Some time ago I wrote an article which caused some controversy. It was entitled, “Did Jesus Die the Second Death?” I still stand by the conclusion reached then, that He did not die the second death. But now that I understand the matter better, in the light of Righteousness by Faith, I can see that my explanations were limited and that there were several things which I did not understand. I hope that this article will make the issue much clearer.
by David Clayton
One of the important questions which faces us today is the question of what focus our work should take. As we seek to share truth, to minister to others, what aspect of God's truth should we regard as most critical? What particular element of the truth should we concentrate our energies upon?
Ellen White makes an interesting statement in the Paulson collection. On page 342 she says,
“The end is near. We have not a moment to lose. Light is to shine forth from God's people in clear, distinct rays, bringing Jesus before the churches and before the world. God will give additional light, and old truths will be recovered and replaced in the framework of truth; and wherever the laborers go they will triumph. As Christ's ambassadors, they are to search the Scriptures to seek for the truths that have been hidden beneath the rubbish of error, and every ray of light received is to be communicated to others. One interest will prevail, one subject will swallow up all others, Christ our Righteousness.” - (Paulson Collection – 342)
This is a thought-provoking statement and one which should make us give careful thought to the question of where our emphasis should really be placed. The more I have come to understand the implications of the righteousness of Christ, the more clearly I have seen the truthfulness of this statement of Ellen White.
For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: (2 Cor 5:14)
Christ died for all men (Rom. 5:8). What did His death for all accomplish? It put all to death, because, we judge thus that if one died for all, all died. The apostle Paul refuses to limit the gospel to the realm of theory or legal questions. He accepts the implications of Christ's death as a practical, real experience which literally affects the lives of all men. We “judge thus,” he says. Are we to believe what is not true? Certainly not. We judge thus, only because it is true. (Rom. 6:11)
But the question is, why are not all men dead (to self) if all died? It is because the experience of death is in one person. It is not in men outside of Christ. Christ did not provide death and life as benefits disconnected from Himself. He died, He lives. Life and death are in Him and nowhere else. Only in Him may they be experienced. Any man who is in Christ is a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), but only in Christ.
by David Clayton
The more we study the subject of righteousness in Christ, the more we realize how important it is that we correctly understand the purpose of God in giving the law, and the place which it has in the experience of the Christian. Misunderstanding of this has certainly led many to an experience in which Christ has been shut away from them and Christianity has become a hard religion of painful drudgery.
As we examine this subject once again, our focus will be on Galatians Chapter three where the apostle Paul gives us a different perspective on salvation in Christ. But let us begin with Genesis 17: 7 where God says,
And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. (Gen 17:7)
From time to time across the centuries there have been movements which have arisen which have emphasized the truth that salvation is in Christ and Christ alone. Usually this emphasis has come into focus in response to a time or a system where much emphasis has been placed on man, on human works, and on rules and regulations. One such outstanding movement which comes to mind is the reformation of the sixteenth century. Another one, of course, is the 1888 message/movement in the SDA Church, which was initiated by elders A.T. Jones and E.J. Waggoner.
What is the Gospel?
1. The gospel is that all the world is blessed in one man (Gal. 3:18; John 3:16)
2. The good news is that one does all that is necessary for salvation, for everyone else so we don't have to do it! We have only to receive it by believing it. How wonderful to be given everything we need with the only requirement being that we believe it is true!
3. We receive salvation, we do not produce it. It is a package given to us. The name of this package is Christ Jesus. All things which we need are already in this package only waiting to be experienced through faith. When we have Christ we already have all things (1 Cor. 3:21-23)
by David Clayton
Some years ago the following article was published in Old Paths . We have decided to republish it because we feel that it is especially relevant at this time in light of our present emphasis on Righteousness by Faith, and the increasing agitation in some quarters on the question of the Feast days. We have slightly modified the article.
Many Seventh-day Adventists, and in fact most Christians who believe in the observance of the ten commandments, seem to have a problem in understanding the issues which Paul faced and the arguments which he presented at the time when he wrote the letter to the Galatians. The arguments of Paul in the book of Galatians are very important, and understanding them is critical to a proper appreciation of the purpose and place of the law, as well as to a proper appreciation of the gospel. In fact, one of the issues at the famous 1888 Minneapolis General Conference was the disagreement between E.J. Waggoner and several of the leading delegates to the conference, on the question of the law in Galatians.