The Obedient and the Disobedient –

The Contrast

“By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:” Romans 1:6

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February 11, 1897 The Obedient and the

Disobedient. The Contrast.


     God's law is his great standard of righteousness. This law is perfect in all its requirements; and God calls upon us to obey it; for by it our cases will be decided in that day when the books of heaven are opened, and the deeds of all come up in review before the Judge of the universe. {ST, February 11, 1897 par. 1}


     But there are, and ever have been, two classes in this world; and the question, What constitutes the difference between these two classes? is grave and important. One class love and fear God; the other do not wish to retain him in their knowledge. One class render obedience to his law; the other disregard and disobey his requirements.{ST, February 11, 1897 par. 2}


     Those who are unwilling to obey God's law declare that it is done away, that God has abolished it. But if this law is perfect, why should God abolish or change it? That which is perfect can not be improved by any change. An attempt to remodel a perfect enactment only causes imperfection. God has neither abolished nor changed his law. It is the foundation of his government; and it will stand forever, the immutable, unalterable standard which all must reach would they be saved. "Till heaven and earth pass," declared Christ, "one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." {ST, February 11, 1897 par. 3}


     "The law of the Lord is perfect," writes the psalmist, "converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. . . . Moreover by them is thy servant warned, and in keeping of them there is great reward." How then does the God of heaven look upon those who pour contempt upon his law? Let not the words spoken against the law of God by those who refuse to obey it, be regarded as wise; for God has said, "The wise in heart will receive commandments; but a prating fool shall fall." {ST, February 11, 1897 par. 4}


     After Adam lost Eden by disobedience, and sin entered the world, men became more and more disobedient. The entire world, with a few exceptions, were given up to depravity and corruption. "God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.' And by a flood the Lord swept the earth of its moral corruption. {ST, February 11, 1897 par. 5}


     But even in that age the Lord had his representatives. These men loved God; they obeyed him; and he gave them light and truth. Christ walked with them, giving them moral power to obey him, and opening before them the future of this earth's history, and the scene of his second coming. "Enoch walked with God; and he was not; for God took him." Of him Jude writes, "Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him." {ST, February 11, 1897 par. 6}


     Noah, too, witnessed for God in that age of wickedness. "These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God." When God was about to destroy the inhabitants of the earth with a flood, he said to Noah, "Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation." {ST, February 11, 1897 par. 7}


     What constituted the difference between Enoch and Noah, and those who were destroyed by the flood? Enoch and Noah were obedient to the law of God; the others walked in the imagination of their own hearts, and corrupted their ways before the Lord, disregarding all his requirements. By their disobedience they separated themselves from him, and provoked him to destroy them. Enoch and Noah were found righteous when tested by the law of God. Had the antediluvians kept the way of God, had they obeyed his commandments, they too would have been found righteous, and would have received the Lord's commendation. {ST, February 11, 1897 par. 8}


     In his letter to the Romans Paul writes of the obedient and the disobedient. "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ," he says; "for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, The just shall live by faith." These are the obedient. As faith in God increases, the more distinctly we endure the seeing of him who is invisible, and we are strengthened to obey him. {ST,February 11, 1897 par. 9}


     The apostle then presents the great army of the disobedient, those who do not love to retain God in their knowledge, but choose their own disloyal ways, and follow the imagination of their own hearts: "The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse; because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things." {ST, February 11, 1897 par. 10}


     Peter also outlines two classes, one approved of God, because obedient to all his commandments; the other disloyal to him, sinning against him because transgressing his law; for "sin is the transgression of the law." "There were false prophets also among the people," he writes, "even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you." But he says, "the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished. {ST, February 11, 1897 par. 11}


     "As it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man." Now, as then, the servers of mammon, careless, indifferent, and disobedient, go on and on, neglecting the great salvation so freely offered to them, failing to recognize God, or to offer him thanksgiving and praise. The Lord has manifested himself in his works, which the eye can see and the senses discern; in terms too plain to be misunderstood, he has declared his will in his word. But the disobedient do not see God in the manifold works of creation; they do not hear his voice speaking to them out of his word. The light of truth is offered to them, but they choose sin. They follow their own imaginations, as did the inhabitants of the Noetic world, placing their desires and ambitions above all else. {ST, February 11, 1897 par. 12}


     It is a marvel to the heavenly host that God bears so long with the transgressors of his law. But God is long-suffering, and abundant in mercy. His sun shines upon the evil and upon the good, upon those who are so blinded by the deceiving power of Satan that they deny the existence of Omnipotence, and upon those who strive earnestly to do his will. He gives men richly "all things to enjoy," and tho all do not acknowledge him as worthy of their praise or service, yet he bears patiently with them, and his voice of entreaty is still heard: "Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?" He would have "all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."{ST, February 11, 1897 par. 13}


     God ever commends obedience. For their obedience Enoch was translated to heaven, and Noah was saved from the flood that deluged the earth. "Behold," writes the psalmist. "the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine." "I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not; yea, I sought him, but he could not be found. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace. But the transgressors shall be destroyed together; the end of the wicked shall be cut off." {ST,February 11, 1897 par. 14}


     Weakened through sin, we can not of ourselves keep the law of God. But Christ came to our world to restore the moral image of God in men, and to bring them back from the path of disobedience to a path of obedience. His mission to the world was to reveal the character of God by living the law, which is the foundation of his government; and those who will accept him as their personal Saviour will grow in grace, and in his strength will be enabled to obey the law of God. {ST, February 11, 1897par. 15}


Note: Grace is defined as the Holy Spirit:


“By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:” Romans 1:6


“They must have His grace, the Spirit of Christ, to help their infirmities, or they cannot form a Christian character. Jesus loves to have us come to Him, just as we are—sinful, helpless, dependent.” Faith and Works, p. 38.


“There must be a power working from within, a new life from above, before man can be changed from sin to holiness. That power is Christ. His grace [the Spirit of Christ] alone can quicken the lifeless faculties of the soul, and attract it to God, to holiness.” (ST, May 28, 1902, par. 3). End note.


     When Christ comes in the clouds of heaven only two classes, the obedient and the disobedient, will meet him. And only those who, having had the light upon God's requirements, have been obedient to him, can meet him with joy. Those who have persisted in a course of disobedience, will flee in terror, hiding in the dens of the mountains, and saying to the rocks and the mountains, "Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb." But those who have honored God by their obedience, will look up, and say, "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us; this is the Lord, we have waited for him; we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation."

                                                           Mrs. E. G. White. {ST, February 11, 1897 par. 16}