Hypergraffiti

Where I spray-paint my thoughts…

Searching Sabbath 19: The Law of God

5 Comments

This is a huge topic, and rather than simply being a stand-alone statement of doctrine, it’s really intended as an introduction to the next several beliefs, which are all Adventist beliefs about behavior — how we should act towards God and one another. Stating that we believe God’s law, especially as expressed in the Ten Commandments, is intended for Christians to keep, is a necessary foundation for everything that follows.

As I’ve tried to touch on all-too-briefly in the video, this is a hugely complex topic on which the New Testament itself is by no means simple and straightforward. The most Biblical answer is perhaps, “Yes, we are saved by grace … and yes, we are saved by keeping the law.” Which is hard for us to wrap our minds around, as we like either-or answers. Perhaps the best way is to think of law and grace as two concepts that always have to be kept in balance, in tension. Growing up Adventist in the particular time and place I did it was very easy to see the dangers and evils of legalism and to wholeheartedly embrace, as I have done, the message of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus — something in which I thoroughly believe. It took much longer — and again, I tried to touch on this in the video — to see the possible dangers of an overemphasis on grace as well — the danger of a religion that becomes nothing more that lip service to a set of doctrines, and does not express itself in ethical and loving behavior towards others. I’ll try to discuss this a bit further when we get to the doctrine called Christian Behavior … but for now, as always, I’m interested in your opinions. I particularly like it when readers/viewer share bits of their own personal journeys, whether those have been toward, within, or away from Adventist Christianity, or along some other path altogether — so please let me know what you think about The Law of God!!

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5 thoughts on “Searching Sabbath 19: The Law of God

  1. My experience is that while Adventist preach righteousness by faith, we practice righteousness by works. Or more accurately, righteousness by abstention. Don’t eat meat, don’t wear jewlery, don’t go swimming on Sabbath … the list is endless.

    To me, it’s quite clear that we are saved by God’s unmerited grace and not by our rule keeping. Having said that, once we begin to experience God’s grace, our behavior will begin to line up with the principles of God’s law. This is a long, slow and occassionally painful process that comes from the inside out.

    Sadly, the Adventist church likes to work on people from the outside in. Stop smoking and we’ll baptize you. Wear the right clothes to church and we’ll make you feel welcome. Go vegan and we’ll congratulate you for taking care of God’s temple. We emphasize polishing the outside of the cup.

    • Yes, that’s sort of what I meant in the video when I said we don’t always act as if we believe we’re saved by grace. But to be honest I find that true of a lot of Christians, not just Adventists. We are big fans of judging one another, and it’s so easy to pick on externals because they are so visible.

  2. I confess I did not understand grace until I read “Between Noon and Three: Romance, Law, and the Outrage of Grace” by Robert Farrar Capon. A dangerous book to read.

  3. Aw, this was a very good post. Spending some time and actual effort to produce a really good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot and don’t manage to get nearly anything done.

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