.To return to work page.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               To Ancient SDA's ............ To "What's New?"

 

Does God have to pay for our sins?

Query for the Month

of

August 2019

Next up-date: September 1st 2019 (God willing).

Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.

 

This article is available as a PDF file here.    Or as a doc version

 

Some perpetual questions ....

Is there really an immortal soul?

Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world?
Click here to find out!
 

Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download and share amongst your friends.   It's called "Light through Darkness" and is one of the best books on this subject that I have ever read! 

In the meantime, try this site.   

 

Here's another great site on the character of God written in a way that's very easy to understand.

In this reply the old-fashioned words of the KJV have been modernised, and in some instances, the man-made punctuation has been altered for greater understanding.  Some of the comments are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.  All the ideas expressed in this article, right or wrong, are my own.   


To Ancient SDA's ............ To "What's New?"

Does God have to pay for our sins?

Query:

If Jesus is the Son of God then why does God the Father require a God to pay for our sins on a cross?

 

*************************

I suggest that before you read my response, you look at this site.

           https://ancient-sda.com/queries/pdf_versions/christ_god_man.pdf

which tells us very plainly that Jesus is the LORD God of Genesis 2:7 and therefore the visible God of all the Old Testament.

Then read this:

    Job 38:

1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind [of power which surrounds Him], and said, 2 Who is this that darkens counsel [confuses the issue] by words without knowledge? 3 Gird up now your loins like a man; for I will demand of you, and answer you Me. 

4 Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?  Declare, if you have understanding. 5 Who has laid the measures thereof, if you know?  Or who has stretched the line upon it? 6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened?  Or who laid the corner stone thereof;

7 [Where were you] When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? 

Why were these questions so important?  Because they lie at the heart of our salvation!  It is only as we believe that our LORD is the One who created all life that we can believe that He can re-create us into Christians.  To understand that, we must go back to the beginning of the controversy.

    {Patriarchs and Prophets 36.1}

To dispute the supremacy of the Son of God, thus impeaching [questioning] the wisdom and love of the Creator, had become the purpose of this prince of angels [Lucifer].  To this object he was about to bend the energies of that master mind, which, next to Christ’s, was first among the hosts of God. 

But He who would have the will of all His creatures free, left none unguarded to the bewildering sophistry by which rebellion would seek to justify itself.  Before the great contest should open [before the earth planet was made ready for mankind], all were to have a clear presentation of His will, whose wisdom and goodness were the spring of all their joy. {PP 36.1} 

[Sophistry is reasoning that seems plausible on a superficial level

but is actually unsound, a misunderstood interpretation,

or it can be reasoning that is used to deceive, an outright lie.

The King of the universe summoned the heavenly hosts before Him, that in their presence He might set forth the true position of His Son and show the relation He sustained to all created beings.  The Son of God shared the Father’s throne, and the glory of the eternal, self-existent One encircled both. [They were on display in their full majesty of Light.] 

About the throne gathered the holy angels, a vast, unnumbered throng — “ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands” (Revelation 5:11), the most exalted angels, as ministers [helpers] and subjects, rejoicing in the light that fell upon them from the presence of the Deity.  Before the assembled inhabitants of heaven the King declared that none but Christ [known to them as Michael (He who is like God)], the Only Begotten of God, could fully enter into His purposes, and to Him it was committed to execute the mighty counsels of His will. [His word was, This is My beloved Son.] 

The Son of God had wrought the Father’s will in the creation of all the hosts of heaven; and to Him, as well as to God, their homage and allegiance were due. [For the creation of the universe with its planets and inhabitants was finished – angels and others had been around for a very long time]

Christ was still to exercise divine power, in the creation of the earth and its inhabitants. [The planet was already there, cold and lifeless under an envelope of water in a lifeless solar system. All it needed was transforming and filling with life. Genesis 1:2.]  

But in all this He would not seek power or exaltation for Himself contrary to God’s plan, but would exalt the Father’s glory and execute His purposes of beneficence [mercy] and love.  {PP 36.2} . . .

    {Patriarchs and Prophets 38.1}

There had been no change in the position or authority of Christ. [See note 2.]

Lucifer’s envy and misrepresentation and his claims to equality with Christ had made necessary a statement of the true position of the Son of God; but this had been the same from the beginning.  Many of the angels were, however, blinded by Lucifer’s deceptions. [So, after the announcement a demonstration was organised.]  {PP 38.1}  . . .

    {Patriarchs and Prophets 39.2}

A compassionate Creator, in yearning pity for Lucifer and his followers, was seeking to draw them back from the abyss of ruin into which they were about to plunge.  But His mercy was misinterpreted.  Lucifer pointed to the long-suffering of God as an evidence of his own superiority, an indication that the King of the universe would yet accede to his terms.  If the angels would stand firmly with him, he declared, they could yet gain all that they desired.  He persistently defended his own course, and fully committed himself to the great controversy against his Maker. 

Thus it was that Lucifer, “the light bearer,” the sharer of God’s glory, the attendant of His throne, by transgression became Satan, “the adversary” of God and holy beings and the destroyer of those whom Heaven had committed to his guidance and guardianship.  {PP 39.2}  . . .

Now it was up to the rest of the angels to decide.

    {Patriarchs and Prophets 41.2}

God permitted Satan to carry forward his work until the spirit of disaffection ripened into active revolt.  It was necessary for his plans to be fully developed, that their true nature and tendency might be seen by all.  Lucifer, as the anointed cherub, had been highly exalted; he was greatly loved by the heavenly beings, and his influence over them was strong. 

God’s government included not only the inhabitants of heaven, but of all the worlds that He had created; and Lucifer had concluded that if he could carry the angels of heaven with him in rebellion, he could carry also all the worlds.  He had artfully presented his side of the question, employing sophistry and fraud to secure his objects.  His power to deceive was very great.  By disguising himself in a cloak of falsehood, he had gained an advantage. 

All his acts were so clothed with mystery that it was difficult to disclose to the angels the true nature of his work.  Until fully developed, it could not be made to appear the evil thing it was; his disaffection would not be seen to be rebellion.  Even the loyal angels could not fully discern his character or see to what his work was leading.  {PP 41.2}

So they chose, and two thirds remained loyal to God and trusted His word, while one third sided with Satan, and that was the “war of words” in heaven!   Revelation 12:7-9.  It still took the loyal angelic host 4,000 earth years of Satanic behaviour to really understand the word of God.  It was the attempted murder of Christ by Satan, and His resurrection by His own power which sealed it for them.  Revelation 12:10; Romans 1:4.

Sadly, we as humans, have not yet made up our minds firmly on this point.

After the announcement, the Son of God and both sides of the heavenly host came to our cold solar system and they watched Him begin to re-arrange it, with six pauses to allow them to understand more fully what He was doing.  He started with the Light that was within Him.

As we have already read, this is confirmed for us when the LORD queried Job as He now does with you:

    Job 38:

1 Then the LORD answered Job [you] out of the whirlwind, and said, 

2 Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? 

3 Gird up now your loins like a man; for I will demand of you, and

  answer you Me. 

4 Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?  Declare, if you have understanding. 5 Who has laid the measures thereof, if you know?  Or who has stretched the line upon it? 6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened?  Or who laid the corner stone thereof. [Who watched the six days of transformation?]

7 [Where were you] When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God [the loyal angels and the leaders of the worlds] shouted for joy? [They were there and enjoying the process for it also explained how and where they had originated.  Satan and his followers were there working on how to get around this.] 

So the power of the LORD to save sinners was demonstrated by His ability to create, although they did not see that at that time.  Do you see it now?

Now to my reply to the question:

Response:

It’s a good question.  Behind it are some better ones.  For instance, why does anyone have to PAY for our sins? 

Let’s deal with that first.

This myth seems to be very ancient and its wellsprings are lost in the mists of time, but it would seem that someone, looking at the lamb being burnt on the altar, came up with the idea that it was a payment, or a substitute.  (Have a look at  https://ancient-sda.com/my_page/version_doc/query_2019_03_meaning_of_sacrifices.docm

or  https://ancient-sda.com/my_page/past_queries/meaning_of_sacrifices_mar_19.html )

There were two main streams of thought developed from this over the millennia – the first that God wanted satisfaction for wrongs done to Him, a payback – the second that the broken law demanded satisfaction, a ransom.

Both, although not totally wrong, are woefully inadequate to resolve the conflict between Christ and Satan, which is what we were originally created to do, and therefore they lead away from the full truth.

(Why do so many refer to "the law" as if it was a person demanding retribution?  The law is a "transcript [written version] of His character" COL  305.3)

Because of our dullness of comprehension due to our sin problem, God often has to illustrate His words in order to reach us, and in the sanctuary rituals the very position of the LORD’s throne, which is called the Mercy Seat, above the two tables of the law which are in the box, shows that mercy has more value in God’s eyes than do the Ten Commandments, and this is backed up by His words. 

Consider these verses:

    1 Samuel 15:

22 And Samuel said, Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 

    Hosea 6:

4 [God said] O Ephraim [Israel], what shall I do to you? O Judah [these are the two parts of His people], what shall I do to you?  For your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goes away [it soon dries up].

5 Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets [through their warnings];

I have slain them by the words of My mouth [not with a physical sword, Hebrews 4:12]: and your judgments [your experiences] are as the light that goes forth [they are used to bring clearer understanding]

6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. 7 But they [Israel and Judah] like [all] men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against Me. [They have preferred rituals rather than love for one another.] 

    Matthew 9:

10 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat [dinner] in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, Why eats your Master with publicans [tax-gatherers for the Romans] and sinners? 12 But when Jesus heard that, He said to them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13 But go you and learn what that means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. 

   (It was love and mercy that caused the Godhead to formulate their plan.)

Then it is written in the New Testament Book of the Law:

     Hebrews 10:

3 But in those [animal] sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins [for no creature can do it].

5 Wherefore [because of this] when He [the Son of God] comes into the world, He says, Sacrifice and offering You would not [do not desire], but a body have You prepared Me [in their place].

[See Psalm 40:6-9; Isaiah 1:11; Jeremiah 6:20; Amos 5:21.]

6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have had no pleasure.

[It was at the request of the Hebrews that they were instituted.  Exodus 25:8.]

7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book [the Old Testament Bible] it is written of Me), to do Your will, O God. [Psalm 40:7-8; John 5:39.]

8 Above [before] when He said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin You would not, neither had pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9 then said He, Lo, I come to do Your will [Your desire], O God.  [By this] He takes away the first [the sacrifices], that He may establish the second [the body, in their place]. 10 By the which will [God’s desire] we [Christians] are [now] sanctified [set aside as special] through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all [for there are no more illustrations of this to come].

Isn’t a human body a creation, a creature, an animal requiring Life to be breathed into it?  Genesis 2:7; Ecclesiastes 12:7.

    {Acts of the Apostles 27.1-2}

During these days [the forty days after the resurrection] that Christ spent with His disciples, they gained a new experience.  As they heard their beloved Master explaining the Scriptures in the light of all that had happened [using the body as an illustration], their faith in Him was fully established. 

They reached the place where they could say, “I know [Him in] whom I have believed.” 2 Timothy 1:12.  They began to realize the nature and extent of their work, to see that they were to proclaim to the world the truths entrusted to them.  The events of Christ’s life, His death and resurrection, the prophecies pointing to these events, the mysteries of the plan of salvation, the power of Jesus for the remission of sins — to all these things they had been witnesses, and they were to make them known to the world.  They were to proclaim the gospel of peace and salvation through repentance and the power of the Saviour.  {AA 27.1}

(So it was love and mercy that caused the Godhead to formulate their plan.)

Before ascending to heaven, Christ gave His disciples their commission.  He told them that they were to be the executors of the will [the New Testament] in which He bequeathed to the world the treasures of eternal life [our legacy].  You have been witnesses of My life of sacrifice [as well as My death] in behalf of the world, He said to them.  You have seen My labors for Israel. 

And although My people would not come to Me that they might have life, although priests and rulers have done unto Me as they listed, although they have rejected Me, they shall have still another opportunity of accepting the Son of God.  You have seen that all who come to Me confessing their sins, I freely receive [no payment required].

[So they laboured for 3 years, the last half of the week.  Daniel 9:27.]

Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out. [Forgiveness is automatic when repentance is true.]  To you, My disciples, I commit this message of mercy.  It is to be given to both Jews and Gentiles — to Israel, first, and then to all nations, tongues, and peoples.  All who believe are to be gathered into one church [family].  {AA 27.2}

(So it was love and mercy for everybody that caused the Godhead to formulate their plan.)

    Medical Ministry, 251.

True sympathy between man and his fellow men is to be the sign distinguishing those who love and fear God from those who are unmindful of His law. How great the sympathy that Christ expressed [demonstrated] in coming to this world to give His life [not His death] a sacrifice for a dying world! [The “burnt offering” in the rituals signified the laying down of one’s life (up to and including death) for others.  Leviticus 1:1-3.  It had nothing to do with a sin offering.]  His religion led to the doing of genuine medical missionary work.  He was a healing power. “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice,” He said.

[Consider those words prayerfully and

plead with God the Spirit to explain them to you.]

This is the test that the great Author of truth used to distinguish between true religion and false. God wants His medical missionaries to act with the tenderness and compassion that Christ would show were He in our world. [This is all about Life, not death.]

If that is clear in our minds, that there is no payment required, then we may address the main question.

There have been many arguments among men as to salvation (righteousness) “by faith”, some of which led to the Protest-ant part of professed Christianity breaking off to form another branch of the tree.  (See Revelation 3:1-6.)  But they took with them the same discussion!  How are we saved?  By gift or by works?  And how do we show it?  If we really believe in God’s love and His gift then we can receive it in the spirit with which it is given - freely. 

If not, we will think that we have to do something to deserve it!  Even if it is only to fulfil some religious exercises, or do some missionary work!  Or even worse, try to clean ourselves up!  Maybe we will vacillate between the two!!

Then another question intrudes itself.  WHEN do we get the gift?  After 4,000 years of terrible human experiences?  Maybe it was 2,000 years ago in history at Calvary?  Or is it when we come to Him in submission in our present lives and say, “I cannot help myself – I need a Saviour NOW.”  (Romans 7:24.)

Was His demonstration at Calvary a legal way of salvation as many teach, to satisfy a law, or was it just a continuation of the animal sacrifices as described in the Letter to the Hebrew Christians, howbeit with a greater clarity?  (Which we are still slow to learn.) 

Did Christ establish justification by faith 2,000 years ago, or has it been around since the beginning of sin?

    (The Review and Herald, March 12, 1901)

As soon as there was sin, there was a Saviour.  [When was that?]

Christ knew that He would have to suffer [a future event], yet He became man’s substitute 

As soon as Adam sinned, the Son of God presented Himself as surety [guarantor] for the human race, with just as much power to avert the doom pronounced upon the guilty as when He died upon the cross of Calvary.  {1BC 1084.8}

(So it was love and mercy that caused the Godhead to formulate their plan beforehand.)

Although written to two young earthly children, the following words are also addressed to us all as God’s children:

    {An Appeal to the Youth 58.1-2}    [1864]

Now, children, if you would not wish to be like this unhappy man, you must learn to govern yourselves while young.  Don’t give way to fretful, unkind feelings; but remember that the Lord reads even the thoughts of the heart, and nothing is concealed from his all-seeing eye.  Right acts, right thoughts, will be remembered in heaven, and every victory you gain when tempted to do wrong [by calling on Him to save you], every temptation manfully resisted, will be recorded in heaven.

[If you do sin] Don’t forget, dear children, that evil deeds are faithfully recorded, and will bring their punishment [cause and effect] unless repented of, and confessed, and washed away by the atoning blood of Jesus. [However, the effects of them can continue.]  It is easier to go in an evil way than to do right; for Satan and his angels are constantly tempting to do wrong [which is why we have a struggle with our choice].  {AY 58.1}

[Why is the blood of the Son of God, and not His death,

referred to so often in the Bible?]

But there is one who has promised to hear the needy when they cry.  Go to God when tempted to speak or act wrong. [1 Corinthians 10:13.]  Ask him in faith for [His] strength and he will give it.  He will say to his angels, There is a poor little boy [or girl] trying to resist the power of Satan, and has come to me for help.  I will aid him.  Go stand by that child who is endeavoring to do right, and when the evil angels attempt to lead his steps astray, gently guide him in the right path, and drive back the powers of the evil one [so that he does not have to struggle with it, only with his or her choice.]

(So it was love and mercy that caused the Godhead to implement their plan.)

Every one of your efforts to do right is regarded of God.  Dear children, live for God — live for heaven, so that when the wrath of God shall come upon the earth, Jesus may say to the destroying angel, Spare those two praying boys [girls] . . .  When [they were] in temptation they prayed to me to be delivered.  I have washed away their sins.  Come not near to destroy them — they are my jewels, saved by my blood.  I will crown them for my kingdom. I will fit them to dwell in my heavenly mansions forever.  They have overcome the tempter — they have gained the victory.  They shall never more be tempted, but be free and happy eternally.  {AY 58.2}

As you can see, that apparently simple question at the beginning has opened a whole “can of worms” as it is said.  

    {Vol 3 Selected Messages 172.4}

The only safety for the Israelites was blood [of a lamb] upon the doorposts. 

God said, “When I see the blood, I will pass [hover] over you” (Exodus 12:13).  All other devices for safety would be without avail.  Nothing but the blood on the doorposts would bar the way that the angel of death should not enter. [This symbol was given 1,500 years before Calvary.]  There is salvation for the sinner in the blood of Jesus Christ alone, which cleanseth us from all sin. 

[Just what is meant by that symbol

It can mean either the evidence of death or the evidence of Life. 

Genesis 9:4; Leviticus 17:11-14; Deuteronomy 12:23; John 6:4;

 AA 44.4; AA 191.3.]

{Steps to Christ 51.4}

Henceforth you are not your own; you are bought with a price. [What is it?] 

“Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold; ...  but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

1 Peter 1:18, 19.  Through this simple act of believing God, the Holy Spirit has begotten a new life in your heart.  You are as a child born into the family of God, and He loves you as He loves His Son.] 

The man with a cultivated intellect may have vast stores of knowledge, he may engage in theological speculations, he may be great and honored of men and be considered the repository of knowledge, but unless he has a saving knowledge of Christ crucified for him, and by faith lays [personal] hold of the righteousness of Christ, he is lost. 

Christ “was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” [not in history, but in the present] (Isaiah 53:5). 

“Saved by the blood [not the death] of Jesus Christ,” will be our only hope for time and our song throughout eternity. 

That is what “sanctification” is all about – living the new life.

    {Education 263.1}    [1903]

Those who think of the result of hastening or hindering the gospel think of it [mainly] in relation to themselves and [possibly] to the world.  Few think of its relation to God.  Few give thought to the suffering that sin has caused our Creator.

All heaven suffered in Christ’s agony; but that suffering did not begin or end with His manifestation in humanity

(So it was love and mercy that caused the Godhead to devise their plan

before the beginning of the controversy.)

The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception [with Lucifer], sin has brought to the heart of God.  [Now] Every departure from the right, every deed of cruelty, every failure of humanity to reach His ideal, brings [added] grief to Him.  When there came upon Israel the calamities that were the sure result of separation from God, — subjugation by their enemies, cruelty, and death, — it is said that “His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.” “In all their affliction He was afflicted: ...  and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old.” Judges 10:16; Isaiah 63:9. 

    {Christ Triumphant 108.1-2}

In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.  But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit.  Isaiah 63:9.  {CTr 108.1}

From the beginning of sin Christ was with His people to dispute the authority of Satan, for He saw that the conflict must be carried on here in the earth.  Satan withstood the Son of God in every effort to redeem His people.  Enshrouded in the pillar of cloud by day and in the pillar of fire by night, Christ directed, guided, counseled the children of Israel in their journeyings from Egypt to Canaan. 

But how unwilling were the children of Israel to be led, how unwilling to be controlled by the voice of the Angel of the Lord!   How eager they were in vindicating their own course, in justifying themselves in their rebellious feelings, and in following their own ideas and plans! {CTr 108.2}

 Here is another question:

Why does it require a God to save us?  For that is what is implied in the original query.

If we understand the WAY of salvation we will know that it consists of the spiritual “death” of the sinner and his or her “rebirth” to a new life.  (John 3:5.) Death seems easy for us to understand, but how about being “born again”.  That was a problem for Nicodemus, and it seems it is a problem for most who call themselves followers of the LORD. 

In fact, justification (or being “born again”) is more like a “heart transplant”,

a concept which we moderns can accept much easier than those of old.  In that operation an “old heart” is removed and a new one from a donor replaces it.  The “old” is thrown in the rubbish and someone is short of a heart. 

Then we have to learn how to live with the new one.

    {Steps to Christ 52.1}

Now that you have given yourself to Jesus, do not draw back, do not take yourself away from Him, but day by day say, “I am Christ’s; I have given myself to Him;” and ask Him to give you His Spirit and keep you by His grace. As it is by giving yourself to God, and believing Him, that you become His child, so you are to live in Him. The apostle says, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him.” Colossians 2:6.

After the wedding, we need to live the married life.  (But see note 1.)

In the physical world, the donor doesn’t need his heart because he is dead from other causes.

In the spiritual realm, this change of heart is accomplished by a divine Surgeon who, rather than throwing the old heart away, carefully transfers it to the donor, for nothing is lost in God’s universe!   (But the new-born are now “dead to sin”.  Romans 6:1-3.)  In this case, however, the “donor” ends up with a diminished pure heart, and continues to live with a damaged one.

So it requires Someone who has this capacity.

The ability to carry the old and give a portion of His life.

And that is what the Spirit is trying to tell us in the Bible. It requires One who has everlasting Life of His own and the ability to give part of it without perishing.  He must also be able to bear the burden of the damaged piece of His heart.  And this, not once, but millions of times over a very long period of years!  In fact, to bear the burden for ever!  No angel, or any other created creature can do this.  It requires the ability of a Being we call “God the Saviour”. [All this is shadowed in the creation of mankind.] 

What we are looking for is One who is equal with what we call God. 

The Bible describes that as the “Godhead” for it is made up of three Persons.  Acts 17:29; Romans 1:20; Colossians 2:6-10.  Their primary purpose is to be One who thinks, One who speaks, and One who does, but of course, being equal, they can stand in for each other if necessary.

So, in answer to the original question, it does require a God to save us, not as a payment, but as a Friend and He does that because He loves us.  It was love and mercy that caused the Godhead to formulate their plan.

Conclusion:

We can know the WHY, the WHO, and the WHEN of salvation (and even the WHAT and WHERE) if we listen carefully to the words of God, but we need to experience the HOW personally.  (For additional simple reading, see

                   https://ancient-sda.com/ancient/white_country.html


 Note 1:

    {Christian Education 136.1-2}     [1894]

It is true that the simplicity of true godliness has to a large degree been lost from the church, and many of those who profess to be followers of Christ have become so blinded that they think that gain is godliness, and they devote their powers to the things of time [this world]. They do not realize that all their intellectual ability has been purchased by Christ, and that they should devote to him the best results of their thought, that his cause may be advanced.

But instead of giving their sharp, clear ideas to advance the cause, to strengthen and bless the church, they devote all their powers to the advancement of their own interests. They do not gather with Christ, but lead away from him by their words and acts. They surround their souls with an atmosphere that is deleterious to spirituality.

They profess to be followers of Christ, but they do not know him by an experimental knowledge. They do not practice religion. They do not seek to be Christians in the same way in which they would learn a trade. They profess to believe advanced truth; but it is evident that they keep it in the outer court [of the mind]; for it has no sanctifying power on life and character. They do not realize how much is at stake; for the salvation of their own souls and that of others is imperiled. They do not realize that in order to be a savor of life into life they must be under spiritual discipline and training, learning in the school of Christ.

Without this spiritual discipline, they become inefficient, ignorant, and undeveloped, and see no necessity for the spiritual training and knowledge which would qualify them to hold positions of influence and usefulness.  If they do not consecrate themselves wholly to God, becoming learners in his school, they will do haphazard work that will result in injury to the church. {CE 136.1}

 But because of these unconsecrated influences, shall we take backward steps, and tear down those methods which it has cost us much to build, and declare that organization is all a mistake? We dare not do this. There are many things that need adjusting; for some things of little importance are made much of, while other things of vast importance are neglected, and looked upon as unessential. The minds of men need literary as well as spiritual training that they may be harmoniously developed; for without literary training, men cannot fill acceptably various positions of trust. {CE 136.2}

 In other words, we don’t need to “divorce” from the church to live a contented life!  We can live with Christ in the church, while not following its lead, which is made up of the opinions of other men.

 “. . . These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goes . . .” Revelation 14:4.  BACK

 

 Note 2:

Just as there had been no change in the position of Michael when the controversy began, so there is no change of God when we move from Old Testament to New Testament.  It is the same Person.  BACK

 


  Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.  Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library. Recognition is not always given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.

 

Next query. To be discussed from 1st September 2019

 Query:

Why is God sometimes portrayed in the Bible as a killing, vengeful God, and at other texts a loving kind and gentle Person?


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