Saturday, June 24, 2017

Dr. Ford on Sanctification

Right With God Right Now (Romans Commentary)

Sanctification is the fruit of justification. So you could call sanctification a reflected brightness or color. Sanctification is a derivative of justification. God gives his gifts with both hands. He does not justify anyone he does not sanctify. You cannot accept the death of Christ without accepting his risen life. The first look at the cross is, "He died for me." The second look is, "I died with him." "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20 NIV). Romans p. 15 [.pdf pagination]

Never think of justification as something that happens solely at the beginning of the Christian life, as though, once you are justified, you then roll up your sleeves and say, "We'd better get on with this business
of sanctification or we will lose our justification." No! No! Justification is over you all the time, like the sun. Like the pillar of cloud in the desert that sheltered Israel from the heat.

Justification and sanctification are like two railroad lines that run side by side all the way, all the days of your life. They may look as though they merge and join on the horizon. The fact is they run parallel, side by side, all the way. In other words, every minute of your standing before God does not depend on how you are doing, but on how Christ has done. That is the good news of the gospel. Romans p.19

So, it is very important to distinguish but not separate these two things: justification and sanctification. One adheres on the outside, the other inheres on the inside. One is based on what Christ did for me. The other is based on what Christ does in me. The first is perfect, complete and one hundred percent. The second is not, because God is doing it in me, and that is miserable terrain to work in. Ibid. p.20

In Paul's discussion on acceptance and in his discussion on justification, "righteousness" and "faith," "just" and "faith," are linked together thirteen times in thirteen verses. They are never so linked in his discussion on sanctification. It is so important to understand that sanctification, or being made righteous, is the fruit of the gospel. It is not the gospel. It is the result of the gospel. Ibid. p.29

Distinguish but do not separate, otherwise, you will not be able to see the glory of Christ in his finished work on the cross. This work was for us, and gives us a perfect standing with God in a moment. That is justification. The fruit of justification, of being declared righteous in Christ, is the coming of the Holy Spirit into your life. This is sanctification, which always follows justification. Ibid. p.29

Sanctification only begins our being made like our Lord Jesus Christ. It is never complete in this life. There is no perfect Christian, even if he or she has been a Christian for a hundred years and trying to be just like the Master. The nearer we come to Christ, the more we confess our unlikeness to Christ. Inherent perfection is fully accomplished only by the change of glorification when Christ returns.

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9). Thevery best people on earth can only offer litanies of guilt continuously. At the same time, because of the gospel, they can shout, "There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus" (see Romans 8:1). Ibid. p. 29

Sanctification is always the fruit of the gospel. It is not part of righteousness by faith. It is the result of it. The "righteousness of faith" (which, according to Martin Luther, is the article of a standing or failing church) is justification by faith. Ibid. p.31

Come with me now, please, to chapter 4 of Romans. This chapter is an expansion on how we are restored to God. Christ has done the necessary work, but we must believe. You see, there is "Christ for us" and there is "Christ in us." We appropriate Christ for us by faith alone. When we do that, the Holy Spirit comes into our heart. Then sanctification begins.

The moment you believe, the Spirit comes in. That is because you are declared righteous enough—in Christ —to receive the Holy Spirit. (There is no other way sinners can be holy enough.) Now God is for you, not against you. Now you can say, "I am never left alone. I need never feel inadequate."
Jesus said, "I will come to you" (John 14:18 NIV). The coming of the Holy Spirit is the coming of Christ. Any religion that elevates the Spirit above the Son is not a Christian religion. It has Christians in it, but it is not a Christian religion. That is because the Spirit does not speak of himself (John 16:13).

 It is a mistake to have a religion speak all the time about the Spirit over and above the Son. The Spirit is very important, but Jesus said, "He will not speak of himself. He will witness to me. I send him to you." The coming of the Spirit into our life is the coming of Christ, and that is the beginning of sanctification. Ibid. p. 40

Chapter 4 [of Romans] tells us how sanctification begins to work. Sanctification begins when we receive the Holy Spirit. But we cannot receive the Holy Spirit until we are holy. The only way we sinners are counted sufficiently holy to receive the Holy Spirit is through having Christ's perfect righteousness imputed and reckoned to us. We can say then that sanctification begins with justification. In fact, it cannot begin until we are first justified.

Please do not confuse what I am saying with the idea that justification merely begins the Christian life or that we do not need justification once we are sanctified enough. This would imply that we sinners could somehow become so skillful at holy living in this world that God would accept us for what we are—not what we are counted in Christ! We need justification all the time, every step of the way, like a rainbow arching over our whole life span. However, justification does begin sanctification. There is no other way to receive the Holy Spirit, the Agent of sanctification, except by being declared as holy as Jesus through faith in the Savior. Ibid. p.40

"We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God" (Romans 5:2). Paul jumps from justification—being justified by faith—to the hope of glorification. When we are transformed and we receive a new, spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:44), we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. He does not even mention sanctification. Sanctification is an inevitable and essential part of Christian experience, and a wonderful part.

But Paul says (paraphrase): "if you have begun and you are looking unto Jesus, well, that is it! All I can see is you in Christ now and you in Christ then. Already I see you at the end and completion of your journey with Christ, rejoicing in hope of the glory of God." For Paul, everything is so certain in Christ, that when we are justified by faith, why, that is the same as already being in glory. Ibid. p.49

Our first look at the cross is, "He died for me." Our second look is, "I died with him." He died for me, that is justification. I died with him, that is what brings sanctification.

We all have loads of besetting sins. If you do not think you have, ask your spouse! Your spouse will tell you all about them. We all have besetting sins. To recognize them is step number one. And Romans 6:11 helps us recognize the reality. "Count yourselves dead to sin." It is telling us that in ourselves we are still very much alive to sin— we have many besetting sins. In Christ, we are to count ourselves as though we do not. P. 64

Quoting John Calvin: “Likewise, by the word grace, we understand both parts of redemption, that is, the forgiveness of sins, by which God imputes righteousness to us, and the sanctification of the spirit, by whom he forms us anew to good works .... The apostle is desirous of accompanying us and preventing us from growing weary in striving to do what is right, because we still feel many imperfections in ourselves.

However much the stings of sin may torment us, they cannot subdue us, for we are enabled to
conquer them by the Spirit of God. Since we are under grace, too, we are freed from the strict
demands of the law. We are to understand here, moreover, that the apostle takes it for granted that
all those who are without the grace of God are bound by the yoke of the law, and held under its
condemnation. So, on the other hand, we may argue that as long as men are under the law, they are
subject to the dominion of sin. ( Romans, pp. 130-131) Ibid. p.71

Paul, by this summary in verse 14 of the first section of Chapter 6, has answered the charge of
antinomianism and shown clearly that sanctification is implicit in the inevitable consequences of
justification. Ibid..71

Sanctification—a Growth in Love
Having said all that in chapter 5, Paul wants to tell us: "Listen! This is what will happen in your life as a result. These are the changes that will come." This is what we call sanctification. We are not saved by sanctification, but no person is saved without it, because God always gives his gifts with both hands. He justifies no one that he does not sanctify.

What is sanctification? Is it doing great things? No. Sanctification is a growth in faith, hope, love,
prayerfulness, and praise. Sanctification is the flowering and maturing of the fruit of the Spirit.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and selfcontrol. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV) All the fruits in this list are simply various forms of love. Joy is love in ecstasy. Temperance is love holding the reins. Patience is love under the burden. They are all forms of love.

Sanctification is growth in love. Remember, love is not a passion. The love the Bible talks about is not an emotion. It results in emotion, but it is not an emotion. It is not some emotional high—Hollywood version. It is a principle of unselfish living, whereby we want
the best for all men and all women. That is true love.

The Principle of Sanctification
In this section of chapter 6 and 7 on sanctification, there are three sections on sanctification.
The first section contains the principle of sanctification. We noticed in the first dozen or so verses of
Chapter 6 that Paul says (and I paraphrase), "When you see that you died on Calvary, sin loses its power." The principle of sanctification is identification with Christ in his death. You must reckon that you are dead.

Whether it is pride, or impurity, or selfishness, or tobacco, or alcohol, or sheer meanness, you have to
reckon that you are identified with Christ in his death, and that the old way of life is over. It is so if you believe it. That is the key factor.

Your old nature was brought to nothing by the decree of God when he saw you in your Representative, Christ. When you understand that, sin will no longer have a claim on you. It will try to, but you can say, "You have no claim on me. I am dead."

A young woman was asked to go to a questionable dancing party. She refused. "This institution is under new government," she said. That is true of all Christians. We are under new government.
Now you understand the importance of Romans 8:5. "Those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires." Whatever you set your mind on, ultimately controls you. That is the principle of sanctification.

The Practice of Sanctification
Paul then talks about the practice of sanctification. He likens the practice of sanctification to a subject serving a king, a servant working for a master, and a wife caring for her husband. Paul climaxes the practice of holiness in sanctification by saying (and I paraphrase), "Look, when you are united with Jesus in his death, when you are one with him in your life, then the fruit of holiness appears spontaneously. It cannot be otherwise."

You all know the many jokes made about human love. The man courting his sweetheart says, "I will climb the highest mountain. I will swim the widest ocean." Then we usually have a few lines on the other side about his being too lazy to drive to her house and pick her up. These stories show that humanity is not as good as it sounds. But the principle is right: Love leads you to lavish everything on your beloved. You cannot be captured by the love of Christ and be unresponsive to that love. When we are married to Christ, we bring forth the fruit of holiness.

The Preventive of Sanctification
Paul's third section on sanctification is the preventive of holiness. Here we come to the obstacle, the
barrier. I always think of a great man called George Romaines, who said, "Blessed be God for the seventh of Romans." I have echoed that same beatitude many times—and you will too as we begin our next study. This whole seventh chapter tells us that the law is as helpless to sanctify us as it is to justify us. It is Jesus we need: First, Last, and Always! Ibid pp. 73,74

I want you to see the picture Paul is painting with words. (And we need to remember this is still in the section on sanctification.) Here is a person who delights in the law of God. This person's will is always in harmony with the will of God. This person speaks using the present tense, first person. Yet still, after years of being an experienced and mature Christian, he struggles with sinful human nature. That is because sin remains, though it does not reign.

Surely Paul is painting a picture of himself—now! That is why our peace is ever, only, always, found in the imputed righteousness of Christ. As sinful beggars we can accept and take that righteousness only with empty hands!

For the righteousness of justification is one hundred percent—but not inside us. The righteousness of
sanctification is inside us—but not one hundred percent. At glorification, and then only, will righteousness be one hundred percent and inside us! Ibid. p.79

I feel sad for people who think that justification happens only at the beginning of the Christian life to get us
started—but after that it is all sanctification. The idea that God does a mighty work for you and forgives you at the start, but then—you had better not make any more mistakes or you will be done in. That is not the teaching of the Bible. We stand in justification, according to Romans 5:1:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus
Christ; through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we
rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2 NIV, emphasis supplied) Being justified by faith, we stand; we have access. In other words, justification is over us all the time, until we die, until Jesus comes.Ibid. p.94

God always gives his gifts with both hands. There is no such thing as justification without sanctification, or
true sanctification without justification. Now, this is important: The evidence to the world and to the universe that you have been justified—though not to God because he knows your heart already—is whether you are sanctified. Now, "sanctified" does not mean perfect. Thank God for that. "Sanctified" means that you are aware you have been set apart for God.

Remember the prince who went to public school. The other boys tried to lead him into all kinds of
mischief, but he always said, "No, I cannot do that. I am a prince, of royal blood." That is what the
Christian life is. "I belong to God. I am separated from the world, to God. I cannot do the things I once did. I belong to a holy God.” Ibid.97

Justification and Sanctification
The righteousness of faith is mine in a moment—by a look of trust to Jesus.
Having given me the righteousness of faith because of his work for me, Christ now begins a work in me. God does not forgive the rebel and let the rebel still carry a gun. God cannot declare the leper clean and then let him die in his degradation. So, having declared me righteous (which is what "justify" means), God sets about making me righteous.

Here is where most of us Christians err—we keep looking at our progress. And if we are honest, there is not a lot to see. Other people may see more than we do, but other people do not know our hearts.
Justification depends on what Christ did for me, and that is a perfect, one hundred percent righteousness. It is mine by faith. Sanctification is what Christ does in me by the Holy Spirit.

Sanctification and Glorification
About the first righteousness, Jesus said, "It is finished" (John 19:30 KJV). The second righteousness is never finished in this life. If I live to be as old as Methuselah, the Holy Spirit and the angels will still be wringing their hands, saying, "Oh dear, we are still having a lot of trouble with Des. We have been trying for a thousand years, and look at him!" Sanctification is never complete in this life.

Sanctification is completed in what we call Glorification. At the second coming of Christ, every cell of body and mind is changed and transformed in the twinkling of an eye (see 1 Corinthians 15:52) and all the impact of sin in our lives is taken away.

You see, we are the product of everything we have ever seen, everything we have ever heard, everything we have ever read, everything we have ever done, everything that has been done to us—we are the product of all that. And we do not get rid of those scars until the Second Advent.

Never Trust Sanctification
It is because of those scars, and because sin brings incapacity as well as guilt, that I can never depend on my sanctification. I have already squandered part of the talent given to me at birth by my years outside of Christ. The devil would direct our attention to navel-watching. The devil directs our attention at ourselves. "How am I doing?" we ask.

The answer, if you are honest, is, "Pathetic." Pathetic compared with what we should be doing. The law can be summed up in one word: Love. Love God wholly, love your neighbor as much as yourself. How do we stand on that? Not very well. What sort of a steward am I of moments, of money, of talent, of opportunity? I try to be a good steward, but in God's sight I have more failures than successes. Even my best is still not good enough. Ibid. pp. 146, 147

Faith and Striving
Does not it take faith to be sanctified? Yes. Then why are they never linked? Because faith linked with justification is always faith alone. And we cannot be sanctified by faith alone.

The New Testament uses twenty-seven verbs that have to do with effort, such as "fight", "struggle", "run." Sanctification takes effort. There is no such thing as an undisciplined, mature Christian. It takes a lot of discipline to walk the path of sanctification. A lot of saying "No" to self.

Paul writes, "I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I
myself should become disqualified" (1 Corinthians 9:27 NKJV). We must fight the good fight of faith
(1 Timothy 6:12). We must run the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1). We must strive to enter
through the narrow gate (Luke 13:24).

Justification by faith alone—that is just receiving a gift. Now we have eternal life. God has made. That is why the New Testament never joins sanctification with faith in the same breath. It is important to understand that. Romans p.148

Kaleidoscope of Diamonds, vol. 1

The Scriptures declare, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1, RSV). We are not under the law as a means of salvation, and the knowledge of such marvelous grace delivers us from the dominion of sin (Romans 3:20; 6:14). The fruit of our new relationship with God must ever be distinguished from its root. We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone. We are not saved by a mixture of faith and works, but by that true faith which inevitably works. God justifies no man whom he does not proceed to sanctify.

I would not work my soul to save,
For that the Lord hath done.
But I would work like any slave
For love of God's dear Son. Kaleidoscope of Diamonds vol.1, p 63

Kaleidoscope of Diamonds, vol. 2

In this petition we find the clue to our primary need. Noble ideals and lofty resolutions are powerless unless the sin question is settled. Forgiveness is the door into the "Temple Beautiful" of the Christian life. As glasses are of no value if we are blind, or shoes if we are paralyzed, so only when sin's guilt is removed is the power of sin also broken (Rom 6:14). Sin ceases to have dominion over us when our hearts are broken by the forgiving grace of God. Heaven's mercy is a healing mercy, and justification (being declared righteous) is always accompanied by the beginning of sanctification (righteous living). Kaleidoscope of Diamonds vol.2, p. 34

The Cross and the Law
Theology has always found its touchstone in the manner it relates grace and law, God's part and ours, faith and works, justification and sanctification. All true theology has learned to distinguish without separating those things that God has joined together from the beginning. Unless a Christian learns to distinguish justification from sanctification, he may lose his assurance because of his weaknesses and failures. He dare not look to his sanctification as evidence that he is right with God. But if a Christian, on the other hand, separates rather than distinguishes law from grace, he may become an antinomian and disgrace his Lord. 

When the reformers asserted that only those who rightly related law and gospel were true teachers of the latter, they were in every sense correct. This principle of distinction, but not separation, applies not only to the manner of describing the nature and work of the members of the Trinity and the various biblical covenants, but also to the elements of soteriology.  Kaleidoscope of Diamonds vol. 2, p. 42

Sometimes we talk about the objective and subjective sides of Christianity. Objectively Christ is all, but subjectively faith is all. Objectively all was done for me by Christ on the cross, subjectively all is done in me by the Holy Spirit. Justification is the objective reality appropriated, but sanctification is a continuous subjective experience as God works in me to will and to do that which is right.  Kaleidoscope of Diamonds vol. 2, p. 56

Observe closely that in the symbolism the streams are distinct but not separate. The reason has been well explained by W. H. Griffith Thomas [The Catholic Faith (London, 1947), pp. 84-85]:
“Justification is also different from making righteous, which ... is Sanctification. The two are always inseparable in fact, but they are assuredly distinguishable in thought, and must ever be distinguished if we would have peace and blessing. Justification concerns our standing, Sanctification our state. The former affects our position, the latter our condition. The first deals with judicial relationship, the second with spiritual fellowship. We must ever remember that they are bestowed together, that is, a complete Justification and a commencing Sanctification; "where the righteousness of Christ adheres, the grace of Christ inheres", where the one is imputed, the other is imparted; where the one is reckoned, the other is received. But they must never be confused. The first is the foundation of our peace – "Christ for us." The second is the basis of our purity – "Christ in us." Justification is concerned with acceptance; Sanctification with attainment. Sanctification admits of degrees; we may be more or less sanctified. Justification has no degrees, but is complete, perfect, final – "Justified from all things" (Acts 13:39). Kaleidoscope of Diamonds vol. 2,  p.61

Calvary, A Love Story

Notice that blood and water flowed from Jesus’ side. Usually, blood becomes thick and will not flow from a dead body, but it flowed miraculously from Jesus’ side. To John, and to Christians ever after, the streams of blood and water represent the two great blessings of salvation: Jesus’ power to ‘justify’ (make right with God) and to ‘sanctify’ (help us to live according to God’s will) Calvary,  A Love Story p. 56

 Here is the Answer

God’s gifts to the unworthy are without comparison or competitor: God is offering us forgiveness. That’s what true religion is about. Romans 4:8 says: As far as the east is from the west he removes our sins from us. This is called justification, which means the bestowal of a perfect status despite our very imperfect state. After justification begins the path of sanctification, our ever-increasing likeness to Christ. One day there will be glorification, when our evil nature is fully removed at the return of Christ. The righteousness of justification is 100%, but it is not inside us. It is in Christ. The righteousness of sanctification is inside us but it is never 100%. The righteousness of glorification will be both 100% and within us. That is the glorious gospel. Here is the Answer pp. 21, 22

Jesus Only 

To get into heaven, we need to be justified by God. The righteousness of justification, which Jesus wants to credit to us as a free gift, is 100 per cent. The righteousness of sanctification, which is the result of our good works, is never 100 per cent. Because we need 100 per cent righteousness to get eternal life, we must accept, by faith, the free gift of God’s righteousness from Jesus. Those who put their faith in their own righteousness will miss out because anything less that 100 per cent is a fail mark. It’s not a matter of what we have, but who we have. Jesus Only p. 22

When Jesus comes into our hearts with his perfect righteousness, he will endeavour to live his life through us, making us more and more righteous every day. This righteousness won’t save us, but it shows that we have been saved. We don’t have to be good to be saved, but we do have to be saved to be good. The Lord’s Supper teaches us that Christ’s crucifixion was not a tragedy, rather it was God’s way of saving the world. The broken bread pointed to Jesus’ body that would be broken for us on the Cross, and the wine pointed to his blood that he would shed for us on the Cross. To accept the bread and wine is to signify our acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus for us. Jesus Only,  p. 22

Jesus’ blood represented our justification; it is the blood of Jesus that makes us right with God (1 John 1:7). The water, on the other hand, represents our sanctification by the Spirit of Jesus living in us; he cleanses us by washing us with the water of his word (Ephesians 5:25).

Justification is the work of a moment. The instant we put our faith in Jesus, we are made right with God (Romans 3:21–24, 28). That very instant, we receive the gift of eternal life (John 5:24). Also, at that same moment, the righteousness of God is credited to our accounts (2 Corinthians 5:21). Like the lost son who had lived a sinful life, but repented and returned home, so the Lord accepts us repentant sinners back into his family and puts his own pure robe on our shoulders (Luke 15:11–24). We don’t have to earn our place in God’s family; it is given to us as a free gift.

All who are justified are given 100 per cent righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). But that righteousness is not inside us; it is in Jesus. If we have Jesus, we have God’s free gift of perfect righteousness. 

Sanctification—what the Spirit of God does in us—is never 100 per cent. And it never will be 100 per cent until we are given new spiritual bodies in the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:42–44). Because our sanctification in this life will always fall short of what is required for eternal life, we cannot put our faith in what we ourselves do. The faith that gives us eternal life is faith that is in Jesus and his free gift of 100 per cent righteousness. Jesus Only, p. 85

When I accept Jesus by faith, he comes into my life with his gift of salvation. If I have Jesus, I have eternal life (1 John 5:11–12). And the life that he lives within me, after I have been saved, is called sanctification (Philippians 2:13). However, I am only saved by what he did for me on the Cross two thousand years ago and not by what he is doing within me today.  What he did for me on the Cross is 100 per cent; what he is doing within me is never 100 per cent in this life because of the damage that sin has done to our minds. Ibid. p. 86

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

"Investigative Judgment" background

[Many thanks to Loren Seibold for his editorial work. AToday print issue, 12/2016]

When most Seventh-day Adventists think of the history of the Investigative Judgement, they think of Hiram Edson’s iconic insight in the cornfield after the night of the Great Disappointment. But Edson's vision of Christ entering the Most Holy Place didn't mention the investigative judgment. Edson, along with O.R.L. Crosier, and Dr. Hahn, developed the teaching about Jesus entering the most holy place, which was set forth in an article by Crosier in The Day Star. (1) There is no mention of the Investigative Judgment in that article, or in Edson's account of the cornfield experience. Edson saw that Jesus had a "work to perform" in the Most Holy Place, but he wasn’t sure what it was. (2)

It should be noted that Josiah Litch, in 1841, set forth the concept of a pre Advent judgment, although he did not use the term “investigative judgment.” He summarized his argument for a pre advent judgment by saying: “Nor is there a text which presents the judicial scene of judgment after the resurrection. On the contrary, the Scriptures can be harmonized on no other principle than that every man's doom is fixed before his resurrection.” (3)

Our narrative on the investigative judgment begins with another early believer, Elon Everts. During the New Haven, Vermont conference of 1853 Elon Everts had been ordained to the gospel ministry. His name was a familiar one in the Review, with several letters describing his evangelistic labors in Vermont. He eventually migrated to Round Grove, Illinois where he continued his evangelistic work, including time with J.N. Loughborough, and died in February of 1858 at age 51 (4).

James and Ellen White first discussed the investigative judgment with Everts during a wagon ride in Illinois in 1856.(5)  Everts had been puzzling over the work of Christ in the sanctuary. He was quite certain Jesus was in the heavenly sanctuary, but he was unsure about what he had been doing there for more than a decade.

Everts began to flesh out his ideas in a “communication” published in the January 1, 1857 issue of the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald. He worked from 1 Peter 4:5, 6:

“Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.”

Since the Scripture speaks of a judgment of both the living and the dead, Everts reasoned that Jesus had been judging the dead of the ages since 1844, offering this text as evidence that judgment must take place before Christ’s return during the final generation of life on earth. Here Everts first floated the expression "investigative judgment" to attempt to explain what Jesus was doing—the first time it appeared in an Adventist publication. (6) He followed this with another article on the investigative judgment, dated June 4, 1854 but not printed in the Review until June 11, 1857.

The first actual article on the investigative judgment published in the Review came from James White, who picked up the themes of Everts “communication” just a month later, in the January 29 Review, with an article entitled “The Judgment”.

James White’s argument was based on his understanding of the blotting out of sin, the record of sin in heaven, and the “lot” of Daniel 12:13: “For thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.”  He listed more than seventy Old Testament passages from The Englishman’s Hebrew Concordance, some of which indicated that “lot” referred to the position of the judged. Daniel in his “lot” was a reference to his already having been judged. James White followed Everts in the idea that Scripture taught that there would be a judgment of both the living and the dead based on 1 Peter 4:5-6, and that this judgment had started with the righteous dead in 1844.(7)

A pamphlet was later issued by the Battle Creek Steam Press in 1872. Entitled Fundamental Principles of Seventh Day Adventists which refers to the investigative judgment as principle XVIII:

“That the time of the cleansing of the sanctuary (see proposition X), synchronizing with the time of the proclamation of the third message, is a time of investigative judgment, first with reference to the dead, and at the close of probation with reference to the living, to determine who of the myriads now sleeping in the dust of the earth are worthy of a part in the first resurrection, and who of its living multitudes are worthy of translation-points which must be determined before the Lord appears.” (8)

Uriah Smith wrote at length about the investigative judgment in his 1877 work The Sanctuary and the 2300 Days, which saw in Daniel 7:9-10 the basis for the investigative judgment:

“Thus the cleansing of the sanctuary involves the examination of the records of all the deeds of our lives. It is an investigative Judgment. Every individual of every generation from the beginning of the world thus passes in review before the great tribunal above. So Daniel, describing the opening of this scene, calls it a work of judgment, and expressly notices the fact that the books were opened” (9).

In a sweeping statement, Smith joined several Biblical motifs: “We have already seen that the cleansing of the sanctuary, the investigative Judgment of the saints, the blotting out, or remission, of sin, and the finishing of the mystery of God, are all one and the same thing. We now make the additional statement that this is also the atonement” (page 275). (10)

The Biblical Institute, an 1878 synopsis of SDA doctrines by Uriah Smith and James White also identified the cleansing of the sanctuary with the investigative judgment and the finishing of the mystery of God (p. 72). On page 84 of the same work, they stated that the investigative judgment takes place as the sanctuary is cleansed. (11)

Prior to his death in 1883, J.N.Andrews wrote the Sanctuary of the Bible. He mentions the investigative judgment twice, saying it is identical with the cleansing of the sanctuary. Wrote Andrews,

 “The nature of that work we will now briefly indicate. The work of the Judgment is divided into two parts. The first part is the investigative judgment, which takes place in the heavenly sanctuary, God the Father sitting in judgment. The second part is the execution of the judgment, and is committed wholly to Christ, who comes to our earth to accomplish this work. John 5:22-27; Jude 14, 15. It is while the investigative judgment is in session that the cleansing of the sanctuary takes place. Or, to speak more accurately, the cleansing of the sanctuary is identical with the work of the investigative judgment.” (12)

His posthumously published The Judgment. Its Events and their Order includes an entire chapter on the “investigative judgment.” (13)

Because Ellen White’s The Great Controversy is the most widely-read source for this part of Adventist history, it may be easy to assume that the Investigative Judgment teaching started with her. Yet it’s clear here that several Adventist scholars had already written upon the topic for 30 years before she took it up. Her first address of the investigative judgment isn’t until 1884, in Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, chapter 23. While her husband found evidence for an investigative judgment in the “lot” of Daniel 12:13 and the judgment of the living and the dead referred to in 1 Peter 4: 5-7, Ellen White mentions neither, relying instead, like Smith, on Daniel 7 (which James hadn’t mentioned) arguing that verses 9-10,13-14 portray the opening of the investigative judgment in heaven.

Ellen White expanded her investigative judgment teaching in the 1888 edition of The Great Controversy, introducing a unique array of passages to support and illustrate her doctrine: “The coming of Christ as our high priest to the most holy place, for the cleansing of the sanctuary, brought to view in Daniel 8:14; the coming of the Son of man to the Ancient of days, as presented in Daniel 7:13; and the coming of the Lord to his temple, foretold by Malachi, are descriptions of the same event; and this is also represented by the coming of the bridegroom to the marriage, described by Christ in the parable of the ten virgins, of Matthew 25”  (GC88 426). She also appealed to Matthew 22:11 to support her investigative judgment teaching (GC88 427).

Other early treatments include the influential Daniel and Revelation (1897) by Uriah Smith, S.N. Haskel’s The Story of Daniel the Prophet (1901), The  Story of the Seer of Patmos (1905), and The Cross and its Shadow (1914), each covering the investigative judgment doctrine.

Ellen White’s 1911 edition of the Great Controversy remains the primary source for the investigative judgment teaching, but she was largely silent on the subject of the investigative judgment until 1884, long after it had been studied and written on by Elon Everts, James White, J.N. Andrews, and Uriah Smith, who were the principal proponents of the teaching among Seventh Day Adventists. While Ellen White enhanced and gave credibility to the teaching, she did not originate it.

1.Crosier, O.R.L. “The Law of Moses” Day Star Extra, vol.9, February 7, 1846, 37-43.
Ellen G. White Writings, Comprehensive Research Edition, EllenWhite Writings Infobase, 2002.

2.Edson, Hiram. “Hiram Edson Manuscript (DF 588)” accessed Sept 2016. Ellen G. White Estate, Silver Spring, Maryland, Edson/10,11 Hiram Edson Manuscript (DF 588).

3. Litch, Josiah. “An Address to the Public and Especially the Clergy” Published by Joshua V. Himes, Boston, 1841, p. 39.

4. White, James. “Eastern Tour,” Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, vol 4, no. 19, Nov. 15, 1853; John Lindsey, “Obituary,” Advent Review and Sabbath Herald; vol. 11. No. 17, Mar. 11, 1858; J.N. Loughborough, E. Everts, J. Hart, “Tent Meeting in Green Vale,” Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, vol. 10, no. 13 July 30, 1857,

Ellen G. White Writings, Comprehensive Research Edition, EllenWhite Writings Infobase, 2002.

5. White, A.L. Ellen G. White, vol 1. Review and Herald Publishing Association,Takoma Park Maryland, 2002,  pp. 353,354

Ellen G. White Writings, Comprehensive Research Edition, EllenWhite Writings Infobase, 2002.

6. Everts, Elon. “Communication From Bro. Everts,” Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, vol. 9, no. 9, Jan. 1, 1857, p.72. and journals/official SDA periodicals/Review and Herald

7. White, James. “The Judgment” Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, vol. 9 no. 13, Jan. 29, 1857, p. 100. and journals/officialSDA periodicals/Review and Herald

8. Seventh day Adventist Publishing Association. “A Declaration of the Fundamental Principles Taught and Practiced by Seventh day Adventists.” Steam Press: Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association, Battle Creek Michigan, 1872

Ellen G. White Writings, Comprehensive Research Edition, EllenWhite Writings Infobase, 2002.

9. Smith, Uriah, The Sanctuary and the Twenty three Hundred Days of Daniel 8:14. Seventh day Adventist Publishing Association, Battle Creek, Michigan, 1877 p. 276

Ellen G. White Writings, Comprehensive Research Edition, EllenWhite Writings Infobase, 2002.

10. ... p. 275

Ellen G. White Writings, Comprehensive Research Edition, EllenWhite Writings Infobase, 2002.

11. Smith, Uriah, James White. “The Biblical Institute, A Synopsis of Lectures on the Principal Doctrines of Seventh Day Adventists,” Pacific Seventh-day Adventist Publishing House, Oakland, CA, 1878, pp. 72,84

Ellen G. White Writings, Comprehensive Research Edition, Ellen White Writings Infobase, 2002.

12. Andrews, J.N. “The Sanctuary of the Bible.” “Bible Tracts” No.5, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Battle Creek MI, p.14. and pamphlets/other tracts.

13. … The Judgment. Its Events and their Order. Pacific Press Publishing Company, Oakland. CA, 1890, Ch. 1.  

Ellen G. White Writings, Comprehensive Research Edition, Ellen White Writings Infobase, 2002.

14. White, Ellen G. The Great Controversy. Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, CA, 1888, p. 426.

Ellen G. White Writings, Comprehensive Research Edition, Ellen White Writings Infobase, 2002.

15. White, Ellen G. The Great Controversy. Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, CA, 1888, p. 427.

Ellen G. White Writings, Comprehensive Research Edition, Ellen White Writings Infobase, 2002.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Blessing of Abraham, A.T. Jones

"The Blessing of Abraham," The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, October 12,1897

Image result for Alonzo t. jones photo"CHRIST hath redeemed us from the curse of the law. . . that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." Gal. 3:13, 14. {October 12, 1897 ATJ, ARSH 646.1}

We are redeemed from the curse of the law, in order that we may have the blessing of Abraham; and we receive the blessing of Abraham, in order that we may receive the promise of the Spirit. {October 12, 1897 ATJ, ARSH 646.2}

Without being redeemed from the curse of the law, we cannot have the blessing of Abraham. And without the blessing of Abraham, we cannot have the promise of the Spirit. Without the blessing of Abraham no one need ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit; for without that it cannot be given. However much a person may desire the gift of the Spirit, and however much he may ask, he cannot have it unless he has the blessing of Abraham first. {October 12, 1897 ATJ, ARSH 646.3}

Not that the Lord does not want to give his Spirit to whomsoever asks; not that he fixes a hard standard, and compels every one, as a sort of penance, to come to that, or else he will not give his Spirit. No, no; but because that for the Lord to give his Holy Spirit to any person who has not the blessing of Abraham would be only to put his seal upon sin, and baptize sin for righteousness. This, of course, God never can do; and this, of course, no one would ever knowingly ask him to do. {October 12, 1897 ATJ, ARSH 646.4}

It is, therefore, all-important to know what the blessing of Abraham is, and to have it in possession. For when this is so, to all such the Holy Spirit is freely given, and without measure; and every such one that asketh receiveth: for he asks in faith, he asks according to the will of God, and knows that he receives. The blessing of Abraham is the key that opens into the fulness of the Holy Spirit: with this we may enter freely, and enjoy all his treasures; without this we must stand without, and, even though longing for it, can never obtain. {October 12, 1897 ATJ, ARSH 646.5}

What, then, is the blessing of Abraham? In that same chapter of Galatians, verse 9, we read: "They which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham." They which be of faith are blessed,—the blessing comes by faith. And they "are blessed with faithful Abraham." Abraham obtained the blessing by faith. Faith itself is not the blessing; it is by faith that the blessing is received. It has to be so; for, "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin." {October 12, 1897 ATJ, ARSH 646.6}

So, then, the blessing came to Abraham by faith,—the blessing of Abraham is received by faith. What did Abraham receive by faith?—"Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." Verse 6. The blessing that Abraham received by faith was righteousness. Is righteousness by faith, then, the blessing of Abraham?—It look like it, doesn't it? {October 12, 1897 ATJ, ARSH 646.7}

Let us see further, whether this will hold good: "What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?" Rom. 4:1. We know he found a blessing: for the Scripture speaks of the "blessing of Abraham," and it comes on us through Jesus Christ. {October 12, 1897 ATJ, ARSH 646.8}

If we are correct in thinking that righteousness by faith is the blessing of Abraham, then when the Scripture would tell us what Abraham found, we should expect it to take up this thought first of all. {October 12, 1897 ATJ, ARSH 646.9}

How is it, then?—It is even so; for the Scripture proceeds (Rom. 4:2): "For is Abraham were justified [counted righteous] by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God." Anything in which a man cannot glory before God is no blessing at all. And as if Abraham had been counted righteous by work, he could not have gloried before God, it is perfectly plain that righteousness by works is not the blessing of Abraham. {October 12, 1897 ATJ, ARSH 646.10}
What then? "What saith the Scripture?—Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh, is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth [counteth righteous] the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." This, then, is righteousness by faith—exactly what Abraham found. Abraham found a blessing; righteousness by faith, then, must be the blessing of Abraham. {October 12, 1897 ATJ, ARSH 646.11}

But does the Scripture speak of this as a blessing, in such a way that we may be perfectly sure that just this is the blessing of Abraham? Read on: "Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works." The word says that Abraham received a blessing by believing God. And then, continuing directly on that subject, the same word says that David describes the blessedness of the man who receives what Abraham received. It is certain that there was only "blessedness" in what Abraham received; what Abraham received was righteousness, and he received it by believing God; therefore it is certain that righteousness by faith is the "blessedness," the blessing, of Abraham. {October 12, 1897 ATJ, ARSH 646.12}

How does David describe the blessedness of Abraham, and of all other men who receive what Abraham received?—Thus: "Blessed are they who iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." {October 12, 1897 ATJ, ARSH 646.13}

The word "forgiven" is made up of "for" and "given." When iniquities are "forgiven," something is given for them. What is it that is given for them?—Righteousness, to be sure; for God has set forth Christ "to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past." And, blessed are they "whose sins are covered." "He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness." {October 12, 1897 ATJ, ARSH 646.14}

What is imputed to the man to whom sin is not imputed?—Righteousness only; for he is describing the man "unto whom God imputeth righteousness." {October 12, 1897 ATJ, ARSH 646.15}
God gave Abraham righteousness for his iniquities; him who was sin, God covered with the robe of righteousness; and to him the Lord imputed righteousness instead of sin. It was all the righteousness of God, through and through. This is what Abraham received, and he received it by faith. there was in it blessedness to Abraham. And David describes the blessedness of all other men who receive it. This, then, is the blessing of Abraham. {October 12, 1897 ATJ, ARSH 646.16}

But the Scripture tells it yet again: "Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness." There can be no shadow of doubt, therefore, that the righteousness of God which is by faith is in very truth the blessing of Abraham. {October 12, 1897 ATJ, ARSH 646.17}

Now have you the blessing of Abraham? Where did you get the righteousness that you claim, and upon which you depend for acceptance and approval with God? Did you get it from God himself? Did you get it by believing God? or did you get it by "doing your best"? {October 12, 1897 ATJ, ARSH 646.18}

If you have any righteousness that you did not get from God, then you have no righteousness that you did not get by believing God, then you have none at all. If you have any other righteousness than the righteousness of God, then you have none at all. {October 12, 1897 ATJ, ARSH 646.19}

It is the righteousness of God, and that alone, which men must seek. None other will avail. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness." It is a free gift to every soul in the world. "Being justified [counted righteous] [sic] freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God has set forth. . . to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past." "Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference." {October 12, 1897 ATJ, ARSH 646.20}

Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness. "Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead." And you do believe on him. Then accept his righteousness freely, and in all its fulness, as freely and fully as it is given. {October 12, 1897 ATJ, ARSH 646.21}
The righteousness of God, which is by faith, is the blessing of Abraham. They which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. Thank the Lord for it, and thus accept the blessing of Abraham. For Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law,—he has done it,—that the blessing of Abraham might come on us. Please do not, by unbelief, keep that blessing away. Cast away unbelief. Believe God, and let the blessing of Abraham, the righteousness of God, flow in, and fill all the life with its power and its sweet savor. {October 12, 1897 ATJ, ARSH 646.22}

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

E.J. Waggoner, To Make Righteous

[Note: Waggoner emphasized that justify meant "to make righteous." He also said it could mean "to declare righteous." The following list includes all the E.J. Waggoner references listed on the Pioneer disk from the White Estate s.v., "to make righteous."]

"Righteousness and How Obtained" The Bible Echo 13, 12.
E. J. Waggoner
"The doers of the law," says Paul, "shall be justified." To justify means to make righteous, or to show one to be righteous. It is evident that perfect obedience to a perfectly righteous law would constitute one a righteous person. It was God's design that such obedience should be rendered to the law by all His creatures; and in this way the law was ordained unto life. Rom. 7:10. {March 21, 1898 EJW, BEST 89.1}

But for one to be judged "a doer of the law" it would be necessary that he had kept the law in its fullest measure every moment of his life. If he had come short of this, he could not be said to have done the law. It is a sad fact that there are in all the human race no doers of the law, for both Jews and Gentiles are "all under sin; as it is written, There is none righteous, no not one; there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unpardonable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." Rom. 3:9-12. The law speaks to all who are within its sphere; and in all the world there is not one who can open his mouth to clear himself from the charge of sin which it brings against him. Every mouth is stopped, and all the world stand guilty before God. Verse 19. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Verse 23. {March 21, 1898 EJW, BEST 89.2 [The Bible Echo}
Take the first commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." The apostle tells us of some "whose god is their belly." Phil. 3:19. But gluttony and intemperance are self-murder, and so we find that the first commandment runs through to the sixth. This is not all, however, for he also tells us that covetousness is idolatry. Col. 3:5. The tenth commandment cannot be violated without violating the first and second. In other words, the tenth commandment coincides with the first, and we find that the Decalogue is a circle having a circumference as great as the universe and containing within it the moral duty of every creature. In short, it is the measure of the righteousness of God, who inhabits eternity. {1890 EJW, CHR 50.4 [Christ and His Righteousness]}

This being the case, the correctness of the statement that "the doers of the law shall be justified," is obvious. To justify means to make righteous or to show one to be righteous. Now it is evident that perfect obedience to a perfectly righteous law would constitute one a righteous person. It was God's design that such obedience should be rendered to the law by all His creatures, and in this way the law was ordained unto life. Rom. 7:10. {1890 EJW, CHR 51.1 [Christ and His Righteousness]}
"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law," "we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified," said the apostle. The meaning of the word "justified" is "made righteous." This is the exact term that appears in other languages, which are not composed of foreign terms. The Latin word for righteousness is justitia. To be just is to be righteous. Then we add the termination fy, from the Latin word, meaning "to make," and we have the exact equivalent of the simpler term, "make righteous." In an accommodated sense we use the term "justified" of a man who has not done wrong in a thing whereof he is accused. But, strictly speaking, such an one needs no justification, since he is already just; his righteous deed justified him. He was justified in his deed. But since all have sinned, there are none just or righteous before God; therefore they need to be justified, or made righteous, which God does.

Now the law of God is righteousness. See Rom.7:12; 9:30,31; Ps.119:172. Therefore Paul did not disparage the law, although he declared that no man could be made righteous by the law, meaning, of course, the law written on stones or in a book. No; so highly did he appreciate the law, that he believed in Christ for the righteousness which the law demands but can not give. "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Rom.8:3,4. The law, which declares all men to be sinners, could not justify them except by declaring that sin is not sin; and that would not be justification, but a self-contradiction in the law.  {1900 EJW, GTI 77.1 [The Glad Tidings]}

"Being Justified."-In other words, being made righteous. To justify means to make righteous. God supplies just what the sinner lacks. Let no reader forget the simple meaning of justification. Some people have the idea that there is a much higher condition for the Christian to occupy than to be justified. That is to say, that there is a higher condition for one to occupy than to be clothed within and without with the righteousness of God. That cannot be. {August 30, 1894 EJW, PTUK 549.3 [The Present Truth UK]}

Justification Is Righteousness.-A friend has forwarded to me a severe condemnation of a statement made some time ago, to the effect that to justify means to make righteous. The criticism was based on the fact that "Grove's Greek Lexicon" does not so define the Greek word from which justify is translated. Opening Liddell and Scott's Greek Lexicon, I find the very first definition of the word in question is "to make righteous." But that is only by the way. Appeals to Greek Lexicons do not edify people. It was stated that "being justified" means "being made righteous," because that definition is patent from the reading of the English Bible. In addition to what has already been presented, read the following:- {April 23, 1896 EJW, PTUK 259.5}

"Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Rom. v. 1. But peace is for those only who love and keep the commandments, which are righteousness. See Isa. xlviii. 18; Ps. cxix. 165, 172. Moreover, "with the heart man believeth unto righteousness." Rom. x. 10. {April 23, 1896 EJW, PTUK 259.6}

We are "justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus," through faith in His blood, because His righteousness is declared "for the remission of sins that are past." Justification is therefore the forgiveness of sins. {April 23, 1896 EJW, PTUK 259.7}

Forgiveness Makes Righteous.-But to be forgiven is to be made righteous. Forgiveness is not an imaginary thing, but is real. If I forgive a fellow-man, it makes no difference in him; the effect is only upon himself. But when God forgives us, He continues the same, but the forgiveness effects a change in us. It takes away the sin. But when sin is taken away, righteousness must take its place. A new life-the righteous life of Christ-is given in place of the old life of sin. {April 23, 1896 EJW, PTUK 259.8 [The Present Truth UK]}

Forgiveness and Cleansing.-The same precious truth is taught in the oft-quoted words of John: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John i. 9. Note that the forgiveness and the cleansing are immediately consequent upon the confession. When we confess we are forgiven and cleansed. We have already seen that we have forgiveness of sins through the blood of Christ (Col. i. 14), and we read also that "the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." 1 John i. 7. So we find that forgiveness and cleansing are really one and the same thing, wrought by the appropriation of the life of Christ. The life of Christ is all righteousness, and so its reception cleanses from all sin; but nothing less than the life of Christ can cleanse a single sin. {April 23, 1896 EJW, PTUK 259.9 [The Present Truth UK} }

"The Just Shall Live by Faith." -This is proof that no one is justified by the law; for if one were righteous by works, then it would not be by faith. There is no exception, no dividing up. It is not said that some of the just shall live by faith, or that they shall live by faith and works, but, "The just shall live by faith." All of the just shall live by faith alone. The law and the works of the law have nothing whatever to do in the work of justifying men, although the law itself "is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good." Rom. vii. 12. {March 3, 1898 EJW, PTUK 131.6 [The Present Truth UK]}

Who Are the Just?- In other versions than the English, as, for instance, the German and Danish, these texts are made much plainer, because they use the word which conveys the idea more perfectly than the word "just" does to us. This is the way it is: "But that no man is made righteous by the law in the sight of God it is evident; for, the righteous shall live by faith." The words "just" and "righteous" really mean the same thing, but in the word "justify" the majority of readers do not readily recognise the phrase "to make righteous." We see, therefore, that righteousness is the end to be attained. Righteousness means right doing, and the law is the standard of right doing. The only question before us is how this desired object is to be attained. How is the sinner to be made righteous-to be made a doer of the law? Not by the law itself, for that does nothing; it simply points out the right way; but we ourselves are "without strength." Righteousness therefore must come from without, from some living thing, and when attained in genuineness will be "witnessed by the law and the prophets." Rom. v. 21. {March 3, 1898 EJW, PTUK 131.7 [The Present Truth UK]}

2. But "there is none righteous, no, not one." Rom. 3:10. "They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." Verse 12. "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Verse 23. Consequently, all are guilty before God. Verse 19. Now a good law cannot justify a wicked man. To justify means to make righteous, or to show that one is already righteous. But a righteous law cannot do this for a wicked man; for if it should say that he had done no wickedness, it would bear false witness, and thus show that it was not good itself; and it cannot take away his sin, so as to make him righteous. Therefore since "the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good" (Rom. 7:1;2), and since all men have broken the law, it is very evident, as Paul says, that "no man is justified by the law in the sight of God." Gal. 3:11; Rom. 3:20. {June 30, 1890 EJW, SITI 391.5 [Signs of the Times]}

"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin." {September 1, 1890 EJW, SITI 466.16 Signs of the Times]}

This is the grand conclusion of the apostle's argument, so far as the law alone is concerned in its relation to sinful men. It is so reasonable that anybody can see it, and so just that no one ought to lay anything to the charge of the law, on account of it. It is a fact that every soul, both of Jews and Gentiles, is guilty before God. Now what can the law do? Can it justify them? To justify means to make righteous, or to declare righteous. But they are not righteous, therefore the law cannot say that they are. If it did, it would not be a good law. The fact that it will not justify sinners-will not declare them righteous-is a standing proof that it is good. So, instead of burying the law because it will not justify sin for us, we should applaud it. {September 1, 1890 EJW, SITI 467.1 [Signs of the Times] }

"Being Justified." -In other words, being made righteous. To justify means to make righteous. God supplies just what the sinner lacks. Let no reader forget the simple meaning of justification. Some people have the idea that there is a much higher condition for the Christian to occupy than to be justified. That is to say, that there is a higher condition for one to occupy than to be clothed within and without with the righteousness of God. That can not be. {January 23, 1896 EJW, SITI 51.41 [Signs of the Times]}

Who Are the Just?- In other versions than the English, as, for instance, the German and Danish, these texts are made much plainer, because they use the word which conveys the idea more perfectly than the word "just" does to us. This is the way it is; "But that no man is made righteous by the law in the sight of God it is evident; for, the righteous shall live by faith." The words "just" and "righteous." Really mean the same thing, but in the word "justify" the majority of readers do not readily recognize the phrase "to make righteous" really mean the same thing, but in the word "justify" the majority of readers do not readily recognize the phrase "to make righteous."

We see, therefore, that righteousness is the end to be attained. Righteousness means right-doing, and the law is the standard of right-doing. The only question before us is how this desired object is to be attained. How is the sinner to be made righteous-to be made a doer of the law?-Not by the law itself, for that does nothing; it simply points out the right way; but we ourselves are "without strength." Righteousness, therefore must come from without, from some living thing, and when attained in genuineness will be "witnessed by the law and the prophets." Rom. 5:21. {February 1, 1899 EJW, SITI 83.7 [Signs of the Times]}

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

EGW against Uriah Smith, "Our Righteousness."

In a sermon given in Rome, New York, Ellen White made the following remark: "Brethren, do not let any of you be thrown off the track. “Well,” you say, “What does Brother Smith’s piece in the Review mean?” He doesn’t know what he is talking about; he sees trees as men walking. Everything depends upon our being obedient to God’s commandments. Therefore he takes those that have been placed in false settings and he binds them in a bundle as though we were discarding the claims of God’s law, when it is no such thing. It is impossible for us to exalt the law of Jehovah unless we take hold of the righteousness of Jesus Christ. { 1888 348.1 } My husband understood this matter of the law, and we have talked night after night until neither of us would sleep. And it is the very principles the people are striving for. They want to know that Christ accepts them as soon as they come to Him. I want to tell you, brethren, that light is sown for the righteous, and truth for the upright in heart." {Sermon given in Rome, NY on June 19,1889; 1888 348.2}

The following editorial was written about a week before
 EGW's comment:

SOME of our correspondents are beginning to drop
remarks leaning very suspiciously toward the view
that any attempt on our part to keep the commandments,
is simply an attempt to make ourselves better, which we can never do; that it is an attempt to be righteous, which is simply to cover 
ourselves with filthy rags ; for the prophet says that " all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. "Isa. 64: 6.

Just how much they intend to express, we are
unable to determine ; but it seems to us that they
are unconsciously turning their steps toward a position
held by a class of bitter opposers of our cause
and work, and who draw largely on this line of
thought for their material. It recalls a conversation
we once listened to between the late Eld.
James White and a Methodist minister. The minister
was denouncing our efforts to lead men to the
observance of all the commandments and particularly
to return to the Sabbath of the decalogue, as
turning men back to legalism. We have nothing
to do with the law, said he ; we cannot keep it anyway,
and to attempt to do so, is to turn away from
Christ, and trust in legality; every effort we make
to keep the commandments is to try to make ourselves
righteous, and to cover ourselves with filthy
rags; for the prophet says that all our righteousnesses
are filthy rags. So all your Sabbath-keeping
and law-preaching is only filthy rags.

Those who were acquainted with Bro. White can
imagine about how long it would take him to demolish
such an objection, and close the lips of such
an objector. It would be one of the shrewdest
strokes of policy ever devised against the law if people
could be led to associate in their minds that
holy instrument and all attempts to keep it, with
the idea of " filthy rags." Men, to be sure, have
enough filthy rags about them ; but no such rags
were ever manufactured out of love and reverence
for the law of God or the sincere and earnest efforts,
of any one to regulate his life by the holy
precepts of that law.

Nor do we think the text above referred to can
be fairly construed into any such meaning. Let us
look at the subject upon which the prophet is speaking.
In the last part of chapter 63 he refers pathetically
to, the fact that the sanctuary of Israel was
trodden down by their enemies, that the people of
God's holiness had possessed it but a little while;
but we, he says, are thine, and they are not called'
by thy name. Then in chapter 64 he lifts up an
earnest appeal to God that he would come down
and interpose in their behalf and make his adversaries
tremble at his presence. In verse 3 he refers
to the mighty works that God had wrought, especially
his coming down at Sinai ; and in verse 4
to the great things which he has promised to do ;
and pleads these as reasons why they may hope, for
his help. He then speaks of the different manner
in which God regards righteousness and sin. Verse
5: "Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh
righteousness." Boothroyd translates, this: "Thou
meetest him with joy that worketh righteousness."
The Lord is pleased with such an one. The
prophet continues :  “Those that remember thee in
thy ways” —those who bear in mind God's goodness
and mercy and strive to serve him. Then he speaks
of how God regarded them, and why : "Behold
thou art wroth; for we have sinned. “That was
the trouble With them and the condition they were
in. The last clause of the verse reads: “In those
is continuance, and we shall be saved." That is,
God's ways are unchangeable, consequently his
mercy endures forever, and by repentance men can
regain his favor and be saved.

Then comes the text in question in which the
prophet again recurs to their sad moral and political
condition :" But we are all as an unclean thing,
and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and
we all do fade as a leaf ; and our iniquities like
the wind have taken us away." In this condition
of guilt and condemnation, of course they had no
righteousness to plead before God. Their robe of
character was spotted and defaced and soiled and
torn. It was, as he says, only filthy rags. But
they had not got into that condition because they
had tried to the best of their ability to obey God
and keep his commandments, purifying their lives
by love and obedience, but for the very reason that
they had not done these things.

Daniel, in his wonderful prayer (chapter 9) makes
a similar presentation of the case. A few expressions
will serve as samples : " We have sinned
and committed iniquity." “O Lord, righteousness
belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of
faces." "Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law,
even by departing that they might not obey thy
voice." " We do not present our supplications before
thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great
mercies," etc.

He puts in no plea for any good works nor acts
of obedience; but his whole burden was for their
transgressions of God's law, and their failure to
obey his voice. And this was all the righteousness
they had to present; and this of course was
but filthy rags. But we say again, it was their
wanton acts of disobedience, not their efforts to do
right, which had brought them into this condition.
And although what was true of the Israelites applies
to all persons in a similar condition, it is a
manifest misapplication of the text to use its description
of a condition which comes from not keeping
the law, as a discouragement against all efforts
to keep it, on the ground that we thereby clothe
ourselves with filthy rags.

The law is spiritual, holy, just, and good, the
divine standard of righteousness. Perfect obedience
to it will develop perfect righteousness, and
that is the only way any one can attain to righteousness.
If neither Adam and Eve nor any of their
posterity had ever broken the law, the human
family would have developed righteousness by the
law alone. Sin not only broke the union between
man and God, but imbued man with a nature
such that it must be replaced by a new nature
before he can return to the path of obedience ; for
the carnal mind, the offspring of sin, is not subject
to the law of God, and cannot be.

Christ comes in and closes up the gulf between
us and God by providing a sacrifice to cancel past
sin, and gives us a new spiritual nature, through
which he proposes to dwell in us to bring us back
into harmony with the law, lead us to love and delight
in it, and walk in all its precepts. Right here
is where our Methodist friend made a mistake, and
many others are doing likewise. Because the work
Christ does for us is so radical and essential, they
fly to the extreme of dropping and discarding the
law, refusing to study what it requires, or to try to
follow in the way it directs, but thinking they are
to leave everything thereafter to Christ; not perceiving
that the whole object of Christ's work for
us is to bring us back to the law, that its righteousness
may be fulfilled in us by our obedience to it,
and that when at' last we stand beside the law,
which is the test of the judgment, we may appear
as absolutely in harmony with it, as if we had never
belonged to a sinful race who had trampled it in
the dust.

And yet though so dependent on Christ, we are
not to rest on the stool of do-nothing, as a mass of
inertia in the hands of the Redeemer. We must
be living stones in the temple, actively co-operating
with the Master-builder. But does not Christ say
that " without me ye can do nothing " ?--Yes, and in
that very language he teaches us that with him we
can do something, and when it is done, it is " we "
that do it. But does not Paul say (Phil. 2 :13)
that " it is God which worketh in you both to will
and to do of his good pleasure" ?--Yes; and in the
very same epistle (4 :13) he says, "I can do all
things through Christ which strengtheneth me." So
he does not leave everything for God and Christ to
do, but enters into the work himself, and without
his co-operation it would not be done.

When we pick up a piece of red-hot iron, what is
it that burns us ? We say the iron burns us. But
the iron of itself possesses not enough heat to burn
us; it must first be charged with fire ; and then it
is the fire after all which burns us, is it not ? And
yet we say truly that the iron burns us. The iron
is actively co-operating with the fire. It first receives
and then gives off the heat.

So a soul raised to a white heat in the service of
God, charged with the love of Christ, is an active
agent ; it keeps the commandments, not in a merely
passive and negative manner, but aggressively ; it
resists sin; it strikes right and left against temptation;
 it looks into the law to read its duty; it rests
and worships on the Sabbath of the Lord, and goes
forward in every good work; and in doing all this
it is not clothing itself with filthy rags.

But, it is asked, if a man undertakes to keep the
law in his own strength and work out his own
righteousness, can he do it ? Is he not clothing
himself with filthy rags ? To what class of people
such a query would apply, we do not know. We
do know, however, that there is not a Seventh-day
Adventist in the land who has not been taught
better than to suppose that in his own strength he
could keep the commandments, or do anything
without Christ ; and it is a waste of time to build
an argument for any people on premises which they
never assume. We doubt if even the Pharisees
rested their self-righteousness on the perfection of
their personal obedience to the ten commandments.

If we understand the teachings of Paul in his
epistles, the trouble with the Jews was that they
had come to look upon their ceremonial system as
all-sufficient in itself  'to atone' for' their sins, and
take away all their guilt. So if they outwardly
complied with the Decalogue and scrupulously
attended to their ceremonial requirements, they
imagined themselves righteous in the sight of God.
This left them in their sins (for the blood of their
offerings could not take away sin, Heb. 10: 4), 
outwardly clean and fair, tithing mint, anise, and cumin,
but within full of corruption and uncleanness ;
and it also hedged up the way of their acceptance
of Christ, as' they could see no necessity for him ;
for if the services of their law took away sin, why
should a Redeemer come and die for them too ?

To rid them of this deception, Paul had to labor,
as he did in the epistle to the Galatians, and other
ways, before they could be brought to receive the
gospel; for they were thus seeking righteousness
and justification by the works of the law, instead of
through faith in Christ, the only efficacious sacrifice.
Rom. 9: 32 ; Gal. 5: 4; etc.

There is a righteousness we must have, in order to
see the kingdom of heaven, which is Called " our
righteousness; " and this righteousness comes from
being in harmony with the law of God. In Dent.
6 : 24, 25 we read : " And the Lord commanded us
to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God
for our good always, that he' might preserve us
alive as it is this day. And it shall be our righteousness
if we observe to do all these commandments
before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded
us." The Lord would not command them
to do what he had not made adequate provision for
them to do ; and if they did do it, it would be their
righteousness. And "our righteousness" cannot in
this case be filthy rags. How would it sound if we
should read it thus: " And it shall 'be filthy rags,
if we observe to do all these 'commandments . . .
as he hath commanded us" ?

Again, in that' memorable Sermon on the Mount,
our Lord says: "For I say unto you that except
your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of
the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter
into the kingdom of heaven. " Matt. 5: 20. And
this is the same as to say that if it does exceed
it (to the requisite degree of course), we shall see
the kingdom of heaven. And what we are to do
thus to possess the kingdom of heaven, he plainly
told the young man when he said, " If thou wilt
enter into life, keep the commandments." Matt.
19: 17. But, says one, of ourselves we cannot
keep them, That doesn't affect the case at all.
If we cannot keep them of ourselves, and God has
made provision for us to keep them some other
way, as he has done in Christ, then we are to keep
them that way; but we are to keep them just the

Suppose we try the "filthy rag" construction on
Matt. 5: 20: "For I say unto you that except your
filthy rags' shall exceed the filthy rags' of the
scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no ease enter the
kingdom of heaven." That surely would not be
very edifying reading to any one. There is then
a righteousness that we must have, to be secured
by doing and teaching the commandments. Verse
19. And the scribes and Pharisees did some things
which were righteous, or Christ could not have introduced
the comparison he did, and said, except
yours shall exceed theirs.  He that doeth righteousness,"
says John, "is righteous." 1 John 3: 7. And if he does not
do righteousness, he is not righteous.

We, feel sorry for the man who can say, as one
says who some time since went out from us in
Battle Creek, "I keep the commandments not
from obligation, but because I think it will please.
the Lord for me to do so; but if I should not do it,
though the Lord might not be so well pleased, he
would overlook it, in me, as I am adopted as a son,
and it would not affect my prospects for salvation."
We feel sadly sure that it would.
 Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, June 11, 1889