Bible Study Guides – “THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH”

By Gordon Anderson

MEMORY VERSE: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Romans 5:12

STUDY HELP: Testimonies, vol. 2, 200–215.

INTRODUCTION: “The principles of justice required a faithful narration of facts for the benefit of all who should ever read the Sacred Record. Here we discern the evidences of divine wisdom. We are required to obey the law of God, and are not only instructed as to the penalty of disobedience, but we have narrated for our benefit and warning the history of Adam and Eve in Paradise, and the sad results of their disobedience of God’s commands. The account is full and explicit. The law given to man in Eden is recorded, together with the penalty accruing in case of its disobedience. Then follows the story of the temptation and fall, and the punishment inflicted upon our erring parents. Their example is given us as a warning against disobedience, that we may be sure that the wages of sin is death, that God’s retributive justice never fails, and that He exacts from His creatures a strict regard for His commandments.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 11.


  1. What test of obedience was given to Adam and Eve in Eden and what was the penalty for disobedience? Genesis 2:16–17.

NOTE: “God has given in His word decisive evidence that He will punish the transgressors of His law. Those who flatter themselves that He is too merciful to execute justice upon the sinner, have only to look to the cross of Calvary. The death of the spotless Son of God testifies that ‘the wages of sin is death,’ that every violation of God’s law must receive its just retribution. Christ the sinless became sin for man. He bore the guilt of transgression, and the hiding of His Father’s face, until His heart was broken and His life crushed out. All this sacrifice was made that sinners might be redeemed. In no other way could man be freed from the penalty of sin. And every soul that refuses to become a partaker of the atonement provided at such a cost must bear in his own person the guilt and punishment of transgression.” Great Controversy, 539.

  1. How did God illustrate the substitutionary death of the Redeemer as man’s only hope of escape from the penalty of sin? Genesis 3:21.

NOTE: “This is what the transgressors of God’s law have done ever since the day of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. They have sewed together fig leaves to cover the nakedness caused by transgression. They have worn the garments of their own devising, by works of their own they have tried to cover their sins, and make themselves acceptable with God. But this they can never do. Nothing can man devise to supply the place of his lost robe of innocence. No fig-leaf garment, no worldly citizen dress, can be worn by those who sit down with Christ and angels at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Only the covering which Christ Himself has provided can make us meet to appear in God’s presence. This covering, the robe of His own righteousness, Christ will put upon every repenting, believing soul.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 311.


  1. How does the Word of God describe the creation of man? Genesis 2:7.

NOTE: The word translated “soul” in the Old Testament, in all but one case, is “nephesh” which means “a living creature” deriving from the word, “naphash,” meaning “to breathe.” The concept of man having a conscious entity that can exist independently of his body is foreign to the Scriptures and derives from the philosophy of Plato who taught that the body is merely a temporary container for pre-existing souls which also survive the death of the body. Genesis 2:7 shows that a “soul” (nephesh) comes into existence when the body, created from the natural elements, receives the breath of life from God. The equivalent Greek word is “psuche” which derives from the word “psucho” which means “to breathe.”

“The great original lie which he [Satan] told to Eve in Eden, ‘Ye shall not surely die,’ was the first sermon ever preached on the immortality of the soul. That sermon was crowned with success, and terrible results followed. He has brought minds to receive that sermon as truth, and ministers preach it, sing it, and pray it.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 342.

  1. How can we be sure that the Bible does not teach that man possesses an immortal soul? Ezekiel 18:4, 20; Ecclesiastes 9:5; 1 Timothy 6:16; Romans 2:7.

NOTE: See Testimonies, vol. 1, 39.


  1. How did the body which God formed from the dust of the ground become a living soul? Genesis 2:7.

NOTE: There are two words in Hebrew which signify breath—”neshawmaw” used in Genesis 2:7 and “ruwach.” When the King James Bible uses the word “spirit” in the Old Testament, apart from references to “familiar spirits,” it is translating the word “ruwach” which literally means “wind” or “breath,” deriving from a word meaning “to blow.” “Ruwach” is often translated as “breath.” The Greek equivalent is “pneuma” which means “breath” deriving from a word meaning “to blow.” The relationship between “spirit” and breath in English can be seen in words like “respiration.” “Pneuma” gives us words like “pneumatic.” Neither “ruwach” nor “pneuma” carry any sense of a being that can live without the body.

“The doctrine of man’s consciousness in death, especially the belief that the spirits of the dead return to minister to the living, has prepared the way for modern Spiritualism. If the dead are admitted to the presence of God and holy angels, and privileged with knowledge far exceeding what they before possessed, why should they not return to the earth to enlighten and instruct the living? If, as taught by popular theologians, the spirits of the dead are hovering about their friends on earth, why should they not be permitted to communicate with them, to warn them against evil, or to comfort them in sorrow? How can those who believe in man’s consciousness in death reject what comes to them as divine light communicated by glorified spirits? Here is a channel regarded as sacred, through which Satan works for the accomplishment of his purposes. The fallen angels who do his bidding appear as messengers from the spirit world. While professing to bring the living into communication with the dead, the prince of evil exercises his bewitching influence upon their minds.” Great Controversy, 551–552.

  1. How does Solomon show that the death of man is no different from the death that befalls animals? Ecclesiastes 3:19–20.

NOTE: “A correct understanding of ‘what saith the Scriptures’ in regard to the state of the dead is essential for this time. God’s word declares that the dead know not anything, their hatred and love have alike perished. We must come to the sure word of prophecy for our authority. Unless we are intelligent in the Scriptures, may we not, when this mighty miracle-working power of Satan is manifested in our world, be deceived and call it the workings of God; for the word of God declares that, if it were possible, the very elect should be deceived. Unless we are rooted and grounded in the truth, we shall be swept away by Satan’s delusive snares. We must cling to our Bibles.” Review and Herald, December 18, 1888.

  1. What hope does the Bible give that death is not the end for those who sleep in Jesus? 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18.

NOTE: “The Thessalonians had eagerly grasped the idea that Christ was coming to change the faithful who were alive, and to take them to Himself. They had carefully guarded the lives of their friends, lest they should die and lose the blessing which they looked forward to receiving at the coming of their Lord. But one after another their loved ones had been taken from them, and with anguish the Thessalonians had looked for the last time upon the faces of their dead, hardly daring to hope to meet them in a future life. As Paul’s epistle was opened and read, great joy and consolation was brought to the church by the words revealing the true state of the dead. Paul showed that those living when Christ should come would not go to meet their Lord in advance of those who had fallen asleep in Jesus. The voice of the Archangel and the trump of God would reach the sleeping ones, and the dead in Christ should rise first, before the touch of immortality should be given to the living. ‘Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.’ The hope and joy that this assurance brought to the young church at Thessalonica can scarcely be appreciated by us. . . Now they rejoiced in the knowledge that their believing friends would be raised from the grave to live forever in the kingdom of God. The darkness that had enshrouded the resting place of the dead was dispelled.” Acts of the Apostles, 258–259.


  1. What assurance are we given that, though our bodies may decay, God keeps a record of them? Psalm 139:16.

NOTE: Many are concerned that the destruction of the body in death will lead to a permanent loss of identity. The bodies of some were consumed by fire; others have been destroyed by explosives, drowned, eaten by wild creatures. Such fates befell many of the martyrs. For many that die, there is no grave. We speak of the graves being opened and the dead coming forth at the resurrection but how, many ask, can those who have no grave be raised to life again in the resurrection? This verse shows that, though all trace of them may be lost, so far as man is concerned, our heavenly Father has not forgotten any of His creatures.

“Our personal identity is preserved in the resurrection, though not the same particles of matter or material substance as went into the grave. The wondrous works of God are a mystery to man. The spirit, the character of man, is returned to God, there to be preserved. In the resurrection very man will have his own character. God in His own time will call forth the dead, giving again the breath of life, and bidding the dry bones live. The same from will come forth, but it will be free from disease and every defect. It lives again bearing the same individuality of features, so that friend will recognize friend. There is no law of God in nature which shows that God gives back the same identical particles of matter which composed the body before death. God shall give the righteous dead a body that will please Him.” SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1093

  1. How did Job express his confidence that the destruction of his body was no obstacle to the resurrection? Job 19:26–27.

  2. What promise do we have that our identity will remain? 1 Corinthians 13:12.

NOTE: “No more broken hearts, no more sadness, no more sins, no more sorrow, no more suffering, in that kingdom of glory. If I am faithful, I expect to meet the loved ones there. Oh! I have everything to be thankful for. I expect to see Jesus, in whom our hopes of eternal life shall have glad fulfillment. I expect to see the Redeemer’s glorified saints, the white-robed ones about the throne, singing the victor’s song. They have overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. There they stand by the great white throne, and Jesus, He that was crowned with majesty, glory, and honor, leads them to fountains of living waters. He is to open to us the living truths of the word of God. We have a little of it here; but throughout eternity will be unfolded the rich treasures of truth. I am so glad that He has honored me in giving me a part to act in this work of shedding the light of truth on the earth. I am so thankful that I can be a partaker with Christ of His self-denial and suffering, and finally of His glory. I thank Him with all my heart; with all my voice will I praise the Most High, and glorify Him on the earth. Soon we shall know as we are known.” Review and Herald, December 23, 1884.


  1. What promise did Christ give to the repentant thief? Luke 23:43.

NOTE: Following the original word order in the Greek, this verse reads literally: “And he said to him truly thee I tell today with me thou wilt be in the paradise.” “Today” is an adverb of time and the fundamental grammatical rule requires it to modify the meaning of its nearest verb within the same sentence or clause. This verse contains three verbs, “he said”, “I tell” and “thou wilt be.” Luke clearly places “today” immediately after the verb “I tell” and separates it from the other two verbs. Thus a correct translation of this verse should read: “And He said to him, “Truly today I tell thee, thou wilt be with Me in Paradise.” The reading found in most English versions is wrong, both grammatically and because it does not accord with the words of Christ in John 20:17. ” ‘I say unto thee today, Thou shalt be with Me in Paradise.’ Christ did not promise that the thief should be with Him in Paradise that day. He Himself did not go that day to Paradise. He slept in the tomb, and on the morning of the resurrection He said, ‘I am not yet ascended to My Father.’ John 20:17. But on the day of the crucifixion, the day of apparent defeat and darkness, the promise was given. ‘Today’ while dying upon the cross as a malefactor, Christ assures the poor sinner, ‘Thou shalt be with Me in Paradise.’ ” Desire of Ages, 751.

  1. Did Paul teach that when we die, we go to heaven? 2 Corinthians 5:1–8. Compare 1 Corinthians 15:22–23, 51–52.

NOTE: Paul is using figurative language. “Our earthly house of this tabernacle” is the mortal body. “Tabernacle” means tent, a temporary dwelling. Our mortal body is only our temporary dwelling. But if this mortal body is dissolved, “we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

This building of God is not a tent; it is our eternal dwelling. Since the tent is our mortal body, the eternal house must be our immortal body. Paul expresses his desire to have his immortal body in place of this mortal body. Paul does not want to be “naked.” Those who lose this mortal body at death but do not have an immortal body in the heavens will be found naked. Paul does not want to be among those with no hope of eternal life. While we are in our mortal body, (our tent) we groan, not because we want to be “naked” but because we want our mortality to be swallowed up in [eternal] life. All agree, whatever happens at death, that our mortal bodies remain on earth. Those who believe in the immortal soul are actually teaching that, at death, we become naked, that is, without a body of any kind. They are not teaching as Paul did. 1 Corinthians 15:51–54 explains what Paul taught about when we receive immortality. The word “earnest” means a guarantee or a down-payment. The fact that we have the gift of the Holy Spirit in our hearts is God’s guarantee that we shall at last receive eternal life. So we have confidence even though we know that, while we live in the [mortal] body, we are absent from the presence of the Lord. (This confidence is based on our faith in His promise, not on anything we can see.) Our desire would be to be away from this mortal body so that we may be present with the Lord. But Paul is not equating “absent from the body” with the soul going to heaven at death. Paul is not asking to be naked, which is what would happen if his soul went up to heaven at death. Paul wants to receive his immortal body, his “building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” He earnestly desires “to be clothed with our house which is from heaven“. Isn’t Paul clearly saying, “I want Jesus to come so that I can be in His presence and receive my immortal body”?

  1. Does Christ’s parable about the rich man and Lazarus teach that our souls go to heaven or hell when we die? Luke 16:19–31.

NOTE: “In this parable Christ was meeting the people on their own ground. The doctrine of a conscious state of existence between death and the resurrection was held by many of those who were listening to Christ’s words. The Saviour knew of their ideas, and He framed His parable so as to inculcate important truths through these preconceived opinions.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 263.

A parable is a story told to illustrate a spiritual truth. It is dangerous to use the incidental details of a parable as the basis for a doctrine without support from other straightforward Bible passages. In this case, the parable’s lesson is found in verse 31 and the truth of this lesson, and Christ’s purpose in telling it to the Pharisees, is clearly shown in John 11:45–53. Christ’s parable does not teach that the soul goes to heaven or hell. Both the dead men have bodies, since the dead Lazarus possesses a finger while the rich man possesses a tongue. An examination of their graves would reveal that both tongues and fingers remain in the grave. Water would surely be of no interest to a bodiless “soul.” Other details showing that this parable does not portray literal fact include:

  • the description of the saved reclining in Abraham’s bosom. How many of the saved could Abraham comfortably carry at a time? What sort of eternal life would this be for Abraham?
  • the close proximity of heaven and hell. Will the saved and lost both be able to observe each other’s eternal destiny? Will they be able to hold conversations throughout eternity? Would such a prospect be attractive to the saved? Does such a view harmonize with Isaiah 65:17?


By Gordon Anderson

MEMORY VERSE: “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Galatians 5:14.

STUDY HELP: Thoughts for the Mount of Blessing, 134–137.

INTRODUCTION: “Man was not made to dwell in solitude; he was to be a social being. Without companionship, the beautiful scenes and delightful employments of Eden would have failed to yield perfect happiness. Even communion with angels could not have satisfied his desire for sympathy and companionship. There was none of the same nature to love and to be loved.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 46.


  1. As Adam was giving names to the different animals and birds, what lack in his own life did he become aware of? Genesis 2:20.

NOTE: “After the creation of Adam every living creature was brought before him to receive its name; he saw that to each had been given a companion, but among them ‘there was not found an help meet for him.’ Among all the creatures that God had made on the earth, there was not one equal to man. And God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.’ ” Patriarchs and Prophets, 46.

  1. How did God supply Adam’s need? Genesis 2:21–22.

NOTE: “Eve was created from a rib taken from the side of Adam, signifying that she was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him. A part of man, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, she was his second self, showing the close union and the affectionate attachment that should exist in this relation.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 46.

  1. What counsel are we given that would help us to avoid some of the problems that arise in marriage? 2 Corinthians 6:14–15.

NOTE: “No one who fears God can without danger connect himself with one who fears Him not. ‘Can two walk together, except they be agreed?’ Amos 3:3. The happiness and prosperity of the marriage relation depends upon the unity of the parties; but between the believer and the unbeliever there is a radical difference of tastes, inclinations, and purposes. They are serving two masters, between whom there can be no concord. However pure and correct one’s principles may be, the influence of an unbelieving companion will have a tendency to lead away from God… The marriage of Christians with the ungodly is forbidden in the Bible. The Lord’s direction is, ‘Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.’ 2 Corinthians 6:14, 17, 18.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 174, 175.

  1. What counsel is given to husbands and wives? Ephesians 5:22–25, 28, 33.

NOTE: “Marriage, a union for life, is a symbol of the union between Christ and His church. The spirit that Christ manifests toward the church is the spirit that husband and wife are to manifest toward each other. Neither husband nor wife is to make a plea for rulership. The Lord has laid down the principle that is to guide in this matter. The husband is to cherish his wife as Christ cherishes the church. And the wife is to respect and love her husband. Both are to cultivate the spirit of kindness, being determined never to grieve or injure the other.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 46–47.


  1. How did Christ express the permanence which marriage should have? Matthew 19:4–6.

NOTE: “Examine carefully to see if your married life would be happy, or inharmonious and wretched. Let the questions be raised, Will this union help me heavenward? Will it increase my love for God? And will it enlarge my sphere of usefulness in this life? If these reflections present no drawback, then in the fear of God move forward. But even if an engagement has been entered into without a full understanding of the character of the one with whom you intend to unite, do not think that the engagement makes it a positive necessity for you to take upon yourself the marriage vow, and link yourself for life to one whom you cannot love and respect. Be very careful how you enter into conditional engagements; but better, far better, break the engagement before marriage than separate afterward, as many do.” Review and Herald, January 26, 1886.

  1. Why, according to the Lord, was divorce permitted? Matthew 19:8.

NOTE: “He referred them to the blessed days of Eden, when God pronounced all things ‘very good.’ Then marriage and the Sabbath had their origin, twin institutions for the glory of God in the benefit of humanity. Then, as the Creator joined the hands of the holy pair in wedlock, saying, A man shall ‘leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one’ (Genesis 2:24), He enunciated the law of marriage for all the children of Adam to the close of time. That which the Eternal Father Himself had pronounced good was the law of highest blessing and development for man. Like every other one of God’s good gifts entrusted to the keeping of humanity, marriage has been perverted by sin; but it is the purpose of the gospel to restore its purity and beauty. In both the Old and the New Testament the marriage relation is employed to represent the tender and sacred union that exists between Christ and His people, the redeemed ones whom He has purchased at the cost of Calvary.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 63–64.

  1. How did Jesus express the condemnation of heaven for many divorces? Matthew 19:9.

NOTE: “Among the Jews, a man was permitted to put away his wife for the most trivial offences, and the woman was then at liberty to marry again. This practice led to great wretchedness and sin. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declared plainly that there could be no dissolution of the marriage tie, except for unfaithfulness to the marriage vow.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 63. “In cases of the violation of the seventh commandment, where the guilty party does not manifest true repentance, if the injured party can obtain a divorce without making their own cases and that of their children, if they have them, worse by so doing, they should be free. If they would be liable to place themselves and their children in worse condition by a divorce, we know of no scripture that would make the innocent party guilty by remaining. Time, and labor, and prayer, and patience, and faith, and a godly life, might work a reform. To live with one who has broken the marriage vows, and, covered all over with the disgrace and shame of guilty love, and realizes it not, is an eating canker to the soul; and yet, a divorce is a life-long, heart-felt sore. God pity the innocent party. Marriage should be considered well before contracted. Why! oh, why! will men and women who might be respectable, and good, and reach Heaven at last, sell themselves to the Devil so cheap, wound their bosom friends, disgrace their families, bring a reproach upon the cause, and go to hell at last? God have mercy. Why will not those who are overtaken in crime manifest repentance proportionate to the enormity of their crime, and fly to Christ for mercy, and heal, as far as possible, the wounds they have made? But, if they will not do as they should, and if the innocent have forfeited the legal right to a divorce, by living with the guilty after his guilt is known, we do not see that sin rests upon the innocent in remaining, and her moral right in departing seems questionable, if her health and life be not greatly endangered in so remaining.” Review and Herald, March 24,1868.

  1. What counsel did Paul give to those who are married to unbelieving partners? 1 Corinthians 7:12–16.

NOTE: “He who has entered the marriage relation while unconverted, is by his conversion placed under stronger obligation to be faithful to his companion, however widely they may differ in regard to religious faith; yet the claims of God should be placed above every earthly relationship, even though trials and persecution may be the result. With the spirit of love and meekness, this fidelity may have an influence to win the unbelieving one.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 175.


  1. What counsel did Paul give to Christians who are aware of the nearness of Christ’s Second Coming? Hebrews 10:25.

NOTE: “The Israelites needed the benefits of assembling for worship and entering into covenant together to serve the Lord. In separating themselves from the place of worship divinely appointed, they lost much. God had servants whose lips he unsealed to speak words of warning, encouragement, and reproof, so that the light received from Heaven by one shone not for himself alone, but to lighten the path of others. God knows best what His people need. His words come down to us, in warning and instruction, ‘Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as ye see the day approaching.’ At the present day, as in ancient times, the people of God plead their own ease or convenience as an excuse for neglecting divine service. They will devise means to preserve the Christian name without making any sacrifice of time or means. God requires His people to maintain His worship. And those who are burdened with care and responsibility, should be the last to excuse themselves from religious privileges. They need wisdom from above. They need to be constantly reaching upward to lay hold on the divine arm, lest they stumble and fall.” Signs of the Times, July 28,1881.

  1. What testimony is given of the practice of the early Christian believers? Acts 2:42.

NOTE: “Everyone should feel that he has a part to act in making the Sabbath meetings interesting. You are not to come together simply as a matter of form, but for the interchange of thought, for the relation of your daily experiences, for the expression of thanksgiving, for the utterance of your sincere desire for divine enlightenment, that you may know God, and Jesus Christ, whom He has sent. Communing together in regard to Christ will strengthen the soul for life’s trials and conflicts. Never think that you can be Christians and yet withdraw yourselves within yourselves. Each one is a part of the great web of humanity, and the experience of each will be largely determined by the experience of his associates. We do not obtain a hundredth part of the blessing we should obtain from assembling together to worship God. Our perceptive faculties need sharpening. Fellowship with one another should make us glad. With such a hope as we have, why are not our hearts all aglow with the love of God? We must carry to every religious gathering a quickened spiritual consciousness that God and His angels are there, co-operating with all true worshipers. As you enter the place of worship, ask the Lord to remove all evil from your heart. Bring to His house only that which He can bless. Kneel before God in His temple, and consecrate to Him His own, which He has purchased with the blood of Christ. Pray for the speaker or the leader of the meeting. Pray that great blessing may come through the one who is to hold forth the word of life. Strive earnestly to lay hold of a blessing for yourself. God will bless all who thus prepare themselves for His service. They will understand what it means to have the assurance of the Spirit because they have received Christ by faith.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 362–363.


  1. What duty is an essential part of the Christian’s life? Galatians 5:14.

NOTE: “The World’s Redeemer clearly defines what our duty is. To the lawyer who asked Him how he should obtain eternal life, He said: ‘What is written in the law? How readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And He said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbor?’ Then Jesus related the parable of the good Samaritan, and clearly showed that he is our neighbor who most needs our charity and help. We are to practice the commandments of God, and stand true to the relation which God has designed shall exist between man and his fellow man. It was never God’s purpose that society should be separated into classes, that there should be an alienation between the rich and the poor, the high and the low, the learned and the unlearned. But the practice of separating society into distinct circles is becoming more and more decided. God designed that those to whom He entrusted talents of means, ability, and gifts of grace, should be good stewards of His beneficence, and not seek to reap all the advantages for themselves. God does not estimate man by the amount of wealth, talent, or education that he may have. He values man in proportion as he becomes a good steward of His mercy and love.” The Southern Work, 37.

  1. In what way did Jesus show that this duty to our neighbor extends to little things as well as great deeds? Matthew 10:42.

NOTE: “Do not shut yourselves up to yourselves, satisfied to pour out all your affection upon each other. Seize every opportunity to contribute to the happiness of those around you, sharing with them your affection. Words of kindness, looks of sympathy, expressions of appreciation, would to many a struggling, lonely one be as a cup of cold water to a thirsty soul. A word of cheer, an act of kindness, would go far to lighten the burdens that are resting heavily upon weary shoulders. It is in unselfish ministry that true happiness is found. And every word and deed of such service is recorded in the books of heaven as done for Christ. ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren,’ He declares, ‘ye have done it unto Me.’ Matthew 25:40.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 50.


By Gordon Anderson

MEMORY VERSE: “I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Psalm 139:14.

STUDY HELP: Testimonies, vol. 2, 522–538.

INTRODUCTION: “In order to be fitted for translation, the people of God must know themselves. They must understand in regard to their own physical frames that they may be able with the psalmist to exclaim: ‘I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.’ They should ever have the appetite in subjection to the moral and intellectual organs. The body should be servant to the mind, and not the mind to the body.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 486, 487.


  1. How is the creation of man described? Genesis 2:7.

NOTE: “In the creation of man was manifest the agency of a personal God. When God had made man in His image, the human form was perfect in all its arrangements, but it was without life. Then a personal, self-existing God breathed into that form the breath of life, and man became a living, breathing, intelligent being. All parts of the human organism were put in action. The heart, the arteries, the veins, the tongue, the hands, the feet, the senses, the perceptions of the mind, all began their work, and all were placed under law. Man became a living soul. Through Jesus Christ a personal God created man and endowed him with intelligence and power.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 264.

  1. Who is the source of man’s life? Acts 17:24–25, John 1:1–4.

NOTE: “From Jesus is our life derived. In Him is life that is original, unborrowed, underived life. In Him is the fountain of life. In us there is a streamlet from the fountain of life. Our life is something that we receive, something that the Giver takes back again to Himself. If our life is hid with Christ in God, we shall, when Christ shall appear, also appear with Him in glory. And while in this world, we shall give to God, in sanctified service, all the capabilities He has given us.” Review and Herald, August 6, 1914.


  1. How does Job describe the creation of man? Job 10:9.

NOTE: “Our heavenly Father requires no more nor less than He has given us ability to do. He lays upon His servants no burdens that they are not able to bear. ‘He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.’ Psalm 103:14. All that He claims from us we through divine grace can render.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 362.

  1. What important lesson does Isaiah draw from the fact that the Lord made us of clay? Isaiah 64:8.

NOTE: “The great Master Worker desires to mold and fashion us. And as the clay is in the hands of the potter, so are we to be in His hands. We are not to try to do the work of the potter. Our part is to yield ourselves to the molding of the Master Worker.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 186.

“As we come to feel our utter reliance upon Christ for salvation, are we to fold our hands, and say, ‘I have nothing to do; I am saved; Jesus has done it all’? No, we are to put forth every energy that we may become partakers of the divine nature. We are to be continually watching, waiting, praying, and working. But do all that we may, we cannot pay a ransom for our souls, We can do nothing to originate faith, for faith is the gift of God; neither can we perfect it, for Christ is the finisher of our faith. It is all of Christ. All the longing after a better life is from Christ, and is an evidence that He is drawing you to Himself, and that you are responding to His drawing power. You are to be as clay in the hands of the potter; and if you submit yourself to Christ, He will fashion you into a vessel unto honor, fit for the Master’s use. The only thing that stands in the way of the soul who is not fashioned after the divine Pattern is that he does not become poor in spirit; for he who is poor in spirit will look to a higher Source than himself that he may obtain the grace that will make him rich unto God. While he will feel that he cannot originate anything, he will say, ‘The Lord is my helper.’ ” Bible Echo, May 15, 1892.

“Death by sin”

  1. What were the results of man’s sin? Genesis 3:17–19.

NOTE: “God declared that as a penalty for his sin, man should return to the ground whence he was taken: ‘Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.’ The words of Satan, ‘Your eyes shall be opened’ proved to be true in this sense only: After Adam and Eve had disobeyed God, their eyes were opened to discern their folly; they did know evil, and they tasted the bitter fruit of transgression. In the midst of Eden grew the tree of life, whose fruit had the power of perpetuating life. Had Adam remained obedient to God, he would have continued to enjoy free access to this tree and would have lived forever. But when he sinned he was cut off from partaking of the tree of life, and he became subject to death. The divine sentence, ‘Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return,’ points to the utter extinction of life. Immortality, promised to man on condition of obedience, had been forfeited by transgression. Adam could not transmit to his posterity that which he did not possess; and there could have been no hope for the fallen race had not God, by the sacrifice of His Son, brought immortality within their reach. While ‘death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned,’ Christ ‘hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.’ Romans 5:12; 2 Timothy 1:10. And only through Christ can immortality be obtained. Said Jesus: ‘He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life.’ John 3:36. Every man may come into possession of this priceless blessing if he will comply with the conditions. All ‘who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality,’ will receive ‘eternal life.’ Romans 2:7.” Great Controversy, 532–533.

  1. How has sin also affected man’s health? Deuteronomy 28:58–62.

NOTE: “Satan came into our world, and led men into temptation. With sin came sickness and suffering, for we reap that which we sow. Satan afterward caused man to charge upon God the suffering which is but the sure result of the transgression of physical law. God is thus falsely accused, and His character misrepresented. He is charged with doing that which Satan himself has done. God would have His people expose this falsehood of the enemy. To them He has given the light of the gospel of health, and as His representatives they are to give the light to others. As they work to relieve suffering humanity, they are to point out the origin of all suffering, and direct the mind to Jesus, the great Healer of both soul and body. His heart of sympathy goes out to all earth’s sufferers, and with every one who works for their relief, He co-operates. As with His blessing health returns, the character of God will be vindicated, and the lie thrown back upon Satan, its originator.” Christian Educator, October 1, 1898.


  1. How does the Bible reveal the link between the physical and the spiritual in the care of the body? 1 Corinthians 6:19–20; 1 Corinthians 3:16–17.

NOTE: “The body is the medium through which mind and soul are developed for the upbuilding of character. Hence it is that the adversary of souls directs his temptations to the enfeebling and degrading of the physical powers. His success here means the surrender to evil of the whole being. The tendencies of our physical nature, unless under the dominion of a higher power, will surely work ruin and death. The body is to be brought into subjection. The higher powers of the being are to rule. The passions are to be controlled by the will, which is itself to be under the control of God. The kingly power of reason, sanctified by divine grace, is to bear sway in our lives.” Signs of the Times, December 1, 1914.

  1. What should be the attitude of the Christian to the laws of health? 1 Corinthians 10:31; Romans 14:17, 18, 21.

NOTE: “Talk of God and His wonderful works. Study into the manifestations of His love and wisdom in all the works of nature. Study that marvelous organism, the human system, and the laws by which it is governed. Those who perceive the evidences of God’s love, who understand something of the wisdom and beneficence of His laws, and the blessings that result from obedience, will come to regard their duties and obligations from an altogether different point of view. Instead of looking upon an observance of the laws of health as a matter of sacrifice or self-denial, they will regard it, as it really is, as an inestimable blessing. A great amount of good can be done by enlightening all to whom we have access, as to the best means, not only of curing the sick, but of preventing disease and suffering. The physician who endeavors to enlighten his patients as to the nature and causes of their maladies, and to teach them how to avoid disease, may have uphill work; but if he is a conscientious reformer, he will talk plainly of the ruinous effects of self-indulgence in eating, drinking, and dressing, of the overtaxation of the vital forces that has brought his patients where they are. He will not increase the evil by administering drugs till exhausted nature gives up the struggle, but will teach the patients how to form correct habits, and to aid nature in her work of restoration by a wise use of her own simple remedies.” Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 121.


  1. What precious promises does the Lord make to His faithful people? Exodus 15:26; Deuteronomy 5:33, 7:15.

NOTE: “Christ gave to Israel definite instruction in regard to their habits of life, and He assured them, ‘The Lord will take away from thee all sickness.’ Deuteronomy 7:15. When they fulfilled the conditions, the promise was verified to them. ‘There was not one feeble person among their tribes.’ Psalm 105:37. These lessons are for us. There are conditions to be observed by all who would preserve health. All should learn what these conditions are. The Lord is not pleased with ignorance in regard to His laws, either natural or spiritual. We are to be workers together with God for the restoration of health to the body as well as to the soul. And we should teach others how to preserve and to recover health. For the sick we should use the remedies which God has provided in nature, and we should point them to Him who alone can restore. It is our work to present the sick and suffering to Christ in the arms of our faith. . . . We should lay hold on His promise, and pray for the manifestation of His power. The very essence of the gospel is restoration, and the Saviour would have us bid the sick, the hopeless, and the afflicted take hold upon His strength.” Desire of Ages, 824.

  1. What should restrain or temper any unwise approach to others? Colossians 4:6.

NOTE: “Many try to correct the lives of others by attacking what they regard as wrong habits. They go to those whom they think in error, and point out defects, but do not put forth earnest, tactful effort in directing the mind to true principles. Such a course often fails of securing the desired results. In trying to correct others, we too often arouse their combativeness, and thus do more harm than good. Do not watch others in order to point out their faults or errors. Teach by example. Let your self-denial and your victory over appetite be an illustration of obedience to right principles. Let your life bear witness to the sanctifying, ennobling influence of truth.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 336.

  1. What promise of help is given in the restoration of body and spirit? Psalm 103:2–3.

NOTE: “Every faculty that we possess has been provided for us in Christ; for when God gave His Son to our world, He included all heaven in His gift. And God would have men value their powers as a sacred gift from Him. A spark of God’s own life has been breathed into the human body, making man a living soul, the possessor of moral endowments, and a will to direct his own course of action. He has the privilege of becoming a partaker of the divine nature. This will give him power to conquer evil, and love and choose that which is good. He has a conscience, which, under the control of God, will approve the right and condemn the wrong. And he may, if he will, have fellowship with God. He may walk and talk with God as did Enoch. This holy companionship is denied to none who will believe on Christ as their personal Saviour.” Signs of the Times, August 26, 1897.

  1. What precious assurance do we have that God understands our situation? Psalm 103:13–14.

NOTE: “It is not always safe to ask for unconditional healing. Let your prayer include this thought: ‘Lord, thou knowest every secret of the soul. Thou art acquainted with these persons; for Jesus, their Advocate, gave His life for them. He loves them better than we possibly can. If, therefore it is for Thy glory, and the good of these afflicted ones to raise them up to health, we ask in the name of Jesus, that health may be given them at this time.’ In a petition of this kind no lack of faith is manifested. There are cases that are clear, and the Lord works with His divine power decidedly, in their restoration. The will of God is evidenced too plainly to be misunderstood. The Lord ‘doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.’ ‘Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him; for He knoweth our frame: He remembereth that we are dust.’ He knows our heart, for He reads every secret of the soul. He knows whether or not those for whom petitions are offered would be able to endure the trial and test that would come upon them if they lived. He knows the end from the beginning. Many will be laid away to sleep in Jesus before the fiery ordeal of the time of trouble shall come upon our world. This is another reason why we should say after our earnest petition: ‘Nevertheless not my will, but Thine, O Lord, be done.’ Such a petition will never be registered in heaven as a faithless prayer.” General Conference Daily Bulletin, February 26, 1897.

Bible Study Guides – “What is man that Thou art mindful of him”

By Gordon Anderson

General Introduction

“In this degenerate age, Satan holds control over those who depart from the right and venture upon his ground. He exercises his power upon such in an alarming manner. I was directed to these words: ‘Intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.’ Some, I was shown, gratify their curiosity and tamper with the devil. They have no real faith in spiritualism and would start back with horror at the idea of being mediums. Yet they venture and place themselves in a position where Satan can exercise his power upon them. Such do not mean to enter deep into this work, but they know not what they are doing. They are venturing on the devil’s ground and are tempting him to control them. This powerful destroyer considers them his lawful prey and exercises his power upon them, and that against their will. When they wish to control themselves they cannot. They yielded their minds to Satan, and he will not release his claims, but holds them captive. No power can deliver the ensnared soul but the power of God in answer to the earnest prayers of His faithful followers.

“The only safety now is to search for the truth as revealed in the word of God, as for hid treasure. The subjects of the Sabbath, the nature of man, and the testimony of Jesus are the great and important truths to be understood; these will prove as an anchor to hold God’s people in these perilous times. But the mass of mankind despise the truths of God’s word and prefer fables. 2 Thessalonians 2:10, 11: ‘Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.’ ” Testimonies, vol. 1, 299–300.


MEMORY VERSE: “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.” Ecclesiastes 7: 29.

STUDY HELP: Testimonies, vol. 3, 138–140.

INTRODUCTION: “It is not enough for our ministers to have a superficial knowledge of the truth. Subjects which are handled by men who have perverted their God-given powers to tear down the truth are constantly coming up for investigation. Bigotry must be laid aside. The satanic delusions of the age must be met clearly and intelligently with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. The same unseen Hand that guides the planets in their courses, and upholds the worlds by His power, has made provision for man formed in His image, that he may be little less than the angels of God while in the performance of his duties on earth. God’s purposes have not been answered by men who have been entrusted with the most solemn truth ever given to man. He designs that we should rise higher and higher toward a state of perfection, seeing and realising at every step the power and glory of God. Man does not know himself. Our responsibilities are exactly proportioned to our light, opportunities, and privileges. We are responsible for the good we might have done, but failed to do because we were too indolent to use the means for improvement which were placed within our reach.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 415, 416.


  1. How is the creation of man described? Genesis 1:26–28.

NOTE: “Adam was then created in the image of God and placed upon probation. He had a perfectly developed organism. All his faculties harmonized. In all his emotions, words, and actions there was a perfect conformity to the will of his Maker. After God had made every provision for the happiness of man, and had supplied his every want, He tested Adam’s loyalty. If the holy pair should be obedient, the race would after a time be made equal to the angels.” Review and Herald, February 24, 1874.

“All heaven took a deep and joyful interest in the creation of the world and of man. Human beings were a new and distinct order. They were made ‘in the image of God,’ and it was the Creator’s design that they should populate the earth. They were to live in close communion with heaven, receiving power from the Source of all power. Upheld by God, they were to live sinless lives.” Review and Herald, February 11, 1902.

  1. How does David describe the creation of man? Psalm 139:14.

NOTE: “David declared: ‘I am fearfully and wonderfully made.’ When God has given us such a habitation, why should not every apartment be carefully examined? The chambers of the mind and heart are the most important. Then, instead of living in the basement of the house, enjoying sensual and debasing pleasures, should we not open these beautiful chambers and invite the Lord Jesus to come in and dwell with us?” Testimonies, vol. 6, 375.

“Have I not the right to do as I please with my own body? No, you have no moral right, because you are violating the laws of life and health which God has given you. You are the Lord’s property, His by creation and His by redemption. Every human being is under obligation to preserve the living machinery that is so fearfully and wonderfully made.” Healthful Living, 10.

  1. How should the knowledge that we are created in the image of God affect our relationship to our Creator? Isaiah 45:9. (Read verses 5–12.)

NOTE: “Can it be that man, made in the image of God, endowed with reason and speech, shall alone be unappreciative of His gifts and disobedient to His laws? Will those who might be elevated and ennobled, fitted to be co-laborers with Him, be content to remain imperfect in character and to cause confusion in our world? Shall the bodies and souls of God’s purchased inheritance be hampered with world-bound habits and unholy practices? Shall they not reflect the beauty of Him who has done all things well, that through His grace imperfect man might hear at last His benediction: ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant: . . . enter thou into the joy of thy Lord’? Matthew 25:21.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 327.


  1. By what means did Satan tempt mankind to sin? Genesis 3:1– 6.

NOTE: “Man was the crowning act of the creation of God, made in the image of God, and designed to be a counterpart of God; but Satan has laboured to obliterate the image of God in man, and to imprint upon him his own image. Man is very dear to God, because he was formed in His own image. This fact should impress us with the importance of teaching by precept and example the sin of defiling, by the indulgence of appetite, or by any other sinful practice, the body which is designed to represent God to the world.” Review and Herald, June 18, 1895.

  1. What effect has the entrance of sin had on the majority of the human race? Genesis 6:5.

NOTE: See Great Controversy, 542–543.

  1. What was God’s reaction to the corruption that sin had caused in the heart of man? Genesis 6:6–7.

NOTE: “The inhabitants of the world at this time are represented by the dwellers upon the earth at the time of the flood. The wickedness of the antediluvians is plainly stated: ‘And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.’ God became weary of this people, whose thoughts were only of sinful pleasure and indulgence. They sought not the counsel of Him who had created them, nor cared to do His will. The rebuke of God was upon them, because they followed the imagination of their own hearts; and there was violence in the land. ‘And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart . . . And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.’ In His teachings, Christ referred to this: ‘But as the days of Noe were,’ He said, ‘so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.’ ” Review and Herald, August 2, 1898.

“But though men were so wicked, God would not destroy them without warning. ‘My Spirit shall not always strive with man,’ He said, ‘yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.’ During this period of probation the message of warning given to Noah was to sound in their ears.” Signs of the Times, October 9, 1901.

  1. Does sinful man retain the image of God? Genesis 9:5–6.

NOTE: Whatever may be the nation, kindred or tongue, whether a man is white or black, he still bears the image of God, and ‘the proper study of mankind is man,’ viewed from the fact that he is the purchase of the blood of Christ. To show contempt for, to manifest hatred toward any nation, is to reveal the characteristic of Satan. God has placed His estimate upon man in giving Jesus to a life of humiliation, poverty, and self-sacrifice, to contempt, rejection, and death, in order that man, His lost sheep, might be saved. Is it then a remarkable thing that all heaven is interested in the ransom of man? Is it a wonderful fact that ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands of angels are employed in ascending and descending on the mystic ladder to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation? Angels do not come to the earth to denounce and to destroy, to rule and to exact homage, but are messengers of mercy to co-operate with the Captain of the Lord’s host, to co-operate with the human agents who shall go forth to seek and to save the lost sheep. Angels are commanded to encamp round about those who fear and love God.” Signs of the Times, November 20, 1893.


  1. What was the purpose of Christ’s coming to earth? Luke 19:10.

NOTE: “God has commanded us, ‘Be ye holy; for I am holy;’ and an inspired apostle declares that without holiness ‘no man shall see the Lord.’ Holiness is agreement with God. By sin the image of God in man has been marred and wellnigh obliterated; it is the work of the gospel to restore that which has been lost; and we are to co-operate with the divine agency in this work. And how can we come into harmony with God, how shall we receive His likeness, unless we obtain a knowledge of Him? It is this knowledge that Christ came into the world to reveal unto us.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 743.

  1. How did Christ reveal the image of God? John 14:7–9. Compare John 17:4.

NOTE: “The love and honor and perfection revealed in the Gospel are a revelation to man of the character of God. The justice and goodness and benevolence that were seen in the character of Christ are to be repeated in the lives of those who accept the privileges of the Gospel. By a study of the word, we are to see Him as He is, and, charmed with the view of His divine perfection, we are to grow into the same image. We need to understand that the Gospel fully reveals the glory of the Lord. It is the mirror that reveals the character of God to the converted soul. The likeness of God is revealed in the perfect character of His Son, that we may understand what it means to be made in the likeness of the image of God, and what we may become if by constantly beholding we allow ourselves to be changed from ‘glory to glory.’ ” Signs of the Times, February 24, 1909.

  1. As we come to understand more and more the glory of God, what change will He make in us? 2 Corinthians 3:18.

NOTE: “Brethren and sisters, it is by beholding that we become changed. By dwelling upon the love of God and our Saviour, by contemplating the perfection of the divine character and claiming the righteousness of Christ as ours by faith, we are to be transformed into the same image. Then let us not gather together all the unpleasant pictures, the iniquities and corruptions and disappointments, the evidences of Satan’s power, to hang in the halls of our memory, to talk over and mourn over until our souls are filled with discouragement. A discouraged soul is a body of darkness, not only failing himself to receive the light of God, but shutting it away from others. Satan loves to see the effect of the pictures of his triumphs, making human beings faithless and disheartened. There are, thank God, brighter and more cheering pictures which the Lord has presented to us. Let us group together the blessed assurances of His love as precious treasures, that we may look upon them continually. The Son of God leaving His Father’s throne, clothing His divinity with humanity, that He might rescue man from the power of Satan; His triumph in our behalf, opening heaven to man, revealing to human vision the presence chamber where Deity unveils His glory; the fallen race uplifted from the pit of ruin into which sin had plunged them, and brought again into connection with the infinite God, and, having endured the divine test through faith in our Redeemer, clothed in the righteousness of Christ and exalted to His throne, these are the pictures with which God bids us gladden the chambers of the soul.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 744–745.

  1. What must be put out of the life in order for the image of God to be restored? Colossians 3:8–10.

NOTE: “The accession of members who have not been renewed in heart and reformed in life is a source of weakness to the church. This fact is often ignored. Some ministers and churches are so desirous of securing an increase of numbers that they do not bear faithful testimony against unchristian habits and practices. Those who accept the truth are not taught that they cannot safely be worldlings in conduct while they are Christians in name. Heretofore they were Satan’s subjects; henceforth they are to be subjects of Christ. The life must testify to the change of leaders. Public opinion favors a profession of Christianity. Little selfdenial or self-sacrifice is required in order to put on a form of godliness and to have one’s name enrolled upon the church book. Hence many join the church without first becoming united to Christ. In this Satan triumphs. Such converts are his most efficient agents. They serve as decoys to other souls. They are false lights, luring the unwary to perdition. It is in vain that men seek to make the Christian’s path broad and pleasant for worldlings. God has not smoothed or widened the rugged, narrow way. If we would enter into life, we must follow the same path which Jesus and His disciples trod, the path of humility, self-denial, and sacrifice.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 172.

  1. How only may victory over sin be achieved? Galatians 2:20.

NOTE: “Look away from yourselves to Jesus. He is all and in all. The merits of the blood of a crucified and risen Saviour will avail to cleanse from the least and greatest sin. In trusting faith commit the keeping of your souls to God as unto a faithful Creator. Be not continually in fear and apprehension that God will leave you. He never will unless you depart from Him. Christ will come in and dwell with you if you will open the door of your hearts to Him. There may be perfect harmony between you and the Father and His Son if you will die to self and live unto God.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 543.

Recipe – Berry Cobbler

Place in a large saucepan:

1 can crushed pineapple (20 oz.)

1 1/2 lb. sliced strawberries (unsweetened, fresh or frozen)

1/2 pkg. frozen peaches, diced

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 1/2 cup date sugar

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

2-3 Tbsp. Agar Agar (or Cornstarch)

Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thick. Pour into a large baking dish, and top with Cashew and Oat Pie Crust. Bake at 350° until golden brown. For variety, blackberries, boysenberries or blueberries may be substituted.

Food for Life – Habits of Diet

My, what a winter this has been! So many records broken and it is still possible that it will continue in the same way. But isn’t this prophecy? Just what does the Spirit of Prophecy say about the last days and what we may expect? In Last Day Events, 18–31, Sister White has chapters entitled Signs in the Heavens, Signs on the Earth, False Prophets, Gluttony and Intemperance, Deeds of Violence, Wars and Disasters, Earthquakes and Floods, Crimes, Famines, and Pestilences. However, despite all that has happened, we know that God has a purpose in all these calamities, and these events are in His hands. We should never fear or be distraught, but look up, for our redemption draweth nigh!

This month, we are going to look at what inspiration has to say about food preparation on the Sabbath day and the importance of temperate eating habits. The following excerpts are taken from The Ministry of Healing, 307–309:

“We should not provide for the Sabbath a more liberal supply or a greater variety of food than for other days. Instead of this the food should be more simple, and less should be eaten in order that the mind may be clear and vigorous to comprehend spiritual things. A clogged stomach means a clogged brain. The most precious words may be heard and not appreciated because the mind is confused by an improper diet. By overeating on the Sabbath, many do more than they think to unfit themselves for receiving the benefit of its sacred opportunities.

“Cooking on the Sabbath should be avoided; but it is not therefore necessary to eat cold food. In cold weather the food prepared the day before should be heated. And let the meals, however simple, be palatable and attractive. Especially in families where there are children, it is well, on the Sabbath, to provide something that will be regarded as a treat, something the family does not have every day.

“Where wrong habits of diet have been indulged, there should be no delay in reform. When dyspepsia has resulted from abuse of the stomach, efforts should be made carefully to preserve the remaining strength of the vital forces by removing every overtaxing burden. The stomach may never entirely recover health after long abuse; but a proper course of diet will save further debility, and many will recover more or less fully. It is not easy to prescribe rules that will meet every case; but, with attention to right principles in eating, great reforms may be made, and the cook need not be continually toiling to tempt the appetite.

“Abstemiousness in diet is rewarded with mental and moral vigor; it also aids in the control of the passions. Overeating is especially harmful to those who are sluggish in temperament; these should eat sparingly and take plenty of physical exercise. There are men and women of excellent natural ability who do not accomplish half what they might if they would exercise self-control in the denial of appetite.

“Many writers and speakers fail here. After eating heartily, they give themselves to sedentary occupations, reading, study, or writing, allowing no time for physical exercise. As a consequence, the free flow of thought and words is checked. They cannot write or speak with the force and intensity necessary in order to reach the heart; their efforts are tame and fruitless.

“Those upon whom rest important responsibilities, those, above all, who are guardians of spiritual interests, should be men of keen feeling and quick perception. More than others, they need to be temperate in eating. Rich and luxurious food should have no place upon their tables.”

Children’s Story – Shut Up With a Bible

When Nicholas I became emperor of Russia, his first task was to put down a formidable sedition among the aristocracy of his realm. Many nobles, detected in guilt, and many who were simply suspected, were thrown into prison. One, who was innocent, was by nature a man of fiery temper; his wrongful arrest infuriated him, and he raved like a wild animal. Day after day, brooding over his treatment, he would stamp shrieking through his cell, and curse the emperor and curse God. Why did He not prevent this injustice?

No quiet came to him save in the intervals of exhaustion that followed his fits of rage. A visit from the venerable clergyman on the ninth day of his confinement, produced no softening effect. The good man’s prayer was heard with sullen contempt. The divine words, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” sounded like mockery to the embittered prisoner. The aged minister went away, leaving a Bible in the cell, which he begged the prisoner to read.

As soon as his visitor was gone, the angry nobleman threw the Bible into a corner. What to him was the word of a God who lets tyrants abuse him?

But when the terrible loneliness of succeeding days had nearly crazed him, he caught up the volume, and opened it, and his first glance fell on the middle of the fiftieth psalm: “Call upon me in the day of trouble: and I will deliver thee.” The text surprised and touched him, but his pride resented the feeling, and he dropped the book.

The next day, desperation drove him again to the only companion of his solitude, and from that time he read the Bible constantly. Then he began to study it, and commit whole chapters to memory. The story of the Savior’s life and death totally changed him. He saw himself a fellow sufferer with Christ who was unjustly accused and slain.

Revengeful rage gave way, and the spirit of a martyr took its place. Like the persecuted Christians shut up in the Roman catacombs, he forgave his enemies. An unworldly joy took up the time he had once spent in harsh thoughts and words. The shadows of wrong and death vanished in the new light that shone upon him from beyond.

The company of the book—the one Book in all the world that could have done it—had given the proud noble another heart.

Madame Dubois, once a beloved prison missionary in New York, from whose writings this story is taken, was in Russia when the condemned man’s aunt and sister, with whom she was visiting received a letter, which was believed to be his last. It was the outpouring of an exalted soul superior to fate.

He had undergone his trial; and, unable to prove his innocence, had been sentenced to death.

On the day set for his execution, while the ladies of his mansion walked in tears through the crape-hung parlors, suddenly the sight of their doomed kinsman himself astonished them at the door!

It was an unhoped for deliverance at the last moment. When the jailer’s key unlocked the prisoner’s cell, instead of the messenger of death, the czar of Russia stood before him. A conspirator’s intercepted letter had placed the innocence of the suspected nobleman beyond question, and the czar made what amends he could by bestowing on him a splendid castle and a general’s commission.

Seventy-five years have passed since then, and with them the life of the almost-martyred Russian; but the fruits of his devout fidelity and kindness among his fellow men, the hospital he built for the sick and friendless, and the very Bible he was shut up with in his own distress, still bear witness to a consecration that was worth all personal cost, and infinitely more.

Taken from The Youth’s Instructor, January 3, 1901.

Enslaving the Souls of Men

EDITORS NOTE: The following is a chapter taken from, The Jesuits in North America, by Francis Parkman. The book’s preface is dated, May 1, 1867.

It was an evil day for new-born Protestantism when a French artilleryman fired the shot that struck down Ignatius Loyola in the breach of Pampeluna. A proud noble, an aspiring soldier, a graceful courtier, an ardent and daring gallant was metamorphosed by that stroke into the zealot whose brain engendered and brought forth the mighty Society of Jesus. His story is a familiar one,—how, in the solitude of his sick-room, a change came over him, upheaving, like an earthquake, all the forces of his nature; how, in the cave of Manresa, the mysteries of Heaven were revealed to him; how he passed from agonies to transports, from transports to the calm of a determined purpose. The soldier gave himself to a new warfare. In the forge of his great intellect, heated, but not disturbed by the intense fires of his zeal, was wrought the prodigious enginery whose power has been felt to the uttermost confines of the world.

Loyola’s training had been in court and camps; of books he knew little or nothing. He had lived the unquestioning faith of one born and bred in the very focus of Romanism; and thus, at the age of about thirty, his conversion found him. It was a change of life and purpose, not of belief. He presumed not to inquire into the doctrines of the Church. It was for him to enforce those doctrines; and to this end he turned all the faculties of his potent intellect, and all his deep knowledge of mankind. He did not aim to build up barren communities of secluded monks, aspiring to heaven through prayer, penance, and mediation, but to subdue the world to the dominion of the dogmas which had subdued him; to organize and discipline a mighty host, controlled by one purpose and one mind, fired by a quenchless zeal or nerved by a fixed resolve, yet impelled, restrained, and directed by a single master hand. The Jesuit is no dreamer: he is emphatically a man of action; action is the end of his existence.

It was an arduous problem which Loyola undertook to solve—to rob a man of volition, yet to preserve in him, nay, to stimulate, those energies which would make him the most efficient instrument of a great design. To this end the Jesuit novitiate and the constitutions of the Order are directed. The enthusiasm of the novice is urged to its intensest pitch; then in the name of religion, he is summoned to the utter abnegation of intellect and will in favor of the superior, in whom he is commanded to recognize the representative of God on earth. Thus the young zealot makes no slavish sacrifice of intellect and will—at least, so he is taught—for he sacrifices them, not to man, but to his Maker. No limit is set to his submission: if the Superior pronounces black to be white, he is bound in conscience to acquiesce.1

Loyola’s book of Spiritual Exercises is well known. In these exercises lies the hard and narrow path which is the only entrance to the Society of Jesus. The book is, to all appearance, a dry and superstitious formulary; but in the hands of a skillful director of consciences it has proved of terrible efficacy. The novice, in solitude and darkness, day after day and night after night, ponders its images of perdition and despair. He is taught to hear in imagination the howlings of the damned, to see their convulsive agonies, to feel the flames that burn without consuming, to smell the corruption of the tomb and the fumes of the infernal pit. He must picture to himself an array of adverse armies—one commanded by Satan on the plains of Babylon, one encamped under Christ about the walls of Jerusalem; and the perturbed mind, humbled by long contemplation of its own vileness, is ordered to enroll itself under one or the other banner. Then, the choice made, it is led to a region of serenity and celestial peace, and soothed with images of divine benignity and grace. These meditations last, without intermission, about a month; and under an astute and experienced directorship, they have been found of such power that the Manual of Spiritual Exercises boasts to have saved souls more in number than the letters it contains.

To this succeed two years of discipline and preparation, directed, above all things else, to perfecting the virtues of humility and obedience. The novice is obliged to perform the lowest menial offices and the most repulsive duties of the sick-room and the hospital; and he is sent forth, for weeks together, to beg his bread like a common mendicant. He is required to reveal to his confessor not only his sins, but all those hidden tendencies, instincts and impulses which form the distinctive traits of character. He is set to watch his comrades, and his comrades are set to watch him. Each must report what he observes of the acts and dispositions of the others; and his mutual espionage does not end with the novitiate, but extends to the close of life. The characteristics of every member of the Order are minutely analyzed, and methodically put on record.

This horrible violence to the noblest qualities of manhood, joined to that equivocal system of morality which eminent casuists of the Order have inculcated, must, it may be thought, produce deplorable effects upon the characters of those under its influence. Whether this has been actually the case, the reader of history may determine. It is certain, however, that the Society of Jesus has numbered among its members men whose fervent and exalted natures have been intensified, without being abased, by the pressure to which they have been subjected.

It is not for nothing that the Society studies the character of its members so intently, and by methods so startling. It not only uses its knowledge to thrust into obscurity or cast out altogether those whom it discovers to be dull, feeble or unwilling instruments of its purposes, but it assigns to every one the task to which his talents or his disposition may best adapt him: to one, the care of a royal conscience, whereby, unseen, his whispered word may guide the destiny of nations; to another, the instruction of children; to another, a career of letters or science; and to the fervent and the self-sacrificing, sometimes also to the restless and uncompliant, the distant missions to the heathen.

The Jesuit was, and is, everywhere—in the school-room, in the library, in the cabinets of princes and ministers, in the huts of savages, in the tropics, in the frozen North, in India, in China, in Japan, in Africa, in America; now as a Christian priest, now as a soldier, a mathematician, an astrologer, a Brahmin, a mandarin—under countless disguises, by a thousand arts, luring, persuading, or compelling souls into the fold of Rome. Of this vast mechanism for guiding and governing the minds of men, this mighty enginery for subduing the earth to the dominion of an idea, this harmony of contradictions, this moral Proteus, the faintest sketch must now suffice. A disquisition on the Society of Jesus would be without end. No religious Order has ever united in itself so much to be admired and so much to be detested. Unmixed praise has been poured on its Canadian members. It is not for me to eulogize them, but to portray them as they were.

1 Those who wish to know the nature of the Jesuit virtue of obedience will find it set forth in the famous Letter on Obedience of Loyola.

The Rise of Sabbatarian Adventism

“We now turn to the second distinguishing doctrine of the Sabbatarian Adventists—their acceptance and observance of the seventh-day Sabbath. Prophetic interpretation, as we have seen from the sources, has persisted through the vicissitudes of the passing centuries, despite certain stormy upheavals and periodic setbacks. In a similar way, though not so commonly known, the Christian observance of the seventh-day Sabbath has likewise persisted throughout the Christian era. At times it has been driven underground, into silence and obscurity. But it has inevitably reappeared to bear its witness and urge its message upon mankind. The Sabbath, and its change and restoration, are tied inseparably into the very structure of Bible prophecy, the Sabbatarian Adventists firmly believed.” The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, 906.

Following the death of the apostles, Sabbath observance continued in various parts of the Roman Empire. There were some in the Celtic Church of Scotland that kept the seventh-day Sabbath. The same was true in Ethiopia and Abyssinia as well as in pre-Reformation Norway. During and after the Reformation period, Sabbath-keeping reappeared in Sweden, Finland, Bohemia, England, Poland, France and Germany. These groups developed into the Seventh-Day Baptist communion. Samuel Mumford took this movement from England to America in 1664. The years following saw the establishment of the Seventh-Day Baptists in Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

“The seventeenth-century revival of the seventh-day Sabbath centered chiefly in England, touched Continental Europe slightly, and was projected into the New World. And we have seen how, in North America, agitation over the seventh-day Sabbath appeared first in the Colonial Era, and then in the early National period, and this among men of British as well as German background. And now, in the early decades of the nineteenth century, simultaneously in Argentina and Scotland, new Sabbatarian voices break forth early in the great revival of prophetic exposition, which appeared at the same time in the different countries of Christendom. Thus the Sabbath message was brought out in connection with the Old World Advent Awakening, and in the New World Second Advent Movement.

“These two doctrines combined—the second-advent and the Sabbath—were proclaimed. . . by two widely separated pioneer advent heralds—Francisco Ramos Mexia, prominent Argentine patriot (with a Scottish Protestant background on his mothers side), and Presbyterian James A. Begg, substantial bookseller, printer, and author of Glasgow, Scotland. Within a few years of each other they began to combine emphasis on the binding obligation of an unchanged seventh-day Sabbath with the heralding of the imminent second advent, planting both doctrines squarely on the foundation of Bible prophecy.” Ibid., 941.

The Sabbath Message Presented to the Adventists

During the years 1843 and 1844, the Seventh-Day Baptists, through fasting and prayer, supplicated God to raise up others that were Sabbathkeepers. In the meantime Rachel Oakes began the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath and proclaimed this truth in Washington, New Hampshire, where two ministers accepted it. One was a Methodist circuit rider named Frederick Wheeler. The other was Thomas M. Preble, the first Adventist to advocate the Sabbath in print. An article that he wrote and published in The Hope of Israel in 1845, introduced the Sabbath to J. N. Andrews and Joseph Bates. (Unfortunately, later Preble turned against the Sabbath truth and wrote against it.) It was by means of a tract, Bates wrote, that the Sabbath was brought to James and Ellen White.

For almost two hundred years the Seventh-Day Baptists were practically the only ones that upheld the seventh day as the Sabbath. The Sunday-keeping churches all rejected the appeals of the Seventh-Day Baptists. This was also the response of the Millerites in general. The leaders and editors of the Adventist journals were highly critical of the agitation among the Adventists about the seventh-day Sabbath.

In August, of 1844, an article appeared that stated: “We feel borne irresistibly to the conclusion that there is no particular portion of time which Christians are required by Law to set apart, as holy time. If the Scriptures, and the considerations presented, do not convince our readers of this, then we think there is another conclusion to which they must come, viz. The particular portion of time which God requires us to observe as holy, is the seventh day of the week, that is, Saturday.

“We regret to leave the argument at this point, but space fails and we must beg our readers to search the Scriptures to see if these things are so. They have learned to bow to no authority but God’s, and having that, to treat the decisions of men as utterly worthless.

“We love the seventh-day brethren and sisters, but we think they are trying to mend the old broken Jewish yoke, and put it on their necks, instead of standing fast in the liberty wherewith Christ makes free.” Ibid., 944.

After Bates heard about the Sabbath through Preble’s article, he met Frederick Wheeler. Bates was so interested in what he had to say that they conversed all night about the Law of God and the neglected Sabbath. Together they went to confer with Cyrus Farnsworth, an early lay pioneer of the Adventists. These three men sealed a pact among them about the Law of God and in particular the most neglected part of it, the seventh-day Sabbath. Thus by the efforts of these three men, New Hampshire became the cradle of the Seventh-day Adventists.

In 1846, Joseph Bates published a forty-eight page tract entitled The Seventh Day Sabbath, A Perpetual Sign. He based his premise upon the fact that the Sabbath was instituted at Creation and was reinforced at Sinai. And since the Ten Commandments are the moral guide for everyone, the Sabbath commandment should be obeyed just like the others.

This tract was followed by another, entitled A Seal of the Living God, January 1849, where he set forth the Sabbath as being the seal of God. Bates concluded that the remnant “who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ would number 144,000.”

Prominent Adventist Leaders Accept the Sabbath

At first, Ellen Harmon and James White did not accept the Sabbath truth as presented by Bates. Ellen was brought up a Methodist and believed in “free grace and dying love.” James claimed that Christians are not “under the Law.” They both regarded the Sabbath as Jewish and felt that Bates had placed too much emphasis upon keeping it. However, after their marriage they studied Bates’ tract more closely and, comparing the clear Biblical and historical evidence, shortly began to keep the Sabbath.

John Nevins Andrews was another young man that accepted the Sabbath when Marian Stowell, a fellow Advent believer, who was staying in the Andrew’s home, gave him a copy of Preble’s Hope of Israel. The parents of both these young people, after reading the tract, accepted the seventh-day Sabbath. The Cyprian Stevens family was the next to believe in the seventh-day Sabbath. One of their daughters later became Mrs. J. N. Andrews and the other one Mrs. Uriah Smith.

“Although the seventh-day Sabbath came to the attention of a group of Adventists through the Seventh-Day Baptists, it was the light on the sanctuary and the prophecy of Daniel 7:25 coupled with that of Revelation 14:9–12 that invested it with a significance and an importance that the Sabbath had never had under the Seventh-Day Baptists. They had long held that all the Ten Commandments are moral, not ceremonial; that they are unchangeable, being a revelation of the character of God; and that the change of the Sabbath was made by the papal church without authorization from God. Their position in this was impregnable. But Mrs. Preston (Rachel Oakes), in Washington, New Hampshire, simply urging the claim of the unchanged seventh-day Sabbath, did not have much initial success. Only in the sanctuary setting did it begin to grip hearts. The belief that men were living in the judgment hour, and were to be judged by the great unchanged standard of the judgment, with the coming of Christ drawing near, drove home the conviction that the Lord was calling men to obey all of His commandments.” Ibid., 960.

In 1849, Joseph Bates went to Michigan where he raised up a company of Sabbath-keepers in Jackson. He went to Battle Creek in 1852 and when he arrived he asked the postmaster for the name of the most honest man in that town. He was given the name of David Hewitt. Bates spent all day at the Hewitt home presenting a thorough and systematic study of the Advent Movement, including the Three Angels’ Messages of Revelation 14. The family accepted the entire presentation and soon a group was meeting in their home until a building could be erected for meetings.

And this was Bates’ typical method. When he went where there were no churches, he rented a hall, schoolhouse or a home, hung up his 1843 chart and preached on the new found light. Many churches were established. The success of these churches was always based on the prophecies. In 1860, when the Sabbatarian Adventists decided to organize, Joseph Bates was made the chairman and directed the conference to a successful conclusion.

“So, to the concept of Christ entering the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, on October 22, 1844, for the final work of judgment and the receiving of His kingdom, was added the Sabbath . . . . This concept of the ‘seal’ was likewise built into the message of the Sabbath, as an added prophetic element. And this thought was similarly attested by Ellen White, who wrote, ‘This seal is the Sabbath,’ and described the most holy place in which was the ark (Revelation 11:9), containing the Ten Commandments, with a halo of light surrounding the fourth. Thus the Sabbath and the sanctuary became inseparably tied together.” Ibid., 958.

How to Be Among the 144,000, Part II

Editor’s Note: Last month we looked at what kind of character the 144,000 must have and how they must obtain it. This month we will continue on with our study of what you and I must do to be among the 144,000 and what sanctification really means.

The closer we come to Christ, the more we will realize that within us there is no good thing. Self must be crucified every moment of every day.

Our will must be surrendered to God’s will. And we must allow God to live out His life within us. There is no one so weak that he cannot be saved, because all the power to win the victory comes from Christ. However, there also is no one so strong that he can be saved in his own strength. From the weakest to the strongest we must crucify self and turn to God for strength.

This crucifixion of self is a painful process. I wish I could give you some pleasing doctrine that would just open up the gates of heaven for you without any suffering or pain, but God in His wisdom did not make such a way. There is no way except the bloodstained path of the cross. Since this was true for Christ, should it be any different for us? Paul wrote of Christ’s experience, “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering.” Hebrews 2:10. “Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” Hebrews 5:8. Christ suffered with temptations. He had to daily crucify self, and having been perfected, “He became the author of eternal salvation to all those who obey Him.” Hebrews 5:9.

I propose that this is good news! Now it may not be good news to think that you have to go through some suffering, but it is good news that you can be perfected by it. And we have the promise that we will not have any temptations but those which are common to man, and God who is faithful “will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13.

What type of temptations did Christ suffer? Peter wrote, “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind.” 1 Peter 4:1. Christ suffered in the flesh, what the Bible calls our fallen nature, and He overcame! That is wonderful to know, because all of us have sins of the flesh, which seem to bind us.

Some people say, “I know I lose my temper, but you have to realize that is the way I was born. You must take the good with the bad.” This is the fleshly nature, and the Bible says that if you live according to the flesh, (according to your inheritance) you will die! (See Romans 8:13).

So what do we do since we all have inherited sinful tendencies? We do not all have the same problems. Some have inherited a temper, others discouragement and others selfishness. However, in every life there is some special sin that will require a life and death struggle to overcome. These are what Paul called besetting sins (Romans 12:1), and the devil has been cultivating them in our lives since we were born.

When a baby is born the Lord says, “I died for this baby. He is mine.” But the adversary of souls says, “No, he is mine.” And the battle begins. The Lord works to keep that baby, but the devil begins to work from the day that baby is born to hold him in the bonds of sin. He seeks to develop within that little child’s heart some special desire for sin. Even if the baby is born into a worldly home, the devil does not know when he might someday have the opportunity to hear the gospel and be inclined to accept it. So he works every day to cultivate in that child a love for some besetting sin.

A Struggle to Overcome a Besetting Sin

I remember holding an evangelistic series in one of my first churches. About twelve had accepted the Lord and were preparing for baptism. In the baptismal class, I was reading some Bible verses on Christian adornment and jewelry. Suddenly, one young lady, who had been married for only six months, caught the drift of what the verses were saying. It was too much for her and she said right out loud, “If I have to take off my jewelry to get to heaven, I cannot go!” And she left!

I suppose that from the time she was born, Satan had tried to develop that desire within her. What is jewelry? A worthless piece of stone cut into a beautiful shape. I could cut a piece of glass and most people could not tell it from a diamond, but, for some reason, people have placed a special value on certain little stones. They are willing to pay thousands of dollars to wear them around on the fingers.

So it was for this young women. If you could review her life, I think you would find that the devil had arranged affairs throughout her childhood so that she had heard people comment about various ladies’ jewelry. In her mind, jewelry had come to signify success and being a woman, happily married, and all those ideals.

A few days later, I went to her home to visit her. I was surprised, when I stepped inside, to find two non-Adventist ministers standing in her living room. She had called these other preachers to tell her that she could keep all her jewelry on and still go to heaven. When I came in, it was like waving a red flag before a bull. They turned on me—this crazy, fanatical, legalistic fellow who thinks people must take off their jewelry to get to heaven.

I was not very interested in trying to discuss jewelry with these two preachers who were not really interested in the truth anyway, so I changed the subject. I said, “I can understand why you do not see any importance in jewelry. You do not even see any importance in keeping the Sabbath.” That turned the subject, and since they were little match for the Sabbath truth, they soon left.

Two days later, we had a baptism with all the other candidates and this lady came with her husband and all her jewelry on, but with a towel. She came up to me and said, “Could you go over those things again?” The church was full and everyone was there, ready for the baptism to begin, but we went into another room and we started going over the Bible texts. We were there for two hours as she struggled with a spiritual battle. Finally, the tears came to her eyes and she said, “I surrender.” She took off her jewelry and she and her husband were baptized along with the ten others.

For this dear lady, giving up jewelry was a trial. She had to suffer and sacrifice to give up this besetting sin. Your besetting sin may not be jewelry, we all have different weaknesses. But for each of us, the way to heaven is the way of the cross. We cannot just sit back and say, “Lord, make me clean.” That is not the way it is.

When Jesus cleansed the Jewish temple, He went in, uninvited, and drove all the wickedness out, but inspiration tells us that He does not cleanse the soul temple that way. (See The Desire of Ages, 161.) He is very willing to cleanse our soul temples, but He cannot do it without our invitation and cooperation.

The Right Use of the Will

“The expulsion of sin is the act of the soul itself. True, we have no power to free ourselves from Satan’s control; but when we desire to be set free from sin, and in our great need cry out for a power out of and above ourselves, the powers of the soul are imbued with the divine energy of the Holy Spirit, and they obey the dictates of the will in fulfilling the will of God. God gives the power, but we must exercise the effort.” The Desire of Ages, 466.

We cannot do what God must do for us, but neither will God do what He has asked us to do. Ellen White wrote about a man that she was asked to anoint. She did not feel that she could do that until she had taken the matter before the Lord. During the night she was given a vision, and the Lord showed her that this man had a besetting sin which he had developed in adolescence. He knew it was a sin and he had tried to overcome it by fasting and prayer, but he was still bound by it. God showed Sister White that this man’s prayers had been answered and God had given him the power to overcome, but he had to put forth the effort. God would not do for him what He had given him the power to do for himself.

“Everything depends on the right use of the will.” Steps to Christ, 47. We must learn that we have to choose to do what is right and refuse to do what is wrong. Then God can help us. It takes our effort and God’s strength.

The Secret of Samson’s Strength

The story of Samson, in the Bible, fitly illustrates this important spiritual lesson in physical terms. Samson had incredible physical strength. He could conquer every physical difficulty. One time he carried the iron gates of a city to the top of a hill and left them there. But was it really Samson who lifted those gates? Was the power really his own? No, he had no more natural strength before his hair was cut than after his hair was cut. It was the angels who were lifting those gates. But, the angels did not help without Samson putting forth all the effort he had.

Think of this promise. “All His [God’s] biddings are enablings.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 333. If God asks you to do something, He will provide the strength for you to do it. Nothing is impossible for Him. But He will not do anything, until you put for the effort.

“God saw it was impossible for man to overcome in his own strength, with his own feeble moral power; yet man is required to exercise all the capabilities and powers that God has given him in order to overcome, and then he needs a higher power, and help has been laid upon One who is human effort, that through Jesus man may stand free, a conqueror.” The Review and Herald, June 10, 1890.

“The pleasing fable that all there is to do is to believe, has destroyed thousands and tens of thousands, because many have called that faith which is not faith, but simply a dogma. Man is an intelligent, accountable being; he is not to be carried as a passive burden by the Lord, but is to work in harmony with Christ. Man is to take up his appointed work in striving for glory, honor, and immortality. God calls upon men for the use of every talent He has lent them, the exercise of every power He has given; for man can never be saved in disobedience and indolence.” The Review and Herald, April 1, 1890.

“There must be an earnest effort to conquer through the grace freely given of God.” The Review and Herald, January 24, 1893.

“The help of God is held in reserve for all who demand it. Divine help is to be combined with human effort, aspiration, and energy. But we cannot reach the battlements of heaven without climbing for ourselves . . . Not even divine power can lift one soul to heaven that is unwilling to put forth efforts in his own behalf.” Signs of the Times, August 14, 1884.

Judas’ Doctrine

Any doctrine that is teaching people that they do not need to put forth effort to overcome sin is preparing people to be eternally lost. This was the type of doctrine Judas held. Look for a moment at how his story is told in The Desire of Ages, and let us trace the steps that he took before his great fall.

“He [Judas] witnessed the Savior’s mighty works in healing the sick . . . He felt in his own person the evidence of Christ’s power. He recognized the teaching of Christ as superior to all that he had ever heard. He loved the Great Teacher, and desired to be with him. He felt a desire to be changed in character and life, and he hoped to experience this through connecting himself with Jesus.” The Desire of Ages, 717.

This sounds pretty good. Judas loved Jesus and he wanted to be with Him. He wanted to be changed and he believed that if he associated with Jesus he would be changed. Doesn’t that sound like pretty good theology? Today a lot of preachers are telling people that if they will just spend time reading the Bible and studying every day they will be changed. But there is something more required than just reading and praying. There must be a crucifixion of self. When we are tempted to sin, we must refuse to sin with the power God has given us.

Continuing on with Judas’ story, it says, “He gave him a place among the twelve . . . He endowed him with power to heal the sick, cast out devils. But Judas did not come to the point of surrendering himself fully to Christ.” Ibid. That was the problem. Judas was no worse than any of the disciples in the beginning, but he never surrendered himself to Christ. He never went through the struggle, agony and the suffering of crucifying self. He never took up his cross. It makes me sad when I hear the doctrine of Judas being taught today, because I know that there are many people that will be as disappointed as Judas was.

Sanctification—More than Overcoming

A crucifixion of self is only half the Christian experience. It is not enough to get you to heaven. No one can ever get to heaven by simply overcoming sin. Sanctification is our goal. But what really is sanctification? Many people have been perplexed because they have equated sanctification with the process of overcoming sin, and they also know that sanctification is the work of a lifetime. Are we then supposed to spend our whole lives focusing on sin? No!

Sanctification is not the work of overcoming sin. That is only the beginning. When you overcome sin, your Christian life has just begun. We are all to go on to develop characters of righteousness. Adam, in the very beginning, although he had never sinned, had to develop a character. Jesus never sinned but His character had to be developed.

This development of character is something that is to go on as long as life lasts and will continue on throughout eternity. (See The Great Controversy, 678). There is so much more to living a Christian life than not sinning. It is not enough to quit stealing. We must go far beyond not stealing to giving unselfishly. We will not be saved because we do not curse. We must go far beyond not cursing until we are praising the Lord. We must go far beyond not hating our brother, we have to learn to love our enemy. We have to go far beyond not sinning. We have to go on in the path of righteousness.

We know that this is not an easy path. It requires us to struggle with agonizing efforts. (See Faith and Works, 48, 49). But, although it is a blood-strewn path, although it is the way through Gethsemane and Calvary, it is the only way to go that is worth living. For there is only one reason to live and that is to live forever.

There is nothing in this life. Soon we will see the final signs of Jesus’ Second Coming. And then we will see that cloud coming closer and closer. We will see the dead arising and we “shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

When we get to heaven we will renew acquaintances. We will find people and make friends that have lived hundreds and thousands of years ago. I will look for my wife and children, my brother and sister, my parents. I will look for my friends and my church members whom I have learned to love. I will look for those with whom I have given Bible studies. Heaven will be very happy when I find someone there that I hoped would be there. It will be very sad every time I find someone not there.

I will go to the sanctuary because there is the greatest history class of the ages. A history that is in living color. I can see the battles that have been fought and I can go into the Councils with the Popes. I can see back before the flood or go to the angels and find out what happened in the great controversy in heaven. That will be so interesting! This life is passing away. It is not an easy way to heaven, but it is the only way out of this earth. It is the way of the cross. By God’s will and grace, I am willing to walk the bloodstained path. We must crucify self, every moment of every day. We must suffer in the flesh and yet we will have joy. That is one of the mysteries of the gospel. It is the only way of joy and yet it is the way of suffering.

There is no special time when God will send some mighty working miracle and all of a sudden you will be a different person. The only time there is to change character is today! There will never be any more power available than what has been given to us today.

If you cannot overcome today, you cannot overcome tomorrow. Right now in your present situation you must overcome the flesh. But you can do it! Jesus had all your weaknesses, and no more strength than He offers you and He was victorious. And you can be too. The very weakest Christians can be “more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” Romans 8:37.

Let us commit ourselves to the Lord. My prayer is that you will not be missing on that great day.