SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (EGW)

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Chapter 4

4. See EGW on Matthew 6:24. 7BC 937.3

7, 8. Annoyances Vanish When Jesus Draws Near—“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” How precious to the tempted soul is this positive promise. Now if the one in trouble and temptation keeps his eye fixed on Jesus, and draws nigh to God, talking of His goodness and mercy, Jesus draws nigh to him, and his annoyances that he thought almost unbearable vanish (Letter 43, 1892). 7BC 937.4

Breaking Satan's Power—The soul that loves God, loves to draw strength from Him by constant communion with Him. When it becomes the habit of the soul to converse with God, the power of the evil one is broken; for Satan cannot abide near the soul that draws nigh unto God (The Review and Herald, December 3, 1889). 7BC 937.5

8 (ch. 5:16; see EGW on Hebrews 1:14). Safe in God's Presence—“Draw nigh to God.” What is the result of this? We cannot draw nigh to God and behold His loveliness and compassion without realizing our defects and being filled with a desire to rise higher. “And he will draw nigh to you.” The Lord will draw nigh to him who confesses to his brethren the wrongs he has done them, and then comes to God in humility and contrition. 7BC 937.6

He who feels his own danger is on the watch lest he shall grieve the Holy Spirit and then draw away from God because he knows that He is not pleased with his course of action. How much better and safer it is to draw nigh to God, that the pure light shining from His Word may heal the wounds that sin has made in the soul. The closer we are to God, the safer we are, for Satan hates and fears the presence of God (Letter 40, 1901). 7BC 937.7

(John 17:21-23.) Answering the Prayer of Christ—If we draw nigh to God, individually, then don't you see what the result will be? Can't you see that we will draw nigh to one another? We cannot draw nigh to God, and come to the same cross, without our hearts being blended together in perfect unity, answering the prayer of Christ “that they may be one” as He is one with the Father. And therefore we should seek in spirit, in understanding, in faith, that we may be one, that God may be glorified in us as He is glorified in the Son; and that God shall love us as He loves the Son (Manuscript 7, 1890). 7BC 937.8

Draw Nigh By Prayer—“Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.” Draw nigh to Him by prayer, by contemplation, by reading His Word. When He draws nigh to you, He lifts up for you a standard against the enemy. Let us take courage; for the enemy cannot pass this standard (Manuscript 92, 1901). 7BC 937.9

(Ch. 1:8; Matthew 6:24.) Essential Work for the Sinner Defined—The Lord says, “Draw nigh to God.” How? By secret, earnest examination of your own heart, by childlike, heartfelt, humble dependence upon God, making known all your weakness to Jesus, and by confessing your sins. Thus you may draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. 7BC 938.1

But let us read the remainder of the lesson given for our instruction, that we may more fully comprehend what it means to draw nigh to God. “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” The work that is essential to be done by the sinner is here clearly defined. It is a work not agreeable to the inclination of the human heart; but unless it is done the soul is not in a condition to appreciate the purity and perfection of the character of Christ, and in no condition either to understand the offensiveness of sin. The exhortation is given, “Purify your hearts, ye double minded.” While professing to be Christians, many have the mold of the world upon them, and their affections are not set upon God. They are double minded, making an attempt to serve God and mammon at the same time; but the world's Redeemer has declared, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). By trying to serve two masters, they are unstable in all their ways, and cannot be depended upon. To all appearances they are serving God, while at the same time in heart they are yielding to the temptation of Satan and cherishing sin. They may speak words that are smoother than oil, yet their hearts are full of deception and deceit in all their practices. Professing to be righteous, yet they have a heart that is desperately wicked. 7BC 938.2

Of what profit is it to say pleasant things, to deplore the work of Satan, and yet at the same time to enter into the fulfillment of all his devices? This is being double minded (Letter 13, 1893). 7BC 938.3

8, 9 (Matthew 5:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10). The Sorrow of True Repentance—“Be afflicted, and mourn and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy into heaviness.” It is right to be cheerful, and even joyful. It is right to cultivate cheerfulness of spirit through sanctification of the truth; but it is not right to indulge in foolish jesting and joking, in lightness and trifling, in words of criticism and condemnation of others. 7BC 938.4

Those who observe such persons who make a profession of religion, know that they are deceived. They know that the hands of such professors need to be cleansed, their hearts need to be purified. They need to experience genuine repentance for sin. What have they to mourn over? They should mourn over their inclination to sin, over the danger they are in from inward corruption and from outward temptation. They should be afraid because they have so feeble a sense of the sinfulness of sin, and so little idea of what constitutes sin (Letter 13, 1893). 7BC 938.5

10 (1 Peter 5:6). Humility Before Pardon—God grants no pardon to him whose penitence produces no humility (Manuscript 11, 1888). 7BC 938.6