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None of us can define life. We do not know what it is, what it consists of, but we know that it exists. In many places the Bible tells us that we are a part of the body of Christ, it also tells us that we have the life of Christ. Many illustrations used in the Bible emphasize this point. For example there is the illustration of the vine and the branches.

Do we understand these verses to be describing a real relationship or a figurative one? I take them at face value and I believe that in doing this I am applying a meaning which is perfectly reasonable. The fact that new agers have distorted the truth and made it into a lie does not negate the reality of what is true. New Agers believe that we are all inherently god. According to them we only need to discover that we are. But the truth is that we have been made partakers of the life of God. We are partakers of His life, whatever that is. You and I cannot define this, but the Bible calls it the holy spirit which is a very real, literal thing.

by David Clayton

Righteousness by faith in Christ is one of the simplest truths, and certainly one of the most beautiful in the Bible. Why then does it seem to cause friction and confusion?

I believe there are several answers to this question. One of them is, of course, that we all have so many wrong ideas deeply embedded in our minds that it is difficult for us to see with perfect clarity. Everything which we view, has got to be matched against the database of ideas which is stored in our minds. If any of those ideas is wrong then it will usually have an effect on how we view the particular issue in question. Many times it is our deep-rooted ideas which need to be changed. Often, there is something fundamentally wrong with them, but because they are a part of the belief structure around which we have built our entire philosophy, we refuse to even consider the idea of changing them. They must remain, therefore the truth being considered must be rejected. For us, the truth becomes a lie, because of our pre-conceived ideas.

by David Clayton

One doctrine which I have believed in for the past thirty-two years is the doctrine of the “Final Atonement.” This is a teaching which is unique to the Seventh-day Adventist movement and is one which I believe has a solid biblical foundation. As we have focused on Righteousness by Faith over the past two years, there has been concern in some circles that our understanding of Righteousness by Faith does away with this concept of the final atonement.

If the Bible led me in this direction then I would have to accept it. But does the truth of righteousness in Christ do away with the truth of the final atonement? This is a very important question and will be our main focus in this edition of Open face.

Jesus already made an end of sins according to the teachings of the word of God. But if Jesus has taken sin out of the way, how can it be that there is to be a final atonement? If Jesus completely dealt with the issue of sin, finished the transgression, made an end of sin, made reconciliation for iniquity, brought in everlasting righteousness, all of this by AD 34 (Daniel 7:24), and by one offering, has perfected forever those who are sanctified (Heb 10:14), how then can there be such a thing as a final atonement? Has not Jesus already made an end of sin? Is it not all already finished and accomplished, just waiting for us to believe what is already true? What is this final atonement, is it really something that is scriptural, or is it something that Adventists have invented? Is it something that was made up in 1844 to save face, or does the Bible really speak of a final atonement?

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. (Rom 6:14)

All my life I have been confronted with this text by non-Adventists. Adventists have been accused of being legalists and of not understanding the purpose and the relevance of the law as it was given on Mount Sinai. This text, Romans 6:14 has been one of the favorite texts of those who say that the law is no longer relevant for Christians since the time of the death of Jesus. These Christians have stated (with much Scripture to back them up), that Christians are not under the law.

How should we understand this statement that Christians are no longer under the law? A significant number of Christians understand this to mean that the Ten Commandments have been abolished. In addition, many of them go on to teach that there was a time when God saved people by means of the law, if they were obedient, but that He has changed His method of saving people since Jesus Came.

by david Clayton

Recently I received a couple of articles which were written by Ralph Larson and Dennis Priebe, both evidently written several years ago. I read these articles carefully. They were basically in harmony in presenting two different perspectives on the gospel, one of which they supported and the other which they strongly opposed.

As I read these articles I realized that they were copies of articles which I had read years ago in the Layworker magazine. Now, reading them again, I realized that the authors of these articles had really not dealt with the subject in a comprehensive way. Their understanding of the issues had been superficial and as a result, their presentation did not really deal with the fundamental questions.

One of the things I've learnt is that before you can get the right answer you must ask the right question. This is a fundamental principle of education. If you ask the wrong question you will get the wrong answer and you may think that you're on the right road but you will be wrong because you never asked the right question. Let us look at the question that these brethren asked. Here is what Priebe says:

“the vital question is, what is the nature of sin for which man is considered guilty . So guilty he must die in the fires of hell unless he's rescued by the grace of God? ...just what it is that the gospel rescues us from, of what must we be forgiven ?...we must know wherein our guilt lies so that we will be able to apply the gospel to the right area.”

This brother believes that man's real problem is guilt! But if guilt is man's real problem, then when does man begin to have a problem? He has a problem only when he consciously makes a wrong choice. Not before. So logically, young babies have no problem and do not need a Saviour, for they cannot make intelligent choices.

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