Adding a Better Way of Life
This book has provided you with one of the most complete collections of information on how to quit tobacco that you can find in a small book anywhere. But getting a problem stopped is not the full solution; you also want to add a better way of life in its place.
This present chapter is going to tell you how there can be brought into your life a far deeper happiness than you may have experienced before. The information below is just as solid and useful as that which you have already studied. You will want to read it carefully.
All about us we see abundant evidence of the love of God. It is shown in the beautiful things He has made, and how carefully they have been adapted to supply the needs and happiness of all His earthly creatures. Nature teaches us that it is God who provides for us and that, as we come to Him, He can give us that which we need in order to love and obey Him. Back in the beginning, man was perfectly happy, holy, and in harmony with God. There was no blight on nature, and man talked face to face with His Maker.
Then sin entered, as man, tempted by Satan, ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. It may seem a little thing, but it was disobedience to the express will of God. Yet our heavenly Father continues to seek us. If you will but stop a moment and think about it, He has been trying to reach you for years.
The problem is that Satan tempts men to think that God is severe, harsh, and cruel. Yet this is not true. Your heavenly Father loves you with the deepest love. For years He has guarded you, though you did not know it.
It was to reveal His love to man that God sent His own Son into the world. Encouraging, healing, and helping people find a better life: This was the earthly life of Jesus—a life obedient to the will of His Father and continually revealing the character of God to mankind. "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father," He said (John 14:9).
Love, mercy, and compassion were revealed in every act of His life, for His heart went out in tender sympathy to the children of men. He took man's nature that He might reach man's wants. The poorest, humblest, and most sinful were not afraid to come to Him. Even little children loved to be near Him.
His life was one of self denial and thoughtful care for others; because every soul was precious in His eyes, He bowed with the tenderest regard to every member of the family of God. In all men He saw fallen souls for whom it was His mission to save.
Take a Bible and open to one of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) and begin reading. There you will find the character of Christ revealed in His daily life. His purity and kindliness is the character of God. It is in the Bible that we find the principles of godliness, the pathway to heaven.
It was to redeem us that Jesus lived and suffered and was crucified. He became "a Man of Sorrows," that we might be made partakers of everlasting joy. God permitted His beloved Son to come from a world of indescribable glory—to this dark world blighted with sin—so that we could be delivered from sin and enabled, by His grace, to obey the laws of God.
As you begin reading in the Bible, behold Him in the wilderness, in Gethsemane, upon the cross. The spotless Son of God took upon Himself the burden of sin. He who had been one with God felt in His soul the awful separation that sin makes between God and man. This separation and the burden of sin broke His heart.
Yet this great sacrifice was not made in order to create in the Father's heart a love for man, so He would be willing to save us. No, no! "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son." John 3:16. The Father loves us, not because of the great sacrifice—but He provided the sacrifice of His Son on Calvary because He loves us! Through Christ, God poured His love upon mankind. To Christ we can come and seek forgiveness of sin and enabling power to obey. And by remaining with Him, day by day, we can look forward to eternal life with Him in the glories of heaven.
Was it worth it for God to do this? Yes, it was well worth it—even if only one person would have accepted the great salvation. Just now, though many others may refuse it, you can come to Him and receive forgiveness, peace with God, and strength to obey His Inspired Word, the Holy Scriptures.
Only Jesus could accomplish our redemption, but many do not realize why; for only One equal to the Law of God—the Ten Commandments—could die to meet its claims and enable man to obey it. Jesus is fully God and equal with the Father. He died so that you could live through eternal ages with Him. The Father loves Christ all the more because He did it, because the Father also loves you.
Beholding the depth of that love, men and women down through history have wept as they discovered it. Coming to God, they have found peace with Him as they had their sins forgiven, have put away their bad habits, and become servants of God. That love has enabled them not only to live clean, honest lives, but to remain loyal to their God in the face of ridicule, persecution, and even death.
It is impossible for us, of ourselves, to escape from the pit of sin in which we are sunken. Our hearts are evil and, without the help of God, we cannot change them. There must be a power from above to work inside of us and strengthen our resolves and our will. That power is Christ. His forgiving, enabling grace alone can awaken the lifeless faculties of the soul and attract them to God and godlike living. Only He can strengthen us to stop sinning. Yet only we can make the choice to come to Him day by day and let Him give us that strength.
This new life begins with the New Birth. Jesus said, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). This means that unless he shall receive a new heart, new desires, purposes, and motives, all leading to a new life, a person cannot find peace with God, deliverance from sin, and eternal life.
It is not enough to see our condition or even the love of God; we must bow in agony of sorrow over our sins and how they cost the life of God's own Son. We must come to Jesus in heartfelt grief—and plead with Him for forgiveness, acceptance, and purity of heart.
Many resist the love of Christ and are lost. They are content with their own condition. But if we do not resist the drawing power of that love, we will be convicted of our sins—and will be drawn in love and sorrow, for the way we have treated Him, to the One who died and liveth again—that we might have eternal life. You who in heart long for something better than this world can give, recognize this longing as the voice of God to your soul. Ask Him to give you repentance, to reveal Christ, in all His love and purity, to you. It is as we behold Him that we see the sinfulness of our own hearts and come to Him in true repentance for sin and a turning away from it.
But do not make the mistake of many: If you see your sinfulness, do not wait to make yourself better before coming to Christ! Come to Him now, just as you are. In Him you will find the answer to all your problems. Begin walking the journey of life with Him. You will be continually astounded at the courage, comfort, and help that He can give you day by day. But do not delay in coming. Satan will tempt you to think that you need to wait a day or two; yet, during the delay, he will present all kinds of reasons why you should not give your life to Christ. The devil will hold out his trinkets to you; you know how it works. A little quick pleasure and back to the old misery afterward. But now you want to be done with all that. You want to start a better way of life, a life of clean living with God.
You are tired of your past life of sin and failure. You want peace with God and forgiveness of sin. You would rather serve God than live for yourself—and so you come, now, to Jesus. And you find that you have entered upon a life of the deepest happiness you have ever experienced. There is nothing on earth that can bring you the peace of heart that God can give you.
Do not imagine that you will not have problems. Satan will continue to bring them through circumstances, friends, and associates, just as he has done before. Yet you will find that you now have new help in coping with difficulties, definite guidance in meeting them, fresh strength in recognizing and resisting the approach of sin.
But let no one tell you that it is all right to disobey God. It is never right and it is never safe. By faith, cling to Christ all through the day. The secret is in finding Him in the morning, in prayer, and study of the Sacred Scriptures. And then in walking, hand in hand, with Him all through the day. The Bible says to "pray without ceasing." That is a habit worth developing. But, again, begin each day by coming anew to God, surrendering your life to Him, and dedicating yourself and all you have and are to Him.
Sometimes Satan will come and tell you that you are a great sinner—but tell him that Christ Jesus died to save sinners! Apart from Christ, you are lost; but clinging to His hand, moment by moment, you can make it safely along the path of life, strewn as it is with so many temptations.
We come to God with a genuine sorrow for sin, and this sincere repentance is followed by a reformation in the life. Many changes are made as we study God's Word and bring our lives into conformity to it. For in giving ourselves to God, we must necessarily give up all that would separate us from Him. But it is really no sacrifice to yield our plans, our habits, our desires, and our lives to Christ. Just think of the sacrifice that He made for you! And the only things that we have to give up are things that can hurt us. God does not require us to give up anything that it is for our best interest to retain. We do ourselves the greatest injury when we think and act contrary to the will of God. Following paths forbidden by Him can never bring joy or peace.
The important question is this: How am I to make the surrender of my life to God? You desire to give yourself to Him, but you are weak in moral power, in slavery to doubt, and controlled by the habits of your life of sin. Your promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand. You cannot control your thoughts, your impulses, your affections. The knowledge of your broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens your confidence in your own sincerity and causes you to feel that God cannot accept you. But you need not despair. What you need to understand is the true force of the will. This is the power of decision, the power of choice. It is the governing power in the nature of man. Everything depends on the right action of the will. God has given you this power of the will; you must use it. But you must realize that, without the help of God, you cannot use your will aright.
But you can choose to give your life, your affections, and your will to God. He will then work in you, to strengthen you to resist Satan's temptations.
He will enable you to overcome sin and come off conqueror; for He "is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the throne of His glory with exceeding joy" (Jude 24).
God will, by His Holy Spirit, work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). Submitting to God and resisting sin in His strength will bring your whole nature under the control of His Spirit, and your affections will be centered upon Him, and your thoughts will be in harmony with Him. This is what you want for your life, is it not?
Desires for goodness and holiness are right as far as they go; but if you stop here, they will avail nothing. Many will be lost while hoping and desiring to be Christians. They do not come to the point of yielding the will to God. They do not now choose to be Christians.
Through the right exercise of the will, an entire change may be made in your life. By yielding up your will to Christ, you ally yourself with the power that is above all principalities and powers. You will have strength from above to hold you steadfast; and through constant surrender to God you will be enabled to live the new life, even the life of faith.
The New Birth is a dying to sin and a living to Christ. The Apostle Paul died anew every day. "I die daily," he said (1 Corinthians 15:31). Every morning he rededicated His life to God and died anew to sin.
The New Birth is experienced as you come to God. You cannot atone for your past sins; you cannot change your heart and make yourself holy. But God promises to do all this for you through Christ. You believe that promise. You confess your sins and give yourself to God. You will to serve Him. Just as surely as you do this, God will fulfill His Word to you. If you believe the promise—believe that you are forgiven and cleansed—God supplies the fact; you are made whole, just as Christ gave the paralytic power to walk when the man believed that he was healed. It is so if you believe it.
Do not wait to feel that you are made whole, but say, "I believe it; it is so, not because I feel it but because God has promised."
Henceforth you are not your own; you are bought with a price—the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:1819). Through this simple act of surrendering and believing, the Holy Spirit has begotten a new life in your heart. You are as a child born into the family of God, and He loves you as He loves His Son.
Now that you have given yourself to Jesus, do not draw back, do not take yourself away from Him, but day by day say, "I am Christ's; I have given myself to Him"; and ask Him to give you His Spirit and keep you by His grace. As you first found Him, so live in Him.
Thousands fail because they do not believe that Jesus will pardon them personally, individually. They do not take God at His Word. But it is the privilege of all who comply with the conditions to know for themselves that pardon is freely extended for every sin.
Do not yield to doubt. Read the rich promises of Scripture and believe them. Memorize them; repeat them to yourself and others through the day. Do not doubt and tremble, but look up—for Jesus is making intercession for you in the Sanctuary in heaven. Resist doubt with thanksgiving and an active helping of others. Thank God every day for the gift of His dear Son. Come to Him continually, cling to Him, praise Him. Share all your sorrows and joys with Him. And obey Him.
Whom do we love the most? If we love Jesus above every earthly thing, He will have our sweetest thoughts, our warmest affections, and our best energies. We will desire to speak to Him and speak about Him to others. He will have become the center of our life.
When we are with Jesus, every burden becomes light, duty becomes a delight, and sacrifice a pleasure. We love to obey Him.
The Bible reveals God's laws of right living for mankind. The Ten Commandments are so important that God wrote them with His own finger, so you and I could have them. You will find them in Exodus 20:317.
It is an error to trust in our own works for salvation, but the opposite and no less dangerous error is that belief in Christ releases men from keeping the law of God; that our works have nothing to do with our redemption.
Love must be the principle of action, and the concern of the heart to obey the will of God because we love Him.
When we obey from the heart, because we love God, our obedience becomes the fruit of the New Birth. It is a service of love to our God. God writes His laws in the hearts of those who have experienced the New Birth (Hebrews 10:16), and that law, written in the heart, will change the whole life. Obedience to God is the true sign of discipleship.
If we will not obey Him, we are not really His. "This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments." "He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 John 5:3; 2:4). Genuine faith in God does not release us from obedience to Him. The truth is that it is faith alone that can enable us to be partakers of the grace of Christ—and it is His grace that enables us to render Him genuine heartfelt obedience!
That so called faith in Christ, which professes to release men from obeying God, is not real faith, but presumption. "I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love" is what Jesus said (John 15:10). And He is our example. We are to walk as He walked and follow in His steps (1 John 2:6; 1 Peter 2:21).
The condition of eternal life is just what it always has been—just what it was in the Garden of Eden before the Fall of our first parents—perfect obedience to the law of God. If eternal life were granted on any condition short of this, then the happiness of the whole universe would be imperiled. The way would be open for sin, with all its train of woe and misery, to be immortalized.
Christ died on Calvary in order to become our great High Priest in the Sanctuary in heaven. There He ministers to all who come unto God by Him. "We have such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens." "Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 8:1; 7:25).
Christ wants to forgive you and enable you to obey the physical, moral, and health laws given in the Bible. He wants you to partake of the divine nature as you grasp the promises. For it is by faith in His promises that you are enabled, by His Spirit, to render Him such perfect obedience. "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises [of Scripture]; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Peter 1:4).
"Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:1415). That is a powerful promise for you just now, as you seek to learn more about God's plan for your life. And look at this wonderful promise which goes with it:
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).
For a few minutes, we have been looking into the depths of the rich, enabling grace of Christ, given to forgive us and enable us to obey the Law of God. But now we want to understand more of that Law itself. How thankful we can be that everything God gives is perfect and for our good.
Here is the MoraI Law of God, the Ten Commandments:
The First Commandment "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me." Exodus 20:3. Only God is entitled to our supreme reverence and worship. Nothing else is to have first place in our affections or service. Anything else that lessens our love for and obedience to God—becomes a god more important to us than our heavenly Father.
The Second Commandment "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them" (Exodus 20:45). We are not to worship God by images or similitudes. Representing Him by material objects lowers our conception of God and can only result in the degradation of ourselves.
The Third Commandment "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain" (Exodus 20:7). This commandment forbids false legal oaths and common swearing, and it also forbids using His name in a light or careless manner. He is holy and reverend (Psalm 111:9), and His faithful children will ever keep this in mind. His person and name should be thought of and spoken of with reverence and solemnity.
The Fourth Commandment "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. In it thou shalt not do any work; thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day. Wherefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it." Exodus 20:811.
The importance of the Sabbath is here shown to date back to the Creation of the world, at which time God first gave the seventh day Sabbath to mankind as a day set apart for divine worship. "And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it, because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made" (Genesis 2:23). After creating this world and everything in it in six days, our God set aside the seventh day as a day of rest. He rested on it, blessed it, and sanctified it; that is, set it apart for our worship of Him.
The Sabbath is a sign that we love Him, obey Him, and are sanctified by Him. It is a sign of His creatorship and our sanctification and redemption. The Bible Sabbath is a sign that God is our Creator (Exodus 31:17), that He is the Lord our God (Ezekiel 20:20), and that He is the One who alone can sanctify us (Exodus 31:13). It is the sign or seal of the law. The only true Sabbath is the Bible Sabbath—the one given us in the Bible, the one kept on the day of the week that God set aside for us as the Sabbath day.
This is the seventh day of the week, Saturday. Astronomers tell us that, throughout history, time has never been lost. Historians tells us that the weekly cycle can be traced back thousands of years. The languages of man attest to the fact that the seventh day is the true Sabbath. (More information on this is available free from this publisher: Write for it. Ask for the book by name: Beyond Pitcairn.)
But astounding evidence of which day is the true Sabbath is the Jewish people. Of all the ancient races of mankind, only the Jews remain a distinct people—in spite of the fact that they did not have a homeland for most of two thousand years. Through the Jews we can trace back to the Sabbath that Jesus (Luke 4:16), His disciples (Luke 23:56), and the apostles (Acts 13:14, 42; 16:13; 17:12) kept. Jesus said that, after His death, His followers must continue to keep the Sabbath (Matthew 24:20), and this they did (Luke 23:56, Acts 13:14, 42; 16:13; 17:12). But also, through the Jews, we can trace the weekly cycle and the true Sabbath all the way back to Moses, at which time Gad gave the Ten Commandments in written form.
There is no doubt as to which day is the true Sabbath, and there is no doubt that Gad wants us to keep it. Our Creator never did away with His Moral Law, and we should not try to do so either. It is true that the "shadow laws" (Hebrews 10:1) were abolished at the cross. But those were the laws of animal sacrifices in the earthly sanctuary. Type met antitype at the death of Christ on Calvary, and the statutes and ordinances of the ceremonial law were taken away at that time. However, the Moral Law, contained in the Ten Commandments, is to be reverently obeyed by us today. And we are to do it in the strength of Christ. By grace we are saved (delivered from sin), and by grace we are empowered to obey all that God has commanded in Holy Scripture.
What many do not understand is that "sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4), and that in order to be "saved from sin," we must be enabled to keep that law. And this can be done alone in the strength of Christ's enabling merits. Christ is our Righteousness: He alone is our Forgiver and our Enabler. Christ died to uphold the law and make it possible far you to obey it; He did not die, as some preach, in order to destroy the Moral Law! Christ did not die to destroy morality, but to guard and uphold it. He died to enable sinners to be forgiven and live clean, godly, obedient lives (for godly living is what the Ten Commandments is all about). He did not die to destroy right living—Ten Commandment living—and immortalize sin and take incorrigible sinners to heaven, there to defile it forever. Yet all that would be so if Christ died to do away with the Ten Commandments.
In the Sermon an the Mount, Jesus said, "Think not that I am came to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (Matthew 5:1718). The original Greek word for "fulfill" in that verse is pleroo, which means "to make full." It does not mean "to destroy or abolish." This same word is used in 1 John 1:4; John 15:11; 16:24; 2 John 12 in the sense of "bringing to the fullest measure." Jesus said that He was sending the Holy Spirit "that your joy may be full." He did not mean that it would be abolished. This same Greek root word is found in "fulfill ye My joy" (Philippians 2:2; John 17:13), "preach fully" (Colossians 1:25), and "obey fully" (2 Corinthians 10:6). Jesus concludes the above statement with a powerful warning not to disobey the Law of God: "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever, shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:19).
The truth of the matter is that the seventh day Sabbath is the only weekly sacred day given in the Bible. It was kept all through Bible times and afterward for many centuries. But in the fourth century A.D., the first Sunday Law was enacted (A.D. 321), requiring the worship of God on Sunday, the first day of the week. Sunday sacredness began in Persia about 200 years before the time of Christ. Worshipers of the Persian god, Mithra, gave Sunday its name, "The venerable day of the Sun," and worshiped their god on that day. Because Mithra was the sun god, they worshiped him by gathering on Sunday morning and facing east—toward the sun—as they prayed. Very evangelistic, the Mithraites spread their faith all through the vast Roman Empire (Europe, the Near East, and North Africa). By the end of the third century A.D., the majority of the people had been won either to Mithraism or Christianity. Early in the fourth century, Constantine became emperor. Recognizing that the empire greatly needed strengthening, he counseled with the leaders of the Christian church at Rome—and, with them, developed the plan of uniting both religions into one—by having the people worship the God of the Christians, but do it on the sacred day of the Mithraites.
The plan of uniting the majority of the people into one religion succeeded dramatically as a single State Church was formed. Now everyone could easily become a Christian, and it was good politics to do so. Within a century the Christian churches in the cities were corrupted. It was really paganism that conquered, and the persecution of Bible obeying Christians began in earnest. For centuries, Sabbath keepers were proscribed, hunted, and slain.
That, in brief, is where Sunday keeping came from and why we have it today. Yet God had earlier predicted that this attempt would be made by the little horn power of Rome to challenge God's holy law: "And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws" (Daniel 7:25). In that one brief verse, we are warned of the amazing blasphemies, persecutions, martyrdoms, and efforts to change God's law—that would be attempted by this power. And time laws are specifically mentioned. Any Catholic catechism will tell you that it was the Roman Catholic Church which changed the seventh day Sabbath to Sunday. And elsewhere in the catechism, which is the Catholic lesson book, you will learn that the second commandment was taken out (forbidding image worship), the fourth was changed (removing the "seventh day" from the Sabbath Commandment), and the tenth was then split in two (making two "covet commandments") in an effort to preserve the number ten.
God also predicted that people would arise who would repair the torn out place in the law by again keeping the Sabbath Commandment. Carefully read Isaiah 58:1214. And it was predicted that God's faithful believers in the last days would keep God's law. The persecution of the true church by the apostate church during the Dark Ages was predicted in Revelation 12:1316, and following that, in the last days, would live the remnant—or last part—of the true church who would be faithful to God: "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 12:17).
Revelation 14:12 provides additional identification of this final group of faithful believers, just before the end of time: "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." By faith in Jesus' enabling grace, they are enabled to obey the law of God. In the midst of a lawbreaking generation, they will uphold obedience to God and will stand faithful to the Ten Commandments.
Revelation 22:14 describes the entrance of His people into the City of God: "Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and enter in through the gates into the city." What a precious promise for those who now are ridiculed and derided for keeping God's commandments by faith in Christ.
But the future is bright for those who will stand loyal to God and His law—for that future is full of Jesus. Through eternal ages the people of God will worship Him on the Bible Sabbath: "For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before Me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith the Lord" (Isaiah 66:22, 23).
We have considered the first four of the Ten Commandments. We will now look at the last six:
The Fifth Commandment "Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee" (Exodus 20:12). Parents are entitled to a degree of love and respect which is due to no other person. We are not to reject the rightful authority of our parents, and we are to give them love and tender care all through their lives, even to old age. We should also respect other authorities, as long as their rules do not conflict with the laws of God.
The Sixth Commandment "Thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:13). All acts of injustice that shorten life; the spirit of hatred and revenge or the indulgence of any passion that leads to injurious acts toward others or causes us to even wish them harm is a violation of the sixth commandment. It also includes a selfish neglect of caring for the needy and suffering, and all self indulgence and intemperance that injures the health of ourselves or others.
The Seventh Commandment "Thou shalt not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14). This commandment forbids not only impure actions, but also sensual thoughts and desires, and any practice which tends to excite them. Christ taught that the evil thought or look is as truly sin as is the unlawful action.
The Eighth Commandment "Thou shalt not steal" (Exodus 20:15). This commandment forbids man stealing, slave dealing, and wars of conquest. It not only condemns theft and robbery, but demands strict integrity in the minutest details of life. It forbids overreaching in business and trade, and requires the payment of just debts or wages. No one is to advantage himself by the ignorance, weakness, or misfortune of another.
The Ninth Commandment "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor" (Exodus 20:16). Included here is false speaking: every attempt or purpose to deceive another person. Falsehood is not only the act of misleading; it is also the intention to deceive. This can be done by a glance of the eye, a motion of the hand, or an expression of the face. All intentional overstatement, and even stating facts in such a manner as to mislead, is falsehood." Also included is every effort to injure the reputation of another by misrepresentation, evil surmising, slander, tale bearing, or intentional suppression of the truth.
The Tenth Commandment "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house; thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor's" (Exodus 20:17).
The tenth commandment strikes at the very root of all sins and prohibits the selfish desire, from which springs the sinful act. Covetousness lies at the heart of many of the iniquities of mankind.
The old song says, "Grace, grace, God's grace; grace greater than all our sins." And how truly great is the grace of God for it is powerful enough to enable us to overcome all our sins and live a new life in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. The law of God, written on our heart, means obedience to it in the whole life. And this is not only what we want; it is also God's plan for us. As we live noble, godly lives, we are prepared for heaven, for we have heaven in our hearts. Matthew 1:21 predicted the objective of Jesus' life: "She shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name, Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins. The word, "Jesus," means "deliverer." Jesus came to earth to deliver us—remove us from—our sins. He did not live and die to save us in our sins but, as the Bible says, from our sins.
The Lord would have all His children happy, peaceful, and obedient. As we live and work with Jesus in ministering to the needs of others, our own trials are forgotten. There is joy in the service of God; the Christian has no vain regrets and disappointments. There is an eternity of happiness in the life beyond; and, even in this life, we may have the comfort of Christ's presence. Every step in life may bring us closer to Jesus, may give us a deeper experience of His love, and may bring us one step nearer to our eternal home where everyone will be peaceful and happy. No more pain, no more sorrow; that is what is in store for us.
Then let us not cast away our confidence and our precious Bible based faith. But with firmer assurance, let us recall to mind the many times our God has gone before us and protected and guided us in the way. Let us keep fresh in memory all the tender mercies He has shown us in our past. We still have further to walk before life's pilgrimage will close. But we can walk it with Jesus and rejoice at each step at the bright future in store for us in the land beyond.
We cannot only look forward to new perplexities, but we may look on what is past as well as what is to come, and say, "Hitherto hath the Lord helped us," and "as thy days, so shall thy strength be" (1 Samuel 7:12; Deuteronomy 33:25). The trial will not exceed the strength given to bear it. Then let us take up our duties and tasks where we find them, believing that whatever may come, God will be with us all the way to the end.
And by and by the gates of heaven will be thrown open to admit God's children, and they will "inherit the kingdom prepared" for them "from the foundation of the world" (Matthew 25:34). Then the redeemed will be welcomed to the home that Jesus has been preparing for them. There they will associate with those who, like themselves, have overcome sin in the strength of Christ and have formed pure, holy characters. Amid the glories of heaven, they stand with Jesus before the great white throne, sharing the dignities and privileges of heaven.
In view of such an inheritance, soon to be ours, what shall we say? You may be poor in this world's goods; you may be despised and hated—but you possess a wealth and dignity that the world can never know. For you have the peace of God's presence with you now, and you look forward to an eternity in heaven serving Him.
God bless and keep you. Stand true to God to the end. I want to meet you on the other side. Remember: When things look dark, cry to Him in prayer. He will comfort and help. If you fall, run right back to Him. — vf
The above chapter included adapted material from Steps to Christ, Patriarchs and Prophets, and Great Controversy.