Salvation--The Inviolate Package of Conditions
Thus, they teach grace as pardon for continued sinning until glorification, without grace also as power for obedience of the mortal, sinful-flesh body before glorification. In short, they teach pardon for sin without sanctification this side of glorification. It is the "grace as power for obedience" part of grace that Reformation Adventists added as a completed package of the grace factor. Did they add to the gospel? Absolutely not, for the Bible teaches two different definitions of grace: grace as pardon for sins past (Justification) and grace as power for obedience, (Sanctification) Rom. 1:5, and Ephesians 2:8-10, with emphasis on verse 10, because this is the factor left out by those who hold to the Doctrine of the Nicolaitans:
No man can boast because the good works are done by Christ. He works them in and through us by His indwelling Spirit, versus our own works of the flesh, which we are to die to after the new birth experience, when we are dead to the flesh and alive to the Spirit. This is supported by Scripture later in this manuscript.
For centuries, Reformation Christians understood grace by one definition--the unmerited, pardon favor of Jesus Christ. That is all very true. However, there are other aspects of grace that we should explore:
"God would have us quicken our powers by appropriating his grace and communicating it. Just in accordance with the GRACE IMPARTED will be the GRACE GIVEN US TO USE. We must work while the day lasts. Pure doctrines have been lost; and as the result, error has taken the field where truth alone should be. God's requirements are lost sight of. All that can possibly be done should be done to dispel the moral darkness." E.G. White, Review and Herald, 07-26-98.
We see clearly from the above statement that Grace is imparted and Grace is Given us to use. God would have us QUICKEN OUR POWERS by appropriating His Grace and communicating it. If we can quicken our powers by appropriating His Grace, I believe that this refers to grace as power for obedience, Rom. 1:5. Some cannot see or discern this device; this gift God has proffered, but that does not discount or do despite to the gift.
"Our precious Saviour is ours today. In him our hopes of eternal life are centered. He is the One who presents our petitions to the Father, and communicates to us the blessing for which we asked. He is the medium of prayer through which man speaks to God, and the medium through which God imparts blessing to humanity. He is the Intercessor and the Bestower. Here is the love of God made manifest, 'not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.' God has given assurance upon assurance, heaped gift upon gift, multiplied grace upon grace, and imparted his divine treasures to humanity, in order that we may believe the love that God hath for us. Beholding this love, John exclaims, 'Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." E.G. White, The Signs of the Times, 06-18-96.
Salvation by Grace is a free gift. It involves the following aspects of Grace:
1. Grace as power for Hearing God's voice
2. Grace as power for pardon for sins past
3. Grace as power for Love tried in the fire of Obedience
4. Grace as power for Faith or belief tried in the fire of Obedience
5. Grace as power for Repentance tried in the fire of Obedience
6. Grace as power through Opening of the hearts door in surrender
7. Grace as power for Obedience tested by the fire of trial as proof of love
8. Grace as power for overcoming as proof of all the above
9. Grace as power for spiritual discernment (Eyesalve)
10. Grace as power for receiving reproof and chastisement, tried in the fire of obedience (Heb. 12: 5-12; 12:25-29).
11. Grace as power for Works as proof of fruitage or an abiding relationship with Christ. If He is in us, His fruit will be worked out by Him in our lives. The fruit, the works, are His, lest any man should boast, but nevertheless they are present.
Any one of these ingredients of the gifts of grace without the others is dead, so total reliance on grace as pardon, to the neglect or rejection of grace as power for obedience, though both be gifts, is worthless. All these ingredients fail if any one ingredient is refused. To refuse any one ingredient is to refuse the gospel. Therefore, Salvation is an inviolate package of all these conditional ingredients and factors of Grace that are proffered as a free gift.. They are conditional in that every aspect of Grace must be embraced or accepted, or chosen, or yielded to, or surrendered to, in order to comprise a completed robe of Christ's righteousness as given as a free gift to us by Christ Jesus. What are some saying to God? "God, I will accept the pardon for sinning part, the justification for sins past and future, but you can keep the power for obedience part of grace, because I do not believe your power as received through your Atonement is sufficient to enable anyone to overcome sin in a mortal body! Thanks, but no thanks God!
All of the above aspects of grace pardon and power, are the benefits of the legal act of the Atonement, which Christ administers to all who will accept the entire package. Any who will not accept the entire package, will experience the legal act of fiery judgment, so the entire package is very legalistic oriented in an appropriate, God sanctioned manner.
The Atonement of Jesus Christ, that provided for these benefits was a very legalistic act, to satisfy very legalistic requirements of the law. The legalist is Jesus, who spilled His blood as the testator of the legal covenant made with the Jews. If this covenant applied to the Jews only, then the Atonement for violations of this law, and the accompany benefits, must accrue only to them also!
The legalism is associated also with the power for obedience element, or sanctification. But that is the wish of Jesus. He is the legalist, offering these legalistic, conditional benefits as a free gift. Reject any factor of the free grace gift, and you incur the legalistic wrath of God at the end of all things. You are then judged as eternally unfit to enter the Kingdom of God, which is a very legal judgment from the throne of heaven.
Again, God is the legalist, not those who wish to do His legalistic will. So when the "half-gospel" folk call the "full gospel" folk legalists, they are right, but their indictment is against God, because He made his conditional requirements very legalistic. They are free, but with legalistic implications if accepted, and/or not accepted. Those who will not accept the entire package are rebels who will incur the negative aspect of the legal conditions, which is eternal death. Satan is the arch anti-legalist, by asserting that disobedience to God would not involve any legalism or death. He said you shall not surely die, but become as gods. But we know that the results of his theology, of necessity, involves the legalistic sentence of eternal death.
All who say that grace as power for obedience for the purpose of overcoming sin is impossible, or unnecessary, are rejecting half of the grace equation or half of the gospel provision, and are left to teach a half gospel, which is "another gospel" that should be accursed.
Faith in grace as pardon for sins past, without faith in grace as power to overcome sin after the new birth experience is to reject half of the available power of the gospel, and thus constitutes another gospel, that turns ones reliance on grace as pardon only, into lasciviousness.
Grace equals pardon for sins past and power to overcome sin after the new birth. To believe and teach that it is impossible for Christ 's grace power for obedience to produce overcoming or commandment-keeping in and through one's life, even though it is God's enabling grace power that is doing the commandment-keeping or overcoming in the life, is to reject one half of the grace equation made available and efficacious by the life and death Atonement of Jesus Christ. This is proven by the following verses in Scripture:
The Surrender or "Yield" Factor
Some say sin will reign in our MORTAL BODY until we are glorified. They thus contradict Romans 6, above.
The Laodicean Message is a good example of these ingredients or conditions. Look for all of these items as they are inherently stated in that message:
If we buy something, we agree with it, and we are counseled to buy or agree with everything in the Laodicean Message. It would be true folly for anyone to deny that these set of commands are nothing more nor less than conditions for salvation. They are free, but they must be accepted into the life. Are they legalistic? Yes indeed! But who is the legalist? Who is it that requires these conditional legalisms? It is God Himself.
Every item in the above Laodicean Message Salvific Package is a commandment of God. If it is impossible to obey any one of the above listed commandments, it is impossible to obey any of them. Conversely, if it is possible to obey any one of them, and it is by the power of God's grace, it is possible to obey all of them, by the grace power of God given for obedience, Rom. 1:5. The grace power to do it all comes from God, so it is no credit to us. Even the willingness to hear is a gift of God, but some crowd out and refuse even that requisite gift. Along with the free gift, is proffered the power to live the gift. None of it is salvation by works of our own, because we could not take the first step without accepting each step as a gift of God.
The Legalism of Only Believe or The Reliance on Grace as Pardon Only
Even the reliance on grace as pardon only is a work based on the legality of an Atonement of Blood Sacrifice made by Jesus Christ. It rests on only a partial or half benefit of the grace provided by that Atoning Legal Sacrifice, while it rejects the other half of the benefit of that Atonement--Grace as power for obedience, Rom. 1:5. Thus despite is done to the Atoning Work and Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. One accepts half of the Robe or Wedding Garment, if you will. Half of a Robe, when a complete Robe is proffered. Buying any one of the grace components of the Laodicean Message, to the expenditure of any other and all of them, is a partial gospel, a partially fulfilled legalism that will avail nothing but death.
Anything to do with a direct command of God is legalistic and according to the Sanctuary Service. Every aspect of Grace is necessarily legalistic, because everything connected with Grace is provided by the legalistic Act of Jesus Atoning, or paying the legalistic [legal] price for our sins, which is death. Just as grace proffered as pardon for sins past is a very legalistic, forensic act, so grace proffered as power for obedience after the new birth, is also a very legalistic act. Both are based on the legalistic act of the Atonement to satisfy the legalistic requirement of the law for us. Every instruction of the Laodicean Message is a command, and every command is a legalism, with legalistic judgement if the command is not followed or obeyed.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved is a commandment. It is legalistic because it is a commandment! It is impossible for anyone to obey any command of God, without His grace power for obedience to His every command, Rom. 1:5. Those who say that belief or reliance on grace alone is possible, but that commandment-keeping and perfection is impossible, are the false legalists, because they propose that one can obey the injunction to believe and receive grace, and even refuse part of the grace package, without violating any legal matter, even the legal judgment of eternal death. They thus violate every principle and condition of the Laodicean Message. Therefore, they are very foolish-virgins who will not be saved if they persist in such a self-defeating, contradicting theological belief system which is nothing more than Satan's lie being lived out in their life experience.
Believing that one can obey the command to YIELD TO GRACE AS PARDON, but not to GRACE POWER in regard to the command not to YIELD to the lusts of the mortal body [Rom. 6:12] by grace power for obedience, rejects a most important half of the gospel of grace. Any lack of subscribing to all the elements of grace within the Laodicean Message Package for Salvation, results in a partial acceptance of the gospel of grace.
We are always being shown Ellen White's supposed errors by these antagonists of hers, so I do not apologize for presenting what I believe to be a beautiful and reasonable explanation of what constitutes perfection, according to Ellen G. White:
Only God knows the heart. Only God knows our individual PROGRESSIVE STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT in order to determine and judge whether or not one is perfect at the stage he/she is at during any given time in the process of progressive sanctification. Therefore, to even pose the question as to who is perfect or not, is to usurp a judgmental decision only God is equipped to make, since only he knows the heart of any individual.
Belief is subject to the same process of being only judicable by God. This is why we do not pull up tares in the church, because they are defined as insincere believers, and we cannot know the heart to know whether it is sincere or not, or to ascertain the degree of sincerity. This is the prerogative of God only. Open sinning is quite another matter.
The Folly of Arguments Against Perfection
Subtle and devious lies have been advanced to challenge the concept of perfection. Here is an example of argument involving subtlety and deviousness in an effort to disprove the possibility of perfection. Here are some examples of what the cheap gracers say:
Ellen White provided good answers to each and everyone of the above questions, but her accusers, who are our accusers, who are the accusers of the brethren, will not accept her answers, and they will not accept ours, you can depend upon it! No more than Satan will!
I know various individuals who have done and/or are still involved in various aspects of the above acts. Some of them have sold all they possessed, to travel by bus around the country, witnessing. Some of them have forfeited a lucrative life career, to devote all their time to warning God's people, like the prophets of the Bible did. Their office may not be the same as others. Different individuals are fulfilling different aspects of helping humanity. But what are the accusers of the brethren doing? Nothing but accusing the brethren and teaching lies.
The part of some of us is to support those who do the good acts Jesus advocated. Ellen White said that supporting those who did such was just as important as personally doing those acts. Just as the disciples of Christ were supported. Just because certain individuals do not know of individuals who are so engaged, that does not mean it is not happening. We should pray that God will lead us to find and support those who are so engaged. Just because everyone is not doing each and every one of the good acts listed, does not mean he/she is not deeply involved in doing the express will of God.
Abraham was counted as righteous, but did He do all of the above acts? He was accounted righteous for obedience to two tests primarily: the willingness to obey God in offering his son as a burnt sacrifice, and a willingness to separate from his erring relatives.
This accusing of the brethren is exactly what Satan does. He stands as our accuser day and night, bringing up all the things we are not doing. Those who stand by and accuse us of not doing these things, would not support those who are doing them, because they think works avail nothing!
Satan and his agents do not know our heart, and he does not know our stage of development, and whether or not God considers us perfect at that particular stage. Likewise, no man knows this, so these questions are grossly unfair, moot, and judgmental. Many are sacrificing much to help others, but they are not going to brag about it! Neither are they responsible for responding to the accusations of Satan and his agent accusers of the brethren, by detailing all they are doing to advance the Kingdom of God.
Abraham was a rich man. Did God require that he sell all and give alms? Evidently, some erroneously believe that we all are given the same test as the rich young ruler, because the rich young ruler had a problem with possessions, and was thus tested on that point. That is totally perverted reasoning. We are tested according to our peculiar problems. Abraham's problem was his love for his son Isaac, as proved by what he did in an effort to get a son. God tested his faith in the fire of obedience, by requiring that he offer up his son as a burnt offering sacrifice! Abraham passed the test of obedience to God's command, and thus proved his faith by his work of obedience.
This is what the Laodicean message means when it mentions love and faith tried in the fire. The fire test involves areas in which we are individually weak. Only God knows what is the priority to work on in our individual lives at any given stage of development of perfection. In mercy, He does not lay the entire burden of all our sins on us at once, that we would be discouraged and overburdened. He works where He sees fit, while others, especially Satan and his agents, stand by criticizing us day and night before the throne of God. They thus propose to know better than God Himself, what should be the order of priority of overcoming in everyone's individual life. This is utopian judgmentalism and unjust accusing of the brethren.