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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901) - Contents
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    Ms 72, 1901

    True Obedience to the Commandments of God


    August 2, 1901 [typed]

    Portions of this manuscript are published in 1BC 1086; 5BC 1084; 6BC 1115-1116; 9MR 235-236. +NoteOne or more typed copies of this document contain additional Ellen White handwritten interlineations which may be viewed at the main office of the Ellen G. White Estate.

    In the providence of God it is ordained that every human agent should study the life of Christ, and so carefully walk in his Master’s footsteps as to reveal to the world by his daily life the character of the Father as manifested through the Son. Our Saviour has plainly stated, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” [Luke 9:23.]16LtMs, Ms 72, 1901, par. 1

    Much concerning Christ may be learned from the description given of the transfiguration: “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.” [Matthew 17:1-8.]16LtMs, Ms 72, 1901, par. 2

    With commanding authority the Lord Jesus has said, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” [Matthew 11:15.] The Excellent Glory commands every son and daughter of Adam to give attention. It is for the eternal interest of every individual to do this. The Lord God summons the world to hear, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” [Matthew 3:17.] Christ stands pre-eminent, above every teacher and authority in the world. Every word He utters is to be obeyed as law, as life.16LtMs, Ms 72, 1901, par. 3

    As if enshrouded in a cloud of heavenly brightness, Christ pronounced from the Mount of Beatitudes His benedictions. The words spoken by Him were of an entirely different character from those which had fallen from the lips of the scribes and Pharisees. The ones whom He pronounced blessed were the very ones they would have denounced as cursed of God. To that large concourse of people, He declared that He could dispense the treasures of eternity to whomsoever He willed. Although His divinity was clothed with humanity, He thought it not robbery to be equal with God. In this public manner He described the attributes of those who were to share the eternal rewards. He pointed out in particular those who would suffer persecution for His name’s sake. They were to be richly blessed, becoming heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. Great would be their reward in heaven.16LtMs, Ms 72, 1901, par. 4

    The relation existing between the Father and the Son was not fully understood by the disciples. “Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.” [John 14:8-11.]16LtMs, Ms 72, 1901, par. 5

    Those who are laboring to make of none effect the law of God try to make it apparent that Christ’s commandments and the commandments of the Father are not the same. They claim that God’s law is abrogated, and that the commandment of Christ is the new commandment recorded in (John 13:34): “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” But all who neglect to be doers of the words of Christ are refusing to be doers of the words of God.16LtMs, Ms 72, 1901, par. 6

    After carefully reading the first chapter of First John we are better prepared to understand the second. The beloved disciple writes: “My little children, these things write I unto you,”—that ye continue in sin?—No. That ye transgress the law?—No; but, “that ye sin not.” The Lord is gracious and full of tender compassion. When the sinner has been overcome by Satan’s temptations, the Saviour does not leave him in hopeless despair, but presents hope to the human mind; for “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” [1 John 2:1-4.] These are very plain statements.16LtMs, Ms 72, 1901, par. 7

    “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.” [Verses 5-8.]16LtMs, Ms 72, 1901, par. 8

    When the evidence of truth is presented, many say for effect, “I believe in Jesus. We are not saved by the law, but by Jesus.” Who has told them that it was possible for them to be saved by law? All intelligent human agents fully understand that in the law there is no power to save the transgressors of the law.16LtMs, Ms 72, 1901, par. 9

    Concerning this question, Paul relates his experience: “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God.” [Acts 20:20, 21.] Why repentance toward God?—Because when His holy law has been transgressed through sin committed by the human agent, the law which condemns sin in the flesh brings to the sinner the conviction that he is a transgressor of the law, as Paul states: “I was alive without the law once, but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I [Paul] died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.” [Romans 7:9, 10.]16LtMs, Ms 72, 1901, par. 10

    All who keep the law of God through moral power obtained from the imputed righteousness of Christ, will find the commandments ordained unto life; for “The man that doeth them shall live in them.” [Galatians 3:12.] “For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin [the transgression of the law], that it might appear sin, working death [to the carnal mind] in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.” [Romans 7:11-14.]16LtMs, Ms 72, 1901, par. 11

    Here is where the condemnation comes in. Although the transgression may be confessed, there is in the law itself no power to save the transgressor. By the expression, “And through faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ,” Paul presents the world’s Redeemer as the only One who has power to save the law-breaker. [Acts 20:21.] Although a person may claim, “I am saved, I am saved, if I only believe in Jesus,” yet he does not love God, neither does he believe in Jesus Christ; for he cannot see to the end of the law of God. Men claim that His law has been abrogated. This is not true. God did not give His Son to a shameful death to make His law of none effect. The Saviour bore the penalty of transgression and sin that through His imputed righteousness the fallen race might be able to keep the law of God and live. Man was given another opportunity to repent of his transgression, return to his loyalty, and keep the commandments by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Do not forget the words of John, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” [1 John 2:4.]16LtMs, Ms 72, 1901, par. 12

    The ceremonies connected with the services of the temple, prefiguring Christ in types and shadows, were taken away at the time of the crucifixion, because on the cross type met antitype in the death of the true and perfect offering, the Lamb of God. He gave His life, that through faith in Him who taketh away the sin of the world, we might have life eternal. After His death, the sacrificial offerings had no moral efficacy.16LtMs, Ms 72, 1901, par. 13

    God did not make the infinite sacrifice of giving His only begotten Son to our world, to secure for man the privilege of breaking the commandments of God in this life and in the future eternal life. This is an infamous lie originated by Satan, which must be made to appear in its false, deceitful character. This law that Satan so much desires to have regarded null and void is the great moral standard of righteousness. Any violation of it is an act of transgression against God, and will be visited with the penalty of the divine law. To all the inhabitants of the world who make void the law of Jehovah, and continue to live in transgression, death must surely come.16LtMs, Ms 72, 1901, par. 14

    Until the requirements of the holy law were applied as the rule of life, fallen man could not understand his own guilt nor realize his condemned, lost condition. Jesus made application of the law directly to the soul, and laid under its jurisdiction the will and desires and works of man. Wrongdoing and all thoughts and feelings condemned by the law are to be overcome.16LtMs, Ms 72, 1901, par. 15

    The apostle Paul asks, “What say we then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” He declares, “Where no law is, there is no transgression [sin].” “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” [Romans 6:1, 2; 4:15; 3:20.]16LtMs, Ms 72, 1901, par. 16

    “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.” What is the decision of Paul?—“Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” [Romans 7:7, 8, 12.]16LtMs, Ms 72, 1901, par. 17

    How can men who claim to believe the Bible undertake the work of making void the law of God—the very same work which Satan undertook in the courts of heaven, resulting in the expulsion of himself and all his sympathizers? Transgression of God’s requirements excluded Adam from the Garden of Eden. A flaming sword was placed around the tree of life, lest man should put forth his hand and partake of it, immortalizing sin. Obedience to all the commandments of God was the condition of eating of the tree of life. Adam fell by disobedience, forfeiting by sin all right to use either the life-giving fruit of the tree in the midst of the Garden, or its leaves, which are for the healing of the nations.16LtMs, Ms 72, 1901, par. 18

    Obedience through Jesus Christ gives to man perfection of character and a right to that tree of life. The conditions of again partaking of the fruit of the tree are plainly stated in the testimony of Jesus Christ to John: “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” [Revelation 22:14.]16LtMs, Ms 72, 1901, par. 19

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