When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled; then thou shalt say before the Lord thy God:–
I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all thy commandments which thou hast commanded. I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them. I have not eaten thereof in my mourning, neither have I taken aught thereof for the dead; but I have hearkened to the voice of the Lord my God, and have done according to all that thou hast commanded me.
Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven, and bless thy people Israel, and the land which thou hast given us, as thou swarest unto our fathers, a land that floweth with milk and honey.
Our Responsibility for Others.
The Lord God of Israel will not accept halfway work. The true penitent does not put his past sins from his remembrance. He does not, as soon as he has obtained peace, grow unconcerned in regard to the mistakes he has made. He thinks how many have been led into evil by his wrong course, and he tries in every possible way to help any whom he has led into false paths. The clearer the light that he has entered into by returning to the Lord, the stronger his desire to set the feet of others in the right way. He does not gloss over his wayward course, making his wrong a light thing, but lifts the danger signal, that others may take warning. He walks humbly and carefully, his eyes fixed on his Leader.
It is very dangerous business for any man to regard it as of little consequence whether he pursues a right course, or whether his feet make crooked paths. We can not afford to regard it as a light matter to let Satan lead us into wrong. Evil is evil, whether the wrong done be large or apparently small.
Danger in False Doctrine.
Let no man flatter himself that it makes no difference what he believes. He who thinks this will accept Satan’s suppositions, and will lead many other minds astray. He may repent and be converted. He may see his need of being washed in the fountain opened for Judah and Jerusalem before he can be accepted by God. But what of those he has led astray? They may never see their need of pardon.
The Only Safe Path.
Only in the path of truth is there safety. Sin may be forgiven, but let us not forget that the sin committed may influence others who will not repent, but will continue to walk in false paths, and to lead others astray.
Let every one take heed, and make straight paths for his feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. God is greatly dishonored, and many souls are lost, because men in positions of responsibility in the cause allow so many imperfections and failures to mar their lives. The admonition comes to all in positions of trust: Cleanse yourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord.
Christ Our Strength.
Man can not take one step in sincerity, in truthfulness, in righteousness, without the help of the Lord Jesus. For this help we are earnestly to plead. He will impart fresh grace for renewed spiritual progress. Fresh supplies of strength will come as the result of beholding Christ and drawing near to him. In the light of his perfection, evils that formerly seemed to be virtues will be seen as they really are.
There are rich promises and abundant grace for those who resist the enemy. Heavenly angels draw near to them. The seducing, delusive theories that Satan has presented before the tempted ones are unmasked. His smooth sophistries are made to appear as they are, bearing his deadly sting.
Christ, the gift of the Father to our world, is our hope and efficiency. In him all our hopes of eternal life center. He is our Advocate in the heavenly courts. He is interceding in our behalf. Without his grace, no progress in the spiritual life can be made. He who is traveling heavenward must daily receive a fresh supply of grace. In order for him to be successful in his conflicts with the enemy, Christ’s righteousness must be imputed to him.
The truly penitent soul will reach high attainments of holiness, peace, and joy. But he will never forget that he owes it all to the Saviour. A sense of deep humiliation and contrition will fill his heart, and he will bow low before God.
Humility before God.
O how many today who know the truth are provoking God to withdraw from them the influence of his Spirit. Humble yourselves before God, and he will lift you up. Offer to him earnest supplications for aid. Do not gloss over the grievousness of your sins. It was sin that nailed Christ to the cross of Calvary. He who sincerely repents will be freely forgiven.
“Bring Forth Fruits Meet for Repentance.”
The words and deeds of the truly penitent bear witness that theirs is a repentance that needs not to be repented of. They will offer earnest petitions for fresh grace, for new supplies of strength, for the efficiency and power of the Holy Spirit, promised to all who ask in faith. They understand the meaning of the apostle’s words, “Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” The prayer that Christ offered for his disciples just before his crucifixion is their help in every emergency.
True repentance can never be mistaken. It bears fruit that testifies to its genuineness. Self is subdued; Christ is magnified. But false repentance results in a make-believe reformation, which reveals itself only by some new feature of self-exaltation. Fresh assaults of Satan will be made, and the snares of the wily foe will entice and delude the one who has not hidden his life with Christ in God. There will be a continual uplifting of self. There is not seen that drawing to God in earnest faith that must be seen if the soul is kept by the power of God unto salvation. Often some darling sin is cherished, some indulgence or lust that has brought the soul into bondage is retained.
These things have been presented to me in various figures as the reason why there is so deficient a spiritual advancement in our churches. There are those who are not willing to put away some sensual indulgence, which is to them as the right hand or the right eye. Thus the living faith that would have removed mountains of difficulty, and brought the soul into a sacred nearness with God, is made of no effect.
The Law of God.
Let us be loyal and true to every precept of the law of God. The Lord declares that if we will obey the principles of his law, these principles will be our life.
“Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice; and the Lord hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldst keep all his commandments; and to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honor; that thou mayest be a holy people unto the Lord thy God, as he hath spoken.”
Not of Human Origin.
The precepts of God’s law were not the production of any human mind, nor were they enacted by Moses. They were framed by the One infinite in wisdom, even him who is King of kings and Lord of lords, and by him were proclaimed from Sinai amidst scenes of awful grandeur. On obedience to these precepts depended Israel’s prosperity.
God Honored by Obedience.
“Thou shalt keep therefore and do them with all thine heart and with all thy soul.” God did not give his commandments to us for us to obey when we pleased, and to disregard at our pleasure. They are the laws of his kingdom, and are to be obeyed by his subjects. If his people would obey his law with the whole heart, decided witness would be borne to the world that those whom he has avouched to be his people, his peculiar treasure, do indeed honor him in all they do. Loyalty to God, unquestioning obedience to his law, would make his people a wonder in the world, because he would be able to fulfil his rich and abundant promises to them, and make them a praise in the earth. They would be a holy people unto him.
The Largeness of God’s Promises.
“Now therefore,” God declares, “if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people; for all the earth is mine; and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”
How wonderful the largeness of God’s promises! And they are given to all who will hearken to his word, believing his declarations, and obeying his commands. Obedience to his law is the condition of future and eternal happiness.
Our Covenant Relation with God.
I am instructed to present these things as matters that concern us personally; for we are to be known in the earth as God’s commandment-keeping people.
Let those who have entered into covenant relation with God remember that their spiritual prosperity depends on their loyalty. Let them not forget that they are greatly honored by being taken into covenant relation with God. The great Law-giver demands full and willing obedience. And human beings are to regard it as a privilege to obey his law. Christ gave his life to make it possible for God to pardon our transgressions. He has united divinity and humanity, that through repentance and faith men and women may become sons and daughters of God.
God asks us to keep his law for our good, for our safety. We are not to regard it as a hardship to be asked to obey. By obedience we place ourselves where we are recognized as God’s sons and daughters. We put ourselves under his protection. By obedience we are given power to overcome as Christ overcame. But those who do not feel it an honor to stand on the Lord’s side, those who are not willing to keep his law, can not expect to share in the blessings that come from a covenant relation with him.
The Lord has made known his will. As the almighty God, he has proclaimed his law. The relation in which he stands to his people is that of their Sovereign. It is their part to acknowledge his sovereignty, and with gladness accept his rule.
“Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken to his voice; and the Lord hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldst keep all his commandments; and to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honor; that thou mayest be a holy people unto the Lord thy God, as he hath spoken.”
God will faithfully fulfil his part of the covenant. He will give special help and blessing to those who obey him. Shall we fulfil our part?
— E.G. White, The Southern Watchman, February 16, 1904