Early in my ministry I met a devout Catholic young man who lived outside
my district but who was willing to study the Bible with me. He was Polish and had never known anything but the religion of
his childhood. Since he was a Catholic, and as I knew of the false teaching about Jesus that Satan had worked hard to introduce
into his church in the earliest days of its existence, I decided to try an experiment. I concluded that if Satan made a false
teaching about Jesus one of the earliest objects of his endeavors within the Christian church, he must have had a good reason
for doing so that reason being to destroy souls. I wondered if I were to introduce the true Christ to this man's thinking,
whether it would have the opposite effect to what Satan was trying to accomplish through his teaching of a counterfeit christ.
And so on my first visit with Jim Paloskowitz I opened the Bible to the
New Testament and began to study with him the good news of who Jesus really was. As the sacred Scriptures began to unfold
to his understanding, the tears ran down his cheeks not too far down, for he was not a teary man but his heart was won, and
that very evening he surrendered himself to his Lord and Saviour. Today, ten years after becoming a Seventh- day Adventist,
despite his local church being affected by dissension and desertion, Jim has remained a stalwart and humble leader within
Jesus said, I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples
to Myself John 12: 32. (All references are from NKJV unless otherwise indicated.)
The Secret of Soul Winning
To uplift Jesus is the secret of soul- winning. It was the secret of Pentecost.
It is uplifting Jesus that will make our public evangelism, as well as our private Bible studies, powerful and effective.
With that fact almost all will agree. But which Christ must be uplifted?
In Matthew 7: 21- 23 Jesus describes those who claim to be His people
at His second coming who have been uplifting a false christ. He warned: Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, ' shall enter
the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have
we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? ' And then I will declare
to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness! '
Notice that these are Christians living at the time of Christ's second
coming who claim that Jesus is their Lord. And they claim that they have been uplifting Jesus for all their works were done
in His name. In His name they went to church. In His name they gave their tithes and offerings. But Jesus said He never knew
them. Whomever they were worshipping and uplifting, it was not the true Christ.
Thus it must have been a false christ that they were uplifting. The evidence
Jesus presents that it was not He they were uplifting is the fact that the one they were worshipping did not lead them to
keep the law of God they practiced lawlessness (the Greek word is anomian). There will be christs many and lords many in the
last days (Matthew 24: 24; 1 Corinthians 8: 5), but only one true Christ.
This evidence of a false christ versus the true Christ is further confirmed
in 1 John 3: 4- 6, where we are told, Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that
He [the true Christ] was manifested to take away our sins [or lawlessness], and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in
Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him [the true Christ] nor known Him. They may have known someone they called
Christ, but if whomever they were worshipping did not lead them to overcome sin, he was a false christ.
By this we know that we know Him [the true Christ], if we keep His commandments.
He who says, I know Him, ' and does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 1 John 2: 3- 4
Certainly these texts apply to Sundaykeeping Christians but could they
have a special import for His own remnant church as well? Are there not even now within the church many who claim that you
cannot keep the law? or that you don't need to keep the law? or that it is even legalistic to try to keep the law? What an
abomination to admit teachers of lawlessness within the precincts of God's remnant church! According to the Bible, these teachers
are uplifting a false christ. What a disappointment it will be for a Seventh- day Adventist to stand before the bar of justice
to plead his case as follows( just imagine it were you):
Before the Bar of Justice
Lord, remember me, the one who taught prophecy in Your name, in Your church?
I paid my tithe and attended church and believed in Ellen White all in Your name.
I'm sorry, comes the answer, but I can't find your name in the book of
life. It is only he who overcomes' whose name I will not blot out from the Book of Life' and who shall be clothed in white
garments, ' and eat from the tree of life. ' Depart from my presence and join the company of Satan and Judas. You did not
keep the law, and he who sins is of the devil. ' Revelation 3: 5; 2: 7; 1 John 3: 8
But Lord! you cry out in terror and despair, I may not have kept the whole
law, but I kept some of it and I trusted in Your grace to make up the rest! You were my substitute! No one can keep the whole
law can he? At least the Christ I served did not write the law in my heart. I was
Lord, listen to me! I trusted that it was Your Word that I was being taught
in Your church! It was You who I thought was being uplifted. Lord, we ate and drank' the Lord's supper in Your presence, and
You taught' through Your ministers in our streets. ' Luke 13: 26
Then Jesus will sadly respond, I'm sorry, dear stranger, that you believed
what you were taught rather than the plain Word of God. I was manifested to save you from your sins. (See Matthew 1: 21) I
knocked on your heart's door for an entrance, but I was a stranger to you you were satisfied in your carnal security. Do you
expect me to excuse you, just because you called yourself a Seventh- day Adventist, when millions of people during the Dark
Ages who did not have half the light you had, were lost for the same reason you are they were taught by their priests to believe
in a false christ and a false experience when they could have known the truth from the humble Waldenses who came to their
homes? You had the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy and could read for yourself. You are totally without excuse. In fact,
did I not straitly warn you to let no one (no priest, pastor, scholar, charismatic teacher no one) deceive you' on this point.
It is he who practices righteousness (not he who merely claims to be declared righteous) [who] is righteous, just as He is
righteous. ' (1 John 3: 7) Did not I tell you that everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He (referring
to Myself) is pure'? (1 John 3: 3) Now, stranger, how do you suppose that I, the Son of Man, was pure just forensically in
some book, or in character as well? I was your perfect example. You could have followed that example, for I revealed no qualities,
and exercised no powers, ' that you could not have had through faith in Me. My perfect humanity' was that which all My followers
could have possessed, if they had been in subjection to God as I was. ' The Desire of Ages, 664
Stranger, you are doubly without excuse. In addition to the plain teaching
of the Bible, I sent you special messages through Ellen White. You had The Desire of Ages in your own bookcase to introduce
to you the true Christ. There I stated in simple language which you could not possibly misunderstand, that In Christ, God
has provided means for subduing every sinful trait, and resisting every temptation, however strong. ' 429
You claim, dear stranger, that you know Me, but I tell you I do not know
you where you are from. Depart from me, you worker of iniquity. ' Luke 13: 27
Weeping and Gnashing
The Bible says, There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Luke 13:
28. According to the servant of the Lord, this group will include many Seventh- day Adventists. In fact, the majority of Seventh-
day Adventists will be found among that group of whom the Lord will say that He does not know them they have been following
a false christ: The great proportion of those who now appear to be genuine and true will prove to be base metal. Testimonies,
vol. 5, 136
What a tragedy! But one of the reasons for this delusion is that Satan
has laid a plot, deep within the heart of Adventism, to cause as many of God's people as he can possibly deceive to believe
in a false christ. There are two Christs within the Adventist Church today. One Christ had Adam's unfallen nature while upon
earth and came to perfectly justify, but not to perfectly sanctify. The other Christ came in the nature of those He came to
save, in our fallen, weakened nature; His mission was to both perfectly justify and to perfectly sanctify. These are two very
different Christs and when you are dealing with the very essence of Christianity and salvation, you are dealing with far more
It is no coincidence that in Desmond Ford's early days he emphasized and
re- emphasized a particular view of the nature of Christ. Some said, So what, it's just semantics! But Des Ford knew it was
more than just semantics. With his keen insight into systematic theology, he knew precisely that if he could establish his
point on the nature of Christ, he could establish his whole philosophy of religion within the church.
Ellen White says, The humanity of the Son of God is everything to us.
. . . This is to be our study. . . . We should come to this study with the humility of a learner, with a contrite heart. And
the study of the incarnation of Christ is a fruitful field, which will repay the searcher who digs deep for hidden truth.
Selected Messages, book 1,244
Yet there was a certain teaching that preceded even Desmond Ford's teaching
on the nature of Christ, for as central as that is, there is another teaching that must precede even this concept, and that
is in the area of sin what is it? What you believe sin to be will determine whether you believe Jesus to have taken Adam's
fallen nature or his unfallen nature. And what you believe Jesus' nature to be will determine what you believe about salvation.
The Bible gives a clear definition of sin. It states Sin is the transgression
of the law. 1 John 3: 4, KJV. That is plain and simple. Ellen White says, What is sin? The only definition that is given to
you in the Word of God, is, Sin is the transgression of the law. ' 1 John 3: 4. The apostle says, Where no law is, there is
no transgression (Romans 4: 15). Review and Herald, June 10, 1890. Our only definition of sin is that given in the Word of
God; it is the transgression of the law. ' The Great Controversy, 493
However, many theologians, going as far back as Augustine in the fifth
century, have not been satisfied with this simple definition of sin it is not theological enough for them. And so, in conflict
with what Ellen White has stated, they have tried to come up with a new definition of sin and along with that new definition
of sin has come a new Christ a false christ.
The new definition of sin is this: Sin is not something you do in breaking
the law, but it is what you are. In other words, sin is not an action of the will but a state of being the action is only
the result of the sin that is within you. Of course, there is a certain amount of truth within this, for we do sin because
of the weakened nature and the deep- seated disposition toward selfishness that we inherited from fallen Adam but the action
is still the sin, and not the weakness of nature that led to the action.
If a father told his son not to let his hair grow too long, but he did
so anyway, the sin would not reside in the natural tendency of the body to grow hair, but in the son not having it cut. We
all have as natural tendencies toward sin and selfishness as the body has to grow hair, but the sin comes when, and only when,
we yield to that tendency because we have not united our will to the will of God. This understanding is crucial.
Thus sin is, in its most basic sense, what you do and not what you are.
This fact is both common sense and plain biblical teaching. Some theologians, however, have come up with a new definition
that is just the opposite. To support this new and false definition of sin, they must find a pretext in the Bible. Of course,
the Bible doesn't say such a thing it is consistent in its teaching but by twisting one or two texts out of context, they
are able to fool many people. The main text used is Romans 14: 23: Whatsoever is not of faith is sin. KJV
So you see, they say, sin is a state of faithlessness, not an action of
the will. Every baby is born without faith, so every baby is a sinner as soon as he is born. The only problem is that they
quote only half the text and half the sentence. The first half of the text explains the last half and it explains it much
differently than the theologians do.
You see, if whatsoever is without faith is sin, then every tree is a sinful
tree, every rock is a sinful rock, and even the gates of the New Jerusalem are sinful gates, for all are without faith.
Oh, no, they say, you have to understand that whatsoever' is referring
to people. But is it? Not according to the text not at all. The first part of the text makes it plain that it is NOT referring
to people. This is the reason that theologians who quote this text never quote the first part.
The whole verse says this: But he who doubts is condemned IF he eats,
because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin. Romans 14: 23. You will notice that people sin
when they are without faith only IF they commit an action. It is whatever one does that is without faith that is sin. This
verse accords perfectly with 1 John 3: 4, for it is only through faith that the law can be kept. Whatever one does without
faith results in the breaking of the law. See 1 John 5: 3- 4
Another text some have used to try to establish this new, non- biblical
definition of sin is that found in Isaiah 59: 2, which states: Your iniquities have separated you from your God. Thus, they
say, sin is a broken relationship with God. But again they misquote the Scriptures. This scripture plainly states that it
is sin that causes the broken relationship. The broken relationship is both a cause and a result of sin, not the sin itself.
It is through these false definitions of sin that many false christs have
been brought into the world. Ellen White knew the importance of a proper understanding of sin, and she therefore emphasized
that 1 John 3: 4 is the ONLY definition of sin that God has given us. Don't try to make up a new one.
Yet some theologians have made up a new definition of sin and then built
a new religious system of human logic upon it, and the following summary has been the result (you may find it easier to read
one column at a time and then compare the two):
The new theory on the right was Desmond Ford's doctrine precisely. He
did not originate it, but he championed it within the Seventh- day Adventist Church, and it has swept throughout its precincts.
Although the master teacher has been defrocked, his teaching has remained to leaven and bear fruit.
Some would presume to make these differences just matters of semantics
Let's have unity, they say, and forget these differences of theology. Although there are sincere Adventists on both sides
of the question concerning the nature of Christ, and although we should love our brethren and fellowship in prayer and study
in order to solve these differences, it is not a matter of semantics. Many sincere Christians believe quite differently about
which day is the day of Christian worship, but that does not make it a matter of mere semantics. True and lasting unity can
come only when we are united on the basic, fundamental tenets of Christianity. When we are dealing with the deity, nature,
and mission of Christ, we are dealing with the very essence of Christianity. Ellen White said: The humanity of the Son of
God is everything to us. . . . This is to be our study. Selected Messages, book 1, 244
The Historical Adventist
Concept of Christ and Sin
A New Christ Established|
Upon a New Concept of Sin
|1) Sin is an action of the will
in transgressing the law of God, for which we are responsible because Christ has provided us power to keep the law.
||1) Sin is a state of being in
which we are born, not an action of the will. Sin is what we are not what we do. (Thus sin is Adam's fault and not ours.)
|2) Jesus was born with our fallen,
weakened human nature, born in the likeness of sinful flesh. Romans 8: 3. In assuming humanity Christ took the part of every
human being. He . . . took our nature in its deteriorated condition. Selected Messages, book 1, 252 253. Though taking our
nature in its fallen condition, Christ did not in the least participate in its sin, for He did not yield to its weaknesses.
Ibid., 256. He gained victory by uniting our fallen nature with His divine nature, showing that man, in co- operation with
God, can be an overcomer.
||2) Since sin is the state of being
in which were born, Jesus must have been born in a different state of being from the one we were born in, or He would have
been a sinner too. (This is a new teaching in the Adventist Church, completely contrary to our historical teachings. But it
is the only logical conclusion you can arrive at if you accept the above definition of sin.)|
|3) Through the new birth, Jesus
offers us a new, spiritual nature. Genuine faith appropriates the righteousness of Christ, . . . and the sinner is made an
overcomer with Christ; for he is made a partaker of the divine nature, and thus divinity and humanity are combined. Ibid.,
||3) Therefore, since Jesus was
born in a different state of being from us, we can never hope to be like Him. (Satan has always fought against the idea that
we can live a holy life.) |
|4) Therefore, the gospel is the
good news that Jesus came down both to justify us and sanctify us. His perfect humanity is that which alt His followers may
possess, if they will be in subjection to God as He was. The Desire of Ages, 664
||4) Therefore, the gospel is the
good news that we are judicially saved from sin. This g o s p e l e m b o d i e s j u s t i f i c a t i o n only sanctification
being but an unreachable ideal. (Anyone who teaches victory over all sin through the power of Christ is accused of being works
|5) Jesus entered a new ministry
in 1844 to cleanse the sanctuary. This work involves both an investigative judgment and a cleansing of His people from sin,
so that they can go through the time of trouble without a mediator and be ready for translation. (The date 1844 is thus very
||5) Therefore, Jesus' work for
us is substitutionary and not exemplary, and Jesus' work in the heavenly sanctuary must therefore be limited to that of justification
only, begun in AD. 31, with no real change thereafter. (Thus the significance of 1844 is effectively destroyed.)|
Christ and the Plan of Salvation
What one believes about the nature of Christ will often shape his whole
concept about the plan of salvation. Upon this point nearly all theologians agree, whatever their view on the nature of Christ.
Systematic theologians who believe that Christ had Adam's unfallen nature generally believe that total victory over sin is
an impossibility in this life and that to believe in such a concept is perfectionistic. Those who believe in perfectionism
are derided as legalists. These theologians tend to believe that justification is all that is required for salvation, although
they usually encourage their followers to try to overcome their major, socially unacceptable sins. Since they conclude that
committing sins will not generally affect a person's salvation, these theologians often believe in the once- saved- always-
saved theory, or something close to it.
On the other hand, those theologians who believe that Christ took Adam's
fallen nature believe just the opposite about the plan of salvation. They generally believe that God has power to free us
from every sin as He points them out in our lives. They believe that justification is our title to heaven, and that overcoming
sin in no way earns our way to heaven, but nevertheless, the free gift of salvation is offered on condition of victory over
sin. Victory over sin is a day- by- day, moment- by- moment process. These theologians will generally not believe in the once-
savedalways- saved theory, for salvation is dependent upon an ongoing relationship with Jesus Christ.
These are the two major viewpoints on Christology and salvation. There
is one other theory, however, that is gaining prominence in Adventism which should be briefly mentioned, and that is the theory
that Jesus took Adam's unfallen nature, but that we can still overcome every sin. This is a theory that accepts Desmond Ford's
view on the nature of Christ, but comes out with a very different conclusion. The reason we can completely overcome, they
say, is that Jesus does the overcoming for us. For us to try to overcome sin would be works. When we have a faith relationship
with Jesus we no longer have temptations to sin, only temptations to break our relationship of faith. In essence, we also
receive Adam's unfallen nature, or very close to it. This is similar to the belief of the holy flesh movement in Indiana at
the turn of the century. The major variation in today's belief is that receiving this new nature must be a daily process of
faith, whereas some in Indiana believed that they permanently had a changed nature.
Let us examine statements from the Bible first, and the Spirit of Prophecy
second, as to what nature Christ had. This study will help determine our understanding of the Bible plan of salvation. While
none of us can ever in this life or throughout eternity fully understand Christ's deity or incarnation, we can accept by faith
what the Bible says. If we refuse to accept the plain biblical account of who Jesus was, we may refuse to believe the biblical
plan of salvation as well.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ
The first words of Paul in the New Testament are a startling declaration
of the nature of Christ: The gospel . . . concerning. . . Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according
to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit. Romans 1: 1- 4
Though not a popular Jewish concept, Paul boldly begins with a declaration
of the humanity and the divinity of Christ. He was both the Son of man and the Son of God. As to His divine nature, there
is no question among conservative Christians. The questions of Christ's nature concern His humanity. Did He have a humanity
such as you and I are born with, or was it a human nature such as Adam was created with? Paul says He was born of the seed
The word seed means lineage, from which we inherit our nature. In 1 John
3: 9 the apostle John affirms that when God's seed, or His divine nature, inherited through Jesus and given by the Holy Spirit,
resides in us, we cannot be made to sin. We have been born again, not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible. 1 Peter 1: 23.
Thus we have been made partakers of the divine nature. 2 Peter 1: 4. When we are born again, we are born of the seed of Christ
according to the Spirit. Jesus was born of the seed of David according to the flesh.
In the New Testament, flesh is the seat of passion and sin. It specifically
refers to our fallen, human natures that are weak and susceptible to temptation. As Paul points out, the works of the flesh
. . . are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts
of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like. Galatians 5: 19-
21. There is not one good work of the flesh listed. The works of the flesh are all bad. The works of Adam's flesh before he
fell, of course, would have been all good.
Once Adam fell, the human nature that the Bible calls flesh became a carnal
slave of sin. There was no other human nature, for there were no unfallen human beings. Adam fell before he had his first
offspring. Adam was a fallen being, not an unfallen being. The plan of redemption was for fallen Adam and his children. All
the sons of Adam inherited Adam's fallen nature in fact, there was no other human nature to inherit. If Jesus had inherited
an unfallen nature, it could not have been inherited from Adam. Paul, wanting to make sure we understand that it was Adam's
fallen nature that Jesus inherited, testifies that He was born of the seed of David. David was fallen from his very conception.
David confessed, Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. Psalm 51: 5
Was Jesus really born of such a nature as far as his inherited human nature
is concerned? There was no other human nature to inherit. It was within that nature that He overcame sin on our account. Thus
Paul says: What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh [because of our fallen natures], God did by sending
His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh. Romans 8: 3
So well do all authorities agree that the word flesh here refers to our
fallen, human nature that the New International Version felt free to translate the word flesh in this verse as such: What
the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature. Why did Jesus come in the likeness of sinful, human
nature? He did it to condemn, or overcome, sin in that nature, so that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled
in us who are also born in sinful, fallen natures. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of
one. . . . Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren.. . . For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted,
He is able to aid those who are tempted. Romans 8: 4; Hebrews 2: 11, 17- 18.
Romans 8: 3 fully proves that this fallen nature was indeed the very nature
that Christ took. Therefore theologians who reject this plain Bible teaching have searched for ways to discredit and distort
this verse. They have found it in the word likeness from the Greek homoioma. They say that Paul should have used the word
sameness if he meant the same thing, but he used only the word likeness.
Homoioma is the same word Paul uses in Philippians 2: 7 when he says that
[ Christ] made Himself of no reputation.., coming in the likeness of men. Did Jesus really become a man or did He just come
in the image of a man without really becoming a part of the human race? The word likeness here does not mean unlikeness. It
means that Jesus was like us.
Like us (homoioma), Jesus inherited a sinful, fallen nature. Like us,
He had to rely on another, spiritual and holy nature in order to overcome. Like us, He had to crucify the deeds of the flesh
in order to live a holy life. Did He live a holy life within that weakened nature that He inherited? Most assuredly He did.
He was that Holy One (Luke 1: 35), something that no human can ever say, for we have all fallen and come short of the glory
of God, something Jesus never did. Jesus was holy from His very birth. From birth he had the two natures spiritual and carnal.
From birth His carnal nature was kept in subjection. Throughout His lifetime He continued to crucify the deeds of the flesh
so that never once, even by a thought, did He yield to its clamorings. So it may be with us once we too receive the new nature,
called the new birth.
Without crucifying the deeds of the flesh and receiving the new birth,
none can be saved. See Romans 8: 13; John 3: 3. Jesus showed us that it can be done. By coming down in our nature and overcoming,
He opened the door for every child of Adam to also overcome and inherit eternal life.
Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.
And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him. Hebrews 5: 8- 9. For we do not have
a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us
therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:
15- 16. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted. Hebrews 2: 18
Jesus revealed no qualities, and exercised no powers, that men may not
have through faith in Him. His perfect humanity is that which all His followers may possess, if they will be in subjection
to God as He was. The Desire of Ages, 664. Because Jesus came down in our nature and overcame, we too can overcome within
that same human heredity.
Since it is necessary for us to overcome though encumbered with a fallen
nature, the only way Jesus could save us was by coming down in our shoes, so to speak, and overcoming as we must overcome.
The great work of redemption could be carried out only by the Redeemer taking the place of fallen Adam. . . that through His
name, man might overcome the foe on his own account.
What love! What amazing condescension! The King of glory proposed to humble
himself to fallen humanity. He would place His feet in Adam's steps. He would take man's fallen nature. Ellen G. White, Confrontation,
This is the truth that Satan hates, for it is the victory of Jesus in
fallen nature that frees us from his dominion. It is for this purpose that Satan has sought to undermine this great bulwark
of New Testament theology. He knows that if He can make Jesus different from us, then we are still his subjects. In fact,
the theologians who believe in Christ's pre- Fall nature almost unilaterally agree that we are still the subjects of Satan.
They laugh at the idea of being able to overcome sin. Jesus said that whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. John 8: 34. These
theologians claim that since we can never overcome sin, we must always remain the slaves of Satan. That is Satan's purpose
Satan's claims are false. We can be free from sin through Christ. If the
Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed [not just in theory]. John 8: 36. You know that He was manifested to take away
our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.
Little children, let no one [theologian or otherwise] deceive you. He who practices righteousness [not he who is declared
righteous] is righteous, just as He is righteous. 1 John 3: 5- 7. Evidently John foresaw that there would be a great deception
and apostasy on this point, for no warning of the Bible is given without just cause. He warns us to let no one deceive us
into thinking we are righteous while still practicing known sin. He who sins is of the devil. 1 John 3: 8. Not only does John
indicate that there would be a great deception on this point, but he identifies the apostate power that Satan would use to
champion this deception, and he tells how he would do it. The power he would use was the great antichrist power of prophecy,
and the way the antichrist would deceive people into thinking they didnt't need to, or could not, overcome sin would be to
reject and deny the fallen, human nature of Christ. Here is John's prophetic warning:
Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is
of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit
of Antichrist. . . . You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he
who is in the world. 1 John 4: 2- 4
Every spirit that confesses that Jesus came in the flesh is of God, and
every spirit that denies that Jesus came in the flesh is not of God. That is an absolute and clear- cut identifying mark of
the spirits. Humans may be confused, but the spirits are not. Every prophet can be judged by this test. There are many false
prophets who admit that Jesus came in human skin and bones, and got tired and had to eat food like other humans, but neither
the devil nor any of his angels will ever acknowledge that Jesus came in fallen nature and overcame sin. This would be an
admission of defeat and an acknowledgment that we can be saved. He continues to claim that we are his subjects and slaves.
Remember, the word flesh is a New Testament term for fallen, human nature.
This is the way all New Testament writers use the term, and that is the way John uses it in 1 John: For all that is in the
world the lust of the flesh [fallen human nature].., is not of the Father, but is of the world. 1 John 2: 16
Peter says, Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh [fallen
human nature], arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh [crucified the clamors of the
fallen nature] has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men,
but for the will of God. 1 Peter 4: 1- 2. Peter says we are not to live in the flesh certainly he is not referring to our
literal skin and bones. Neither is he referring to some weakened constitution that requires physical food and rest, for if
that were the requirement of salvation, we would all be doomed. But this passage is referring to the same truth as Paul when
he says, in me [that is, in my flesh] nothing good dwells. . . . I see another law in my members, warring against the law
of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. Romans 7: 18,23. It is only by the power
of the Spirit that we can put to death the deeds of the body. Romans 8: 13. Paul's flesh was his weakened, selfish nature
that in and of itself was powerless to overcome the clamorings of sin. This is the very flesh that Jesus was born with. This
is the same flesh He had to crucify day by day, hour by hour. It became His nature to crucify the flesh. Thus he developed
a perfect character. Thus, and thus only, could He be our Saviour.
Like Jesus, we are to crucify our fallen natures and live a new life under
the direction of the Holy Spirit. This new life is signified by baptism in Romans 6.
According to 1 John 4, the great antichrist power, along with all the
spirits of the devil, would deny the plain biblical teaching that Christ came in our flesh, that is, our nature. This power
came up with what is termed the immaculate conception that teaches that Jesus was born of an unfallen woman. This doctrine
was the very Alpha of apostasy in the New Testament church that led to the formation of the beast power of Revelation. At
least the beast power is logical enough to know that if Jesus was born with an unfallen nature, He had to be born of a woman
with an unfallen nature. Thus it claims that Mary was sinless too. Of course, to be totally logical, Mary would need to have
been born of a line of unfallen parents reaching back to Adam. But Paul affirms that Jesus did not come to give aid to [unfallen]
angels, but He does give aid to the seed of [fallen] Abraham. Hebrews 2: 16
Thus, one of the identifying marks of the antichrist power is that it
rejects the human, fleshly nature of Jesus. On the other hand, one of the tests of a true prophet is that he or she teaches
that Jesus had such a nature as we have. Does Ellen White pass this test?
Indeed she does. Many Adventist theologians who have espoused this view
that John warns against have eventually thrown out the Spirit of Prophecy. We cannot continue to believe the Spirit of Prophecy,
if we really know what it says, and continue to hold to a pre- Fall theology that makes us still slaves of the devil and sin.
Ellen White is too clear.
Satan represents God's law of love as. . . impossible for us to obey.
. . . Jesus was to unveil this deception. As one of us He was to give an example of obedience. For this He took upon Himself
our nature and passed through our experience. In all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren. ' Hebrews 2:
17. If we had to bear anything which Jesus did not endure, then upon this point Satan would represent the power of God as
insufficient for us.. . . He endured every trial to which we are subject. And He exercised in His own behalf no power that
is not freely offered to us. As man, He met temptation, and overcame in the strength given Him from God.
His life testifies that it is possible for us also to obey the law of
God. By His humanity, Christ touched humanity; by His divinity, He lays hold upon the throne of God. The Desire of Ages, 24
Jesus united the human with the divine, and showed that the clamorings
of the fallen nature are no match for the strength of the divine nature. He did not allow His character, which, like ours,
was determined by thoughts and feelings, to develop any tendencies toward sin. He had a fallen nature, but one which, through
much suffering, remained crucified. A rocket, which in and of itself has tendencies to gravity, loses those tendencies when
the engines are fired. It then has a tendency to head upwards. Thus it was with Jesus, and thus it can be with us if we will
be moment by moment connected with Christ as close as the vine is with the branch. That does not mean we will not have struggles.
We will have serious struggles. But because Jesus is in our hearts, we will want to overcome these temptations, and with His
power we will.
Christ is the ladder that Jacob saw. . . . If that ladder had failed by
a single step of reaching the earth, we should have been lost. But Christ reaches us where we are. He took our nature and
overcame, that we through taking His nature might overcome. Made in the likeness of sinful flesh' (Romans 8: 3), He lived
a sinless life. Ibid., 311- 312 [ Christ] took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin. Ellen
G. White, The Seventh- day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1147
The nature of God, whose law had been transgressed, and the nature of
Adam, the transgressor, meet in Jesus the Son of God, and the Son of man. Ibid., vol. 7,926. Jesus did not come down to prove
that Adam, if he had had special divine help, could have kept from sinning. Rather, he came to show that we, when we have
special divine help, can overcome sin.
I've never had a television, but I once saw a program called What's My
Line? where a panel of three people all claimed to be the same person one of the three was the person he claimed to be and
the other two were not. Let's suppose the guest of the program was Jesus Christ, missionary to earth. In this case, each of
the three people on the panel would claim to be the Christ and the contestants would have the task of deciphering the real
from the false. At the end of the program the host would first ask the contestants to identify which person they had chosen,
after which he would say: And now, will the real Jesus Christ please stand up. There was a moment of suspense; the true person
stood up, showing who had guessed right and who had guessed wrong. The real program is called the Drama of the Ages. The contestants
are you and I. The end of the program, where the real Christ stands up, is the end of the Age. And the prize is eternal life.