The Review and Herald



March 8, 1870

The Law of God


The world is increasing in sin. The ungodly are rapidly filling up the cup of their iniquity, preparing for retribution from the God of justice. The degeneracy of the race is rapid and fearful. As it was in the days of Noah, thus shall it be when the Son of Man shall be revealed. RH March 8, 1870, par. 1

Previous to the destruction of the old world by a flood, its inhabitants were reeking in corruption. Sin and crime of every description prevailed. The state of the world now is fast reaching the point when God will say to it, as he did anciently: “My Spirit shall not always strive with man.” One of the grievous sins existing in this degenerate age of corruption is adultery. This shameful sin is practiced to an alarming extent. The Sabbath and the marriage institution were ordained of God in Eden to be preserved sacred and holy. Both of these institutions of divine appointment have been disregarded and set at naught by men and women, whose hearts are fully set in them to do evil. RH March 8, 1870, par. 2

But if the transgressors of the seventh commandment were to be found only among those who do not profess to be Christ's followers, the evil would not be a tenth part as great as it now is. But the crime of adultery is largely committed by professed Christians. Both clergymen and laymen, whose names stand fair upon the church record, are alike guilty. Many who profess to be the ministers of Christ are like the sons of Eli who ministered in the sacred office, and took advantage of their office to engage in crime and commit adultery, causing the people to transgress the law of God. A fearful account will such have to render when the cases of all shall pass in review before God, and they be judged according to the deeds done in the body. RH March 8, 1870, par. 3

Many of this class whose hearts are carnal, take the position that the law of God is abolished. “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” They have not been transformed by the renewing of their minds. They are lawless. They profess to be holy, while they are servants of sin. Many of those who teach that the law of God is abolished are lascivious men, fornicators, and adulterers. They are forward to rate against the law of God, and curse the bondage of the law. Their bitter speeches illy compare with the words of Paul: “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law; for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” RH March 8, 1870, par. 4

Paul in his epistle to Timothy describes the very men who are under the bondage of the law. They are the transgressors of the law. He names them lawless, disobedient, sinners, unholy, profane, murderers, adulterers, liars, and all who depart from sound doctrine. 1 Timothy 1:9, 10. RH March 8, 1870, par. 5

The law of God is the mirror to show man the defects in his character. But it is not pleasant to those who take pleasure in unrighteousness to see their moral deformity. They do not prize this faithful mirror, because it reveals to them their sins. Therefore, instead of instituting a war against their carnal minds, they war against the true and faithful mirror, given them by Jehovah for the very purpose that they may not be deceived, but that they may have revealed to them the defects in their character. Should the discovery of these defects lead them to hate the mirror, or to hate themselves? Should they put away the mirror which discovers these defects? No; the sins which they cherish, which the faithful mirror shows them as existing in their characters, will close before them the portals of Heaven, unless they are put away, and they become perfect before God. RH March 8, 1870, par. 6

Listen to the words of the faithful apostle: “By the law is the knowledge of sin.” These men who are zealous to abolish the law, had far better manifest their zeal in abolishing their sins. Adultery is one of the terrible sins of this age. This sin exists among professed Christians of every class; but is found to exist to the greatest extent among those who war against the law of Jehovah. RH March 8, 1870, par. 7

Christians are called to lay their bodies a living sacrifice upon the altar of God. “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin; but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” RH March 8, 1870, par. 8

If the bodies professedly laid upon the altar of God should pass that scrutiny that was given the Jewish sacrifice, how few would stand the test, and be pronounced perfect before God, preserved unto holiness, free from the taints of sin or pollution. No lame sacrifice could God receive. No injured or diseased sacrifice would God accept. The offering given to God was required to be sound, in every respect without blemish, and valuable. RH March 8, 1870, par. 9

None can glorify God in their body, as he requires, while they are living in transgression of the law of God. If the body violates the seventh commandment, it is through the dictation of the mind. If the mind is impure the body will naturally engage in impure acts. Purity cannot exist in the soul of one who yields his body to impure acts. If the body is serving lust, the mind cannot maintain consecration to God. To preserve a sanctified mind, the body must be preserved in sanctification and honor. The mind will then serve the law of God, and yield willing obedience to all its claims. Then, with the apostle, such can yield their members as instruments of righteousness unto God. “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, that ye should obey it in the lust thereof.” The freedom which the apostle describes as the privilege of Christ's followers will never be experienced by those who delight to trample under foot the law of God. The freedom and blessedness expressed in the following words, will be experienced by that class who yield obedience to the law of Jehovah: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” The apostle charges the Galatians to “walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” He farther states: “And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” RH March 8, 1870, par. 10

But those who would delight to have the law done away, would delight in sin. Their carnal hearts are not in unison with that law which the apostle declares to be holy, just, and good. Paul inquires, “Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law; for I had not known lust, except the law had said referring to one of the ten commandments, Thou shalt not covet.” Saul did not commence a raid against the law in order to justify a life of sin; but when his mind was enlightened in regard to the claims of the law of God, he saw himself a sinner, a transgressor of the law. His sins were brought before him, and what was the result? Did he commence a tirade against the law which showed him that he was a transgressor? Is it in his heart to crucify that law? Oh no! he crucified the carnal mind which rises in enmity against the law of God. “Sin revived,” says Paul, “and I,” not the law, “died.” Oh! when will professed Christians awake to see the brink of the precipice they are standing upon in refusing to acknowledge the claims of the law of God? RH March 8, 1870, par. 11

The Lord made man upright; but he has fallen, and become degraded, because he refuses to yield obedience to the sacred claims which the law of God has upon him. All the passions of man, if properly controlled and rightly directed, will contribute to his physical and moral health, and insure to him a great amount of happiness. The adulterer, the fornicator, and the incontinent, do not enjoy life. There can be no true enjoyment for the transgressor of God's law. The Lord knew this, therefore he restricts man. He directs, commands, and he positively forbids. RH March 8, 1870, par. 12

But many are so far deceived by the devil that they think that they themselves can excel the great God in providing ways and means for human happiness. They charge their unhappiness to the prohibitions contained in the law of the ten commandments; and if they can in any way feel released from the claims of the law of God, they will be free and happy indeed. RH March 8, 1870, par. 13

Many will not search the Scriptures for themselves. They remain in willing ignorance of the origin and perpetuity of the law of the ten commandments. They trust to the researches of others to settle this matter for them. Blind leaders say, “You need not keep the law of God, for it is not binding. It is a yoke of bondage.” And the willingly ignorant are blind, led by the blind. Neither are guiltless. God has provided for them in his law a mirror, that they may see their true character. Does it improve their condition to break this faithful looking-glass, because it reveals to them their defects? The work they should engage in is to put away sin, and every impurity, and work righteousness. Their remaining in willing ignorance of the claims of the law of God will not shield them from the penalty to be inflicted in consequence of its violation. RH March 8, 1870, par. 14

The Lord well knew that the happiness of his children depends upon their submission to his authority, and living in obedience to this holy, just and good rule of government. Man may pass on awhile, and conceal the fact that he is an adulterer; yet God has His eye upon him. He marks the man. He cannot conceal his crimes from God. He may apparently conduct himself properly before his family, and before the community, and be esteemed as a good man. But does he deceive himself in thinking there is not knowledge with the Most High? He is exposing his corruption to the view of the Majesty of Heaven. He who is high and lifted up, and the train of whose glory fills the temple, sees and knows, even the thoughts, and the intents and purposes of the heart of the transgressor who is debasing himself in the sight of the pure, sinless angels, who are recording all the acts of the children of men. And not only is his sin seen, but it is marked by the recording angel. RH March 8, 1870, par. 15

The transgressor of God's law may pass on for a time without exposure; but, sooner or later, he will find himself overtaken, exposed, and condemned. Whoever dares to violate the law of God will experience for himself that “the way of the transgressor is hard.” The opposition and willing ignorance in regard to the law of God, is the reason so few feel that they are under moral obligation. They despise the law which was the instrument that slew Paul. They cannot say with him, I die; but they earnestly strive to live, while they cry, Death to the law! RH March 8, 1870, par. 16

This is virtually their testimony. The commandment came, sin revived; the law died, and the carnal mind lived. This is the order with the transgressor. Their spiritual powers are benumbed. Eternal things are not discerned. Their works are carnal, and their example is corrupting. RH March 8, 1870, par. 17

Sin does not appear as sinful, unless viewed in the truthful mirror God has given them as a test of character. When men and women acknowledge the claims of the law of God, and plant their feet upon this platform of eternal truth, they will stand where the Lord can give them moral power to let their light so shine before men that they may see their good works, and glorify our Father who is in Heaven. RH March 8, 1870, par. 18

Their course will be marked with consistency. They will not justly earn the charge of hypocrisy and sensualism. Then man can preach Christ with power, being imbued with his Spirit. They can utter truths which will melt and burn their way to the hearts of the people. They have moral force, for they are in harmony with the moral law, and their words proceed from pure hearts, and from clean lips. RH March 8, 1870, par. 19

Battle Creek,

March 4, 1870.

Ellen G. White.