When we hear the call to get back to our roots, for revival and reformation in the church, so many people complain that the "old" ways were so strict, "legalistic". We hear statements like, that preacher is too strict, or what Ellen G White taught was too strict! It is too hard to do what they say we need to do, or we don't want to follow what she says. Besides, things have changed since her day. Yes, things have changed, and like Paul before he was converted, there were many in the past who were trying to keep God's commandments and follow Ellen White's counsel in their own strength and they failed miserably. There are many still attempting to do this today, but for the best part they have given up and now say that it can't be done at all. But that is not what God asks or expects from us.
Things have changed, but not for the better. People are not less sinful are they? Do they follow what God asks of them more closely than before? I don't think you will find anyone who will argue with you on that. So, has God changed what He asks of us? "I am the LORD, I change not." Malachi 3:6. Not according to Him. In fact God told us that things would change for the worst but that He wouldn't change in spite of it. Who instructed Ellen White to say what she did about how we should live and act? Did she make them up herself? Or did God reveal them to her and instruct her to tell them to us? There is ample evidence that God revealed them to her. So, if we refuse to follow what she says, who are we really refusing to listen to and follow? If we are refusing to follow God's word and what Mrs. White has been instructed by God to tell us is right and wrong, who are we actually following? Who is our leader? I can assure you that it is not God. I am aware of only one other leader who is available for you to follow, and he has no desire for your future to be pleasant or long lasting.
There are many who will say, but I have a relationship with God. Yes you may have a relationship with God, but if it is not a relationship that empowers and compels you to do and keep everything that God asks of you it is a very superficial relationship and it will not save you. If you are not connected with Christ as the branch is connected with the vine, totally dependent on the vine, getting all of your life forces from the vine, having Jesus in you and you in Him, controlling your every word and action, it is a useless relationship. If you do not have this vital empowering connection with Christ you are only fooling yourself if you believe that what you have is a saving relationship.
It is only those who keep the commandments of God, and have the faith of Jesus who will be saved. God's word is so clear on this. I don't know how anyone could say otherwise, unless they are not reading and listening to God's word but reading and listening to man's word. If it isn't God's word them whose word is it really?
We are told that if we want to be saved we are to deny self, and take up His cross, and follow Him. "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works." Matthew 16:25-27 "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Matthew 7:13, 14
God has never said that it would be easy if we want eternal life and heaven. Even here on earth, the greater the reward the harder it is to get it, the stricter we have to be with ourselves, and the more we have to deny ourselves to obtain it. Why is it that when God offers us the ultimate reward we complain that He asks too much, He is too strict, it is too difficult? We should be ashamed even to be heard saying these things, especially when He promises that He will provide all the power and desire we need to accomplish what He asks if we will only ask Him. "As the will of man co-operates with the will of God, it becomes omnipotent. Whatever is to be done at His command may be accomplished in His strength. All His biddings are enablings." --Christ's Object Lessons 333. So, what is your excuse?
Like Joshua I challenge you to choose you this day whom ye will serve; as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD, not in our strength but in HIS strength.
2 Timothy 2:15