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Do you know?
What separates the Seventh-day Adventist church from the other professed Christian churches?
"And what agreement has the
temple of God with idols? for you are the temple of the living
God; as God has said, 'I will dwell in them, and walk in them;
and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.' Wherefore
come out from among them, and be you separate, says the Lord, and
touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be
a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the
Lord Almighty." 2 Corinthians 6:16-18
Do you know?
What was the
difference between Judah and Israel?
.Why the ten tribes left God and disappeared?
Do you know?
Why God said, "Ephraim is
joined to idols: let him alone."? Hosea 4:17
Do you know?
What separates Christian from Babylonian?
Do you know?
The Basic Facts
(Scripture quotes are from the KJV but with modernised English).
We should often be asked just what we believe that makes us decide to be separate from the other professed Christian churches. In other words, what are our basic beliefs, and where do they differ from the others who call themselves Christian.
The following statement is an attempt to put forth simply two points, which are but two aspects of the same subject, comprising in themselves the whole of the "everlasting" gospel! Revelation 14:6.
No. 1. The nature that Jesus Christ took as a Man.
No. 2. The man described in Romans 7:9-24.
To separate from other professed Christians on any other point or points of Scripture alone, would not be according to God's will, but on this subject it is, for it is written in 2 John 10-11 that, "If there come any to you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that bids him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."
"This doctrine" is defined in verse 7 as the truth that "Jesus Christ is come in the flesh." Any other doctrine or belief need not bar the professed believer from entering our house, in fact we are told to invite even the heathen who are willing, into our houses to discuss Christianity and its Founder.
But those who make a profession of accepting Jesus Christ, while denying that He actually came "in the flesh", are antichrist, and from such we are to withdraw.
What do the words "in the flesh" mean?
In Hebrews 2:17 it is written of Jesus Christ that "In ALL things it behoved Him to be made like to His brethren [brothers and sisters]..." Other translations say "it was imperative", "He must", "should", "was under obligation", "had to be made like"...
If He was made like His brethren (brothers and sisters) in ALL things, then who are His brethren? We are told,
"For both He that sanctifies [Jesus], and they who are sanctified [Christians], are all of one [origin, or parentage]: for which cause He is not ashamed to call THEM brethren." Verse 11.
Therefore His brethren are those who are sanctified, or born again and justified; those who have received a new life; those who, like Him, also "trust in Him [their Heavenly Father]" Verse 13.
This is plainly the intent of the words, that we should understand that all who become Christians in actual fact are His brethren (brothers and sisters). Who are they? They are sinners who have come to Him and asked for deliverance from the spirit of sin and death, and who have accepted His offer of a new heart and new country.
"For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.
And I will put My spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My judgments, and do them. And you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and you shall be My people, and I will be your God."
But, if He was made like His brethren "in all things", they too are like Him in all things!
Now, it is written of Him that He was "without sin", while Christians have in the past, and still do in the present, sin, sometimes. What does this condition of His which He "must" take mean to them, then?
The spirit of rebellion
It means that the image of Satan (the spirit of disobedience) was in men and women, and that Christ came to them that He might bring to them
first, a way of escape from that image,
and second, the moral power to stay free from that slavery.
The first He accomplished with the sacrifice of His death,
but the second He demonstrated with His life on earth and accomplishes by His life as our High Priest..
That's why He came as a helpless babe, bearing the humanity we bear, for He could not come in the form of any other creature. He must meet men and women as a man, and testify that His connection with God was not given to Him in a different way to that which it would be given to any who ask for it.
Desire of Ages, pages 48-49
The story of Bethlehem is an exhaustless theme. In it is hidden "the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God." Romans. 11:33. We marvel at the Saviour's sacrifice in exchanging the throne of heaven for the manger, and the companionship of adoring angels for the beasts of the stall. Human pride and self-sufficiency stand rebuked in His presence. Yet this was but the beginning of His wonderful condescension. It would have been an almost infinite humiliation for the Son of God to take man's nature, even when Adam stood in his innocence in Eden. But Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin. Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were is shown in the history of His earthly ancestors. He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life.
Satan in heaven had hated Christ for His position in the courts of God. He hated Him the more when he himself was dethroned. He hated Him who pledged Himself to redeem a race of sinners. Yet into the world where Satan claimed dominion God permitted His Son to come, a helpless babe, subject to the weakness of humanity. He permitted Him to meet life's peril in common with every human soul, to fight the battle as every child of humanity must fight it, at the risk of failure and eternal loss.
The heart of the human father yearns over his son. He looks into the face of his little child, and trembles at the thought of life's peril. He longs to shield his dear one from Satan's power, to hold him back from temptation and conflict. To meet a bitterer conflict and a more fearful risk, God gave His only-begotten Son, that the path of life might be made sure for our little ones. "Herein is love." Wonder, O heavens! and be astonished, O earth!
All of His brothers and sisters were natural humans who became Christians by asking for the gift of new life and accepting it "by faith", and then "growing in grace." Jesus Christ was from the moment of His earthly birth both "born of a woman", and also "born of the Spirit" and "grew in grace", but humans do not reach this state until rebirth, when we who were "born of women" are also "born of the Spirit." He was not a natural human but a Christian one, like us.
After the Saviour's birth the record is that He "increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man." Luke 2:52. This simply means that He increased in His intellectual nature, His physical nature, and in His social nature or character. Although His mind was active and penetrating with a thoughtfulness and wisdom beyond His years, and His character was beautiful in its wholesomeness, all this is readily available to any other human who allows the Spirit of God to lead them. His powers of mind and body developed gradually, in keeping with the laws of childhood, and while He was a child, He thought and spoke as a child; but no trace of sin marred the image of God within Him. Why? Because, as He tells us, "He that sent Me is with Me: the Father has not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him." John 8:29.
He was obedient to the Spirit's leading.
Yet He was not exempt from temptation, any more than His brethren (brothers and sisters) are! On the contrary, it is written of Him that He was tempted in ALL points ."..like as we are..." Hebrews 4:15. He, like His brothers and sisters, had to be constantly on guard in order to preserve His purity.
Then what saved Him from sinning?
It was His Father's power!
It is written, "when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears to Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared; though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered."
And so may we, for it is written again,
1 Corinthians 10:13-14
"There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry."
As He Himself tells us, "I can of My own self do nothing:" John 5:30, 5:19-20. He was like His fellow Christians in ALL points then, which means that He had no advantage over them at all because of His birth, or the fact that He never sinned.
This means that He was a real man, laying aside His own divinity temporarily, and was in just the same position as any other Christian on this earth could be. To admit less than this is to take on the position of antichrist, as it is written, "Every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist." 1 John 4:3.
It is said,
"Forasmuch then as the children [those whom God had given Him, verse 13] are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself LIKEWISE took part of the same..."
The purpose of rebirth
LIKEWISE, the children of God must be born of the Spirit, for only that "which is born of the Spirit is Spirit." John 3:3-6. This means that in the rebirth experience each individual is brought to the same place as He was at His birth, and "made" into a Christian by the creative energy of God, and then given the same power to live the same life. John 1:12.
When (and if) we sin and become Christian sinners, and then confess that sin in true repentance, by forgiveness and cleansing we are brought back to this condition. But it is not necessary that we sin! Christians have the choice which non-Christians do not, for this has been given to them with the gift of the new life.
1 John 2:1-2
"My little children, these things write I to you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and He is the propitiation [the One who makes amends] for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
either the Man Christ Jesus was a real man with no earthly advantage over other Christians, or He was not.
If we say that He was "like us, BUT ... !" then we do not believe in the Son of man.
The point of time in His life which He was made a Christian does not affect the issue in any way because all Christians are "reborn" at different points of time in their lives, with no two at exactly the same moment. Each Christian thereafter grows in "wisdom, and stature, and favour with God and man" at his or her own rate, with no two exactly alike.
Either Christ Jesus came to this earth to reveal what a man or woman could do, (that is, a reborn man or woman, a Christian), or else He came to live vicariously for us, as a God, and we do not have to follow His example.
1 Peter 2:21-25
"For even hereto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps. Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth: who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judges righteously. Who His own self bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live to righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed. For you were as sheep going astray; but are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls."
If He came as a Christian man and lived a sinless life, then that fact is evidence that any Christian can do as He did, and also live without sin by the power of the Holy Spirit! He told us, "Verily, verily, I say to you, He that believes on Me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do because I go to My Father." John 14:12.
This thought is in harmony with many other Scriptures, one of which says, "My little children, these things write I to you, THAT YOU SIN NOT..." 1 John 2:1. Our understanding of the nature which Christ took as a man, then, will colour our whole Christian life.
When Peter, looking at a real man, said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God", he was certainly blessed by the Father for this understanding is the Rock on which the church is built, as Moses has recorded for us ."..ascribe you greatness to our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect..." he wrote. Deuteronomy 32:3-4. And in the New Testament, "That Rock was Christ", 1 Corinthians 10:4.
Without this Rock no church or organisation, or individual professed Christian has a Foundation, but is instead built on a bottomless pit!
Desire of Ages 413.002
"Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 3:11. "Upon this rock," said Jesus, "I will build My church." In the presence of God, and all the heavenly intelligences, in the presence of the unseen army of hell, Christ founded His church upon the living Rock. That Rock is Himself, - His own body, for us broken and bruised. Against the church built upon this foundation, the gates of hell shall not prevail.
How feeble the church appeared when Christ spoke these words! There was only a handful of believers, against whom all the power of demons and evil men would be directed; yet the followers of Christ were not to fear. Built upon the Rock of their strength, they could not be overthrown.
If He came in the nature of man before the fall (i.e. in Adams nature in the garden of Eden), then He is no example to us who live this side of the fall. If he came in the same nature that we have as Christians, then He is indeed our example, and goes before His sheep, saying, "Follow Me", as it is written of Him, "when He puts forth His own sheep, He goes before them, and the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice... This parable spoke Jesus to them, but they understood not what things they were which He spoke to them." John 10:1-18.
Our understanding and our position regarding this point makes us either a follower of Christ, or a follower of the antichrist (he who takes the place of Christ). 1 John 3:1-11.
"If the Lord be God, follow Him;
but if Baal, then follow him." 1 Kings 18:21.
The choice is yours,
for no man or woman can serve or follow two masters at the same time.
In the seventh chapter of Romans we have a simple, clear-cut situation. Either this man is a Christian, or he is not.
There can not be two ways on this point, and we dare not measure him against ourselves, and say that he is a Christian because that is how we are, for this is no proof. We must compare him with the Word of God which says that he is "carnal, sold under sin" [and therefore a slave] and, "not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be." Romans 7:14; 8:7.
In this chapter there is set forth the experience of a man who does not know "how to perform that which is good", and who cries out that in him "dwells no good thing." Romans 7:18.
If this is the experience of one who is a Christian, one who has received the gift of the life of the Son of God in him and one who is being led by the Spirit, then what do these following words mean? "Christ in you, the hope of glory..." Colossians 1:27 and, "Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His" Romans 8:9. Why does he say that there is no good thing in him, for surely, "God is good"?
A Christian, the brother or sister of Christ, has the image of God within him or her, as Jesus did! The man in Romans seven actually goes on to say that the "sin that dwells in me" brings him into "captivity" in verses 20-23, which makes it obvious that he is not serving the Lord Jesus Christ.
He does not know how to do good!
But the promise of God is that .".. the truth, [and the Spirit of truth] shall make you free." John 8:32. This man calls for "deliverance" not from temptation, but from "the body of this death" or the law of sin which dwells in him, which is not what a Christian cries for. Such a one asks only for the power to overcome temptation (as Jesus did, Revelation 3:21), and to live a life of victory "in the flesh" thus showing forth the glory of God in this earth. "Not my will, but Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." See Luke 22:42 and Matthew 6:10.
"Know you not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman which has a husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he lives; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband."
"So then if, while her husband lives, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man."
"Wherefore, my brethren, you also are become dead to the law [of the first husband] by the body of Christ; that you should be married to Another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members [or bodies] to bring forth fruit to death. But now we are delivered from the law, that [husband] being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter."
In these verses, the illustration is made of a woman who cannot have two husbands at the same time without incurring the wrath of the Law as an adulteress.
This point is so simple that to say that we can, as Christians, have both the carnal nature and the spiritual nature at the same time, is but to make a mockery of the Word of God.
To take the name of Christ while still having the Law of sin within us, is, in effect, to say that we have two names from two husbands, Christian and Sinner.
In actual fact, we can have only one or the other under the Law.
And now we may see how our first point regarding the nature which the Man Christ Jesus took while on this earth will affect our understanding of this Scripture. Many have said that they believe as we do on point 1, but when asked to extend that truth logically to point 2, they deny the extension of it. Or vice versa!
It is only those who really believe that Jesus set the example in sinlessness for His brothers and sisters (Christlike people), who can see that Paul is describing his experience as a man under conviction of the Holy Spirit, (."..for we know that the Law is spiritual" verse 14), but before he had come to Christ for the power to keep the law. John 1:12.
THE GOSPEL IS "the power of God to salvation to every one that believes... for therein is the righteousness of God revealed." Romans 1:16-17.
"Little children, let no man deceive you: he that does righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous." 1 John 3:7.
Thus the evidence of our belief in the power which kept Jesus sinless on this earth, is that power in our lives to keep us sinless, "to keep you from falling." Jude 24.
"The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God."
"Show me your faith without your works and I will show you my faith by my works."
1 John 3:10
"In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil."
When God sent His own Son, "in the likeness of sinful flesh;"
when Christ took our nature as our nature is on this earth;
when God dwelt constantly with Jesus, and in Him in that nature;
then in this,
God demonstrated to all people forever that there is no person in this world so laden with sins, or so lost, that God will not gladly dwell with them also: and in him or her, in that same nature, save him or her from it all and lead them in the way of righteousness. This is the good news, that His name is Emmanuel; "which being interpreted is, GOD with US." Matthew 1:23.
This experience may not necessarily be evident to those around us, although it will be to us individually, because it is plainly stated in the Scriptures that the Pharisees and others did not see in Jesus the "Sinless One" they were expecting. They often accused Him who "did no sin" of breaking the Law! Why? Because their interpretations of the prophecies and other parts of the Scriptures were used by Satan to obscure the truth of the everlasting gospel.
And so it remains to this day, many still seeing only their ideas of what the prophecies foretell, while missing the whole point of the gospel! Alas, so many are doomed as were the Jews, simply because they will not accept the simplicity of the one and only gospel, for there can be no other. Galatians 1:6-10.
We, each one, must make our own decision regarding these two points, which are really only one, for they are the gospel in its fullness.
One is the proof that the power of the Holy Spirit can keep a Christian from sinning:
the other is the application of that proof to the life of the individual Christian.
The only truth
A man or woman may believe and act on these two points without knowing any other points of Bible doctrine, or even while believing in false doctrines, for knowledge of doctrine does not save us, neither do our works - only the experience in the power of God to save from sin can do this! This is what His name means: Saviour. See Matthew 1:21, margin.
1 Corinthians 3:11-16
"For other Foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this Foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble, every mans work shall be made manifest... if any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved... Know you not... that the Spirit of God dwells in you?"
Some will be led further than others, some will be led in different ways to others, some will grow faster than others, but all will be children of God, growing in grace. Some will be in one denomination or religion, some in another, some in no church at all, but God is no respecter of persons, and takes each one as they come to Him for the power. But every Christian, wherever he or she may live, or has lived, has understood that "the power of God" is sufficient for him or her to live "from faith to faith", and that it is sufficient "to keep you from falling." Romans 1:17; Jude 24.
The false gospel
Those who are, in fact, being led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:9-14) will eventually, in His own good time, come to see the prophecies and doctrines in the same way, because they are all being led by the same Teacher; for this is His will. One thing will be evident in their relationships meanwhile though, they will exercise love and forgiveness for one another's points of view.
However, there can be no forgiveness or tolerance for a false gospel, for this would be to acknowledge that the children of Satan are also the children of God! Galatians 1:8-9. This lie from the father of lies must be met head-on. Not as one professed Christian put it:-
"Persecution is not wrong in itself; it is wicked for falsehood to persecute truth, but it is the sacred duty of truth to persecute falsehood." Rev. John Cotton, Massachusetts Bay Colony. 1585 1652. Anglican (Puritan) theologian.
but as Jesus met error....
Jesus said to them, If God were your Father, you would love Me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of Myself, but He sent Me.
Why do you not understand My speech? Even because you cannot hear My word.
You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
And because I tell you the truth, you believe Me not.
And then He left it with them for it is also written:-
To Me belongs vengeance, and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.
The place of love
Those who are the children of love (1 John 4:8) will not be led astray by the modernistic doctrine that "love" especially "love of the brethren [brothers and sisters]" must come first as evidence of the true church. The New Testament gives us many examples of the church of God showing anything but love!
Jesus deliberately brought about the crisis in Galilee when He spoke of eating His body and drinking His blood. "Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?... From that time many of His disciples went back [to the ways of the world], and walked no more with Him." John 6:53-66.
Paul was not accepted by the apostles (Peter and John?) at Jerusalem during his first visit, until Barnabas vouched for him. Acts 9:26-28. Then later, Paul and Barnabas argued vehemently and separated after the Spirit had called them to work together! Acts 13:2 and 15:36-41. Diotrephes cast out John and others. 3 John 9-11.
Even being astray on some points of doctrine does not automatically cut off an organization from being the church of God! In Romans 3:1-4 we are told that they could all be wrong and it would not affect God's plan.
During a visit to Jerusalem, the church leaders of the time, some of whom were apostles, gave Paul false counsel which resulted in his being taken a prisoner to Rome. Acts 21:17-31. They had not fully understood the Scripture, "in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease" Daniel 9:27, and advised him to go into the temple and offer a sacrifice with some others, which was really asking him to deny his Lord's sacrifice on the cross of Calvary!
Actions made by such men of God are recorded in the Bible so that we too may take heart when we have made mistakes through not allowing the Spirit of God to warn us, for if we care to look back after such a time we must admit that He tried. But these mistakes do not make us any less the children of God, for rebirth and justification are "by faith", and there is no sin that cannot be forgiven, for "all sins shall be forgiven to the sons of men..." Mark 3:28.
The only unpardonable sin
But the sin against the Holy Spirit, that of calling the Spirit of God the spirit of Satan, or of calling the spirit of Satan the Spirit of God, cannot be forgiven because God reaches us through His Spirit, and those who commit this sin will not listen to Him. Please mark this point with care, for this is what the followers of antichrist are doing. It is this that separates us from them.
This is why it is written,
2 John 7-11
"For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist... If there come any to you, and bring not this doctrine [the doctrine of Christ in the flesh], receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed, for he that bids him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."
This only applies, of' course, when an individual refuses to see the truth, for God turns no one away who honestly believes error. The deceivers are described as "transgressors" and "abiding not" in John's second letter, which means that they have been shown the light and understanding of this experience, but will not have it. 2 John 9.
Thus it is with the fallen churches and their leaders, and has been since 1844. Also, we should remember that just as those who do abide in the doctrine "have both the father and the Son", those who "abide not in the doctrine of Christ, have not the Father or the Son" for they are willing transgressors, apostates from the Word of God.
The condemnation on the great day of Judgment will not be for holding error, but for not receiving the truth!
It has been offered in its simplicity to all men and women, for Jesus Christ is "the true Light, which lights every man that comes into the world." John 1:9. "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." John 3:19.
1 John 2:18-20
"Little children, it is the last time: and as you have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But you have an unction from the Holy One, and you know all things."
So it comes to this simple formula:- If the Man Christ Jesus be God, follow Him; but if Satan the antichrist is god, then follow him. The choice is yours, the difference clear and straightforward.
To know where your church or organization stands, just ask your minister or leader to state its position on these two points!
In a nutshell:
The adherents of the false gospel usually say, "Open your heart and let Christ in", or words to that effect, without referring to an exchange.
The truth is that there must first be a REMOVAL of a life BEFORE the new one can come in.
It's that simple!!!
Back to the text
For more on this subject, see:-
"The Temptation in the Wilderness"
"The Consecrated Way to Christian Perfection"
"The Science of Redemption"
"Christ Our Righteousness"
On to "Let's Get It Right"
P.S. Antichrist does not mean "against Christ" but, "in place of Christ"!!
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