Thought for the day

As they endeavored to represent God by material objects, their minds were blinded to His majesty and power; they ceased to realize the holiness of His character, or the sacred, unchanging nature of His requirements. As sin became general, it appeared less and less sinful, and they finally declared that the divine law was no longer in force; that it was contrary to the character of God to punish transgression; and they denied that His judgments were to be visited upon the earth. 
Today many professed followers of Christ believe his law is no longer in force, to believe this is sure death.

Sin

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23

The law reveals to man his sins, but it provides no remedy. While it promises life to the obedient, it declares that death is the portion of the transgressor. The gospel of Christ alone can free him from the condemnation or the defilement of sin. {GC 467,468}

BLJ To Be Like Jesus by Ellen G White.

Jesus Kept the Sabbath by Doing Good

Then Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one thing: is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?” Luke 6:9, NKJV. BLJ 152.1
It is no violation of the Sabbath to perform works of necessity, as ministering to the sick or aged, and relieving distress. Such works are in perfect harmony with the Sabbath law. Our great Exemplar was ever active upon the Sabbath, when the necessities of the sick and suffering came before Him. The Pharisees, because of this, accused Him of Sabbathbreaking, as do many ministers today who are in opposition to the law of God. But we say, Let God be true, and every man a liar who dares make this charge against the Savior. BLJ 152.2
Jesus answered the accusation of the Jews thus, “If ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.” He had already declared to them that He had kept His Father’s commandments. When He was accused of Sabbathbreaking in the matter of healing the withered hand, He turned upon His accusers with the question “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill?” In summing up His answer to the questioning of the Pharisees He said, “Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.” Here Christ justified His work as in perfect harmony with the Sabbath law. – The Signs of the Times, February 28, 1878. BLJ 152.3
Those who hold that Christ abolished the law teach that He broke the Sabbath and justified His disciples in doing the same. Thus they are really taking the same ground as did the caviling Jews. In this they contradict the testimony of Christ Himself, who declared, “I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love” (John 15:10). BLJ 152.4
Neither the Savior nor His followers broke the law of the Sabbath. Christ was a living representative of the law. No violation of its holy precepts was found in His life. BLJ 152.5
Looking upon a nation of witnesses who were seeking occasion to condemn Him, He could say unchallenged, “Which of you convicteth me of sin?” (John 8:46, RV)…. BLJ 152.6
“The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath,” Jesus said. The institutions that God has established are for the benefit of humankind…. The law of Ten Commandments, of which the Sabbath forms a part, God gave to His people as a blessing. “The Lord commanded us,” said Moses, “to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive” (Deuteronomy 6:24). – The Desire of Ages, 287, 288. BLJ 152.7

BLJ To Be Like Jesus

The Sabbath Not Jewish but Christ’s Holy Day, May 30

So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. Luke 4:16, NKJV. BLJ 161.1
How can we account for the observance of the first day of the week by the majority of professed Christians, when the Bible presents no authority for this change either in the precepts or in the example of Christ or His followers? We can account for it in the fact that the world has followed the traditions of human beings instead of a “Thus saith the Lord.” This has been the work that Satan has always sought to accomplish – lead people away from the commandments of God to the veneration and obedience of the traditions of the world. Through human instrumentalities he has cast contempt upon the Sabbath of Jehovah, and has stigmatized it as “the old Jewish Sabbath.” BLJ 161.2
Thousands have thoughtlessly echoed this reproach, as though it were something to which was attached great weight of argument; but they have lost sight of the fact that the Jewish people were especially chosen of God as the guardians of His truth, the keepers of His law, the depositary of His sacred oracles. They received the lively oracles to give unto us. The Old and New Testaments both came through the Jews to us. Every promise in the Bible, every ray of light which has shone upon us from the Word of God, has come through the Jewish nation. BLJ 161.3
Christ was the leader of the Hebrews as they marched from Egypt to Canaan. In union with the Father, Christ proclaimed the law amid the thunders of Sinai to the Jews, and when He appeared on earth as a man, He came as a descendant of Abraham. Shall we use the same argument concerning the Bible and Christ, and reject them as Jewish, as is done in rejecting the Sabbath of the Lord our God? The Sabbath institution is as closely identified with the Jews as is the Bible, and there is the same reason for the rejection of one as of the other. But the Sabbath is not Jewish in its origin. It was instituted in Eden before there were such a people known as the Jews. The Sabbath was made for all humanity, and was instituted in Eden before the fall of Adam and Eve. The Creator called it “my holy day.” Christ announced Himself as the “Lord … of the sabbath.” Beginning with creation, it is as old as the human race, and having been made for human beings it will exist as long as they shall exist. – The Signs of the Times, November 12, 1894. BLJ 161.4

The Image of The Beast

​Image of the beast
The wide diversity of belief in the Protestant churches is regarded by many as decisive proof that no effort to secure a forced uniformity can ever be made. But there has been for years, in churches of the Protestant faith, a strong and growing sentiment in favor of a union based upon common points of doctrine. To secure such a union, the discussion of subjects upon which all were not agreed – however important they might be from a Bible standpoint – must necessarily be waived. GC 444.2

Charles Beecher, in a sermon in the year 1846, declared that the ministry of “the evangelical Protestant denominations” is “not only formed all the way up under a tremendous pressure of merely human fear, but they live, and move, and breathe in a state of things radically corrupt, and appealing every hour to every baser element of their nature to hush up the truth, and bow the knee to the power of apostasy. Was not this the way things went with Rome? Are we not living her life over again? And what do we see just ahead? Another general council! A world’s convention! Evangelical alliance, and universal creed!” – Sermon on “The Bible a Sufficient Creed,” delivered at Fort Wayne, Indiana, Feb. 22, 1846. When this shall be gained, then, in the effort to secure complete uniformity, it will be only a step to the resort to force. GC 444.3

When the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the state to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy, and the infliction of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result. GC 445.1

The beast with two horns “causeth [commands] all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” Revelation 13:16, 17. The third angel’s warning is: “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God.” “The beast” mentioned in this message, whose worship is enforced by the two – horned beast, is the first, or leopardlike beast of Revelation 13 – the papacy. The “image to the beast” represents that form of apostate Protestantism which will be developed when the Protestant churches shall seek the aid of the civil power for the enforcement of their dogmas. The “mark of the beast” still remains to be defined. GC 445.2After the warning against the worship of the beast and his image the prophecy declares: “Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Since those who keep God’s commandments are thus placed in contrast with those that worship the beast and his image and receive his mark, it follows that the keeping of God’s law, on the one hand, and its violation, on the other, will make the distinction between the worshipers of God and the worshipers of the beast. GC 445.3

Sabbath Rest and Joy in Eternity

​“And it shall come to pass that from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the Lord. Isaiah 66:23, NKJV. BLJ 162.1

At last Jesus was at rest. The long day of shame and torture was ended. As the last rays of the setting sun ushered in the Sabbath, the Son of God lay in quietude in Joseph’s tomb. His work completed, His hands folded in peace, He rested through the sacred hours of the Sabbath day. BLJ 162.2

In the beginning the Father and the Son had rested upon the Sabbath after Their work of creation. When “the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them” (Genesis 2:1), the Creator and all heavenly beings rejoiced in contemplation of the glorious scene. “The morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7). BLJ 162.3

Now Jesus rested from the work of redemption; and though there was grief among those who loved Him on earth, yet there was joy in heaven. Glorious to the eyes of heavenly beings was the promise of the future….With this scene the day upon which Jesus rested is forever linked. For “his work is perfect” (Deuteronomy 32:4); and “whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever” (Ecclesiastes 3:14). When there shall be a “restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21), the creation Sabbath, the day on which Jesus lay at rest in Joseph’s tomb, will still be a day of rest and rejoicing. Heaven and earth will unite in praise, as “from one sabbath to another” (Isaiah 66:23) the nations of the saved shall bow in joyful worship to God and the Lamb. BLJ 162.4

In the closing events of the crucifixion day, fresh evidence was given of the fulfillment of prophecy, and new witness borne to Christ’s divinity. When the darkness had lifted from the cross, and the Savior’s dying cry had been uttered, immediately another voice was heard, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54). – The Desire of Ages, 769, 770. BLJ 162.5

The law of God, still abides.

Scripture teaches that men ought to, “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” – Ecclesiastes 12:13. Christ’s testimony, is that, “I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” – John 15:10. Christ did not just keep the law for his own good but for, “an example, that ye should follow his steps:” – 1Peter 2:21. In the plan of human redemption, the life of Christ is essential. His life  is a testimony, that humanity and divinity can overcome sin; but we need to follow his example, especially obedience to his law.

Scripture also teaches that, “until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.” “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” And that, “by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” – Romans 5:12,1John 3:4, Romans 5:13. The testimony of the scriptures stated, is that at the creation, man was place under God’s law and it was the violation of his law that brought sin and death into this world. It also testifies that, so long as God’s creation continues, so long will his law continue. The law wrought love, the main principle of heaven. Love worketh no ill, but Christ was wounded and crucified for the violation of this principle. Christ dying on the cross is the most strongest argument, that his law can never be annulled or abrogated. If the law could have been changed, Christ could have been spared from his cruel death; but nevertheless, “Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:” – 1Peter 3:18.

Christ did not only die for our sins, and to do away with the pending death sentence against us; but for the new covenant promises which scripture has made mention of,”But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people. and they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.”- Jeremiah 31:33, Hebrews 8:10-11. The new covenant promise is that, God will write his law upon our mind and heart, this too, is another evidence that his law is ever abiding and that man is under solemn obligation to keep every precept of the law. In writing the law upon our heart and mind, God is ensuring that every man will know his will from the least to the greatest. God’s will is that everyone should have true knowledge of sin. That sin is a violation of his law, and that its wages is death.- Romans 6:23. By obtaining this knowledge, conversion will begin, men will turn to Christ, who alone can save man from death and restore their relationship with God. But if man disregard his law, how then shall he know he is a sinner, and that he needs Christ to make him righteous and holy? So the law remains and cannot be changed. In closing I leave you with the words of the saviour, “Till heaven and earth pass,” said Jesus, “one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” The sun shining in the heavens, the solid earth upon which you dwell, are God’s witnesses that His law is changeless and eternal. Though they may pass away, the divine precepts shall endure. “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.” Luke 16:17. The system of types that pointed to Jesus as the Lamb of God was to be abolished at His death; but the precepts of the Decalogue are as immutable as the throne of God. – DA 308.3.

Work Given as a Source of Happiness, August 4

Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. Genesis 2:15, NKJV. BLJ 230.1
God placed human beings under law, as an indispensable condition of their very existence. They were subjects of the divine government, and there can be no government without law. God might have created humans without the power to transgress His law; He might have withheld the hand of Adam from touching the forbidden fruit; but in that case people would have been, not free moral agents, but mere automatons. Without freedom of choice, their obedience would not have been voluntary, but forced. There could have been no development of character. Such a course would have been contrary to God’s plan in dealing with the inhabitants of other worlds. It would have been unworthy of humans as intelligent beings, and would have sustained Satan’s charge of God’s arbitrary rule…. BLJ 230.2
The home of our first parents was to be a pattern for other homes as their children should go forth to occupy the earth. That home, beautified by the hand of God Himself, was not a gorgeous palace. Men and women, in their pride, delight in magnificent and costly edifices, and glory in the works of their own hands; but God placed Adam and Eve in a garden. This was their dwelling. The blue heavens were its dome; the earth, with its delicate flowers and carpet of living green, was its floor; and the leafy branches of the goodly trees were its canopy. Its walls were hung with the most magnificent adornings—the handiwork of the great Master Artist. BLJ 230.3
In the surroundings of the holy pair was a lesson for all time—that true happiness is found, not in the indulgence of pride and luxury, but in communion with God through His created works. If people would give less attention to the artificial, and would cultivate greater simplicity, they would come far nearer to answering the purpose of God in their creation. Pride and ambition are never satisfied, but those who are truly wise will find substantial and elevating pleasure in the sources of enjoyment that God has placed within the reach of all. BLJ 230.4
To the dwellers in Eden was committed the care of the garden, “to dress it and to keep it.” Their occupation was not wearisome, but pleasant and invigorating. God appointed labor as a blessing to our first parents, to occupy their minds, to strengthen their bodies, and to develop their faculties.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 49, 50. BLJ 230.5