Now the just shall live by faith - Ὁ δε δικαιος εκ πιστεως ζησεται· But the just by faith, i.e. he who is justified by faith, shall live - shall be preserved when this overflowing scourge shall come. See this meaning of the phrase vindicated, Romans 1:17. And it is evident, both from this text, and Galatians 3:11, that it is in this sense that the apostle uses it.
But if any man draw back - Και εαν ὑποστειληται· But if he draw back; he, the man who is justified by faith; for it is of him, and none other, that the text speaks. The insertion of the words any man, if done to serve the purpose of a particular creed, is a wicked perversion of the words of God. They were evidently intended to turn away the relative from the antecedent, in order to save the doctrine of final and unconditional perseverance; which doctrine this text destroys.
My soul shall have no pleasure in him - My very heart shall be opposed to him who makes shipwreck of faith and a good conscience. The word ὑποστελλειν signifies, not only to draw back, but to slink away and hide through fear. In this sense it is used by the very best Greek writers, as well as by Josephus and Philo. As dastards and cowards are hated by all men, so those that slink away from Christ and his cause, for fear of persecution or secular loss, God must despise; in them he cannot delight; and his Spirit, grieved with their conduct, must desert their hearts, and lead them to darkness and hardness.
Now the just shall live by faith - This is a part of the quotation from Habakkuk Habakkuk 2:3-4, which was probably commenced in the previous verse; see the passage fully explained in the notes on Romans 1:17. The meaning in the connection in which it stands here, in accordance with the sense in which it was used by Habakkuk, is, that the righteous should live by “continued confidence” in God. They should pass their lives not in doubt, and fear, and trembling apprehension, but in the exercise of a calm trust in God. In this sense it accords with the scope of what the apostle is here saying. He is exhorting the Christians whom he addressed, to perseverance in their religion even in the midst of many persecutions. To encourage this he says, that it was a great principle that the just, that is, all the pious, ought to live in the constant exercise of “faith in God.” They should not confide in their own merits, works, or strength. They should exercise constant reliance on their Maker, and he would keep them even unto eternal life. The sense is, that a persevering confidence or belief in the Lord will preserve us amidst all the trials and calamities to which we are exposed.
But if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him - This also is a quotation from Habakkuk 2:4, but from the Septuagint, not from the Hebrew. “Why” the authors of the Septuagint thus translated the passage, it is impossible now to say. The Hebrew is rendered in the common version, “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him;” or more literally, “Behold the scornful; his mind shall not be happy” (Stuart); or as Gesenius renders it, “See, he whose soul is unbelieving shall, on this account, be unhappy.” The sentiment there is, that the scorner or unbeliever in that day would be unhappy, or would not prosper - לה ישרה lo‘yaasharaahThe apostle has retained the general sense of the passage, and the idea which he expresses is, that the unbeliever, or he who renounces his religion, will incur the divine displeasure. He will be a man exposed to the divine wrath; a man on whom God cannot look but with disapprobation. By this solemn consideration, therefore, the apostle urges on them the importance of perseverance, and the guilt and danger of apostasy from the Christian faith. If such a case should occur, no matter what might have been the former condition, and no matter what love or zeal might have been evinced, yet such an apostasy would expose the individual to the certain wrath of God. His former love could not save him, any more than the former obedience of the angels saved them from the horrors of eternal chains and darkness, or than the holiness in which Adam was created saved him and his posterity from the calamities which his apostasy incurred.
Many have an idea that they must do some part of the work alone. They have trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of sin, but now they seek by their own efforts to live aright. But every such effort must fail. Jesus says, “Without Me ye can do nothing.” Our growth in grace, our joy, our usefulness,—all depend upon our union with Christ. It is by communion with Him, daily, hourly,—by abiding in Him,—that we are to grow in grace. He is not only the Author, but the Finisher of our faith. It is Christ first and last and always. He is to be with us, not only at the beginning and the end of our course, but at every step of the way. David says, “I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” Psalm 16:8. SC 69.1
Do you ask, “How am I to abide in Christ?” In the same way as you received Him at first. “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him.” “The just shall live by faith.” Colossians 2:6; Hebrews 10:38. You gave yourself to God, to be His wholly, to serve and obey Him, and you took Christ as your Saviour. You could not yourself atone for your sins or change your heart; but having given yourself to God, you believe that He for Christ's sake did all this for you. By faith you became Christ's, and by faith you are to grow up in Him—by giving and taking. You are to give all,—your heart, your will, your service,—give yourself to Him to obey all His requirements; and you must take all,—Christ, the fullness of all blessing, to abide in your heart, to be your strength, your righteousness, your everlasting helper,—to give you power to obey. SC 69.2
Consecrate yourself to God in the morning; make this your very first work. Let your prayer be, “Take me, O Lord, as wholly Thine. I lay all my plans at Thy feet. Use me today in Thy service. Abide with me, and let all my work be wrought in Thee.” This is a daily matter. Each morning consecrate yourself to God for that day. Surrender all your plans to Him, to be carried out or given up as His providence shall indicate. Thus day by day you may be giving your life into the hands of God, and thus your life will be molded more and more after the life of Christ. SC 70.1Read in context »
He need not think that by seeking to compromise with his friends, who are embittered against our faith, he will make it easier for himself. If he stands with the single purpose to obey God at any cost he will have help and strength. God loves and pities Brother J. He knows every perplexity, every discouragement, every bitter speech. He is acquainted with it all. If he will lay aside his unbelief and stand in God unmoved, his faith will be strengthened by exercise. “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him.” 4T 237.1
I saw Brethren J and G in special danger of losing eternal life. They did not see that they were standing directly in the way of the advancement of the work of God in _____. When the tent meeting was held there the first time we were upon this coast, hundreds were convicted of the truth; but God knew the material of which that church was composed. If souls came out into the truth, there were none to nourish and cherish them, and to lead them along to an elevated life. Brother I was of an envious, faultfinding, jealous spirit. Unless he could be first, he would not do anything. He esteemed himself far more highly than God esteemed him. A man of his temperament will not, long at a time, be in agreement with anyone; for it is his element to contend, and to array himself in opposition to anything that does not suit his ideas. The Lord left him to take his own course and to manifest what manner of spirit he was of. He brought into the church, and sought to carry out there, the very same spirit that he carried out in his family. His bitterness and his cruel speeches against the servants of God are written in the book. He will meet them again. He went out from us because he was not of us. And in no case should the church encourage him to unite with them again; for, with the spirit he now has, he would quarrel even with the angels of God. He would wish to rule and dictate the work of the angels. No such spirit can enter heaven. I and J, whom God frowns upon, have dared to withstand the servants of God, to malign them, and to impute to them evil motives. They have tried to destroy the confidence of the brethren in these workers as well as in the Testimonies. But if the work is of God, they cannot overthrow it. Their efforts will be in vain. Brother G, you were in such darkness that you thought these men were right. You have repeated their words and talked of the one-man power.” Oh, how little you knew what you were talking about! 4T 237.2
Some have been ready to say anything, to prefer any charge, against the servants of God, and to be jealous and faultfinding. And if they can find any instance where, in their zeal for the cause of God, they think ministers have spoken decidedly, and perhaps severely, they have been willing to make the most of their words, and have felt at liberty to cherish the most bitter, wicked spirit, and to charge the Lord's servants with wrong motives. Let these faultfinders ask what they would have done under similar circumstances, bearing similar burdens. Let them look and search and condemn their own wrong, overbearing course and their own impatience and fretfulness; and when without sin themselves, let them cast the first stone of censure at the brethren who are trying to get them into working order. A holy God will not bring out souls to the truth to come under such an influence as has existed in the church. Our heavenly Father is too wise to bring souls into the truth to be molded by the influence of these men who are unconsecrated in heart and life. These men are not in harmony with the truth. They are not in union with the body, but are drawing off from the church. They are working at cross purposes with those whom God is using to bring souls into the truth. 4T 238.1Read in context »
It means much to sow beside all waters; it means a continual imparting of gifts and offerings. God will furnish facilities, so that that faithful steward of His entrusted means shall be supplied with a sufficiency in all things, and be enabled to abound to every good work. TM 424.1
There is a great work to be done. The world will not be converted by the gift of tongues, or by the working of miracles, but by preaching Christ crucified. The Holy Spirit must be allowed to work. God has placed instrumentalities in our hands, and we must use every one of them to do His will and way. As believers we are privileged to act a part in forwarding the truth for this time. As far as possible we are to employ the means and agencies that God has given us to introduce the truth into new localities. Churches must be built to accommodate the people of God, that they may stand as centers of light, shining amid the darkness of the world.... TM 424.2Read in context »
God did not forsake His people; His Spirit still abode with those who did not rashly deny the light which they had received, and denounce the advent movement. In the Epistle to the Hebrews are words of encouragement and warning for the tried, waiting ones at this crisis: “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” Hebrews 10:35-39. GC 407.1
That this admonition is addressed to the church in the last days is evident from the words pointing to the nearness of the Lord's coming: “For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come and will not tarry.” And it is plainly implied that there would be a seeming delay and that the Lord would appear to tarry. The instruction here given is especially adapted to the experience of Adventists at this time. The people here addressed were in danger of making shipwreck of faith. They had done the will of God in following the guidance of His Spirit and His word; yet they could not understand His purpose in their past experience, nor could they discern the pathway before them, and they were tempted to doubt whether God had indeed been leading them. At this time the words were applicable: “Now the just shall live by faith.” As the bright light of the “midnight cry” had shone upon their pathway, and they had seen the prophecies unsealed and the rapidly fulfilling signs telling that the coming of Christ was near, they had walked, as it were, by sight. But now, bowed down by disappointed hopes, they could stand only by faith in God and in His word. The scoffing world were saying: “You have been deceived. Give up your faith, and say that the advent movement was of Satan.” But God's word declared: “If any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him.” To renounce their faith now, and deny the power of the Holy Spirit which had attended the message, would be drawing back toward perdition. They were encouraged to steadfastness by the words of Paul: “Cast not away therefore your confidence;” “ye have need of patience,” “for yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” Their only safe course was to cherish the light which they had already received of God, hold fast to His promises, and continue to search the Scriptures, and patiently wait and watch to receive further light. GC 408.1Read in context »
Here we have the Bible election plainly stated. Here are specified who shall be crowned in the city of God and who shall have no part with the just. “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” 5T 693.1
The third report states that, in the Conference at Minneapolis, “Sister White confessed that in some of her remarks at that meeting she had been in error and had manifested a wrong spirit.” This report also is wholly without foundation. I could not forbear giving to the Conference the light that God had given me. This I presented both in messages of warning and reproof and in words of hope and faith. But nothing spoken by me at that meeting has been taken back or confessed to be wrong. I still view matters from the same standpoint, and am of the same mind, as when at Minneapolis. All the dangers which I then saw, and which brought such a burden upon me, have been more clearly developed since that meeting. As I become more fully acquainted with the condition of our churches I see that every warning given at Minneapolis was needed. 5T 693.2
The influence of this report from Minneapolis, tended to destroy confidence in all reproofs and warnings given by me to the people. One example of this I will here relate. 5T 693.3Read in context »