by David Clayton

Although there have always been several concepts of righteousness embraced by different groups of people, there is actually only one true standard of righteousness and it is God's character as expressed in His law. Ellen White says that, “righteousness is right-doing (COL - 312),” and we conclude that this right doing is defined by the law of God when properly understood in its spiritual application. However, we read something in Romans 3:21 which gives us an interesting perspective on righteousness.

Since we published the last two issues of Open Face, we have had a couple of people who asked to be removed from our mailing list. While we know that any important issue will always cause polarization and strong feelings, yet I must admit that it dampens my spirit a little when I find that Christians – and especially those who claim to be seeking for reformation and revival – either outrightly deny the plain teachings of the Bible or misinterpret its teachings so badly that they make it seem to contradict itself. Too many people simply find a verse which seems to support their long-held ideas and cling to that verse, refusing to look at, consider or believe the multitude of other verses which plainly indicate that their understanding of the subject is faulty.

At every stage of development our life may be perfect; yet if God's purpose for us is fulfilled, there will be continual advancement. Sanctification is the work of a lifetime .... {COL 65.2}

There are two significant things in this statement by Ellen White which we need to take note of. Firstly, she says that at every stage, our life may be PERFECT! Let us settle it then, that perfection is not the work of a lifetime, but it is an instantaneous work which is accomplished immediately when a person enters into Christ, so that his life may be perfect at the very first stage of his Christian experience.

It happened in 1888 and it is happening again today. The message of righteousness by faith is stirring a community of believers and is producing strong reactions, revealing not only the state of our theology, but also the state of our hearts. I have not the slightest regret that this subject, the essence of salvation, is being agitated, discussed and debated. Anything is better than apathy and complacency, and out of all this there is bound to emerge a clearer concept of the gospel as the Bible teaches it. This is a necessary requirement if there is ever to be a people who have pure truth and an experience of genuine Christianity, fit and ready for the reception of the latter rain.

by David Clayton

One of the most thought-provoking definitions of faith is found in Hebrews 11:1. Paul begins this great chapter by saying,

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Heb 11:1)

Not many people would have described or defined faith in this way. Probably the popular definition would run something like this: “faith is believing something with all your heart even when you cannot see it.” There is merit to that definition of course and that is why Paul's definition is so intriguing. Why did he choose this definition which is so evidently carefully thought out and precisely worded? The very fact that it is so unorthodox compels us to take notice.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Mat 11:28-30) 

It was Jesus who spoke these words and since the time when He spoke them, many well-meaning persons who have not understood the gospel have had to ask themselves the question, “what did He really mean by these words?”

Jesus' promise was, “I will give you rest,” and the question is, when Jesus promises rest, what is the problem from which he is seeking to relieve us? Obviously the opposite of “rest” is “work” or labour. What is the difference between rest and work?

by A.T. Jones

The following article is an extract from a sermon prepared by A.T. Jones for the Week of Prayer meetings of 1899. It was published in the Review and Herald of Feb. 21, 1899. We encourage you to read the message in its entirety.


From what I have read, you see that whoever lets any time pass between the word spoken and the thing done, is an evolutionist. The word of God to you is, Man, "thy sins are forgiven thee." Woman, "thy sins are forgiven thee." [Elder Corliss: "Didn't it say, Thy sins shall be forgiven?"] No, sir. "Thy sins are forgiven thee"--present tense, with an emphasis. "Thy sins are forgiven." I thank God this is so, because the creative energy is in that word "forgiven" to take away all sin and create the man a new creature. I believe in creation. Do you? Do you believe in the creative energy that is in the word "forgiven" spoken to you? Or are you an evolutionist and do you say, I cannot see how that can be, because I am so bad? I have been trying to do right, but I have made many failures. I have had many ups and downs and have been down a good many more times than up. If that is what you say, you are an evolutionist, for that is evolution.


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