In Adventism there is a lowered voice and a long face when it is learned that some friend has abandoned ‘The Sabbath.’ Why? In Adventism The Sabbath is the sign of identity, an attempted grace, a substitute Christ and a false Messiah. The confirmed Adventist will think that his friend has lost life. The fact is though he has gained it. Let me explain
Imagine you are standing in a strong breeze by the sea. You have three ping-pong balls you are trying to juggle. But the wind coming from the ocean sends them flying. Now imagine that you have 50 of these white balls. You are in the hallway of your home. The air is still. There is nothing to bump you. Your wife is at the shops and the cat is outside. You are attempting without success to juggle the fifty white ping-pong balls. But they fly everywhere and in their innate chaos, resist every attempt you make to bring them into the order of your skill. It cannot be done.
Neither can we become whole persons by jugging the infinite expressions of good and evil into a unity, or juggling the Ten commands of Moses into a personal wholeness, or sculpting our being into a unity by a mastering ‘the harmonious development of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual powers.’ Wholeness of being will not be achieved from the law or any formula. The balls cannot be juggled and brought to order through the fiction of the Sabbath.
A whole person approach based on the law and the knowledge of good and evil is a contradiction as well as a negation of the gospel of the Kingdom. (A whole person does not live from the law). It is a gospel however. Just not a gospel that came from God. It’s a gospel of will and self-effort. A gospel of the elemental forces of the world. It is claimed that the law is the expression of God’s character. Not really. He does not covet or commit adultery. The exact expression of God’s character and life is Jesus.
‘See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ’ Col 2.8 NIV.
Years ago in primary school we read the Jungle Doctor books. They contained delightful stories and parables of how Jesus’ Life belongs to all. There was a story of a monkey who fell into a deep pit. The foolishness of his monkey ways was illustrated by his attempt to pull Himself out of the pit by pulling upwards on his whiskers. This is a picture of ourselves when we live from the law instead of the life of Christ who is ours by the Spirit. Jesus is in us and with us. This is incarnational truth.
Christ our life is the only whole person approach that has any validity. It is totally holistic in that His person by the Spirit ignites our spirit, warms our soul and is our life. The is the meaning of Paul’s statement Christ our life. Jesus is not a tool to impart principles and values that are separated from Himself. He is that righteousness and He is that life. Hidden in Christ, surrendered to His life you become the expression of Him and totally yourself. Secure in your identity, purpose and inspired to carry out the things you were designed to do from before the dawn of creation, you shine as a son of God. No monkey in a pit for you!
There is a way to be a dead man walking and a dead woman talking. It is the old and dead way of attachment to the law. Living from the law or formulations of righteousness will not make us whole people. This course of action will fragment our being, wither our humanity, paralyze our ability to multiply the Kingdom and rob us of spiritual discernment. We become blind folks speaking of the Spirit, yet manufacturing the letter.
The whole is always greater than the sum of the parts. In our case ‘the whole’ is our life in God, our renewed life in Father by the at-one-ment of Jesus. An obsession with parts cannot make us whole. This is not the gospel of the Kingdom but a gospel of futility that did not come from God. Wholeness comes from living from the whole - from living in the reality that we and our Father are one. This brings order and healing to the parts. It is the new and living way of new creation life.
Jesus’ intention is to multiply Himself in the earth. His place is to bring heaven to earth by multiplying Himself in His people. He does this when we invite Him to be our life; when we agree that He has come in our flesh and when we are willing to see Him multiplied in and among us as the church. His resurrection life in us is the new creation at work in the world.
‘Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision [or Sabbath-keeping] means anything; what counts is the new creation’ Gal 6.15 NIV.