The Key to Righteousness by Faith, 1888, and the True Gospel

"The message that was given to the people in these meetings (1888)presented in clear lines not alone the commandments of God-a part of the third angel's message-but the faith of Jesus, which comprehends more than is generally supposed. And it will be well for the third angel's message to be proclaimed in all its parts, for the people need every jot and tittle of it. It we proclaim the commandments of God and leave the other half scarcely touched, the message is marred in our hands." (1888 367.1, and 16MR, 227).

Click to go to our Home Page


Dear Reader,


Many volumes have been written on the issue of righteousness by faith since 1888. There are two different camps with diverse beliefs on “the good news” of the gospel. One camp stresses that the good news is that obedience is an essential condition to justification or salvation.


The other camp stresses that the good news is that we are forensically (legally) saved without good works, and/or that they contribute nothing to salvation and that sins committed on a daily basis are no particular concern. They teach that there is no special striving necessary to salvation; that somehow God will works it all out for us in the wash quite automatically and that we really do not have to buy (strive for) the conditions of the Laodicean message which are gold tried in the fire defined as faith that works by love. That is the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. That doctrine turns the grace of Christ into lasciviousness.


Luke 13:24 instructs us to strive to enter, and that is a word that never enters the vocabulary of the Nicolaitan liberals.


(Note: Go to the following link and you can click on any word in the Bible for its Biblical meaning. Try this for the word strive in the verse that follows):


24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.


In view of all the volumes that indeed have been written on the issue, it is interesting that Ellen White summed up the true good news in a few paragraphs as follows: 


Chap. 257 - For Him Who Believes
     Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace. Rom. 4:16. {AG 265.1} 


     “Without the grace of Christ, the sinner is in a hopeless condition; nothing can be done for him; but through divine grace, supernatural power is imparted. . . . It is through the impartation of the grace of Christ that sin is discerned in its hateful nature, and finally driven from the soul temple. It is through grace that we are brought into fellowship with Christ, to be associated with Him in the work of salvation. Faith is the condition upon which God has seen fit to promise pardon to sinners; not that there is any virtue in faith whereby salvation is merited, but because faith can lay hold of the merits of Christ, the remedy provided for sin. . . . {AG 265.2} 


     "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 the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Rom. 4:3-5). Righteousness is obedience to the law. The law demands righteousness, and this the sinner owes to the law; but he is incapable of rendering it. The only way in which he can attain to righteousness is through faith. By faith he can bring to God the merits of Christ, and the Lord places the obedience of His Son to the sinner's account. Christ's righteousness is accepted in place of man's failure, and God receives, pardons, justifies, the repentant, believing soul, treats him as though he were righteous, and loves him as He loves His Son. This is how faith is accounted righteousness; and the pardoned soul goes on from grace to grace, from light to a greater light. {AG 265.3} 


     “The touch of faith opens to us the divine treasure house of power and wisdom; and thus, through instruments of clay, God accomplishes the wonders of His grace. This living faith is our great need today. We must know that Jesus is indeed ours; that His Spirit is purifying and refining our hearts. If the followers of Christ had genuine faith, with meekness and love, what a work they might accomplish! What fruit would be seen to the glory of God!” {AG 265.4}


There is a difference between righteousness and righteousness by faith. Righteousness by faith is the means whereby Christ’s saved us. That means is by His atonement which provided pardon and power. Righteousness is the acceptance of and appropriation and implementation of the supernatural power, the Divine Nature of Christ, given for overcoming the lusts of the flesh.


2Pe 1:4  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.


The Nicolaitans teach that such appropriation of the power of the Holy Spirit is not meritorious toward our salvation. While it is true that we cannot do anything to merit salvation, it is also true that without meeting all the conditions of salvation we will not be saved, and obedience by appropriation of the supernatural power available to all is a condition to salvation. The supernatural power that was wrought for us in the example of the life of Christ, is meritorious in the sense that it is a gift of grace, Romans 1:5, and that is one of the reasons why God raised His son up:


Act 3:26  Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.



God raised up His Son Jesus to do two things:


·      Provide the empowerment for turning us away from our iniquities. How many emphasize this reason for the Incarnation? Is it because they do not want the power?

Provide atonement, pardon, for our sins. The broad way liberals want pardon for living in sin. They do not seem to want the free grace gift of power per Romans 1:5. Their emphasis is on only believe and live, with the belief being nothing more than mental assent.  This is the major reason they do not appropriate the message to Laodicea, Revelation 3:14, as follows:


14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.


·      Provide pardon for sin. Jhn 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.


·      Jer 33:8 And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me.


The Real Crux of the 1888 Debacle in the SDA Church


Ellen White said that she had always taught righteousness by faith, but that Jones and Waggoner had clarified the issue. So what was all the kafuffle over? It was thought by the detractors of Jones and Waggoner that their teaching would give rise to licentiousness by taking the focus off the law and turning it to Jesus and what He accomplished for us by His grace act on the cross. Their fear was not unbiblical. The manner of addressing their fear was unbiblical!


I say their fear was not unbiblical for the following reasons. The Bible also expresses fear that man will turn the grace of Christ into lasciviousness.


2Cr 12:21 [And] lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and [that] I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed.


Jud 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.


Have men crept in unawares, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness? Yes indeed. So the fears of the detractors to Jones and Waggoner in 1888 had validity. Some have said in essence: Don’t worry about your sins. I sin a thousand times a day and that is not what matters. What matters is that if you only believe, you are saved.


Or, the following variations on the theme:


Don’t focus on your sins. Just focus on Christ and your sins will automatically be taken care of by Him in His good time. There is some truth to this maxim, because by beholding we are changed, but we are also admonished to examine ourselves to see if we be in the faith. God said that a test of our love is whether or not we keep His commandments. We must look into the mirror of that law to see if we are breaking His commandments.


David said that He loved the law and meditated upon it day and night. God said that the law is perfect, converting the soul. Was David corrupted by loving and meditating upon the law? Were the prophets of the Bible corrupted by pointing out the Jewish violations of the law? Nay!


Another variation on the theme of the Doctrine of the Nicolaitans, “only believe,” is the notion that even works empowered by the Holy Spirit are not meritorious toward our salvation. While it is true that we can do nothing by way of our own works to merit salvation, can we be saved if we do NOT appropriate the power of the Holy Spirit in overcoming sin? Do the message to the seven churches, Revelation 2 and three, say that the overcomers will be saved? Yes, but we must qualify that.


Personally, I believe that the 144,000 bride of Christ, will have a deeper experience of overcoming than the guests at the wedding. They are translated without seeing death and only they enter the temple on Mt. Zion, Early Writings, p. 19. Also see Spiritual Gifts, Vol. III, p. 26, 27; The Great Controversy, pp. 426-7, Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 405-6, and Revelation 3:10-12, where Philadelphia is made pillars in the Temple. These are distinctions between the bride and her sons and daughters, the ten-virgin guests at the wedding. She does have sons and daughters, Isaiah 62.




·      One-hundred and nineteen years after 1888, the church not only remained in the Laodicean state but progressed into cold, omega apostasy.

·      The liberal leaders who are in control of the apostate New Movement, propose that they are teaching the true gospel that was taught in 1888. That would demand that they have obeyed and teach the heeding of the message to Laodicea, Rev. 3.

·      If the liberal leaders have indeed taught the true FULL gospel on true righteousness by faith, how is it that the church is in the omega of apostasy? Heeding the Laodicean message gives one spiritual discernment. How could the leader imbibe such gross omega apostasy if they had spiritual discernment. For example, how could they ever have supported the Celebration movement? How could they bring every uncouth thing into SDA Campmeetings just before the close of probation? Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 36.  Why would Ezekiel 9 begin at their Sanctuary? Testimonies, Vol. 5, 211, and why would Ezekiel 9 have another LITERAL FULFILLMENT, to wit: "Study the 9th chapter of Ezekiel. These words will be literally fulfilled yet the time is passing, and the people are asleep. They refuse to humble their souls and to be converted. Not a great while longer will the Lord bear with the people who have such great and important truths revealed to them, but who refuse to bring these truths into their individual experience. The time is short. God is calling will YOU hear? Will YOU receive His message? Will YOU be converted before it is too late? Soon, very soon, every case will be decided for eternity. Letter 106, 1909, pp. 2, 3, 5, 7. (To "The churches in Oakland and Berkeley, September 26, 1909.)" E. G. White Manuscript Releases Volume One, p. 260.

·      If Babylon has the FULL TRUE GOSPEL, as some SDA’s are teaching, and bewailing the fact that some have to leave Adventism to find the “true gospel,” how is it that Babylon is fallen?! How do you heed the Laodicean message and at the same time have not spiritual discernment to see the error of the doctrines of fallen Babylon, Sunday-keeping and all?!

·      The part of the gospel that Babylon has failed to appropriate and focus on is the sanctification part whereby supernatural power if proffered us that we may overcome the lusts of the world. Rather, justification has been the focus of their teachings. This has now become the focus of apostate New Movement Adventism! And the result?


"Thorns sprung up.--The thorns made it impossible for the wheat to mature (see Luke 8:4). In the same way secular interests prevent the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23) from reaching maturity. Religion is relegated to the subordinate position of being only one interest among many. For lack of cultivation it withers and eventually dies. That which the thorny-ground hearers lack is a moral transformation (Christ's Object Lessons, p. 50). To them, justification is the sum and substance of religion, and they fail to realize that the Christian life consists essentially in the process known as sanctification--the process by which evil traits and tendencies are replaced by the perfect life-pattern of Jesus Christ."  SDA Bible Commentary,  Vol. 5, 405.


     "Affiliated to the dangers already named is the danger of underestimating the justice of God. The tendency of the modern pulpit is to strain out the divine justice from the divine benevolence, to sink benevolence into a sentiment rather than exalt it into a principle. The new theological prism puts asunder what God has joined together. Is the divine law a good or an evil? It is a good. Then justice is good; for it is a disposition to execute the law. From the habit of underrating the divine law and justice, the extent and demerit of human disobedience, men easily slide into the habit of underestimating the grace which has provided an atonement for sin."  Thus the gospel loses its value and importance in the minds of men, and soon they are ready to practically cast aside the Bible itself. {GC88 465.3}


Have SDA leaders been indicted by the Holy Spirit as being in unbelief, which is like practically casting aside the Bible itself?


Begin at My Sanctuary -- "Here we see that the church--the Lord's sanctuary--was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust. They had taken the position that we need not look for miracles and the marked manifestation of God's power as in former days. Times have changed. These words strengthen their unbelief, and they say: The Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil. He is too merciful to visit His people in judgment. Thus 'Peace and safety" is the cry from men who will never again lift up their voice like a trumpet to show God's people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins. These dumb dogs that would not bark are the ones who feel the just vengeance of an offended God. Men, maidens, and little children all perish together." E. G. White, Testimonies, Vol. 5, 211.


Is peace and safety part of the true gospel or the false gospel? The above statement provides some of the insight as to why Ezekiel 9 is once again LITERALLY FULFILLED, beginning at the House of God, His Sanctuaries, the apostate SDA churches around the world. Only a remnant will escape, Ezekiel 5 and Isaiah 37:31, 32.


Yes, the lascivious wolves have “come into the church,” and their gospel is dubbed the true gospel. The church has embraced the half-gospel of Babylon by returning to the iniquities of our forefathers, and they think they have embraced the full true gospel. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fears of some of the brethren in 1888, have been fulfilled. Prior to 1888, there was too much self-righteousness because of an emphasis on Sabbath-keeping and a deceptive “feeling,” that as long as one did that, he/she was keeping God’s commandments.


For a period of time after 1888, the church reformed to a correct emphasis of BOTH true righteousness by faith and obedience. Then the wolves soon entered and the church began having fellowship (concord) with the unfruitful works of darkness, and returned to the iniquities of our forefathers, Jer. 11:9-15. That, my friend, is unpardonable sin, and God so designates it as such by saying not to pray for any who KNOWINGLY do it.


God bless,