Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Monday, June 04, 2007

A Simple Turn of a Phrase

Karl Haffner writes in the June 2007 issue of the North Pacific Union Gleaner:

Ever wonder if you're good enough to be saved?

Oh, you're working at it all right. You volunteer at the soup kitchen. You go to Sabbath School. You don't drink or swear or chew or date those who do. But in your honest moments maybe you wonder if you'll ever be good enough. Perhaps you have no real assurance of salvation.

In "Gospel Issues in Adventism," Pastor Jack Sequeira writes, "Since we are still struggling with the sin problem, no matter how hard we try, many Adventists question whether their repentance has been genuine. This, in turn, has robbed our people of the assurance of salvation. Hence, most Adventists are very insecure about their salvation. Value Genesis confirmed this fact, when the majority of our youth admitted they had no assurance of salvation because their conduct was not meeting God's high standard."*

If this describes you, take heart. God does not want you to be fuzzy about being saved. The apostle Paul explains, "just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men" (Romans 5:18, NIV).

In other words, because of what Jesus did on the cross, if you accept Him as your Savior, you are saved. PERIOD.

The article continues in that vein which in itself is often refreshing in Adventism but the above idea is a misunderstanding. We are not saved because of what Jesus did on the cross we are saved because of who God is and that was revealed to us through the life, death and resurrection which Paul symbolized as “the cross”. The Redeemer who set free the nation of Israel from Egyptian slavery is the same Redeemer who sets us free from the bondage of sin. The Patriarchs were saved not because at some future point in time Jesus would make it possible for them to be saved. No, God was able to save them even when they had no idea of a resurrection. Because that is the kind of God He is; the kind of person who would come to live as a man and show love so profound that even when evil men tortured and killed Him He offered forgiveness and hope.

It is a simple turn of phrase but it will totally change your theological view.


Anonymous said...

THAT was refreshing, thank you!


Paul W said...

This is an excllent account of the moral influence understanding of the atonement--an understanding which is unfortunately derided and misunderstood because a misunderstanding of it was the darling of 19th century romanticism and liberal theology. But I still think there is a place for substitutionary and christus victor models. And theological consistecy demands that one image becomes integrative: this is where I think Irenaeus' theology of Christ's recapitulation of the story of humanity is helpful.