The following 14 points outline a positive view of the gospel in the context of the great controversy war and Heaven’s plan to draw it to a close via divine-human cooperation. Jesus’ design for the plan of redemption takes us all the way to the joyous call to spiritual battle enfolded in the Bible’s last chapter: “The Spirit and the bride say ‘Come!’”
Born With Weaknesses and Tendencies to Evil
Man was designed to live, not to die; wired to succeed, not to fail. But at the Fall, his nature was dramatically disordered, so that he is born with weaknesses and tendencies to evil. There is now in the fallen human organism little inclination to cause him to seek God or His righteousness.
- Lost Because of Personal Choices
Men and women will be lost because of personal choices, not because of being born with disordered natures.
God Takes the Initiative
Repentance is a gift from God, who has taken the initiative to bring it within man’s reach. His grace is sent out in search of us even before we realize our need.
No Merit for Our Deeds
Nothing we do in the Christian walk earns us even the slightest merit toward our salvation.
Christ’s Character reproduced in Us
Justification is God’s way of simultaneously counting men right and making them so. In declaring a man just, God writes no fiction. The disciple’s walk continues, and through the process of sanctification, the character of Christ is perfectly reproduced in us. Both justification and sanctification are the work of God, and are necessary and causative for salvation.
Obedience a Condition of Salvation
Obedience is both a condition for salvation and an ongoing requirement of salvation.
Jesus Emptied Himself and Took Our Fallen Flesh
During His earthly sojourn, Jesus, God from eternity and still God, laid aside out of His possession certain of His powers of deity and lived as a man in fallen flesh among men in fallen flesh. He came not to our world to give the obedience of a lesser God to a greater, but as a man to obey God’s Holy Law. He could have recovered those powers at any time, but for our sakes chose to live as we do.
Jesus Tempted From Without and From Within
That which Jesus has not assumed He has not healed. He took our disordered humanity and was tempted both from without and within. Capable of choosing to sin, constantly He chose not to sin. In this sense, His entire earthly life was lived as we will live once we are sealed. Even after probation has closed, His power and presence continue with His followers. Today He grants them an experience of present and complete victory over sin.
Jesus is Currently Making the Final Atonement
Jesus’ atonement was promised in Eden. With His incarnation and then death as our Substitute on the cross, His atoning work was begun. He rose from the dead and went to heaven in A.D. 31 to represent us before the Father, who received His sacrifice for us. Through that sacrifice we can be right with God as soon as we accept His gift of forgiveness and heart cleansing. In A.D. 1844 He entered the second apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, commencing the closing phase of His atonement. Today, Jesus is making the final atonement.
Cleansing in Heaven Connected to Cleansing on earth
Neither Luther nor the Millerite Adventists living in 1844 finished the Reformation or understood the angel messages of Revelation 14 and 18. The cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary is connected to the cleansing and purifying of lives on earth. The sanctuary is cleansed when God has a people who have become so settled into the truth that they will never again be moved to doubt Him or to disobey known duty. The torrent of sin that has needed forgiveness is dried up. Christ’s presence remains with those who have chosen Him. The Holy Spirit empowers obedience even after the ministry of forgiveness is closed.
Delay and Hastening
Delaying the Second Coming Through a Half-Gospel
Jesus’ Second Coming could have occurred within the generation that proclaimed the 1844 messages, but the same sins that kept ancient Israel out of the promised land have delayed the entrance of modern Israel into the heavenly Canaan. Unbelief, worldliness, unconsecration, and strife among the Lord’s professed people have kept us in this world of sin and sorrow so many years.
Hastening the Second Coming and Embracing the Harvest Principle
Heaven has put it in our power by consecrated, Christ-reflecting lives to hasten Jesus’ return. God will wait for the maturing of Christian character in a significant number of people as the chief condition determining those events, such as the latter rain, loud cry, sealing, and Sunday law, which affect the time when probation for the world shall close, and thus the time of the Second Coming.
Great Controversy and Decision Time
Character Witnesses to the Great Healer
More than forensic declarations only, the gospel is primarily concerned with telling the truth about God as our Best Friend. He is more concerned with our healing than with legal pronouncements. In the great controversy, His character witnesses tell the story of their deliverance.
Decision Time for Planet Earth
In spite of past insubordination, we believe God stands ready to work through a repentant people. He is using Seventh-day Adventists to prepare the willing for translation. No added Fundamental Belief statement is needed to teach LGT. When Adventists embrace the truths they now have they will become the five wise bridesmaids. Adventist truths enflamed by the transforming Spirit will produce the light that will say to the world, “Behold your God!” The character of God will be demonstrated more clearly and winsomely by the followers of Christ than ever before on Planet Earth. It will be decision time for all, everywhere.
All this is our hope in Jesus Christ, the gospel of present truth. LGT