Q: Is it true that probation ends when the Sunday law is enacted? Is there any evidence for this? — Maynor, from New York
A: Maynor, neither the Bible nor Ellen White say specifically when probation will close. However, they both have a lot to say about not delaying in giving ourselves to God.
In Hebrews 3:7-12, we sense the urgency of making a decision today: “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion … Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said: ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.’”
Of course, the reason we are urged to make our decision for God today, rather than waiting for the time of trouble is three-fold:
1) We can begin to experience the joy of having a relationship with the Lord now;
2) We have no guarantee that we will be alive tomorrow. It is possible that our probation may close today.
3) When we experience the urging of the Holy Spirit and put it off for a more “convenient time” (see Acts 24:25), we are actually “hardening our heart,” and the next time it will be easier to brush off or ignore God’s appeals, until at last we no longer care to listen at all.
In the book, “The Great Controversy,” we read an interesting passage that indicates that not even Satan will know for certain when probation closes:
“He [Satan] numbers the world as his subjects; but the little company who keep the commandments of God are resisting his supremacy. … He sees that holy angels are guarding them, and he infers that their sins have been pardoned; but he does not know that their cases have been decided in the sanctuary above” (p. 618).
I believe that the best thing to do is to place ourselves fully on the Lord’s side today, and each morning of every day, surrendering ourselves to Him, trusting ourselves to His care, and being willing to serve Him wherever He may call.