The Review and Herald

1119/1902

April 23, 1901

The Great Standard of Righteousness

EGW

The Lord has taken infinite pains to teach men His will. He has given them His law, which is to govern the world. It demands perfect obedience from rich and poor, high and low. Its divine requirements are that we love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves. Its principles are binding upon the angels and upon all human intelligences. Without the law there could be no transgression; for “sin is the transgression of the law.” “By the law is the knowledge of sin.” The standard of righteousness, it is exceeding broad, prohibiting every evil thing. RH April 23, 1901, Art. A, par. 1

Satan sees that to call the attention of human beings to the righteousness of the law barricades the soul against his specious devices. His only hope for securing the world is to lead men to ignore the law, to make them believe that the law is null and void, that belief in Christ is all that is necessary. If Satan can so deceive the world that sin will not appear exceeding sinful, he has gained what he desires to gain. And he has succeeded in leading multitudes to believe his falsehoods. Ministers of the gospel preach against the law, and especially against the Fourth Commandment. RH April 23, 1901, Art. A, par. 2

We are nearing the close of this earth's history. Satan is making desperate efforts to make himself god, to speak and act like God, to appear as one who has a right to control the consciences of men. He strives with all his power to place a human institution in the position of God's holy rest-day. Under the jurisdiction of the man of sin, men have exalted a false standard in complete opposition to God's enactment. Each Sabbath institution bears the name of its author, an ineffaceable mark showing the authority of each. The first day of the week has not one particle of sanctity. It is the production of the man of sin, who strives in this way to counterwork God's purposes. RH April 23, 1901, Art. A, par. 3

God has designated the seventh day as His Sabbath. He declares, “Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.... It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed.” “Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.” RH April 23, 1901, Art. A, par. 4

Thus the distinction is drawn between the loyal and the disloyal. Those who desire to have the seal of God in their foreheads must keep the Sabbath of the Fourth Commandment. Thus they are distinguished from the disloyal, who have accepted a man-made institution in place of the true Sabbath. The observance of God's rest-day is a mark of distinction between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not. RH April 23, 1901, Art. A, par. 5

When men make the assertion that a change has been made in the law of God's government, they cast a reflection upon God's character. If the law was just when given to Adam, it is just today. “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass,” Christ declared, “than one tittle of the law to fail.” RH April 23, 1901, Art. A, par. 6

The substitution of the false for the true is the last act in the drama. When this substitution becomes universal, God will reveal himself. When the laws of men are exalted above the laws of God, when the powers of this earth try to force men to keep the first day of the week, know that the time has come for God to work. He will arise in His majesty, and will shake terribly the earth. He will come out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the world for their iniquity. The earth shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain. RH April 23, 1901, Art. A, par. 7

The belief that the law of God is not the standard of righteousness is now almost universal in the Christian world. Professed Christians think that the more contempt they place upon the law, the more commendable they are in God's sight. Each human being exerts an influence upon those with whom he associates. Those who are willing to be led by false theories and unsound doctrines, who build their hopes for eternity on shifting sand, will find that the storm and tempest of trial will sweep away their refuge of lies. Their structure will fall, and they will perish,—lost, lost for all eternity. RH April 23, 1901, Art. A, par. 8

Adam listened to the words of the tempter, and yielding to his insinuations, fell into sin. Why was not the death penalty at once enforced in his case?—Because a ransom was found. God's only begotten Son volunteered to take the sin of man upon himself, and to make an atonement for the fallen race. There could have been no pardon for sin had this atonement not been made. Had God pardoned Adam's sin without an atonement, sin would have been immortalized, and would have been perpetuated with a boldness that would have been without restraint. Remember how soon after the transgression of Adam the apostasy of his posterity became so marked that God repented that He had made man. They followed the imaginations of their evil hearts, and the strivings of the Spirit were not heeded. They refused to be admonished. They had an abundance of blessings for their own enjoyment, and they soon forgot that they had forfeited immortality. RH April 23, 1901, Art. A, par. 9

God granted them one hundred and twenty years of probation, and during that time preached to them through Methuselah, Noah, and many others of His servants. Had they listened to the testimony of these faithful witnesses, had they repented and returned to their loyalty, God would not have destroyed them. But warnings made an impression on them only for a time. Christ was their atoning sacrifice, their Mediator, but they had no faith in Him, and His intercessions in their behalf were unavailing. As the time of probation drew nearer its close, the service due to God from them passed entirely from their thoughts; and the word went forth, “The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” RH April 23, 1901, Art. A, par. 10

After the flood the earth was again corrupted under its inhabitants, and the signal judgments of God fell upon Sodom and Gomorrah. But soon this punishment was forgotten, and once more men corrupted their way before God, turning from the worship of the Creator to the worship of idols. God called out the Hebrew people from slavery, and from Sinai gave them His law. But Egypt was desolated by plagues before Pharaoh would consent to listen to the great I AM. He persisted in his stubbornness till Egypt was ruined, and the Egyptians, from the lowest serf to the king upon his throne, looked upon the dead bodies of their firstborn. Then Pharaoh consented to let the children of Israel go, but he followed them immediately with an imposing display of chariots and men of war. Another exhibition of God's power was required. The Red Sea was opened to the Israelites, but the Egyptians who pursued them were drowned in its waters. RH April 23, 1901, Art. A, par. 11

The terrible judgments of God which were inflicted upon the idolaters in the lands through which the children of Israel passed, caused fear and dread to fall upon all people living on the earth. But Israel, for whom so much had been done, apostatized in the very sight of Sinai. Aaron, who had been left in charge, was afraid to stand firm against the vast host who were clamoring for gods to lead them back to Egypt. RH April 23, 1901, Art. A, par. 12

After entering Canaan, the children of Israel gradually went into idolatry. By His prophets God sent them message after message. But they forgot the instructions of their leader, and followed their own inclinations and the imagination of their own hearts, until the Lord could no longer protect them. He permitted their enemies to overcome them, and to scatter them as captives in strange lands. But still He was willing to pardon them. He promised that if they would return to Him, He would heal all their backslidings, and reinstate them in His favor. He sent them warnings, reproofs, judgments, to save them from ruin. But notwithstanding these efforts, they wandered farther and farther from Him. As represented in the parable given by Christ, God sent His messengers to them, but these were persecuted and put to death. Last of all, He sent His only begotten Son. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, ... full of grace and truth.” But the people He came to save refused to receive Him. They rewarded Him evil for good, and in Pilate's judgment hall He was condemned to death by crucifixion. “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? This that is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the wine fat? I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the people there was none with me.” RH April 23, 1901, Art. A, par. 13