WHY CRUCIFY YOURSELF
I was in India. One of pastors said, ‘Adventists. They are glued to the Sabbath.
It’s difficult to dislodge them from it.’ I will come to the limpet like fixation of Adventists on the Sabbath later on. First we need to admit that there’s nothing wrong with the Sabbath if you are a Jew. And nothing wrong with having a day of rest if you are a gentile. Any day. But we are not Jews. We are not in the law. And neither today are Jews. We are in Christ. I did not say ‘followers of Christ’ because an alive Believer is more than that. Other religions have disciples and followers. We have our God who is with us and in us. Big difference. It’s called incarnation. An alive Believer is spirit and life because Christ is her life. An alive Believer is spirit and life because he is a son in spirit and in truth. A believer is a son/daughter because he/she is a living expression of our Father.
Many of us need to come to terms with the fact that if we are in the law we are not in Christ - not in any depth anyway. Maybe up to our toes because of grace.
We can live an old testament life in the present with a new testament gloss. Many do and are far less than they could be as a result. Anyone who lives in the knowledge of good and evil plus Jesus mode is a phantom of their potential self.
A Believer still in the law is never fully alive and not competent to minister the Kingdom of spirit and life. Not competent because they are not worthy but not competent because they have not entered the Kingdom of God which is new covenant from first to last.
This is because there is nothing in the law that is alive. Only persons are alive. When Christ is our life we are one with Him, one with our Father and One with Holy Spirit. We are joined and ignited by the Spirit of Sonship. In the person of Jesus we fellowship with the trinity and they live in us. But you can’t fellowship with the law. No one can. It is a thing, This is why Paul called it the law of sin and death and why He described any community based on law-keeping as a body of death.
Adventists need to know that Jesus did not live from the law. He lived totally from His Father. He lived to reveal His Father, honour His Father, undo the slander on His Father and fulfill all Father had set Him to do. This is our calling in Christ. With Jesus as our life we and Father are one. Because Christ lives in us and is our life we are new beings born in the line of Jesus the Second Adam and cut off from the carnality and deadly hallows of the first Adam. In Christ we are alive. In Adam, Moses and the law we are dead in spirit and soul. With Christ as your life the power of the resurrection is already in you!
A friend who was exiting Adventism once said to me. “There’s something I can’t understand though. If we are supposed to keep the commandments, whey then do the other churches make an exception of the Sabbath? It’s a good question because it gives me a reason to reveal new covenant life. We don’t live from the commandments of Moses or the knowledge of good and evil of Adam.
In this age - the age since the cross, resurrection and outpouring of the Spirit, we do not live in the law. We live in the person of Jesus whose very presence surrounds us and pervades our being. This is life in the Spirit which means life in the Spirit of Christ whose person is our life and our righteousness.
The old testament person had the law outside them. You have the person of Christ inside your by the Spirit.
Obeying the commandments in the new testament means obeying Jesus’ teaching. Not Moses’ laws. The command of God is to believe His Son. The testimony of Jesus is ‘I alone am your life.’ He is our life in the sense that He is our grace and vicariously our self in relation to God. He is our life in that He has incarnated Himself in our being so that His person by the Spirit transfigures our life.
Adventism is not the only segment of Christianity that lives from the old covenant. But it is the one culture that has embedded the law in its doctrine and calcified its adherents like Lots’ wife in the law on stone. They think the gospel according to Ellen White is Bible truth. But is a cunning distortion of Jesus and His gospel of the Kingdom.
Adventists are affixed to the Sabbath because the ‘other gospel’ of Ellen White has glued them to the law. They think erroneously, along with Mrs White, the pioneers and all who have since been indoctrinated with her teaching, that the law and the keeping of it is the central issue of the ages. But it is not. The issue is the complete trustworthiness of Father, the infinite nature of His love, the revelation of His nature in Jesus and our union with God as sons and daughters in the person of Jesus. Far from the big issue being the law, the issue is the Fatherhood of God and the Sonship of you! Your issue is this: Will you live in this inheritance or will your hobble along in a lie?
But that’s not all. Bogged in law, Adventism is desperate for grace. So it invents a grace of its own: The Sabbath. The Sabbath is critical to Adventism and its law obsession because it serves as a pseudo grace and a false christ. Sabbath-keeping gives the Sabbath-keepers of Adventism the illusion that they are keeping the law. Sabbath-keeping does for the Adventist what Jesus does for everyone else.
The fact is, the law cannot be kept. The hidden curriculum of Adventism is that we earn union with God by keeping the law. ‘Obey and live’ the old testament says. Adventism has it that we can obey the law - with Jesus help. But no one ever does because no one ever can.
Since Jesus’ grace and vicarious life is smothered by law Adventists need a grace of their own. This ‘grace’ is the Sabbath. Sabbath-keeping purveys the illusion that we are ok with God because we are Sabbath-keepers. But this is problematic because no one can properly ‘keep’ the Sabbath. You cannot ‘keep it’ for the simple reason that no one can turn themselves off and become a non-person for 24 hours. So even Sabbath-keeping is reduced to a set of iconic symbols representing ‘keeping the Sabbath.’
When I was a boy one of the Sabbath-keeping techniques was putting on Sabbath music. Later in my youth walking was allowed but not swimming. Paddling was ok and allowable when the water is up to your ankles. But it was swimming when above the waist. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to understand why some leave this humbug and trivial pursuit for more sensible communities of belief or give up on God altogether.
The Bible clearly states that Jesus is the First-born from the dead. He is the First-born in the sense that He lives forever. Others were raised from the dead but eventually died again. Not so Jesus. Yet there is a story in Ellen White’s writings where Moses is raised from the dead. This cannot be found in the Bible because it never happened. Moses was of course the Receiver and proclaimer of the the Mosaic law or Ten Commandments. Yet this fiction finds a place in Ellen White’s schema as a way of ‘deifying’ the law. Moses becomes a law-Messiah. He is conflated with the one and only First-born from the dead as an attempt is made to hybridize the law of Moses with the attributes of Christ.
But Jesus can never be reduced to law because in His infinite life everything that is has its being. Jesus does not live to impart the law. He lives to impart Himself, our Father and Holy Spirit. Thanks to Jesus, in us lives the fullness of the God-head bodily. Adventism comes close to making a false Christ from the Sabbath. This is the reason why so many hold to it with such stubbornness and verve. Yet it is a subtle example of the false christs Jesus warned us would arise in the last days. Your salvation is assured in Jesus Christ. You have rest and peace in Jesus Christ. He is your Sabbath and the Sabbath rest of the world. In Jesus you have spirit and life because you are delivered from the flesh of the law to live in the Spirit of Christ. Don’t bury your talent in the ground.