March 23, 2006

A Higher Standard

ITH RUTHLESS HANDS MANY have sought to remove the landmarks, to tear down God’s great moral standard, and to erect one of their own. In claiming holiness they measure themselves by their own standard. They do not test their actions and character by the law of God.
It was by his own standard that Satan measured his actions, he represented himself before men as an angel of light; but his pretension does not make him such, by any means. There is a class of persons who are not following the example of Christ in keeping God’s law, yet they claim to be holy. They are ready to appropriate the promises of God without fulfilling the conditions upon which they are given. But their faith has no foundation; it is like sliding sand.
There is another class who see the claims of the law of God, and, although it involves a cross, they choose the path of obedience, coming out and separating themselves from the world. They do not consult convenience, nor shrink from accepting the truth for fear of reproach. They step out from the path of transgression, and place their feet in the way of God’s commandments. The promises of God, which are given on condition of obedience, are for those who walk in the light of His Holy Word. Those who do His will may claim all the benefits the Lord has promised.
The obedient do not simply cry, “Believe, all you have to do is believe in Christ”; but their faith is like Noah’s and Abraham’s, which led them to keep the commandments. They follow the example of Christ, they listen and wait to catch every word of direction from the Captain of their salvation. They respond to the voice that says, “This is the way, walk ye in it.” Every step that Noah and Abraham took in obedience to God’s word was a step of victory. A “Thus saith the Lord” fortified Noah in doing his work of warning the world. The testimony in regard to Noah is, “And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him.” The path of obedience is the path in which our safety lies; for it is the willing and obedient that shall eat the good of the land. If we keep the commandments of God, we may claim His recorded promises in all their fullness.
Many feel so unworthy that like the poor publican they dare not lift up so much as their eyes to heaven. They should encourage faith. We may have an intelligent faith; we may not only say we believe, but we may in meekness and confidence be able to define what we believe, and why we believe as we do. We should exercise living faith, not a blind credulity. All heaven is at the command of those who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus.
We need to come up to a higher standard, to go forward and claim our exalted privileges. We should walk humbly with God, make no proud boasts of perfection of character, but in simple faith claim every promise in the Word of God; for they are for the obedient, not for the transgressors of God’s law. We are simply to believe the testimony of God, and have entire dependence on Him, and all possibility of self-glory or pride will be removed. We are indeed saved by faith, not by a passive faith, but by the faith which works by love, and purifies the soul. The hand of Christ can reach the veriest sinner, and bring him back from transgression to obedience; but no Christianity is so lofty that it can soar above the requirements of God’s holy law. This would be beyond Christ’s power to help, it would be outside of His teachings and His example; for He says, “I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love,” and all who follow Christ will render obedience to God’s holy law.
This article was selected from one first appearing in The Signs of the Times on March 31, 1890. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry.