An Adventist friend once said to me, ‘Keith, I don’t know why the rest of the church does not ‘see the Sabbath.’ If we are consistent with the commandments, we need to be keeping all of them, right?’ Sadly, wrong. ‘Commands’ in the new testament means the teaching of Jesus – specifically that we have life in His name and that He Himself is our righteousness and our life. Jesus manifest as you, is the law of the Spirit of Life. It’s not the law of Moses and it is the incarnation. In the new testament we do not live from commandments or morality. They are relevant but we do not live from them. We are sons of righteousness because Christ is our life. Our privilege in the new covenant age is His life is our life in the spirit and in the flesh.
Living from the law in new testament times is equivalent to saying that the flesh has come in the flesh and is a denial of the key accomplishment of the trinity for us. John is quite direct in his warning on this matter. So are we attempting to living in the religion of a deceiver or will we switch to grace and truth?
‘I say this because many deceivers have gone out into the world. They deny that Jesus Christ came in a real body. Such a person is a deceiver and an antichrist’ 2 John 1.7 NIV.
A law culture appeals to some – particularly when it is grounded in God talk – or what is believed to be God. For those of monk-like disposition or those who crave the certainty of the locked and concrete law, legalism and the notion that ‘God’s law’ is the key issue of the universe is a “god-send.” But it’s not a notion sent by God. It’s sent by a spirit with a vested interest in muffling the fullness of Christ.
‘Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God’ John 1.12 NIV.
You cannot earn God’s love. You don’t have to. God loves you because He does. He has drawn us into fellowship with the Holy Family.
The key issue of the universe and for every man and woman is that God is our loving, trustworthy Father and we are His daughters and sons, positioned with Him in authority, power and infinite life to live out His Kingdom in our flesh.
‘This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God’ 1 John 4.2 NIV.
It’s amazing that intelligent and articulate people have assented to the theology of Ellen White – and made a career of it - given that this ‘other gospel’ to use Paul’s words, is such a distortion of the real. The fact that Ellen White, her circle and the pioneers seized upon her teaching as revealed truth and have pedalled this mongrel gospel for over one hundred years, is sad evidence of the poverty of knowledge of the what Jesus achieved through the cross, His resurrection and Pentecost. It reveals ignorance of the new covenant and an umbilicus joining people to the knowledge of good and evil that pours shade on the knowledge of God and a life that can be lived in the fullness of Christ.
But more to the point it reveals a sad miss-characterisation of Mrs White. It reveals the delusion held on the part of intelligent and educated people that she heard from God, spoke for God and offered a refinement and addition to the teaching of Jesus and the apostles, called by Paul ‘The Apostles Doctrine.’ Adventist scholars assume that her visions came from God. Then they utilize her ‘law lens’ to interpret the new testament. No. This ‘revelation’ came from another place. Ellen White-ism is a rolling back and a denial of the accomplishments of God for us in the cross.
‘But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God's curse!’ Gal 1.8 NIV.
The legacy of Jesus Christ is His life forever in us as our personal grace, truth and new creation genesis. John calls it ‘Christ come in our flesh.’ Theologians call this the incarnation. Jesus stated it when He said, ‘Those who eat me will live because of me.’ Paul declared it when he talked of ‘Christ in you’ and more specifically as ‘Christ your life.’ Jesus is not the means to righteousness nor an improvement in law-keeping. Jesus replaces the law with Himself and is the law of the Spirit of Life alive in our being. This is not the law of Moses. It is simply Christ in you becoming you by the Spirit in your daily experience and doings.
‘He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life’ 2 Cor 3.6 NIV.
The “Health Message’ is a counterfeit to life in the Spirit of Christ. As such it is a poor substitute since it leaves us as dead men walking even if we are in perfect health because we are not alive in our spirit since we are still chained to the body of death which is the law.
“The Sabbath” is a false Messiah and a false grace. Jesus came because the law could not be kept and because He is the reality of which the law and the observances were a shadow. Jesus is more than our law-keeping. He is the life of God as us. This is what is meant when we say, ‘the reality is Christ.’
‘Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them’ John 6.56 NIV. What is ‘eating Jesus?’ It simply means inviting Him to be our life.
The heart knows it is far from perfect. It knows it needs a life that is not its own. If the heart is denied its solace and safety in Jesus by law-mongering, it will grasp at any other grace as a false christ. It will seize on an entity such as ‘The Sabbath’ that seems to provide both a coverall for our misdemeanours and a fig-leaf or righteousness. Yet this is an illusion. Sabbath-keeping leaves us as naked as was the King who claimed to have new clothes. Should we believe and adhere to this we become children of the lie, keepers of the lame, without life and without real hope in the world.