Last week I shared that conference leadership recently learned about some sermons and a book circulating around our conference with some troubling teachings regarding a speculative role for humanity as a sinless “fit man” in the final act of the typical Day of Atonement ministry of Christ.
It is theorized that the group of fallen, yet sinless saints will vindicate God’s law by their perfect obedience to the commandments while struggling to defeat Satan in the last days. This concept is claimed to be the final vindication of both God and His law in the age-old struggle between good and evil.
In my last post, I emphasized the important gospel reality that the Sanctuary services in their entirety, including those connected with the Day of Atonement rituals depicting the final judgment and vindication of God’s character, are focused on Christ’s role in the work of redemption—not humanity’s. In both the death of Christ as the Lamb, His ministry as High Priest and the destruction of Satan, He accomplishes the goal of putting an end to the cosmic anarchy of sin. It is Christ’s work alone, not a burden for those whom Christ has saved, to vindicate God or His law. Christ has accomplished this in His life, death and mediation ministry on our behalf as both our substitute and surety. God through Christ has demonstrated His justice, mercy and love while showing that His law is as perfect as His character—not ours.
In this post, I also want to emphasize that this work—again that only Christ can do as the second Adam—is also not a work for the Church.
From the very beginning of the heavenly rebellion, God has been working to vindicate His loving character against the false claims of the evil one. And the history of the world reveals His efforts and validates His character of love, justice and mercy through the abundance of His grace and redemption of mankind. Most notable and important is the death of Christ on Calvary as Revelation’s Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Christ Himself is the only prominent or qualified person in the atonement ministry necessary for the entire redemptive process. He alone vindicates God, His law and love through His life, death and ministry as our Savior.
The entirety of God’s redemptive plan and the ministry of Christ in this plan reveals God’s love and grace on behalf of mankind and answers all arguments against Him and His government. “The history of the great conflict between good and evil, from the time it first began in heaven to the final overthrow of rebellion and the total eradication of sin, is also a demonstration of God’s unchanging love” (Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p.33).
God’s people, the Church He has redeemed by His grace, has a role in the final days while probation lasts. It is expressed in the following statement:
“The church is God’s appointed agency for the salvation of men. It was organized for service, and its mission is to carry the gospel to the world. From the beginning it has been God’s plan that through His church shall be reflected to the world His fullness and His sufficiency. The members of the church, those whom He has called out of darkness into His marvelous light, are to show forth His glory. The church is the repository of the riches of the grace of Christ; and through the church will eventually be made manifest, even to ‘the principalities and powers in heavenly places,’ (Ephesians 3:10) the final and full display of the love of God” (Ellen White, Acts of the Apostles, p.9).
This is our role on earth. We have no part in the vindication of God and His law of love. Our role is to receive His salvation through faith in His grace and then to make known His love and truth to others.