The Signs of the Times


April 3, 1884

Man's Obligation to God


To each of us God has committed sacred trusts, for which he holds us accountable. He designs that man shall be so educated as to develop his mental and moral powers, that he may have a well-balanced mind and a symmetrical character. But education alone will not prepare him to answer the object of his creation. He needs the grace of God, and divine aid awaits his demand. Divine power united with human effort will enable him to do good and glorify his Creator. ST April 3, 1884, par. 1

Few appreciate the value of man, and the glory that would redound to God were he to cultivate and preserve purity, nobility, and integrity of character. The value that God sets upon man is shown in the price that has been paid for his redemption; his love is expressed in that he withheld not his beloved Son, but gave him to die for a sinful race. Angels could not, by any sacrifice that they could make, accomplish the work of man's redemption. It was only through the suffering and death of Christ that he could be restored to the favor of God. For our sakes, He who knew no sin was made an offering for sin. He was afflicted, insulted, oppressed. Arraigned as a criminal, he suffered shame, insult, mockery, and pain. ST April 3, 1884, par. 2

Christ bore all this to rescue man from the hopeless state into which he had been brought by his disobedience of the law of God; for sin is the transgression of the law, and death is its penalty. He did not suffer to do away with the law, or to lessen its force, but that its claims might be met, and the sinner be spared. Through his perfect obedience, the law was exalted and made honorable. ST April 3, 1884, par. 3

Christ will elevate man, and give him rich and glorious possessions, if he will respect the claims of God's law; but if he chooses the service of Satan, and will ruin his hope of Heaven by his stubborn sinfulness, he must lose these blessings. He will have a place with associates similar in character to himself,—with those defiled by sin, who consider it a virtue, an evidence of smartness, to doubt God's word and be ranked among skeptics. To choose to be a sinner is to refuse to stand before the throne of God washed from the defilement of sin; it is to refuse the riches of eternal glory; it is to refuse to be a joint-heir with Christ to the immortal inheritance, and to be exalted to an equality with the heavenly angels;—it is to reject all these, and to choose instead the sure consequence of sin, the sinner's fixed doom. ST April 3, 1884, par. 4

Those who might become co-laborers with Christ, and do good service in advancing the interests of his kingdom, but who use their talents and influence to tear down instead of to build up, are like noted rebels; their prominence, the value of the talent they use in the service of Satan, increases their guilt and makes their punishment sure. These will feel the wrath of God. They will experience what Christ suffered in saving men from the penalty of the broken law. The value of man and the measure of his accountability can be known only by the cross of Calvary. He who presents himself to the sinner as the One strong to deliver, will prove himself mighty to execute wrath and judgment upon every unrepenting son of Adam. He who holds the worlds in position, who weighs the hills in scales, and the mountains in a balance, who taketh up the isles as a very little thing, will show himself mighty to avenge his unrequited mercy and spurned love. Those who flatter themselves that God is too merciful to punish the sinner, have only to look to Calvary to make assurance doubly sure that vengeance will be visited upon every transgressor of his righteous law. ST April 3, 1884, par. 5

The penalty for breaking the law of God is proportionate to the price paid to redeem its transgressors. What unutterable bliss is prepared for those who will be saved through Christ, and what depths of woe for those who despise and reject his great salvation! Whatever of a worldly nature men esteem valuable sinks into insignificance when viewed in this light, and how great appears our obligation to use in the service of God all the talents that he has intrusted to our keeping. ST April 3, 1884, par. 6

Science is too limited to comprehend the atonement; the mysterious and wonderful plan of redemption is so far-reaching that philosophy cannot explain it; it will ever remain a mystery that the most profound reason cannot fathom. If it could be explained by finite wisdom, it would lose its sacredness and dignity. It is a mystery that One equal with the eternal Father should so abase himself as to suffer the cruel death of the cross to ransom man; and it is a mystery that God so loved the world as to permit his Son to make this great sacrifice. The Holy Spirit exalts and glorifies the Saviour. It is his office to present Christ, the great salvation that we have through him, and the sacred, elevated purity of his righteousness. Says Christ, “He shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.” The Spirit of truth is the only effectual teacher of divine truth; those who are taught of him have entered the school of Christ. How must God esteem the race, that he gave his Son to die for them, and appoints his Spirit to be man's teacher and continual guide. Satan understands this, and he lays his plans to mar and wound man, the workmanship of God, and to prevent him from enjoying the happiness that this great rebel lost through his disobedience and malice. ST April 3, 1884, par. 7

Since his fall from Heaven, it has been Satan's only joy and constant employment to thwart the plan of God by preventing the salvation of perishing men. He has carried on this work with marked success, and will continue it until Christ shall bring his career to an end. He has tried to induce men to aid him in treading the honor of God into the dust, and many have become co-laborers with him, and have encouraged his rebellion. Those who do this, who glory in their skepticism, and lead others to despise the law of Jehovah, place themselves in the ranks of the enemies of Christ, and use their influence to destroy rather than to save souls. They second Satan in his efforts to undermine the law of God by assuring the sinner that he will be saved while transgressing that law. They serve Satan, and will share his terrible fate. ST April 3, 1884, par. 8

The short space of time allotted to men here is exceedingly valuable. Now, while probation lingers, God proposes to unite his strength with the weakness of finite man. We should so educate ourselves that we can serve him intelligently. Those who have cherished skepticism may, by proper discipline of the mind, learn to cherish faith. Those who truly love God will desire so to improve the talents that he has given them, that they may be a blessing to others. And by and by the gates of Heaven will be thrown wide open to admit them, and from the lips of the King of glory the benediction will fall upon their ear like richest music, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Thus the redeemed will be welcomed to the mansions that Jesus is preparing for them. There their companions will not be the vile of earth,—liars, idolaters, the impure, or the unbelieving; but they will associate with those who have overcome Satan and his devices, and through divine aid have formed perfect characters. Every sinful tendency, every imperfection that afflicts them here, has been removed by the blood of Christ; and the excellence and brightness of his glory, far exceeding the brightness of the sun in its meridian splendor, is imparted to them. And the moral beauty, the perfection of his character, shines through them, in worth far exceeding this outward splendor. They are without fault around the great white throne, sharing the dignity and privileges of the angels. ST April 3, 1884, par. 9

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.” In view of the glorious inheritance which may be his, “what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” He may be poor; yet he possesses in himself a wealth and dignity that the world could never bestow. The soul redeemed and cleansed from sin, with all its noble powers dedicated to the service of God, is of surpassing worth; and there is joy in Heaven, in the presence of God and holy angels, over one sinner that repents,—a joy that is expressed in songs of holy triumph. ST April 3, 1884, par. 10