The men who live out Christ’s lessons in practical life are his co-workers. The man who acts upon worldly principles is serving another master. The two classes do not blend into one another imperceptibly like the colors of a rainbow; Christ’s likeness and Satanic attributes stand out as distinct as midnight in contrast with midday. The Christian differs from the worldling in nature, in taste, in pursuits. The words of the prophet Malachi need to be read, the warnings heeded, and the instructions practiced. From the first word to the last this book should be our lesson sheet, in the home life, in the church, and before the world. God calls upon you, “Why halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord God serve him, if Baal, then serve him.”
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As the bow in the cloud is formed by the union of the sunlight and the shower, so the rainbow encircling the throne represents the combined power of mercy and justice. It is not justice alone that is to be maintained; for this would eclipse the glory of the rainbow of promise above the throne; men could see only the penalty of the law. Were there no justice, no penalty, there would be no stability to the government of God. It is the mingling of judgment and mercy that makes salvation complete. It is the blending of the two that leads us, as we view the world’s Redeemer, and the law of Jehovah, to exclaim, “Thy gentleness hath made me great.” We know that the gospel is a perfect and complete system, revealing the immutability of the law of God. It inspires the heart with hope, and with love to God. Mercy invites us to enter through the gates into the city of God, and justice is satisfied to accord to every obedient soul full privileges as a member of the royal family, a child of the heavenly King. If we were defective in character, we could not pass the gates that mercy has opened to the obedient; for justice stands at the entrance, and demands holiness in all who would see God. Were justice extinct, and were it possible for divine mercy to open the gates to the whole race, irrespective of character, there would be a worse condition of disaffection and rebellion in heaven than before Satan was expelled. The peace, happiness, and harmony of heaven would be broken. The change from earth to heaven will not change men’s character; the happiness of the redeemed in heaven results from the character formed in this life after the image of Christ. The saints in heaven will first have been saints on earth.
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