The Review and Herald



January 5, 1886

Rejection of Light


Text: “I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12. RH January 5, 1886, par. 1

As persons become convinced from the Scriptures that the claims of the fourth commandment are still binding, the question is often raised, Is it necessary in order to secure salvation that we keep the Sabbath? This is a question of grave importance. If the light has shone from the word of God, if the message has been presented to men, as it was to Pharaoh, and they refuse to heed that message, if they reject the light, they refuse to obey God, and cannot be saved in their disobedience. On the other hand, many have died conscientiously observing the first day of the week as the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. These will not be condemned, because they followed the best light they had. They will not be held responsible for light which they never received. Christ said to the scribes and Pharisees: “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but now they have no cloak for their sin.” Again he said, “For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin; but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.” RH January 5, 1886, par. 2

Thus Jesus caused the Pharisees to understand that if he, the light and truth, had not come, they would not have been guilty of the sin of rejecting him. But he came and flashed the light upon their pathway, and they chose darkness rather than light. This was their guilt. Thus it is with the Sabbath. Those upon whom the light of the Sabbath truth has never shone, have no condemnation. But those to whom the Scriptures have been opened are no longer in darkness. We are not living in the age in which our fathers lived. God gave them treasures of wisdom, which, through the manifestation of his Spirit, and through the testimony and example of his children from generation to generation, have come down along the lines to our time. We have all the light which they had, and additional light is continually shining, and will shine more and more unto the perfect day. This generation is responsible, not only for all the light that God has imparted to past generations through his Spirit and word, but for the more abundant light now shining. We cannot be accepted and honored of God in rendering the same service and doing the same works that our fathers did. In order to be blessed of God as they were blessed, we must be faithful in improving the increased light, as they were faithful in improving the light that God gave them. Our heavenly Father requires of his people devotion and obedience according to the light and truth given them, and his claims are right and just. He will accept nothing less than he claims; all his righteous demands must be fully met, or they will remain in force against the transgressor. RH January 5, 1886, par. 3

If rational beings really desire the truth, God will give them sufficient light to enable them to decide what is truth. If they have a heart to obey, they will see sufficient evidence to walk in the light. But if they in heart desire to evade the truth, he will not work a miracle to gratify their unbelief. He will never remove every chance or occasion to doubt. If they honestly, sincerely grasp the light, and walk in it, that light will increase until lingering doubts will be dispelled. But if they choose darkness, their questioning and caviling over the truth will increase, their unbelief will be strengthened, and the light which they would not accept will become to them darkness, and how great will be that darkness! It will be as much greater than before the light came, as the light which was rejected was clearer and more abundant than the light which first shone upon them. Thus it was with the Jewish nation; thus it will be with the Christian world in every generation. The rejectors of light treasure up to themselves wrath against the day of wrath. There are those who walk amid perpetual doubts. They feed on doubts, enjoy doubts, talk doubts, and question everything that it is for their interest to believe. To those who thus trifle with the plain testimonies of God's word, and who refuse to believe because it is inconvenient and unpopular to do so, the light will finally become darkness; truth will appear to the darkened understanding as error, and error will be accepted as truth. When thus shrouded in error, they will find it perfectly natural and convenient to believe what is false, and will become strong in their faith. RH January 5, 1886, par. 4

There are men who have so long rejected light and truth that, like Pharaoh, they have become hardened in heart and fastened in unbelief. They crave error; their appetite is for falsehood. They drink up scandal against those who believe the truth as an ox drinketh up water, while they reject, with demonstrations of anger, the truth, pure Bible truth, which would give health and vigor to the soul. When there are so many false teachers, who lead men away from the path of obedience into that of transgression, we need to pray constantly that we may be led into all truth, and that we may not hesitate to stand in defense of the truth. Those who transgress God's law will have much to say about charity; and when the truth is spoken they talk of the liberality and license given in God's word. But love for Christ and for the souls for whom he died, will lead to the utterance of faithful warnings and appeals by the servants of God. RH January 5, 1886, par. 5

Those who walk in the light will progress; they will grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. This is the result of sanctification through the truth, and this is what God requires of all. Truth is progressive; and those who are preparing for the last great day will go forward in accordance with the accumulated light which shines upon them from the prophecies and from the lessons of Christ and the apostles. No one will be condemned in the day of Judgment because of a lack of knowledge which he never had an opportunity to obtain. The light which never shone upon him will never be his darkness. The truth which God's messengers have presented by pen and by voice, the treasures of the word of God which they have opened to the people, the light which has penetrated the darkened chambers of the mind, will, if rejected, be witnesses against them in the last great day. The testimony which will come with condemning power upon the sinner, and which will close his mouth before God and testify of his guilt, is the fact that he saw the light, but for various reasons in harmony with the carnal heart, would not receive it. He would not receive the truth that was given to save him. The greater the light, the greater the obligations. RH January 5, 1886, par. 6

If God has sent a message to the world, giving us light in regard to the true Sabbath, and showing us that the great Lawgiver is coming to judge the world in righteousness, those who refuse to accept the message and continue to cling to their errors and to their darkness and unbelief, will, like the inhabitants of the Noachian world, be punished with everlasting destruction. God sent them a message of truth, but they would not believe; nevertheless it was the truth, and their unbelief did not hinder the event. The judgments of God came just the same as Noah had predicted they would come. God has sent a message of warning to our world just prior to his coming the second time without sin unto salvation. Great light has been permitted to shine from the prophecies, and from the lessons of Christ and the apostles, but the majority refuse to walk in the light just as they did in Noah's day. If they were blind they would have no sin, but the light has been flashed into their pathway; precious truths from the word of God have been presented; but they have chosen darkness rather than light. RH January 5, 1886, par. 7

When we speak of unbelief, we do not mean that a person believes nothing. The mind must rest upon something; and when it does not grasp truth, it lays hold of error. All men in one sense believe, and the effect produced upon the heart and character is according to the things believed. Eve believed the words of Satan, and the belief of that falsehood in regard to God's character, changed the condition and character of both herself and husband. They were changed from good and obedient children into transgressors, and it was only by repentance toward God and faith in the promised Messiah that they could hope ever to regain the lost image of God. Paul had faith before his conversion; but it was not a correct faith. His self-righteousness strengthened his faith that he was doing God's service in rejecting Christ, and he enjoyed a restful satisfaction. False faith as well as true faith will give peacefulness for a time. Paul verily thought that he was doing God service when he was persecuting the followers of Christ and putting them to death. He was sincere in his belief; but sincerity will not make error truth, nor truth error. “When the commandment came,” says Paul, “sin revived, and I died.” He then received the truth as it is in Jesus, and experienced its transforming power upon his soul. The truth was so firmly planted in his heart that he could say, “Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” RH January 5, 1886, par. 8

The prophet Malachi raises the questions, “Who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth?” Surely, the arrows of God's wrath will pierce where the arrows of conviction could not. Where will the sinner flee when God pronounces judgment against him? Where are the men in whom he trusted? Where are the false shepherds that led him astray? They can pay no ransom for his soul, for they are pressed under a heavier weight of guilt themselves. The dens and caves of the earth afford no shelter for either deceiver or deceived. There are souls to be saved; but the plan of salvation must be God's plan. He will not lower his law to meet man's standard, neither can man lift himself up to meet God's standard. But through the merits of the blood of a crucified and risen Saviour, all who will may be overcomers. It is an exalted privilege to become sons and daughters of God. Says Christ, “I have kept my Father's commandments.” Christ pleased his Father in all things; it was his meat and drink to do the will of his Father in heaven. We should imitate Christ in his implicit obedience to his Father's commands, and our prayers should ascend to heaven by night and by day that we may so walk that our light shall not become darkness, but that we may have the light of life, and at last be permitted to sing the song of triumph in the kingdom of glory. RH January 5, 1886, par. 9

Torre Pellice, Italy,

December 4, 1885.