The Review and Herald


June 22, 1911

Individual Accountability


There are many professors of religion who claim to be servants of God, and yet are filled with spiritual pride and self-exaltation. They make high pretensions to holiness, and feel that they are “rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” They are like the fig-tree which put forth its boastful foliage; but when the Master came seeking for fruit upon it, he found nothing but leaves. They are ever ready to advance their opinions, to display their attainments, and to interpret the meaning of the Word of God. They claim to be led by the Spirit, but they turn away their ear from hearing the law of God. Says the psalmist, “Thy law is the truth,” and “all thy commandments are righteousness.” The Spirit of God will lead us in the path of the commandments; for the promise is that “when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth.” We should try the spirits by the test of God's Word; for there are many spirits in the world. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” RH June 22, 1911, par. 1

Some of these false teachers occupy prominent positions in the churches, and they influence others to swerve from the path of humble obedience. God holds every one of us to an individual accountability, and calls upon us to serve him from principle, to choose him for ourselves. We should not hang our souls upon the words and actions of another; for Satan uses men as his agents, and clothes his ministers in garments of light. Not one of us can pardon the sins of any other. In the day of judgment, when the question comes to you as to why you did not obey the commandments of God, you can not make an acceptable excuse on the plea of another's disobedience. If your words and example have lead others in the path of sin, you alone must bear the responsibility of your actions and influence. Because a man who professes to love God, disobeys the plain word of instruction, you will not be justified in neglect of duty. We should every one ask, How shall I keep the commandments of our God? RH June 22, 1911, par. 2

God will not lightly esteem the transgression of his law. “The wages of sin is death.” The consequences of disobedience prove that the nature of sin is at enmity with the well-being of God's government and the good of his creatures. God is a jealous God, visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of them that hate him. The results of transgression follow those who persist in wrong-doing; but he shows mercy unto thousands of them that love him and keep his commandments. Those who repent and turn to his service find the favor of the Lord; and he forgiveth all their iniquities and healeth all their diseases. RH June 22, 1911, par. 3

In earthly affairs, the servant who seeks most carefully to fulfill the requirements of his office, and to carry out the will of his master, is most highly valued. A gentlemen once wished to employ a trusty coachman. Several men came in answer to his advertisement. He asked each one how near he could drive to the edge of a certain precipice without upsetting the carriage. One and another replied that he could go within a very perilous distance; but at last one answered that he would keep as far as possible from such a dangerous undertaking. He was employed to fill the position. Shall a man be more appreciative of a good servant than is our Heavenly Father? Our anxiety should not be to see how far we can depart from the commandments of the Lord, and presume on the mercy of the Lawgiver, and still flatter our souls that we are within the bounds of God's forbearance; but our care should be to keep as far as possible from transgression. We should be determined to be on the side of Christ and our Heavenly Father, and run no risks by heady presumption. RH June 22, 1911, par. 4

What reason have men for thinking that God is not particular whether they obey him implicitly or take their own course? Adam and Eve lost Eden for one transgression of his command; and how dare we trifle with the law of the Most High, and frame deceitful apologies to our souls? We do this at a terrible peril. We must keep all the law, every jot and tittle; for he that offendeth in one point is guilty of all. Every ray of light must be received and cherished, or we shall become bodies of darkness. The Lord Jesus declares: “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” We should magnify the precepts of heaven by our words and actions. He who honors the law will be honored by it in the judgment; but he who treats it with contempt will be condemned by it before the Judge of all the earth. RH June 22, 1911, par. 5

Before the flood swept upon the world, God sent a message through Noah to warn the people of the coming deluge. There were those who did not believe the warning; but their unbelief did not stay the showers, nor prevent the waters of the great deep from submerging a scoffing world. And today, while the last message is being heralded to bring God's servants in harmony with every precept of his law, there will be scoffers and unbelievers; but every soul must stand in his own integrity. As Noah was faithful in warning the antediluvian world, so we must be faithful to the great trust that God has given us. Although there are scoffers and traducers on every side, we must not shrink from presenting the truth of heaven to this generation. RH June 22, 1911, par. 6

I have not come to cry peace; you can hear this voice wherever you go. There are those who will be glad to lull you to sleep in your carnal security; but I have a different work. My message is to alarm you, to bid you reform your lives, and cease your rebellion against the God of the universe. Take the Word of God, and see if you are in harmony with it. Is your character such as will bear the search of the heavenly investigation? Remember, Jesus says: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” RH June 22, 1911, par. 7

Paul said to the elders of Ephesus: “I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” Repentance must be exercised toward God, because we have all sinned, broken his righteous law, violated the rule of his government, and brought discord into his harmony. We must exercise faith toward Jesus Christ because he has become our sacrifice and surety. He has died that we might have “remission of sins that are past,” and obtain grace and help so that we may keep the commandments of the Lord our God. Faith in Jesus does not make void the law, but establishes it, and will work the fruits of obedience in our lives. Faith in Christ means that you are to do whatsoever he commands; it means that you are to follow in his footsteps. “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” RH June 22, 1911, par. 8

We want to impress upon you the necessity of cleansing yourselves from every stain of sin. The church that Christ presents before the throne of his glory is without “spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.” Do you want to be among those who have washed their robes of character in the blood of the Lamb? then, “cease to do evil; learn to do well;” walk in the commandments and ordinances of your God blameless. You are not to ask whether it suits your convenience to keep the truth of heaven. You are to take up your cross and follow Jesus, cost what it may. You will find that his yoke is easy, and his burden is light. When you broke his law and incurred the penalty of death, God did not spare his only begotten Son, that you might be brought from the path of transgression into the way of life and holiness; and will you neglect so great salvation, and refuse to comply with the conditions of eternal life? RH June 22, 1911, par. 9

(Concluded next week.)