Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

June 20, 1900

The Right Side and the Wrong Side

There is a right side and a wrong side. Let each ask himself the question, On which side am I standing? Those who do not choose the side of Christ range themselves under the banner of darkness, with the great apostate, who in heaven refused to obey God, and who in the Garden of Eden deceived the holy pair, and opened the flood-gates of woe upon our world.

On the side of obedience Christ stands, giving to all the invitation, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” “Strive [agonize] to enter in at the strait gate; for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in”—with all their worldly treasures—“and shall not be able.” “Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat; because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

In every possible way Satan tries to make the broad road attractive and the narrow road grievous, humiliating, and objectionable. He lays ingenious plans to lead men and women to indulge appetite. Cheap, unsatisfying pleasures are made all and in all in this age; for over these pleasures Satan has thrown a glamor, and men and women allow them to take the place of eternal things. There are many who, like Esau, sell their birthright for self-indulgence. To them worldly pleasure appears more desirable than the heavenly birthright.

We are to come out from the world and be separate, and our works are to be in accordance with the works of Christ. He declares, “I have kept My Father's commandments.” Are we on His side, obeying God's commands, or on Satan's side, warring against the law of God. “As the Father hath loved Me.” Christ says, “so have I loved you; continue ye in My love.” How can we continue in Christ's love? By disobeying God's law?—No, no. By showing to the world that we choose to be among the loyal people of God. “This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.” This love is more than an impulse, an emotion. It is a living, active, working principle. It is not guided by the feelings, but by the will. In it is comprehended the stern resolve of a mind subdued and softened, which lays hold of the strength of the Infinite, saying, I will serve Thee even unto death.

“If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples.” All who are true and loyal to God will bear fruit, not the fruit of transgression, but the fruit of a glad, willing obedience. They are filled with thankfulness that they are not numbered with those who have chosen the wide gate and broad road as more convenient than the road cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in.

Sin is the transgression of the law. Those who continue in sin, notwithstanding the fact that light has come to show them what sin is, those who refuse to lift the cross because doing so would possibly limit their prospect of worldly gain, will meet with great loss. They show that they do not choose to be partakers of Christ's life of self-denial and self-sacrifice, and they will lose eternal life. “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

Both the Old and the New Testament exalt the law of God, and those who reverentially study the Scriptures for themselves, laying aside all the preconceived opinions taught by human wisdom, will not be left in the darkness of error. But many, rather than lift the cross, put their own construction upon a plain “Thus saith the Lord,” and drag the Scriptures in the direction of their own suppositions. They are blind leaders of the blind, and both they and those they are leading must fall into the ditch.

When Christ was upon the earth, the great mass of the people would have accepted Him had it not been that they were afraid of what the scribes and Pharisees might do. These leaders, sitting in Moses’ seat, claiming to know God, saw that Christ was drawing the attention of the people from them. They determined to oppose His work, and, once started in the path of opposition, no evidence had any weight with them. The wonderful works Christ did were denied. The gracious words which fell from His lips were misstated and misconstrued. By the priests and rulers the rejoicing shown because of His works of compassion and healing were regarded as a personal slight to themselves. The appeals which Christ made, appeals which were freighted with love, the conclusive arguments which He presented, only kindled fires of hatred in hearts that, once convicted, had refused the light. Christ came to His own, but His own received Him not. He had to forsake Judea in order to preserve His life till the fulness of the time. “After these things,” we read, “Jesus walked in Galilee; for He would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill Him.” So will all act who choose to stand on the side of rebellion.

High and holy must be the purposes of every one who obtains the character all must obtain who win the crown of everlasting life. God is in earnest with us. We can not play at loose purposes with Him. In His service He requires the whole being, heart, mind, soul, and strength. Christ has made every provision that men and women may obtain salvation; but, notwithstanding the light shining upon them, leading to the strait gate and the narrow way, many are choosing the broad way. What road are we traveling? We may take with us into the broad road all our evil tendencies, our cheapness of character, our associates in evil. We may choose to listen to the words of these companions and to laugh at their wit; but in so doing we shall descend lower and lower in the scale, and at last the words will be spoken: “Cut down the unfruitful tree. Why cumbereth it the ground?”

Do not suppose that you can unite yourself with the amusement-loving, the gay and pleasure-loving, and at the same time resist temptation. By trying to serve two masters, you spoil yourself utterly for both. You make neither a successful worldling nor a successful Christian. Your Redeemer has said, and His lips never made a false statement, “Ye can not serve God and mammon.” Then why not do the only safe thing to do,—follow the road you know to be right, irrespective of consequences?

The inhabitants of the unfallen worlds and of the heavenly courts are watching with intense interest the conflict between good and evil. They rejoice as Satan's subtleties are one after another discerned and met with, “It is written,” as Christ met them in His conflict with the wily foe. Every victory gained is a gem in the crown of life. And in the day of final victory all the heavenly universe will triumph. The harps of the angels will sound forth heavenly music, accompanying the music of their voices, as they sing; “Be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, He hath cast out thine enemy; the King of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee; thou shalt not see evil any more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not; and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love; He will joy over thee with singing.”

Mrs. E. G. White

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