Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

September 13, 1898

The Sabbath Test—No. 3

Mrs. E. G. White

The practical application of the word of God reveals the principles of righteousness in all their relations to the human being; and these principles, brought into the heart, work outwardly in the life, and thus become manifest from generation to generation. The principles of truth and holiness have existed since the world was created; but Satan's constant effort has been to eclipse every ray of light coming to man from the throne of God. The great apostate is constantly at work to put darkness for light and light for darkness. But light is constantly shining forth from heaven to the children of men; and if they walk in the light, they will advance. The light will make manifest the errors that have accumulated through the assertions of men.

Satan has worked through deception to institute a spurious Sabbath, that the worship of God's people might become an offense to the Creator. When the people did this in their ignorance, the Lord was merciful, and bore with them. Men will not be judged for light they have never had. But those who have kept Sunday, whose attention has been called to this error, but who would not open their eyes to behold wondrous things out of the law, will be judged according to the light that has come to them. All who will not give attention to the message from heaven will take the side of Satan, and will denounce the only true Sabbath. They will not change their course of action, but will bring all the attributes of Satan to bear against the truth and make it of none effect; for exceedingly repulsive to them is the day upon which the Lord places so much value.

Shall we selfishly argue, as reasons for not obeying the command, that it will put us out of joint with all the world? It were better thus than to be disconnected from God. But no excuse of selfish interest or unbelief, no arguments of the long observance of a false sabbath, will be accepted by God. The Sunday-sabbath is hoary with age, but this does not give it one tittle of sanctity, for God has not made it sacred. Sunday is not the Lord's day; although it is called so by ministers throughout Christendom. This assertion of men has not removed the sanctity from the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, nor made the Sunday a day to be reverenced. God has not placed one particle of sanctity upon the first day of the week.

The transgression of the fourth commandment came little by little. It did not come abruptly; but the first day gradually usurped the place of the holy Sabbath until the light of God's great memorial, which pointed to him as the living God, the Creator of the world, was no longer kept before the people; the first day was exalted.

But the Lord would not have his church left in darkness. The light of truth has been shining in our world in clear rays. The binding claims of the law of Jehovah, the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, are clearly and distinctly defined.

“My father,” reasons one, “kept Sunday, and he was a good man; and what was good enough for my father is good enough for me.” But this is a mistake. We can not be accepted in rendering to God the same service that our fathers rendered. In order to be blessed of God as our fathers were, we must manifest that faithfulness and devotion to God that will honor him before the world. We must acknowledge him as supreme. In order to reveal the truth, we must improve the light in our day as our fathers improved the light in their day.

To the apostles and prophets, Christ revealed himself, and gave light for their time. Holy men of old walked with God. These men of faith lived the truth revealed to them for their time. They improved their opportunities and privileges, and returned their talents to God with an increase. They believed in the light, they walked in the light; and the light in them did not become darkness.

More is demanded of those who live under the proclamation of the last message of mercy to be given to the world. We must reveal the binding claims of the law of God, every precept of which is “holy, and just, and good.” We are not required to serve God as did the people of Israel, in going to Jerusalem to worship; neither are we required to offer up to him our flocks and herds as sacrificial offerings, symbolizing the one great Offering. At one time the chosen of God were to do this, bearing in mind that, through the shedding of the blood of the only begotten Son of God, their sacrifices were acceptable. But no such sacrifice is now required at the hands of the church. By the exceeding great and precious promises we are made partakers of the divine nature. Our path is enlightened now, and the light reveals the fraud practised by Satan in bringing in a false sabbath, thus gaining in the world what he failed to gain in heaven,—a change in the law of God.

The Lord now requires of his church perfect obedience to all his commandments. He will not accept less than his due. Man may receive grace and truth to obey all his commandments, which are reasonable and just. All his righteous demands must be fully met; for this second probation granted to the fallen race cost an infinite price, even the life of the Son of God.

In his life and death, Jesus taught the strictest obedience. He did not consult his convenience or pleasure when he left his station of high command to become a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, accepting ignominy and death in order to deliver man from the consequence of his disobedience. Jesus died, not to save man in his sins, but from his sins. Man is to leave the error of his ways, to follow the example of Christ, to take up his cross and follow the Master, denying self, and obeying God at any cost.

If men, after this great and merciful condescension on the part of God, maintain their position with the first apostate, no force will be used with them. God accepts no unwilling service. Rational, accountable beings have the light in contrast with darkness placed before them, and they are invited to walk in the light in harmony with God. If they receive the words of men in place of the plainly stated word of God, and follow the inclination of their own hearts in disobedience to the law of Jehovah; if they trample upon his Sabbath, and honor the sabbath brought into existence by the man or sin,—they will treasure up against themselves the wrath of the Lamb.

It is not a lack of knowledge of spiritual light and understanding that will separate any soul from the presence of God. These are not the things that will decide his destiny. It is the truth, brought home to the understanding, but rejected because of the cross it involves, that will condemn the sinner in that day of final judgment.

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