Commentary on "The Wedding Garment"
Day 6: Thursday, June 9, 2011 - The Investigation
This lesson repeats the arguments that assurance of salvation contradicts a final and righteous judgment of God. Many people have professed Christ and believe they are saved, but are not clothed in His righteousness. Because saving righteousness is outside of us in Christ, the author argues, it is all the more important that God arrange a final separation of those who actually wear His robe of righteousness, from those who do not.
It is important that we keep the “big picture” in mind, the Lesson reminds us, since a full investigation is demanded by the great controversy. Christ and Satan are involved in this controversy, and as discussed in Lesson One, Satan has managed to put God on trial before the universe, accusing Him of being unfair and unjust. The entire universe, with its billions of worlds, is watching this battle with deep interest. Therefore, a full, open, and just investigation must take place before the vast cosmic jury. The loyalty and trust of all those watching worlds is at stake.
Firstly, great controversy theory strikes at the very heart of the Bible’s portrayal of God’s sovereign love for man. In this theory, we are given a complex scenario that sprawls out over the entire cosmos, with an embattled god who is fighting for his legitimacy and control. He has many greater problems on his mind besides saving sinners. For you as a soul needing rescue, Jesus’ coming to this world to die was not really meant for you personally. The primary function of the Cross was to answer Satan and save his reputation. God’s greatest motivation here is self-preservation, much like we would expect a politician to behave when he is implicated in a scandal. Yes, this god loves you, but he has bigger problems than this little world (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 68).
Deeper still, the problem with GC theory is the idea that God is caught up in something greater than He planned for. He has to play the game well, or lose everything. The great controversy’s god is one who reacts to problems as they happen, and has only partial control of events. Giving absolute free will to His creatures put not only His control of His subjects at risk, but threatened the Trinity as well. Jesus could have sinned and failed in his mission, and this might have created a good/evil godhead that threatened the cosmos. The very name, “great controversy,” suggests a battle between two sides of nearly equal power. We could hope the promises of the good side are true, and they win, but there are seeds of doubt. After all, it’s not over yet!
In contrast, here is the real gospel, as told by Paul:
“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand…For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” I Corinthians 15:1-4
Here, we see that the gospel of Jesus Christ is personal, for He died, not for aliens in a galaxy far, far away, but for our sins. He came to live and die for our benefit, as He said elsewhere,
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10
Secondly, we see in Paul’s passage that everything in Jesus’ life and death went exactly according to God’s definite plan and foreknowledge, “according to Scriptures.” Evil men controlled by Satan helped to fulfill prophecy. Jesus dying and rising to save us was not a reaction to events, but decreed by God from all eternity. Jesus is the Lamb “slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). His death was decreed from all eternity. This is the same God we find in Isaiah 42:
“I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’” Isaiah 46:10
It was impossible for Jesus to sin or fail in His mission to save us, for He is Yahweh, the I AM of ancient times. The gospel was his counsel and purpose, declared outside of finite time. As Peter said on the day of Pentecost,
“This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.” Acts 2:23
The investigative judgment is a sad substitute for the peace and joy we are to have in death. We do not have to wait for God’s investigation of us to know we belong to Him, we have the spirit of adoption (Rom. 8:15). His Spirit testifies to our spirit that we are children of God (8:16). Paul was so confident in His future with Christ, He longed to depart his body and be with His Savior:
“So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” II Corinthians 5:6-8
Friend, if you believe that Jesus died for your sins and was buried, according to the Scriptures, and rose again as God foretold, you belong to Him. You don’t have to wait for the judgment to make sure of which side you’re on, and who loves you with all His might. Yes, God will judge us all, and look for evidence that we loved and trusted in Him from the heart. As you work out salvation, He is the will beneath and under your will, and the working beneath your work (Phil. 2:13). Regardless what the alien neighbors might think, Jesus knows His sheep, they follow Him, He gives them eternal life, and they will never perish (John 10:28). That promise can’t be broken!
Copyright 2011 BibleStudiesForAdventists.com. All rights reserved. Revised June 9, 2011. This website is published by Life Assurance Ministries, Glendale, Arizona, USA, the publisher of Proclamation! Magazine. Contact email: BibleStudiesForAdventists@gmail.com.
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