The Signs of the Times


September 22, 1898

Blessing of Obedience


“And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength; this is the first commandment.” Christ's reply was direct and explicit. Supreme love to God is an evidence that the truth is an abiding principle in the mind and heart. The second is like the first, said Christ; for it flows out of it, and is founded upon it: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. ST September 22, 1898, par. 1

“And the scribe said unto Him, Well, Master, Thou hast said the truth; for there is one God; and there is none other but He; and to love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love His neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices.” This response from one of the scribes, the plain statement of his convictions, was more than the scribes and Pharisees expected to hear. Truth, that condemned their own traditions and example, had been expressed by Christ and voiced by one of their own number. ST September 22, 1898, par. 2

When Jesus saw that the scribe had moral courage to speak the truth in the face of the frowning Pharisees, and that “he answered discreetly, He said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask Him any question.” ST September 22, 1898, par. 3

The law of God, plainly defined by Christ, is not so many separate precepts, some of which are of great importance, while others are of small importance, and may be belittled and ignored: Our Lord presents the first four and the last six commandments as a divine whole. Under the two heads, love to God and love to our neighbor, a divine unity binds all the precepts together. By these two principles man's character is tested, and he is shown to be obedient or disobedient. ST September 22, 1898, par. 4

These two principles are immutable, as eternal as is the throne of God. Those who obey the first, loving God supremely, will pour out the riches of God's goodness in love and compassion to their fellow-men. This is a faith that works by love, and purifies the soul. This means far more than a mere acknowledgment of the truth, more than ceremonious worship, or the offering of sacrifices. Those who truly obey the law offer to God the whole service required by Him. ST September 22, 1898, par. 5

In keeping God's commandments there is great reward, even in this life. Our conscience does not condemn us. Our hearts are not at enmity with God, but at peace with Him. But self-love, self-exaltation, can not in any way be acceptable to God. ST September 22, 1898, par. 6

The grace of God, which, if received, leads to the practise of right things, is the line of demarcation between God's children and the multitude that believe not. While one is brought into captivity to Christ, another is brought into captivity and bondage to the prince of darkness. He who has responded to the drawing of Christ is aglow with His love. He shows forth the praises of Him who has called him out of darkness into His marvelous light. He can not help employing his talent of speech to show forth the grace which has been so abundantly bestowed on him. He has enlisted in the army of those who strive to advance the glory of God, and has thus become a channel of light. Willing and obedient, he is one of the number who are called by inspiration, “a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people.” ST September 22, 1898, par. 7

With the peace and joy of those who thus serve God, there is always seen a godly fear, “lest a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” This sanctified fear is entirely proper. It is not a servile, cowardly fear; it is a dread to do anything that Christ will not approve. This fear regulates the Christian experience. Those who feel it sanctify the Lord in their hearts. They regard God with a reverence and love that leads to self-abasement. But their fear is very different from the terror of a slave, who lives in expectation of the lash. This genuine fear leads to firm reliance on God. ST September 22, 1898, par. 8

Mrs. E. G. White