The Gospel Herald -- Promoting the fundamentals of the 1888 message.


The gospel tells us faith works.
What is faith? It is an assent of the understanding to God's words.


The Power of Love (Agape) … A Bible Study

  1. Love is not merely one of God’s attributes; it is the essence of His nature. God is love (1 John 4:8, 16).
  2. We must understand everything about God, even His law and His wrath, in the context of His love (Matthew 22:36-40; Romans 1:18-32).
  3. The basis of our salvation is found in God’s nature of love (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:4-7; Titus 3:3-5).
  4. The New Testament uses the Greek word agape to describe God’s love. God’s agape love differs from human love in at least three ways:
    1. Human love is conditional. God’s love is unconditional. It flows from Him independently of our goodness or self-worth (Acts 15:11; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8, 9; Titus 2:14).
    2. Human love is changeable, God’s love is unchangeable. His love never fails (Jeremiah 31:3; Romans 8:35-39; 1 Corinthians 13:8).
    3. Human love is self-seeking. God’s love is self-sacrificing (unselfish) (Philippians 2:6-8).
  5. The supreme manifestation of God’s unconditional, unchanging, self-sacrificing love was demonstrated when Jesus died the experience of the second death on the cross for all humanity (Romans 5:8; Hebrews 2:9).
  6. Three concepts of love have given rise to three concepts of the gospel:
    1. Salvation by works. This “gospel” is based on self-love, i.e., human beings must save themselves by pleasing God through good works. This is legalism. It is the basis of all non-Christian religions.
    2. Salvation by faith plus works. This “gospel” is based on a combination of self-love and self-sacrificing love, i.e., we must first show by our good works that we want to be saved—then God will meet us halfway and save us. The “gospel” of faith-plus-works is at the heart of Roman Catholic theology; it is a subtle form of legalism.
    3. Salvation by grace through faith alone. This gospel is based on self-sacrificing love (agape); that is, while we were helpless, ungodly sinners, God demonstrated His love for us through the death of Jesus Christ, and that death fully reconciled us to Him. This is the clear teaching of the whole Bible (John 3:16; Romans 5:6-10; Ephesians 2:1-6; 1 Timothy 1:15).

From: Pastor Don’s Page, The Burnaby and Mission SDA Churches,
May 29, 2000

I ask, How can I present this matter as it is? The Lord Jesus imparts all the powers, all the grace, all the penitence, all the inclination, all the pardon of sins, in presenting His righteousness for man to grasp by living faith—which is also the gift of God. If you would gather together everything that is good and holy and noble and lovely in man and then present the subject to the angels of God as acting a part in the salvation of the human soul or in merit, the proposition would be rejected as treason. Standing in the presence of their Creator and looking upon the unsurpassed glory which enshrouds His person, they are looking upon the Lamb of God given from the foundation of the world to a life of humiliation, to be rejected of sinful men, to be despised, to be crucified. Who can measure the infinity of the sacrifice!

Christ for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. And any works that man can render to God will be far less than nothingness. My requests are made acceptable only because they are laid upon Christ’s righteousness. The idea of doing anything to merit the grace of pardon is fallacy from beginning to end.

We hear so many things preached in regard to the conversion of the soul that are not the truth. Men are educated to think that if a man repents he shall be pardoned, supposing that repentance is the way, the door, into heaven; that there is a certain assured value in repentance to buy for him forgiveness. Can man repent of himself? No more than he can pardon himself. Tears, sighs, resolutions—all these are but the proper exercise of the faculties God has given to man, and the turning from sin in the amendment of a life which is God’s. Where is the merit in the man to earn his salvation, or to place before God something that is valuable and excellent? Can an offering of money, houses, lands, place yourself on the deserving list? Impossible!

There is danger in regarding justification by faith as placing merit on faith. When you take the righteousness of Christ as a free gift you are justified freely through the redemption of Christ. What is faith? “The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). It is an assent of the understanding to God’s words which binds the heart in willing consecration and service to God, Who gave the understanding, Who moved on the heart, Who first drew the mind to view Christ on the cross of Calvary. Faith is rendering to God the intellectual powers, abandonment of the mind and will to God, and making Christ the only door to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Ellen G. White, Faith and Works, pgs. 24, 25 (excerpted)

Home  |  Articles Index
10 Truths That Make the 1888 Message Unique
Contact the Gospel Herald