Gospel Adventist Ministries

"For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." ~ 1 Cor 2:2

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Nine Lessons From the Heavenly Sanctuary

1. God is the judge and not man.

2. Jesus is our mediator and not a pastor, priest, or pope.

3. Jesus died once for all–no reoccurring mass as atonement for sin.

4. God judges from the mercy seat where mercy triumphs over condemnation for those written in the book of life.

5. Sins are blotted out of the record by the blood of the lamb.

6. The wheat and tares (sheep and goats) will be separated. Only those who trust in Christ alone for salvation will remain in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

7. The verdict of the final judgment is “No Condemnation” for those who trust in the merits of Christ, and “Condemnation” for those who reject Christ and the free gift of salvation.

8. The Saints will not be judged by their works, but by the works of Christ who lived a sinless life and died a perfect sacrifice.

9. One day, prior to the second coming of Christ, probation will close and the records will be sealed making it impossible for the wicked to repent and be saved. The righteous will be sealed for eternity in the kingdom of God.

Stephen Beagles (2017)

REASONS TO BELIEVE IN SABBATH KEEPING

1. The Sabbath was instituted at Creation:

“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made” (Genesis 2:2-3).

2. The Sabbath was given to Hebrews prior to Mount Sinai:

“How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws? See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day” (Exodus 16:28-30).

3. The Sabbath is part of the 10 Commandments:

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:8-11).

4. Jesus worshipped on the Sabbath Day:

“And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read” (Luke 4:16).

5. Jesus declared Himself Lord of the Sabbath day:

“For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day” (Matthew 12:8).

6. Jesus taught the Sabbath was created for all people:

“And he said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27).

7. Jesus warned about coming destruction of Jerusalem and taught that Christians in Israel should pray that the future destruction not come on the Sabbath:

“But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day:” (Matthew 24:20).

8. The disciples waited until after the Sabbath was over before finishing the burial process of Jesus Christ:

“And that day was the preparation, and the Sabbath drew on. And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment. Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them” (Luke 23:54 – 24:1).

9. The Apostle Paul continued to worship and teach on the Sabbath:

“And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures” (Acts 17:2).

10. The Moral Law–including the Sabbath–is still binding on man:

“Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Romans 3:31).

11. Sabbath Keeping will be part of worship in the New Earth:

“And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, And from one sabbath to another, Shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD (Isaiah 66:23)

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12. The Sabbath is the gospel of Jesus that teaches us to rest in the completed work of Salvation:

“So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.” (Hebrews 4:9-10, ESV).

Stephen Beagles

Why I am a Gospel Adventist

QUESTION: Why do you call yourself a Gospel Adventist?

ANSWER: I am a 4th generation Seventh-day Adventist who grew up in the church. As a teenager I thought that the spirit of God would allow us to perfect our characters, if not now, then prior to probation closing. Once probation closed than we would be lost if we had unconfessed sin in our lives. But I found out through reading the scriptures that the only condition for salvation is simple faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. This was revealed to me by the Holy Spirit before I even knew much about church history.

Then I studied the reformation and found justification by faith was the major teaching that separated protestants and catholics. I even found that Ellen White held this position alongside Jones and Waggoner, and she rigorously supported the view of righteousness by faith even at the cost of her personal popularity and influence in the church.

Then I have experienced how legalism can damage our relationship with God and our fellow man, while the gospel brings us the love, joy, and peace of the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, I have witnessed a deliberate attempt by church leaders to purge the church of gospel Adventist pastors and laypeople to keep the tithe money flowing into the general conference. Yet, despite the works of the enemy to keep the church in bondage, the Holy Spirit has allowed the gospel to come to light in a way that cannot be hidden.

I am a Gospel Adventist who focuses on the cross of Christ and the atoning sacrifice made for our sins, as opposed to focusing on behaviorism and moralism as conditions for salvation.

I still believe in obedience to the 10 commandments that exist as a summary of God’s perfect law of love. I confess that there is a blessing to obedience to the law of God. However, our obedience comes as a result of having the assurance that we are sons and daughters of God by faith in Christ alone.

Stephen Beagles

The Principles of God’s Law

“No man who willfully disregards one principle of the law shall enter the kingdom of heaven.” ~ Ellen White, Desire of Ages pg. 309

This is one of the favorite quotes of Adventists who are mired in a legalistic attitude towards the law and gospel. They use this quotation to justify their attitude towards people they believe are not living up to the standards of the Christian life. Then there are critics of Ellen White who use this quotation to prove she did not understand the gospel of Jesus–that she made keeping the law a requirement for salvation.

The problem with taking a quotation from a paragraph without a full understanding of the entire chapter is that it can lead to applications that the author never intended. This is evident in that only two paragraphs prior to her making this statement Ellen White makes it plain how she personally viewed the law of God and its place in the plan of salvation.

1. Without the law there is no need for Christ or the gospel.

A full understanding of God’s law is essential to understanding the gospel. Rejecting the principles of God’s law affects how people view Christ and their need to be justified by faith in the merits of Jesus:

“When the law was proclaimed from Sinai, God made known to men the holiness of His character, that by contrast they might see the sinfulness of their own. The law was given to convict them of sin, and reveal their need of a Saviour. It would do this as its principles were applied to the heart by the Holy Spirit. This work it is still to do. In the life of Christ the principles of the law are made plain; and as the Holy Spirit of God touches the heart, as the light of Christ reveals to men their need of His cleansing blood and His justifying righteousness, the law is still an agent in bringing us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith.” ~ Desire of Ages pg. 308

2. God will not save people who are willfully engaging in idolatry and false religion and who are not motivated by love for God and their fellow human beings.

There is no such thing in the universe as a Christian Hindu, a Christian Pagan, a Christian Buddhist, a Christian New-ager, or a Christian Atheist. Beyond this the major principle behind the law of God is Love. Anyone who’s heart is not motivated by love for Christ cannot be full of the Holy Spirit: “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5, NKJV). “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His” (Romans 8:9).

Ellen White understood the difference between different types of sins and how God reacts to sins of ignorance, sins of immaturity, and sins of imperfection. But she warns of the deliberate sins of immorality, for those who cherish immoral and ungodly behavior will ultimately slip into the unpardonable sin of idolatry and false religion. While God is patient with those who engage in immoral behavior to a point, there is a dividing line that moves us into the curse of idolatry and rebellion.

3. A person who loves God will ultimately be ashamed of their sins and attempt to move towards higher standards of righteousness and holiness of life.

People who blatantly engage in rebellious behaviors with no regard for God and who take pleasure in hurting other people cannot be motivated by the Holy Spirit who implants the spirit of God’s law of love into our hearts by faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ: “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:10-11).

The major principle of every one of the 10 commands is love for God and our neighbors. But not one of us has perfect love, and we all fall short of God’s ideal of moral perfection. The law of God convicts us of sin and it condemns us all to eternal death. It is not only designed to teach us morality but to crush our self-righteous spirit to the point where all we can do is cry out to God for forgiveness and mercy. If we attempt to lower the standard of perfection to make it possible for humans to achieve then we remove the need for the cross of Christ and the plan of salvation.

“I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! (Galatians 2:21, NIV).

“Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24, NKJV).

Ellen White did not place conditions on salvation other than simple faith in Christ for this would be a blatant contradiction of the Holy Scriptures which clearly proclaim “know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified” (Galatians 2:16).

However, she did condemn, in no uncertain terms, those who attempt to remove the law from its central place as the unchangeable foundation of God’s character. She also condemned those who claim to be Christians who blatantly disregard God’s command against the worship of false Gods and those who are not motivated by love for Christ or for those He died to save.

Ellen White was a genuine believer in justification by faith and explained the true nature of the righteousness of God that is imputed to us the moment we place our simple faith in Jesus:

“Knowing himself to be a sinner, a transgressor of the holy law of God, he (the sinner) looks to the perfect obedience of Christ, to His death upon Calvary for the sins of the world; and he has the assurance that he is justified by faith in the merit and sacrifice of Christ. He realises that the law was obeyed in his behalf by the Son of God, and that the penalty of transgression cannot fall upon the believing sinner. The active obedience of Christ clothes the believing sinner with the righteousness that meets the demands of the law.” ~ Ellen White, Sons and Daughters of God pg. 240

“The condition of eternal life is now just what it always has been – just what it was in Paradise before the fall of our first parents, -perfect obedience to the law of God, perfect righteousness. If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned.” Ellen White, Steps to Christ pg. 62

Stephen Beagles

Saved by Faith for Works

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Many Christians still struggle with the relationship between faith and works.

Are we saved by our good works? No.

Are we saved by our faith and good works? No.

Are we saved by faith that works? No.

Then How are we saved? We are saved by faith FOR good works.

This is a huge paradigm shift for many who struggle with the assurance of salvation. We all know that God demands obedience to both the law and gospel, but the two often seem irreconcilable. We never seem to reach that standard of holy perfection and we never feel worthy enough to enter the gates of sinless paradise.

But there is hope–Salvation is a free gift granted to all who trust in the merits of Jesus Christ for eternal life.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1, ESV).

What about good works? Why are they important to us as Christians?

After decades of prayer, meditation, study, and mulling over this topic, I came to the conclusion that while God saves us by faith alone in the blood of Christ, He rewards us for our obedience to His eternal law.

Yes, we will be judged by our works.

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10, KJV).

When we stand before the judgement seat of Christ there will be two questions under consideration:

1. Did you trust in Christ alone for your eternal salvation or did you place other conditions on salvation other than simple faith?

2. What type of responsibilities and privileges will you be granted in the eternal kingdom?

Didn’t Jesus tell us about laying up our treasures in heaven?

Didn’t Jesus keep telling us that we are to expect great rewards in heaven?

Didn’t Jesus keep reminding us that the first in this life will be last in the kingdom and the last in this life will be first in the kingdom?

Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

~Matthew 19:27-30, ESV

Many Christians assume that we will all have the same rewards in the heavenly kingdom. However, just as the angels have different ranks and responsibilities in the eternal kingdom, the saints will also be granted different rewards in heaven based on their willingness to deny themselves and follow Jesus even unto death.

In the words of Jesus revealed to the Apostle John in the Book of Revelation we learn of rewards granted by Christ according to our works in this lifetime:

“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12, KJV).

Our faith will get us into heaven, but it is our works that determine our rewards in the eternal kingdom. It is not for us to decide what our works are worth in this lifetime, for that is up to the Father, but we can trust that God is a righteous judge who will bless us for our obedience.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:8-10, ESV).

Stephen Beagles

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