Understanding Salvation and its Controversies

SDA Salvation: Righteousness by Faith

 salvation pic

“November 4, 1890 Christ the Way of Life.

By Mrs. E. G. White.

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”  {RH, November 4, 1890 par. 1}

Repentance is associated with faith, and is urged in the gospel as essential to salvation. Paul preached repentance. He said, “I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” There is no salvation without repentance. No impenitent sinner can believe with his heart unto righteousness. Repentance is described by Paul as a godly sorrow for sin, that “worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of.” This repentance has in it nothing of the nature of merit, but it prepares the heart for the acceptance of Christ as the only Saviour, the only hope of the lost sinner.  {RH, November 4, 1890 par. 2}

As the sinner looks to the law, his guilt is made plain to him, and pressed home to his conscience, and he is condemned. His only comfort and hope is found in looking to the cross of Calvary. As he ventures upon the promises, taking God at his word, relief and peace come to his soul. He cries, “Lord, thou hast promised to save all who come unto thee in the name of thy Son. I am a lost, helpless, hopeless soul. Lord, save, or I perish.” His faith lays hold on Christ, and he is justified before God.  {RH, November 4, 1890 par. 3}

But while God can be just, and yet justify the sinner through the merits of Christ, no man can cover his soul with the garments of Christ’s righteousness while practicing known sins, or neglecting known duties. God requires the entire surrender of the heart, before justification can take place; and in order for man to retain justification, there must be continual obedience, through active, living faith that works by love and purifies the soul.  {RH, November 4, 1890 par. 4}

James writes of Abraham and says, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” In order for man to be justified by faith, faith must reach a point where it will control the affections and impulses of the heart; and it is by obedience that faith itself is made perfect.  {RH, November 4, 1890 par. 5}

Without the grace of Christ, the sinner is in a hopeless condition; nothing can be done for him; but through divine grace, supernatural power is imparted to the man, and works in mind and heart and character. It is through the impartation of the grace of Christ that sin is discerned in its hateful nature, and finally driven from the soul temple. It is through grace that we are brought into fellowship with Christ, to be associated with him in the work of salvation. Faith is the condition upon which God has seen fit to promise pardon to sinners; not that there is any virtue in faith whereby salvation is merited, but because faith can lay hold of the merits of Christ, the remedy provided for sin. Faith can present Christ’s perfect obedience instead of the sinner’s transgression and defection. When the sinner believes that Christ is his personal Saviour, then, according to his unfailing promises, God pardons his sin, and justifies him freely. The repentant soul realizes that his justification comes because Christ, as his substitute and surety, has died for him, is his atonement and righteousness.  {RH, November 4, 1890 par. 6}

“Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Righteousness is obedience to the law. The law demands righteousness, and this the sinner owes to the law; but he is incapable of rendering it. The only way in which he can attain to righteousness is through faith. By faith he can bring to God the merits of Christ, and the Lord places the obedience of his Son to the sinner’s account. Christ’s righteousness is accepted in place of man’s failure, and God receives, pardons, justifies, the repentant, believing soul, treats him as though he were righteous, and loves him as he loves his Son. This is how faith is accounted righteousness; and the pardoned soul goes on from grace to grace, from light to a greater light. He can say with rejoicing, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”  {RH, November 4, 1890 par. 7}

Again: it is written, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Jesus declared, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” It is not a low standard that is placed before us; for we are to become the children of God. We are to be saved as individuals; and in the day of test and trial we shall be able to discern between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. We are saved as individual believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.  {RH, November 4, 1890 par. 8}

Many are losing the right way, in consequence of thinking that they must climb to heaven, that they must do something to merit the favor of God. They seek to make themselves better by their own unaided efforts. This they can never accomplish. Christ has made the way by dying our sacrifice, by living our example, by becoming our great high-priest. He declares, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” If by any effort of our own we could advance one step toward the ladder, the words of Christ would not be true. But when we accept Christ, good works will appear as fruitful evidence that we are in the way of life, that Christ is our way, and that we are treading the true path that leads to heaven.  {RH, November 4, 1890 par. 9}“

Note: The Simple Salvation Equations

1.     You                  +       Faith (trust & believe) in Jesus                =     wearing His righteousness (Salvation)

2.    Trying to hold on to known sin    +    Neglecting your known duties   =      Lose His Righteousness and Sacrifice

My Equations’ Cited verses:

*James 2:19 even devils believe, A Christian needs good works

*Hebrews 10:26 Jesus’ sacrifice won’t cover you, if you don’t try to avoid known sin

*Matthew 7:23 God says “I never knew you” to only those who “work iniquity”/practice known sin

*James 4:17 “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

*Matthew 25:31-46 similarly talks about people being lost, they neglected known duty to others

*1 Samuel  3:13-14 Eli, a priest, knowingly sinned by continuing to neglect his duty as a father, therefore a sacrifice could not cover Him; Eli should have repented at the beginning, by doing what God asked

*Matthew 10:22 “he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” A saved person’s life will be a constant enduring/persevering/dying to self through out their life

A Similar Salvation Illustration (Pyramid)…


3. You’re Saved

2. Jesus’ Blood covers You

  1. A. Faith    +     B. Growing in Love (process of overcoming sin)     +      C. Avoid Neglecting Duties


  1. Faith:

This means believing and trusting (Heb. 11:1). Faith is the means of laying hold on Jesus’ merits/ righteousness: the remedy for sin (Rom. 10:10). You can’t lay hold of this any other way. Faith shows who we are serving as our God.

  1. Growing in Love (process of overcoming sin):

We obey God’s Law by/through Love (Matt. 22:37-40). We grow our love through studying His word, surrounding our life with heavenly things, and conformity to His will. In the process of overcoming sin, God requires we give up ALL sin (Matt. 5: 48). When we do sin, we have to confess and forsake it in order for Jesus’ Blood to cover you (Acts 2:38; 3:19, Rom10:10).  If you don’t confess and forsake your known sins, His blood can’t cover you (Heb 10:26). We may fall/sin and struggle, but as long as we confess and try to overcome, Jesus’ blood covers you (Prov. 24:16, 1 John 1:9). God knows in your heart if you are truly trying to overcome.

Thoughts, impulses, and affections may seem impossible to control. But with God, this is possible. He can create in you a desire and ability to do His will (Phil. 2:13). But in order for God to help us change, we must fully surrender our will to God.  Yield your will fully to God. We will have to seek what He wants, not what we want. If you surrender your will daily, alongside maintaining a daily relationship with God through prayer and study, He will change your life.  By beholding God, you will become changed.


*10 Commandments (Ex. 20: 1-17)

*Anything you know God asks of His people/counsels them to do

  1. Avoid Neglecting Duties

God asks that if we know we are required to do something, that we do it (James 4:17). We all have duties. This happens because God calls us to do something specific, or makes a general request of all Christians. He expects us to illustrate His attitude and Behavior in every situation in life (1 Cor. 10:31).


*Take care of people placed in your care, in a Christ-like manner (Matt. 25:31-46, 1 Sam. 3:13-14)

*Work/ do things in a Christ-like manner (Col. 3:23)

*Live healthy (1 Cor. 6:19-20)

*Try to share God’s truth with others; every Christian is born a missionary (Matt. 28:19)

*Pray (1 Thess. 5: 17)

*Study Bible (2 Tim. 2:15)… This should preferably be done daily. There is no rule for how much time a day you have study. But because God views daily study as being noble (Acts 17:11), and because we love God, we should strive to read daily. If we continuously neglect to read our Bible, we willfully allow ourselves to be ignorant, which displeases God (Hos. 4:6). The Bible (2 Thess. 2:10-11) also says those who don’t Love the truth will be deceived/ believe in a lie in the end times. Do we love the truth?

Simple Salvation Summary

Salvation is obtained through believing in Jesus. Through belief, Jesus’ life will replace the Christian’s- this is how they will be counted worthy. This is referred to as a Christian wearing Christ’s righteousness… Righteousness is something that is right.  We, who have all sinned, can only be saved by Christ’s 100% right life/His righteousness…  However, His death will not cover us if we practice known sin or neglect our known God-given duties.  Because we have all sinned, we could never earn salvation through works.  This is why only Jesus’ sin-free life can save you.  The conditions of His being able to cover you are referenced above. This is a simple summary of salvation.



(It is important to note that the word KNOWN is an important key word)

God Winks at honest ignorance (when you don’t know it’s a sin/duty)

*Acts 17:30 “And the times of this ignorance God winked at”

He Holds us accountable for trying to be ignorant (when you avoid information/interpret it wrong on purpose)

*Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” NOTE: Continuously neglecting to read the Bible is also willful ignorance.




*“Every messenger of God can proclaim pardon and remission of sins through the name of Christ, who died to redeem the sinner. The Lord’s full favor comes to those who seek Him with the whole heart, and are willing to follow Him in doing God’s will, enthroning Christ in the heart, planting His attributes deep in the life practice. These have a constraining motive, a supreme love for Christ our Saviour, which brings even the thoughts into captivity to Him.  {10MR 291.1}”

(NOTE: you should be able to know/say that you are pardoned, and freed from the penalty of death; because Jesus is your substitute.)

*” we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.”- 1 John 4:17

*” abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.”- 1 John 2:28

*“being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”- Phillipians 1:6

(NOTE: this applies to you if you have fully surrendered your will over to God)

*“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”-1 John 1:9

(NOTE: sin=death/you being lost. When Jesus pardons you from unrighteousness and sin, you do not receive death but everlasting life. His sacrifice allows for this to happen. FEELINGS are not safe enough to judge whether you’re saved. We must trust that though we are defective, Jesus’ sacrifice is good enough!  Trust His promises over your feelings!!!)



Once you have been written in the book of Life, You CAN be taken OUT

*“And the Lord said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book”– Exodus 32:33

Can believe and be lost later as a result of actions

*“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”- Matthew 7:22-23

*” he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”- Matthew 10:22

Saying “I am saved”

“We are never to rest in a satisfied condition, and cease to make advancement, saying, “I am saved.” When this idea is entertained, the motives for watchfulness, for prayer, for earnest endeavor to press onward to higher attainments, cease to exist. {NL 43.1}”

(NOTE: WE SHOULD NEVER BELIEVE ONCE SAVED, ALWAYS SAVED.  We can lose salvation/Christ as our substitute by practicing known sin without repentance- which is asking forgiveness and rejecting sin.  We can also not be covered by Christ’s sacrifice if we neglect our duties. BUT we can have a confidence right now that, if we strive to carry out our duties and do not practice known sin, Jesus is our substitute.  Then we can rest assured Jesus’ life will count as ours.  We can then know our hearts are right with God, so that we could currently die in peace. A saved life is a life daily continued by constant dying to self and sin.)


One response to “Understanding Salvation and its Controversies

  1. Pingback: Believe Well, Speak Well | Prophetic Voice·

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