It’s curious how ‘Off-shoots’ tar everyone else with the same brush. It would be easy to dismiss posts like this as the product of some character anomaly. Or an Off-shoot. Those who live in the coma of routine religion usually do. They are neither truly alive and neither can they see. It’s significant that when life appeared in the form of Jesus Christ, religion killed Him. Doctrines of demons produce their own anaesthesia. But what if these posts proceed from the celebration of life and Christ’s intolerance of death in any form? What if they are an expression of life to the full? What if they are the teaching of Jesus and the doctrine of the apostles? What if they are ‘this gospel of the Kingdom?’ What then?
‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full’ John 10.10 NIV.
Either we are aligned with the thief or we are one with Jesus. If Christ is our life we will make no accommodation to gangrenous tissue posing as ‘our message.’ In Christ there is no toleration of dead flesh. How can there be when Jesus is the Resurrection who lives in us? In Him we will oppose creeping death and a zombie life. Jesus promised more than scraps of life. He advertised Himself as life without limit.
While travelling with some Adventists I was startled when one of them got up to give a talk. In front of her on the wall was a selection from the Bible emphasising how the Spirit of Christ multiplies his grace and kindnesses among us and to our fellows in what we call the fruits of the Spirit. Here’s the passage to which I’m referring.
‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness’ gentleness and self-control’ Gal 5.22-24 Gal 5.22-24.
Never mind that grace and love flow from Holy Spirit and this is why it is indeed called FRUIT, our sister got up and delivered her homily on how, if we focus on a quality like ‘forbearance,’ Holy Spirit will come alongside us and empower us to be ‘longsuffering.’ Never mind that this is opposite to the meaning of the text where ‘fruit’ happens because the Spirit of Christ prompts and then empowers us in grace. Spirit and life flows when Christ is our life and He is manifesting as us.
The homily was opposite to the reality of the new covenant where Christ who is our life lives His life out through us. So not only were the words Christian nonsense. It presented and reinforced to the religious mind the tired old mechanical dead works that too many call the Christian Life.
Yet the Adventist version of character development is more deadly than most. Whereas free and happy Christians simply live as themselves in the Sabbath rest that is theirs in Christ their life – the Adventist Believer [in his mindset] remains separated from God and separated from himself in the law.
Adventism differs from sound Christian doctrine in purporting that the faithful live from the law with Jesus’ help. This view is self-evident in Mrs White’s book Desire of Ages where Jesus is falsely portrayed as living from the law and upholding it. But He doesn’t. Jesus lives from His Father and reveals His Father. The Try-Harder Gospel is seen again in her book, Prophets and Kings, which can be summarised as ‘These people never reached their potential because none of them tried hard enough!’ A try harder-gospel may be found in many versions of religious Christianity but is particularly acidic in Adventism.
The writings of Ellen White reveal that Christ's life is seen as an example of how humanity, combined with the power of the Holy Spirit, could perfectly keep the law. She writes, ‘The Lord now requires of his church perfect obedience to all his commandments. He will not accept less than his due. Man may receive grace and truth to obey all his commandments, which are reasonable and just.’ Ellen White is better at portraying a god of demands than a God of love. Her god is a god of law and performance and not at all the God who is love. For her Christ has not come in the flesh of the Believer. The law is urged to have come in the flesh of the believer and as a result she makes a religion of the flesh and not of the Spirit of Sonship.
‘I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist’ 2 John 1.7 NIV.
Christ is your life in every way. There is no link in the chain of relationship between you and our Father than you must forge yourself. Jesus is your relationship with Himself and with God in every possible way. This is the vicarious ministry of Christ. He has it all covered. You are covered. Made whole in Jesus. You are ready every moment because His life is your life. You have always done enough because He has done it all for you and all humanity. Jesus is your life and your grace as well as your Sabbath.
‘So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority’ Col 2.10 NIV.
‘For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory’ Col 3.3,4 NIV.