world, and each one of us is going to be weighed in the balances. Are you getting ready? Do you have the love of Jesus inside? His meekness, His lowliness? Are you obedient to Him; do your thoughts, words, and the tone of your voice reveal that fact? If you want to make a covenant with the Lord and say, “Lord, I am choosing to lay aside everything that would not be in harmony with Your will; I pray that You will fill my heart and mind with Your Holy Spirit and change them,” I invite you to kneel, right where you are, and ask the Lord to give you this experience right now.