I am a Gospel Adventist.
You might ask: Aren’t all Adventists Gospel Adventists?
Sadly, the answer is “No”
Law Adventist: You are a sinner because you sin.
Gospel Adventist: You sin because you are a sinner.
Law Adventist: Sinlessness is possible prior to second coming of Jesus Christ.
Gospel Adventist: Sinlessness is impossible prior to second coming of Jesus Christ.
Law Adventists: Be good and God will love you.
Gospel Adventists: God loves you! Now go be good.
Law Adventists: Keep the Law in order to be saved.
Gospel Adventists: Keep the Law because you are saved.
Law Adventists: Work towards salvation.
Gospel Adventists: Work from Salvation
Law Adventists: Focus is on overcoming sin.
Gospel Adventists: Focus on lifting up the savior.
Law Adventists: No assurance of salvation until the second coming.
Gospel Adventists: Full Assurance of salvation–here and now.
Now here is the thing to know about Adventism: Both groups desire to be fully obedient to God in all things. However, the motivation for obedience in both groups is drastically different.
Are both groups compatible with each other?
I have come to understand that both groups are incompatible with their teaching about the nature of Christ, the nature of Sin, the essence of the New Covenant, and the assurance of salvation in Jesus. It is not that one group focuses on justification while the other focuses on sanctification, but they both teach different gospels.
This is why Jesus mentioned that the wheat and tares would grow together until the end. He also said the sheep and goats would be separated during the end time judgement. Both groups would call Jesus Lord, but only one group would make it into the kingdom.
The reason for for the harsh judgement of the tares and the goats are because they were guilty of idolatry the minute they began to add and take away from the genuine gospel message. Paul mentions in Galatians that those who add requirements to salvation other than simple faith and trust in Christ have fallen from grace.
While it frustrates me to no end to be part of a denomination that thinks it is big enough to have gospel Adventists and law Adventists worship side by side, I am constantly reminded that the wheat and tares would grow together until the end. God will be the judge.
Warning! Those who add or take away from the simplicity of the gospel message are under a divine curse.
There is no easy way to soften this warning. Please take it to heart. I am as concerned with universalists as I am with legalists. There is only one requirement for salvation and that is simple faith and trust in the blood that was shed by Jesus Christ. Salvation is a free gift bought with the priceless blood of our divine savior.
Stephen Beagles (2023)
Gospel Adventist Ministries, Spiritual Director