As a Gospel Adventist, I believe that the Ten Commandments are the eternal law of God. This is the law by which all human beings are judged. This is the law that condemns us all. The law has never changed, and God still requires obedience to ALL His commandments. What has changed is that we have all been forgiven for our sins under the law, and we now live under the banner of Christ our Righteousness.
“For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17, ESV).
Ellen White changed her focus in 1888 after realizing that the Adventist church had simply taken the grace of God for granted. She then spent the rest of her life trying to fix this mistake, and it cost her many friends in the process.
Yesterday morning I arose with an agony upon my soul, and I could only say, “Lord, thou knowest all about it. My heart is burdened, and thou knowest that I cannot bear this load. I must have more help than I yet have had. Thou knowest that when I see men taking positions contrary to thy word, I am crushed under the load, and I can do nothing without thy help.” It seemed that as I prayed a wave of light fell about me, and a voice said, “I will be with thee to strengthen thee.” Since then I have been resting in Jesus. I can hide in him. I am not going to carry this load any longer. I shall lay it down at the feet of my Redeemer. Brethren, shall we not all of us leave our loads there? and when we leave this meeting, may it be with the truth burning in our souls like fire shut up in our bones. You will meet with those who will say, “You are too much excited over this matter. You are too much in earnest. You should not be reaching for the righteousness of Christ, and making so much of that. You should preach the law.” As a people, we have preached the law until we are as dry as the hills of Gilboa that had neither dew nor rain. We must preach Christ in the law, and there will be sap and nourishment in the preaching that will be as food to the famishing flock of God. We must not trust in our own merits at all, but in the merits of Jesus of Nazareth. Our eyes must be anointed with eye-salve. We must draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to us, if we come in his own appointed way. O that you may go forth as the disciples did after the day of Pentecost, and then your testimony will have a living ring, and souls will be converted to God.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has struggled over the years to harmonize the law and gospel teachings, and as a result many different groups have sprung up who have misused and abused church doctrine to the point where they have done more harm than good. I thank God that I was exposed to many different teachings in my early years which caused me to examine things for myself.
I am certain of what the Bible teaches about the law and grace, and I am more than willing to stake my eternal destiny on what I have learned. I have been instructed by the Lord Jesus most of all, and I am humbled that He would be my personal guide. I am not perfect (by any stretch of the imagination) and I still have a long way to go. My eternal destiny is dependent on simply believing and trusting in the merits of Christ. I am blessed the more that Jesus changes my heart and mind, but I am painfully aware of my sin and imperfection. I take comfort in knowing that my life belongs to Christ and that He has no intention of letting me go–as long as I keep my trust in Him alone for salvation.
The law of God, the Ten Commandments of Exodus 20, tells us what God expects of all us. It also tells us that we are condemned because we all fall short of the holy standard. Jesus removes the condemnation of those who trust in the merits of his life and death. He then changes our hearts and minds, but we are never perfected before we see Christ coming in the clouds of heaven. Rewards are given to us in the New Jerusalem based on our willingness on earth to obey the commands of God, but our eternal destiny will always be based on the Blood of Christ that paid the ultimate purchase for our redemption. Our eternal motto will be “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain!”
The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, Page 560