“I am filled with sadness when I think of our condition as a people. The Lord has not closed heaven to us, but our own course of continual backsliding has separated us from God. Pride, covetousness, and love of the world have lived in the heart without fear of banishment or condemnation. Grievous and presumptuous sins have dwelt among us. And yet the general opinion is that the church is flourishing, and that peace and spiritual prosperity are in all her borders.
Yet few are alarmed or astonished at their want of spiritual power. . . . Let each put the questions to his own heart: “How have we fallen into this state of spiritual feebleness and dissension? Have we not brought upon ourselves the frown of God because our actions do not correspond with our faith? Have we not been seeking the friendship and applause of the world, rather than the presence of Christ and a deeper knowledge of his will?” Examine your own hearts, judge your own course. Consider what associates you are choosing. Do you seek the company of the wise, or are you willing to choose worldly associates, companions who fear not God, and obey not the gospel?
Are your recreations such as to impart moral and spiritual vigor? Will they lead to purity of thought and action? Impurity is today wide-spread, even among the professed followers of Christ. Passion is unrestrained; the animal propensities are gaining strength by indulgence, while the moral powers are constantly becoming weaker. Many are eagerly participating in worldly, demoralizing amusements which God’s Word forbids. Thus they sever their connection with God, and rank themselves with the pleasure-lovers of the world. The sins that destroyed the antediluvians and the cities of the plain exist today–not merely in heathen lands, not only among popular professors of Christianity, but with some who profess to be looking for the coming of the Son of man. If God should present these sins before you as they appear in his sight, you would be filled with shame and terror.
And what has caused this alarming condition? Many have accepted the theory of the truth, who have had no true conversion. I know whereof I speak. There are few who feel true sorrow for sin; who have deep, pungent convictions of the depravity of the unregenerate nature. The heart of stone is not exchanged for a heart of flesh. Few are willing to fall upon the Rock, and be broken.
No matter who you are, or what your life has been, you can be saved only in God’s appointed way. You must repent; you must fall helpless on the Rock, Christ Jesus. You must feel your need of a physician, and of the one only remedy for sin, the blood of Christ. This remedy can be secured only by repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Here the work is yet to be begun by many who profess to be Christians, and even to be ministers of Christ. Like the Pharisees of old, many of you feel no need of a Saviour. You are self-sufficient, self-exalted. Said Christ, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” The blood of Christ will avail for none but those who feel their need of its cleansing power.
What surpassing love and condescension, that when we had no claim upon divine mercy, Christ was willing to undertake our redemption! But our Great Physician requires of every soul unquestioning submission. We are never to prescribe for our own case. Christ must have the entire management of will and action.
Many are not sensible of their condition and their danger; and there is much in the nature and manner of Christ’s work averse to every worldly principle, and opposed to the pride of the human heart. Jesus requires us to trust ourselves wholly to his hands, and confide in his love and wisdom
We may flatter ourselves, as did Nicodemus, that our moral character has been correct, and we need not humble ourselves before God, like the common sinner. But we must be content to enter into life in the very same way as the chief of sinners. We must renounce our own righteousness, and plead for the righteousness of Christ to be imputed to us. We must depend wholly upon Christ for our strength. Self must die. We must acknowledge that all we have is from the exceeding riches of divine grace. Let this be the language of our hearts, “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake….”
My brethren, you are disregarding the most sacred claims of God by your neglect to consecrate yourselves and your children to him. Many of you are reposing in false security, absorbed in selfish interests, and attracted by earthly treasures. You fear no evil. Danger seems a great way off. You will be deceived, deluded, to your eternal ruin, unless you arouse, and with penitence and deep humiliation, return unto the Lord.
It is God who holds in his hands the destiny of souls. He will not always be mocked; he will not always be trifled with. Already his judgments are in the land. Fierce and awful tempests leave destruction and death in their wake. The devouring fire lays low the desolate forest and the crowded city. Storm and shipwreck await those who journey upon the deep. Accident and calamity threaten those who travel upon the land. Hurricanes, earthquakes, sword and famine, follow in quick succession. Yet the hearts of men are hardened. They recognize not the warning voice of God. They will not flee to the only refuge from the gathering storm.
Again and again has the voice from heaven addressed you. Will you obey this voice? Will you heed the counsel of the True Witness, to seek the gold tried in the fire, the white raiment, and the eye-salve? The gold is faith and love, the white raiment is the righteousness of Christ, the eye-salve is that spiritual discernment which will enable you to see the wiles of Satan and shun them, to detect sin and abhor it, to see truth and obey it.” The Review and Herald, November 18, 1909 par. 1-8-24, 25.
Here are some short emphasized lessons and insights from the text:
1. Spiritual Condition of the Church: The text expresses concern about the spiritual condition of the people, highlighting backsliding, pride, covetousness, and love of the world as issues that have separated them from God. 2. Self-Examination: It encourages self-reflection and asks individuals to consider whether their actions align with their faith. The importance of choosing wise associates and engaging in morally and spiritually uplifting activities is emphasized. 3. Moral and Spiritual Vigor: The text addresses the prevalence of impurity and unrestrained passions, cautioning against participating in worldly amusements that go against God’s teachings. 4. True Conversion: It stresses that true conversion involves deep sorrow for sin, recognizing the need for repentance, and acknowledging the depravity of the unregenerate nature. 5. Salvation Through Christ: The text emphasizes the need for repentance, falling upon the Rock (Christ Jesus), and relying on the blood of Christ as the only remedy for sin. 6. Submission to Christ: Acknowledging Christ as the Great Physician, the text underscores the importance of unquestioning submission, with Christ having complete control over will and action. 7. Humility and Dependence: It highlights the necessity of humility, renouncing self-righteousness, and depending wholly on Christ for strength, acknowledging that everything comes from divine grace. 8. Renouncing Self-Righteousness: Regardless of one’s moral character, entering into life requires renouncing self-righteousness and relying on the righteousness of Christ. 9. Consecration to God: Neglecting to consecrate ourselves and our children to God is seen as disregarding the most sacred claims of God. 10. Divine Warnings: The text warns of God’s impending judgments, citing natural disasters and calamities, urging people to heed the warnings and seek refuge in Him. 11. Importance of Obedience: The voice from heaven calls for obedience, urging individuals to seek faith, love, righteousness, and spiritual discernment to navigate the challenges presented by Satan and sin.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10