Many have tried neutrality in a crisis, but they have failed in their purpose. No one can maintain a neutral position. Those who endeavor to do this will fulfill Christ’s words, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.” Those who begin their Christian life by being half and half, will at last be found enlisted on the enemy’s side, whatever may have been their first intentions. And to be an apostate, a traitor to the cause of God, is more serious than death; for it means the loss of eternal life.
Double-minded men and women are Satan’s best allies. Whatever favorable opinion they may have of themselves, they are dissemblers. All who are loyal to God and the truth must stand firmly for the right because it is right. To yoke up with those who are unconsecrated, and yet be loyal to the truth, is simply impossible. We cannot unite with those who are serving themselves, who are working on worldly plans, and not lose our connection with the heavenly Counselor. We may recover ourselves from the snare of the enemy, but we are bruised and wounded, and our experience is dwarfed. “Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
Christ does not promise his followers a smooth and easy path, but he does not ask them to travel the Christian way alone. “When the Comforter is come,” he said, “who I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.” Christ told his disciples the truth regarding the future, that when their trial came, they might not fall into discouragement and doubt. When John the Baptist was beheaded, his disciples were inclined to reproach Christ because he had not worked a miracle to save his servant. So today there is danger that we shall become dissatisfied because Christ does not work a miracle in our behalf, and humiliate our enemies.
“They shall put you out of the synagogues.” Has not this been done? Have not those who have accepted the light in regard to the binding claims of the law of God, who have decided to observe conscientiously the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, been turned out of the churches? But they are precious in God’s sight. When the light came to them, they repented and were converted, and Christ’s words are applicable to them: “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”
“Yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” These words come sounding down along the line to our time. A deception is upon those who oppress their fellow men because they do not believe the same form of doctrine that their oppressors believe. Such can give no stronger evidence to the heavenly universe and to the worlds unfallen that they have chosen to stand on Satan’s side; for Satan is ever an oppressor of those who love God.
Again Christ repeated the reason for so fully presenting the future: “These things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you,” to strengthen you by my presence and comfort you by my words. “But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you.”
The true and faithful follower of Christ must suffer persecution. There is no way of avoiding it. Paul wrote to Timothy: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.”
How many have come to Christ, ready to cast their interests in with his, and, like the rich young ruler, earnestly desiring to inherit eternal life! But when the cost is presented to them,—when they are told that they must forsake all, houses and lands, wife and children, and count not their lives dear unto themselves,—they go away sorrowful. They want the treasures of heaven, and the life that measures with the life of God, but they are not willing to give up their earthly treasures. They are not willing to surrender all to obtain the crown of life.
Persecution has frightened many poor souls from the blood-stained banner of Prince Emmanuel to the black banner of the great apostate. For the sake of this life, they transgress the law of God, and in that day when all transgressors are destroyed, they will be bound up with Satan to suffer the second death. But while persecution from those who worship at false shrines will cause some to yield up the truth, it will never induce a true child of God to separate from Christ, in whom his hopes of eternal life are centered. RH April 19, 1898, par. 7 – RH April 19, 1898, par. 15