Saved While Sinning
By Pastor Kevin D. Paulson
The unscriptural, evangelical doctrine of cheap-grace salvation has again darkened the pages of Adventism’s most prominent magazine. And again it behooves the faithful to carefully consider, in the light of God’s written counsel, why this teaching is both wrong and dangerous.
In summary, the article in question holds justification, or forgiveness, to be the sole ground of the believer’s assurance of salvation (2), that justification means to declare righteous only, not to actually make righteous (3), that this justification covers Christians “like an umbrella” (4), thus making perfect sanctification unnecessary as a condition of eternal life. Though it isn’t explicitly stated, the article clearly implies that perfection of character is both impossible and unnecessary this side of heaven. In light of this particular theology, Adventists are chided by the article’s author for not declaring more readily that they are “saved” (5).
The author declares, near the beginning of the article:
We all know that salvation is by grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ. But when I ask Adventist audiences how many have the assurance of salvation right now, only half raise their hands. Why? Many of us are confused regarding what God really expects from us when it comes to salvation (6).
Indeed many are confused! Chances are, those raising their hands at this question are among the most confused of all! Tragically, the assurance doctrine taught in this article is both contrary to Inspiration and an unwitting encouragement to those who indulge occasional sin while still desiring a place in heaven.
Before we can answer the question, “Can I Know I’m Saved?:” we must ask and answer the question, “What does it mean to be saved?” Saved from what?
The first reference to salvation in the New Testament answers the second question:
Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).
Other verses define the outworking of this process. In both Old and New Testaments, confession and the forsaking of sin are cited as preceding the bestowal of God’s forgiveness:
If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins, and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).
He that covereth his sins shall not prosper, but whoso confesseth, and forsaketh them, shall have mercy (Proverbs 28:13).
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him: and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon (Isaiah 55:7).
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: Bit of ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15.)
For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified (Romans 2:13).
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).
According to the Bible, the forgiveness which follows the confession and forsaking of sin is defined as part of the saving, redemptive process:
Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24).
In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace (Ephesians 1:7).
But sanctification, accomplished through the imparted Holy Spirit, is also noted by Scripture as part of this saving process:
Goth hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:13).
The work of Christ for us, in substituting the life and death of His Son for that of the sinner, is clearly a part salvation:
For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).
But the work of the Holy Spirit in us, according to Scripture, is also a part of salvation:
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 (Titus 3:5).
So in order to answer the question, “Can I Know I’m Saved?” we must consider how the Bible defines what it means to be saved. According to the above passages, the process of being saved includes, confession of sin, forsaking sin, the forgiveness of sin (often called justification), and the internal cleansing from sin called in the Bible regeneration and sanctification.
The article in question seeks to remedy what it holds to be confusion in Christian circles about salvation, claiming this confusion is illustrated in a chart he describes as follows:
We start out at the bottom left corner with conversion, giving ourselves to God. This is called justification, what God has done for us, His imputed righteousness.
Once we have given our lives to God we begin the process of sanctification, which is the imparted righteousness of Christ. Then our life is supposed to be a steady progress toward perfection. We have ups and downs, but the trend is always upward (7).
The article then finds fault with this chart as follows:
The problem of insecurity is graphically illustrated by this chart. (Everything below the diagonal line is sanctification and everything above is justification.) As we grow in sanctification, the thinking of some is that we need less and less of justification, until it is all sanctification and no justification.
But how do we know if we have reached perfection? And how much sanctification is necessary to be saved? (8).
Biblically speaking, as we will note later, the only problem with this chart is its implication that justifying righteousness is a covering only, since both Scripture and Ellen White are clear that justification is transformative as well as declarative. But aside from this, the chart in Figure 1 is essentially correct. The Christian life is begun with God’s forgiveness covering not only one’s past, but the sins one is ignorantly committing as well (9). As sanctification increases, more and more ignorant sins are revealed and conquered by the believer through the Spirit’s power, while occasional failures are also covered once the sin committed is confessed and forsaken.
When, through sanctifying righteousness, total perfection is at last attained, past sins remain covered by God’s forgiveness, but neither ignorant nor occasional known sin exists any longer. This is how the end-time saints, following the close of probation, can “stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator” (10). According to Ellen White, ignorant sin requires a Mediator’s handling just as known sin does (11). Which is why the last generation of believers will attain a height reached by no former generation in history—living not only free of known sin, but of ignorant sin as well, since all of the latter will by then have been revealed and overcome.
What is often ignored, sadly, by those who criticize the theology of this chart, is the reality that both the righteousness above the diagonal line, and the righteousness below, come entirely from Jesus. Both justification and sanctification represent the spotless righteousness of Christ. No righteousness of any kind originates with self. Nowhere do either Scripture or Ellen White declare justification to be superior to sanctification, or that either is more or less the perfect righteousness of our holy God than the other.
As noted above, the article in question asks, “But how do we know if we have reached perfection? And how much sanctification is necessary to be saved?” (12).
The first question is easy to answer, on the basis of God’s Word. The Bible declares, speaking of God, “Thou, even Thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men” (1 Kings 8:39). God alone knows the state of every heart. While you and I can know we have made progress in the sanctified walk, we can never know when that sanctification has achieved the total removal of sin, because God alone knows our spiritual condition at its ultimate depths. This is why Job declared, “If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me; if I say I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse. Though I were perfect, yet I would not know my soul; I would despise my life” (Job 9:20-21). For this reason the apostle John writes, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:7).
At the same time, of course, God declared of Job that he was “a perfect and upright man, one that feared God, and eschewed evil” (Job 1:1), and that despite horrific loss and physical suffering, Job did not sin (Job 1:22; 2:10). And while John is clear we cannot say we have no sin (1 John 1:8), for the reasons already noted, he is clear in that selfsame context that through the cleansing blood of Jesus, believers are not only promised forgiveness, but cleansing “from all unrighteousness” (verses 7,9).
In short, we cannot know when in fact we have reached perfection. Not until the voice of God declares of the translated saints, “’They come! they come! holy, harmless, undefiled. They have kept the word of My patience; they shall walk among the angels’” (13), will God’s people know this condition is theirs.
The second question asks, “How much sanctification is necessary to be saved?” (14). The Bible answers this question also:
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly: and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
Our sanctification must, therefore, be total. Our all belongs to the Lord. Of course, the Bible is equally clear—as we noted earlier—that believers are not held accountable for sins of ignorance (Acts 17:30; James 4:17). The Baptist Christian who dies ignorantly breaking the Sabbath, the Catholic Christian who dies ignorantly breaking the commandment against image worship, even the New Ager who dies ignorantly rejecting Jesus or the agnostic who spurns nominal Christianity while living for the betterment of mankind—all are judged solely on the basis of the light and truth shown them (Romans 2:14-16).
Thankfully, only God knows the heart (1Kings 8:39), which is why only He can determine whether one has in fact lived up to the knowledge thus revealed. Complete sanctification is required of all, but only in accord with the light shown to each individual.
The author of the article in question, of course, would doubtless claim the above answers produce the very insecurity he protests. We will address the issue of assurance as this review proceeds.
The article then introduces a second chart, Figure 2, which the author claims better illustrates God’s salvation. In this chart, justification is shaped like an umbrella—a term the author uses for justification in the article itself (15) —covering not only one’s past, but the entire experience of sanctification itself. The chart defines justification as “Complete” and the “Work of Jesus FOR us,” while sanctification is defined as “Incomplete” and as the “Work of Jesus IN us.”
The problem is that neither Scripture nor Ellen White defines justification as an “umbrella” covering the totality of our presumably “incomplete” sanctification. The doctrine of “overarching forgiveness,” as some describe it, is not taught in the Bible, nor is it taught in the writings of Ellen White. We have already seen how the Bible declares God’s intention that we be sanctified “wholly,” and kept “blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Ellen White echoes this verse in the following statements, where she defines sanctification:
What is sanctification? It is to give one’s self wholly and without reserve—soul, body, and spirit—to God; to deal justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God; to know and to do the will of God without regard to self or self-interest; to be heavenly-minded, pure, unselfish, holy, and without spot or stain (16).
True sanctification consists in the cheerful performance of daily duties in perfect obedience to the will of God (17).
In a passage quoted by the article itself, in closing, the apostle John declares, “These things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1) (18). Notice that forgiveness is available if we sin, not when. For the converted believer, continuous forgiveness is a provision only, not a necessity.
Ellen White is clear how Christ’s substitutionary righteousness, bestowed in justification, is applied to the believer:
The law requires righteousness,--a righteous life, a perfect character, and this man has not to give. He cannot meet the claims of God’s holy law. But Christ, coming to the earth as man, lived a holy life, and developed a perfect character. These He offers as a free gift to all who will receive them. His life stands for the life of men. Thus they have remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. More than this, Christ imbues men with the attributes of God. He builds up the human character after the similitude of the divine character, a goodly fabric of spiritual strength and beauty. Thus the very righteousness of the law is fulfilled in the believer in Christ (19).
Christ bears the penalty of man’s past transgressions, and by imparting to man His righteousness, makes it possible for man to keep God’s holy law (20).
Neither Scripture nor Ellen White envision some overarching umbrella of forensic righteousness covering our past, present, and future shortcomings. This really amounts to what can only be called “advance forgiveness”—not too dissimilar to the Catholic doctrine of indulgences, only in this case the indulgences are free! The Bible hardly allows for such a concept, since we have seen already that sin must be confessed as well as forsaken in order for forgiveness to take place (2 Chronicles 7:14; Proverbs 28:13; Isaiah 55:7). Ellen White teaches the same principle in the following statements:
God requires the entire surrender of the heart, before justification can take place (21)
God will soon vindicate His justice before the universe. His justice requires that sin shall be punished; His mercy grants that sin shall be pardoned through repentance and confession. Pardon can come only through His only begotten Son; Christ alone can expiate sin—and then only when sin is repented of and forsaken (22).
In light of this, how could tomorrow’s sins already be forgiven today, especially since tomorrow’s sins are not only yet to be committed, but are obviously not yet confessed or forsaken either? Biblical forgiveness cannot be bestowed until Biblical conditions are met. This is one primary reason, among others, why the theory of “overarching forgiveness” contradicts God’s Word.
The article in question confuses the issue badly when the author writes, concerning a Bible passage in which God describes King David as “doing only what was right in My eyes” (1 Kings 14:9):
Did David always “do only what was right in God’s eyes”? No, he did not. But because he lived in surrender to God and was always repentant when he sinned, God looked on him as if he had never sinned. In the same way God looks at us through Jesus (23).
David was certainly not living “in surrender to God” while committing adultery with Bathsheba and plotting the murder of her husband. Nor is it correct to say anyone, including David, is repentant “when he sinned.” When one chooses to sin, surrender to God has momentarily ceased, and self is back on the throne of the heart. And since repentance is defined by Inspiration as “sorrow for sin, and a turning away from it” (24), it is hardly accurate to describe anyone as “repentant when he sinned.” No one can possibly be repentant until after sin has been committed, confessed, and forsaken.
Yes, David is described in 1 Kings 14:9 is “doing only that which was right in [God’s] eyes.” But this is only because, throughout his life and at the end, he confessed his sins and forsook them, thus fulfilling the Bible conditions for pardon. Therefore, once he died, all of his sins were placed under the blood of Jesus, and God counted him as though he had never sinned. But in no way does this passage, or any other, portray God’s forgiveness as an overarching “umbrella” covering the present and future as well as the past.
The article in question quotes Paul’s statement that “to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:5) (25). Unfortunately, the article doesn’t quote the following three verses, which cite an Old Testament passage describing God’s forgiveness:
Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin (verses 6-8).
When we go back and examine the last of these verses, taken from Psalm 32:2, we again see what the conditions are for not having iniquity imputed to us:
Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
To whom does the Lord not impute sin? Those “in whose spirit there is no guile” (Psalm 32:2). Which dovetails entirely with the verses we have seen already, in which confession and the forsaking of sin are necessary in order to receive God’s forgiveness (2Chronicles 7:14; Proverbs 28:13; Isaiah 55:7). Which means that Paul’s phrases “worketh not” (Romans 4:5) and “without works” (verse 6) do not exclude the transforming work of the Holy Spirit, for only through this work can one become guileless and repentant and thus eligible for divine forgiveness.
The article in question, in contrast to the Biblical evidence, declares emphatically that God “justifies the wicked” (26), then cites a dictionary definition of justification which states as follows:
Justification is the opposite of condemnation (Romans 5:16). Neither term specifies character, but only standing before God. Justification is not a transformation of inherent character; it does not impart righteousness any more than condemnation imparts sinfulness (27). Both the dictionary and the article’s author are profoundly in error.
When God declared at the Creation, “Let there be light,” the Bible says, “and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). When Jesus declared to the leper, “Be thou clean,” the Scripture says that “immediately his leprosy was cleansed” (Matthew 8:3). The word used for forgiveness in Ephesians 1:7, which speaks of “redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins,” is the same word translated “deliverance” and “liberty” in Jesus’ proclamation at Nazareth:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised (Luke 4:18).
One can hardly imagine that the deliverance Jesus was preaching was something declared to be so, but not actually so, any more than the leper was told that Jesus merely looked upon him as though he was clean, when in fact he really wasn’t!
Commenting both on the Creation and on Romans 4:17, where it is said that God “calleth those things which be not as though they were,” Ellen White declares:
At the creation, “He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” He “calleth those things which be not as though they were” (Psalm 33:9; Romans 4:17); for when He calls them, they are (28).
In one of her signature definitions, the modern prophet explains the scope of God’s forgiveness, flatly contradicting the article in question:
God’s forgiveness is not merely a judicial act by which He sets us free from condemnation. It is not only forgiveness for sin, but reclaiming from sin. It is the outflow of redeeming love that transforms the heart. David had the true conception of forgiveness when he prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10) (29).
When faced with passages like the above, we are again compelled to choose between the fallible opinions of human beings and the infallible Word of God.
The role of obedience in salvation is likewise misunderstood by the article in question. The author writes at one point:
Should we seek to make ourselves righteous so God can accept us? No, otherwise you are saved by works. Paul makes this crystal clear [Ephesians 2:8-9 then quoted] (30).
Later he writes: Keeping God’s rules only comes as a response to the salvation He has already given in Christ, never as the cause (or part of the cause) of that salvation (31).
Here we see perpetuated a common distortion of the Biblical statements that Christians are not saved by works (Romans 3:20,28; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9). The apostle is clear what kind of works he is talking about in these verses, and it is not the work of the Holy Spirit in and through the believer—described elsewhere in Paul’s writings as very much a part of the saving process (2 Thessalonians 2:13; Titus 3:5). When Paul writes in Ephesians 2:9 that salvation is “not of works, lest any man should boast,” his point becomes clear. Especially when this verse is compared to Romans 2:17,23, in which he speaks of how the Jews in his day made their “boast of the law” while in fact disobeying the law’s commands.
It is this hypocritical, boastful piety to which Paul refers in the following chapter, when he declares, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight” (Romans 3:20. By contrast, the same author writes in the previous chapter that “the work of the law written in [believers’] hearts” (Romans 2:15) is very much a condition of justification, for in verse 13 he writes, “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.”
Paul’s statement, “Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:9) places the works thus described in sharp contrast with the fruits of the Spirit found in the previous epistle, one of which is meekness (Galatians 5:23)—the opposite of boasting. Hypocritical, prideful religion—like that of the Pharisees—produces boasting. But the work of the sanctifying Holy Spirit in Christian lives produces meekness and humility.
Paul illustrates this point more clearly when he compares the old and new covenant, respectively, to Abraham’s sons by Hagar and Sarah (Galatians 4:24). He writes, “But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise” (verse 23). But the fact is that Abraham played an active part in the birth of both sons. Isaac was not virgin-born, as Jesus was. Isaac was born of the “seed of Abraham,” from which the promised Messiah descended (Genesis 15:4; Hebrews 2:16). The difference is that in the birth of Ishmael, Abraham acted in his own strength apart from divine instruction, while in the birth of Isaac he acted in cooperation with God's strength—the essence of righteousness by faith (Philippians 2:12-13).
Hebrews 11, often called the “faith chapter,” graphically depicts righteousness by faith in action. The phrase “by faith” in this chapter is clearly the means whereby men and women of God obeyed God’s requirements. Faith in this chapter is the means of obedience, not a substitute for it. Regarding Sarah, we read, “Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised” (Hebrews 11:11). But again we recall the Biblical record of this story, which makes it clear Sarah’s and Abraham’s faith in this matter was combined with their own cooperative effort.
What is said of Noah in this chapter is perhaps even more significant, since it specifically mentions how he “became heir of the righteousness which is by faith”:
By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear; prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith (verse 7).
How did Noah become an heir of righteousness by faith? By stepping aside and letting God do the work? No, by building an ark and warning the world, in conjunction with God’s imparted strength.
In short, it is the boastful, hypocritical deeds of the unconverted which play no part in the process of salvation. But the work of the Holy Spirit in and through the believer is quite another matter. When the rich young ruler came to Christ, asking, “What good thing must I do, that I may have eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16,” our Lord answered, “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments” (verse 17). When the lawyer to whom Jesus told the Good Samaritan story asked the same question (Luke 10:25), Jesus gave the same answer (verse 28). In the parable of the sheep and the goats, Jesus likewise taught that entrance into His kingdom is conditional upon how we treat our fellow humans (Matthew 25:31-46).
The apostle Paul teaches the same thing about the conditions of salvation:
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live (Romans 8:13).
And being made perfect He (Christ) became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him (Hebrews 5:9).
Ellen White echoes these words of Scripture in the following statements:
Thank God, He attends us every step of the way through, if we are willing to be saved in Christ’s appointed way—through obedience to His requirements (32).
We are saved by climbing round after round of the ladder, looking to Christ, clinging to Christ, mounting step by step to the height of Christ, so that He is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly-kindness, and charity are the rounds of this ladder (33).
The gospel that is to be preached to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples presents the truth in clear lines, showing that obedience is the condition of gaining eternal life. Christ imparts His righteousness to those who consent to let Him take away their sins (34).
Notice that none of these statements by Jesus, Paul, and Ellen White describe obedience as something which, in the words of the article in question, “only comes as a response to the salvation He (God) has already given in Christ, never as the cause (or part of the cause) of that salvation” (35). Rather, the above verses are clear that obedience—empowered and made possible by the indwelling Holy Spirit (Matthew 19:26; Romans 8:13)—is very much the condition of salvation. What is done in man’s own strength cannot fulfill these conditions (John 15:5). But what is accomplished through God’s strength can (Philippians 4:13).
We return to the question posed by the article’s author, “Should we seek to make ourselves righteous so that God can accept us?” (36). Obviously if we try this apart from the empowering, converting Holy Spirit, we will fail. But Inspiration is clear that our acceptance with God is based on Spirit-empowered obedience, not exclusively on forgiveness, or justification. The apostle Peter declared in Acts 10:35:
But in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him.
Ellen White is equally clear that being “accepted in the Beloved” is conditional on obedience, made possibly by conversion and sanctification:
It was impossible for the sinner to keep the law of God, which was holy, just, and good; but this impossibility was removed by the impartation of the righteousness of Christ to the repenting, believing soul. The life and death of Christ in behalf of sinful man were for the purpose of restoring the sinner to God’s favor, through imparting to him the righteousness that would meet the claims of the law and find acceptance with the Father (37).
Many of those who claim to believe the testing truths for these last days, act as though God took no note of their disrespect of, and manifest disobedience to, the principles of His holy law. The law is the expression of His will, and it is through obedience to that law that God proposes to accept the children of men and His sons and daughters (38).
There is no way back to innocence and life except through repentance for having transgressed God’s law, and faith in the merits of the divine sacrifice, who has suffered for your transgressions of the past; and you are accepted in the Beloved on condition of obedience to the commandments of your Creator (39).
Through obedience to all the commandments of God, we are accepted in the Beloved” (40).
Perhaps no feature of the current salvation controversy in Adventism is more emotionally sensitive than the subject of assurance. The human craving for security is a powerful thing. Politicians exploit it; insurance companies get rich on it. And in the spiritual realm, it is often a decisive consideration.
Building upon his theory of salvation by justification alone, the author of the article in question makes the following statement about assurance:
Sinners enjoy the assurance of salvation because their standing rests not in what they have done or in what has been done to them but in what has been done to Christ (41).
The author tries to distinguish his concept of assurance from that of the “once saved, always saved” doctrine, by drawing a distinction between the choice to follow Christ and the choice to obey Christ:
Just as we choose to follow Jesus, so we can choose not to follow Jesus. But simply sinning after choosing Jesus does not mean that we have stopped choosing Jesus (42).
We do not lose our salvation every time we sin. We lose our salvation only when we decide that we no longer want to be surrendered to God, when we no longer want Him in our lives (43).
One is quickly led to ask, How many sins did it take to get Adam and Eve expelled from the Garden of Eden? Did their eating of the forbidden fruit mean they no longer wanted God in their lives? Does the Christian executive who occasionally embezzles funds want God out of his life? Or the priest who indulges occasional pedophilia?
The fact is that nowhere does Scripture make a distinction between the choice to accept Christ and the choice to obey Christ. The rich young ruler might well have followed Jesus had the conditions set by Jesus for discipleship not been so unwelcome. All it took was one sin to disqualify our first parents for life in Eden, and all it takes is the breaking of one commandment to cause us to be guilty of all (James 2:10).
Scripture is clear that the choice to separate from God is identical to the choice to sin:
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear (Isaiah 59:2).
Ellen White agrees: By choosing to sin, men separate themselves from God, cut themselves off from the channel of blessing, and the sure result is ruin and death (44).
Just as soon as we separate ourselves from God by sin, which is the transgression of His law, Satan takes control of our minds (45).
The popular “relationship” theology, so widespread in contemporary Adventism, would have us believe that first we choose to separate from God, then we choose to sin. The above inspired statements, and many others (46), are clear that the exact opposite is true.
The article in question quotes an Ellen White statement which is often wrenched from context to prove occasional sin is both the inevitable lot of the believer while on earth, as well as irrelevant to the assurance of salvation:
The character is revealed, not by the occasional good deeds and occasional misdeeds, but by the tendency of the habitual words and acts (47).
But the context of this statement is clear that neither the presumed “inevitability” of occasional sin, nor the presumed maintenance of right standing with God despite such sin, is the subject of this passage. The issue, by contrast, is whether or not one has been converted in the first place, and how the trajectory of one's life indicates whether or not such conversion initially happened:
A person may not be able to tell the exact time or place, or trace all the chain of circumstances in the process of conversion, but this does not prove him to be unconverted. . . . A change will be seen in the character, the habits, the pursuits. The contrast will be clear and decided between what they have been and what they are (48).
Then we read the sentence quoted earlier: The character is revealed, not by the occasional good deeds and occasional misdeeds, but by the tendency of the habitual words and acts (49).
But this is only part of the problem this statement poses for the article in question. We earlier read the article’s statement that “sinners enjoy the assurance of salvation because their standing rests not in what they have done or in what has been done to them but in what has been done to Christ”(50). If this is true, how then could their standing with God depend on “the tendency of the habitual words and acts”(51) which allegedly counterbalances the occasional choice to sin? You can’t have it both ways. Either your salvation is based entirely on justifying, declarative righteousness, or it is based on justifying righteousness plus the trend of one’s life.
As in any study of Scripture or the writings of Ellen White, we must compare inspired statements with each other in order to discover their universal harmony. In Ellen White’s words: “The testimonies themselves will be the key that will explain the messages given, as scripture is explained by scripture” (52). A number of statements on the subject of assurance may appear contradictory, but once viewed in context and in comparison with one another, no contradiction is found.
For starters, let us consider that according to Inspiration, no one is forced to commit sin. Such statements as “I couldn’t help it” or “the devil made me do it,” have no place in a true Christian’s thought process. The Bible is clear, let us remember, that no one is tempted above that which he is able to resist, and that a way of escape has been provided for all who suffer temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). Inspiration is crystal clear that the choice to sin is ours, no one else’s:
Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin (James 1:14-15).
No man can be forced to transgress. His own consent must first be gained, the soul must purpose the sinful act, before passion can dominate over reason, or iniquity triumph over conscience (53).
However great the pressure brought to bear upon the soul, transgression is our own act (54).
With these statements in mind, let us examine two different sets of Ellen White statements. The first set makes it clear that when we sin, God doesn’t cast us off from Him. One of these statements is quoted by the article in question (55):
We shall often have to bow down and weep at the feet of Jesus because of our shortcomings and mistakes, but we are not to be discouraged. Even if we are overcome by the enemy, we are not cast off, not forsaken and rejected of God (56).
If through manifold temptations we are surprised or deceived into sin, He does not turn from us and leave us to perish. No, no, that is not our Saviour. . . . Our crucified Lord is pleading for us in the presence of the Father at the throne of grace. His atoning sacrifice we may plead for our pardon, our justification, and our sanctification (57).
When we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ, we shall have no relish for sin, for Christ will be working with us. We may make mistakes, but we will hate the sin that caused the suffering of the Son of God (58).
But another set of statements confirm earlier ones we have seen in both Scripture and Ellen White—that we separate ourselves from God and His salvation by our choice to commit sin: Every transgression brings the soul into condemnation, and provokes the divine displeasure (59).
Every impurity of thought, every lustful passion, separates the soul from God; for Christ can never put His robe of righteousness upon a sinner, to hide his deformity (60).
There is no safety nor repose nor justification in transgression of the law. Man cannot hope to stand innocent before God, and at peace with Him through the merits of Christ, while he continues in sin. He must cease to transgress, and become loyal and true (61).
When man transgresses he is under the condemnation of the law, and it becomes to him a yoke of bondage. Whatever his profession may be he is not justified (62).
How do we reconcile these two sets of statements? Easily. The first set simply say God doesn’t cast us off when we sin. But the second set are clear that we have cast ourselves off by such choices.
Of course, the inevitable question which arises at this point in our discussion is, What happens if someone dies while committing a sinful act? Some of the most bizarre, even disgusting illustrations have been employed to offer assurance to sinning Christians in case of such “accidents”—even the claim that an adulterous pastor, shot by an enraged husband in the midst of the act, is nevertheless assured of salvation because justification covers him! We should hardly be surprised, with theology like this in circulation, when sexual immorality brings shame upon the church.
But while the above statements are clear that one knowingly choosing to commit sin has removed himself from a saving relationship with God, Scripture is equally clear that God pursues such a one through the appeal of conscience, conviction, circumstance, and even adversity if necessary. When our first parents sinned, God went looking for them even as they sought to hide (Genesis 3:9). The same is true for the straying believer even today.
In other statements, Ellen White clearly ties the believer’s assurance of salvation to obedience:
We cannot have the assurance and perfect confiding trust in Christ as our Saviour until we acknowledge Him as our King and are obedient to His commandments (63).
His (the believer’s) life, cleansed from vanity and selfishness, is filled with the love of God. His daily obedience to the law of God obtains for him a character that assures him eternal life in the kingdom of God (64).
The commandment-keeping people of God are to walk in the sunlight of Christ’s righteousness, their countenances expressing cheerfulness and thanksgiving, joyful in the assurance, “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and enter in through the gates into the city.” Revelation 22:14 (65).
King David was certainly under no illusion that his sin with Bathsheba hadn’t cost him his salvation. In Psalm 51, in his prayer of repentance following this tragedy, he pleads with God, “Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation” (verse 12). (Some have tried to claim that David only asked to have the joy of his salvation restored, that in fact he was still saved while committing adultery and plotting murder. But since I’ve yet to find a verse which speaks of “joyless” salvation, I am compelled to acknowledge that David’s salvation had ceased on account of his sin.) In Ellen White’s words:
David was pardoned of his transgression because he humbled his heart before God in repentance and contrition of soul, and believed that God’s promise to forgive would be fulfilled. He confessed his sin, repented, and was reconverted. . . . The blessing comes because of pardon; pardon comes through faith that the sin, confessed and repented of, is borne by the great Sin Bearer (66).
Two powerful inspired passages offer the only true assurance a professed Christian can have when they fall into sin: The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (1 Peter 3:9).
And for those who fear they might die while sinning, without being offered the chance to repent, the modern prophet declares:
The angels never leave the tempted one a prey to the enemy who would destroy the souls of men if permitted to do so. As long as there is hope, until they resist the Holy Spirit to their eternal ruin, men are guarded by heavenly intelligences (67).
The author of the article in question uses a popular illustration when he writes:
When you messed up in your family as a child, were you kicked out? No. You were still part of the family. When we mess up in God’s family, He does not kick us out. Christ’s blood still covers us (68).
Comforting as this may sound, it is a classic case of permitting a Bible illustration to “stand on all fours.” The Father/child symbolism used in Scripture to describe God’s relationship to His people is an illustration, a figure of speech. And figures of speech, like parables, are not meant to be taken literally. Just as the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) cannot rightly be used to negate the overwhelming Bible evidence of what happens to people at death, so the family analogy to our relationship with God cannot be stretched to the point of contradicting what Inspiration teaches about the requirements for salvation.
Again we are reminded that one sin was all it took to bar Adam and Eve from Paradise, and one sin—unconfessed and unforsaken—is all it will take to bar the pearly gates against you or me. “Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). And of our relationship to God as His children, we have already seen from the inspired pen the conditions for our status in God’s family:
The law is the expression of His will, and it is through obedience to that law that God proposes to accept the children of men as His sons and daughters (69).
Elsewhere we read: God loves His obedient children. He has a kingdom prepared, not for disloyal subjects, but for His children whom He has tested and tried in a world marred and corrupted by sin. As obedient children, we have the privilege of relationship with God (70).
Certain events in recent American history brought into public view the theology of evangelical Christianity regarding the assurance of salvation. During the presidential scandal under the previous administration, Newsweek religion editor Kenneth Woodward described the theology with which the former president had been raised. “Like most Baptists,” Woodward wrote, “Clinton was taught that because he had been born again, his salvation was ensured. Sinning—even repeatedly—would not bar his soul from heaven” (71). Woodward went on to quote certain Baptist leaders who declare—in contrast with the Bible (Matthew 19:16-17; Luke 10:25-28; Romans 2:13; Hebrews 5:9; James 2:24)—that obedience is the result, not a condition, of being saved (72). Woodward stated in closing that the former president “learned his world view not in the dark of a Saturday night but in the light of a Sunday morning” (73).
What everlasting shame that some should learn this view in the light of a Sabbath morning! Or in the pages of a Seventh-day Adventist magazine!
The article in question refers us to 1 John 5:13 (74), which says: These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life; and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
But John does not define this knowledge of eternal life as being based on forgiveness only. To understand his meaning we must finish the chapter, and read verse 30:
We are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
In other words, to have eternal life is to be “in Christ.” And how does the same author define this relationship?
And he that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him (1 John 3:24).
The apostle Paul, of course, says the same thing: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (1 Corinthians 5:17).
In His prayer for His disciples Jesus prayed: And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent (John 17:
And again, from the same apostle’s pen: And hereby do we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him (1 John 2:3-4).
Putting all these verses together, it becomes clear that to know that we have eternal life (1 John 5:13) means to be on the upward path striving by His grace for faithfulness to His Word. We can be sure that so long as this striving does not cease, the God who is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9) and knows the depths of our hearts (1 Kings 8:39) will make us progressively aware of our spiritual condition, and supply us with all the power needed for restoration and victory.
Very early in the article in question, the author addresses an Ellen White statement which warns against people saying, “I am saved” (75). The statement, as quoted by the author, reads as follows:
Those who accept the Saviour, however sincere their conversion, should never be taught to say or feel that they are saved. This is misleading. Everyone should be taught to cherish hope and faith; but even when we give ourselves to Christ and know that He accepts us, we are not beyond the reach of temptation (76).
The author then writes, incredibly: “It is amazing how we will see one part of a passage and miss another very important part in the same passage. Look at the second part of what Ellen White is saying, ‘even when we give ourselves to Christ and know that He accepts us.’” (77).
Amazing indeed! The author’s problem in reading this and other inspired statements is that he refuses to allow the statement to explain itself, and instead imposes upon it a theology that isn’t there. For the author of this article, as we have seen, knowing that Jesus accepts us means knowing we are accepted based on justification alone (78). Because this is what the author believes, he assumes this is what Ellen White is saying also, though not a single passage in her writings—or in the Bible—teaches salvation based exclusively on Christ’s work for us and not on what He does in us. And regarding our acceptance with God, we have already seen that according to Inspiration, this takes place on the basis of Spirit-empowered obedience (Acts 10:35) (79).
In other words, to give ourselves to Christ and know that He accepts us, means the surrender of our life’s control to that of God and His written counsel. Obviously we can know if in fact we are, or are not, holding anything back from God that His Word has asked for. But once we have done this, our surrender must still be continuous. Which is why Ellen White warns in this statement against declaring one’s self “saved,” since this implies the end of a process whose completion only God can know, since He alone knows the heart (1 Kings 8:39). In another passage Ellen White declares:
It is by continual surrender of the will, by continual obedience, that the blessing of justification is retained (80).
What is even more amazing about the way the author of the article in question uses the Ellen White statement noted earlier, is that he seems not at all to grasp how—according to Ellen White’s clear implication in this very passage—yielding to temptation invalidates one’s salvation. We can’t say we are saved at one moment because at the next moment, like Peter turning his eyes from Jesus on Galilee, we can yield to temptation and thus become unsaved. The reason she says we can’t say or feel that we are saved, is because—in her words—“even when we give ourselves to Christ and know that He accepts us, we are not beyond the reach of temptation” (81). The statement continues by saying:
God’s word declares, “Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried” Daniel 12:10. Only he who endures the trial will receive the crown of life. (James 1:12) (82).
In other words, it is by test and trial and endurance—through imparted divine grace—that the saved are finally made white, ready for the crown of eternal life. This is not justification-alone salvation at all.
Another Ellen White statement, on this same topic, is worth considering at this point:
If we are disobedient, our characters are out of harmony with God’s moral rule of government, and it is stating a falsehood to say, “I am saved.” No one is saved who is a transgressor of the law of God, which is the foundation of His government in heaven and in earth (83).
Two other Ellen White statements whose meaning is misread by the article in question, we have already examined (84). Two others deserve our attention:
Some who come to God be repentance and confession, and even believe that their sins are forgiven, still fail of claiming, as they should, the promises of God. They do not see that Jesus is an ever-present Saviour; and they are not ready to commit the keeping of their souls to Him, relying on Him to perfect the work of grace begun in their hearts. While they think they are committing themselves to God, there is a great deal of self-dependence. There are conscientious souls that trust partly to God and partly to themselves. They do not look to God, to be kept by His power, but depend upon watchfulness against temptation and the performance of certain duties for acceptance with Him. There are no victories in this kind of faith. Such persons toil to no purpose; their souls are in continual bondage, and they find no rest until their burdens are laid at the feet of Jesus (85).
Do not wait to feel that you are made whole, but say, “I believe it; it is so, 0not because I feel it, but because God has promised (86).
The second of these statements is really irrelevant to the article’s discussion, since it speaks of relying—not upon the Spirit’s internal work of regeneration and sanctification—but upon feelings. Certainly feelings are never the ground of our spiritual security. On this we can fully agree with the article in question.
The first of the above statements, in context, is not warning Christians against trusting the Spirit’s transforming work for acceptance with God, when supposedly they should trust only the justifying righteousness of Christ. Rather, the warning in this statement is against the non-surrender of self, the withholding of certain aspects of our life from Christ’s control and regeneration, and to therefore claim Christ’s saving power only partially. When speaking here of “watchfulness against temptation and the performance of certain duties” (87), she is not speaking of sanctified obedience, but of self-motivated obedience. The first sentence in the next paragraph makes this clear:
There is need of constant watchfulness and of earnest, loving devotion, but these will come naturally when the soul is kept by the power of God through faith (88).
Since one cannot have the power of faith without total surrender, any watchfulness or performance of duty apart from such surrender is powerless. By contrast, what is performed through faith and God’s imparted strength indeed offers such power, and is the means—as we have seen already—by which we obtain acceptance with God. The very book from which the above statement is taken includes one passage we have seen already, which declares the imparted righteousness of sanctification to bring acceptance with God
It was impossible for the sinner to keep the law of God, which was holy, just, and good; but this impossibility was removed by the impartation of the righteousness of Christ to the repenting, believing soul. The life and death of Christ in behalf of sinful man were for the purpose of restoring the sinner to God’s favor, through imparting to him the righteousness that would meet the claims of the law and find acceptance with the Father (89).
Conclusion -- Can I know I'm Saved ?
In a word, yes—if by this we mean striving for faithfulness on the upward path of sanctification and holiness, trusting to divine strength for progress and victory. But the inspired command not to utter such words or nurture such feelings should be taken most seriously, since words and thoughts—especially self-generated ones—exert great power over us. We may be right with God one moment, and not right the next, if by choice we depart from the written counsel where the divine will is revealed. In the modern prophet’s words:
Unless we become vitally connected with God, we can never resist the unhallowed effects of self-love, self-indulgence, and temptation to sin. We may leave off many bad habits, for the time we may part company with Satan; but without a vital connection with God, through the surrender of ourselves to Him moment by moment, we shall be overcome (90).
For me, I am much more comfortable saying, “I am being saved,” than “I am saved.” When asked by another Christian about my salvation, this answer enables me to explain what Scripture teaches about the conditions of eternal life—how Jesus and Paul declared Spirit-empowered obedience to be this condition (Matthew 19:17; Luke 10:25-28; Romans 8:13; Hebrews 5:9), and how, in our Lord’s words, “He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13). I can then point out that the God who isn’t willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9) is always there for me with grace and power, but that if by choice I transgress the law of God in any particular, I am guilty of breaking it all (James 2:10), and that unless I return to the Lord through confession and the forsaking of sin (2 Chronicles 7:14; Proverbs 28:13; Isaiah 55:7; 1 John 1:9), that law will serve to condemn me in the final judgment (James 2:12).
The article in question focuses exclusively on the believer’s personal security, in presumably knowing he stands rightly with God. But no attention is given to the eternal security of God’s universe. The reason God can’t take any but overcomers to heaven is because He must be sure those He takes won’t start another revolution. God has promised that “affliction shall not rise up the second time” (Nahum 1:9). Some seem to think that once God gets rid of their sinful natures, this will guarantee they won’t sin again. Such persons seem to forget where sin got started in the first place. No one had a sinful nature when rebellion first began in the courts of glory. Sin is a matter of the will, not the fleshly nature. Which is why the mere absence of such a nature will not ensure the end of sin. Only consistent faithfulness through heaven’s imparted grace, demonstrated here on earth, will do this.
The article in question complains that salvation based on sanctification and perfection produces insecurity (91). Perhaps. But that is the price of liberty. God will not bypass our free will in order to give us assurance and peace of mind. That is the way of dictators and tyrants, not the liberty-loving God of Scripture. The reason many Christians feel so insecure in their walk with God is because of their own cherished lives of sin and self-indulgence. And since our choice to connect with or separate from God is tied directly to our obedience to God’s will (Isaiah 59:2), the primary reason for our insecurity is quickly seen to be our own free choice. And this God will never take from us, not even to give us the assurance of salvation.
The following inspired statement offers a fitting conclusion to our review of the article in question:
But the doctrine is now largely taught that the Gospel of Christ has made the Law of God of no effect, that by “believing” we are released from the necessity of being doers of the Word. But this is the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which Christ so unsparingly condemned. . . .
Those who are teaching this doctrine today have much to say in regard to faith and the righteousness of Christ; but they pervert the truth, and make it serve the cause of error. They declare that we have only to believe on Jesus Christ, and that faith is all-sufficient; that the righteousness of Christ is to be the sinner’s credentials; that this imputed righteousness fulfills the law for us, and that we are under no obligation to obey the law of God. This class claim that Christ came to save sinners, and that He has saved them. “I am saved,” they will repeat over and over again. But are they saved while transgressing the law of Jehovah?—No, for the garments of Christ’s righteousness are not a cloak for iniquity. Such teaching is gross deception (92). Signs of the Times, Feb. 15, 1897
That the gross deception of “saved while sinning” might miserably fail in its efforts to destroy the witness and pre-empt the glory of God’s final generation, is my sincere prayer and earnest plea.
Footnotes and References
1. J. David Newman, “Can I Know I’m Saved?” Adventist Review, Aug. 24, 2006, pp. 24-27.
2. Ibid, p. 26.
5. Ibid, p. 25.
9. Ellen G. White, Early Writings, p. 254.
10.--The Great Controversy, p. 425.
11.--Early Writings, p. 254; SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1145.
12. Newman, “Can I Know I’m Saved?” Adventist Review, Aug. 24, 2006, p. 25.
13. The Great Controversy, p. 636.
14. Newman, “Can I Know I’m Saved?” Adventist Review, Aug. 24, 2006, p. 25.
15. Ibid, p. 26.
16. White, Our High Calling, p. 212.
17.--Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 360.
18. Newman, “Can I Know I’m Saved?” Adventist Review, Aug. 24, 2006, p. 27.
19. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 762.
20.--SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1092.
21.--Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 366.
22.--The Upward Look, p. 49.
23. Newman, “Can I Know I’m Saved?” Adventist Review, Aug. 24, 2006, p. 26.
24. White, Steps to Christ, p. 23.
25. Newman, “Can I Know I’m Saved?” Adventist Review, Aug. 24, 2006, p. 26.
28. White, Education, p. 254 (italics supplied).
29.----Mount of Blessing, p. 114 (italics original).
30. Newman, “Can I Know I’m Saved?” Adventist Review, Aug. 24, 2006, p. 25.
31. Ibid, p. 26.
32. White, This Day With God, p. 72.
33.----Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 147.
34.----SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 972.
35. Newman, “Can I Know I’m Saved?” Adventist Review, Aug. 24, 2006, p. 26.
36. Ibid, p. 25.
37. White, Faith and Works, p. 118.
38.----Sons and Daughters of God, p. 45.
39.----Signs of the Times, Dec. 15, 1887.
40. Ibid, Dec. 28, 1891.
41. Newman, “Can I Know I’m Saved?” Adventist Review, Aug. 24, 2006, p. 26.
42. Ibid, p. 25.
43. Ibid, p. 26.
44. White, Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 235.
45.----Review and Herald, July 12, 1887.
46.----Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 455; Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 78-79; Maranatha, p. 95; Our High Calling, p. 214; Selected Messages, vol. 2, p. 236; Sons and Daughters of God, pp. 65,290; In Heavenly Places, p. 99; 1888 Materials, p. 1011. Christ Triumphant, p. 85.
47.----Steps to Christ, pp. 57-58.
48. Ibid, p. 57.
49. Ibid, pp. 57-58.
50. Newman, “Can I Know I’m Saved?” Adventist Review, Aug. 24, 2006, p. 26.
51. White, Steps to Christ, p. 58.
52.----Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 42.
53.----Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 177.
54.----Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 421.
55. Newman, “Can I Know I’m Saved?” Adventist Review, Aug. 24, 2006, p. 27.
56. White, Steps to Christ, p. 64.
57.----Our High Calling, p. 49.
58.----Messages to Young People, p. 338.
59.----Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 623.
60.----Our High Calling, p. 214.
61.----Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 213.
62.----My Life Today, p. 250 (italics supplied).
63.----Faith and Works, p. 16.
64.----Sons and Daughters of God, p. 42.
65.----Review and Herald, May 3, 1898.
66.----Our High Calling, p. 83.
67. Ibid, p. 23.
68. Newman, “Can I Know I’m Saved?” Adventist Review, Aug. 24, 2006, p. 26.
69. White, Sons and Daughters of God, p. 45.1.
70.----SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1077.
71. Kenneth L. Woodward, “Sex, Sin, and Salvation,” Newsweek, Nov. 2, 1998, p. 37.
74. Newman, “Can I Know I’m Saved?” Adventist Review, Aug. 24, 2006, p. 25.
76. White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 155.
77. Newman, “Can I Know I’m Saved?” Adventist Review, Aug. 24, 2006, p. 25.
78. Ibid, p. 26.
79. White, Faith and Works, p. 118; Sons and Daughters of God, p. 45; Signs of the Times, Dec. 15, 1887;
Dec. 28, 1891; Review and Herald, May 3, 1898; SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 1, p. 1103.
80.----Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 397.
81.----Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 155.
83. ----Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 315.
84.----Steps to Christ, pp. 57-58,64, quoted by Newman, “Can I Know I’m Saved?”
Adventist Review, Aug. 24, 2006, p. 27.
85.--Faith and Works, p. 38, quoted by Newman, “Can I Know I’m Saved?” Adventist Review, Aug. 24, 2006, p. 27.
86.----Steps to Christ, p. 51 (italics original), quoted by Newman, “Can I Know I’m Saved?”
Adventist Review, Aug. 24, 2006, p. 27.
87.----Faith and Works, p. 38.
88. Ibid, pp. 38-39.
89. Ibid, p. 118.
90.----The Desire of Ages, p. 324.
91. Newman, “Can I Know I’m Saved?” Adventist Review, Aug. 24, 2006, p. 25.
92. White, Signs of the Times, Feb. 15, 1897.
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