FURTHER STUDY: The message to Sardis has vital counsel for those preparing for the seal of God and for the close of probation. Study Revelation 3:1-6. Read "The Time of Trouble," The Great Controversy, pp. 613-634.
"The injunction to be blameless and harmless [Phil. 2:15] does not teach that we may remain in a passive state. If Christians aspire no higher than a mere negative virtue, we may well anxiously inquire, what is to become of those who know not Christ nor the truth? Who will reach out their hands to save them? 'Blameless' here means unadulterated, sincere; it expresses an active piety. We are to let our light shine upon others, that its bright beams may reflect glory to the great Source of light. Our Heavenly Father is not a hard master; he requires of no man more or less than he gives him ability to do. Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.' Every one has earnest work to do for God. Every one upon whom God has bestowed the gift of reason has some influence over others. By the blessing of God, that influence can be used to save souls. We shall individually be held responsible for doing an iota less than God has given us ability to do. He measures our Strength; he gives us work which we can do, and which we must do if we ever hear from his lips the heavenly benediction, Well done, good and faithful servant.'" -- Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, April 24, 1883.
SUMMARY: The wicked suffer the seven last plagues after the close of probation because they have finally rejected the loving appeals of the Holy Spirit. The righteous suffer during the time of Jacob's trouble because Satan is permitted to afflict them; even though, by the power of the Holy Spirit, they are being kept from sinning, their characters need further positive refinement before Jesus comes. Daily communion with Christ through prayer and through study of His Word, along with willingness to share His love with others, is the means by which we prepare for the close of probation.