The Merits of Christ

and the

Gospel of the Kingdom of God

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November 4, 1890 Christ the Way of Life.


By Mrs. E. G. White.



     "Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." [Mark 1:15] {RH, November 4, 1890 par. 1}


Note: Here is the meaning of the word “believe” as found in Mark 1:15 above. From the definition it is clear that God did not intend the meaning to be mere mental assent.

Number 4100


pisteuo {pist-yoo'-o}

Word Origin:

from 4102



Part of Speech:


Usage in the KJV:

believe 239, commit unto 4, commit to (one's) trust 1, be committed unto 1, be put in trust with 1, be commit to one's trust 1, believer 1

Total: 248


1.  to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in

A.  of the thing believed

a.  to credit, have confidence

B.  in a moral or religious reference

a.  used in the NT of the conviction and trust to which a man is impelled by a certain inner and higher prerogative and law of soul

b.  to trust in Jesus or God as able to aid either in obtaining or in doing something: saving faith

C.  mere acknowledgment of some fact or event: intellectual faith

2.  to entrust a thing to one, i.e. his fidelity

A.  to be intrusted with a thing

TDNT - Theological Dictionary of the New Testament
TWOT - Theological Word Book of the Old Testament


End note.


     Repentance is associated with faith, and is urged in the gospel as essential to salvation. Paul preached repentance. He said, "I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." There is no salvation without repentance. No impenitent sinner can believe with his heart unto righteousness. Repentance is described by Paul as a godly sorrow for sin, that "worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of." This repentance has in it nothing of the nature of merit, but it prepares the heart for the acceptance of Christ as the only Saviour, the only hope of the lost sinner. {RH, November 4, 1890 par. 2}


Note: It is not the act of repentance that has merit to save us for it is only by the merits of Christ that we are saved. But it is the merits of Christ that prepares the heart for the acceptance of Christ as the only Saviour, and thus causes one to desire to repent. Clearly, one is not saved by only believing (mental assent), and without true repentance. The devil believes and trembles but he is not repentant; he does not believe with his heart unto righteousness and that is why he and his followers will not be saved. End note.


     As the sinner looks to the law, his guilt is made plain to him, and pressed home to his conscience, and he is condemned. His only comfort and hope is found in looking to the cross of Calvary. As he ventures upon the promises, taking God at his word, relief and peace come to his soul. He cries, "Lord, thou hast promised to save all who come unto thee in the name of thy Son. I am a lost, helpless, hopeless soul. Lord, save, or I perish." His faith lays hold on Christ, and he is justified before God. {RH, November 4, 1890 par. 3}


Note: The merits of Christ involve His victory on the cross of Calvary and the promises that accompany that victory. Every provisional promise of the Word is a merit of Christ. Here is the result of the merits of Christ:


·  As the sinner looks to the law, the transcript of Christ’s character, his/her guilt is made plain and pressed home to the conscience and he/she feels condemned of sin.

·  One’s only hope is looking to the cross of Calvary.

·  Truly believing in the promises of God, relief and peace are instilled in one’s soul.

·  Our faith lays hold on Christ and we are justified before God. End note.


     But while God can be just, and yet justify the sinner through the merits of Christ, no man can cover his soul with the garments of Christ's righteousness while practicing known sins, or neglecting known duties. God requires the entire surrender of the heart, before justification can take place; and in order for man to retain justification, there must be continual obedience, through active, living faith that works by love and purifies the soul. {RH, November 4, 1890 par. 4}


Note: Faith the works by the self-sacrificing love of Christ indwelling the soul, purifying the soul, the gold tried in the fire that we are to buy per the message to the Laodiceans. So the merits of Christ DO NOT provide a cloak for practicing known sins or neglecting known duties (clear and explicit conditions for salvation). End note.


     James writes of Abraham and says, "Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." In order for man to be justified by faith, faith must reach a point where it will control the affections and impulses of the heart; and it is by obedience that faith itself is made perfect. {RH, November 4, 1890 par. 5}


Note: True belief is accompanied by works that make ones faith (belief) perfect. Then, such works performed by faith in the merits of Christ, are imputed unto us for righteousness. Some teach that our faith is made perfect (sanctification) without works that demonstrate our faith. That is a false gospel that is widely taught within and without the professing Seventh-day Adventist church. Justification does not accrue without faith that works by the indwelling spirit of Christ’s self-sacrificing love.

"No one can believe with the heart unto righteousness, and obtain justification by faith, while continuing the practice of those things which the Word of God forbids, or while neglecting any known duty....As God works in the heart, and man surrenders his will to God, and co-operates with God, he works out in the life what God WORKS IN by the Holy Spirit, and there is harmony between the purpose of the heart and the practice of the life. Every sin must be renounced as the hateful thing that crucified the Lord of life and glory....It is by continual surrender of the will, by continual obedience, that the blessing of justification is retained." E.G. White, Selected Messages, Vol. 1, pp. 396-397.

End note.

The Grace of Christ as Part of the Merits of Christ

     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 to the man, and works in mind and heart and character. 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. Faith can present Christ's perfect obedience instead of the sinner's transgression and defection. When the sinner believes that Christ is his personal Saviour, then, according to his unfailing promises, God pardons his sin, and justifies him freely. The repentant soul realizes that his justification comes because Christ, as his substitute and surety, has died for him, is his atonement and righteousness. {RH, November 4, 1890 par. 6}


Note: Mainline Christianity defines grace as unmerited favor as it relates to pardon ONLY. But grace involves much more than unmerited favor as it relates to PARDON. Grace, as a merit of Christ’s sacrifice for us, provides for the impartation of supernatural power for obedience and regeneration back into the image of God. Grace provides for the highest good, crowning gift that heaven can bestow, the Holy Spirit of Christ, the soul of His life, for empowerment and regeneration back into the image of God:


5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: Romans 1:5. Grace in this verse means:


Number 5485


charis {khar'-ece}

Word Origin:

from 5463



Part of Speech:

noun feminine

Usage in the KJV:

grace 130, favour 6, thanks 4, thank 4, thank 2192 3, pleasure 2, misc 7

Total: 156


1.  grace

A.  that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech

2.  good will, loving-kindness, favour

A. of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues

3.  what is due to grace

A. the spiritual condition of one governed by the power of divine grace

B.  the token or proof of grace, benefit

a.  a gift of grace

b.  benefit, bounty

4.  thanks, (for benefits, services, favours), recompense, reward

TDNT - Theological Dictionary of the New Testament
TWOT - Theological Word Book of the Old Testament


"Christ declared that after his ascension, he would send to his church, as his crowning gift, the Comforter, who was to take his place. This Comforter is the Holy Spirit,--the soul of his life, the efficacy of his church, the light and life of the world. With his Spirit Christ sends a reconciling influence and a power that takes away sin.

In the gift of the Spirit, Jesus gave to man the highest good that heaven could bestow....

The Spirit was given as a regenerating agency, and without this the sacrifice of Christ would have been of no avail....

It is by the Spirit that the heart is made pure. Through the Spirit the believer becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Christ has given his Spirit as a divine power to overcome all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil, and to impress his own character upon the church." E.G. White, Review and Herald Articles, May 19, 1904, vol. 5, p. 42.


“Not by outward display, not by worldly patronage, is the kingdom of Christ established, but by the implanting of Christ's nature in humanity through the work of the Holy Spirit. "As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." Here is the only power that can work for the uplifting of humanity. And the human agency for the accomplishment of this work is the teaching and preaching of the Word of God.” Evangelism, p. 531.


So we see that the meaning of grace extends far beyond the concept of pardon ONLY. Most professing Christians want the pardon without the POWER. Why? Because they love their sins and don’t want to stop committing them. Some are teaching the merits of Christ to mean the same thing—that one can come to Christ and be saved by only believing (in the sense of mental assent only) which is the doctrine of the Nicolaitans which God especially hates. They don’t teach what the merits of Christ are and what they are to achieve in the life of the sinner. They teach the merits of Christ in a fashion like mainline Christianity teaches a one-sided meaning of the concept of grace—teaching that one is saved by just believing (mental assent) in the merits of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross rather than believing in the POWER AND PROMISES that sacrifice afforded man. You will find that such persons will never identify the merits of Christ, but merely use the term in a very general manner. End note.


     "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." 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. He can say with rejoicing, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." {RH, November 4, 1890 par. 7}


Note: The Jews believed they could do works of sacrifice that would be of saving merit. That is impossible. Man has no merit and no work(s) man can do is of merit unto salvation lest man should become his own saviour and that is impossible.


The key is that we are not saved by works of righteousness which we have done, lest any man should boast of his power to do works of righteousness that are acceptable to God. Such works are as filthy rags to God. But when we consent to let the Holy Spirit of Christ indwell the soul, and we “buy” (consent) to let the supernatural power of Christ work in our souls, while daily dying to self and selfish interests, then the works are effected by the Holy Spirit but are imputed unto us as righteousness because we chose to exercise the faith to cease our own works and permit the outworking of the Holy Spirit in and through us. It is impossible for us to keep God’s law, but it is not impossible for His Holy Spirit to keep the law through us. Can any man boast of such works? Nay, for they are worked in and through us by the Holy Spirit. End note.


     Again: it is written, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." Jesus declared, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." It is not a low standard that is placed before us; for we are to become the children of God. We are to be saved as individuals; and in the day of test and trial we shall be able to discern between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. We are saved as individual believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. {RH, November 4, 1890 par. 8}


     Many are losing the right way, in consequence of thinking that they must climb to heaven, that they must do something to merit the favor of God. They seek to make themselves better by their own unaided efforts. This they can never accomplish. Christ has made the way by dying our sacrifice, by living our example, by becoming our great high-priest. He declares, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." If by any effort of our own we could advance one step toward the ladder, the words of Christ would not be true. But when we accept Christ, good works will appear as fruitful evidence that we are in the way of life, that Christ is our way, and that we are treading the true path that leads to heaven. {RH, November 4, 1890 par. 9}


The good works we perform that are acceptable to God, are the good works that are the fruit of the Spirit indwelling the soul, NOT OUR OWN GOOD WORKS performed under the steam of any inherent power of our own, but rather the supernatural power of the Divine Nature Holy Spirit of Christ indwelling the soul. Such power is a saving merit of Christ and redound to His glory only lest any man should boast. This is exactly what Paul meant when he said:

Eph 2:8   For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: 

Eph 2:9   Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Well meaning but very deceived professing Christians have perverted Paul’s words to mean that by faith (belief) as mental assent and without the works of the Holy Spirit indwelling the soul as fruits or proof of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, one can be saved. This is still and has long been one of the greatest perversions and deceptions of Satan imbibed by the professed Christian world.

Paul’s real meaning is attested to by the following:

Hbr 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; 

1Cr 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 

1Th 4:3 For this is the will of God, [even] your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: 

1Th 4:4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; 

2Th 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 

1Pe 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

When Correctly Interpreted, Paul and James do not Contradict

Gal 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. 

Paul was trying to convince the self-works oriented Jews that no sacrifice (works) of their own would achieve salvation. But by truly believing in the supernatural power (grace) of Christ to work in and through them, they might be thus justified and saved. But not by any work of personal law keeping would by any flesh be justified (saved).

Jam 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 


·       Does the faith of Jesus Christ keep His law, the transcript of His character?

·       Does belief in Jesus Christ involve disobedience to the law, the transcript of His character?

·       Was Jesus justified by works of God’s law? Would He have been justified without those works? By what power did He do those works? Was it the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit or the human power of Christ?

·       Can we have access to the same supernatural power Christ had access to for overcoming all known sin?

Paul wrote Galatians. Do he and James contradict one another? If so, the Bible would be contradictory and that is not the case. When Paul and James are interpreted correctly—so that Paul means “our works do not save” versus “the fruits of the Spirit working the works of righteousness in and through us,” then we arrive at the pure gospel.

The meaning of James 2:24, is this: A man is justified by works of the Spirit indwelling the soul and not by faith only, because faith without works is no faith at all, but serves as proof that the Holy Spirit is not indwelling the soul. The Holy Spirit of Christ is commensurate with works of His Spirit. No works by His Spirit equals no indwelling of His Spirit or no relationship with Christ. This is why He said: How do you know you love me? Keep my commandments.

When we permit Christ to work in and through us, those works are imputed unto us as righteousness and thus we are justified by His works in and through us. No man can boast us such works for they are done by the Holy Spirit. Christ did not boast of His works. He said He did the works of His Father which were enabled by the Holy Spirit of God—the ONE eternal Spirit shared by the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is thus that James could say that we are justified by faith and works—the faith and works of Christ, NOT OF OUR OWN.