Bible Study Guides – The People, Part 11

December 25, 2005 – December 31, 2005

Key Text

“To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Hebrews 4:7. “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” 1 Thessalonans 5:4.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 5, 212–216.

1 What are the true people of God referred to in comparison to the population of the world? Revelation 12:17. Compare Acts 1:12–15.

note: “In comparison with the millions of the world, God’s people will be, as they have ever been, a little flock; but if they stand for the truth as revealed in His word, God will be their refuge. They stand under the broad shield of Omnipotence. God is always a majority. When the sound of the last trump shall penetrate the prison house of the dead, and the righteous shall come forth with triumph, exclaiming, ‘O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?’ (1 Corinthians 15:55)—standing then with God, with Christ, with the angels, and with the loyal and true of all ages, the children of God will be far in the majority.” The Acts of the Apostles, 590.

2 Why will only a small proportion of the people who profess to be depositaries of God’s law ultimately be saved? Zephaniah 3:7, 13. Compare Isaiah 10:20–22.

note: “In Jeremiah’s time, the Jews believed that the strict observance of the divinely appointed services of the temple would preserve them from the just punishment of their evil course.

“The same danger exists today among the people who profess to be the depositaries of God’s law. They are too apt to flatter themselves that the regard in which they hold the commandments will preserve them from the power of divine justice. They refuse to be reproved for evil, and charge God’s servants with being too zealous in putting sin out of the camp. A sin-hating God calls upon those who profess to keep His law to depart from all iniquity. Neglect to repent and obey His word will bring as serious consequences upon God’s people today as did the same sin upon ancient Israel. There is a limit beyond which He will no longer delay His judgments.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 166, 167.

3 What experience do the true people of God pass through that prepares them to stand on the sea of glass before the great white throne? Malachi 3:2–4; Revelation 3:8–11.

note: “Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling. Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort they must be conquerors in the battle with evil. While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth.” The Great Controversy, 425.

4 How does Zechariah represent the condition of God’s people at this time, and how does the Lord intervene to help them? Zechariah 3:1–3.

note: “As the people of God afflict their souls before Him, pleading for purity of heart, the command is given, ‘Take away the filthy garments’ from them, and the encouraging words are spoken, ‘Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.’ [Zechariah 3:4.] The spotless robe of Christ’s righteousness is placed upon the tried, tempted, yet faithful children of God. The despised remnant are clothed in glorious apparel, nevermore to be defiled by the corruptions of the world. . . . And the remnant are not only pardoned and accepted, but honored. ‘A fair miter’ [verse 5] is set upon their heads. They are to be as kings and priests unto God.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 475.

5 In the vision, what is Satan doing? Zechariah 3:1.

note: “Satan will work his miracles to deceive; he will set up his power as supreme. The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out—the chaff separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place. None but those who have been overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony will be found with the loyal and true, without spot or stain of sin, without guile in their mouths.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 380.

6 On what condition are the people of God permitted to keep the robe of Christ’s righteousness? Zechariah 3:7.

note: “The true people of God, who have the spirit of the work of the Lord and the salvation of souls at heart, will ever view sin in its real, sinful character. They will always be on the side of faithful and plain dealing with sins which easily beset the people of God. Especially in the closing work for the church, in the sealing time of the one hundred and forty-four thousand who are to stand without fault before the throne of God, will they feel most deeply the wrongs of God’s professed people.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 266.

“I also saw that many do not realize what they must be in order to live in the sight of the Lord without a high priest in the sanctuary through the time of trouble. Those who receive the seal of the living God and are protected in the time of trouble must reflect the image of Jesus fully.

“I saw that many were neglecting the preparation so needful and were looking to the time of ‘refreshing’ and the ‘latter rain’ to fit them to stand in the day of the Lord and to live in His sight. Oh, how many I saw in the time of trouble without a shelter! They had neglected the needful preparation; therefore they could not receive the refreshing that all must have to fit them to live in the sight of a holy God.” Early Writings, 71.

“While Satan was urging his accusations and seeking to destroy this company, holy angels, unseen, were passing to and fro, placing upon them the seal of the living God. These are they that stand upon Mount Zion with the Lamb, having the Father’s name written in their foreheads. They sing the new song before the throne, that song which no man can learn save the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. ‘These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.’ [Revelation 14:4.]” Lift Him Up, 377.

7 How are the 144,000 described in relationship to all of those who are redeemed? Revelation 14:4.

note: “ ‘These are they which follow the Lamb withersoever He goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.’ Revelation 14:4. The vision of the prophet pictures them as standing on Mount Zion, girt for holy service, clothed in white linen, which is the righteousness of the saints. But all who follow the Lamb in heaven must first have followed Him on earth, not fretfully or capriciously, but in trustful, loving, willing obedience, as the flock follows the shepherd.” The Acts of the Apostles, 591.

8 How many who had gotten the victory over sin did John see in vision standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb? Revelation 7:9, 10.

note: “Nearest the throne are those who were once zealous in the cause of Satan, but who, plucked as brands from the burning, have followed their Saviour with deep, intense devotion. Next are those who perfected Christian characters in the midst of falsehood and infidelity, those who honored the law of God when the Christian world declared it void, and the millions, of all ages, who were martyred for their faith. And beyond is the ‘great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, . . . before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.’ Revelation 7:9. Their warfare is ended, their victory won. They have run the race and reached the prize. The palm branch in their hands is a symbol of their triumph, the white robe an emblem of the spotless righteousness of Christ which now is theirs.” The Great Controversy, 665.

9 What one requirement did all of the redeemed fulfill? Revelation 7:14.

note: “In the parable of Matthew 22 the same figure of the marriage is introduced, and the investigative judgment is clearly represented as taking place before the marriage. Previous to the wedding the king comes in to see the guests, to see if all are attired in the wedding garment, the spotless robe of character washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb. Matthew 22:11; Revelation 7:14. He who is found wanting is cast out, but all who upon examination are seen to have the wedding garment on are accepted of God and accounted worthy of a share in His kingdom and a seat upon His throne. This work of examination of character, of determining who are prepared for the kingdom of God, is that of the investigative judgment, the closing of work in the sanctuary above.” The Great Controversy, 428.

10 Identify the similarities between Revelation 7:15–17 and 22:1–5. See if you can find seven similarities.

note: “In the City of God ‘there shall be no night.’ None will need or desire repose. There will be no weariness in doing the will of God and offering praise to His name. We shall ever feel the freshness of the morning and shall ever be far from its close. ‘And they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light.’ Revelation 22:5. The light of the sun will be superseded by a radiance which is not painfully dazzling, yet which immeasurably surpasses the brightness of our noontide. The glory of God and the Lamb floods the Holy City with unfading light. The redeemed walk in the sunless glory of perpetual day.” The Great Controversy, 676.

Bible Study Guides – The People, Part 1

December 18, 2005 – December 24, 2005

Key Text

“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 5, 207–211.


“But that which causes me to tremble is the fact that those who have had the greatest light and privileges have become contaminated by the prevailing iniquity. Influenced by the unrighteous around them, many, even of those who profess the truth, have grown cold and are borne down by the strong current of evil. The universal scorn thrown upon true piety and holiness leads those who do not connect closely with God to lose their reverence for His law. If they were following the light and obeying the truth from the heart, this holy law would seem even more precious to them when thus despised and set aside. As the disrespect for God’s law becomes more manifest, the line of demarcation between its observers and the world becomes more distinct. Love for the divine precepts increases with one class according as contempt for them increases with another class.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 209.

1 Against whom has the wrath of Satan been mainly manifested throughout the ages? Revelation 12:13–16.

note: “The great controversy between good and evil will increase in intensity to the very close of time. In all ages the wrath of Satan has been manifested against the church of Christ; and God has bestowed His grace and Spirit upon His people to strengthen them to stand against the power of the evil one. When the apostles of Christ were to bear His gospel to the world and to record it for all future ages, they were especially endowed with the enlightenment of the Spirit. But as the church approaches her final deliverance, Satan is to work with greater power. He comes down ‘having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.’ Revelation 12:12. He will work ‘with all power and signs and lying wonders.’ 11 Thessalonians 2:9. For six thousand years that mastermind that once was highest among the angels of God has been wholly bent to the work of deception and ruin. And all the depths of satanic skill and subtlety acquired, all the cruelty developed, during these struggles of the ages, will be brought to bear against God’s people in the final conflict.” The Great Controversy, ix, x.

2 What warnings are the people of God to give in this time of peril, and what are they to do for themselves before this time begins? Revelation 19:11–16; 18:4; 11 Peter 3:14.

note: “In this time of peril the followers of Christ are to bear to the world the warning of the Lord’s second advent; and a people are to be prepared to stand before Him at His coming, ‘without spot, and blameless.’ 11 Peter 3:14. At this time the special endowment of divine grace and power is not less needful to the church than in apostolic days.” The Great Controversy, x.

3 What phase of God’s church will come under special attack from the dragon? Revelation 12:17.

note: “Zechariah’s vision of Joshua and the Angel applies with peculiar force to the experience of God’s people in the closing up of the great day of atonement. The remnant church will be brought into great trial and distress. Those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus will feel the ire of the dragon and his hosts.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 472.

4 What will be the final destiny of God’s last church? Revelation 15:2, 3.

note: “ ‘O Tower of the flock, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, unto Thee shall it come, even the first dominion.’ Micah 4:8. The time has come to which holy men have looked with longing since the flaming sword barred the first pair from Eden, the time for ‘the redemption of the purchased possession.’ Ephesians 1:14. The earth originally given to man as his kingdom, betrayed by him into the hands of Satan, and so long held by the mighty foe, has been brought back by the great plan of redemption. . . . God’s original purpose in the creation of the earth is fulfilled as it is made the eternal abode of the redeemed. ‘The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever.’ Psalm 37:29.” The Great Controversy, 674.

5 Before Christ’s true disciples will stand on the sea of glass, through what experience will they have to pass? Matthew 24:9; Luke 21:12. Compare 1 Peter 4:13.

note: “Christ’s true disciples follow Him through sore conflicts, enduring self-denial and experiencing bitter disappointment; but this teaches them the guilt and woe of sin, and they are led to look upon it with abhorrence. Partakers of Christ’s sufferings, they are destined to be partakers of His glory. In holy vision the prophet saw the ultimate triumph of God’s remnant church.” The Acts of the Apostles, 590.

6 What victory will God’s remnant church have to win before they can stand on the sea of glass? Revelation 15:2.

note: “Upon the crystal sea before the throne, that sea of glass as it were mingled with fire,—so resplendent is it with the glory of God,—are gathered the company that have ‘gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name.’ [Revelation 15:2.]” The Great Controversy, 648.

7 What song will they sing before God on the sea of glass? Revelation 15:3, 4.

note: “With the Lamb upon Mount Zion, ‘having the harps of God,’ they stand, the hundred and forty and four thousand that were redeemed from among men; and there is heard, as the sound of many waters, and as the sound of a great thunder, ‘the voice of harpers harping with their harps.’ And they sing ‘a new song’ before the throne, a song which no man can learn save the hundred and forty and four thousand. [Revelation 15:2; 14:2, 3.] It is the song of Moses and the Lamb—a song of deliverance.” The Great Controversy, 648, 649.

8 What two characteristics identify God’s remnant people? Revelation 14:12.

note: “In order to be prepared for the judgment, it is necessary that men should keep the law of God. That law will be the standard of character in the judgment. . . . Faith is essential in order to the keeping of the law of God; for ‘without faith it is impossible to please Him.’ And ‘whatsoever is not of faith is sin.’ Hebrews 11:6; Romans 14:23.” The Great Controversy, 436.

9 What is required to be saved? Luke 3:8.

note: “How few bear in mind that the tempter was once a covering cherub, a being whom God created for His own name’s glory. Satan fell from his high position through self-exaltation; he misused the high capabilities with which God had so richly endowed him. He fell for the same reason that thousands are falling today, because of an ambition to be first, an unwillingness to be under restraint. The Lord would teach man the lesson that, though united in church capacity, he is not saved until the seal of God is placed upon him, and he is made complete in Christ.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 11, 367.

10 From among what group will “the little company” who are standing in the light arise? Ezekiel 9:3, 4.

note: “The leaven of godliness has not entirely lost its power. At the time when the danger and depression of the church are greatest, the little company who are standing in the light will be sighing and crying for the abominations that are done in the land. But more especially will their prayers arise in behalf of the church because its members are doing after the manner of the world.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 209, 210.

“Mark this point with care: Those who receive the pure mark of truth, wrought in them by the power of the Holy Ghost, represented by a mark by the man in linen, are those ‘that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done’ in the church.” Ibid., vol. 3, 267.

“The class who do not feel grieved over their own spiritual declension, nor mourn over the sins of others, will be left without the seal of God. The Lord commissions His messengers, the men with slaughtering weapons in their hands: ‘Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.’ [Ezekiel 9:5, 6.]” Ibid., vol. 5, 211.

11 In the midst of the prevailing apostasy, what character preparation do the true people engage in? Revelation 7:13, 14; 22:14.

note: “Satan will work his miracles to deceive; he will set up his power as supreme. The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out—the chaff separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place. None but those who have been overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony will be found with the loyal and true, without spot or stain of sin, without guile in their mouths. . . .

“The remnant that purify their souls by obeying the truth gather strength from the trying process, exhibiting the beauty of holiness amid the surrounding apostasy.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 380.

12 Why will not all professed Sabbath keepers be sealed and ready for the latter rain? Hebrews 6:4–6. Compare John 6:60–66.

note: “Not all who profess to keep the Sabbath will be sealed. There are many even among those who teach the truth to others who will not receive the seal of God in their foreheads. They had the light of truth, they knew their Master’s will, they understood every point of our faith, but they had not corresponding works. These who were so familiar with prophecy and the treasures of divine wisdom should have acted their faith. . . .

“Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one spot or stain upon them. It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement. Then the latter rain will fall upon us as the early rain fell upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 213, 214.

Bible Study Guides – The Pretense

December 11, 2005 – December 17, 2005

Key Text

“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” 11 Corinthians 11:14.

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 518–523.


“He [Satan] hopes to deceive the honest and lead them to think that God is still working for the churches. But the light will shine, and all who are honest will leave the fallen churches, and take their stand with the remnant.” Early Writings, 261.

1 What represented the foundation of Satan’s effort to deceive the world? Genesis 3:4, 5.

note: “Satan has long been preparing for his final effort to deceive the world. The foundation of his work was laid by the assurance given to Eve in Eden: ‘Ye shall not surely die.’ ‘In the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.’ Genesis 3:4, 5. Little by little he has prepared the way for his masterpiece of deception in the development of spiritualism. He has not yet reached the full accomplishment of his designs; but it will be reached in the last remnant of time.” The Great Controversy, 561.

2 What plain teaching of Scripture is contradicted in the theory underlying spiritualism? Ecclesiastes 9:5.

note: “None need be deceived by the lying claims of spiritualism. God has given the world sufficient light to enable them to discover the snare. . . . The theory which forms the very foundation of spiritualism is at war with the plainest statements of Scripture. The Bible declares that the dead know not anything, that their thoughts have perished; they have no part in anything that is done under the sun; they know nothing of the joys or sorrows of those who were dearest to them on earth.” The Great Controversy, 556.

3 Wherein lies the power of Satan to deceive? 11 Thessalonians 2:9–12.

note: “There are but two parties. Satan works with his crooked, deceiving power, and through strong delusions he catches all who do not abide in the truth, who have turned away their ears from the truth and have turned unto fables. Satan himself abode not in the truth; he is the mystery of iniquity. Through his subtlety he gives to his soul-destroying errors the appearance of truth. Herein is their power to deceive. It is because they are a counterfeit of the truth that spiritualism, theosophy, and the like deceptions gain such power over the minds of men. Herein is the masterly working of Satan. He pretends to be the savior of man, the benefactor of the human race, and thus he more readily lures his victims to destruction.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 365.

4 How does Peter describe Satan and the way he works? 1 Peter 5:8.

note: “I have been shown that Satan has not been stupid and careless these many years, since his fall, but has been learning. He has grown more artful. His plans are laid deeper, and are more covered with a religious garment to hide their deformity. The power of Satan now to tempt and deceive is ten-fold greater than it was in the days of the apostles. His power has increased, and it will increase, until it is taken away. His wrath and hate grow stronger as his time to work draws near its close.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, 277.

5 When does Satan introduce his counterfeit movement with respect to the latter rain? 11 Timothy 3:1–5.

note: “Before the final visitation of God’s judgments upon the earth there will be among the people of the Lord such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times. The Spirit and power of God will be poured out upon His children. . . . The enemy of souls desires to hinder this work; and before the time for such a movement shall come, he will endeavor to prevent it by introducing a counterfeit. In those churches which he can bring under his deceptive power he will make it appear that God’s special blessing is poured out; there will be manifest what is thought to be great religious interest. Multitudes will exult that God is working marvelously for them, when the work is that of another spirit.” The Great Controversy, 464.

6 Whom, in particular, will Satan target? Matthew 24:24.

note: “The days are fast approaching when there will be great perplexity and confusion. Satan, clothed in angel robes, will deceive, if possible, the very elect. There will be gods many and lords many. Every wind of doctrine will be blowing. Those who have rendered supreme homage to ‘science falsely so called’ will not be the leaders then. Those who have trusted to intellect, genius, or talent will not then stand at the head of rank and file. They did not keep pace with the light. Those who have proved themselves unfaithful will not then be entrusted with the flock. In the last solemn work few great men will be engaged. They are self-sufficient, independent of God, and He cannot use them.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 80.

7 What will be Satan’s biggest, grandest effort to ensnare the world and the elect? Matthew 24:23–26.

note: “As the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan himself will personate Christ. The church has long professed to look to the Saviour’s advent as the consummation of her hopes. Now the great deceiver will make it appear that Christ has come. In different parts of the earth, Satan will manifest himself among men as a majestic being of dazzling brightness, resembling the description of the Son of God given by John in the Revelation. Revelation 1:13–15. The glory that surrounds him is unsurpassed by anything that mortal eyes have yet beheld. The shout of triumph rings out upon the air: ‘Christ has come! Christ has come!’ The people prostrate themselves in adoration before him, while he lifts up his hands and pronounces a blessing upon them, as Christ blessed His disciples when He was upon the earth.” The Great Controversy, 624.

8 Who else will appear in human form? 11 Corinthians 11:13–15. Compare Revelation 12:7–9.

note: “Satan will use every opportunity to seduce men from their allegiance to God. He and the angels who fell with him will appear on the earth as men, seeking to deceive. God’s angels also will appear as men, and will use every means in their power to defeat the purposes of the enemy.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, 399.

“Evil angels in the form of men will talk with those who know the truth. They will misinterpret and misconstrue the statements of the messengers of God. . . . Have Seventh-day Adventists forgotten the warning given in the sixth chapter of Ephesians? We are engaged in a warfare against the hosts of darkness. Unless we follow our Leader closely, Satan will obtain the victory over us.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 411.

9 What will open the way for people to accept Satan’s counterfeit miracles? 11 Thessalonians 2:9–12.

note: “Rapidly are men ranging themselves under the banner they have chosen, restlessly waiting and watching the movements of their leaders. There are those who are watching and waiting and working for our Lord’s appearing; while the other party are rapidly falling into line under the generalship of the first great apostate. They look for a god in humanity, and Satan personifies the one they seek. Multitudes will be so deluded through their rejection of truth that they will accept the counterfeit.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 364, 365.

10 Why will men be deceived? John 3:18–20.

note: “Those who choose Satan as their ruler will reveal the spirit of their chosen master, who caused the fall of our first parents. By rejecting the divine Son of God, the personification of the only true God, who possessed goodness, mercy, and untiring love, whose heart was ever touched with human woe, and accepting a murderer in His place, the people showed what human nature can and will do, when the restraining Spirit of God is removed, and men are under the great apostate. Just to that degree that light is refused and rejected will there be misconception and misunderstanding. Those who reject Christ and choose Barabbas will work under a ruinous deception. Misrepresentation, the bearing of false witness, will grow under open rebellion.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 416.

11 What essential quality of truth will be lacking in the counterfeit? Luke 9:23; Matthew 16:24.

note: “Satan can present a counterfeit so closely resembling the truth that it deceives those who are willing to be deceived, who desire to shun the self-denial and sacrifice demanded by the truth; but it is impossible for him to hold under his power one soul who honestly desires, at whatever cost, to know the truth. Christ is the truth and the ‘Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.’ John 1:9. The Spirit of truth has been sent to guide men into all truth. And upon the authority of the Son of God it is declared: ‘Seek, and ye shall find.’ ‘If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine.’ Matthew 7:7; John 7:17.” The Great Controversy, 528.

12 By what means will true believers be able to unmask Satan’s deceptions? Isaiah 8:20.

note: “The people of God are directed to the Scriptures as their safeguard against the influence of false teachers and the delusive power of spirits of darkness. Satan employs every possible device to prevent men from obtaining a knowledge of the Bible; for its plain utterances reveal his deceptions. . . . So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true that it will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the Holy Scriptures. By their testimony every statement and every miracle must be tested.” The Great Controversy, 593.

13 How will those who receive the latter rain be preserved from the delusion that overtakes the world? Revelation 12:17; 19:10.

note: “This world is our school—a school of discipline and training. We are placed here to form characters like the character of Christ, and to acquire the habits and the language of the higher life. Influences opposed to good, abound on every side. The developments of sin are becoming so full, so deep, so abhorrent to God, that soon He will arise in majesty to shake terribly the earth. So artful are the plans of the enemy, so specious the complications that he brings about, that those who are weak in the faith cannot discern his deceptions. They fall into the snares prepared by Satan, who works through human instrumentalities to deceive if possible the very elect. Only those who are closely connected with God will be able to discern the falsehoods, the intrigues, of the enemy.” This Day With God, 96.

Bible Study Guides – The Proclamation, Part 11

December 4, 2005 – December 10, 2005

Key Text

“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Revelation 18:4.

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 608–612.


In this lesson, we will finish the study of the proclamation of the loud cry of the third angel as described in Revelation 18:4.

1 What additional warning is given as the third angel’s message swells to a loud cry? Revelation 18:4.

note: “Angels were sent to aid the mighty angel from heaven, and I heard voices which seemed to sound everywhere, ‘Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.’ [Revelation 18:4, 5.] This message seemed to be an addition to the third message, joining it as the midnight cry joined the second angel’s message in 1844. The glory of God rested upon the patient, waiting saints, and they fearlessly gave the last solemn warning, proclaiming the fall of Babylon and calling upon God’s people to come out of her that they might escape her fearful doom.” Early Writings, 277, 278.

2 What event will accelerate the swelling of the third angel’s message? Revelation 13:14–17.

note: “Heretofore those who presented the truths of the third angel’s message have often been regarded as mere alarmists. Their predictions that religious intolerance would gain control in the United States, that church and state would unite to persecute those who keep the commandments of God, have been pronounced groundless and absurd. It has been confidently declared that this land could never become other than what it has been—the defender of religious freedom. But as the question of enforcing Sunday observance is widely agitated, the event so long doubted and disbelieved is seen to be approaching, and the third message will produce an effect which it could not have had before.” The Great Controversy, 605, 606.

3 What is the message that goes worldwide under the latter rain? Exodus 20:3–17; Hebrews 9:11, 12, 23, 24, 26–28.

note: “The law of God is to be magnified; its claims must be presented in their true, sacred character, that the people may be brought to decide for or against the truth. Yet the work will be cut short in righteousness. The message of Christ’s righteousness is to sound from one end of the earth to the other to prepare the way of the Lord. This is the glory of God, which closes the work of the third angel.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 19.

4 What is the last message that will be given to the world? Revelation 18:4.

note: “Revelation 18 points to the time when, as the result of rejecting the threefold warning of Revelation 14:6–12, the church will have fully reached the condition foretold by the second angel, and the people of God still in Babylon will be called upon to separate from her communion. This message is the last that will ever be given to the world; and it will accomplish its work. When those that ‘believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness’ (11 Thessalonians 2:12), shall be left to receive strong delusion and to believe a lie, then the light of truth will shine upon all whose hearts are open to receive it, and all the children of the Lord that remain in Babylon will heed the call: ‘Come out of her, My people’ (Revelation 18:4).” The Great Controversy, 390.

5 What great work is God going to do for those responding to the call to come out of Babylon? Acts 3:19, 20.

note: “The great work of the gospel is not to close with less manifestation of the power of God than marked its opening. The prophecies which were fulfilled in the outpouring of the former rain at the opening of the gospel are again to be fulfilled in the latter rain at its close. Here are ‘the times of refreshing’ to which the apostle Peter looked forward when he said: ‘Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus.’ Acts 3:19, 20.” The Great Controversy, 611, 612.

6 What is the “refreshing from the presence of the Lord”? Hosea 6:3; Joel 2:23.

note: “Then let us show it by our works, and remove from our hearts everything that will shut out Jesus. The latter rain is to fall upon the people of God. A mighty angel is to come down from heaven, and the whole earth is to be lighted with his glory. Are we ready to take part in the glorious work of the third angel? Are our vessels ready to receive the heavenly dew? Have we defilement and sin in the heart? If so, let us cleanse the soul temple, and prepare for the showers of the latter rain. The refreshing from the presence of the Lord will never come to hearts filled with impurity. May God help us to die to self, that Christ, the hope of glory, may be formed within! I must have the Spirit of God in my heart. I can never go forward to do the great work of God, unless the Holy Spirit rests upon my soul. ‘As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.’ [Psalm 42: 1.] The day of judgment is upon us. O that we may wash our robes of character, and make them white in the blood of the Lamb!” Review and Herald, April 21, 1891. [Emphasis supplied.]

comment: Although this statement has reference to the experience of the people of God in preparation for the “latter rain,” it will also be the experience of those who “come out of Babylon” during the “latter rain.”

7 As the storm (the final warning) approaches, what will a large class who have professed faith in the third angel’s message do? 1 John 2:19.

note: “As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the third angel’s message, but have not been sanctified through obedience to the truth, abandon their position and join the ranks of the opposition. By uniting with the world and partaking of its spirit, they have come to view matters in nearly the same light; and when the test is brought, they are prepared to choose the easy, popular side.” The Great Controversy, 608.

8 What will these professed Seventh-day Adventists do when they abandon the faith? List five items from the two references from The Great Controversy quoted above and below. For New Testament example and the prophecy of Jesus, see John 6:60–66; Luke 21:12–17.

note: “As those disaffected disciples turned away from Christ, a different spirit took control of them. They could see nothing attractive in Him whom they had once found so interesting. They sought out His enemies, for they were in harmony with their spirit and work. They misinterpreted His words, falsified His statements, and impugned His motives. They sustained their course by gathering up every item that could be turned against Him; and such indignation was stirred up by these false reports that His life was in danger.” The Desire of Ages, 392, 393.

“Men of talent and pleasing address, who once rejoiced in the truth, employ their powers to deceive and mislead souls. They become the most bitter enemies of their former brethren. When Sabbathkeepers are brought before the courts to answer for their faith, these apostates are the most efficient agents of Satan to misrepresent and accuse them, and by false reports and insinuations to stir up the rulers against them.” The Great Controversy, 608.

9 How long will the four winds of the earth be restrained from blowing so the loud cry of the third angel may do its work? Revelation 7:1–3.

note: “But so long as Jesus remains man’s intercessor in the sanctuary above, the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit is felt by rulers and people. It still controls to some extent the laws of the land. Were it not for these laws, the condition of the world would be much worse than it now is. While many of our rulers are active agents of Satan, God also has His agents among the leading men of the nation. The enemy moves upon his servants to propose measures that would greatly impede the work of God; but statesmen who fear the Lord are influenced by holy angels to oppose such propositions with unanswerable arguments. Thus a few men will hold in check a powerful current of evil. The opposition of the enemies of truth will be restrained that the third angel’s message may do its work. When the final warning shall be given, it will arrest the attention of these leading men through whom the Lord is now working, and some of them will accept it, and will stand with the people of God through the time of trouble.” The Great Controversy, 610, 611.

10 On what important issue will all the inhabitants of the earth have to make a decision during the time of the latter rain? Joshua 24:14, 15; 1 Kings 18:21.

note: “Servants of God, with their faces lighted up and shining with holy consecration, will hasten from place to place to proclaim the message from heaven. By thousands of voices, all over the earth, the warning will be given. Miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and signs and wonders will follow the believers. Satan also works, with lying wonders, even bringing down fire from heaven in the sight of men. Revelation 13:13. Thus the inhabitants of the earth will be brought to take their stand.” The Great Controversy, 612.

11 What help will be given to the honest children of God at this time? John 14:15–17.

note: “The message will be carried not so much by argument as by the deep conviction of the Spirit of God. The arguments have been presented. The seed has been sown, and now it will spring up and bear fruit. The publications distributed by missionary workers have exerted their influence, yet many whose minds were impressed have been prevented from fully comprehending the truth or from yielding obedience. Now the rays of light penetrate everywhere, the truth is seen in its clearness, and the honest children of God sever the bands which have held them. Family connections, church relations, are powerless to stay them now. Truth is more precious than all besides.” The Great Controversy, 612.

12 What experience of the early Christian church will be repeated? Acts 2:47.

note: “Notwithstanding the agencies combined against the truth, a large number take their stand upon the Lord’s side.” The Great Controversy, 612.

Bible Study Guides – The Proclamation, Part 1

November 27, 2005 – December 3, 2005

Key Text

“And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” Revelation 18:1, 2.

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 603–607.


“Clad in the armor of Christ’s righteousness, the church is to enter upon her final conflict. ‘Fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners’ (Song of Solomon 6:10), she is to go forth into all the world, conquering and to conquer.

“The darkest hour of the church’s struggle with the powers of evil is that which immediately precedes the day of her final deliverance. But none who trust in God need fear; for ‘when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall,’ God will be to His church ‘a refuge from the storm.’ Isaiah 25:4.” Prophets and Kings, 725.

1 How is the final message to the world described under the latter rain? Revelation 18:1, 2.

note: “This scripture [Revelation 18:1, 2, 4] points forward to a time when the announcement of the fall of Babylon, as made by the second angel of Revelation 14 (verse 8), is to be repeated, with the additional mention of the corruptions which have been entering the various organizations that constitute Babylon, since that message was first given, in the summer of 1844. A terrible condition of the religious world is here described. With every rejection of truth the minds of the people will become darker, their hearts more stubborn, until they are entrenched in an infidel hardihood. In defiance of the warnings which God has given, they will continue to trample upon one of the precepts of the Decalogue, until they are led to persecute those who hold it sacred. Christ is set at nought in the contempt placed upon His word and His people.” The Great Controversy, 603.

2 What constitutes the heart of this last message? Exodus 20:8–11.

note: “The Sabbath will be the great test of loyalty, for it is the point of truth especially controverted. When the final test shall be brought to bear upon men, then the line of distinction will be drawn between those who serve God and those who serve Him not. While the observance of the false Sabbath in compliance with the law of the state, contrary to the fourth commandment, will be an avowal of allegiance to a power that is in opposition to God, the keeping of the true Sabbath, in obedience to God’s law, is an evidence of loyalty to the Creator. While one class, by accepting the sign of submission to earthly powers, receive the mark of the beast, the other choosing the token of allegiance to divine authority, receive the seal of God.” The Great Controversy, 605.

3 What is the work of everyone who has heard the warning of the third angel’s message? Revelation 14:9–12.

note: “They [the reformers] hoped, by the example of a pure Christian life, to lead the people back to the doctrines of the Bible. But the Spirit of God came upon them as it came upon Elijah, moving him to rebuke the sins of a wicked king and an apostate people; they could not refrain from preaching the plain utterances of the Bible—doctrines which they had been reluctant to present. They were impelled to zealously declare the truth and the danger which threatened souls. The words which the Lord gave them they uttered, fearless of consequences, and the people were compelled to hear the warning.

“Thus the message of the third angel will be proclaimed. As the time comes for it to be given with greatest power, the Lord will work through humble instruments, leading the minds of those who consecrate themselves to His service. The laborers will be qualified rather by the unction of His Spirit than by the training of literary institutions. Men of faith and prayer will be constrained to go forth with holy zeal, declaring the words which God gives them.” The Great Controversy, 606.

“The time of test is just upon us, for the loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth. For it is the work of every one to whom the message of warning has come, to lift up Jesus, to present Him to the world as revealed in types, as shadowed in symbols.” The Review and Herald, November 22, 1892.

4 What does the phrase mean in Revelation 18:3, “For all nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries”? Isaiah 29:9–13; 28:7–9.

note: “The theory of eternal torment is one of the false doctrines that constitute the wine of the abomination of Babylon, of which she makes all nations drink. Revelation 14:8; 17:2. That ministers of Christ should have accepted this heresy and proclaimed it from the sacred desk is indeed a mystery. They received it from Rome, as they received the false sabbath. True, it has been taught by great and good men; but the light on this subject had not come to them as it has come to us. They were responsible only for the light which shone in their time; we are accountable for that which shines in our day. If we turn from the testimony of God’s word, and accept false doctrines because our fathers taught them, we fall under the condemnation pronounced upon Babylon; we are drinking of the wine of her abomination.” The Great Controversy, 536, 537.

5 What great sin is charged against Babylon? Revelation 18:3.

note: “The great sin charged against Babylon is that she ‘made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’ [Revelation 18:3.] This cup of intoxication which she presents to the world represents the false doctrines that she has accepted as the result of her unlawful connection with the great ones of the earth. Friendship with the world corrupts her faith, and in her turn she exerts a corrupting influence upon the world by teaching doctrines which are opposed to the plainest statements of Holy Writ.” The Great Controversy, 388.

6 How does the angel of Revelation 18:1, 2 further describe Babylon and the wine of her adulteries? Revelation 18:2.

note: “The sins of Babylon will be laid open. The fearful results of enforcing the observances of the church by civil authority, the inroads of spiritualism, the stealthy but rapid progress of the papal power—all will be unmasked. By these solemn warnings the people will be stirred. Thousands upon thousands will listen who have never heard words like these. In amazement they hear the testimony that Babylon is the church, fallen because of her errors and sins, because of her rejection of the truth sent to her from heaven.” The Great Controversy, 606, 607.

7 How will the popular ministry react to the message of the angel of Revelation 18:1, 2, the loud cry of the third angel? For first advent parallel, see Matthew 26:47–50; Luke 22:54, 63, 66.

note: “As the controversy extends into new fields and the minds of the people are called to God’s downtrodden law, Satan is astir. The power attending the message will only madden those who oppose it. The clergy will put forth almost superhuman efforts to shut away the light lest it should shine upon their flocks. By every means at their command they will endeavor to suppress the discussion of these vital questions. . . . They will be threatened with fines and imprisonment, and some will be offered positions of influence, and other rewards and advantages, as inducements to renounce their faith. But their steadfast answer is: ‘Show us from the word of God our error’—the same plea that was made by Luther under similar circumstances. Those who are arraigned before the courts make a strong vindication of the truth, and some who hear them are led to take their stand to keep all the commandments of God. Thus light will be brought before thousands who otherwise would know nothing of these truths.” The Great Controversy, 607.

8 What powerful coalition is formed to carry out the work of the Sunday movement in opposition to the Sabbath keepers? What groups do the symbols represent? See note. Revelation 16:13, 14.

note: “As the controversy extends into new fields and the minds of the people are called to God’s downtrodden law, Satan is astir. . . . The church appeals to the strong arm of civil power, and, in this work, papists and Protestants unite. As the movement for Sunday enforcement becomes more bold and decided, the law will be invoked against commandment keepers.” The Great Controversy, 607.

9 How widespread will the message of the angel in Revelation 18:1, 2 be in the world? Revelation 18:1, 2; 16:14.

note: “The angel who unites in the proclamation of the third angel’s message is to lighten the whole earth with his glory. A work of world-wide extent and unwonted power is here foretold. The advent movement of 1840-44 was a glorious manifestation of the power of God; the first angel’s message was carried to every missionary station in the world, and in some countries there was the greatest religious interest which has been witnessed in any land since the Reformation of the sixteenth century; but these are to be exceeded by the mighty movement under the last warning of the third angel.” The Great Controversy, 611.

10 To what event will the latter rain be similar? Acts 2:1–13.

note: “The work will be similar to that of the Day of Pentecost. As the ‘former rain’ was given, in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the opening of the gospel, to cause the upspringing of the precious seed, so the ‘latter rain’ will be given at its close for the ripening of the harvest. ‘Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.’ Hosea 6:3. ‘Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain.’ Joel 2:23. ‘In the last days, saith God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh.’ ‘And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ Acts 2:17, 21.” The Great Controversy, 611.

Commitment to a Lost World

Week of Prayer for Sabbath

“Love to man is the earthward manifestation of the love of God. It was to implant this love, to make us children of one family, that the King of glory became one with us. And when His parting words are fulfilled, ‘Love one another, as I have loved you’ (John 15:12); when we love the world as He has love`d it, then for us His mission is accomplished. We are fitted for heaven; for we have heaven in our hearts.” The Desire of Ages, 641.

How did Christ love the world? “The work of the good Samaritan represents Christ’s mission to the world. Our Saviour came to reveal the character of God, to represent his love for man. He acted just as the Father would have done in all emergencies. Christ manifested for us a love that the love of man can never equal. He died to save those who were his enemies; he prayed for his murderers. When we were bruised and dying, he had pity upon us. He did not pass us by on the other side, and leave us, helpless, and hopeless, to perish. He did not remain in his holy, happy home, where he was honored by all the heavenly host, who loved to do his bidding. He beheld our sore need; he undertook our case, and identified his interests with humanity. He became ‘a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief . . . . He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.’ [Isaiah 53:3, 5.]” The Home Missionary, October 1, 1897.

Naturally, our hearts are cold and hard and selfish. This is not just a problem in the world but in the church as well: “There are sins among us as a people. Love is not cherished as it should be. A cold, selfish, indifferent hard-heartedness is increasing, and this has separated us from our God. There are reasons why the Lord does not favor us with his presence and love; there is great need of sharp, pointed testimonies, for selfishness has eaten out the love of God from our hearts. Hear what the Lord says to his people: ‘If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother; but thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth. Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him naught; and he cry unto the Lord against thee, and it be sin unto thee. Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him; because that for this thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto. For the poor shall never cease out of the land; therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor and to thy needy, in thy land.’ [Deuteronomy 15:7–11.]” Review and Herald, March 11, 1884.

“Those who have the mind of Christ can not look with indifference upon human suffering. They can not be heartless, cold, and selfish. Those who are naturally inclined to tenderness and sympathy when unreservedly surrendered to God will cooperate with him in doing deeds of mercy, in relieving the distressed, tho it may call for the practice of self-denial. But those who do not cultivate gratitude to God for his mercy and love to them, who do not appreciate the great gift of Christ to our world, will not manifest sympathy for the suffering and needy, will not seek to comfort the bereaved, to minister to the fatherless and the widow. They may, like the Pharisees, make long prayers, and yet rob the widow and the fatherless, forgetting in their hardness of heart that the Lord will judge those who neglect the needy and the suffering as though they had neglected him in the person of his saints.” The Signs of the Times, January 23, 1896.


The lack of love makes the gospel presentation nearly powerless, because what is preached from the pulpit is not matched up with what the unbeliever sees in the lives of the professed Christian believers. This is why the non-Christian world is not convinced of the superiority of the Christian religion. Non-Christians, who are called pagans and heathens by Christians, will say that they are more honest, truthful, pure, less covetous, or revengeful than some Christians they know. Christ is misrepresented in the lives of His professed followers, and the world is then deluded by the deceptions of Satan, which could not take effect if the lives of professed Christians reflected the life of Him whom they profess to be following as disciples.

At the same time, those who are in the valley of decision look at the professed followers of Christ and say that they certainly do not appear to be members of one family, since they are divided into almost countless schisms and divisions. Christian leaders for hundreds of years have known that the many divisions of Christians into various sects are a source of weakness to the Christian church. For many years, Christian leaders have been calling for Christian unity.

The papacy entered this challenge in a big way with the Vatican II Council held from 1962 to 1965, and today, the world is racing toward an ecumenical world church. One day soon, God’s remnant will have to face this ecumenical world church, headed by antichrist, which will include not just Catholicism and Protestantism but also the non-Christian world. In comparison with this colossus, God’s children will be a very small group.

Necessary Ingredient for Victory

We will never be able to successfully meet what is before us unless we have something to meet it with that our opponents do not have. What is this something with which we need to meet the future crisis and that the opposing side will not have but which will be powerful enough to win the victory over the whole world? The following quotations point out what the ingredient is that we must have in our hearts to meet the coming crisis.

“ ‘Behold,’ says the Scripture, ‘the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee.’ Isaiah 60:2.

“It is the darkness of misapprehension of God that is enshrouding the world. Men are losing their knowledge of His character. It has been misunderstood and misinterpreted. At this time a message from God is to be proclaimed, a message illuminating in its influence and saving in its power. His character is to be made known. Into the darkness of the world is to be shed the light of His glory, the light of His goodness, mercy, and truth. . . .

“Those who wait for the Bride-groom’s coming are to say to the people, ‘Behold your God.’ The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love. The children of God are to manifest His glory. In their own life and character they are to reveal what the grace of God has done for them. . . .

“This is the work which the prophet Isaiah describes when he says, ‘Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward.’ Isaiah 58:7, 8.

“Thus in the night of spiritual darkness God’s glory is to shine forth through His church in lifting up the bowed down and comforting those that mourn.

“All around us are heard the wails of a world’s sorrow. On every hand are the needy and distressed. It is ours to aid in relieving and softening life’s hardships and misery.

“Practical work will have far more effect than mere sermonizing. We are to give food to the hungry, clothing to the naked, and shelter to the homeless. And we are called to do more than this. The wants of the soul, only the love of Christ can satisfy. If Christ is abiding in us, our hearts will be full of divine sympathy. The sealed fountains of earnest, Christlike love will be unsealed.

“God calls not only for our gifts for the needy, but for our cheerful countenance, our hopeful words, our kindly handclasp. When Christ healed the sick, He laid His hands upon them. So should we come in close touch with those whom we seek to benefit.

“There are many from whom hope has departed. Bring back the sunshine to them. Many have lost their courage. Speak to them words of cheer. Pray for them. There are those who need the bread of life. Read to them from the word of God. Upon many is a soul sickness which no earthly balm can reach nor physician heal. Pray for these souls, bring them to Jesus. Tell them that there is a balm in Gilead and a Physician there. . . .

“The whole earth, wrapped as it is in the darkness of sin, and sorrow, and pain, is to be lighted with the knowledge of God’s love. From no sect, rank, or class of people is the light shining from heaven’s throne to be excluded.

“The message of hope and mercy is to be carried to the ends of the earth. Whosoever will, may reach forth and take hold of God’s strength and make peace with Him, and he shall make peace. No longer are the heathen to be wrapped in midnight darkness. The gloom is to disappear before the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. The power of hell has been overcome.

“But no man can impart that which he himself has not received. In the work of God, humanity can originate nothing. No man can by his own effort make himself a light bearer for God. It was the golden oil emptied by the heavenly messengers into the golden tubes, to be conducted from the golden bowl into the lamps of the sanctuary, that produced a continuous bright and shining light. It is the love of God continually transferred to man that enables him to impart light. Into the hearts of all who are united to God by faith the golden oil of love flows freely, to shine out again in good works, in real, heartfelt service for God.

“In the great and measureless gift of the Holy Spirit are contained all of heaven’s resources. It is not because of any restriction on the part of God that the riches of His grace do not flow earthward to men. If all were willing to receive, all would become filled with His Spirit.

“It is the privilege of every soul to be a living channel through which God can communicate to the world the treasures of His grace, the unsearchable riches of Christ. There is nothing that Christ desires so much as agents who will represent to the world His Spirit and character. There is nothing that the world needs so much as the manifestation through humanity of the Saviour’s love. All heaven is waiting for channels through which can be poured the holy oil to be a joy and blessing to human hearts.

“Christ has made every provision that His church shall be a transformed body, illumined with the Light of the world, possessing the glory of Emmanuel. It is His purpose that every Christian shall be surrounded with a spiritual atmosphere of light and peace. He desires that we shall reveal His own joy in our lives.

“The indwelling of the Spirit will be shown by the outflowing of heavenly love. The divine fullness will flow through the consecrated human agent, to be given forth to others.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 415–419.

Love is Powerful

The love of God in our hearts will begin to impel us to do something for the salvation of our fellow men. Nobody can do everything, because God has not given all the talents to any one person, but everybody can do something. The question is, Are we doing what we can do? Jesus said, concerning Mary Magdalene, “She has done what she could.” Mark 14:8. In the day of judgment, will it be said, concerning you and me, “That person has done what he or she could?” When we have the love of God in our hearts, all of us can do a very great deal, because love is powerful. In fact, it is the most powerful force in the universe, as the following quotation shows.

“Love cannot live without action, and every act increases, strengthens, and extends it. Love will gain the victory when argument and authority are powerless. Love works not for profit nor reward; yet God has ordained that great gain shall be the certain result of every labor of love. It is diffusive in its nature and quiet in its operation, yet strong and mighty in its purpose to overcome great evils. It is melting and transforming in its influence, and will take hold of the lives of the sinful and affect their hearts when every other means has proved unsuccessful. Wherever the power of intellect, of authority, or of force is employed, and love is not manifestly present, the affections and will of those whom we seek to reach assume a defensive, repelling position, and their strength of resistance is increased. Jesus was the Prince of Peace. He came into the world to bring resistance and authority into subjection to Himself. Wisdom and strength He could command, but the means He employed with which to overcome evil were the wisdom and strength of love. Suffer nothing to divide your interest from your present work until God shall see fit to give you another piece of work in the same field. Seek not for happiness, for it is never to be found by seeking for it. Go about your duty. Let faithfulness mark all your doings, and be clothed with humility.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 135.

Strongest Human Impulse

When we have the love of God in our hearts so that we love the world the way Christ loved it, then Christ’s mission for us is complete, and we are ready to go to heaven! In fact, we have heaven already in our hearts! (The Desire of Ages, 641.)

This is no small order of change for us, because: “Selfishness is the strongest and most general of human impulses, the struggle of the soul between sympathy and covetousness is an unequal contest; for while selfishness is the strongest passion, love and benevolence are too often the weakest, and as a rule the evil gains the victory. Therefore in our labors and gifts for God’s cause, it is unsafe to be controlled by feeling or impulse.” Counsels on Stewardship, 25.

“A constant battle must be kept up with the selfishness and corruption of the human heart.” Manual for Canvassers, 60.

“Selfishness girds many about as with iron bands. It is ‘my farm,’ ‘my goods,’ ‘my trade,’ ‘my merchandise.’ Even the claims of common humanity are disregarded by them. Men and women professing to be waiting and loving the appearing of their Lord are shut up to self. The noble, the godlike, they have parted with. The love of the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life, have so fastened upon them that they are blinded. They are corrupted by the world and discern it not. They talk of love to God, but their fruits show not the love they express. They rob Him in tithes and offerings, and the withering curse of God is upon them. The truth has been illuminating their pathway on every side. God has wrought wonderfully in the salvation of souls in their own households, but where are their offerings, presented to Him in grateful thanks for all His tokens of mercy to them? Many of them are as unthankful as the brute creation. The sacrifice for man was infinite, beyond the comprehension of the strongest intellect, yet men who claim to be partakers of these heavenly benefits, which were brought to them at so great a cost, are too thoroughly selfish to make any real sacrifice for God. Their minds are upon the world, the world, the world.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 197, 198.

“Schism and division are not the fruits of righteousness; they are of the wicked one. The great hindrance to our advancement at this time is the selfishness that prevents believers from having true fellowship with one another. The last prayer that Christ offered for His disciples before His trial was that they might be one in Him. Satan is determined that this oneness shall not be, for it is the strongest witness that can be borne that God did indeed send His Son to reconcile the world to heaven.—Letter 41, February 24, 1903, to Dr. F. E. Braucht, a physician laboring in Chicago.” The Upward Look, 69.

Needed Change of Heart

How are we going to acquire the change in heart that we so desperately need so the devil may be forced to quit mocking Christ by the lives of His professed followers? This is what the devil is saying to the Lord about us now:

“Satan urges before God his accusations against them, declaring that they have by their sins forfeited the divine protection, and claiming the right to destroy them as transgressors. He pronounces them just as deserving as himself of exclusion from the favor of God. ‘Are these,’ he says, ‘the people who are to take my place in heaven and the place of the angels who united with me? While they profess to obey the law of God, have they kept its precepts? Have they not been lovers of self more than of God? Have they not placed their own interests above His service? Have they not loved the things of the world? Look at the sins which have marked their lives. Behold their selfishness, their malice, their hatred toward one another.’ ” Testimonies, vol. 5, 473, 474.

Counsel Given

Divine counsel is given for people in our condition:

  1. Because of our great need for a change of heart, we are counseled to pray every day to be delivered from selfishness: “Let our daily prayer go up to God that He will divest us of selfishness. . . .” Our High Calling, 242.
  2. Begin to practice self-denial for the good of others.

“What can I say to you, my brethren and sisters, that will arouse you to the importance of the times in which we live, and lead you to a faithful examination of heart and life? Are your lives in harmony with the life of sacrifice that Christ lived on the earth? In giving his Son to the human race, the Father gave to his church a wonderful example of self-forgetting love. Christ came that he might open to the comprehension of men and women the principles that underlie the great plan of redemption, that they might be led to cooperate with him in his work of sacrifice for the salvation of mankind. But the want of fervor, the lack of self-denial, on the part of many who bear Christ’s name, hinder the doing of the very work for which his church on earth was organized. The selfishness and indifference manifested by professing Christians soothes the consciences of many who would be aroused from their unbelief, had they before them in the lives of professing Christians, a living witness to the power of the gospel to transform the character.

“Self-sacrifice is the key-note of Christ’s teachings. Often this is enjoined upon believers in language that seems authoritative, because there is no other way to save men than to cut them away from their life of selfishness. Christ gave, in his life on earth, a true representation of the power of the gospel. He suffered the cruel death on the cross, that we might have a true conception of his love for us, and of the spirit of self-sacrifice that must take possession of every believer in him. He became poor that we through his poverty might be made rich. To every soul who will suffer with him in resistance of sin, in labor for his cause, in self-denial for the good of others, he promises a part in the eternal reward of the righteous. Through the exercise of the spirit that characterized his life-work, we are to become partakers of his nature. Partaking in this life of sacrifice for the sake of others, we shall share with him in the life to come the ‘far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.’ [11 Co-rinthians 4:17.]” Review and Herald, September 28, 1911.

  1. Do something active to help people who are suffering.

“There is a great work to be done in our world, and as we approach the close of earth’s history, it does not lessen in the least degree; but when the perfect love of God is in the heart, wonderful things will be done. Christ will be in the heart of the believer as a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. But those who manifest indifference to the suffering ones of humanity will be charged with indifference to Jesus Christ in the person of his suffering saints. Nothing saps spirituality from the soul more quickly than to inclose it in selfishness and self-caring. Those who indulge self and neglect to care for the souls and bodies of those for whom Christ has given his life, are not eating of the bread of life, nor drinking of the water of the well of salvation. They are dry and sapless, like a tree that bears no fruit. They are spiritual dwarfs, who consume their means of self; but ‘whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.’ [Galatians 6:7.]” Ibid., January 15, 1895.

  1. Practice economy, so you will have money to give to the Lord’s cause in the world and be faithful in returning to the Lord His own in tithes and offerings.

“God calls upon his people to awake to their responsibilities. A flood of light is shining from his Word, and there must be a meeting of neglected obligations. When these are met, by giving to the Lord his own in tithes and offerings, the way will be opened for the world to hear the message that the Lord designs it to hear. If our people had the love of God in the heart, if every church-member were imbued with the spirit of self-sacrifice, there would be no lack of funds for home and foreign missions; our resources would be multiplied; a thousand doors of usefulness would be opened; and we should be invited to enter. Had the purpose of God been carried out in giving the message of mercy to the world, Christ would have come, and the saints would have received their welcome into the city of God.

“If ever there was a time when sacrifices should be made, it is now. My brethren and sisters, practise economy in your homes. Put away the idols that you have placed before God. Give up your selfish pleasures. Do not, I beg of you, spend means in embellishing your houses; for your money belongs to God, and to him you must give an account for its use. Do not use the Lord’s money to gratify the fancies of your children. Teach them that God has a claim on all they possess, and that nothing can ever cancel this claim.

“Money is a needed treasure. Do not lavish it upon those who need it not. Some one needs your willing gifts. There are those in the world who are hungry, starving. You may say, I can not feed them all. But by practising Christ’s lessons of economy, you can feed one. ‘Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.’ [John 6:12.] These words were spoken by him whose power wrought a miracle to supply the needs of a hungry multitude.

“If you have extravagant habits, cut them away from your life at once. Unless you do this, you will be bankrupt for eternity. Habits of economy, industry, and sobriety, are a better portion for your children than a rich dowry.” Review and Herald, December 24, 1903.

“But ‘if thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; if thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not He that pondereth the heart consider it? and He that keepeth thy soul, doth not He know it? and shall not He render to every man according to his works?’ Proverbs 24:11, 12. In the great Judgment day, those who have not worked for Christ, who have drifted along thinking of themselves, caring for themselves, will be placed by the Judge of the whole earth with those who did evil. They receive the same condemnation.” The Desire of Ages, 641.

“To men he offers the kingdom of this world on condition that they will acknowledge his supremacy. He requires that they sacrifice integrity, disregard conscience, indulge selfishness. Christ bids them seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; but Satan walks by their side and says: Whatever may be true in regard to life eternal, in order to make a success in this world you must serve me. I hold your welfare in my hands. I can give you riches, pleasures, honor, and happiness. Hearken to my counsel. Do not allow yourselves to be carried away with whimsical notions of honesty or self-sacrifice. I will prepare the way before you. Thus multitudes are deceived. They consent to live for the service of self, and Satan is satisfied. While he allures them with the hope of worldly dominion, he gains dominion over the soul. But he offers that which is not his to bestow, and which is soon to be wrested from him. In return he beguiles them of their title to the inheritance of the sons of God.” Ibid., 130.

Our Influence

If we are not working for Christ by helping to save a lost world, if we are drifting along thinking about ourselves, caring for ourselves, serving ourselves, we are in as lost a condition as any evildoer. Many of us need to ask ourselves if we are not in a lost condition by our failure to be active in the cause of Christ.

We each have an influence. To every soul a trust is given. Someone is either going to be saved or lost because of our influence. What is our influence in our family? in our local church? in our workplace? among our social acquaintances? Someday, the Judge of all the earth is going to ask us to give an account of our influence. He is going to ask us where those people are whom He gave us to influence. “Of everyone the Chief Shepherd will demand, ‘Where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock?’ And ‘what wilt thou say when He shall punish thee?’ Jeremiah 13:20, 21.” Ibid., 641.

Pastor John Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas.

Lasting Commitment in Your Youth

Week of Prayer for Friday

In the day and age in which we live, it seems there are very few people making lasting commitments to anything. The commitment to marriage appears to be almost lost—by the church as well as by the world—and commitment to God, our faith, and many other things seem to be losing out also. In this time, many young people are not choosing to make a lasting commitment to the Lord and to His cause. Instead, they are going out into the world.

Commitment Defined

What is commitment? A dictionary offers several definitions of the word commitment, including: “the trait of sincere and steadfast fixity of purpose; the act of binding yourself (intellectually or emotionally) to a course of action.” Commitment involves forfeiture of your rights and privileges for someone else or for a cause; it involves responsibility.

What is commitment to God? Making a commitment to God involves entrusting your life to Him and choosing to serve Him, whatever the cost. A man by the name of Jim Elliot, who gave all for the Auca Indians, puts it this way: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Elisabeth Elliot, Through Gates of Splendor, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois, 1996, 172. When we commit our lives and ourselves to God, we are only giving back to Him what He has already given to us. To try to have a relationship with God without commitment is selfish.

God’s Desire

God wants people who are committed to Him; committed people can be trusted with responsibility. If there is no commitment, they cannot be trusted. It is like an army. A soldier cannot be effective in an army if he is not committed to the work of that army. If he is not committed to the cause of the army, he cannot be trusted. One day, he might switch sides and join enemy forces. It is the same with the Lord. If we are truly His, we must be committed to Him and His work. Not being thus committed to Him indicates that we are too selfish to trust the Lord with our lives, and we cannot be trusted.

God is waiting for us to make a commitment to Him and His cause.

“The greatest want of the world is the want of men—men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.” Education, 57.

“For your present and eternal good it is best to commit yourself wholly to the right, that the world may know where you are standing. Many are not wholly committed to the cause of God, and their position of wavering is a source of weakness in itself, and a stone of stumbling to others. With principles unsettled, unconsecrated as they are, the waves of temptation sweep them away from what they know to be right, and they do not make holy endeavor to overcome every wrong, and through the imputed righteousness of Christ, perfect a righteous character.

“The world has a right to know just what may be expected from every intelligent human being. He who is a living embodiment of firm, decided, righteous principles, will be a living power upon his associates; and he will influence others by his Christianity. Many do not discern and appreciate how great is the influence of each one for good or evil. Every student should understand that the principles which he adopts become a living, molding influence upon character. He who accepts Christ as his personal Saviour, will love Jesus, and all for whom Christ has died; for Christ will be in him a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. He will surrender himself without reservation to the rule of Christ.” Messages to Young People, 28, 29.

“Never did greater responsibilities await the youth than await them now. Never was it more important that a right mould be given to the character of the rising generation. Upon every youth, God has bestowed varied capabilities, mental, moral, and physical; and he requires that those be cultivated and improved. We are formed for activity; every power of mind and body must be developed, strengthened, and increased by use. No one should feel that he is his own master, and can do as he pleases with his time and his intellect. Time and talents belong to God, and he has intrusted them to us, to be employed for his glory.” The Signs of the Times, August 23, 1883.

No Loss

In considering making a commitment to God, there is a tendency to wonder, Am I going to lose something or miss out on something in this life? Especially is this the case for those who are young, since there are many things in life they have not yet experienced. Many young people question, If I commit my life to God now, will I miss out on some pleasure or fun in this life? Since I am a young adult, these questions have come to my mind also. There are several answers that I have found in inspired writings.

First, God has said in His Word, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; . . . Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:3, 4. God desires to give us our desires! On the other hand, He is a father, so He does not always give us what we want because it is not for our best interest. Sometimes God does not give us what we desire because He is looking at the big picture and sees that which we do not. “We have a wise, loving heavenly Father, who hears the prayers of His children. But He does not always give them what they desire. He withholds that which He sees would not be for their good. But He bestows on them all that they need. He gives them that which is necessary for growth in grace. When we pray, we should say, ‘Lord, if what I ask for is for my good, give it to me; but if it is not, withhold it, but give me Thy blessings.’ The Lord hears our petitions; He understands our situation, and He will supply the very thing we need. He will strengthen our faith and increase our spirituality. The Lord is good and merciful, perfect in understanding and infinite in wisdom.” The Upward Look, 369.

Second, for anything that we may “miss out on” in this life, God has promised ample repayment. “Jesus does not require of man any real sacrifice; for whatever we are asked to surrender is only that which we are better off without. We are only letting go the lesser, the more worthless, for the greater, the more valuable. Every earthly, temporal consideration must be subordinate to the higher. But abundant blessings are promised to sincere faith and obedience. ‘Every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundred-fold, and shall inherit everlasting life.’ [Matthew 19:29.]” Review and Herald, August 11, 1891. This is the reward of those who commit themselves to God’s service. God will more than one hundred times make up the things that we may lose in this life for serving Him and give us eternal life.

Remember Now Your Creator in the Days of Your Youth . . .

Why should you commit your life to God while you are young? When you are young, there is a tendency to think that you have many years left to live, so you can enjoy some worldly pleasures now and come back to God later. The wisest man who ever lived has something to say about this: “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth . . . .” Ecclesiastes 12:1. When you are young is the best time to commit your life to the Lord. First of all, you can devote more of your life to God’s service. Second, when you are young, you are not yet set in habits, and it is easier to be molded for use in God’s service. Third, if you go out into the world now, when you are young, it is not going to be easy to come back and commit your life to the Lord. In fact, it will be much harder. You will have formed bad habits—things you have seen and listened to that cannot be erased from your mind—with which to battle, that you would not have had, had you not strayed from the Lord. Fourth, everyone has influence upon others. If you choose not to live for Christ, others, by your example, may choose not to live for Him either.

“Do not for a moment suppose that religion will make you sad and gloomy and will block up the way to success. The religion of Christ does not obliterate or even weaken a single faculty. It in no way incapacitates you for the enjoyment of any real happiness; it is not designed to lessen your interest in life, or to make you indifferent to the claims of friends and society. It does not mantle the life in sackcloth; it is not expressed in deep-drawn sighs and groans. No, no; those who in everything make God first and last and best, are the happiest people in the world. Smiles and sunshine are not banished from their countenance. Religion does not make the receiver coarse and rough, untidy and uncourteous; on the contrary, it elevates and ennobles him, refines his taste, sanctifies his judgment, and fits him for the society of heavenly angels and for the home that Jesus has gone to prepare.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 83, 84.

“Jesus wants the service of those who have the dew of youth upon them. He wants them to be heirs of immortality. They may grow up into a noble manhood and womanhood, notwithstanding the moral pollutions that abound, and that corrupt so many of the youth at an early age. There is no happiness or safety but in the fear of the Lord. Young friends, morning and evening let your prayers go up from unfeigned lips that the Holy Spirit may take possession of your hearts and keep you from the seductive influences of the world. Work for Jesus; stand up for Jesus; and he will stand up for you in the day of God’s vengeance.” The Signs of the Times, September 11, 1884.

“Young people who follow Christ have a warfare before them; they have a daily cross to bear in coming out from the world, and being separate, and imitating the life of Christ. But there are many precious promises on record for those who seek their Saviour early. . . . ‘Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.’ Wisdom calls to the sons of men, ‘I love them that love me; and they that seek me early shall find me.’ They will find that the ‘path of the just is as a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day;’ and at the last, the Judge of all the earth will give every one according to his works. [Ecclesiastes 12:1; Proverbs 8:17; 4:18.]” Review and Herald, July 15, 1884.

“Dear youth, the very best thing you can do is to enlist freely and decidedly in the army of the Lord. Surrender yourself into the hands of God, that your will and ways may be guided by the One who is unerring in wisdom and infinite in goodness. . . . Let your name be enrolled in the heavenly records as one of the chosen and elect of God.” Our High Calling, 219.

“Early piety insures to its possessor the full enjoyment of all that makes life happy, and will give him a right to the future, immortal life. Those who seek God early have the assurance that they shall find him. Those who wait until the span of life is almost ended before they seek God, lose a life of pure, elevated happiness,—happiness that never comes in the pursuit of the pleasures that this life affords. Those who have been long acquainted with God, who from their youth have drawn their happiness from the pure fountain of heaven, are prepared to enter the family of God.

“Good and evil are set before the youth of today. They are left free to choose which they will. In yielding to Satan, they give up eternal happiness for pleasures which are vain and fleeting. That which he promises them they never obtain; for the path of sin is a path of sorrow.” The Youth’s Instructor, October 25, 1900.

Bible Examples

In the Bible, we find many examples of youth who gave their lives to God and His service. Joseph, when a teenager, was sold into slavery. There are few characters in the Bible about which nothing bad is said, and Joseph is one of them. He committed his life to God, no matter what. He did not deny his faith when tempted by Potiphar’s wife. In fact, he went to prison unjustly because he was committed to God. “Loyalty to God, faith in the Unseen, was Joseph’s anchor. In this lay the hiding of his power.” Education, 54.

Daniel was another person who committed his life to the Lord when he was young. He was removed from his family at a young age and taken to the court of the greatest monarch of that time. The greatest wealth, fame, and temptations were all around him, and yet, because of his commitment to God, he did not fall for the temptations. God honored Daniel and his friends for their faithfulness to Him by giving them understanding greater than all others of Babylon. Daniel is another Bible character of whom no fault could be found.

“The same mighty truths that were revealed through these men, God desires to reveal through the youth and the children of today. The history of Joseph and Daniel is an illustration of what He will do for those who yield themselves to Him and with the whole heart seek to accomplish His purpose.” Ibid., 57.

Moses, who was younger than Joseph or Daniel when taken from his parental home, also chose to commit his life to God. God’s principles had been taught to him by his mother in his youth, which laid the foundation for his greatness in God’s cause. “These histories are of vital interest. To none are they of deeper importance than to the youth. Moses renounced a prospective kingdom, Paul the advantages of wealth and honor among his people, for a life of burden bearing in God’s service. To many the life of these men appears one of renunciation and sacrifice. Was it really so? Moses counted the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt. He counted it so because it was so. Paul declared: ‘What things were gain to me, these have I counted loss for Christ. Yea verily, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but refuse, that I may gain Christ.’ Philippians 3:7, 8, R.V., margin. He was satisfied with his choice.

“Moses was offered the palace of the Pharaohs and the monarch’s throne; but the sinful pleasures that make men forget God were in those lordly courts, and he chose instead the ‘durable riches and righteousness.’ Proverbs 8:18. Instead of linking himself with the greatness of Egypt, he chose to bind up his life with God’s purpose. Instead of giving laws to Egypt, he by divine direction enacted laws for the world. He became God’s instrument in giving to men those principles that are the safeguard alike of the home and of society, that are the cornerstone of the prosperity of nations—principles recognized today by the world’s greatest men as the foundation of all that is best in human governments.” Ibid., 68, 69.

Another example of commitment in youth was Jeremiah, who was called to work for the Lord. “Among those who had hoped for a permanent spiritual revival as the result of the reformation under Josiah was Jeremiah, called of God to the prophetic office while still a youth. . . .

“In the youthful Jeremiah, God saw one who would be true to his trust and who would stand for the right against great opposition. . . . ‘Say not, I am a child,’ the Lord bade His chosen messenger; ‘for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee.’ [Jeremiah 1:7, 8.]” Conflict and Courage, 237.

Modern-day Inspirations

In modern times, there lived a woman by the name of Betty Scott Stam who wrote the following commitment to the Lord when she was about eighteen years old: “Lord, I give up all of my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all, utterly to Thee to be Thine forever. Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou wilt. Send me where Thou wilt and work out Thy whole will in my life. At any cost. Now and forever.” Elisabeth Elliot, Let Me Be A Woman, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois, 1976, VIII. Betty Scott Stam went to China as a missionary and married another missionary, John Stam, in China. A few months after they were married, they were captured by Chinese Communists and marched off to their deaths, leaving behind a tiny baby girl. Betty stayed true and firm to her commitment to the Lord.

Another person whose commitment to the Lord came first was Jim Elliot. He, along with several others, went as a missionary to the jungles of Ecuador. They went to try to reach a Stone Age tribe that later murdered them. Jim knew that it might mean losing his life to reach this tribe, but he said, “I’m ready to die for the salvation of the Aucas.” Elliot, Through Gates of Splendor, 172. His commitment to God was so firm that he was willing to lay down his life.

Call for Commitment

Today, God is calling for commitment to Him and to His cause. “The burden-bearers among us are falling in death. Many of those who have been foremost in carrying out the reforms instituted by us as a people, are now past the meridian of life, and are declining in physical and mental strength. With the deepest concern the question may be asked, Who will fill their places? To whom are to be committed the vital interests of the church when the present standard-bearers fall? We cannot but look anxiously upon the youth of today as those who must take these burdens, and upon whom responsibilities must fall. These must take up the work where others leave it, and their course will determine whether morality, religion, and vital godliness shall prevail, or whether immorality and infidelity shall corrupt and blight all that is valuable.” Gospel Workers, 68.

“There is a great work before us, and each individual has a special part to act. We shall not all have the very same line of service, but if we will commit our ways fully unto the Lord, He will direct our paths. Oh, that there were hundreds more of consecrated young people! God wants a large army of earnest, consecrated youth to gird on the armor, and to fight manfully the battles of the Lord. There is a work for each one to do.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 2, 286.

“With such an army of workers as our youth, rightly trained, might furnish, how soon the message of a crucified, risen, and soon-coming Saviour might be carried to the whole world! How soon might the end come—the end of suffering and sorrow and sin! How soon, in place of a possession here, with its blight of sin and pain, our children might receive their inheritance where ‘the righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever;’ where ‘the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick,’ and ‘the voice of weeping shall be no more heard.’ Psalm 37:29; Isaiah 33:24; 65:19.” Education, 271.

“Success in any line demands a definite aim. He who would achieve true success in life must keep steadily in view the aim worthy of his endeavor. Such an aim is set before the youth of today. The heaven-appointed purpose of giving the gospel to the world in this generation is the noblest that can appeal to any human being. It opens a field of effort to everyone whose heart Christ has touched.” Ibid., 262.

“Those who stand under the blood-stained banner of Prince Immanuel should be faithful soldiers in Christ’s army. They should never be disloyal, never be untrue. Many of the young will volunteer to stand with Jesus, the Prince of life. But if they would continue to stand with Him they must constantly look unto Jesus, their Captain, for His orders. They cannot be soldiers of Christ, and yet engage with the confederacy of Satan, and help on his side, for then they would be enemies of Christ. They would betray sacred trusts. They would form a link between Satan and the true soldiers, so that through these living agencies the enemy would be constantly working to steal away the hearts of Christ’s soldiers.

“I ask you, dear youth, who profess to be soldiers of Jesus Christ, what battles have you fought? What have been your engagements? When the word of God has plainly revealed your work, have you refused to do it because it did not suit your inclination? Has the attraction of the world allured you from the service of Christ? Satan is employed in devising specious allurements; and by transgression in what seem little matters he draws you away from Jesus. Then larger attractions are presented to seduce you fully from God.

“You may have your name upon the church books and claim to be a child of God, yet your example, your influence, misrepresents the character of Christ, and you lead others away from Him. There is no happiness, no peace or joy, to a professed believer whose whole soul is not enlisted in the work the Lord has given him to do. He is constantly bringing the world into the church, not by repentance and confession and surrender to God, but by surrendering more and more to the world, and engaging on Satan’s side in the battle rather than on Christ’s side.

“I would appeal to the youth to cut the finest thread which binds you in practice and in spirit with the world. ‘Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.’ [11 Corinthians 6:17, 18.]

“Will our youth heed this voice of invitation? How little do our young people realize the necessity of setting before their youthful associates a Christlike example in their life and character. Many of our youth understand the theory of the truth, but how few understand by experimental knowledge the practical bearing of the truth upon their every action. Where are youthful missionaries doing any work that presents itself to them in the great harvest field? Where are those who are daily learners in the school of Christ? Let them never feel that they are prepared to graduate. Let them wait in the courts of the Lord, that they may be directed as to how to work in unison with the heavenly intelligences. Dear youth, I wish to speak decidedly to you because I want you to be saved. Lose no more time. You cannot serve God and mammon. You may apparently be Christians, but when temptations come, when sorely tried, do you not generally yield?” Messages to Young People, 138–140.

“God is weighing our characters, our conduct, and our motives in the balances of the sanctuary. It will be a fearful thing to be pronounced wanting in love and obedience by our Redeemer, who died upon the cross to draw our hearts unto Him. God has bestowed upon us great and precious gifts. He has given us light and a knowledge of His will, so that we need not err or walk in darkness. To be weighed in the balance and found wanting in the day of final settlement and rewards will be a fearful thing, a terrible mistake which can never be corrected. Young friends, shall the book of God be searched in vain for your names?

“God has appointed you a work to do for Him which will make you colaborers with Him. All around you there are souls to save. There are those whom you can encourage and bless by your earnest efforts. You may turn souls from sin to righteousness. When you have a sense of your accountability to God you will feel the need of faithfulness in prayer and faithfulness in watching against the temptations of Satan. You will, if you are indeed Christians, feel more like mourning over the moral darkness in the world than indulging in levity and pride of dress. You will be among those who are sighing and crying for the abominations that are done in the land. You will resist the temptations of Satan to indulge in vanity and in trimmings and ornaments for display. The mind is narrowed and the intellect dwarfed that can be gratified with these frivolous things to the neglect of high responsibilities.

“The youth in our day may be workers with Christ if they will; and in working, their faith will strengthen and their knowledge of the divine will will increase. Every true purpose and every act of right doing will be recorded in the book of life. I wish I could arouse the youth to see and feel the sinfulness of living for their own gratification and dwarfing their intellects to the cheap, vain things of this life. If they would elevate their thoughts and words above the frivolous attractions of this world and make it their aim to glorify God, His peace, which passeth all understanding, would be theirs.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 370, 371.

Now is the time to choose to make a commitment to God to serve Him at whatever the cost and wherever He leads. Youth is the best time to commit your life to the Lord.

Jana Grosboll, an Electrical Engineering graduate student, serves Steps to Life as its Network Administrator.

A Lasting Commitment to Service

Week of Prayer for Thursday

During this Week of Prayer, we have been looking at the topic of lasting commitments. Before compiling my topic, “A Lasting Commitment to Service,” I reviewed the meanings of the words, lasting commitment.

Lasting is defined as something that lasts a long time, is persevering, unchangeable, has staying power, permanent, durable, everlasting, forever, or goes on indefinitely. Commitment involves resolution, a pledge, a promise, devotion, a commission, and determination. When we really understand the meaning of lasting commitments, we will realize and admit that we see very, very few lasting commitments in our world today.

The first institution given to man was the institution of marriage, yet this very basic institution, a foundational pillar of our society, has crumbled. Where are our commitments to other vital aspects of life such as honesty, integrity, financial responsibility, our work, our families, our friends, and our God? With our whole adult society having trouble making lasting commitments, is it any wonder that we have children and young people who live selfishly and only for the moment? It is obvious that in order to make lasting commitments, we must find something that is, for the most part, lacking in our society.

Before we can make any truly lasting commitments, we must first experience the love, forgiveness, and power of God in our lives. You see, God and His Son, Jesus, made a lasting commitment to the welfare of man even before we were created. They agreed that God the Son would give His life, if necessary, for the redemption of mankind. Then they created Adam and provided him with an ideal home, ideal work, ideal diet, ideal surroundings, and ideal companionship. He did not stay in that ideal state but chose to rebel against the government of God. Since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, our nature has become fallen, and it is because of this fallen nature that we have a lasting commitment only to self. We read, in Jeremiah 13:23, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? [then] may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” So it is only as we experience the transformation of character that comes from meditating upon and experiencing God’s love, His forgiveness, and His transforming power that our lives can be changed, and we can begin to make lasting commitments. I pray that each one of us may repent and be transformed by the power of God. With this foundation, let us look at “A Lasting Commitment to Service.”

Let us first consider twelve characteristics of godly service and how godly service is identified in the life.

Motivated and Encompassed by Love

The first two characteristics of godly service are that it is motivated by love, and our entire being is encompassed by it. We are commanded by Jesus, in Matthew 22:37, 38, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” Quoting further, from the writings of Ellen White, we are told, “Every one who accepts Christ as his personal Saviour will long for the privilege of serving God. Contemplating what Heaven has done for him, his heart is moved with boundless love and adoring gratitude. He is eager to signalize his gratitude by devoting his abilities to God’s service. He longs to show his love for Christ and for his purchased possession.” Gospel Workers, 294. This love goes deeper than head knowledge; it goes deeper than an emotional, warm feeling. It involves both our heads and our hearts. It involves our very natures and souls.

A Humble Heart

A humble and contrite heart identifies characteristic three. “God does not ask us to purchase His favor by any costly sacrifice. He asks only for the service of a humble, contrite heart, which has gladly and thankfully accepted His free gift. The one who receives Christ as his personal Saviour has in his possession the salvation provided by Christ. And he is never to forget that as he has freely received, so he is freely to impart.” In Heavenly Places, 318. Godly service must come from a humble heart. We must know that it is God who is working in us to will and to do. We must know that without the blessing and transforming power of God, we would be incapable of rendering godly service. With this attitude, we will want to glorify only God through any service we perform.

More Than Money

Characteristic four is that service must be personal, and it must involve more than just our money. No other person can do the service for God and mankind that is entrusted to us. God has a job for each of us. Ellen White explains:

“By our churches there is a work to be done of which many have little idea, a work as yet almost untouched. ‘I was an hungered,’ Christ says, ‘and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in: naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me; I was in prison, and ye came unto Me.’ Matthew 25:35, 36. Some think that if they give money to this work, it is all they are required to do; but this is an error. Donations of money cannot take the place of personal ministry. It is right to give our means, and many more should do this; but according to their strength and opportunities, personal service is required of all.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 275, 276.

Earnest Service

A fifth characteristic of our service is that it is to be earnest service. There is seriousness about our work for the Lord and for the sheep of His pastures that must be realized. The job of being a co-laborer with God is not something to be taken lightly or frivolously. The eternal salvation of others can be affected by our service or lack of it. “Every soul is to be a bright and shining light, showing forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. ‘Ye are laborers together with God,’ yes, laborers; that means doing earnest service in the vineyard of the Lord. [1 Corinthians 3:9.] There are souls to be saved,—souls in our churches, in our Sabbath-schools, and in our neighborhoods.” Review and Herald, March 24, 1891. Would our commitment to service be different if we saw, in the light of eternity, the importance of the service that has been committed to us? Would we work more diligently, more faithfully?

Heartfelt Service

A sixth characteristic of service is that it is to be heartfelt. “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:9, 10. This kind of heartfelt belief is real, is seen by others, and makes a difference in their lives. Notice what the prophet says: “God calls for men and women to be laborers together with him, to be workers who are sound in faith, pure in heart, and single in purpose. They should work to glorify God by the saving of souls that are lost. God requires heart-service. A service of form, lip-service, is wholly inefficient in the work of converting souls to God. A service that comes not from the heart is as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. The heart must be stirred with the co-operative energy of the Holy Spirit; then standing in full view of the cross of Calvary by faith, the worker can communicate to others the divine inspiration of his theme. From a full treasure-house he can bring forth things new and old, which will stir the hearts of his hearers, and convicted, they will cry out, ‘What must I do to be saved?’ ” Ibid., September 6, 1892.

Willingly Given

Characteristic seven is that service must be willingly given and marked by self-denial to be effective for the Lord. It is stated like this: “No one has been created in Christ Jesus for mere self-enjoyment. He who lives unto himself is not a Christian; for self-denial and cross-bearing are the portion of every true follower of Christ. We have been bought with a price, in order that we may render willing service to our Master. Every hour that we have failed to acknowledge Christ as our personal Saviour, we have robbed God; for Christ purchased us by the ransom of his own blood. The Christian cannot serve the world, or yield to the claims of any power, relation, or society, that will make him deny Christ, dishonor God, and prove disloyal to his holy law. The Christian is to surrender himself unreservedly to God as his purchased possession. God claims him for himself, and will impart to the believer special favors, enabling him to be complete in Christ, more than conqueror through him that hath loved him.” Ibid., May 12, 1896. When our service is not willingly given and must be forced, it is not the kind of service that God desires.

Consecration to God

An eighth characteristic of lasting commitment to service is that the service must be true service that results from our consecration to God. “In true service they find hope, and peace, and comfort; and with faith and courage they go forward in the path of obedience, following him who gave his life for them. By their consecration and devotion they reveal to the world the truth of the words, ‘I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.’ [Galatians 2:20.]” Ibid., January 5, 1897.

Correct Motives

Characteristic number nine is that our service must be given based upon correct motives. This type of service is truly unselfish and is motivated by a love for souls. We cannot be giving in order that we will receive. “Let all engage in missionary effort from pure, unselfish motives, co-operating with one another and with God, working not because of personal ambition or for the praise of men, but because they long to act a part with Christ in the work of saving perishing souls. In Christ’s service, everything depends upon the motives prompting believers to action. Those who labor for the love of souls will advance His work in our world.” Pamphlet 151, 8. Oh, Lord, help us to have this unselfish love for lost humanity.

Cheerful Service

Cheerful service is characteristic number ten. Too often, we as Christians are long faced, gloomy, not at all representing the joy that is in the Lord and His service. Service done for our Lord should always be given cheerfully, not because we have been coerced, begged, or shamed into service. “We are to render to God cheerful service.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 11, 341.

Christlike Actions

Characteristic number eleven is that our service should be Christlike in both our actions and in the duration of our commitment to service. We must be committed to serve as Christ did, and we must be committed to serve as long as we have breath in us. “Accepting Christ as a personal Saviour, and following His example of self-denial,—this is the secret of holiness. God exalted Christ above every name that is named. But Christ first reached to the depths of humiliation, working out in behalf of the human race a perfect character, and drawing men and women to God by His unselfish ministry. He has set an example that all who engage in His service are to follow. The more Christlike our efforts for God, the wider will be their influence for good, and the greater the work they will accomplish.” The Signs of the Times, December 17, 1902. Christ gave all that you and I might be saved eternally, and He continues even today to minister in the sanctuary for each of us. We must be willing to give all, so that others and ourselves will be saved. Our efforts cannot cease.

Service unto the Lord

Lastly, our service must be as unto the Lord and not unto men. Service can be very tiring, and it can be discouraging when our service is not appreciated. It can be frustrating when we do not see the benefits or results that we expect. Because of this, our service must be given in light of eternity and the God we serve. We must ask, as did David, “And who [then] is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord?” 1 Chronicles 29:5, last part. By consecrating our service unto the Lord and not unto men, it can then be a joy, and it will be blessed of the Lord. God gives His Spirit to those fully committed to His service: “The promise of the Holy Spirit is not limited to any age or to any race. Christ declared that the divine influence of His Spirit was to be with His followers unto the end. From the Day of Pentecost to the present time, the Comforter has been sent to all who have yielded themselves fully to the Lord and to His service.” The Acts of the Apostles, 49.

As we do this, our own spirits will be blessed. The ones for whom we do service can also be strengthened. “The churches are suffering, not so much for the want of sermons as for lack of ministry. The members of the churches need personal labor; they need to be instructed as to how they can engage in the work of God. In the winter, special efforts should be put forth. Let the different churches visit one another from time to time. Thus one church may encourage another by the manifestation of friendly, Christ-like interest in the spiritual welfare of the brethren. Those who will engage in active service for the good of others will find that their own souls will be revived and quickened, and those whom they visit will be encouraged and strengthened by the interest of their brethren in their behalf.” Gospel Workers (1892), 241.

Who is Involved

Now that we have reviewed the characteristics of service, let us look at who is to be involved in service. This can be summed up in one word—all.

“Service to God includes personal ministry. By personal effort we are to co-operate with Him for the saving of the world. Christ’s commission, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,’ is spoken to every one of His followers. (Mark 16:15.) All who are ordained unto the life of Christ are ordained to work for the salvation of their fellow men. Their hearts will throb in unison with the heart of Christ. The same longing for souls that He has felt will be manifest in them. Not all can fill the same place in the work, but there is a place and a work for all.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 300, 301. [Emphasis supplied.]

“Now is our time to labor for the salvation of our fellow men. There are some who think that if they give money to the cause of Christ, this is all they are required to do; the precious time in which they might do personal service for Him passes unimproved. But it is the privilege and duty of all who have health and strength to render to God active service. All are to labor in winning souls to Christ. Donations of money cannot take the place of this.” Ibid., 343. [Emphasis supplied.] It is very clear from the great commission in Matthew 28 and from the readings in the Spirit of Prophecy that, if you are the Lord’s, you are to have a place of service. Each and every one of us should be involved in service.

The Object of Service

Who are to be the objects of our service? The objects of our service include any of God’s heritages. “God expects personal service from everyone to whom He has entrusted a knowledge of the truth for this time. Not all can go as missionaries to foreign lands, but all can be home missionaries in their families and neighborhoods.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 30.

Service can also involve working in an area where the end result will benefit mankind. For example, “The light given me is that in the Southern field, as elsewhere, the manufacture of health foods should be conducted, not as a speculation for personal gain, but as a business that God has devised whereby a door of hope may be opened for the people. In the South, special consideration should be shown to the poor, who have been terribly neglected. Men of ability and economy are to be chosen to take up the food work; for, in order to make it a success, the greatest wisdom and economy must be exercised. God desires His people to do acceptable service in the preparation of healthful food, not only for their own families, which are their first responsibility, but for the help of the poor everywhere. They are to show Christlike liberality, realizing that they are representing God and that all they have is His endowment.” Counsels on Health, 494.

Did you note in this statement that our own families are to be our first responsibility? Do we really do service for our families that has the characteristics we just covered? Do we serve them as unto the Lord? Do we serve them with the guidelines laid out in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy? Remember that our first responsibility is to our families, and we will one day have to give an account to the Lord for the work we have done for them. Oh, let this service be according to His Word and His way.

We should also do service for our church family. Do we really render them acceptable service in showing them the care, concern, and love that we should? We are also to be involved in service for our neighbors, the poor, the widow, the fatherless, those in prisons, and for all of suffering humanity. “Whatever the difference in religious belief, a call from suffering humanity must be heard and answered. Where bitterness of feeling exists because of difference in religion, much good may be done by personal service. Loving ministry will break down prejudice, and win souls to God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 386. So, you see, you do not have to be a pastor, a medical missionary, or a foreign missionary to reach out in service. It is our responsibility to touch lives in the sphere of our daily living and daily work.

What Service Involves

Finally, let us consider what is involved in service. The first thing we must understand is that we are the vessel through which God works. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1. God has given us our bodies, our intellects, our physical health, our personalities, our talents, and our gifts. We are His both by creation and redemption. It is our responsibility, our reasonable service, to give back to Him what He has given us. Each person’s service will be different, depending on what God has entrusted to him. “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. [Are] all apostles? [are] all prophets? [are] all teachers? [are] all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way.” 1 Corinthians 12:27–31. If God has given us the gift of teaching, then we should use that gift in His service. If we have the gift of helps or hospitality, then this gift should be used in His service. If we have a gift of encouragement, then we should use this gift in His service to encourage those who are discouraged. Service is defined as acts of kindness, helpful acts, and conduct that is useful to others. So whatever talents the Lord has given us should be used in His service to help and bless others.

Is the legacy that we are endeavoring to hand down to our children being taught in the world, or is it being taught in the church? We can learn much from the Waldenses. Consider this: “The Waldenses had sacrificed their worldly prosperity for the truth’s sake, and with persevering patience they toiled for their bread. Every spot of tillable land among the mountains was carefully improved; the valleys and the less fertile hillsides were made to yield their increase. Economy and severe self-denial formed a part of the education which the children received as their only legacy. They were taught that God designs life to be a discipline, and that their wants could be supplied only by personal labor, by forethought, care, and faith. The process was laborious and wearisome, but it was wholesome, just what man needs in his fallen state, the school which God has provided for his training and development. While the youth were inured to toil and hardship, the culture of the intellect was not neglected. They were taught that all their powers belonged to God, and that all were to be improved and developed for His service.” The Great Controversy, 67.

In the home and in the church, we need to be committed to service and to helping others be committed to service. Our personal witness best does this as we work with each other. This is how Christ taught His disciples: “For three years and a half the disciples were under the instruction of the greatest Teacher the world has ever known. By personal contact and association, Christ trained them for His service. Day by day they walked and talked with Him, hearing His words of cheer to the weary and heavy-laden, and seeing the manifestation of His power in behalf of the sick and the afflicted. Sometimes He taught them, sitting among them on the mountainside; sometimes beside the sea or walking by the way, He revealed the mysteries of the kingdom of God. Wherever hearts were open to receive the divine message, He unfolded the truths of the way of salvation. He did not command the disciples to do this or that, but said, ‘Follow Me.’ On His journeys through country and cities, He took them with Him, that they might see how He taught the people. They traveled with Him from place to place. They shared His frugal fare, and like Him were sometimes hungry and often weary. On the crowded streets, by the lakeside, in the lonely desert, they were with Him. They saw Him in every phase of life.” The Acts of the Apostles, 17, 18.

Our Reasonable Service

In conclusion, we have discussed that Jesus gave the ultimate service to mankind when He gave His life for us, not only on the cross of Calvary but throughout the ages, as He mediates for us in the heavenly sanctuary. We have pointed out that our lives and the talents given us are gifts from God. It is, therefore, our reasonable service to give our entire being back to Him in service to mankind. We have identified that service is any helpful or kind acts and will be as diversified as are the talents that God has given to each one of us. We have documented that our service should be first to our immediate families and then to our church families, friends, neighbors, and to whomever else God calls us to serve.

We have identified the following twelve characteristics of service: True service is motivated by love, encompasses our entire being, requires a humble and contrite heart, is personal and involves more than our money, is earnest, is heartfelt, is willingly given and marked by self denial, is true, is based on correct motives, is cheerful, should be Christlike, and is unto the Lord and not unto men.

Dear friends, are we, are our families, and are our churches ready to make lasting commitments of service to God and to His heritage? Without a lasting commitment to service, we may be in this sin-filled world for many more years. God will someday have a unified group of people who will have this kind of commitment to service. As we consider the various topics of lasting commitments, let us pray that we will each decide now and for as long as we have breath to be a part of God’s final work of service to mankind.

Janet Headrick is a Registered Nurse as well as a member of the Steps to Life staff.

Commitment to the Marriage Covenant

Week of Prayer for Wednesday

And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This [is] now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 2:21–24.

“God celebrated the first marriage. Thus the institution has for its originator the Creator of the universe. ‘Marriage is honorable’ (Hebrews 13:4); it was one of the first gifts of God to man, and it is one of the two institutions that, after the Fall, Adam brought with him beyond the gates of Paradise. When the divine principles are recognized and obeyed in this relation, marriage is a blessing; it guards the purity and happiness of the race, it provides for man’s social needs, it elevates the physical, the intellectual, and the moral nature.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 46.

The following quote comes from an editorial published in the Bowling Green Daily News, July 28, 2002 [Bowling Green, Kentucky]. “Mayor Rudy Giuliani and his estranged wife Donna Hanover are not the only ones finding out how messy divorce can be. While a majority of divorce settlements don’t involve one party getting $6.8 million plus child support and legal fees, divorce in most cases sets in motion events over which individuals have little control.

“The research is deafening: Even strained marriages often are better than divorce. Also studies show that the benefits of divorce have been oversold. Researchers at the University of Chicago have followed up on some of the more than 5,000 married adults interviewed several years ago about their relationships. What they found is worthy of note: A good marriage takes much attention and effort.

“Commitment to a spouse and perseverance to face hurdles is the key to any marriage, whether the couple has lived together or not. While the number of marriages ending in divorce is staggering, there are still plenty of people who have found that most conflict, whether it is money, depression and even infidelity, can be resolved with communication and time.

“The effect that commitment can have on future generations is staggering. Wednesday’s [July 24, 2002] report indicating that children of divorce are more likely to end up being divorced themselves should be a strong influence on whether to break up a marriage.”

The Spirit of Prophecy has this to say about divorce: “A woman may be legally divorced from her husband by the laws of the land and yet not divorced in the sight of God and according to the higher law. There is only one sin, which is adultery, which can place the husband or wife in a position where they can be free from the marriage vow in the sight of God. Although the laws of the land may grant a divorce, yet they are husband and wife still in the Bible light, according to the laws of God.” The Adventist Home, 344.

The Commitment Factor

Though all of the following factors have contributed to the divorce rate, there is yet another—a missing preventive factor. However much these factors may predispose our society to an epidemic of divorces, such an epidemic can still be prevented if one key element is present. What element could this be? True commitment!

Problems That Lead to Divorce

What is wrong here? Probably a great many things. Divorce did not become a significant problem in the United States until after the mid-1900s. Many things have changed, which may be contributing to this problem.

The Impact of Dating

Interactions between young men and women have changed a lot since the 1800s. The role of parents, both in protecting their children from premarital intimacy and in influencing marriage decisions, is almost nonexistent today. The majority of modern Christians follow modern dating practices, which are not known to result in excellent marriages. Consider how many young people enter marriage with a background of prior romantic relationships and even fornication. How many relationships are founded on selfishness, physical attraction, and infatuation? How many marriages are entered into with serious misconceptions about the other person’s character, beliefs, and values? Certainly many Christian marriages start badly because of these things.

The Ease and Acceptance of Divorce

In prior times, divorce was only permitted when there was adultery. In the last few generations, many children have grown up in single parent homes. Thus a much smaller percentage of young people marrying have had good marriage role models in their own parents. Also, few have had much good teaching on Christian marriage.

Working Women and Temptation

In the 1800s, and even through most of the first half of the 1900s, the majority of married women were in the home, not in the workplace. Since that time, the majority of women, even of married women, have come to work outside the home, usually right alongside of men. Married women working outside the home are more financially independent of their husbands. Though we usually think of financial independence as a good thing, in marriage it makes the wife less reluctant to leave her husband and removes the husband’s guilt over leaving his wife unsupported. The prevalence of women in the workplace, including married women, has brought more temptation to infidelity to both men and women. Work often brings men and women into close working relationships and friendships that exclude their spouses. This makes fertile ground for infatuations and relationships that result in adultery.

Cultural Influences

Today, we live in a culture steeped in immorality, pornography, alcohol and drug abuse, and selfishness. This culture and its influences have strongly invaded Christian homes. It is no longer just through neighbors, coworkers, acquaintances, and books that we have been bombarded, but now it is also through radio, television, movies, and the Internet. The godless culture around us offers many new and highly effective tools with which to saturate us with temptations and godless influences.

The Marriage Commitment

Our ancestors viewed marriage as a vow before God, a vow to be taken very seriously. To break a solemn vow before God was to invite divine punishment. Churches taught that God hated divorce and that marriage was meant to be for life. Churches, schools, and the leaders of society all stressed the importance of integrity and honor and of keeping one’s promises. Men and women of honor kept their promises, even to their own hurt.

“The grace of Christ, and this alone, can make this institution what God designed it should be—an agent for the blessing and uplifting of humanity. And thus the families of earth, in their unity and peace and love, may represent the family of heaven.” Ibid., 100.

Should we not keep our vows? As modern Christians, should we regard marriage vows more lightly than did our ancestors? I think not! God does not base the marriage commitment on your feelings or on how well your partner treats you. You made a commitment—a vow—without conditions. You committed yourself to another’s care whatever the circumstances or however things might change.

God does not mince words about divorce. In Malachi 2:14–16, He states that He hates divorce, and speaks of those men who divorce as having dealt “treacherously” with their wives. How would you like to be described by God as being treacherous? In Matthew 5:32 and Luke 16:18, Jesus says that anyone who divorces his wife commits adultery and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Jesus further explains that Moses only permitted divorce because of the hardness of men’s hearts—divorce was not God’s intention. What God has joined together, let no man put asunder! (Matthew 19:6.)


Where are the men of character and integrity today? Where are those who will give their word and stand by it, even to their own hurt? What about you? Husbands, as God’s appointed head of your family, you are expected to set the example for your wife and children. Are you a man on whom others can count? Do you keep your commitments?

You have vowed to love and care for your wife, whatever the situation, as long as you both shall live. Be true to your vow! Excuses, such as being unhappy in marriage, no longer feeling in love, or not being loved by your wife, do not cut it with God. Devote yourself to pleasing God in your role as a husband. Fulfill your responsibilities and, with patience, depend upon God. Often, this will transform your marriage in a way that brings glory to God. However, even if it does not, your obligation is the same. Your endurance and steadfast commitment to your vow will bring glory to God. Breaking your vow of marriage will bring dishonor on God’s name, giving “occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme.” 11 Samuel 12:14.


Some of you face very hard circumstances. Some of your marriages are difficult, at best. Do you feel unloved by your husband? Have you been left lonely and unfulfilled? Have you suffered much neglect and even cruelty from your husband? Hold on to God. He sees your situation, and He cares.

Be faithful to your vows, living with your husband as a godly wife, respecting and honoring him, remaining loyal to him even when he is not loyal to you. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve, whom you live to please. Fulfill your responsibilities as a woman of God, obeying all of the Bible’s instructions concerning marriage.

Do not lose heart. Do not allow your emotions to take control and lead you to dishonor God by abandoning your marriage. I know there are some situations where true physical harm is threatened, when it may be wise for you to depart from your husband for a time—but with the hope that you may soon be able to return and resume your duties as a loyal wife. Do all that is within your power to stand by your vow.

Husbands and Wives

Duty comes before happiness. You have a duty to God and to your marriage partner. Honor God by doing what is right, whatever your spouse chooses to do. You are responsible to God for what you do. Leave your spouse in God’s hands.

“The family tie is the closest, the most tender and sacred, of any on earth. It was designed to be a blessing to mankind. And it is a blessing wherever the marriage covenant is entered into intelligently, in the fear of God, and with due consideration for its responsibilities.

“Every home should be a place of love, a place where the angels of God abide, working with softening, subduing influence upon the hearts of parents and children.

“Our homes must be made a Bethel, our hearts a shrine. Wherever the love of God is cherished in the soul, there will be peace, there will be light and joy. Spread out the word of God before your families in love, and ask, ‘What hath God spoken?’ ” Ibid., 18, 19.

“He who gave Eve to Adam as a helpmeet performed His first miracle at a marriage festival. In the festal hall where friends and kindred rejoiced together, Christ began His public ministry. Thus He sanctioned marriage, recognizing it as an institution that He Himself had established. . . .

“Christ honored the marriage relation by making it also a symbol of the union between Him and His redeemed ones. He Himself is the Bridegroom; the bride is the church, of which, as His chosen one, He says, ‘Thou art all fair, My love; there is no spot in thee.’ [Song of Solomon 4:7.]” Ibid. 26.

“A Happy or Unhappy Marriage?—If those who are contemplating marriage would not have miserable, unhappy reflections after marriage, they must make it a subject of serious, earnest reflection now. This step taken unwisely is one of the most effective means of ruining the usefulness of young men and women. Life becomes a burden, a curse. No one can so effectually ruin a woman’s happiness and usefulness, and make life a heartsickening burden, as her own husband; and no one can do one hundredth part as much to chill the hopes and aspirations of a man, to paralyze his energies and ruin his influence and prospects, as his own wife. It is from the marriage hour that many men and women date their success or failure in this life, and their hopes of the future life.” Ibid., 43.

“Most men and women have acted in entering the marriage relation as though the only question for them to settle was whether they loved each other. But they should realize that a responsibility rests upon them in the marriage relation farther than this. They should consider whether their offspring will possess physical health and mental and moral strength. But few have moved with high motives and with elevated considerations which they could not lightly throw off—that society had claims upon them, that the weight of their family’s influence would tell in the upward or downward scale.

“The choice of a life companion should be such as best to secure physical, mental, and spiritual well-being for parents and for their children—such as will enable both parents and children to bless their fellow men and to honor their Creator.

“Qualities to Be Sought in a Prospective Wife.—Let a young man seek one to stand by his side who is fitted to bear her share of life’s burdens, one whose influence will ennoble and refine him, and who will make him happy in her love.

“ ‘A prudent wife is from the Lord.’ ‘The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her. . . . She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.’ ‘She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her,’ saying, ‘Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.’ He who gains such a wife ‘findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord.’ [Proverbs 19:14; 31:11, 12, 26–29; 18:22.]

“Here are things which should be considered: Will the one you marry bring happiness to your home? Is [she] an economist, or will she, if married, not only use all her own earnings, but all of yours to gratify a vanity, a love of appearance? Are her principles correct in this direction? Has she anything now to depend upon? . . . I know that to the mind of a man infatuated with love and thoughts of marriage these questions will be brushed away as though they were of no consequence. But these things should be duly considered, for they have a bearing upon your future life. . . .

“In your choice of a wife study her character. Will she be one who will be patient and painstaking? Or will she cease to care for your mother and father at the very time when they need a strong son to lean upon? And will she withdraw him from their society to carry out her plans and to suit her own pleasure, and leave the father and mother who, instead of gaining an affectionate daughter, will have lost a son?

“Qualities to Be Sought in a Prospective Husband.—Before giving her hand in marriage, every woman should inquire whether he with whom she is about to unite her destiny is worthy. What has been his past record? Is his life pure? Is the love which he expresses of a noble, elevated character, or is it a mere emotional fondness? Has he the traits of character that will make her happy? Can she find true peace and joy in his affection? Will she be allowed to preserve her individuality, or must her judgment and conscience be surrendered to the control of her husband? . . . Can she honor the Saviour’s claims as supreme? Will body and soul, thoughts and purposes, be preserved pure and holy? These questions have a vital bearing upon the well-being of every woman who enters the marriage relation.

“Let the woman who desires a peaceful, happy union, who would escape future misery and sorrow, inquire before she yields her affections, Has my lover a mother? What is the stamp of her character? Does he recognize his obligations to her? Is he mindful of her wishes and happiness? If he does not respect and honor his mother, will he manifest respect and love, kindness and attention, toward his wife? When the novelty of marriage is over, will he love me still? Will he be patient with my mistakes, or will he be critical, overbearing, and dictatorial? True affection will overlook many mistakes; love will not discern them.

“Accept Only Pure, Manly Traits.—Let a young woman accept as a life companion only one who possesses pure, manly traits of character, one who is diligent, aspiring, and honest, one who loves and fears God.

“Shun those who are irreverent. Shun one who is a lover of idleness; shun the one who is a scoffer of hallowed things. Avoid the society of one who uses profane language, or is addicted to the use of even one glass of liquor. Listen not to the proposals of a man who has no realization of his responsibility to God. The pure truth which sanctifies the soul will give you courage to cut yourself loose from the most pleasing acquaintance whom you know does not love and fear God, and knows nothing of the principles of true righteousness. We may always bear with a friend’s infirmities and with his ignorance, but never with his vices.” Ibid., 45–48.

“Marriage of Christians With Unbelievers.—There is in the Christian world an astonishing, alarming indifference to the teaching of God’s word in regard to the marriage of Christians with unbelievers. Many who profess to love and fear God choose to follow the bent of their own minds rather than take counsel of Infinite Wisdom. In a matter which vitally concerns the happiness and well-being of both parties for this world and the next, reason, judgment, and the fear of God are set aside; and blind impulse, stubborn determination are allowed to control.

“Men and women who are otherwise sensible and conscientious close their ears to counsel; they are deaf to the appeals and entreaties of friends and kindred and of the servants of God. The expression of a caution or warning is regarded as impertinent meddling, and the friend who is faithful enough to utter a remonstrance is treated as an enemy. All this is as Satan would have it. He weaves his spell about the soul, and it becomes bewitched, infatuated. Reason lets fall the reins of self-control upon the neck of lust; unsanctified passion bears sway, until, too late, the victim awakens to a life of misery and bondage. This is not a picture drawn by the imagination, but a recital of facts. God’s sanction is not given to unions which He has expressly forbidden.

“God’s Commands Are Plain.—The Lord commanded ancient Israel not to intermarry with the idolatrous nations around them: ‘Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.’ The reason is given. Infinite Wisdom, foreseeing the result of such unions, declares: ‘For they will turn away thy son from following Me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.’ ‘For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.’ [Deuteronomy 7:3, 4, 6.]” Ibid., 61, 62.

“Risking the Enjoyments of Heaven.—‘Can two walk together, except they be agreed?’ ‘If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in heaven.’ [Amos 3:3; Matthew 18:19.] But how strange the sight! While one of those so closely united is engaged in devotion, the other is indifferent and careless; while one is seeking the way to everlasting life, the other is in the broad road to death.

“Hundreds have sacrificed Christ and heaven in consequence of marrying unconverted persons. Can it be that the love and fellowship of Christ are of so little value to them that they prefer the companionship of poor mortals? Is heaven so little esteemed that they are willing to risk its enjoyments for one who has no love for the precious Saviour?” Ibid., 66, 67.


Are you having problems? Are you wavering in commitment? Are you thinking that your marriage may have been a big mistake? Are you becoming friendly with a member of the opposite sex? Perhaps even attracted and a little infatuated? Have you “had it” with the way your spouse treats you? Are you dying inside from loneliness, lack of love, affection, acceptance, respect, or understanding? Are you now finding your mate to be totally unattractive? Is your mate not meeting your basic needs and making no effort to do so?

Seek help for your marriage problems, first from God and second from a wise Christian counselor. Stay committed to your marriage and trust God to work. Put your duty to God and the interests of your children before your own happiness. God did not promise that our lives would be easy and our circumstances always wonderful. Sometimes we must suffer for Christ; yet, relying on Him, we can give thanks in all things and rejoice always. Do not allow your commitment to your marriage to waiver. May you be found by God to be a faithful servant—one who will be more concerned about God’s glory than your own happiness, and one who will obey God and do your duty as a husband or wife, however difficult it may become.

An Unshakable Commitment

We should all enter into marriage taking our vows very seriously and seeking to please God with our marriage. Divorce should not be seen as a possible means of escape. No matter what the problems may be, how bad the relationship may become, or how strongly you may be attracted to another, purpose that you will keep your commitment to a lifelong marriage, that you will not give up, and that you will continue to work at your marriage, weathering whatever storms may come.

For the sake of God’s name, your Christian testimony, your children, and your honor and integrity, determine that you will keep this commitment and do all you can to please God regarding your marriage.

What sort of commitment should you make to your marriage? I would suggest one that includes the following elements:

  1. You will not seek to escape from your marriage.
  2. You will not look for another, and you will run from any temptation towards infidelity. You will be very careful about any interactions with the opposite sex that could possibly lead you into temptation or provoke the jealousy of your spouse.
  3. You will work at your marriage to make it as good as you can, for your children, for your wife or husband, and lastly for yourself.
  4. You will not give up on your marriage, knowing God can change both you and your spouse.
  5. If you do not feel love, you nevertheless, by conscious decision, will decide to love, whatever you may feel. Your actions and words will be loving.
  6. You will confess past wrongs and work to make amends and to restore any broken areas of your marriage relationship.


Christian marriage needs to be stable and permanent; it needs to be built upon the foundation of an unconditional, mutual covenant commitment that will not allow anything or anyone “to put asunder” the marital union established by God. To accept this Biblical view of marriage as a sacred covenant means to be willing to make total, exclusive, continuing, and growing commitments to our marriage partners. Such commitments are not easy or trouble free. Just as our covenantal commitments to God require obedience to the principles embodied in the Ten Commandments, so our covenantal commitments to our marriage partners demand obedience to the principles of the Ten Commandments that are applicable to our marriage relationships.

There is no other way to enter into the joys of Christian marriage than by assuming its covenantal obligations. When we commit ourselves to honor our marriage covenants of mutual faithfulness “till death do us part,” then we experience how God is mysteriously able to unite two lives into “one flesh.” Honoring our marriage covenant is fundamental to the stability of our family, church, and society.

Domingo Nunez is Director of Outreach Ministry for Steps to Life.

Commitment to the Law of God

Week of Prayer for Tuesday

The Law of God is a very unique law that deserves our fullest attention. It reads as follows: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation] of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day [is] the sabbath of the Lord thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates: For [in] six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that [is] thy neighbour’s.” Exodus 20:3–17.

And God Said

These commandments are the very words of God Himself. The Bible says, “And God spake all these words, saying . . .” Exodus 20:1. This law is so sacred, so holy, so elevated that God chose not to give it through inspiration but spoke it directly to the fallen race Himself.

In addition to speaking the words, He also wrote them with His own finger. (Exodus 32:15, 16; Deuteronomy 4:13.) They stand separate and above the rest of Scripture. They did not come to us through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for men to put into defective human language. They came to us direct from our Father in heaven.

They were etched in stone, representing their enduring eternal quality. These two tables of stone were placed in the Ark of the Covenant that was kept in the Most Holy Place of the sanctuary.

The Most Holy Place of the sanctuary in heaven was opened in October of 1844, and there was seen the Ark of the Covenant that contains the great original principles of that law. (See Revelation 11:19; The Great Controversy, 433.)

Law of the Universe

The Ten Commandments will stand as the law of the universe throughout eternity.

“The precepts of the Decalogue are adapted to all mankind, and they were given for the instruction and government of all. Ten precepts, brief, comprehensive, and authoritative, cover the duty of man to God and to his fellow man . . . .” Patriarchs and Prophets, 305. This quotation continues by saying that these ten precepts are based upon the great fundamental principle of love.

Principle of Love

Paul defines this love, charity, in 1 Corinthians 13:4–8, which says, “Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.”

The Scriptures separate this love into two areas of man’s experience—his relationship to his Creator and his relationship to his fellowman.

“ ‘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 neighbour as thyself.’ Luke 10:27. See also Deuteronomy 6:4, 5; Leviticus 19:18. In the Ten Commandments these principles are carried out in detail, and made applicable to the condition and circumstances of man.” Ibid.

Transcript of God’s Character

“The law of God is as sacred as Himself. It is a revelation of His will, a transcript of His character, the expression of divine love and wisdom. Through the ages that law has been preserved as the highest standard of morality. Not all the inventions of science or the imaginations of fruitful minds have been able to discover one essential duty not covered by this code.” The Signs of the Times, February 1, 1910.

“The law of God is the standard of character; it is the expression of the character of God Himself.” The Bible Echo, July 29, 1895.

For men to do away with the law is to do away with the very character of the God of heaven. That would be utterly impossible. The law of God is as enduring as the Ancient of Days who sits on the great white throne of the universe.

“It [God’s Law] was given to Adam and Eve in Eden. God planted for them this beautiful garden, and supplied their every want. Was it too much to ask them to respond to all His love and care by obedience to His righteous law, which, if kept, would have secured to them happiness, peace, and joy forever?” Ibid.

Is it too much for God to ask His people today to respond to all His love and care by obedience to His commandments when it will secure for them eternal life in heaven?

“God’s law is the security of life and property, of peace and happiness. It was given to secure our present and eternal good. A thoughtful kindness runs through every enactment. Each commandment is an enactment of mercy, love, and saving power.” The Signs of the Times, February 1, 1910.

Opposition to the Law

God’s Law is for our present and eternal good. Why would anyone want to do away with a law that provides so much good to those who are under its authority? Why would anyone be in opposition to a law that is so wonderful a blessing to them?

To answer these questions, we will go back in time and see what brought in this antagonistic spirit against the Law of God. Here is the record of how sin, which is the transgression of the law, came into the universe.

“The angels joyfully acknowledged the supremacy of Christ, and prostrating themselves before Him, poured out their love and adoration. Lucifer bowed with them, but in his heart there was a strange, fierce conflict. Truth, justice, and loyalty were struggling against envy and jealousy. The influence of the holy angels seemed for a time to carry him with them. As songs of praise ascended in melodious strains, swelled by thousands of glad voices, the spirit of evil seemed vanquished; unutterable love thrilled his entire being; his soul went out, in harmony with the sinless worshippers, in love to the Father and the Son. But again he was filled with pride in his own glory. His desire for supremacy returned, and envy of Christ was once more indulged. The high honors conferred upon Lucifer were not appreciated as God’s special gift, and therefore, called forth no gratitude to his Creator. He glorified in his brightness and exaltation and aspired to be equal with God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 36, 37.

This statement reveals that Satan permitted three violations of the law of God to germinate in his mind: pride, envy, and jealousy. There was no reason or excuse for these characteristics to be cherished, except that Satan permitted them to grow and develop deeper and deeper roots until they controlled his thinking and actions.

Paul says, in 1 Corinthians 13:4, 5, that God’s Law of love does not envy; God’s love is not proud, and His Law of love is not self-seeking. Therefore, Satan was in violation of God’s holy and sacred law on three points by his own choice.

Fatal Sins

That God sees these same sins among His professed people today is very evident from Scripture. Notice what Jesus says: “Nevertheless I have [somewhat] against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” Revelation 2:4, 5.

These sins are fatal to those who indulge in them, for they will not enter the kingdom of glory. The lack of unity among God’s professed people is clear evidence that these sins exist among them today, but they seem unable to recognize them and put them away.

In the following statement, God explains how He identifies these sins among His people today: “Now God requires that you who have thus done the least injustice to another shall confess your fault, not only to the one you have injured, but to those who through your influence have been led to regard their brother in a false light, and to make of none effect the work God has given him to do. If pride and stubbornness close your lips, your sin will stand against you on the heavenly record. By repentance and confession you can have pardon registered against your name; or you can resist the conviction of the Spirit of God, and, during the rest of your life, work to make it appear that your wrong feelings and unjust conclusions could not be helped. But there stands the action, there stands the evil committed, there stands the ruin of those in whose hearts you planted the root of bitterness; there are the feelings and words of envy, of evil-surmising, that grew into jealousy and prejudice. All these testify against you.” Review and Herald, December 16, 1890. [Emphasis supplied.]

Scenes of Judgment

On the morning of October 23, 1879, Ellen White had a vision in which she was shown scenes of the judgment. Here is a portion of what she wrote concerning what she saw in that vision: “On the morning of October 23, 1879, about two o’clock, the Spirit of the Lord rested upon me, and I beheld scenes in the coming judgment. Language fails me in which to give an adequate description of the things which passed before me and of the effect they had upon my mind.

“The great day of the execution of God’s judgment seemed to have come. Ten thousand times ten thousand were assembled before a large throne, upon which was seated a person of majestic appearance. Several books were before Him, and upon the covers of each was written in letters of gold, which seemed like a burning flame of fire: ‘Ledger of Heaven.’ One of these books, containing the names of those who claim to believe the truth, was then opened. Immediately I lost sight of the countless millions about the throne, and only those who were professedly children of the light and of the truth engaged my attention. As these persons were named, one by one, and their good deeds mentioned, their countenances would light up with a holy joy that was reflected in every direction. But this did not seem to rest upon my mind with the greatest force.

“Another book was opened, wherein were recorded the sins of those who profess the truth. Under the general heading of selfishness came every other sin. There were also headings over every column, and underneath these, opposite each name, were recorded, in their respective columns, the lesser sins.

“Under covetousness came falsehood, theft, robbery, fraud, and avarice; under ambition came pride and extravagance; jealousy stood at the head of malice, envy, and hatred; and intemperance headed a long list of fearful crimes, such as lasciviousness, adultery, indulgence of animal passions, etc.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 384, 385.

This vision gives a description of a portion of the “Ledger of Heaven” that is being used in the courts above during the Investigative Judgment. I have listed the sins that God sees in column form as Ellen White may have seen them in vision. She says that this is the record that appeared beside the names of many who made a profession of the truth.

The quotation continues: “As I beheld I was filled with inexpressible anguish and exclaimed: ‘Who can be saved? who will stand justified before God? whose robes are spotless? who are faultless in the sight of a pure and holy God?’

“As the Holy One upon the throne slowly turned the leaves of the ledger, and His eyes rested for a moment upon individuals, His glance seemed to burn into their very souls, and at the same moment every word and action of their lives passed before their minds as clearly as though traced before their vision in letters of fire. Trembling seized them, and their faces turned pale. Their first appearance when around the throne was that of careless indifference. But how changed their appearance now! The feeling of security is gone, and in its place is a nameless terror. A dread is upon every soul, lest he shall be found among those who are wanting. Every eye is riveted upon the face of the One upon the throne; and as His solemn, searching eye sweeps over that company, there is a quaking of heart; for they are self-condemned without one word being uttered. In anguish of soul each declares his own guilt and with terrible vividness sees that by sinning he has thrown away the precious boon of eternal life.” Ibid., 385.

Covetousness Ambition Jealousy Intemperance
Falsehood Pride Malice Lasciviousness
Theft Extravagance Envy Adultery
Robbery Hatred Indulgence of animal passions
Fraud etc.

The Lord’s Appeal

Today, the Lord is appealing to His people in earnest, loving tones, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Revelation 3:22.

“I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. . . . Be zealous therefore, and repent. . . . Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” Revelation 3:18–21.

“We must know more of Jesus and his love than of the fashions of the world. In the name of my Master, I call upon the youth to study the example of Christ. When you wish to make an article, you carefully study the pattern, that you may reproduce it as nearly as possible. Now set to work to copy the Divine Exemplar. Your eternal interest demands that you possess the Spirit of Christ. You cannot be like Jesus, and cherish pride in your heart. You cannot give any place to envy or jealousy. You must consider it beneath the character of a Christian to harbor resentful thoughts or indulge in recrimination. Let the law of kindness be sacredly observed. Never comment upon the character or the acts of others in a manner to injure them. In no case make their failures or defects the subject of ridicule or unkind criticism. You lessen your own influence by so doing, and lead others to doubt your sincerity as a Christian. Let peace and love dwell in your soul, and ever cherish a forgiving spirit.” Review and Herald, December 6, 1881.

“How many there are as weak as water who might have a never-failing source of strength. Heaven is ready to impart to us, that we may be mighty in God, and attain to the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. What increase of spiritual power have you gained during the last year? Who among us have gained one precious attainment after another, until envy, pride, malice, jealousy, and selfishness have been swept away, and only the graces of the Spirit remain,—meekness, forbearance, gentleness, charity? God will help us if we take hold of the help he has provided.” Ibid., January 9, 1900.

“Contention among God’s people is offensive in his sight. In union and harmony alone is there strength. Pride, selfishness, envy, and jealousy originated with Satan, and lost for him his Eden home. He now urges his temptations upon the followers of Christ, and the most frivolous pretense excites a prejudice and jealousy which is as cruel as the grave.” The Signs of the Times, August 19, 1880.

Law of Liberty

“ ‘There is more joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, than over ninety and nine just persons that need no repentance.’ [Luke 15:7.] If the sinner repents because of your kind and loving admonition, work has been done for eternity. There is great need of carrying out the instruction of Christ in a definite manner, acting up to the word of our Master. This is living the law of God. In thus dealing with our brethren, we may make an impression on others that will never fade from their minds. We may not remember some act of kindness which we do, it may fade from our memory; but eternity will bring out in all its brightness, every act done for the salvation of souls, every word spoken for the comfort of God’s children; and these deeds done for Christ’s sake will be a part of our joy through all eternity. When we pursue toward our brethren any course save that of kindness and courtesy, we pursue an unchristian course. We should manifest courtesy at home, in the church, and in our intercourse with all men. . . .Where Jesus reigns in the heart, there will be sweet love, and we shall be tender and true to one another. It takes special watchfulness to keep the affections alive, and our hearts in a condition where we shall be sensible of the good that exists in the hearts of others. If we do not watch on this point, Satan will put his jealousy into our souls; he will put his glasses before our eyes, that we may see the actions of our brethren in a distorted light. Instead of looking critically upon our brethren, we should turn our eyes within, and be ready to discover the objectionable traits of our own character. As we have a proper realization of our own mistakes and failures, the mistakes of others will sink into insignificance.” Review and Herald, February 24, 1891. [Emphasis supplied.]

“The whole universe will have become witnesses to the nature and results of sin. And its utter extermination, which in the beginning would have brought fear to angels and dishonor to God, will now vindicate His love and establish His honor before the universe of beings who delight to do His will, and in whose heart is His law. Never will evil again be manifest. Says the word of God: ‘Affliction shall not rise up the second time.’ Nahum 1:9. The law of God, which Satan has reproached as the yoke of bondage, will be honored as the law of liberty. A tested and proved creation will never again be turned from allegiance to Him whose character has been fully manifested before them as fathomless love and infinite wisdom.” The Great Controversy, 504.

Dear friends, let us keep the affections alive, that we may see the good in the hearts of others. Let us turn our eyes within to discover the objectionable traits of our own characters. Then, as we cooperate with Jesus to remove these objectionable traits, He will clothe us with the white robe of His righteousness and grant us entrance into that Holy City.

Maurice Hoppe lives in Wichita, Kansas, and donates many hours to Steps to Life.