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Friday, September 26, 2014

Christ 2nd Coming

Christ 2nd Coming

Our lesson seemed to emphasize Christ's second return with the resurrection of the dead.  No mention, or very little mention, is given to Paul's words that say that not all will die.  Some will be translated as Enoch and Elijah.  Being that they represent us, it would behoove us to learn about these men.  Following are a few quotes from Ellen White that speak about these two men and how they are related to us. 

3 Selected Messages

Character Perfected by Enoch and Elijah-- 1874.--Some few in every generation from Adam resisted his every artifice and stood forth as noble representatives of what it was in the power of man to do and to be--Christ working with human efforts, helping man in overcoming the power of Satan. Enoch and Elijah are the correct representatives of what the race might be through faith in Jesus Christ if they chose to be. Satan was greatly disturbed because these noble, holy men stood untainted amid the moral pollution surrounding them, perfected righteous characters, and were accounted worthy for translation to heaven. As they had stood forth in moral power in noble uprightness, overcoming Satan's temptations, he could not bring them under the dominion of death. He triumphed that he had power to overcome Moses with his temptations, and that he could mar his illustrious character and lead him to the sin of taking glory to himself before the people which belonged to God.--The Review and Herald, March 3, 1874.  {3SM 146.5} 

Sermons and Talks v. 2

Our faith must reach within the veil, whither our Forerunner has for us entered. It is possible for us to take hold by faith of the eternal promises of God, but to do this we must have a faith that will not be denied, a steadfast, immovable faith, that will take hold of the realities of the unseen world.  {2SAT 5.4} 

     It is our privilege to stand with the light of heaven upon us. It was thus that Enoch walked with God. It was no easier for Enoch to live a righteous life in his day than it is for us at the present time. The world in Enoch's time was no more favorable to a growth in grace and holiness than it is now, but Enoch devoted time to prayer and communion with God, and this enabled him to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. It is his devotion to God that fitted him for translation.  {2SAT 5.5} 

Patriarchs and Prophets

By the translation of Enoch the Lord designed to teach an important lesson. There was danger that men would yield to discouragement, because of the fearful results of Adam's sin. Many were ready to exclaim, "What profit is it that we have feared the Lord and have kept His ordinances, since a heavy curse is resting upon the race, and death is the portion of us all?" But the instructions which God gave to Adam, and which were repeated by Seth, and exemplified by Enoch, swept away the gloom and darkness, and gave hope to man, that as through Adam came death, so through the promised Redeemer would come life and immortality. Satan was urging upon men the belief that there was no reward for the righteous or punishment for the wicked, and that it was impossible for men to obey the divine statutes. But in the case of Enoch, God declares "that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." Hebrews 11:6. He shows what He will do for those who keep His commandments. Men were taught that it is possible to obey the law of God; that even while living in the midst of the sinful and corrupt, they were able, by the grace of God, to resist temptation, and become pure and holy. They saw in his example the blessedness of such a life; and his translation was an evidence of the truth of his prophecy concerning the hereafter, with its award of joy and glory and immortal life to the obedient, and of condemnation, woe, and death to the transgressor.  {PP 88.2}

     By faith Enoch "was translated that he should not see death; . . . for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God." Hebrews 11:5. In the midst of a world by its iniquity doomed to destruction, Enoch lived a life of such close communion with God that he was not permitted to fall under the power of death. The godly character of this prophet represents the state of holiness which must be attained by those who shall be "redeemed from the earth" (Revelation 14:3) at the time of Christ's second advent. Then, as in the world before the Flood, iniquity will prevail. Following the promptings of their corrupt hearts and the teachings of a deceptive philosophy, men will rebel against the authority of Heaven. But like Enoch, God's people will seek for purity of heart and conformity to His will, until they shall reflect the likeness of Christ. Like Enoch, they will warn the world of the Lord's second coming and of the judgments to be visited upon transgression, and by their holy conversation and example they will condemn the sins of the ungodly. As Enoch was translated to heaven before the destruction of the world by water, so the living righteous will be translated from the earth before its destruction by fire. Says the apostle: "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump." "For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God;" "the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." "The dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.  {PP 88.3}

God is waiting for His people to be like Enoch and Elijah.  Then the end will come.  Consider the following quotes from Ellen White,

"The long night of gloom is trying, but the morning is deferred in mercy, because if the Master should come so many would be found unready.  –2T 194 [1868].

"Had the church of Christ done her appointed work as the Lord ordained, the whole world would before this have been warned and the Lord Jesus would have come to our earth in power and great glory. –DA 633, 4 [1898].

"Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church.  When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.  It is the privilege of every Christian, not only to look for, but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Were all who profess His name bearing fruit to His glory, how quickly the whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel.  Quickly the last great harvest would be ripened, and Christ would come to gather the precious grain. – COL 69 [1900]. 

 

The reason Christ has not come yet is because the above condition has not been met.  How long will we keep delaying our Lord's return?


--
Raul Diaz
www.wolfsoath.com

Friday, September 19, 2014

Death and Resurrection

Death and Resurrection

The following two commentaries, previously published,  talk about both death and resurrection bringing out some important points about these two important subjects.  I hope they are helpful. 


The Best Thing That Happened

When asked, "what's the best thing that ever happened to you?" how would you respond? After pondering for a time, some of you may answer, when I got this job", or when I got together with my new boyfriend (or girlfriend)." Others of you reading this might answer, "when I got married", "had my baby", or even "when I went on this fabulous trip." Answers that sound negative such as "when I had this accident", or "when I went through this particular trial" aren't going to be too forthcoming are they? Although you may recognize that a period of trial facilitated the greatest period of growth in your life, it is unlikely that you would characterize that experience as "the best thing" that ever happened to you. Let's say that retrospectively you're aware that what was intended for evil ended up being for good in your life, and perhaps you've even observed that it boded well for the lives of others. Still, even then, it can be difficult to accept that negative trial (or trials) as the best thing that could have happened to you. You might see it as beneficial-- yes, but as good--no way. Are you then likely to see it as the best thing that could have happened? Sadly, its unlikely. Why? Its our human nature to see things as they are temporally, not as what they are spiritually. 

Here's an example for you. Recently I was diagnosed with diabetes, and it was a blow to me. I knew that friends and family were praying for me regarding my poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyle which resulted in obesity. But what I could not have known is how the Lord would answer their prayers by allowing me to become diabetic.  It was the diagnosis of diabetes and not its simple physical complications such as intense thirst, skin rashes, and hypo-glycemia that caused me to yield my will to Christ regarding my poor health habits. Once my doctor placed that sticker labeling me diabetic on my chart, I knew it was all over. What was over you say? My struggling to do it on my own, that's what. No more eating whatever pleased me in whatever proportions I desired at the time. No more late night eating, and snacking.


More importantly, no more sedentary lifestyle. Since that diagnosis eighteen months ago, by God's grace and power, I have lost more than one hundred pounds, and now wear clothing 3 sizes smaller than I used to. My blood sugar levels and other bio-chemicals are back to normal, I'm still losing weight, and feeling great! I say all of this to give God praise, and to use my story as an example. What satan meant for evil -- my cultivated and inherited tendency to poor health choices and thus slow death, God turned around for good. Thus what was meant to be a negative event or trial in my life is indeed one of the best things that has ever happened to me. 

For the disciples, the worst thing that could ever happen was that Jesus would be put to death by the ruling powers. His impending death was unfathomable to them. The subject was so frightening, that whenever Jesus spoke concerning it, they quarreled with each other about who would be the greatest in His (temporal) kingdom. Their sizeable fears were activated at the prospect that never would their fondest dreams or goals for themselves or their nation be reached. Ultimately, Christ's death engaged even their doubts about His messiahship. Christ had said to them to prepare them, "its good for you that I go away, so you may receive the comforter (John 16:7)." Can you imagine being told that what you least want is best for you? Can you imagine what the disciples must have thought of Him? Yet it was good that Christ die, good that He go away. Sometimes the thing that we think is the worst thing that could happen, is the best that could happen.

The disciples did not understand that Christ's death "as the lamb slain" had been determined "from the foundation of the world." They did not understand the will of the Father, the scope and nature of sin, nor its cure. Without the death of Jesus we would neither have communion with the Father and the Spirit, nor Salvation, nor the hope of the resurrection and life anew. InI Cor. 15:14-22, Paul elaborates on the concept of the validity of the resurrection, and what would occur if it were untrue.

I Corinthians 15:14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
I Corinthians 15:15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we
have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
I Corinthians 15:16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
I Corinthians 15:17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
I Corinthians 15:18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
I Corinthians 15:19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
I Corinthians 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
I Corinthians 15:21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
I Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Here Paul is saying that if Christ did not rise, our faith, preaching, testimony of Him, and hope of life in Christ is futile. Worst of all, we are still in our sins and all we have to look forward to is the second death which is the wage of sin. But thanks be to God who gave us the victory in our Lord Jesus Christ (II Cor. 15:54). As sister White says, "Christ has conquered death, and led captivity captive. Men had looked upon death as a terrible thing; they had looked to the future with foreboding; but the resurrection of Christ from the dead changed the aspect of death" (E. G. White Notes, page 66). Friends, since Christ died and was resurrected our hope is real. Not only can we rise to life anew, but so can those whom we love who have died or will die in the Lord.

You know, Christ's death and resurrection gave us so much more than can be imagined. First, we are able to receive the Holy Spirit who will tell us of the future, guide us, teach and remind us of all things, convict us of sin, righteousness and of judgment (John 14:2615:2616:7813). Second, according toHebrews 4:14 -16, we have intercession through Christ's mediation in the heavenly Sanctuary by Christ Himself who has been tempted in all points as we are yet did not sin. Third, we have a home in a heavenly mansion with the Godhead, the heavenly host, and the 24 elders (John 14:1-3). And last but not least we don't have to live a life of sin. Sin does not have to have power over us, for Objectively, our human nature was corporately in Christ and when He died to sin, so did we. Subjectively, when we are baptized into Jesus Christ, we are baptized into His death to sin. Subsequently, we are raised to life from the dead (dead in trespasses and sins-- Eph. 2:15) like as Christ was raised up from the dead. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from (the power, presence and condemnation of) sin. For the wages of Sin  is death, but the Gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:3-723). Thank God for such a wonderful Saviour.

Yes, sometimes the worst thing that could ever happen ends up being our choicest blessing. The Lord has said through His servant Paul in Romans 8:28, and Isaiah in Isaiah 29:11 respectively, " For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose" , "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." Friends, many good promises and experiences in righteousness have come to us through Christ's death, should we trample under foot this beautiful gift He's given us?


 

Interception


Anyone familiar with sporting events is familiar with the verb, to intercept. The word means: "To stop, deflect, or interrupt the progress or intended course of…" Another definition is, "To block the progress of and force to change direction: cut off, head off; to obstruct (someone or something) so as to prevent them from continuing to a destination." When used in sports it means to stop the player with the ball from going toward the goal or stopping the ball itself from going toward the goal. The word is also used in telecommunications with the following definition, "The acquisition of a transmitted signal with the intent of delaying or eliminating receipt of that signal by the intended destination user; to interrupt."


The verb, used in the latter context, is a key term in the following quote from Sister White,


"Since the announcement to the serpent in Eden, 'I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed' (Gen. 3:15), Satan had known that he did not hold absolute sway over the world. . . . With intense interest he watched the sacrifices offered by Adam and his sons. In these ceremonies he discerned a symbol of communion between earth and heaven. He set himself to intercept this communion. He misrepresented God, and misinterpreted the rites that pointed to the Saviour. Men were led to fear God as one who delighted in their destruction. The sacrifices that should have revealed His love were offered only to appease His wrath."—Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 115.


 The author of the lesson says that according to this Ellen White quote above, Satan perverted the meaning of the sacrifice. The author then asks, "In what ways could we be in danger of perverting the meaning of Christ's sacrifice? What views of the Cross distort its meaning?"


Any view that is not the truth distorts our view of the cross. Among many points, two things come to mind, one is that Christ death was a corporate death. In Romans 5:12 – 21 the apostle Paul contrasts Adam with Jesus and the effects of their works on humanity. Romans 5:12 says because Adam's fall all men sinned therefore all must die.


Rom5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

But, because we are in Christ, with his death and resurrection we all die and live eternally.  A point brought out in the following texts.  Let s rad them.

Rom5:15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

Rom5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Rom5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

Rom5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

1Cor15:21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

1Cor15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

The second thing is that Christ death was eternal. The book of Revelation talks about a second death,

Rev2:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

Rev21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

 Christ talks of the ruler's daughter death as sleep (Matthew 9:24) and says the same of Lazarus (John 11:11). Christ did not die the sleep death. The death He died was the second death – God's wrath poured without mercy. This second death is goodbye to life forever. This is the death that pays the wages of Sin. This is the death we all die in Christ.

Any view that is not in agreement with these two points perverts the meaning of Christ sacrifice and distorts the meaning of the Cross. Anything that leads to believe anything different than these things also distorts or perverts them meaning of Christ sacrifice and the cross; for example, the doctrine of immortality of the soul.


When we let the devil intercept God's communication with us, we allow him to distort the meaning of the Cross. This leads to unbelief – choosing not to, rejecting even, God's gift of mercy and grace to and for us – Salvation. This means that we also reject the Holy Spirit. Rejecting one is rejecting the other. The question is: do we see God as loving and merciful or as a tyrant wanting appeasement? The answer to that question determines your destiny.


--
Raul Diaz
www.wolfsoath.com

Friday, September 12, 2014

Commentary: "Sabbath: A Day of Love"

Commentary: "Sabbath: A Day of Love"


A group of young people from the Pentecostal Church in Ethiopia had heard Pastor John a 7th Day Adventist Preacher - and they put his name up to be a speaker at their camp meeting.  The leaders of the Church were horrified that the young people had asked a Seventh-day Adventist preacher to be their speaker at camp meeting (this was for the youth department).

There was a little bit of discussion and then the leaders said, "Why don't we let God solve the outcome?"  So they agreed to have three days of fasting and prayer.  On the third day, while they were praying together, the leader (our equivalent of Conference President) said, "The Lord has impressed me that the answer should be yes."  So they called Pastor John and he gave a series on the cross and then some of these young people, mainly university students, began coming to the Adventist Church.  And, some of the leaders began coming, and then the Pastor of Church where they had the camp meeting (with a membership of over 800) began coming.  In fact, the whole church began keeping the Sabbath and called themselves "Seventh-day Pentecostals."


The Sabbath School Secretary of the Union saw this Pastor coming out of the church and he said to Pastor John, "Why don't you try to bring these people into our church?"  And I said, "Why don't you ask him?"  (The Pentecostal leader had already told Pastor John why they wouldn't join the Adventist church.).  So, the Pentecostal Pastor said to Pastor John, "Now you are putting me on the spot."  Pastor John said, "No, I want [the other Adventist Pastor] to hear from your own lips why you are not joining our church."  The Pentecostal leader said, "When you Adventists learn to love each other, (like the Pentecostals love each other) we'll join your church."   Unfortunately, The Pentecostal leader saw that the church was divided into factions — tribal and nationals. So, during the Sabbath the worship was segregated, because of prejudice and discrimination that is why he said, "When you Adventists learn to love each other, we will join your church."   And, the poor Sabbath School Secretary had no answer to give him.


The Church in Christ day was no different.  They had taken Sabbath rest to mean that God stopped working, but that is not what it meant.  God rested from creating not working.  So, in order to enforce their no working policy during the Sabbath, the Jews had made the Sabbath a burden with their strict rules and requirements.  They turned the Sabbath into a curse instead of a blessing.   


In Desire of Ages pages 206 and 207 Ellen White elaborated upon the difference between the Jewish Sabbath and Jesus' Sabbath says that Jesus had come to "magnify the law, and make it honorable." He was not to lessen its dignity, but to exalt it. The scripture says, "He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set judgment in the earth" (Isaiah 42:21, 4).  He had come to free the Sabbath from those burdensome requirements that had made it a curse instead of a blessing.


She adds that "it was for this reason He had chosen the Sabbath upon which to perform the act of healing at Bethesda (John 5). He could have healed the sick man as well on any other day of the week; or He might simply have cured him, without bidding him bear away his bed. But this would not have given Him the opportunity He desired. A wise purpose underlay every act of Christ's life on earth. Everything He did was important in itself and in its teaching. Among the afflicted ones at the pool He selected the worst case upon whom to exercise His healing power, and bade the man carry his bed through the city in order to publish the great work that had been wrought upon him. This would raise the question of what it was lawful to do on the Sabbath, and would open the way for Him to denounce the restrictions of the Jews in regard to the Lord's Day, and to declare their traditions void."


You would think that the healing of a fellow Jew would have made them rejoice, but the Jews were more interested in their rules than the wellbeing of their neighbor.  This hardness of the religious establishment could be seen in the healing of the man blind from birth (John 9). Verse 16 reveals how little mercy they had,


John 9:16 Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.


 Talk about law without love!


Ellen White continues saying that "Jesus stated to them that the work of relieving the afflicted was in harmony with the Sabbath law. God's angels are ever descending and ascending between heaven and earth to minister to suffering humanity. Jesus declared, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." All days are God's, in which to carry out His plans for the human race. If the Jews' interpretation of the law was correct, then Jehovah was at fault, whose work has quickened and upheld every living thing since first He laid the foundations of the earth; then He who pronounced His work good, and instituted the Sabbath to commemorate its completion, must put a period to His labor, and stop the never-ending routine of the universe." 


  Should God forbid nature from continuing it's never ending work from which all men benefit?  In such a case, men would faint and die. "And man also has a work to perform on this day. The necessities of life must be attended to, the sick must be cared for, and the wants of the needy must be supplied. He will not be held guiltless who neglects to relieve suffering on the Sabbath. God's holy rest day was made for man, and acts of mercy are in perfect harmony with its intent. God does not desire His creatures to suffer an hour's pain that may be relieved upon the Sabbath or any other day."


"The demands upon God are even greater upon the Sabbath than upon other days. His people then leave their usual employment, and spend the time in meditation and worship. They ask more favors of Him on the Sabbath than upon other days. They demand His special attention. They crave His choicest blessings. God does not wait for the Sabbath to pass before He grants these requests. Heaven's work never ceases, and men should never rest from doing good. The Sabbath is not intended to be a period of useless inactivity. The law forbids secular labor on the rest day of the Lord; the toil that gains a livelihood must cease; no labor for worldly pleasure or profit is lawful upon that day; but as God ceased His labor of creating, and rested upon the Sabbath and blessed it, so man is to leave the occupations of his daily life, and devote those sacred hours to healthful rest, to worship, and to holy deeds. The work of Christ in healing the sick was in perfect accord with the law. It honored the Sabbath."

 

Let us say that the church makes a trip to the lake on the Sabbath day.  Everyone knows not to go in the water, and if they do, not to go beyond where the water is beyond your knees.  All of a sudden a deacon dived in the water and went off swimming far into deeper waters.  Can you see the faces of disapproval?  Can you hear the murmuring?  The Elder – trying to assert authority – stated categorically, "This is unacceptable.  What kind of testimony is he giving?  We will have to disfellowship him.  This kind of behavior should not be tolerated.  He has shown today what kind of Christian he is."  Everyone said, "Amen!"


3 minutes later the deacon was seen swimming back to shore.  He was struggling.  He was dragging someone along.  Who could it be?  The elder's face fell and turned read when he realized that the deacon - the elder had just condemned - had saved his daughter.  No one, except the deacon, saw her drift away into the deeper waters of the lake - far beyond where the water hits the knee. Things are not always what they seem.  The intentions of the heart matter.  Needless  to say, there was no mention of disfellowhipping the deacon after that.  Christ said, "It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath" (Mark 3: 4).


--
Raul Diaz
www.wolfsoath.com

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Christ and the Law

Christ and the Law

Our memory text for this lesson is: John 14:15.  Let us read it, 

John 14: 15 "If you love Me, keep My commandments.

The Greek says, "whosoever loves (agapao) me, keeps my law."  The emphasis is on loving.  The idea is that when you love Christ keeping the law is a natural effect of loving Him.  There is no need to focus on the Law, because love is the fulfilling of the Law (Romans 13: 10).  Now the question is, what is the law?  The following commentary from a few months ago dealt with that issue.  I hope it is helpful.

Christ's Church and the Law

     Memory text: Revelation 14:12

     Revelation 14:12  Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

The object of our lesson is to prove that in the end what will identify the church of Christ is that they keep the commandments.  And, while this is true, we need to clarify that the Greek word for commandments is singular.  So, it cannot be referring to Ten Commandments.  What commandment is John referring to?  Let us go to 2 John 1: 5 and 6,

2Jo 1:5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
2Jo 1:6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. 

The commandment is that we love one another.  This does not deny the Ten Commandments.  This is what the Ten Commandments point to. The Ten Commandments speak of things we would do for others, not ourselves.  Not one of the commandments says anything about how you are to treat yourself, but how you are to treat God and others.  Now, how are we to love one another?  John tells us again,

1Jo 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
Joh 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
Joh 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
            
What we are talking about here is living for others as Christ lived to minister unto others and not be ministered unto.  The all-important question in the Judgment will be, Have we learned to love others with heavenly love? Not how many "works of the law" have we engaged in, but have we received His over flowing love and allowed it to spill over onto others daily. Jesus separates His people as sheep from goats on that one score of true love (Matt 25:31-46)... After all, Christ said, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35).

Someone said that to discuss the commandments of God without giving equal prominence to the 'faith of Jesus' (the Head of the church) is like teaching about the Sabbath without giving equal time to the Lord of the Sabbath.  Ellen White said in the following quotes of how we have treated the Sabbath. 
 
"The faith of Jesus has been overlooked and treated in an indifferent, careless manner. It has not occupied the prominent position in which it was revealed to John... The great subject of the righteousness of Christ  connected with the law, which should be constantly kept before the sinner as his only hope of salvation ." - {1888 212.1}
 
"While you hold the banner of truth firmly, proclaiming the law of God,  let every soul remember that the faith of Jesus is connected with the commandments of God."  {SpTA01b 15.1}
 
"Let Jesus be our theme. Let us with pen and voice present, not only the commandments of God, but the faith of Jesus.This will promote real heart piety as nothing else can." {SpTA01b 19.1}

The Word is very clear, the just (those who keep the law) shall live by faith.  Abraham lived by faith.  How did he keep the law?  Gen. 15:6 details Abraham's continued and ever strengthening choice, "he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness."  Man often emphasizes his law keeping as righteousness but God counts biblical faith as the "right thing" for the sinner to "do" (John 6:28, 29). Perhaps that's why Hebrews 11 reiterates "by faith" instead of "by keeping the law." A faith surrender to a living and indwelling Christ is obedience and results in a life that keeps both the letter and spirit of God's holy law.

Now if faith yields righteousness, and, we need the righteousness of Christ, it follows that we need the faith of Christ.  His faith is tested and never failed.  We need a faith that overcomes the enemy and the World (Revelation 12: 11, 1 John 5:4).  We need a faith that will empower us to love not our lives unto the death (Revelation 12: 11).  This is the faith of Jesus.

--
Raul Diaz
www.wolfsoath.com