Commentary on "Walking in the Light:
Day 7: Friday, July 31, 2009
Today's lesson centers on the following quote which is taken from writings of Ellen G. White:
“Professed Christians yearly expend an immense sum upon useless and pernicious indulgences, while souls are perishing for the word of life. God is robbed in tithes and offerings, while they consume upon the altar of destroying lust more than they give to relieve the poor or for the support of the gospel. . . . The world is given up to self-indulgence. ‘The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life’ control the masses of the people. But Christ’s followers have a holier calling. . . . In the light of God’s word we are justified in declaring that sanctification cannot be genuine which does not work this utter renunciation of the sinful pursuits and gratifications of the world.”—Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 475.
We will take a close look at this quote and compare her words with God's standard of truth, the Bible.
What is a professed Christian, other than someone who may not have yet accepted Jesus into their life as their Lord and Savior? The command to spread the gospel message was directed to those who already have been born again and are Spiritually alive. Ellen's advice is like asking a person to perform heart surgery on someone while they are in the middle of having their own heart attack.
"the word of life"
What is meant by the phrase, "the word of life"? Is it Sabbath Keeping? Is it the "Health Message"? Or, is it something we must do to gain or maintain eternal life?
And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:30,31 KJV)
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Eph. 2:8,9 KJV)
Anyone adds anything to these verses as something we must do to assure or maintain our salvation is not sharing "the Word of Life".
Many Christians are confused on just what it means to tithe. However, we have a right to expect a true messenger of God to give the correct Biblical teaching.
And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD. And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD. (Lev. 27:30-32 KJV)
But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance. (Num. 18:24 KJV)
Tithing was of the crops and herds of the land. It wasn't even of the best or first, but was simply every tenth. It wasn't of money. The tithe was given to the Levites because they had no an inheritance in the land.
"The world is given up to self-indulgence"
Ellen makes it sound as if this is the reason that professed Christians are failing in spreading the gospel message. This could very well be true of some, especially if they are in a false religion. Those who are only professed Christians are not real Christians and the Adventist message certainly is not the real gospel message. In any case, 'self-indulgence' is a mark of the world, not those in the Kingdom of God.
"Christ’s followers have a holier calling"
When a typical non-Adventist reader comes across the term "Christ's followers" in Ellen's published works, they would normally think she is referring to any or all Christians. But, this would be wrong. Based upon a foundation of her writings, Adventist theologians teaches that only they are of the "remnant church". This expression is veiled code meaning; 'members of the Seventh-day Adventist church'. The "holier calling" is nothing more than the unique teachings of the Adventist church that add to the Biblical gospel message.
And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. (I Cor. 2:1-5 KJV)
The Adventist "holier calling" adds to the simple message of " Jesus Christ, and him crucified" and is nothing more than the wisdom of this world.
"sanctification cannot be genuine which does not work"
The Adventist understanding of sanctification is the need to work towards having a perfect sin-free life so we will be ready for the Investigative Judgment and learn if we can enter the Kingdom of God. Biblical sanctification has nothing to do with gaining eternal security. This idea that we must "work" to gain what the Bible clearly states we already have is one of the foundational heresies of Adventist theology. Yes, we have been made spiritually alive to do God's good works but it is not a salvation issue. Keep the following verses in mind:
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38,,39 KJV)
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