Three Angel's Messages shared with the world

What Being Sealed Is Not

...continued from "Being Sealed"

Being sealed is not the same as being saved.

Being sealed is a result of being saved. If you live until humankind's probation closes, this seal means you will be protected during the seven last plagues. Remember, once you are saved at conversion you must continue to submit to Christ, which will be accompanied with character transformation, allowing Christ's imprint to mold you until completely sealed into place.

Being sealed doesn't mean you will not have difficulties.

It does mean that, just like with all those who God is saving, He will only allow trials or suffering to come upon you if they serve a higher purpose and He will not allow them to overwhelm you spiritually.

"God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as co-workers with Him" (The Faith I Live By 64.3).

For those who are sealed and living on earth after probation closes for all humankind, they experience the seven last plagues falling all around them. It is a time of great hardship. However, God will not allow them to be harmed.

"And even after the saints are sealed with the seal of the living God, His elect will have trials individually. Personal afflictions will come; but the furnace is closely watched by an eye that will not suffer the gold to be consumed. The indelible mark of God is upon them. God can plead that His own name is written there. The Lord has shut them in. Their destination is inscribed--"God, New Jerusalem." They are God's property, His possession" (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers 446.1).

"I saw that a time of trouble was before us, when stern necessity will compel the people of God to live on bread and water. . . . In the time of trouble none will labor with their hands. Their sufferings will be mental, and God will provide food for them" (MS 2, 1858).

"The people of God will not be free from suffering; but while persecuted and distressed, while they endure privation and suffer for want of food, they will not be left to perish. That God who cared for Elijah will not pass by one of His self-sacrificing children. He who numbers the hairs of their head will care for them, and in time of famine they shall be satisfied. While the wicked are dying from hunger and pestilence, angels will shield the righteous and supply their wants. To him that 'walketh righteously' is the promise; 'Bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure' (Isa. 33:15, 16). 'When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them' (chap. 41:17)" (Reflecting Christ 372.4).

Being sealed does not take away your free choice.

At any point during the process you may opt out and choose to reject the Holy Spirit. Even in heaven, when sin and temptations are removed, you will still have freedom of choice. However, God promises that evil will not rise again the second time (Nahum 1:9). So, even though you can choose to rebel in the earth made new, you will never choose to do so. There will likely be just too much evidence and plain facts in place to ever doubt God again. By the time you are sealed, you've learned enough about God to be firmly rooted and immovable in your trust in Him. You will have chosen to be free from evil influence for all eternity. In the new earth, God removes all evil influence. Probation will be over, so there will be no need for a tree of knowledge of good and evil.

"God placed man under law, as an indispensable condition of his very existence. He was a subject of the divine government, and there can be no government without law. God might have created man without the power to transgress His law; He might have withheld the hand of Adam from touching the forbidden fruit; but in that case man would have been, not a free moral agent, but a mere automaton. Without freedom of choice, his obedience would not have been voluntary, but forced. There could have been no development of character. Such a course would have been contrary to God's plan in dealing with the inhabitants of other worlds. It would have been unworthy of man as an intelligent being, and would have sustained Satan's charge of God's arbitrary rule" (Patriarchs and Prophets 49.1).

"Our first parents, though created innocent and holy, were not placed beyond the possibility of wrongdoing...They were to enjoy communion with God and with holy angels; but before they could be rendered eternally secure, their loyalty must be tested. At the very beginning of man's existence a check was placed upon the desire for self-indulgence, the fatal passion that lay at the foundation of Satan's fall. The tree of knowledge, which stood near the tree of life in the midst of the garden, was to be a test of the obedience, faith, and love of our first parents. While permitted to eat freely of every other tree, they were forbidden to taste of this, on pain of death. They were also to be exposed to the temptations of Satan; but if they endured the trial, they would finally be placed beyond his power, to enjoy perpetual favor with God" (Conflict and Courage 13.2).

"Angels on probation had been deceived by Satan, and had been led on by him in the great rebellion in heaven against Christ. They failed to endure the test brought to bear upon them, and they fell. Adam was then created in the image of God and placed upon probation. He had a perfectly developed organism. All his faculties were harmonious. In all his emotions, words, and actions, there was a perfect conformity to the will of his Maker. After God had made every provision for the happiness of man, and had supplied his every want, He tested his loyalty. If the holy pair should be obedient, the race would, after a time, be made equal to the angels. As Adam and Eve failed to bear this test, Christ proposed to become a voluntary offering for man" (Confrontation 18.2).

Sealing doesn't mean you no longer need Christ.

Remember that it is Christ's imparted nature and attributes within you that make your Christ-like character possible. Until you are given your own higher nature at His second coming, you are still a sinful human and must rely only on Christ's nature in order to resist sin. Furthermore, this connection through the continued indwelling of the Holy Spirit for eternity is part of securing the success of God's kingdom.

"It is not only at the beginning of the Christian life that this renunciation of self is to be made. At every advance step heavenward it is to be renewed. All our good works are dependent on a power outside of ourselves; therefore there needs to be a continual reaching out of the heart after God, a constant, earnest confession of sin and humbling of the soul before Him. Perils surround us; and we are safe only as we feel our weakness and cling with the grasp of faith to our mighty Deliverer" (MH 455.5).

"The passover pointed backward to the deliverance of the children of Israel, and was also typical, pointing forward to Christ, the Lamb of God, slain for the redemption of fallen man. The blood sprinkled upon the door-posts pre-figured the atoning blood of Christ, and also the continual dependence of sinful man upon the merits of that blood for safety from the power of Satan, and for final redemption" (Spiritual Gifts, Volume 3, 225.1).

"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever" (John 14:16).

Sealing doesn't mean you can claim sinlessness.

There should never be a time prior to Jesus' return when a person claims to be sinless, whether sealed or not. You can only be free from committing sin because of Christ substitutionary and transforming is nothing that you have provided. The promises of God to give you power to overcome, perfect and purify you, are true realities, but overcoming is done through Christ's power, not your own. Remember, you are partaking in His divine nature. If He left you, you would again practice sin. Thus, while you are to overcome sin (stop committing sin) because Christ's attributes make it possible, you cannot claim sinlessness for your own.

"Let the recording angels write the history of the holy struggles and conflicts of the people of God; let them record their prayers and tears; but let not God be dishonored by the declaration from human lips, 'I am sinless; I am holy.' Sanctified lips will never give utterance to such presumptuous words" (The Acts of the Apostles 561.3).

"Neither Joseph, Daniel, nor any of the apostles claimed to be without sin. Men who have lived nearest to God, men who would sacrifice life itself rather than to knowingly sin against Him, men whom God has honored with divine light and power, have acknowledged themselves to be sinners, unworthy of His great favors. They have felt their weakness and, sorrowful for their sins, have tried to copy the pattern Jesus Christ" (Faith and Works 43.4).

"The prophet Daniel was an example of true sanctification...And when at a later time the Son of God appeared, to give him instruction, Daniel says: 'My comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength'....When Job heard the voice of the Lord out of the whirlwind, he exclaimed: 'I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.' Job 42:6. It was when Isaiah saw the glory of the Lord, and heard the cherubim crying, 'Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts,'that he cried out, 'Woe is me! for I am undone.' Isaiah 6:3, 5. Paul, after he was caught up into the third heaven and heard things which it was not possible for a man to utter, speaks of himself as 'less than the least of all saints.' 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, margin; Ephesians 3:8. It was the beloved John, who leaned on Jesus' breast and beheld His glory, that fell as one dead before the feet of the angel. Revelation 1:17. (The Great Controversy 471.1)

"We may have long followed the narrow path, but it is not safe to take this as proof that we shall follow it to the end. If we have walked with God in fellowship of the Spirit, it is because we have sought Him daily by faith" (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers 511.1).

"But we shall not boast of our holiness. As we have clearer views of Christ's spotless and infinite purity we shall feel as did Daniel when he beheld the glory of the Lord and said, 'My comeliness was turned in me into corruption' (Dan. 10:8). We cannot say, I am sinless' till this vile body is changed and fashioned like unto His glorious body" (That I May Know Him 361.5).

"'I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. . . . And there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength' (verses 7, 8). All who are truly sanctified will have a similar experience. The clearer their views of the greatness, glory, and perfection of Christ, the more vividly will they see their own weakness and imperfection. They will have no disposition to claim a sinless character; that which has appeared right and comely in themselves will, in contrast with Christ's purity and glory, appear only as unworthy and corruptible. It is when men are separated from God, when they have very indistinct views of Christ, that they say, 'I am sinless; I am sanctified.'" (The Sanctified Life 50.2).

"Why is it that so many claim to be holy and sinless? It is because they are so far from Christ. I have never dared to claim any such a thing. From the time that I was 14 years old, if I knew what the will of God was, I was willing to do it. You never have heard me say I am sinless. Those that get sight of the loveliness and exalted character of Jesus Christ, who was holy and lifted up and His train fills the temple, will never say it" (Selected Messages Book 3 354.2).

"The words of John came forcibly to my mind, 'If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.' 1 John 1:8. I was shown that those who triumphantly claim to be sinless, show by their very boasting that they are far from being without taint of sin. The more clearly fallen man comprehends the character of Christ, the more distrustful will he be of himself, and the more imperfect will his works appear to him, in contrast with those which marked the life of the spotless Redeemer. But those who are far from Jesus, those whose spiritual perceptions are so clouded by error that they cannot comprehend the character of the great Exemplar, conceive of Him as altogether such a one as themselves, and dare to talk of their own perfection of holiness. But they are far from God; they know little of themselves, and less of Christ" (Life Sketches of Ellen G. White 84.3).

"He who bears with him a continual sense of the presence of Christ cannot indulge self-confidence or self-righteousness. None of the prophets or apostles made proud boasts of holiness. The nearer they came to perfection of character, the less worthy and righteous they viewed themselves. But those who have the least sense of the perfection of Jesus, those whose eyes are least directed to Him, are the ones who make the strongest claim to perfection" (Faith and Works 54.1).

"This is why I tell you never to boast, saying, 'I am holy, I am sanctified,' for it is the surest evidence that you know not the Scripture or the power of God. Let God write it in His books if He will, but you should never utter it" (Selected Messages Book 3 354.4).

"When the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord, then the sins of the repentant soul who has received the grace of Christ and has overcome through the blood of the Lamb, will be removed from the records of heaven, and will be placed upon Satan, the scapegoat, the originator of sin, and be remembered no more against him forever. . . . When the conflict of life is ended, when the armor is laid off at the feet of Jesus, when the saints of God are glorified, then and then only will it be safe to claim that we are saved, and sinless.-- Signs of the Times, May 16, 1895. {3SM 355.5}

You cannot claim to be sinless because you are not capable of it and are not the one who has has any power of your own to stop sinning. Christ's divine nature is making it possible for you not to willfully sin. On your own, you would fall under the power of Satan again and immediately and inevitably sin. What would you be without Christ? Selfish. Actively practicing sin. Holding hands with death.

You cannot claim to be sinless:
The realities of your situation
  1. Christ is the one who provides the power and attributes (His nature) to keep you from sinning. On your own, you will sin and thus you cannot claim sinlessness.
  2. Your sins are still on the record book in heaven until the "times of refreshing", the close of probation.
  3. A claim to be sinless would never align with the thought process of a sanctified person who seeks character perfection by constantly looking at Christ's character.
  4. Your old sinful nature is not permanently replaced until the Second Coming.

Sealing doesn't mean your body is holy

Once sealed, your character is perfect and holy. However, your body is not made holy until translation or resurrection at the second coming.

"All may now obtain holy hearts, but it is not correct to claim in this life to have holy flesh. The apostle Paul declares, "I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing" (Rom. 7:18)." (Selected Messages Book 2 32.1).

"The Scriptures teach us to seek for the sanctification to God of body, soul, and spirit. In this work we are to be laborers together with God. Much may be done to restore the moral image of God in man, to improve the physical, mental, and moral capabilities. Great changes can be made in the physical system by obeying the laws of God and bringing into the body nothing that defiles. And while we cannot claim perfection of the flesh, we may have Christian perfection of the soul" (2 Selected Messages 32.3).

Note that your body includes your physical mind. Your character, which represent your loyalties, intentions and habits, has been transformed. But, the physical aspects of your mind are in a severely deteriorated state resulting from thousands of years of sinful practices. Because of years of your own sinful practices, your body was weakened and you are living the consequences of those actions. You cannot claim holiness of body until Christ rewards you with it at the second coming.

"As Christ walked and talked with His disciples during His ministry on this earth, so will He teach us in the school above, leading us beside the river of living waters and revealing to us truths that in this life must remain hidden mysteries because of the limitations of the human mind, so marred by sin" (Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students 208.3).

"When Christ comes, He takes those who have purified their souls by obeying the truth. . . . This mortal shall put on immortality, and these corruptible bodies, subject to disease, will be changed from mortal to immortal. We shall then be gifted with a higher nature [physical body]. The bodies of all who purify their souls [lives] by obeying the truth shall be glorified. They will have fully received and believed in Jesus Christ" (Selected Messages Book 3 427.3).

This means that, for now, there are many physical, and therefore mental, defects present in you. In the same way that a bone can degenerate, or an arm be missing from birth, components of the brain can be malfunctioning. The effects of sin are everywhere, including in your brain. For example, a hormonal imbalance could cause a sense of irritability or depression to spring up. This is not a sin or character flaw. However, indulging that irritibility in your thoughts or allowing it to develop into angry outbursts may expose a character flaw.

Despite the physical defects ever present as a result of sin, God will purify and work with what you have, transforming you into the best you can be.

"With our limited powers we are to be as holy in our sphere as God is holy in His sphere. To the extent of our ability, we are to make manifest the truth and love and excellence of the divine character. As wax takes the impression of the seal, so the soul is to take the impression of the Spirit of God and retain the image of Christ" (Maranatha 227.2).

"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thess. 5:23. The sanctification set forth in the Scriptures embraces the entire being--spirit, soul, and body. Paul prayed for the Thessalonians that their "whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." Again he writes to believers: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God" (Rom. 12:1). {RC 84.2} In the time of ancient Israel, every offering brought as a sacrifice to God was carefully examined. If any defect was discovered in the animal presented, it was refused; for God had commanded that the offering be "without blemish." So Christians are bidden to present their bodies, "a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God" {RC 84.3}. In order to do this, all their powers must be preserved in the best possible condition. Every practice that weakens physical or mental strength unfits man for the service of his Creator. And will God be pleased with anything less than the best we can offer? Said Christ: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart." {RC 84.4} Those who do love God with all the heart will desire to give Him the best service of their life, and they will be constantly seeking to bring every power of their being into harmony with the laws that will promote their ability to do His will" (Reflecting Christ 84.1-5).

"You cannot measure yourselves by the world or by the opinions of others. Your only safety is to compare your position with what it would have been had your course been continually onward and upward since you professed to be Christ's followers. Your moral character is passing in review before God. You are weighed in the balance of the sanctuary, and, if your spirituality does not correspond with the benefits and privileges conferred upon you, you are found wanting. Your path should have been growing brighter and brighter, and you bringing forth much fruit to the glory of God" (This Day With God 294.3).

Sealing doesn't mean your own nature is holy

It does mean that the nature on which you are relying, the divine nature of Christ, is holy. When you gave your life to Christ and the Holy Spirit moved into your soul, your selfish nature was subdued and replaced by Christ's spiritual nature. If allowed, that old selfish nature could reassert itself. However, once sealed, you will never choose to have it control you again. Then, when Jesus returns to earth and glorifies you with a new body, your old selfish nature is forever eliminated. It no longer needs constant subduing because it is gone. Note: Remember that we are here referring to the spiritual nature (e.g. inclinations), not the physical nature (e.g. humanity).

Though it is still possible for your old selfish nature to reassert itself, you can continue to rely on Christ's divine nature to not only subdue every inclination of your old nature, but to keep it subdued as long as you live on this earth.

"Christ came to this world and lived the law of God, that man might have perfect mastery over the natural inclinations which corrupt the soul" (Mind, Character, and Personality Volume 1 127.1).

Sealing doesn't mean you will continue to sin

Once sealed, you will no longer practice sin because:
  • You are completely relying on Christ's divine nature.
  • The law has been written on your heart.
  • Your character is complete and reflects Christ's character.
  • You have passed the final test of probation.
  • Your character is sealed into place, immovable.
You cannot claim sinlessness, because on your own you are sinful. But, you can live without practicing sin through Christ's power, even prior to being sealed. Once you are sealed, you will not knowingly practice sin again because the law is finished being written on the heart and it is sealed and immovable. Never again will you purposely or willfully go against God's will. Until Christ returns to earth, you can be a "sinner" who is not knowingly "sinning".

Mistakes don't equal sin

Accidentally spilling milk on the floor is a mistake. Intentionally tipping over your glass of milk just to annoy your spouse is a sin. Being sealed doesn't mean you won't make mistakes. It doesn't mean that you become all-knowing like God, always knowing exactly what to say and how to say it. Thus, you may still unintentionally hurt other people's feelings and you may still make errors in judgment.

Let's recall the definition of character from chapter one. It is the features and traits that form behavior or disposition. Good Character is the stedfast and immovable principles, standards and morality established within one's mind that have been proven to consistently manifest in a loving disposition, pure motives, true thoughts and habitually healthy behaviours.

Character determines the thoughts, tendencies, habits and conduct of a person. A person of good character is not one who never makes a mistake. Rather, it is someone who makes decisions and responds to situations based on good principles, a love of the truth and pure motives. You can count on them always doing their best and always being unselfish. The character is what is sealed into place for eternity.

"That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence [not leading into sin, faultless] till the day of Christ" (Philippians 1:10).

"The completeness of Christian character is attained when the impulse to help and bless others springs constantly from within." (The Acts of the Apostles 551.1).

"The character is revealed, not by occasional good deeds and occasional misdeeds, but by the tendency of the habitual words and acts" (Steps to Christ 57.2).

"The Lord demands all the powers of the mind and being. It is His will that we should be conformed to Him in will, in temper, in spirit, in our meditations. The work of righteousness cannot be carried forward unless we exercise implicit faith" (Selected Messages Book 3 201.2).

No selfish nature equals no intentional sin

On this earth, you are either controlled by Christ or Satan.

"He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad" (Matt. 12:30).

The sinful nature that Satan had first placed in you, which you were powerless to overcome, but that Christ has replaced with His divine nature at your conversion, is always striving to rise to power again. This struggle, though still present, will no longer gain the victory after you are sealed. Satan and evil influences have no foothold within you anymore (the opposite of unpardonable sin). The chart below outlines the subduing and final destruction of your sinful nature, as the result of your free and intelligent choice to let God do this for you.

Life of the Selfish Nature

After being sealed, your carnal/selfish nature will never regain control again. However, this is not to say that it will not try. Your selfish nature still exists, but as you continue to submit to the Holy Spirit, it will continue to be subdued by the Holy Spirit. Thus, you can constantly hate and abhor sin and flee from it. But, you must always remain vigilant until your selfish nature is eliminated entirely at the second coming.

"So long as Satan reigns, we shall have self to subdue, besetting sins to overcome; so long as life shall last, there will be no stopping place, no point which we can reach and say, I have fully attained. Sanctification is the result of lifelong obedience" (Last Day Events 267.3).

"We may create an unreal world in our own mind or picture an ideal church, where the temptations of Satan no longer prompt to evil, but perfection exists only in our imagination. The world is a fallen world, and the church is a place represented by a field in which grow tares and wheat. They are to grow together until the harvest" (That I May Know Him 179.2).

"We are called upon to overcome in this life as Christ overcame. Heaven has provided us with abundant opportunities and privileges, so that we may overcome as Christ overcame, and sit down with Him on His throne. But in order to be overcomers, there must be in our lives no petting of fleshly inclinations. All selfishness must be cut out by the roots" (Reflecting Christ 287.6).

"As the people of God afflict their souls before Him, pleading for purity of heart, the command is given, 'Take away the filthy garments' from them, and the encouraging words are spoken, 'Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment' (Zech. 3:4). The spotless robe of Christ's righteousness is placed upon the tried, tempted, yet faithful children of God. The despised remnant are clothed in glorious apparel, nevermore to be defiled by the corruptions of the world. Their names are retained in the Lamb's book of life, enrolled among the faithful of all ages. They have resisted the wiles of the deceiver; they have not been turned from their loyalty by the dragon's roar. Now they are eternally secure from the tempter's devices. Their sins are transferred to the originator of sin. And the remnant are not only pardoned and accepted, but honored. "A fair miter" is set upon their heads. They are to be as kings and priests unto God. While Satan was urging his accusations and seeking to destroy this company, holy angels, unseen, were passing to and fro, placing upon them the seal of the living God. These are they that stand upon Mount Zion with the Lamb, having the Father's name written in their foreheads" (Lift Him Up 377.3).

God dwelt in man prior to sin and wants to do so again. When the Holy Spirit moves into the heart at conversion, there is a process of cleansing that takes place, so that that soul can become a permament habitation of God. When the sealing process is finished, the Holy Spirit will never move out. This means your selfish nature will be constantly subdued until you receive your own new nature at the second coming. The Holy Spirit will inhabit your heart for all eternity.

"In the cleansing of the temple, Jesus was announcing His mission as the Messiah, and entering upon His work. That temple, erected for the abode of the divine Presence, was designed to be an object lesson for Israel and for the world. From eternal ages it was God's purpose that every created being, from the bright and holy seraph to man, should be a temple for the indwelling of the Creator. Because of sin, humanity ceased to be a temple for God. Darkened and defiled by evil, the heart of man no longer revealed the glory of the Divine One. But by the incarnation of the Son of God, the purpose of Heaven is fulfilled. God dwells in humanity, and through saving grace the heart of man becomes again His temple. God designed that the temple at Jerusalem should be a continual witness to the high destiny open to every soul. But the Jews had not understood the significance of the building they regarded with so much pride. They did not yield themselves as holy temples for the Divine Spirit. The courts of the temple at Jerusalem, filled with the tumult of unholy traffic, represented all too truly the temple of the heart, defiled by the presence of sensual passion and unholy thoughts. In cleansing the temple from the world's buyers and sellers, Jesus announced His mission to cleanse the heart from the defilement of sin,--from the earthly desires, the selfish lusts, the evil habits, that corrupt the soul. "The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver." Mal. 3:1-3. {DA 161.1} "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." 1 Cor. 3:16, 17. No man can of himself cast out the evil throng that have taken possession of the heart. Only Christ can cleanse the soul temple. But He will not force an entrance. He comes not into the heart as to the temple of old; but He says, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him." Rev. 3:20. He will come, not for one day merely; for He says, "I will dwell in them, and walk in them; . . . and they shall be My people." "He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea." 2 Cor. 6:16; Micah 7:19. His presence will cleanse and sanctify the soul, so that it may be a holy temple unto the Lord, and "an habitation of God through the Spirit." Eph. 2:21, 22. {DA 161.2}.

Exact obedience is required

Living with a clear conscience means obeying every command of God of which you have learned.

"That which God required of Adam before his fall was perfect obedience to His law. God requires now what He required of Adam, perfect obedience, righteousness without a flaw, without shortcoming in His sight. God help us to render to Him all His law requires. We cannot do this without that faith that brings Christ's righteousness into daily practice" (Selected Messages Book 2 380.4).

"God has plainly stated that He requires us to be perfect; and because He requires this, He has made provision that we may be partakers of the divine nature. Only thus can we gain success in our striving for eternal life. The power is given by Christ. 'As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God' (John 1:12)" (Selected Messages Book 3 203.1).

Sin must stop before Christ's ministry ends

The thought that you will no longer practice sin, may seem impossible. It may seem like something that shouldn't even be considered. But, when Christ's ministry in the sanctuary ends, there will be no more application of His blood. There will be no more atonement being made for sin. All sins must have gone into the sanctuary before this time, in order to be blotted out of the records. Any sins not given to Christ, and any sins intentionally committed after probation closes, cannot be forgiven. Thus, in order to be saved eternally, Christ must enable you to stop practicing sin before atonement stops.

"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. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be" (Revelation 22:11-12).

The believer's character cannot wait to be made perfect until the time of resurrection, because it is a work occurring during Christ's ministry in the sanctuary, which would have already ended prior to the seven last plagues. He molds and seals the character into place during probation so that His people can be sealed and stand firm during the time of trouble.

A perfect character means power over sin

Overcoming sin is enabled by the process of sanctification and the process of sealing. When the sealing is completed, you will have overcome sin. You cannot have a perfect character and continue to knowingly sin, otherwise your character would not yet be perfected.

"Never should we lower the standard of righteousness in order to accommodate inherited or cultivated tendencies to wrong-doing. We need to understand that imperfection of character is sin.

"None of us need excuse our hasty temper, our misshapen characters, our selfishness, envy, jealousy, or any impurity of soul, body, or spirit... We must learn of Christ... Then we are cleansed from all sin, all defects of character. We need not retain one sinful propensity." (God's Amazing Grace 235.3-4}.

"The plan of redemption contemplates our complete recovery from the power of Satan. Christ always separates the contrite soul from sin. He came to destroy the works of the devil, and He has made provision that the Holy Spirit shall be imparted to every repentant soul, to keep him from sinning. The tempter's agency is not to be accounted an excuse for one wrong act. Satan is jubilant when he hears the professed followers of Christ making excuses for their deformity of character. It is these excuses that lead to sin. There is no excuse for sinning. A holy temper, a Christlike life, is accessible to every repenting, believing child of God" (The Desire of Ages 311.2-3).

"Do not settle down in Satan's easy chair, and say that there is no use, you cannot cease to sin, that there is no power in you to overcome. There is no power in you apart from Christ, but it is your privilege to have Christ abiding in your heart by faith, and He can overcome sin in you, when you cooperate with His efforts. . . . You may be living epistles, known and read of all men. You are not to be a dead letter, but a living one, testifying to the world that Jesus is able to save" (Our High Calling 76.5).

Christ is able

The Bible is plain. Christ is able to keep you from sinning.

"Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling [not stumbling, without sin], and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy" (Jude 1:24).

"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him" ( 1 John 3:4-5).

"We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not" (1 John 5:18).

"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness" (Romans 6:1-18).

"Ample provisions have been made for all who sincerely, earnestly, and thoughtfully set about the work of perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Strength, grace, and glory have been provided through Christ, to be brought by ministering angels to the heirs of salvation. None are so low, so corrupt and vile, that they cannot find in Jesus, who died for them, strength, purity, and righteousness, if they will put away their sins, cease their course of iniquity, and turn with full purpose of heart to the living God" (Counsels on Health 568.2).

Any and every kind of sin can be overcome through Christ's power. Even hereditary traits can be changed. There is no sin or character deficiency that we must just "learn to live with." We should never sigh and say "that's just the way I am."

"A genuine conversion changes hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong" (Maranatha 237.2).

"Jesus died to save His people from their sins, and redemption in Christ means to cease the transgression of the law of God and to be free from every sin" (FW 95.1).

"She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more" (John 8:11).

Consider the Israelites on the border of Canaan. They weren't allowed to enter in because of unbelief (Heb. 3:16-19, Deut. 1:30). They didn't believe that God would fight for them as He promised. They figured out that they couldn't do it on their own and so they gave up. It is the same today. The enormous job of trying to make ourselves faultless at some point becomes obviously impossible. So, we give up and say that it is impossible to overcome the enemy and stop practicing sin. If a person doesn't believe it is possible to overcome sin, it will never happen. Why? Because overcoming sin is done through faith in God's power to enable you to do it. If you believe and cooperate with God, He will enable you to overcome sin through His power. Once the Israelites fully trusted in God to fight for them, they could enter the promised land.

"It was not the will of God that Israel should wander forty years in the wilderness; He desired to lead them directly to the land of Canaan and establish them there, a holy, happy people. But 'they could not enter in because of unbelief.' Hebrews 3:19. Because of their backsliding and apostasy they perished in the desert, and others were raised up to enter the Promised Land. In like manner, it was not the will of God that the coming of Christ should be so long delayed and His people should remain so many years in this world of sin and sorrow. But unbelief separated them from God. As they refused to do the work which He had appointed them, others were raised up to proclaim the message. In mercy to the world, Jesus delays His coming, that sinners may have an opportunity to hear the warning and find in Him a shelter before the wrath of God shall be poured out" (The Great Controversy 458.1).

"For forty years did unbelief, murmuring, and rebellion shut out ancient Israel from the land of Canaan. The same sins have delayed the entrance of modern Israel into the heavenly Canaan. In neither case were the promises of God at fault. It is the unbelief, the worldliness, unconsecration, and strife among the Lord's professed people that have kept us in this world of sin and sorrow so many years" (Evangelism 696.2).

It is one of Christ's gifts to you

Christ has been working for you in so many ways, all with the purpose of eliminating sin in your life so that nothing may separate you from Him. The reality of His gifts, when accepted and implemented, thrill the soul.

"God seeks our real happiness. If anything lies in the way of this, He sees it must first be removed. He will thwart our purposes and disappoint our expectations and bring us through disappointments and trials to reveal to us ourselves as we are. . . . Sin is the cause of all our woes. If we would have true peace and happiness of mind, sin must be removed" (Our High Calling 81.5).

"There is nothing that Satan fears so much as that the people of God shall clear the way by removing every hindrance, so that the Lord can pour out His Spirit upon a languishing church. . . . Every temptation, every opposing influence, whether open or secret, may be successfully resisted, 'not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts' (Zech. 4:6)" (Selected Messages Book 1 124).

"We are ever to be thankful that Jesus has proved to us by actual facts that man can keep the commandments of God, giving contradiction to Satan's falsehood that man cannot keep them. The Great Teacher came to our world to stand at the head of humanity, to thus elevate and sanctify humanity by His holy obedience to all of God's requirements showing it is possible to obey all the commandments of God. He has demonstrated that a lifelong obedience is possible. Thus He gives chosen, representative men to the world, as the Father gave the Son, to exemplify in their life the life of Jesus Christ. {3SM 139.2}

"Christ took humanity and bore the hatred of the world that He might show men and women that they could live without sin, that their words, their actions, their spirit, might be sanctified to God. We can be perfect Christians if we will manifest this power in our lives. When the light of heaven rests upon us continually, we shall represent Christ. It was the righteousness revealed in His life that distinguished Christ from the world and called forth its hatred" (MS 97, 1909).

"What are you doing, brethren, in the great work of preparation? Those who are uniting with the world are receiving the worldly mold and preparing for the mark of the beast. Those who are distrustful of self, who are humbling themselves before God and purifying their souls by obeying the truth--these are receiving the heavenly mold and preparing for the seal of God in their foreheads. When the decree goes forth and the stamp is impressed, their character will remain pure and spotless for eternity" (Maranatha 240.5).

"In our work we are to remember the way in which Christ worked. He made the world. He made man. Then He came in person to the world to show its inhabitants how to live sinless lives" (Evangelism 385.4).

"Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one spot or stain upon them. It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement. Then the latter rain will fall upon us as the early rain fell upon the disciples" (Maranatha 240.4).

"If you will only watch, continually watch unto prayer, if you will do everything as if you were in the immediate presence of God, you will be saved from yielding to temptation, and may hope to be kept pure, spotless, and undefiled till the last. If you hold the beginning of your confidence firm unto the end, your ways will be established in God; and what grace has begun, glory will crown in the kingdom of our God" (Testimonies for the Church Volume Five 148.1).

"We believe without a doubt that Christ is soon coming. This is not a fable to us; it is a reality. We have no doubt, neither have we had a doubt for years, that the doctrines we hold today are present truth, and that we are nearing the judgment. We are preparing to meet Him who, escorted by a retinue of holy angels, is to appear in the clouds of heaven to give the faithful and the just the finishing touch of immortality. When He comes He is not to cleanse us of our sins, to remove from us the defects in our character, or to cure us of the infirmities of our tempers and dispositions. If wrought for us at all, this work will all be accomplished before that time. When the Lord comes, those who are holy will be holy still. Those who have preserved their bodies and spirits in holiness, in sanctification and honor, will then receive the finishing touch of immortality. But those who are unjust, unsanctified, and filthy, will remain so forever. No work will then be done for them to remove their defects, and give them holy characters. The Refiner does not then sit to pursue His refining process and remove their sins and their corruption. This is all to be done in these hours of probation. It is now that this work is to be accomplished for us" (Counsels on Health 43.4).

"Christ's humanity was united with divinity, and in this strength He would bear all the temptations that Satan could bring against Him, and yet keep His soul untainted by sin. And this power to overcome He would give to every son and daughter of Adam who would accept by faith the righteous attributes of His character" (The Faith I Live By 49.8).

"All who would learn the science of salvation must be submissive students in the school of Christ, that the soul temple may be the abiding place of the Most High. If we would learn of Christ, the soul must be emptied of all its proud possessions, that Christ may imprint His image on the soul" (Mind, Character, and Personality Volume 1 29.4).

Sealing doesn't necessarily mean instant translation

There are people throughout history who have been sealed.

"Some few in every generation from Adam resisted his every artifice and stood forth as noble representatives of what it was in the power of man to do and to be--Christ working with human efforts, helping man in overcoming the power of Satan. Enoch and Elijah are the correct representatives of what the race might be through faith in Jesus Christ if they chose to be. Satan was greatly disturbed because these noble, holy men stood untainted amid the moral pollution surrounding them, perfected righteous characters, and were accounted worthy for translation to heaven. As they had stood forth in moral power in noble uprightness, overcoming Satan's temptations, he could not bring them under the dominion of death. He triumphed that he had power to overcome Moses with his temptations, and that he could mar his illustrious character and lead him to the sin of taking glory to himself before the people which belonged to God" (Selected Messages Book 3 146.5).

The above quote reveals two fantastic points:
  • a) It is possible to stop committing sin through Christ's power, be sealed and translated! Elijah and Enoch, among others, experienced it.
  • b) If time runs out and you haven't yet overcome all defects of character, God can still save you. Moses is an example of this. He had to die, but was raised to life and taken to heaven.

"While the eyes of the righteous are fixed upon the heavenly, priceless treasure, they will become more and more like Christ, and thus they will be transformed and fitted for translation" (Christian Experience and Teachings 167.4).

"There should be a continual effort to imitate the society we expect soon to join; namely, angels of God who have never fallen by sin. The character should be holy, the manners comely, the words without guile, and thus should we follow on step by step until we are fitted for translation" (The Faith I Live By 69.6).

"The Christian life is constantly an onward march. Jesus sits as a refiner and purifier of His people; and when His image is perfectly reflected in them, they are perfect and holy, and prepared for translation" (God's Amazing Grace 291.3).

"In order to be fitted for translation, the people of God must know themselves. They must understand in regard to their own physical frames, that they may be able with the psalmist to exclaim, "I will praise Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." They should ever have the appetite in subjection to the moral and intellectual organs. The body should be servant to the mind, and not the mind to the body" (Counsels on Diet and Foods 33.1).

Note that being sealed and fitted for translation doesn't necessarily mean that translation follows or that death is not seen. There are likely to be things that God needs you to do here on earth. Enoch's translation (as well as Moses' resurrection) teaches a point by representing a future event, and does not mean that everyone will be translated without seeing death.

"Enoch's translation to heaven just before the destruction of the world by a flood represents the translation of all the living righteous from the earth previous to its destruction by fire. The saints will be glorified in the presence of those who have hated them for their loyal obedience to God's righteous commandments" (The Faith I Live By 350.4).

It appears as though the vast majority of people and the norm here on earth has been to die before allowing Jesus to even start the process of character transformation, much less to complete it. On the other hand, God's people living on earth when human probation closes will all be sealed and translated. This means that for the first time in earth's history, God's church, as a whole, will believe He can do this, fully submit to the process and stand with perfected characters. Individuals have experienced it, but His church will soon also experience it as the reality of Christ's ministry completes that phase.

"That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish" (Ephesians 5:27).

"Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints" (Rev. 19:7-8).

"Earnest Christians seek to imitate Jesus, for to be Christians is to be Christlike. It will be really essential to have correct conceptions of Christ's life, Christ's habits, that His principles may be reproduced in us who would be Christlike. {AH 431.1}

"Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own. It is the privilege of every Christian not only to look for but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, (2 Peter 3:12, margin). Were all who profess His name bearing fruit to His glory, how quickly the whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel. Quickly the last great harvest would be ripened, and Christ would come to gather the precious grain" (Christ's Object Lessons 69.1-2).

"I know that if the people of God had preserved a living connection with Him, if they had obeyed His Word, they would today be in the heavenly Canaan" (Evangelism 694.4).

While here on earth, consider it your privilege and high calling to be...
a sinner who isn't sinning.

We have been given so many gifts, so much power, and so much love. Let us take this journey with all gusto and energy.

"As Christians we fail to come up to our high calling. Warnings and reproofs have been given us from God but only for a time have an influence upon us because we do not consider it as our lifework to press forward and upward to the mark of the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus. Oh, that God's people would consider their superior advantages, and understand from the light of God's Word that we must be judged according to the light that shine upon our pathway. All the privileges and opportunities given us of God are for the purpose of making us better men and women. The people of God must move from a settled principle, making it their first principle to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness and then go on from light to still greater light" (This Day With God 50.2-3).

Back to "Being Sealed"