The Watchman



February 4, 1908

God's Test of Obedience


God will test all, even as he tested Adam and Eve, to see whether they will be obedient. Our loyalty or disloyalty will decide our destiny. Since the fall of Adam, men in every age have excused themselves for sinning, charging God with their sin, saying that they could not keep his commandments. This is the insinuation Satan cast at God in heaven. But the plea, “I cannot keep the commandments,” need never be presented to God; for before him stands the Saviour, the marks of the crucifixion upon his body, a living witness that the law can be kept. It is not that men cannot keep the law, but that they will not. SW February 4, 1908, par. 1

Today men dare to charge Christ with being a Sabbath-breaker. Those who make this charge, made by the scribes and Pharisees, place themselves on the side of the enemy of God, and directly contradict Christ's teaching. With sacrilegious words the Pharisees charged him with transgression, and if they could have fastened this crime upon him, as they flattered themselves they could do, they would have been able to prove that he would have to be sentenced by the very law he had given. But they could not prove in a single instance that his works were not in perfect harmony with the law. SW February 4, 1908, par. 2

In his human nature Christ rendered perfect obedience to the law of God, thus proving to all that this law can be kept. He endured the death penalty himself, not to abrogate the law, not to immortalize sin, but to take away sin. It is because he has borne the punishment that man can have a second probation. He may, if he will, return to his loyalty. But if he refuses to obey the commands of God, if he rejects the warnings and messages God sends, choosing rather to echo the words of the deceiver, he is willingly ignorant, and the condemnation of God is upon him. He chooses disobedience because obedience means lifting the cross, and practicing self-denial. SW February 4, 1908, par. 3

The natural mind leans toward pleasure and self-gratification. It is Satan's policy to manufacture an abundance of this. He seeks to fill the minds of men with a desire for worldly amusement, that they may have no time to ask themselves the question, How is it with my soul? The love of pleasure is infectious. Given up to this, the mind hurries from one point to another, ever seeking for some amusement. Obedience to the law of God counteracts this inclination, and builds barriers against ungodliness. Each person, as a rational human being, is under the most sacred obligation to obey the law. The Spirit has been provided to enable all to do this. Those who transgress the law by resting on the first day of the week instead of on the seventh, bear false witness to the world. God desires his people to uphold the dignity of his law by resting on the seventh day, his memorial of creation. SW February 4, 1908, par. 4

The ability to enjoy the riches of glory will be developed in proportion to the desire we have for these riches. How shall an appreciation of God and heavenly things be developed unless it is in this life? If the claims and cares of the world are allowed to engross all our time and attention, our spiritual powers weaken and die for lack of exercise. In a mind wholly given up to earthly things, every inlet through which light from heaven may enter, is closed. God's transforming grace cannot be felt on mind or character. The talents which should be used in active piety are ignored and neglected. How, then, can a response be made when the invitation is heard, “Come; for all things are now ready?” How is it possible for a man to receive the commendation, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” when he has been disobedient, unthankful, unholy, when he has trained his mind to disregard God's plainest requirements, and he loves the things of earth more than the things of heaven? SW February 4, 1908, par. 5

But by faith and prayer all may meet the requirements of the gospel. No man can be forced to transgress God's holy law. Temptation, however strong, is no excuse for sin; for divine grace is sufficient for us, and “the Lord's eyes are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers.” SW February 4, 1908, par. 6