The Review and Herald

115/1902

December 2, 1875

Delaying Obedience

EGW

[We give in the following the substance of an appeal made by Mrs. W., April 16, 1875, on the dangers of delaying obedience, addressed to a man and his wife who were hearing lectures and were hesitating on the point of obedience according to the conviction of their minds. And we are sorry to say that these persons have taken the course that they were warned to avoid. For the benefit of others in similar danger, the appeal is now given.] RH December 2, 1875, par. 1

J. W.

Dear Brother and Sister,

I had hoped to meet you again before we crossed the plains, but this may not be. I have thought much of our interview at your house, and have prayed that you both may have strength to walk in the path of obedience. You have had light, but Satan will not let you pursue the narrow road, and become loyal and true to all God's requirements, without contesting every inch of ground. He has his agents in men who profess, as did Satan when he tempted Christ, to be ministers of righteousness. They would belittle in your minds God's holy commandments. Satan is at war with that law which is the foundation of God's government in Heaven and in earth. God has let his light shine upon you. Will you, dear friends, cherish the light? Men may come in the garb of holiness, having error and truth mixed together, and many be deceived. Satan quoted Scripture to Christ, showing that he could use Scripture to work his deception upon minds. Those who are acquainted with their own hearts know the necessity of being closely connected with God in order to have divine wisdom to discern the wiles of Satan and to cling, with firm, unyielding grasp to Jesus. RH December 2, 1875, par. 2

There is no nook or corner of the world, however secluded, where error and sin have not found their way. Error is often presented in a specious garb, so that it requires more than human wisdom to detect the falsehood under the pretension of truth. If error was never mingled with truth, it would not be so subtle in its influence upon the mind. If error stood forth alone in its true, hideous form, souls would not be deceived. But there are many who see attractions in error, and will eagerly feast upon it, although it poisons the mind. Error always injures the soul and deforms the character. Error may, at first sight, appear plausible, but its tendency is to corrupt the heart, and to ensnare its victims. We often hear it stated that it matters not what one believes if his life is only right. But the life is molded by the faith. If light and truth, are within our reach, and we neglect to improve the privilege of hearing and seeing the truth, we virtually reject it, and choose darkness rather than light. Said Christ to the Jews, “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” RH December 2, 1875, par. 3

I beseech you, my brother and sister, to inquire of God, as those who are willing to know the right way, What is truth? Do not willingly cheat your own souls of the light which you may have if you will. Like the noble Bereans, search the Scriptures daily, and see whether these things are so. And be true to your convictions of truth and of duty. Many infidels are compelled to be such because they cannot consent to accept truth the living out of which would require a sacrifice on their part. Convenience is consulted by many who profess Christ. There is a desire to climb up some other way—one that will require less sacrifice. RH December 2, 1875, par. 4

Said Christ, “He that will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.” To follow Jesus fully requires a thorough conversion. Half-way converts make half-hearted Christians. Again, said Christ, “He that is not for me is against me, and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” The plain words of truth spoken by our Saviour sifted his followers down to a few faithful ones who laid the foundation of the Christian church. Many of the wealthy, honorable, and noble ones of the world were charmed with the teachings of Christ, and had a desire to follow him. But when the truth in its practical bearings was brought home to their hearts and lives, they drew back, and walked no more with Jesus. The young ruler was desirous of following Christ. “Sell all that thou hast,” said the Master, “and come, follow me, and thou shalt have treasure in Heaven.” He could not comply with the terms. His poor, selfish heart loved his possessions better than the kingdom of God, and he turned from following his Saviour. He turned from his heavenly treasure, went back to his idolatrous love of his earthly treasures, and lost eternal riches. RH December 2, 1875, par. 5

Jesus requires the entire surrender of the soul to him without compromise. Those who are thoroughly converted will never be among those who cowardly plead, “I pray thee have me excused.” The living Christian loves duty, and enjoys even the severities which he must bear, if he is a soldier of the cross of Christ. RH December 2, 1875, par. 6

We feel the greatest anxiety for souls who are in the valley of decision. We feel a dread of Satan's attacks upon these poor souls. He watches his opportunity to bring his powers to bear when he sees that there is a possibility of hindering souls from deciding to be wholly on the Lord's side. RH December 2, 1875, par. 7

While the Spirit of God is convicting you of the truth, do not stop to cavil, but believe. Do not find fault, but listen to evidence. Yield your pride to humility, and exchange your prejudice for candor. Confer not with flesh and blood, but surrender all to God. Take the Bible as your guide, and earnestly inquire, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” When you once yield your natural independence and self-will for a child-like, submissive obedience, and are willing to be taught, you will hear the voice of the true Shepherd saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it.” Christ does not propose to teach the self-conceited and self-willed. It is only the meek whom he pledges to guide in judgment, and to whom he will teach his way. RH December 2, 1875, par. 8

If you are in search of truth, obedience will not be difficult. If you really want to know the Master's will, you will thankfully receive it. We are learners in the school of Christ. A genuine love for Jesus will of necessity create a love for the truth. Treasure up the truth in your heart. Seek knowledge. Make this your daily prayer: “With my whole heart have I sought thee; O let me not wander from thy commandments. Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” We are not safe only as we mold our daily life after the divine Pattern. RH December 2, 1875, par. 9

I entreat you, my dear friends, to move guardedly; for you are making decisions for eternity. Walk in the light while you have the light. Let no one influence you to turn from the truth. You can never be sanctified through error. Christ prayed to his Father in behalf of his disciples: “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” It is a time and age of the world when error prevails, and with nearly all is accepted as truth. Error is no less error because it has been instilled into minds from their very youth. Error is taught in schools, and preached from the pulpit. Theories are advanced which have no foundation in the word of God. RH December 2, 1875, par. 10

You made the remark, “My parents were godly, and they kept Sunday, and will be saved. If I keep the day which they kept, why will not I be as safe as they?” Your relatives and friends may have lived up to the light they had. They are not accountable for the light which shines in your day, which they did not have. If you have greater light than your fathers, and you live up to that light as faithfully as your fathers did to the light which shone upon them, you will be saved by obeying as they will be saved by obedience to the light which the Lord permitted to shine upon them. “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but now they have no cloak for their sin.” We are responsible for the light which shines upon our path. This is our day of visitation and privileges. God is setting before us solemn truth. Will we accept it? Reject not present light, and do not lightly esteem God's gracious opportunities. RH December 2, 1875, par. 11

If God in mercy has permitted light to shine out of darkness, and has removed the mist from your eyes that have been long blinded to the claims of his holy law, I beseech you to cherish the light and walk in it, lest it become darkness. We are living in the perils of the last days. It is not safe to be careless and indifferent now. With humble hearts and perfect submission to the will of God, we should pray earnestly to be kept from error and that we may be guided into all truth. Truth sanctifies. Error corrupts. The soul can be kept pure and strengthened only by walking in the light as Christ is in the light. RH December 2, 1875, par. 12

My heart has been drawn out in love to you. I have longed to see you moving out understandingly upon the truth, committing the keeping of your souls to God. In faith, press through the moral darkness of error and unbelief, and yield your souls’ best and holiest affections to him. He has claims upon you which you cannot resist and be guiltless. I entreat of you to yield yourselves to God in faith. He can and will receive you with all your peculiarities of temperament, and with all your trials and temptations, and with all your duties, your cares, and burdens of responsibility, and will bear you and also your every burden, and will bring all your powers under the control of his grace. God will come to your help, and will aid you in your warfare. His messages of truth and warning are sent to save you, but not to flatter and amuse you. While truth deals in an unsparing manner with your sins, it has the deepest compassion for your soul. RH December 2, 1875, par. 13

Every taxing duty becomes easy, and every sacrifice becomes a pleasure, to those whom the truth makes free. What a victory is gained when the carnal life ceases, and the spiritual life begins. The Lord guides. The Lord keeps. The love of God, and obedience to all his commandments, bring all the powers of the soul into obedience to his will. What can constrain the heart and affections like love—sanctified love. That love which brings the soul into connection with Heaven is more earnest, fervent, and enduring for earthly relatives than any other. There is nothing in the heart at war with God's requirements. The mind, submissive and obedient, will love to do all his commandments. Evil will be abhorred, and the good will be chosen. There will be no self-denial or self-sacrifice that is grievous, for the heart delights in doing for Christ, and seeking to save souls from error and from the transgression of the holy law of God. When God has control of the affections, the mind will not be selfish, nor shrink from sacrifices. RH December 2, 1875, par. 14

The committing of the soul to God is essential for our salvation. You cannot follow a course of your own choosing, and be at war with the law of God, living in disobedience to his requirements, and yet be in harmony with God. Entire obedience to the will of God will bring courage, hope, peace, and happiness, to the soul. There will be seen watchfulness, diligence and prayer, self-denial, self-crucifixion and active benevolence. John thus describes the faithful whom he saw in vision upon the isle of Patmos: RH December 2, 1875, par. 15

“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” RH December 2, 1875, par. 16

“And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” RH December 2, 1875, par. 17

What an example have the martyrs for Jesus left us in their lives of self-denial and sacrifice. They were faithful and true to principle. Although prisons, tortures, inquisitions, gibbets, and the stake threatened them, they counted not their lives dear unto themselves. Their love for the truth was here manifested. They chose to obey the truth at the expense of great suffering. The world was not worthy of these heroes of faith. They died for their faith. The pure gold was refined from all dross through trial and suffering. As these shall enter the portals of glory they will shout in triumph: We overcame by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of our testimony. We were faithful unto death, and now receive a crown of life. Shouts of triumph will come from lips that never triumphed before. Those who were too timid to praise God vocally were not too timid to die for their Lord. They struggled and fought the good fight of faith. They were steadfast to the end. They will unite their glad voices in the universal songs of triumph and victory, praising God that they were accounted worthy to receive the heavenly benediction “well done” from the Master they loved, and for whom they suffered. His own right hand will place upon their brows crowns of immortal glory that fade not away. RH December 2, 1875, par. 18