Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Sabbath, November 7, 2015
“He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” (Revelation 22:11).
One thing that a lot of people do not actually realize about God is that He is a gentleman. We have said this a few times, including with our thoughts on Revelation chapter three and Matthew 22. In this case I mean that if you love the Lord at a certain point in your life, and at another point in life you choose to turn your back on Him, He will not force you to stay with Him. He’s a gentleman.
As we mentioned in several of our devotional thoughts, we continue to be able to decide how we will live until the end of human probation for all, or the sealing of God’s people. Notice what the Bible says: “When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it. Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right; If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.” (Ezekiel 33:13–16).
One of the saddest stories I have ever read in Scripture is that of king Saul. During the time of the prophet Samuel, God’s people clamored to be ruled by a human king just like their heathen enemies. Although the Lord sent repeated warnings against this through the prophet, they continued to reject God’s direct rule over them. Being the merciful God He is, God not only gave the people what they wanted, but He anointed the king with His Spirit. The king was so filled with the Spirit that the moment he received the anointing, he became a new man, literally. Let’s say arbitrarily that he was facing to the left at the moment he received the anointing. When he turned to the right, he was immediately changed so remarkably that the people thought he mysteriously became a holy prophet right before their eyes (1 Samuel 10). Unfortunately, the especially privileged and anointed king went the way of Lucifer in his rebellion in heaven. The king ultimately spurned and lost the Spirit, thereby sealing his own condemnation (1 Samuel 15-16). It was his choice.
One of the happiest stories I have ever read in Scripture is that of a condemned and dying thief. The Bible says: “And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:39–43). The dying thief repented in heart from a life of evil, and the Lord saved Him. It was his choice.
Our theme text points forward to the first time in human history that saved people will have made their final decision to live for God and be sealed that way. They will no longer be capable of sinning. The text also highlights the converse. Unfortunately, there will also be those who will have chosen once and for all to live without God’s righteousness and be marked for eternal destruction. They will only be capable of sinning and cherishing evil thoughts.
I leave you today with a final thought: We all have critical decisions to make. Will we choose to accept or reject God’s love for us? “O come, let us worship and bow down: Let us kneel before the Lord our maker. For he is our God; And we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, And as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, Proved me, and saw my work.” (Psalm 95:6–9).
A Prayer for Your Hearts:
Lord, please teach us to choose you in every little decision in life so when the big one comes we will make the right choice. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.