The Signs of the Times


June 2, 1887

Acceptable Obedience


“No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” ST June 2, 1887, par. 1

It is plainly written on the unrenewed heart and on a fallen world, All seek their own. Selfishness is the great law of our degenerate nature. Selfishness occupies the place in the soul where Christ should sit enthroned. But the Lord requires perfect obedience; and if we truly desire to serve him, there will be no question in our minds as to whether we shall obey his requirements or seek our own temporal interests. ST June 2, 1887, par. 2

The Lord of glory did not consult his convenience or pleasure when he left his station of high command to become a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, accepting ignominy and death in order to deliver man from the consequence of his disobedience. Jesus died, not to save man in his sins, but from his sins. We must leave the error of our ways, take up our cross and follow Christ, denying self, and obeying God at any cost. ST June 2, 1887, par. 3

Those who profess to serve God, yet really serve mammon, will be visited with judgments. None will be justified in a course of disobedience for the sake of worldly profit. If God would excuse one man, he might all. Those who disregard the Lord's express injunction for personal advantage, are heaping up for themselves future woe. Christ said: “Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.” The people of God should inquire closely if they have not, like the Jews of old, made the house of God a place of merchandise. ST June 2, 1887, par. 4

Many are falling into the sin of sacrificing their religion for the sake of worldly gain, preserving a form of piety, yet giving all the mind to temporal pursuit. But the law of God must be considered first of all, and obeyed in spirit and in letter. Jesus, our great exemplar, in his life and death, taught the strictest obedience. He died, the just for the unjust, the innocent for the guilty, that the honor of God's law might be preserved and yet man not utterly perish. ST June 2, 1887, par. 5

“Sin is the transgression of the law.” If the sin of Adam brought such inexpressible wretchedness, requiring the sacrifice of God's dear Son, what will be the punishment of those who set at naught the divine law? If God's word, spoken in awful solemnity from the holy mountain, is lightly regarded, what can move the hearts of the children of men? ST June 2, 1887, par. 6

To be commandment-breakers, it is not necessary that we trample upon the whole moral code. If one precept is disregarded, we are transgressors of the sacred law. The Son of God died to pay the penalty of transgression; then how will he deal with those who, in the face of all this evidence, dare venture in the path of disobedience? ST June 2, 1887, par. 7

Age does not excuse anyone from obeying the commands of God. Abraham was an old man when the command came to offer up his son Isaac for a burnt-offering. The ardor of his youth had passed away, and it was no longer easy for him to endure hardships and brave dangers. The burden of years was heavy upon him, and he longed for rest from toil and anxiety. The words of the Lord seemed terrible and uncalled-for to the stricken man; yet he never questioned their justice or hesitated in his obedience. He grasped the staff of faith, and in anguish of heart took the hand of his child, beautiful in the rosy health of youth, and went out to obey God. The grand old patriarch was human; his passions and attachments were like ours, and he loved his boy, who was the solace of his old age, and to whom the promise of the Lord had been given. ST June 2, 1887, par. 8

Abraham might have pleaded that he was old and feeble, and could not sacrifice the son who was the joy of his life. He might have reminded the Lord that this command conflicted with the promise that had been given in reference to his son. But his obedience was without a murmur or a reproach. His trust in God was implicit. He did not stay to reason with his aching heart, but carried out the divine command to the very letter, till, just as the knife was about to be plunged into the quivering flesh of his child, the word came, “Lay not thine hand upon the lad;” “for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me.” ST June 2, 1887, par. 9

This great act of faith is recorded on the pages of sacred history as an illustrious example to all, even to the end of time. It is an example to us individually. The claims of God upon our faith, our service, our affections, should meet with a cheerful response. We are infinite debtors to the Lord, and should unhesitatingly comply with the least of his requirements. ST June 2, 1887, par. 10

The faith of Abraham is needed in our churches today, to lighten the darkness that gathers around them, shutting out the sweet sunlight of God's love, and dwarfing spiritual growth. Our faith should be prolific of good works; for faith without works is dead. Every duty performed, every sacrifice made in the name of Jesus, brings an exceeding great reward. In the very act of duty, God speaks, and gives his blessing. But he requires of us an entire surrender of the faculties. The mind and heart, the whole being, must be given to his service; or we fall short of becoming true Christians. ST June 2, 1887, par. 11

And this is our reasonable duty. God has withheld nothing from man that could promote his happiness or secure to him eternal riches. He has clothed the earth with beauty, and furnished it with everything necessary for the comfort of man during his temporal life. And what is infinitely more than this, he has given his Son to die for the redemption of a world that had fallen through sin and folly. Such matchless love, such infinite sacrifice, claims our deepest gratitude, our best and holiest affections. ST June 2, 1887, par. 12

Many are the hindrances that lie in the path of those who would walk in obedience to the commands of God. There are strong and subtle influences that bind them to the ways of the world; but the power of the Lord can break these chains. He will remove every obstacle from before the feet of his faithful ones, or give them strength and courage to conquer difficulties, if they will earnestly beseech his help. All hindrances will vanish before an earnest, persistent, prayerful effort to do the will of God. ST June 2, 1887, par. 13

Man has no right to consult his convenience or regard his temporal wants in this matter. God will provide. He who fed Elijah by the brook Cherith, will be mindful of the needs of his children. ST June 2, 1887, par. 14

Our Saviour knew that many times his followers would be pressed by poverty, and would be anxious and troubled in regard to what they should eat or how they should be clothed; and he cautioned them on this point: “Take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?” “Behold,” he says, “the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” He pointed to the lovely flowers, formed and tinted by a divine hand, saying: “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” ST June 2, 1887, par. 15

We have always the promise: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things [the needed things of this life] shall be added unto you.” Our heavenly Father knows our needs, and he will provide for them without our giving our time, strength, and affections to the mammon of this world. ST June 2, 1887, par. 16