Keeping the Commandments
Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev. 14: 12)
Some people claim that Christ abolished His Father’s law at the cross, and that we are not bound to keep the Ten Commandments any more. There is no scriptural support for this claim.
If it were possible for the 10 Commandments to be abolished or changed, there wouldn’t have been any need for Christ to die, to save man from the penalty of sin. The death of Christ, instead of abolishing the Law, proves that it is unchanging. The Law of God is a revelation of His will, and His character. God’s law is unchangeable, unalterable, infinite, and eternal.
Thus all efforts by Satan and man to destroy it, change it, or ignore it, are of no avail. From its very nature, it is as unchangeable as God Himself. God could not or alter one precept of His law in order to save man; for the law is the foundation of His government.
It is the transcript of the character of God:
“The laws reveals the attributes of God’s character, and not a jot or a tittle of it could be changed to meet man in his fallen condition” (Desire of Ages, p. 762)
It reveals His glory:
“The mist that intervenes between Christ and the soul will be rolled back as we by faith look past the hellish shadow of Satan and see God’s glory in His law, and the righteousness of Christ” (SDA BC, Vol. 6, p 1097)
“We behold in it the goodness of God, who by revealing to men the immutable principles of righteousness, seek to shield them from evil that results from transgression” (SDA BC, Vol. 6, p 1085)
“It is true that the law of God reveals the love of God when it is preached as the truth in Jesus” (Selected Messages, Vol. 1, p. 156)
“The law of God is holy as He is holy, as perfect as He is perfect. It presents to men the righteousness of God” (Thoughts From the Mount of Blessings, p. 54)
His holiness of character:
“When the law was proclaimed from Sinai, God made known to men the holiness of His character, that by contrast they might see the sinfulness of their own” (Desire of Ages, p. 308).
It is the basis of God’s government.
“The beauty of holiness is to appear in its native luster in contrast with the deformity and darkness of the disloyal, those who have revolted from the law of God. Thus we acknowledge God and recognize His law, the foundation of His government in heaven and throughout His earthly dominions” (Testimonies to Ministers, p. 16)
In turn, the law of God is indispensable to the salvation of man, but the law cannot save.
“So it is with the law of God. It points out the defects of character. It cannot save him from his sins. But God has made a provision” (SDA BC, Vol. 7, p. 935).
It does reveal his defects of character:
“The law of God is the mirror to show man the defects in his character” (SDA BC, Vol. 6, p. 1077).
“In order to see his guilt, the sinner must test his character by God's great standard of righteousness. It is a mirror which shows the perfection of a righteous character and enables him to discern the defects in his own” (Great Controversy, p. 467).
“The law points out man’s duty and shows him his guilt” (Desire of Ages, p. 608).
And his duty:
“The law points out man’s duty” (Desire of Ages, p. 608).
The law leads us to recognize our own depravity and our helplessness in addressing man’s most difficult problems, sin and selfishness. The law points out the need of a Saviour – One who is able to forgive our sins and to secure victory over sin in our lives.
“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” (Romans 6:6).
“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:3,4).
It is easy to understand why the law becomes the central issue of the final events of the great controversy. From the moment of his rebellion, Satan has sought to destroy the credibility of God’s character in the minds of created beings. Keeping the law is the only characteristic of Christ that Satan cannot bring himself to emulate, for in hating God, he hates His character expressed in His law.
“Disguised as an angel of light, he will walk the earth as a wonder-worker. In beautiful language he will present lofty sentiments. Good words will be spoken by him, and good deeds performed. Christ will be personified, but on one point there will be a marked distinction. Satan will turn the people from the law of God.” (Fundamentals of Christian Education, pp. 471,472).
Keeping the law signifies our loyalty to God, whereas sin signifies rebellion and enslavement to Satan
“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2).
” He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (1John 3:8,9).
Obedience and a Christlike character are interchangeable, so that the final revelation of God to the world, which will precede the return of our Lord, will be the revelation of Himself in His people.
Satan’s attack on the law is his last desperate effort to forestall the redemption of the saints. His wicked “sin and live” deception goes back to Eden where he convinced Eve that she could disobey God and live. Today through myriads of false teachers and preachers, Satan is leading the majority of Christians into false security, putting them on the road to rebellion and eternal destruction.
But no faithful student of the Word need be in doubt, for God’s true people at the end of time will distinguish themselves from all others as they live in the abiding love of the Lord, continually reflecting His character. On the other hand, no matter what their profession, those who continue to break od’s commandments will not be invited to eat of the tree of life which God has promised to the overcomer.
“…To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” (Revelation 2:7).
Thus the message of the third angel is a separating one. Those who accept Satan’s deception not only become hostile to the law, but they also turn their fury on the commandment keepers. So, finally, the two classes in the church are irreconcilably separated.
“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.” (Great Controversy, pp.445, 446).
“In the issue of the contest all Christendom will be divided into two great classes--those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and those who worship the beast and his image and receive his mark.” Great Controversy, p. 450)
Indifference to God’s law has been fostered by the ancient erroneous belief, “once saved always saved.” The false security that this offers to the “saved” can only lead many to a smug assurance that the way they live has nothing to do with their readiness of fitness for the pure courts of heaven.
Others have been persuaded that God’s law is infinite in its ramifications, thus no one can keep it. This error begins with a truth. God’s law does have infinite implications and indeed will be our joyous study throughout eternity. But the keeping of God’s law is for us the same as for the angels – God requires us to be obedient in our sphere, according to our knowledge.
If it were not for the protecting hand of God, all would be destroyed so that Satan and his cause might appear to triumph. But the same God who, through His Son, has preserved His children from spiritual failure, now sets His hands to preserve them from physical annihilation. God says, “Thus far and no farther.” When it seems that no one can possibly survive the murderous purposes of Satan, the Lord steps in to preserve His people.
“When the protection of human laws shall be withdrawn from those who honor the law of God, there will be, in different lands, a simultaneous movement for their destruction. As the time appointed in the decree draws near, the people will conspire to root out the hated sect. It will be determined to strike in one night a decisive blow, which shall utterly silence the voice of dissent and reproof. The people of God--some in prison cells, some hidden in solitary retreats in the forests and the mountains--still plead for divine protection, while in every quarter companies of armed men, urged on by hosts of evil angels, are preparing for the work of death. It is now, in the hour of utmost extremity, that the God of Israel will interpose for the deliverance of His chosen.” (Great Controversy, p. 635).
Thus a generation of faithful, obedient saints are preserved to witness the glorious triumph of King of kings, and the Lord of lords and to declare,
“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.” (Isaiah 25:9).
Extracts from “Adventism Proclaimed” by Standish and Standish, pp 166-174.