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In this presentation, we are going to examine the Gospel as it is presented in Proverbs chapter 9, and by the grace of God, receive a better understanding of what it actually means to be born on probation. I personally believe that many people misunderstand and deny that we are born on probation, and thus fail to realize what Christ offered to humanity long before he died upon the cross.

We should understand that the probationary period given by God is a period given for every individual to demonstrate what way of life they will choose and what character they will form. Adam was on probation in the Garden of Eden, and Christ, through the plan of salvation, made it possible for you and I to be on probation today.

Notice this statement from the Spirit of Prophecy:

“Adam’s sin plunged the race into hopeless misery; but by the sacrifice of the Son of God, a second probation was granted to man. In the plan of redemption a way of escape is provided for all who will avail themselves of it. God knew that it was impossible for man to overcome in his own strength, and he has provided help for him. How thankful we should be that a way is open for us, by which we can have access to the Father; that the gates are left ajar, so that beams of light from the glory within may shine upon those who will receive them! {CTBH 15.3}

This passage is so beautiful because it clearly shows us that God and Christ never left us without help. The gates are left ajar, wide open, as the Prophet said. They are not closed. We have access to divinity at any time. It is a blessing for me to know this and be able to share it with others. Thus, we have nothing to fear and our children have nothing to fear, for the gates are wide open. And yet, God is a fair God. He honours our individual free will. We have the ability to choose Him, if we so decide, but we also have the freedom to choose the way of the enemy and become susceptible to our perverted faculties. God never forces Himself upon others, because this is not the way of love. Can you force someone to love you back? Can I force my wife to love me? No, for love is an expression of one’s free will, and since love is in the character of God, He does not force anyone to receive Him.

Bearing these thoughts in mind, let us now go to Proverbs chapter 9 in order to understand what God declared through the wisest man that has ever lived. In order to better understand the chapter, we’ll first read through verses 1-12 and see what it is that they present, and then focus on the remainder of the passages. Here is what Solomon declared:

1 Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars:
2 She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table.
3 She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city,
4 Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,
5 Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.
6 Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.
7 He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot.
8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.
9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
11 For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.
12 If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it.

This is a very interesting passage, especially in light of what Proverbs 8 discusses, namely that Jesus Christ is the Son of God from eternity. It is well understood that the language used here, as in many parts of this book, is allegorical in nature. Those who have accepted Christ as the only begotten Son of God are well aware that wisdom, especially as presented in the book of Proverbs, and particularly in chapter 8, refers to Christ. We find confirmation of this in the book of 1 Corinthians:

“But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:24

From this we can see that wisdom in Proverbs 9 just as it is in chapter 8 refers to Christ. So what do we find in this Proverb? We see wisdom presented as a woman, a queen per se, who has built her house with seven pillars. She has killed the beasts and mingled her wine. She tells people, come eat of my bread and drink of the wine which I have mingled.

These few verses are a wonderful exposition of the Gospel and ministry of Christ that we would be remiss if we did not examine them portion by portion.

What is the house mentioned in the above verses referring to? It is in reference to the sanctuary, or, to Christ’s church. I say this because the seven pillars which are mentioned here immediately remind us of a vision found in Early Writings where a description of the heavenly temple is given:

“This temple was supported by seven pillars, all of transparent gold, set with pearls most glorious.” {EW 19.1}

Thus, Christ is preparing an invitation for those that will accept to become part of His church, His family. But this invitation was prepared by what? The killing of beasts. What beasts is this in reference to? Ultimately, this is in reference to the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the earth, which was prefigured by the slaying of the animals in the typical ceremonial system. Christ took upon himself the punishment the moment Adam sinned so He could become the mediator between God and man and extend his invitation of salvation. Consider this statement from inspiration.

“Satan has come down with great power to work in the children of men. But in Christ’s strength we can stand against him. The instant man accepted the temptations of Satan, and did the very things God had said he should not do, Christ, the Son of God, stood between the living and the dead, saying, “Let the punishment fall on me. I will stand in man’s place. He shall have another chance.”
And when human beings choose to follow Adam’s example, the Saviour still invites them, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30.] But if man refuses to yoke up with Christ, if he refuses to learn of the great Teacher, he cannot receive God’s protection.” {Lt22-1900.12}

Christ was able to set His table, because His blood was shed for the remission of sins. And what is the invitation that goes forth from Him as we read in verse 5:

“Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither:”

I want us to explore the word simple and its significance. What does it mean to be simple? The Hebrew word used in this verse is pĕthiy and it is an adjective that is used a lot in psalms and proverbs to signify literal simplicity. It is this very simplicity that Christ requires of us when we approach Him and seek to understand His ways. We have to come to Christ with an open heart and without any preconceived ideas. We ought to be ready to believe on everything He says. The simplicity mentioned here may cause us think of the following words of Christ when He said:

“Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3

Are we ready to become as simple as a little child? Are we ready to hear the voice of Christ and trust Him as a child trusts his mother? May God give us the strength to search for humility of heart and lowliness, for it is essential in our spiritual growth.

The invitation continues:

“Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.” Proverbs 9:5

The bread and the wine that we are to eat and drink of refer to the body and blood of Christ, the Lord ’s Supper, and His sacrifice for the sins of the world. When Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, a plan of salvation was put into place, which allowed for him to be forgiven and justified. God made it possible for Adam to continue to be united with divinity. Christ stepped in and became the Mediator for mankind. However, it was still Adam’s decision whether he would accept this gift, repent and partake of the invitation or not. Thus it is for each one of us and anyone who has ever lived. As we read earlier, “when human beings choose to follow Adam’s example, the Saviour still invites them”. God’s mercy endures forever. It is for this reason that John declared:

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:” 1 John 2:1

These were the words offered to humanity from the moment Adam and Eve fell. See, God and Christ knew very well that sin would wreak terrible havoc, but glory be to the Father and the Son for never leaving us behind and for providing a way of escape. Nevertheless, this way of escape still requires our cooperation.

“Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding… The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.” Proverbs 9:6,10-11

In order for us to live, we ought to forsake the foolish. But who are the foolish? This proverb gives us a comparison between Christ and Satan, between righteousness and sin. If wisdom is what leads to righteousness, then the foolish must be those who are living in sin.

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18

Jesus asks us to forsake the path of sin. This is further elaborated on a few chapters later in the same book:

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” 1 Corinthians 6:14

“old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” 1 Corinthians 5:17

We are to forsake sin if we are to live. For it is sin that causes death:

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Eternal life is a gift of God, but acceptance is necessary. We have to choose to partake of the supper that the Lord has prepared for us. The first 12 verses of Proverbs 9 demonstrated to us the way of righteousness and life. This way is only through Christ who Himself declared:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life:” John 14:6

These verses are a clear depiction of the invitation of the Gospel. Christ is ever there, working through the messengers of the Gospel or the Holy Spirit, to invite people to partake of His gift. No righteousness can be found outside of Him. Those that seek to find it elsewhere will fail to obtain Wisdom. All that is required of us is to choose Him and as the lyrics of a famous hymn go, to trust and obey. The Bible says in verse 11:

“For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.” Proverbs 9:11

I dare say that this passage is not only in reference to the mortal life we have upon this earth, for the days of the righteous shall be increased to eternity. We are to look for the better promises of a life that goes beyond this temporary world and trust that God will deliver upon His words. The reward of the Gospel is so beautiful that one might wonder why everyone wouldn’t choose it, but as we look around, we see that this is not the only way open to man. Adam’s sin brought many consequences and allowed Satan increased access to contend for our souls. Righteousness is not the only option available to us. We live in the midst of a great controversy. Both good and evil are available in this world and every individual plays a role in the building up of either of two kingdoms, the kingdom of this world and the kingdom of the world to come, which is a kingdom of righteousness. We heard what Christ has to offer, but as we continue in this proverb, we will see that the tempter is just as diligent in seducing souls into the paths of sin:

“13 A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.
14 For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city,
15 To call passengers who go right on their ways:
16 Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,
17 Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.
18 But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.”

We see here a foolish woman that is clamorous, or boisterous, noisy as it might also be translated. She is continually chasing people with her enticements. And isn’t this way of sin. Aren’t the carnal lusts or sensual pleasures of this world presented in this very way? They most certainly are.
This clamorous woman is sitting at the door of her house which is in the high places of the city. It is the riches and kingdoms of this world that Satan regularly uses to seduce man into sin. What did he tell Christ in the wilderness?

“Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” Matthew 4:8-9

It seems as if sin brings a reward. Nevertheless this so-called reward, ends up only being an illusion. As the proverb says stolen waters are sweet and bread eaten in secret is pleasant, but he knowelth not that her guests are in the depths of hell. The Bible is very clear.

“the wages of sin is death” Romans 6:23

“The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Ezekiel 18:20

Unrighteousness will bring nothing else but death. The guests who partake of what the clamorous woman has to offer are not only on the way to hell, but they are already in the depths of hell, under the power of sin, led captive by Satan. The depths of Satan are the depths of hell. Unforgiven sin leads to ruin; it is the bottomless pit. Everyone who partakes of sin becomes the servant of sin, under the rulership of Satan.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” John 8:34

In Proverbs 9, Solomon presents to us the ways of life for every human being that comes into this world. Because of the plan of salvation we are able to choose our master, and decide for ourselves who it is that we want to follow.

When Solomon penned these words, he was inspired by Christ, and this same line of thinking was repeated by Paul in the epistle to the Roman church:

“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… 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?” Romans 6:11-13,16

Paul’s writings here align perfectly with the thoughts of Proverbs 9. We are given the option of choosing whom to yield ourselves to. If I yield myself to Christ and obedience, or as Solomon described it to wisdom, I shall become a servant unto righteousness and life, but if I choose that path of sin, or what the clamorous woman offers, I shall become a servant of sin. See the key phrase in this passage is the word yield. It means to surrender or submit (oneself) to another. Are we ready to submit to Christ, day by day, hour by hour, or shall we obey the lusts of our mortal bodies and become captive by Satan’s temptations? This is a free will choice that every one of us has to make. Christ can never force me to submit myself unto him, it is my own choosing.

In order to summarize everything that we have discussed thus far, we’ll now turn to the words of Christ himself, who clearly presented that the way of righteousness and unrighteousness does not come to us as an inheritance, but it is the result of choosing which master we want to serve and which kingdom we want to live for. In the book of Mathew the 6th chapter, Jesus shares with us the importance of laying up our treasure in heaven, and choosing God as our master:

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! 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.” Matthew 6:19-24

Jesus is here using the example of possessions in order to illustrate the battle between light and darkness and our decision to unite with either master.

“I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

Christ is the light that our eyes need to behold. And as Paul says in 2 Corinthians:
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18

In order for us to have a good eye and for our body to be filled with goodness, we ought to behold the light. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.

Unfortunately, the exact opposite holds true as well. If thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness.

No one can have two masters. We either have God, through Christ as our master, or we have sin and the originator of sin as our master. It was Christ speaking through his servant John that declared:

“In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” 1 John 3:10

Every servant has a master. In today’s world the word servant carries a negative connotation, but when we look at what the Scriptures present, we see that to be a servant of righteousness brings life and joy. Isn’t it beautiful to know that God has orchestrated a plan of salvation through which he has given every human being the free will to choose their master. Everyone has sinned because of their own choosing, and neither God nor our ancestors are to be blamed for our choices in life. Nevertheless, even those who have sinned, have been given another chance. We need to acknowledge our faults and take responsibility for every word, thought or deed.

We have further confirmation of these very points in the writings of Sister White. She was entirely on par with the Bible and it could not be otherwise for it is the same source that inspired both sets of writings. Thus it would be important at this time to hear what she has shared on this subject. We’ll start with a passage that was published in the Signs of the Times back on November 3rd, 1881.

“Despite the many sovereigns to whom men profess allegiance, all mankind are serving one of two masters—the Prince of light or the Prince of darkness. Samuel served the former, the sons of Eli the latter. The characters of these persons, standing out in such striking contrast, represent the two great parties into which the world has been divided since the fall of Adam—the servants of Christ and the servants of Satan. God has ordained that with families and nations or with individuals, virtue is the basis of happiness, vice the foundation of woe and misery. In all the history of nations, wherever righteousness has been cherished, union, peace, and prosperity result; where greed, selfishness, and irreligion reign, weakness, degeneracy, and corruption follow.” {Ellen White, ST November 3, 1881, par. 14}

“It is He(Christ) that loved us, and so loved us that He offered His life as a living sacrifice to bear the sins of a guilty world, that man should have a second probation, that man should be tested and proved and tried to see whether he will stand under the bloodstained banner of Prince Emmanuel, or whether he will choose to stand under the banner of the prince of darkness.” {Ellen White, Ms43a-1894.3}

“Christ speaks of the church over which Satan presides as the synagogue of Satan. Its members are the children of disobedience. They are those who choose to sin, who labor to make void the holy law of God. It is Satan’s work to mingle evil with good, and to remove the distinction between good and evil. Christ would have a church that labors to separate the evil from the good, whose members will not willingly tolerate wrong-doing, but will expel it from the heart and life.” {Ellen White, RH December 4, 1900, par. 6}

These statements show us that probation is the period during which we are to be proved and tested regarding which master we will serve. The servants of sin will not inherit the kingdom of heaven for they have chosen to be under the banner of the Prince darkness. See, the plan of salvation was put into place in such a way that for as long as our individual probation continues we have the opportunity to choose either of the two masters. This is why once saved does not mean always saved and vice versa. A sinner might turn from his wicked way tomorrow and a righteous person may choose to forsake the way of God and go back to sin. We are not to confuse probation with conversion. No one is born with a predefined character. Character is something we build and is based on the daily choices we make. Only a life in unity with Christ can form a character for eternity. By beholding we become.

What we considered in this message is crucial for a proper understanding of the Gospel and the love of God for this fallen world. However, the Christian world as a whole has failed to understand this. Almost all of Christianity today teaches that we are born in a state of sin; that we are born sinners or unrighteous, because of what Adam did 6000 years ago. Such a teaching, however, completely distorts the plan of salvation and, as we have seen in this study, does not line up with Scripture. Christ did not leave us under the rulership of Satan, as suggested. He gave all a chance to choose which master he or she shall have. We do not become sinners by inheritance, just as we do not become saints by inheritance. This false notion is nothing else but a repetition of what the Jews in the time of Christ incorrectly believed about this identical subject. The Bible says:

“Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” 1 Corinthians
It is essential for us today not to repeat the errors that have been so clearly given as examples in the Word of God. So where do we find this idea that unrighteouses or righteousness come to us as an inheritance, that they are the result of our ancestral lineage. Let’s turn to the book of John and examine a discourse that Christ had with the Jewish believers of that time:

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham… Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.” John 8:32-39, 44

From this discourse we see that the Jews thought that they were children of God because of the fact that they were the ancestral descendants of Abraham. They counted themselves righteous not because they were actually doing the works of Abraham, but rather because they received a state of righteousness as an ancestral inheritance from him. This line of thinking is identical to those who admonish that we are born in a state of unrighteousness, because of our ancestral inheritance. Christianity today is saying that we are sinners because of what we received from Adam, while the Jews back then made the claim that they were righteous because of what they received from Abraham. Never the less, as we shall now see from the words of Christ Himself, neither of these two claims have anything to do with the truth. Was Christ’s response to the Jews focused upon their ancestral lineage or did he switch their focus to the choices they had made in life? He said:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.”

Jesus didn’t reply and say that they were servants of sin because of a state of being that came to them from Adam, but rather because they committed sin. It was because of the choice to sin that these Jews were reckoned to have Satan as their Father. The contrary was also right. To be counted as a descendant of Abraham was not linked to having received a nature or a state of being from Abraham, but rather by doing the works of Abraham. Jesus was not talking about a physical seed here but rather a spiritual one. We can have good or bad spirituality you know. We can have Christ, but we can also choose to be united with Satan and be servants of sin. This is exactly what was presented in Proverbs chapter 9. There is great controversy going on for the souls of man. Christ invites us to partake of his table, but so does Satan. And it is our personal decision that sets us under the banner of either of those two masters.

But before we conclude let us not miss something very important. The Bible teaches that:

“all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23

“The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Psalm 14:1-3

See friends, you and I have all become sinners. However, this was not because of Adam, but because you and I personally chose to go the wrong way.

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6

This is true of you and it is most certainly true of me. However, we are not blame Adam, nor pride in Abraham when it comes to righteousness and unrighteousness. We are to look upon ourselves and examine the choices we’ve made in life, for it was you and I that turned to our own way. The first we just read clearly refers to each one of our individual decisions to sin and this is what Christ came to die for. My prayer is that you will meditate upon these solemn subjects and help others to fully comprehend the love of God for this perishing world and for giving us His Son so we can have another chance.