The Popular View
The 1888 View
1. Begins with man’s need for eternal security. Thus the appeal is self-centered. Never gets beyond this radius of human insecurity. 1. Begins with the revelation of the love of God at the cross. Appeal is to a higher motivation—faith, appreciation, and gratitude. Thus it is not egocentric.
2. Faith is defined as mere “trust” in the sense of grasping for personal security from being lost. Faith is conceived of as satisfying personal insecurity. 2. Faith is a heart-appreciation of God’s sacrificial love, irrespective of hope of reward or fear of being lost. It overcomes egocentricity and lukewarmness.
3. Jesus taught that the love of self is a virtue, a necessary precondition to loving others. Love of self and proper self-respect confused. 3. Jesus taught that the converted person will love his neighbor as before conversion he found it natural to love self. When self is crucified with Christ we find true self-respect in Him. Faith expels self-love, an invention of Satan.
4. The sacrifice of Christ on the cross is only a contingent provision, and does nothing for the sinner unless and until he takes the initiative to “accept Christ.” Thus the idea prevails that if one is saved, it is due to his taking this initiative; if one is lost, it is God who has taken the initiative in punishing him. 4. The sacrifice of Christ is more than a contingent “provision.” It has done something for “every man.” The physical life of “every man” is the purchase of Christ’s blood. Every loaf of bread is stamped with His cross. Thus His sacrifice has legally justified “all men.” It is He who takes the loving initiative.
5. The gospel is “good news” of what God will do for you if you do your part first. He waits until you take that first step in initiative. The heavenly machinery of salvation stands idle until the sinner presses the button to activate it. 5. The gospel is “good news” of what God has done and is doing for you now. He has “drawn” you all your life (Jer. 31:3; Jn. 12:32). Do not resist Him, and you will be saved. The pure gospel motivates to a lasting heart response of faith.
6. God counts you outside the “family of God” until you “accept Christ.” Thus His acceptance of you depends upon your taking the first step. Misconstrued Scripture gives this impression. 6. God has already accepted you in Christ. To Him, the soul who has never understood the gospel is a lost sheep, not a wolf; a lost coin, not junk; a wandering prodigal son, not a stranger.
7. God will torture and destroy the lost in hell-fire. Emphasis is on His vindictive initiative in punishment. 7. Sin pays its wages—death. The second death mercifully ends the misery of the lost. God’s love is manifested in their fate.
8. Forgiveness is God’s pardon or excusing of sin, His accepting it as inevitable and unavoidable (“we’re only human”). Many have no clear concept of a difference between the forgiveness of sin and the blotting out of sin. 8. His forgiveness actually takes away the sin, which He still hates and can never excuse. The forgiven one now hates the sin. The “final atonement” brings the “blotting out of sin” in the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary.
9. It is hard to be saved and easy to be lost. Since few will make it to heaven, it must be very hard to follow Christ. Emphasis is on the difficulties in the way. 9. If one understands and appreciates the pure, true gospel as good news, it is easy to be saved, and hard to be lost. Christ’s yoke is easy, His burden light.
10. The sinner must be pressured into accepting Christ, usually by employing egocentric motivation such as hope of reward or fear of punishment. “Sales appeal” is typical: “what’s in it for me”? 10. Any use of pressure, gimmicks, or fear as motivation betrays a lack of gospel content in the message. Once the truth is revealed in love, nothing can stop the truth-seeker from responding.
11. Not until the sinner “accepts Christ” and is obedient is he legally justified. Ellen White’s writings misconstrued. 11. All men were legally justified when Christ died for “all.” When the sinner believes, he is justified by faith.
12. Justification by faith is the judicial act of accounting wherein God legally declares a still unconverted man righteous because he “accepts Christ.” This forensic act has no effect on the heart. 12. When God “declares” one to be righteous, He cannot lie. Justification by faith goes further than a mere legal declaration. It makes the believer obedient to all the commandments of God.
13. People can be justified by faith and still be lukewarm professors of Christ. 13. True mature faith ends lukewarmness and prepares for translation.
14. The supreme goal in life is to save our own souls, to do what is “essential for our salvation.” 14. The supreme goal in life is the honor and vindication of Christ. He must receive His reward, more than we.
15. Sin is defined as the transgression of the law, but is superficially understood as the breaking of a moral taboo. Much emphasis on “known” acts of sin; no concept of deeper sin still unknown. 15. Sin is more than the mere breaking of a taboo; it is a refusal to appreciate God’s true character of love revealed at the cross. In this Day of Atonement, the Holy Spirit will reveal all unknown sin.
16. “Made under the law” in Gal. 4:4 means that Christ was made under the Jewish ceremonial law (cf. Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 6, p. 966). 16. “Made under the law” means under the moral law. Christ was not “exempt” from our genetic inheritance; yet He did not sin. To do His Father’s will, He had to deny His own will; He denied self.
17. Christ’s flesh and nature in the incarnation were different from ours. He was “exempt” from our genetic inheritance, and took only the sinless nature of Adam as it was before the fall (cf. Questions on Doctrine, p. 383, and heading, p. 650). 17. Christ “took” fallen, sinful nature of man after the fall, was sent “in the likeness of sinful flesh,” not in its unlikeness. He was “exempt” from nothing. The reason He did not sin was He chose not to. He was Love incarnate. He is both our Substitute and Exemplar.
18. Christ bore our guilt only vicariously. 18. Christ bore our guilt actually. He truly identified with us, and condemned sin “in the flesh,” that is, in our flesh.
19. It was “impossible,” “useless,” and “unnecessary” for Christ to be truly tempted in all points like as we are (Ministry Magazine, January, 1961). 19. To deny Christ’s full temptation is to deny His true incarnation. Unlike the sinless Adam, He was also tempted from within as we are, yet without sin. There is no sinner whom He cannot succour.
20. Thus cut off from our genetic inheritance, Christ was “naturally” good. His own will was identical to His Father’s will. No inner struggle. Thus His righteousness could not be by faith. 20. Christ’s righteousness was by faith. He said, “I seek not Mine own will.” He bore the cross all His lifetime, something the sinless Adam did not need to do. Christ constantly denied self.
21. Since He did not take our fallen, sinful nature, Christ could not truly meet and conquer sexual temptations. 21. Scripture gives us no right to exempt Christ from any human temptation. Heb. 4:15 is too clear.
22. Continued sinning is inevitable so long as man has a sinful nature. God’s people will continue sinning up to the moment of translation. This logically requires that Christ never cease His High Priestly ministry as Substitute. Keep your “insurance” paid up by “relationship,” and you are “covered.” 22. Continued sinning is “condemned in the flesh” through Christ. Sin has become unnecessary in light of His gospel. Righteousness is by faith because faith works by love. Our difficulty is either ignorance of the gospel or unbelief. The second coming is impossible unless Christ ceases to be our Substitute.
23. Many of our people have no clear concept of the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary in its unique relation to righteousness by faith. 23. The 1888 message is a breakthrough that Luther, Calvin, and the Wesleys never found. It related the gospel to the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary.
24. Presentations of Christ’s present work in the cleansing of the sanctuary in relation to personal Christian experience are almost nonexistent. 24. True justification by faith is now related to the work of Christ in the Most Holy Apartment (EW 254). This is a unique truth entrusted to this church.
25. “Cheap grace” is the only possible result of confusion regarding the nature of Christ, the prejudice against perfection of Christian character, the eclipse of the cross, and neglect of the cleansing-of-the-sanctuary truth. 25. Righteousness by faith imposes an extremely high standard—that of Christ Himself. He is the Exemplar who ministers that grace fully to believers. He will return when He sees His character perfectly reflected in His people. This is realized by faith, not by works.
26. 1 John 2:1 tells us not to sin, as our insurance company tells us not to have an accident. But you will sin sooner or later, so make sure you are “covered” by the Advocate who will persuade the Father to excuse you. We cannot expect more than victory over “known sin.” Participation in unknown sin is implied to be inevitable until Christ returns. 26. 1 John 2:1 says that for His people to stop sinning is the purpose of His sacrifice on the cross. It is not to excuse the perpetuation of sin. This becomes effective when they grasp the principle of corporate guilt—their relationship to “the sins of the whole world.” Heaven will aid the believers in overcoming “even as” Christ overcame.
27. Prevailing egocentric concern makes it difficult to conceive of a repentance for any but one’s own sins. Overriding motivation is concern for one’s own personal salvation. No real sympathy with Christ is possible so long as hope of reward or fear of hell remains the dominant heart motivation. 27. The repentance and baptism of Christ introduce a larger concern: we see ourselves potentially guilty of “the sins of the whole world,” but for His grace. Faith makes possible an empathy with Christ in His closing work like that of a bride for her husband. Corporate repentance like His makes it possible.
28. Maintaining a “relationship” with Christ is a difficult, arduous process. Everything depends on your holding on to God’s hand. “Keep up your speed” or “gravity” will cause you to come “crashing down.” It’s a do-it-yourself program. 28. Everything depends on your believing that God is holding on to your hand. What makes the Christian life appear so difficult is an eclipse of the gospel of Christ’s righteousness. “The love of Christ constraineth us.”
29. Doctrinal differences within church fellowship are inevitable until Christ comes. True and full unity impossible. 29. Perfect unity is the norm for a church that has true faith. No need of conflicting, confusing prophetic ideas, for example.
30. We can believe, exemplify, and teach true righteousness by faith for many decades, and God’s work not be finished. (We have done this for a century). 30. To believe and teach righteousness by faith clearly in relation to the cleansing of the sanctuary is to catalyze the church and the world in a single generation and finish the gospel task. (This has not yet truly been done).
31. The time for Christ’s second coming is irrevocably predetermined by the sovereign will of God, and His people can neither hasten nor delay it. 31. Christ is eager to return as a bridegroom eager for a wedding. He will come whenever His Bride makes herself ready. The delay is her responsibility.
32. The second coming of Christ is desired mostly by old, sick, poor, or suffering people. Our need is our supreme concern. May He come “so we can all go home to glory.” 32. Sympathy for Christ, a desire that He receive His reward and vindication, and a yearning to see the world’s agony ended, these are the real reasons for wishing to hasten His return. This new motivation is produced by true faith.
33. Consensus is more important than truth. If your convictions differ from the majority, stifle them. 33. True faith imparts a courage that fears no majority or power they may wield. It leads to bearing the cross.
34. The view of the two covenants as presented in the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary and Bible Dictionary is similar to that of those who initially opposed the 1888 message. 34. The old covenant was Israel’s faithless promise to obey; and it “genders to bondage” through “the knowledge of [our] broken promises.” The new covenant is faith in God’s promise to us.
35. The 1888 message had its origin in “the creeds of the Protestant churches of the day” (Pease, By Faith Alone, pp. 138, 139). We have no distinct gospel. 35. The message is distinctly different from that of the popular churches. The “third angel’s message in verity” is biblical, “Christ and Him crucified.”
36. As a people, and particularly as ministers, we understand righteousness by faith correctly. What we need is more works. “Let’s forget 1888 and work harder.” 36. Especially in this respect we are “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.” No works program can finish God’s work. “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” We need the 1888 message He sent us!