The Remnant of God

revelation-12-17

“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17, KJV

I have no doubt that end-time saints will receive a special blessing from God for keeping His commandments. This blessing will keep them strong in the faith of Jesus and allow them to see through end-time doctrinal deceptions. But this does not mean that God’s people are saved by commandment keeping, or that only Seventh-day Sabbath keepers will be saved in the end times. Obedience to divine law is a prescription for receiving the strength that will be needed to maintain genuine faith in Jesus Christ during the final tribulation.

This text does not mean that only Adventists will be in heaven:

“…Adventists repudiate emphatically and unequivocally any thought that they alone are children of God and have a claim upon heaven. They believe that all who worship God in full sincerity, that is, in terms of all the revealed will of God that they understand, are presently potential members of that final “remnant” company mentioned in ch. 12:17. Adventists believe that it is their solemn task and joyous privilege to make God’s last testing truths so clear and so persuasive as to draw all of God’s children into that prophetically foretold company that is making ready for the day of God” (Nichol, 1980,p. 815).

In Revelation 12:17, the Holy Spirit has revealed the hatred that Satan will have towards the commandment keeping people of God. They will be the target of relentless pursuit by the devil and his angels. Because there is a blessing in obedience to the commandments of God, those who are willing to die instead of compromising the truth of God’s word will be given special insight and strength to gain victory over the forces of darkness during the final days of earth’s history.

But the conditions of salvation will always be about maintaining faith in Jesus Christ who shed His blood for our sins. God’s people are not given victory because of their obedience to the law, but because of their refusal to compromise the message of the blood atonement of Jesus Christ: “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” Revelation 12:11

~Stephen Beagles

Reference

Nichol, F. D. (Ed.). (1980). The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary (Vol. 7, p. 815). Review and Herald Publishing Association.

The Divine Standard

 

lawandgospelI am not sure that I would understand the good news about Jesus if I didn’t understand the nature of what the law of God requires. It seems that God reveals His law to show us how far we have fallen into sin, and only then do we start asking the question:

How is it possible for anyone to be saved?

God’s law demands perfect 100% obedience. Our first problem to consider is that we have all sinned and are therefore under the penalty of death. There is no make up exam or extra credit. We are all doomed. Next, even if God found a way to forgive us of past sins we would still have present and future sins to contend with. Therefore God has to find a way to satisfy what His law requires, so that He can forgive ALL of our sins. That is the problem.

But Jesus lived a perfect life and died in our place. One drop of His blood is of eternal value, and He gave His life as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. Eternal life is now offered as a gift for all who place their trust in the atoning blood of Christ. This is the solution.

It seems that the only true way to appreciate the good news of Jesus is to understand the bad news first. This is why God’s law  seems harsh and unforgiving. It is meant to teach us the importance of the extent that Jesus would have to go to free us from the penalty of sin.

Those who accept Christ and receive the Holy Spirit into their hearts are still bound to struggle with bad habits, sinful tendencies, evil desires, and imperfect obedience. Even the good things we do are tainted with sin. The Holy Spirit helps us to grow spiritually, but we are never morally perfect on this side of heaven. But because of the blood that was shed on the Cross we are accounted blameless before God as we trust in the merits of Jesus Christ.

But why would the Father allow His beloved Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins? He did this because He loves us and wants us to live with Him for eternity. But He cannot tolerate sin in heaven, and His will is for us to live in loving obedience to His commandments. When Jesus comes again, He will give us perfected bodies that are able to live up to the holy standards of the divine law. At that point we are glorified and taken to heaven to live in perfect obedience to God who has proven His love for us by dying for us on the cross.

This is the fullness of what it means to be a Christian. It means accepting the blood of Jesus as assurance of eternal life, it means being full of the Holy Spirit that pours the love of God into our hearts, and it means understanding that God does not save us to live in spiritual anarchy. His desire is that we live in perfect obedience to the divine standard of His holy law.

~Stephen Beagles