Two Kinds Of  Righteousness-4


September 16-Two Kinds Of Righteousness-4




No human being will be justified in his sight by works of the law, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. Rom. 3:20, RSV.

That Bible teaching seems to be clear enough. The law's function is to hold up God's ideal and to point out our sin when we fail to meet that ideal. The law, Romans 3:20 plainly states, has absolutely no power to save. That is all true. But! But if I really believe that justification is by grace through faith without works of law, then what happens to the law?

Good question!

It was the fear that a downplaying of the law would end up doing away with the Sabbath that motivated the Smith and Butler forces in the 1888 era. Let's listen to Butler on the topic. In an article titled "The Righteousness of the Law Fulfilled by Us" he noted that  there is a sentiment prevailing almost everywhere" that is pleasant but dangerous: "'Only believe in Christ, and you will be all right.'...Jesus does it all." That teaching, he proclaimed, "is one of the most dangerous heresies in the world."

The whole point of the third angel's message, he emphasized, is "the necessity of obedience to the law of God. 'Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.'" The Christian world, Butler added, was rapidly losing that truth, and Adventists needed to uplift it.

There we have it. Too much of Christ and His righteousness, some feared, would do away with the law, obedience, and the need for human righteousness. That fear was at the heart of the reaction to Jones and Waggoner's teachings at Minneapolis.

The two sides had two vastly different perspectives. For the reformers the key words and phrases were "Christ," "faith," "justification by faith," and terms related to Christ's righteousness. The Smith/Butler group, on the other hand, emphasized "human effort," "works," "obedience," "law," "commandments," "our righteousness," and "justification by

Those two emphases are still quite distinct in Adventism 120 years after Minneapolis. Do they have to be mutually exclusive? Why or why not? How do you line up on these issues? Think it through. Discuss it with your family and friends.

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There are wonderful truths in nature. The earth, the sea, and the sky are full of truth. They are our teachers. Nature utters her voice in lessons of heavenly wisdom and eternal truth(COL 107).