Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

June 29, 1897

Peril of Sinning Against Light

By Mrs. E. G. White

“The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” No matter how sinful a person has been, no matter what his position may be, if he will repent and believe, coming unto Christ, and trusting him as his personal Saviour, he may be saved unto the uttermost. But how dangerous is the position of him who knows truth, but delays to practise it. How perilous it is for men to seek to amuse the mind, to gratify the taste and satisfy the reason, by neglecting what has been revealed as duty, and rambling off in search of something they do not know. God has opened a garden of precious plants and flowers, where men may enjoy the fragrance and pluck the fruit; but that which may be known becomes tame after a time, does not delight their senses, and they want something not in the garden, as did Adam and Eve in Eden,—something which God has seen fit to withhold. They are not benefited by the rich banquet which he has set before them, but desire to taste that which he has not provided, to gain access to gardens not opened to their feet. But what blessings are lost by not making a proper use of the privileges freely given us of God! Through ingratitude and unholy desire, men want something which they do not have.

Jesus says, “Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you.” Gather up every ray, pass not one by. Walk in the light. Practise every precept of truth presented to you. Live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, and you will then follow Jesus wherever he goeth. When the Lord presents evidence upon evidence and gives light upon light, why is it that souls hesitate to walk in the light? Why do men neglect to walk in light to a greater light? The Lord does not refuse to give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him. When conviction comes home to the conscience, why not listen, and heed the voice of the Spirit of God? By every hesitation and delay, we place ourselves where it is more and more difficult for us to accept the light of heaven, and at last it seems impossible to be impressed by admonitions and warnings. The sinner says, more and more easily, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a more convenient season, I will call for thee.”

I know the danger of those who refuse to walk in the light as God gives it. They bring upon themselves the terrible crisis of being left to follow their own ways, to do after their own judgment. The conscience becomes less and less impressible. The voice of God seems to become more and more distant, and the wrong-doer is left to his own infatuation. In stubbornness he resists every appeal, despises all counsel and advice, and turns from every provision made for his salvation, and the voice of the messenger of God makes no impression upon his mind. The Spirit of God no longer exerts a restraining power over him, and the sentence is passed, “He is joined to idols, let him alone.” O how dark, how sullen, how obstinate, is his independence! It seems that the insensibility of death is upon his heart. This is the process through which the soul passes that rejects the working of the Holy Spirit.

He that walketh in darkness knoweth not at what he stumbleth. The soul that at first delays and hesitates, resisting light and pressing against all knowledge, has excellent intentions of making a square turn about when a convenient season shall come; but the wily foe that is upon his track makes his plans to bind him by the imperceptible threads of evil habits. Character is formed by habits, and one step in the downward road is a preparation for the second step, and the second for those that shall follow. Habits are formed by repetition of acts, and it takes time for a person who has been religiously instructed to throw off all restraint, and become accustomed to, and at home in, an evil course, and happy in doing the drudgery of Satan.

The children of God are to shine as lights in the midst of a perverse and crooked generation. But if right habits are not cultivated, they will give way to natural tendencies, and will become self-sufficient, self-indulgent, reckless, covetous, revengeful, independent, self-willed, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. As one who loves your soul, I would warn you not to delay, waiting for a time when you will be more inclined to serve God than at the present time. Every hour that you delay, you bind yourself away from God, erect barriers against him in your habits and practises, and make more difficult your repentance and return to the paths of righteousness. May God help the backslider and the sinner no longer to remain in the entanglement which the evil one is strengthening around them. Wait not to reason, wait not to measure possibilities and probabilities. Break with the deceiver at once. Insult no longer the Spirit of God. Press your way to the throne of grace through the opposing powers of hell. You are standing on the brink of the eternal world. Make a rush for the kingdom of God. It will require every energy of mind and purpose of soul. Delay not, saying, “I am not religiously inclined.” This very fact should make you fear lest the Spirit of God is being grieved away for the last time. Dare you run the risk?

“How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my Spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at naught all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: for that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord.”

The person who is drawn again and again by his Redeemer, and who slights the warnings given, yields not to his convictions to repent, and heeds not when he is exhorted to seek pardon and grace, is in a perilous position. Jesus is drawing him, the Spirit is exerting his power upon him, urging him to surrender his will to the will of God; and when this invitation is unheeded, the Spirit is grieved away. The sinner chooses to remain in sin and impenitence, although he has evidence to encourage his faith, and more evidence would do no good. His sins of past and present are presented before him, yet the drawing is in vain; for he refuses to change his course of action. There is another drawing to which he is responding, and that is the drawing of Satan. He yields obedience to the powers of darkness. This course is fatal, and leaves the soul in obstinate impenitence. This is the blasphemy that is most general among men, and it works in a most subtle way, until the sinner feels no remorse of conscience, no repentance, and consequently has no pardon. The man is left to himself, loving darkness rather than light. This is the case of thousands today.

But I will address these lines to those who have had light, those who have had privileges, those who have had warnings and entreaties, who have made no determined effort to yield themselves in full surrender to God. I would warn you to fear lest you sin against the Holy Ghost, and be left to your own course, sunk in moral lethargy, and never obtain forgiveness. Why allow yourselves to be longer educated in the school of Satan, and pursue a course of action that will make repentance and reformation impossible? Why resist the overtures of mercy? Why say, “Let me alone,” until God shall be compelled to give you your desire, since you will have it so? Those who resist the Spirit of God think that they will repent at some future day, when they get ready to take a decided step toward reformation; but repentance will then be beyond their power. According to the light and privileges given will be the darkness of those who refuse to walk in the light while they have the light.

No one need look upon the sin against the Holy Ghost as something mysterious and indefinable. The sin against the Holy Ghost is the sin of persistent refusal to respond to the invitation to repent. If you refuse to believe in Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, you love darkness rather than light, you love the atmosphere that surrounded the first great apostate. You choose this atmosphere rather than the atmosphere that surrounds the Father and the Son, and God allows you to have your choice. But let no soul be discouraged by this presentation of the matter. Let no one who is striving to do the will of the Master be cast down. Hope thou in God. The Lord Jesus has made it manifest that he regards you at an infinite estimation. He left his royal throne, he left his royal courts, he clothed his divinity with humanity, and died a shameful death upon the cross of Calvary, that you might be saved. All the suffering and humiliation of the Son of God was endured that we might understand how God loved the world, how he purposed to bring moral power within our reach that we might be ennobled, elevated, and become partakers of the divine nature. By his grace, Christ enlarges and multiplies the faculties of men as they co-operate with heavenly intelligences, and transformation of character is the result. Through faith in Christ his powers of mind and heart are enlarged, and the believer is endowed with refined and holy affections.

The character of Daniel is an illustration of what a man may become through the grace of Christ. He was strong in intellectual and spiritual power. The Holy Spirit is the source of all power, and works as a living, active agent in the new life created in the soul. The Holy Spirit is to be in us a divine indweller. Then let gratitude and love abound in your heart to God. “Study to show thyself approved unto God.” Let your conduct, your character, be in accordance with the sacred trust and heavenly endowment of the Holy Spirit. Never, never, feel at liberty to trifle with the opportunities granted to you. Study the will of God; do not study how you can avoid keeping the commandments of God, but study rather how you may keep them in sincerity and truth, and truly serve him whose property you are. Do not be satisfied with meeting a low standard, but consult the Spirit of God, obey its dictates, serve God in the beauty of holiness, and render glory to his name.

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