Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, Today - These words are quoted from Psalm 95:7; and as they were written by David, and attributed here to the Holy Ghost, it proves that David wrote, by the inspiration of God's Holy Spirit. As these words were originally a warning to the Israelites not to provoke God, lest they should be excluded from that rest which he had promised them, the apostle uses them here to persuade the Christians in Palestine to hold fast their religious privileges, and, the grace they had received, lest they should come short of that state of future glory which Christ had prepared for them. The words strongly imply, as indeed does the whole epistle, the possibility of falling from the grace of God, and perishing everlastingly; and without this supposition these words, and all such like, which make more than two-thirds of the whole of Divine revelation, would have neither sense nor meaning. Why should God entreat man to receive his mercy, if he have rendered this impossible? Why should he exhort a believer to persevere, if it be impossible for him to fall away? What contemptible quibbling have men used to maintain a false and dangerous tenet against the whole tenor of the word of God! Angels fell - Adam fell - Solomon fell - and multitudes of believers have fallen, and, for aught we know, rose no more; and yet we are told that we cannot finally lose the benefits of our conversion! Satan preached this doctrine to our first parents; they believed him, sinned, and fell; and brought a whole world to ruin!
Wherefore - In view of the fact that the Author of the Christian dispensation has a rank far superior to that of Moses. Because Christ has claims on us far greater than those which Moses had, let us hearken to his voice, and dread his displeasure.
As the Holy Ghost saith - In Psalm 95:7-11. This is full proof that in the estimation of the author of this Epistle the writer of this Psalm was inspired. The Holy Spirit speaks through the word which he has revealed. The apostle quotes this passage and applies it to those whom he addressed, because the admonition was as pertinent and important under the Christian dispensation, as it was under the Jewish. The danger of hardening the heart by neglecting to hear his voice was as great, and the consequences would be as fearful and alarming. We should regard the solemn warnings in the Old Testament against sin, and against the danger of apostasy, as addressed by the Holy Spirit to us. They are as applicable to us as they were to those to whom they were at first addressed; and we need all the influence of such appeals, to keep us from apostasy as much as they did.
Today - Now; at present. At the very time when the command is addressed to you. It is not to be put off until tomorrow. All God‘s commands relate to “the present” - to this day - to the passing moment. He gives us no commands “about the future.” He does not require us to repent and to turn to him “tomorrow,” or 10 years hence. The reasons are obvious:
(1)Duty pertains to the present. It is our duty to turn from sin, and to love him now.
(2)we know not that we shall live to another day. A command, therefore, could not extend to that time unless it were accompanied with “a revelation” that we should live until then - and such a revelation God does not choose to give. Every one, therefore, should feel that whatever commands God addresses to him are addressed to him now. Whatever guilt he incurs by neglecting those commands is incurred now. For the present neglect and disobedience each one is to answer - and each one must give account to God for what he does today.
If ye will hear - In case you are willing to hearken to God, listen now, and do not defer it to a future period. There is much in a “willingness” to hear the voice of God. A willingness to learn is usually the precursor of great attainments in knowledge. A “willingness” to reform, is usually the precursor of reformation. Get a man “willing” to break off his habits of profaneness or intemperance, and usually all the rest is easy. The great difficulty in the mind of a sinner is in his will. He is unwilling to hear the voice of God; unwilling that he should reign over him; unwilling now to attend to religion. While this unwillingness lasts he will make no efforts, and he sees, or creates a thousand difficulties in the way of his becoming a Christian. But when that unwillingness is overcome, and he is disposed to engage in the work of religion, difficulties vanish, and the work of salvation becomes easy.
His voice - The voice of God speaking to us:
(1)in his written word;
(2)in the preached gospel;
(3)in our own consciences;
(4)in the events of his Providence;
(5)in the admonitions of our relatives and friends. Whatever conveys to us the truth of God, or is adapted to impress that on us, may be regarded as “his voice” speaking to us. He thus speaks to us “every day” in some of these ways; and every day, therefore, he may entreat us not to harden our hearts.
What are you doing, brethren, in the great work of preparation? Those who are uniting with the world are receiving the worldly mold and preparing for the mark of the beast. Those who are distrustful of self, who are humbling themselves before God and purifying their souls by obeying the truth—these are receiving the heavenly mold and preparing for the seal of God in their foreheads. When the decree goes forth and the stamp is impressed, their character will remain pure and spotless for eternity. 5T 216.1
Now is the time to prepare. The seal of God will never be placed upon the forehead of an impure man or woman. It will never be placed upon the forehead of the ambitious, world-loving man or woman. It will never be placed upon the forehead of men or women of false tongues or deceitful hearts. All who receive the seal must be without spot before God—candidates for heaven. Go forward, my brethren and sisters. I can only write briefly upon these points at this time, merely calling your attention to the necessity of preparation. Search the Scriptures for yourselves, that you may understand the fearful solemnity of the present hour. 5T 216.2Read in context »
Even one wrong trait of character, one sinful desire, persistently cherished, will eventually neutralize all the power of the gospel. Every sinful indulgence strengthens the soul's aversion to God. The man who manifests an infidel hardihood, or a stolid indifference to divine truth, is but reaping the harvest of that which he has himself sown. In all the Bible there is not a more fearful warning against trifling with evil than the words of the wise man that the sinner “shall be holden with the cords of his sins.” Proverbs 5:22. SC 34.1
Christ is ready to set us free from sin, but He does not force the will; and if by persistent transgression the will itself is wholly bent on evil, and we do not desire to be set free, if we will not accept His grace, what more can He do? We have destroyed ourselves by our determined rejection of His love. “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” “Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” 2 Corinthians 6:2; Hebrews 3:7, 8. SC 34.2
“Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart”—the human heart, with its conflicting emotions of joy and sorrow; the wandering, wayward heart, which is the abode of so much impurity and deceit. 1 Samuel 16:7. He knows its motives, its very intents and purposes. Go to Him with your soul all stained as it is. Like the psalmist, throw its chambers open to the all-seeing eye, exclaiming, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23, 24. SC 34.3Read in context »
Today the voice of mercy is calling, and Jesus is drawing men by the cords of His love; but the day will come when Jesus will put on the garments of vengeance.... The wickedness of the world is increasing every day, and when a certain line is reached, the register will be closed, and the account settled. There will be no more a sacrifice for sin. The Lord cometh. Long has mercy extended a hand of love, of patience and forbearance, toward a guilty world. The invitation has been given, “Let him take hold of my strength....” But men have presumed upon His mercy and refused His grace. Mar 55.4Read in context »