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The Theological Identity of the Remnant — 58 Comments

  1. This message was a God send for me.It is too long of a story but I have so struggled with the overwhelming guilt and knowledge of my inability to make effective changes.The hopelessness of being under the law and the harder I try the worse it has gotten.Just reading this was an aha moment and isn't God always watching over us !!! I felt his personal attention at least that's how it felt.I will read it again and a heart felt thank you.

  2. The historical record and evaluation of the Seventh Day Adventist denomination, by Ty, is accurate and insightful. To continue the debate over Faith in Paul, and works in James, reestablishes the contention and the willingness to call it a draw by agreeing both are right, and with tongue in cheek move on. What we in our minds mean in Matthew24:14,I believe is what makes the difference. Regardless of agendas and all. en.compassing master plans. The individuals are the way the world will be reached.

  3. Ty says: "When it comes to salvation, there is no such thing as God’s part and my part. All there is, is God’s part. The total reality of my salvation is His accomplishment. I have no part at all in achieving my salvation."

    EWG "Never leave the impression on the mind that there is little or nothing to do on the part of man; but rather teach man to cooperate with God, that he may be successful in overcoming." {1SM 381.3}

    "Let no one say that your works have nothing to do with your rank and position before God. [SALVATION] In the judgment the sentence pronounced is according to what has been done or to what has been left undone (Matt. 25:34-40)." {1SM 381.4}

    "Let no man present the idea that man has little or nothing to do in the great work of overcoming; for God does nothing for man without his cooperation." NL 38.4

    God has arranged His plans so as to accomplish nothing in the restoration of the human race without the cooperation of the human with the divine. The part man is required to sustain is immeasurably small, yet in the plan of God it is just that part that is needed to make the work a success. {AG 319.3}

    Ty, Thanks for the beautiful piece. I agree with your overall statement but it could be you have overstated it if what you mean is not understood in its entirety. I would add that our salvation is not all or none but a work of cooperation from the beginning to the end.

    Also love to God generated by knowing what God has done for us is not enough to change our hearts. We must believe and engage in the promises of a new heart scattered throughout the Bible. This is more than an obedience response of love for God's sacrifice for us. It is a work of regeneration by God but engaged in by us through faith in what He has promised to do in us.

    • Thank you, Calvin. Your comment is very important here. If it is all of God and nothing else, then we are given no choice. God's Will will happen and we have no choice in the matter.

      The truth is that WE DO HAVE A CHOICE.
      Our choice to allow God to do it ALL is absolutely necessary in our salvation.

      We don't have the power stop sin in our lives, but we have the power to let God's Holy Spirit be the motivation of our thoughts and feelings which are the basic motivation for our judgments and decisions and, consequently, our actions.

      God's Love and the Faith of Jesus and the "Righteousness of Christ" can only enter our experience as the fruit of the Holy Spirit and this is governed by our choice since God has already chosen to make this available to us.

      Jesus instructed us to watch and pray. Continual vigilance and consent for God to work out our salvation are necessary on our part that we may have the power to work out our own salvation. with fear and trembling lest we fall away from our Source of eternal life through vein deceit and worldly pursuits and trying hard to do it ourselves by law keeping.

      • I really enjoyed this article, because it touched on some really great points. However, I feel that he overstated the issue. I truly agree with what you have said here. It seems like the article is negating our choice, but God will never remove our choice

        We will have to choose all the way up until Jesus comes. I am very thankful though, that my choice is motivated Buy a faith that works by love. If we decide to choose righteousness, God empowers that choice. The role we play in our salvation is very small, but definitely necessary. Cooperation with God freeze him to fulfill every promise in us that he has made. I have met too many people claiming the promises of God but never concerned with the conditions attached to the promises.

        • Neville,

          The article isn't negating our choice at all. God is love. And love, by definition, has to allow us the freedom of choice. Angels in heaven had freedom of choice and those that are redeemed from the earth will have the freedom of choice through eternity.

          "The part man has to act in the salvation of the soul, is to believe on Jesus Christ as a perfect Redeemer, not for some other man, but for his own self." PH028 8.2. Even here, just like the Father who brought his epileptic boy to Jesus, we must cry out, "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief". Mark 9:24. And, when we believe God, we have "everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation", but we pass "from death unto life". John 5:24.

    • Calvin, it seems to me that what Ty wrote applies to justification, and all that you quoted applies to sanctification.

      All that God requires from us to justify us is that we recognize our complete helplessness and our total dependence on Him for salvation so we accept the salvation (robe of righteousness) He offers to us.

      Sanctification begins after God justifies us, and it is also God's work, but it requires our active ongoing cooperation.

      I find it significant that Ellen White specifically indicated that the Third Angel's message "in verity." It's the message we are to be preaching - the message that Christ is all in all, and that we have nothing to do with the basis of our salvation but to accept it.

      "Several have written to me, inquiring if the message of justification by faith is the third angel’s message, and I have answered, “It is the third angel’s message in verity.” Review and Herald, April 1, 1890. (You can read it for y yourself by following the link.)

      Note also:

      “What is justification by faith? It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself” (Ellen White, Testimonies for Ministers, p. 456).

      This message is the very antithesis of the principle of the kingdom of Satan, i.e. this world. This world promotes the elevation of self, the glory of man - in the media, in advertising and in politics. Thus the Third Angel's message presents a stark contrast to the principles of this world.

      • Inge, The second paragraph regarding Christ' robe of righteousness is what I consider essential. The long running years of debate between sanctification and justification,seemingly have held much less importance in majority minds than usual.

      • Even in justification, God requires our consent at the moment. This is "our part." Sanctification is a continuation of the same.

          • While it is true that God performs everything necessary to produce His character in us, it is not true that that is all there is to our salvation.

            The human is still left with the final choice. This choice is coupled with giving up everything except what God wants to give us. These things may seem very valuable to us at some point in time--like friends, like family, like wealth, like maybe our source of income, or maybe life itself on this earth. Many things are necessary to give up when God is developing His Character in our lives.

            While our choice is the minor part, it is still a part; and it can seem quite major at times to us.

            This part that we have to play in our salvation must not be overlooked or we become universalists and we do not truly enter into the process of developing the true character of God. We, then, are just playing church.

        • Don, I don't see that Ty says anywhere in this essay that we have no choice. In fact his whole emphasis is on "righteousness by faith." And faith requires an active choice to fully trust in Christ for our salvation.

          What Ty points out is that there is *nothing* we can do to earn salvation. There is nothing we can do to add to the salvation Christ has already provided for us. Obedience does not earn salvation. It adds nothing to the salvation God has already provided.

          Instead, obedience is the natural outworking of the love that is engendered in the human heart by the recognition of God's unfathomable love and Christ's sacrifice in our behalf. When we realize that we can do *nothing* to save ourselves and that Christ has provided *all* that is necessary for our salvation, we cast ourselves at His feet in gratitude and long to do His will. That makes for true obedience.

          If you got the idea that Ty promoted the idea that mankind has no choice, I suggest you prayerfully re-read the essay.

          • Inge, I have prayerfully reread Ty's essay as you suggested. Even though I don't see the word "choice", I do see the words "fall in love." If we fall in love with Jesus because we see that He first Loved us with unfathomable Love, this may imply choice if we are giving His Love back to Him with the consent for His Spirit of Love to be our motivation in place of our natural motivation.

            At any perspective, selfishness cannot be left in us as our motivation if the Character of God is to be perfected in our lives.

            In the beginning of our love relationship with God, He condescends to work where He is invited. Some issues may not yet have been brought into this Love relationship, but He never rejects us. Instead, He patiently works where He is allowed to enter our experience of pre-formed habit patterns of thinking and feeling which are contrary to His Love.

            As we watch and pray we see where our ways are so dissonant with His ways, we eventually give up more and more to His Love and He works in us to develop new habit patterns of thinking and feeling and acting such that, at some point in our life, all has been given to Him to perfect in His Character and we are truly in this utopia of not falling into temptation at any point in any issue.

            We always have the choice whether to walk in our selfishness or to walk in the motivation of God's Spirit of Love.

        • Thank you, Don, for your reply.

          I don't think you and Ty are actually saying different things. Love is always a choice. It can never be forced.

          Love is also the only motivating power that can transform us. Attempting to "be perfect" won't do it. And when we have love as the motivating power in our hearts, we have God's Law in our hearts, which is precisely what He promised to do for us in the new covenant relationship.

          I believe that's what Ty was referring to in his suggestion that we have not understood the Law correctly. As long as we are focusing on outward obedience, we are misunderstanding, because the Law of God IS the embodiment of God's love. 🙂

          • Thank you Inge, I have been thinking in a practical vein today.

            I think Ty is right until he says we have no part in the process of our salvation, because if we don't choose to let God's Holy Spirit enter the position of basic motivation of our thoughts and feelings God's Love really means nothing to us because we don't have it in our experience. God cannot work any further in our salvation until we choose to act on the Love He makes available to us. It is by the Faith OF Jesus which can only come into our lives via the Holy Spirit (with our consent) that we can live a Holy, sinless life.

            The Love of God is not ours until we give it back to Him and to all those "least" ones that represent Him in this world.

            The "talk" of God doing everything in our salvation sounds good and makes us feel "free." There is, however, something for us to do which will allow God to work salvation into us by His Spirit of Love. This involves a choice which opens the door of our heart to let Him in in every present issue.

            He is knocking, but we must let Him in to the issue of our present experience or we don't get what He wants to give us at this time. Letting Him in may mean we have to give up selfishness. But this is easy when He gets in because He does all the hard work, but the choice to let Him in is hard for us. We may think we will have to give up some cherished idol if we let Him in to our experience.

            The bottom line is that we must open the door. We must choose to let Him instill His self sacrificing Love in us and we must step forward in this motivation.

            He makes it all possible but our part is to let Him do it with our whole heart. If we don't give our consent, His character of true Love will not allow Him to force His way in.

            His Love is a very strong attraction if we would allow Him to reveal it to us.

            It seems to me that, initially, we have only one thing we can do involving our salvation. We must choose to let Jesus' Spirit move us to do His righteousness by His Love.

            Of course He is knocking on our heart's door with His Loving hand.

          • I would like to highlight three statements in Ty's article:

            1. "Righteousness,” Paul explains, only comes “by faith” (Galatians 5:5).

            2. While righteousness is only attained by faith, faith only “works by love” (Galatians 5:6, KJV)

            3. When Ellen White was asked to define righteousness by faith, she brilliantly got to the heart of the matter by saying, “it is the active principle of love imparted by the Holy Spirit” (Ellen White, Testimonies to Ministers, p. 468).

            Did you notice that? RIGHTEOUSNESS IS LOVE! In the quote below, EGW uses these very words:

            "Righteousness is holiness, likeness to God, and “God is love.” 1 John 4:16. . . Righteousness is love, and love is the light and the life of God." {Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings, p.18.1}

            I like to think of this quote in 'mathematical terms' as follows: righteousness = holiness = likeness to God = love.

            Of course, when we talk of love, we are not referring to some mushy sentimentality, but to a vital principle described in 1 Cor. 13 particularly in verses 4-7. This is ἀγάπη (agape), the self-renouncing love which God promises to put in our hearts and is the lead ingredient in the composite "fruit of the Spirit" of Galatians 5:22-23.

            This is the reason salvation is a gift (Eph. 2:8). It is the Lord's doing and it's marvelous! Gratefully we accept it by trusting in Jesus.

      • Inge,

        Let me say how much I have enjoyed your insightful comments over the years.

        In my simple way of thinking, I find that there is not much difference between justification and sanctification.

        "Many have an idea that they must do some part of the work alone. They have trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of sin, but now they seek by their own efforts to live aright. But every such effort must fail.". {SC 69.1}

        "Do you ask, “How am I to abide in Christ?” In the same way as you received Him at first. “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him. . . Colossians 2:6 . . . By faith you became Christ’s, and by faith you are to grow up in Him." {Steps to Christ 69.2}

        There is a sentence in the article, "God made manifest in the flesh" in ST January 20, 1890 Par. 6, as follows: "The only way in which he could set and keep men right was to make himself visible and familiar to their eyes." It has been pointed out to me that the expression "to set and keep men right" is simpler, and might I say a more understandable way, of saying 'justification and sanctification'.

        • Thank you for your kind words, Pramod.

          Indeed, justification and sanctification are both the work of God and are both ongoing processes, and the quotations you presented clarify this. 🙂

          I also like this:

          "to set and keep men right" is simpler, and might I say a more understandable way, of saying 'justification and sanctification'.

        • Pramond, Beautiful submission(s), being particular in accepting truth as
          presented in the Word of God, and confirmed by revelations to EGW.

          As you and Calvin pointed out or alluded, at times our best presentations on justification and sanctification can take so limited a view that we fail to recognize our own contradictions: (1) Just as true that the complete gift of salvation through Jesus Christ anticipates that we love the Lord with all our heart and mind and strength, and love our neighbor as He loves us, (2) just so true that the righteousness of Jesus Christ cannot be "attained" by human faith or effort.

          Complete statements in Scripture that each demand deeper and broader reflection on the WORD of GOD:
          "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved"
          "He that believe and is baptized shall be saved"
          "Unless you are born of the Water and of the Air you cannot be saved"
          "The saints... they that keep the commandments, and... faith of Jesus"
          "After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?...so foolish?"
          "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and ...saves lives"
          "To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life"
          "I know you not...for when I was hungry you did not feed me"
          "Come ye blessed of my Father, for when I was sick you visited me"
          "I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live....by faith"
          "Put on the whole armor of God"
          "Fought a good fight...finished the course"
          "Endure unto the end....."

          And more are required, so "Study to show thyself approved unto God...All Scripture is given by inspiration.... profitable.... may be complete."

          All of God -- All of me. All of God -- None of me

          God's plan is restoration: Eden 2, with turbo drive - New Jerusalem, powered/lighted by a resurrected Lamb/God-Man.

          • Harford,

            The beauty lies in the gems of truths contained in God's word and in, as one of our preachers used to say, "the inside information given to God's people" (EGW writings)!

    • Calvin,

      I am fascinated by your post as well as Don's. You have stated that "our salvation is...a work of cooperation from the beginning to the end." Don has emphasized our power of choice. You are both absolutely right in that the power of choice is a faculty given to all intelligent beings. And we will retain it through eternity. And the cooperation will continue as well.

      However, the right choices that we make here on earth now and the "immeasurably small" part that we are required to sustain are "the result of long wooing by the Spirit of God,--a patient, protracted process." [DA 172.3]

      Talking about the power of choice and the right action of the will, EGW states: "You can give Him your will; He will then work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure." [SC 47.1]

      Commenting on Eph.2:8, EGW wrote: (The Ephesians) were ever to remember the words, “Not of yourselves.” They could not change their own hearts. And when by their efforts souls were led from the ranks of Satan to take their stand for Christ, they were not to claim any credit for the transformation wrought. [AG 319.2]

      So, yes, we do have a choice or an "immeasurably small" part, but we cannot take any credit for our salvation, "for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." Phil. 2:13.

      • Hi, Pramod.
        I think sometimes we get confused about our choice as opposed to our "choices."

        We have the choice as to who will motivate our will. After that, the choices we make are motivated by the Holy Spirit. Our work in our salvation is to watch and pray lest we take charge of our "choices" again. If we want victory over all sin, we must stop trying to play God and take charge of our own "choices" but we must continue to give God access to our will that He will produce our choices and they will become natural to us.

        Eternal vigilance is now our work. Continual prayer for the motivation of the Holy Spirit is essential.

        • Don,

          In your post addressed to Inge, you have beautifully encapsulated God's work on our hearts vis-a-vis our choice/s.

          However, I am not very clear on the distinction between 'our choice as opposed to our "choices"' that you have mentioned above.

          Any time we make a right choice at, before or after our conversion, it is made under the influence of the Holy Spirit. "Christ is the source of every right impulse" {SC 26.3}. Even when those whom we consider as heathen make right choices, the Holy Spirit is at work in them. "Among the heathen are those who worship God ignorantly, those to whom the light is never brought by human instrumentality, yet they will not perish. Though ignorant of the written law of God, they have heard His voice speaking to them in nature, and have done the things that the law required. Their works are evidence that the Holy Spirit has touched their hearts, and they are recognized as the children of God." – {DA 638.2}

          You are right. We must continue to give God access to our will to gain victory over sin and "let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us . . .looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith" (Heb. 12:1-2).

          • Pramod,

            I think the heathen who have never heard of the Love of God or Jesus' sacrifice for our sins has a conscience where the Holy Spirit can reveal the true Love of God. This is where we all meet God if we will.

            Even the knowledgeable Christian must meet God and His Love here (in the personal conscience).

            Sometimes I think that probably some heathen have gone before some Christians into the Righteousness of Christ.

            We look at theology from the outside and think it's pretty, but we don't act upon it on the inside where it counts. So we can be like the stereotype of the Pharesee having a knowledge of the truth but crucifying Jesus with our favorite sins.

            We make our own rules for others to follow and we try to follow them when someone is looking.

            On the other hand we want to make up new, impractical, theologies that have missing links and do not allow the admission of the Holy Spirit into our lives to change us. We think we are doing pretty good and that's good enough bacause we meet up with our preconceived standards which are not God's standards, but agreed upon by many church members.

            I think you are right, Pramod, heathens can make good choices by the Spirit of God. This fact levels the "playing field" for us all. The key is to continue making the choice to let God have His way in our "choices" all the time in every issue of our life.

            "Watch and pray lest ye fall into temptation."

          • Pramod I do not see noticeable differences between choice and choices other than one is singular and one is plural. Obviously we will make more than one choice in our life time. That is a God given right.

    • Yes we have something to do, but what we do Calvin has nothing to do with our salvation. Christ wants us to learn to be totally dependent on Him. How can we learn to be totally dependent on Him if we are on a merit system?
      One of my favorites.
      "There are thousands today who need to learn the same truth that was taught to Nicodemus by the uplifted serpent. They depend on their obedience to the law of God to commend them to His favor. When they are bidden to look to Jesus, and believe that He saves them solely through His grace, they exclaim, “How can these things be?”"
      A few texts that come to mind supporting full dependence on Christ. Proverbs 3:5, Psalms 25:20, Psalms 31:14.
      There is nothing we can do for Our salvation. Once we have accepted the gift of salvation, we obey out of love not coercion, or in of our own merits. Turning back to Desire of ages chapter 17. EGW refers us to. Acts 4:12.

      • Please let us not underestimate the warfare the Christian must engage in. How much did it take of Joseph in being sold into slavery, standing for principle and end up in jail -- 13 years of his life as youth and young adult. What of the experiences of Daniel, Esther, Mother Theresa, Gideon, Martin Luther and Jerome? And Paul and Peter? Jesus Christ is the ultimate model.

      • The part we have in our salvation is to "accept it." If we don't accept it now it doesn't matter what we did in the past because NOW is when we are living.

        We must "accept" God's grace now if we are to have it now. This need for our acceptance now is dynamic and continual. This is our part. His part is produced only with our acceptance NOW.

        "Watch and pray lest ye fall into temptation."

    • Calvin, if I hadn't read your response I would have been left with so many questions in my mind but thank God, you have provided some relevant answers. The fact that "the law was made necessary because of sin to serve as a teacher to keep human conscience alive with a sense of our guilt and thereby to arouse in us a sense of need for a Savior" shows the difference between the two types of laws Paul addresses. Thanks again, for the human must cooperate with the Divine in order to effect our salvation.

  4. Thank you, Ty. By trusting in Jesus, man's "nature is so thoroughly imbued with love for God and his fellow men that he works the works of Christ with a willing heart." In fact, "he is unconscious of his goodness and piety." {SL 13.1}

    • Pramod ,Is that the nature of man that is mentioned in Genesis 6:5,6, especially after nearly 8000 years?

      • Paul,

        Here is the entire paragraph to provide the context:

        "Thus it is with the truly righteous man. He is unconscious of his goodness and piety. Religious principle has become the spring of his life and conduct, and it is just as natural for him to bear the fruits of the Spirit as for the fig tree to bear figs or for the rosebush to yield roses. His nature is so thoroughly imbued with love for God and his fellow men that he works the works of Christ with a willing heart." – {from The Sanctified Life, page 13 para 1}

  5. The picture at the beginning of the article speaks to me of balance - balance, balance, balance! Our increasing need for "balance" is depicted well, I think, in that impressive dream which Mrs. White once related to our people.

    It is the dream in which the Advent people set out on a journey with their "heavily loaded wagons" - with all their 'baggage'. Their path is ascending, and the path narrowed as they went. (To me the imagery is wonderful!) Of course they come to the point where they realize that they must dispense with their baggage, and they continued on horseback. Soon they become very frightened that they would lose their balance, and they must leave their 'vehicles' (horses) behind. Before long they are walking single file, and again they have a conscious concern about their balance. It is then that the cords are let down "to aid [them] in keeping [their] balance upon the path." (2Testimonies p.594-5.)

    As we continue on the spiritual journey, "balance" is going to be a growing concern for us. And perhaps it will be no more applicable than with the "faith and works" issue.

    Thank you for the thoughts you've shared here, Ty. I enjoyed them very much.

  6. There are THREE (3) CLEAR AND DISTINCT identifying characteristics:
    Revelation 12:7
    1. The SEED of the woman - JESUS CHRIST, (Birth by the Holy Spirit).
    2. KEEP the Commandments of God (JESUS CHRIST wrote the Commandments)
    3. HAVE the Testimony of JESUS CHRIST (Birthed by the Holy Spirit (Galatians).
    Revelation 14:12
    1. The Patience of the SAINTS (Birth by the Holy Spirit, Living by the Holy Spirit)
    2. KEEP the commandments of God (Commandments based on love, restoration)
    3. KEEP the Faith of Jesus Christ (How do we keep the faith of Jesus?

    There is no contradiction in Jesus Christ, or through Jesus Christ --
    Not in the New Birth (of the Water and of Air); Not in Living in Obedience to His will; and Not in Keep the Faith of Jesus Christ in believing with Him.

    • Perhaps you could relate this to the theme of the essay?

      Ty maintains that, as Adventists, we have misunderstood what the "Law of God" really means. (And I agree.) You are essentially repeating what Adventists have said for over a hundred years, but it is not clear what you mean by it.

      What do you understand it means to "keep the commandments of God"?

      • Inge,

        God never left it to the limitations of my understanding, or yours, or SDA theologians, as to what He meant when He (GOD)cites "Keep the Commandments" as a categorical statement of identity in Revelation 12 and 14.

        It may be stated as "Thy will be done on earth as it is (done) in Heaven" or "I only do the will of my Father" or "The life I live in the flesh, I live by Faith in the Son of God... or "on these two (love for God, love for man)hang all the law and the prophets". In God's ultimate, there is only one Law: "God is Love".

        I think Ty identifies only a sector of SDAs when he cites the interpretation of "ceremonials laws" in reference to the Book of Galatians. Paul is adequately clear, many years after the resurrection, that the issue is not what kind of law, but what kind of experience identifies the Christian person. "Oh foolish Galatians" addresses the misnomer/contradiction of prioritizing the Law in Christian experience when Salvation in Christ began with the transforming implantation of/by the Holy Spirit. In SDA debates, particularly as prompted by the pressure of apostate Protestantism, some SDAs join the Pauline "Oh foolish Galatians" grouping in making it an issue of what kind of law.

        Note that there is a correlation between Galatians "Alpha" and Revelation 14 "Omega". That correlation is not in Law, as some debates go, but in the beginning and ending of the work of the Holy Spirit.

        Still, one ought not to forget the answers of Jesus Christ to both the Rich Young Ruler and the Lawyer when He said "If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments". Amplified respectively: "Sell all you have and give to the poor, then come and follow me" and be like the 'The Good Samaritan'. Profoundly, the former walked away from Jesus, and the second offered a non-committed presumptive affirmation. Divine Destiny starts with the SEED.

        Both Revelation 12 and 14 assume the experience of "The patience of the Saints" and "The Seed of the Woman" as the established premise for obedience to the Commandments of God. It's clarity leaves no room for debate: "Seed", in Galatians, identifies ONE SEED/Jesus Christ, and not seeds/many. The Revelations of 12 and 14 relegate the discussion of how one comes to Faith in Jesus Christ to the historical, and assumes the current distinct identity of the Saints (The Wise Virgins) as ready to meet our Lord Jesus Christ.

  7. 2 Chronicles 7:14-16
    "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. "Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. "For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.

  8. This is just perfect. Indeed we sometimes fail draw people into the church because of our stringent legalism.

  9. Humans were made by our Creator to thrive within the realms of Earth. Scripture reveal that it was the Creator's intention that we should thrive (Gen 1:28) as well as actively nurture and promote the health of our surroundings (Gen 2:15). Humans can't perform either intention if we're unable to "make sense" of the workings of the world in which we find ourselves. The process of understanding (or "making sense" of things) requires two basic tools: correct information and a healthy brain to "make sense" of that correct information (truth). Humans manifest flawed behavior when we're in possession of incorrect information, an unhealthy brain (the information processor) and/or both (Mt 6:22-23). How does God's plan for human salvation relate to our daily living? Should it?
    -Scripture reveals the Godhead to be the ONLY source of truth (Deut 32:3-4(the Father); Jn 14:6(the Son); Jn 16:13(the Holy Spirit)).
    -Scripture reveals the devil to be the ONLY source of falsehood (Isaiah 14:12; Jn 8:44).
    -Scripture reveals that humanity has become snared by the devil at a deep biological level (Rm 3:9, 23; Eph 2:3; 1 Cor 2:14; 1 Jn 3:8).
    -Scripture reveal that this deep biological ensnarement, perpetrated by the devil, manifests itself in anti-Creator thinking (Isaiah 55:8-9; 65:2).
    -Scripture reveal that anti-Creator thoughts and/or desires in humans must be eliminated, if we're going to be good caretakers of ourselves and our environment (2 Cor 10:4-5; Rm 3:19).
    -Scripture reveal that the good news of humanity's release from the devil's ensnarement is WHOLLY the provision of the Father (Col 1:12-13; Rm 5:14, 18).
    -Scripture reveal that once a human is GIFTED release, he/she may then exercise faith (Rm 12:3; Eph 2:8; Rm 1:5-6) for serving his/her Creator (Rm 6:17-19), but as a "babe in Christ" still subject to bouts of anti-Creator thinking (1 Cor 3:1-4).
    -Scripture reveals that the believer's continued submission, by faith, to the Holy Spirit's guidance RESTORES him/her to the Creator's will of AT-ONE-MENT of thought (Eph 4:30; Jn 17:21-23; 1 Jn 3:9).
    -Scripture teaches that the sacrifice of Christ, God's declared sin-Remover (Jn 1:29), effectively accomplishes two things: 1) destroys the devil's deceit by upholding truth (Jn 8:26, 40) and 2) relieves humans of our devil-ensnared minds (Col 1:21-22; Heb 10: 10, 14-16; Lk 24:45).
    May God's will be done on Earth.

  10. I teach in Sabbath school that the key terms in Christianity.."gospel, grace and salvation" have been warped/misinterpreted. Because of this there is confusion and fanaticism about what justification and sanctification are about.
    I have heard so many definitions and concepts of the word "gospel" that it is like theological Baskin-Robbins.

    Here are 2 from SOP..that get little or no exposure.

    "The gospel is the good news of grace, or favor, by which man may be released from the condemnation of sin, and enabled to render acceptable obedience to the law."

    "The gospel is the very essence of restoration, and Christ would have us bid the brokenhearted, the hopeless, and the afflicted, take hold His strength; for the acceptable year of the Lord has come."

    • Jim:

      I was amused by your observation,"I have heard so many definitions and concepts of the word "gospel" that it is like theological Baskin-Robbins"! That is so true. That would make it sweet at the very least. 🙂

      I would like to emphasize a couple of thoughts regarding the gospel.

      (1) Any definition of the gospel must include the fact that it is primarily the good news about the revelation of the righteousness of God (Roman 1:16-17). Most people think of the gospel only in terms of "what's in it for me?". "But not alone for His earthborn children was this revelation given" [DA 19.2]. The gospel should accomplish the reconciliation of "all things" in "heaven" and "earth". (Colossians 1:19-20).

      (2) The first definition you've quoted refers to "obedience to the law". We must understand this law as the law of love rather than the "ten promises" (1BC 1105.1) which were "added because of transgressions" (Galatians 3:19). Two quotes re the law from SOP:

      "When Satan rebelled against the law of Jehovah, the thought that there was a law came to the angels almost as an awakening to something unthought of." [MB 109.2] I believe this was because the law of love was enshrined in their hearts (until Lucifer had other ideas).

      "The law of self - renouncing love is the law of life for earth and heaven" [DA 19.2]

      • Pramond, May I offer the very strongest possible affirmation for your identification of God's Law, as taught in the Holy Scriptures and reflected in the Spirit of Prophecy/EGW.

        "GOD IS LOVE" teaches us that Love is His identity, the very embodiment of His being, His character; and is the the master plan, the DNA that is imprinted on and in all His creation and created beings. YHWH's character of Love is the only standard, the only Law, the only Truth, the only Way, the only Life.

        When human beings betrayed God, and thereafter became imprinted with the fleshly carnal sinful nature, the 10 Commandments were given as directives for limiting behaviors, until the Seed/Jesus Christ brought restoration to the image of God.

        Here is where we get mixed up, and the debate takes wings again.
        1. The covering of the righteousness of Jesus Christ is by "faith" (not yet reality)
        2. The carnal nature is not surgically removed from us when we receive Jesus Christ by "faith"; which initiates the battle between the carnal and the spiritual nature for dominion.
        3. The decision of the will takes hold of the righteousness of Christ, and the victory of Jesus Christ, through "faith"
        until my change comes
        until this mortal puts on immortality
        until "we shall all be changed in a moment"

        So the debate is again engaged.

        When does the 10 commandments cease to be in effect?
        When was, is, will be the time of the end of the 10 commandments?

  11. Jim,
    Interesting observation. The linguistics of responsibility caught my attention as I read, but I thought I would leave it alone, as I did with the contradictions; for the sake of assimilating the truth that even our faith is the gift of the faith of Jesus Christ (This too is misconstrued, but Ty wrote a beautiful piece identifying this Truth.

    Yes, there is some confusion, but on the other hand, I know many Pastors who are faithful in representing the Word of God in the meaning of "righteousness by faith". I have also been in settings where certain Professors made this a matter of diligent study. As far back as the 1970s, Dr. Larondelle at Andrews University/Seminary, and even Dr. Ford, made this a matter of great study and presentation. Or I may note the more recent major study of the Book of Romans by Dr. Allen at Oakwood University.

    I once attended a "weekend revival" by a Catholic Priest who did a terrific job in presenting "righteousness by faith". I said to him after: "200 hundred years ago you will be excommunicated". He responded: "I still might be". There are faithful students of the Word of God, and there is also a glut of error and confusion. It raises the need for continued diligent study of the Word of God. I am somewhat taken aback by the consistent quoting of EGW writings in SSNET responses, often to the neglect of the Word of God in Scripture.

    As for Laodicea, that is God's assessment of His Church in these times, and we will do well in faithfully seeking to know the mind of the Holy Spirit as He gives insight into His Word. The relationship between Bible knowledge and being transformed in heart and sight is no less compromised in our times than it was during the First Coming of Jesus Christ. God has and is fully invested in doing a completed work in us. Our choice for full investment is also required, no matter our theological ruminations.

    Jesus Christ is (was, will be) "all in"; and we can only be saved by also being "all in" (linguistic of our times is borrowed from the phenomenon of the gambling arena). "I only do the will of my Father" (His Words/Our Words).

    Let us accept His gift of eternal life. God bless.

  12. A Christian is part of the remnant, and what is a Christian? Is it the works one does or the doctrines they believe? No, it is not what a person does, it is what Christ has done and is doing in and for that person that makes that person a Christian. Again it is not what we do but what Christ has done and is doing in our lives.

    • Jim, may I offer Biblical precedent (already used in this discourse) for your EGW SOP quote: "The gospel is the good news of grace, or favor, by which man may be released from the condemnation of sin, and enabled to render acceptable obedience to the law."

      1. "It is God Who is working in me, both to will and to do His good pleasure" Phil 2:13
      2. "I can do all things through Jesus Christ Who gives me strength". Phil 4:13

      a. GOD IS working in me. JESUS gives me strength.
      b. I receive GOD'S power to WILL (decide, determine, commit) and DO. I CAN DO all things THROUGH JESUS CHRIST.


      *This is what it means that we are called to be STEWARDS, SERVANTS, LABORERS, PASTORS, VESSELS, LIGHT, SALT, WITNESSES, EPISTLES, etc of GOD.

      *EGW observes that when we ask the Lord for guidance, we should not just sit back and wait for the Holy Spirit to give us details, but to be diligent in constructing effective plans and structured operations, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. (Sorry not to have a reference immediately available)

      *WE have to fight the good fight of faith, in the name of Jesus Christ.

      *The mental capacity to evaluate, respond to issues and conflicts, be supportive to others emotionally, be joyful

      *Commit to feeding the hungry and clothing the naked.

      *"Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it Holy", "This do in Remembrance of Me", "Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth"

      *Wise virgins carry oil for the journey

  13. I am deeply grateful for all the powerful contributions to this literally a matter of life or death post. Righteousness by faith has been presented in an enlightening encouraging non dogmatic , non judgemental manner with clarity. Praise GOD for this amazing Ssnet class.

  14. I often read and reread Romans 5:10 "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."

    Here's how I see it: What reconciles us to God is the death of Jesus. What really saves us is Jesus life, first imputed, then imparted. Why because the citizens of God's eternal kingdom will all live that unselfish life eternally. Not that we do exactly how Jesus did, but we live the WAY HE LIVED. His life, lived here on earth, is the gift God gives believers. That life is the only life lived on earth which "earned" eternal life. Jesus died to GIVE us His life. Ellen White obviously understood this when she said in Steps to Christ ". . . we live His life."

    • John,
      I agree with the way you see this. One thing I might throw out for critique is the the possibility that instead of earning eternal life Jesus lived eternal life.

      If this could be true, then when we live in Him and He in us and we live in the Father as Jesus did and does, then instead of earning eternal life we live eternal life now by His power and His promise?

      Of course, God has chosen that we have eternal life, but He leaves the final dynamic (continual) choice with us. This is why Jesus said, "Watch and pray lest ye fall into temptation."

      • The most problematic is the word "earned". That suggests a number of definitions. What we have to work for. Or another is the manner in which we are given a gift because we deserve it. etc. What ever description fits the best. The gift that Jesus gives us is what we call Grace. I don't see a comparison of the two, Works and Grace.

  15. Hello everyone...intersting "points of view"...
    That's exactly what they are"points of view". 15years ago, we as a family, came upon "God's evangel", as Ty beautifully put it, and we accepted"believed "it. That's all it took to "see" HIM from that day on... as Job said" he had heard about God but now he had "seen" HIM.
    While there is a "my" point of view and a self ... then one will only continue to experience the "I have heard about "HIM"(God) side of things.

  16. After rereading all the article by Ty, and all your wounderful blogs, I believe we can put it all together, Love, Grace, Faith, Works, Righteousness by Faith, Justification, Sanctification, and Service out of Love, by singing the closing hymn.
    'I Will Serve Thee Because I Love Thee'

    I will serve Thee because I love Thee

    You have given life to me

    I was nothing before You found me

    You have given life to me

    Heartaches, broken pieces

    Ruined lives are why You died on Calvary

    Your touch was what I longed for

    You have given life to me.

  17. God made laws so we can be aware of sin and what is sin. In this day and times, there are people who actually don\'t know they have sinned and are going to suffer repercussions for their sins for years to come. Look at our world today. These laws were made because God loves us and for our benefit. ALL 10 OF THEM !!!!!!!

    • Does it make a difference that what God gave on Mt. Sinai is called "The Law" in the Bible, but we call it 10 commandments or 10 laws?
      If it is presented as 10 laws, anywhere, what makes the difference?

      • A very significant question, Hurford!

        It seems to me that looking at God's Law as "10 laws" or even "10 commandments" tends to make us see these aspects of God's Law as individual "to do" items.

        Yet God's Law is *really* about the principle of self-renouncing love which Christ demonstrated in His own life. (Ps 40:8) It is a transcript of the character of God. Each "commandment" just tells us a little of what results when we have God's Law in our hearts. (Jer 31:33) (Also see "God’s Law: The One, the Two, the Ten and the Many."

        Thank you for stimulating some thought on this subject. 🙂

  18. Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Gal. 5:22-23).

  19. Rev 14 12 identified

    All Christians, i.e.
    1. Sinners saved by grace, that are in harmony with
    2. "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
    John 13:34 niv


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