While we profess to revere and obey God’s holy law, are we keeping the first four commandments, which require us to love God supremely? Are we keeping the last six, which teach us to love our neighbor as ourselves? Is there not a cause for our great spiritual weakness, for the lack of fervency and grace and power in preaching God’s word? Do we not encourage sin, by failing to meet it with plain and pointed reproof? We may have the clearest understanding of God’s word, we may make a high profession of godliness, yet if injustice or iniquity is concealed among us, we need not wonder that our souls are dry and fruitless as a withered branch.
The love of God will never lead to the belittling of sin; it will never cover or excuse an unconfessed wrong. Achan learned too late that God’s law, like its author, is unchanging. It has to do with all our acts and thoughts and feelings. It follows us, and reaches every secret spring of action. By indulgence in sin, men are led to lightly regard the law of God. Many conceal their transgressions from their fellow-men, and flatter themselves that God will not be strict to mark iniquity. But his law is the great standard of right, and with it every act of life must be compared in that day when God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or evil. Purity of heart will lead to purity of life. All excuses for sin are vain. Who can plead for the sinner when God testifies against him?
Through divine grace, all men may live in harmony with the requirements of God’s law. It is not enough that we have not blotted the page of life with revolting crimes; unless the record bears witness of noble deeds, of self-denying efforts to save not only our own souls but the souls of others, we shall be found wanting.
– The Signs of the Times, April 21, 1881