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Commentary on "Living as Children of God"



Day 5: Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Overview: “While the first part of 1 John 3:5 may indirectly point to the cross, the second part stresses the absolute sinlessness of Jesus, which was needed in order for His death on the cross to save us.”

“Christ’s death was the only way possible for humans to be saved and have the promise of eternal life.”


Problems: Most of this section was well argued and well documented. Jesus truly did deal with sin once for all by taking it away at the cross.

I take issue with the quotations listed in the Overview above because they contain a subtle, but critical, error.

In the first statement is this phrase, “which was needed in order for His death on the cross to save us.” In reality, we are not saved by Jesus’ death on the cross. We were reconciled by Jesus death on the cross. “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son…” (Romans 5:10a).

We are saved by the resurrected life of Christ: “…much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10b). His life is manifested in the gift of the Holy Spirit to live in us, guaranteeing our salvation (see Ephesians 1:13-14 and 2 Corinthians 1:21-22).

The entire second sentence is wrong. As just shown, Jesus’ death reconciled us, it did not save us. In addition, we don’t have the promise of eternal life, we have eternal life.

These two errors, common throughout all Adventist teaching, serve to keep Adventists second-guessing their salvation, and this lesson has done nothing to resolve their confusion.

The only way to deal with the sin which so easily besets us (or as Paul calls it, indwelling sin) is to accept that Jesus died for all sin – from Adam through to the end of time – at the cross. ALL of your and my sins were in the future when He died, so there is no such thing as getting forgiveness for future sins. They were dealt with completely at the cross, or they weren’t dealt with at all and we are doomed.

If there is any more forgiveness to be executed on our behalf, Jesus must die again. “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22). “Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin” (Hebrews 10:18). “…so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him” (Hebrews 9:28).

This forgiveness/reconciliation is available to the whole world, but it is received in Christ. That is, when we accept Jesus and are indwelt by His Holy Spirit, we receive the forgiveness He provided on the cross. This is why there is no such thing as universal salvation.

Now we, having dealt with sin once and for all because Jesus dealt with sin once and for all, can begin to live in a different way – by grace instead of by law. The law can never teach us how not to sin. It can only point out that we do sin. As Paul wrote to Titus, “It is the grace of God that teaches us to say No to ungodliness…” (Titus 2:12ff). We no longer focus on sin, but on our Savior. We no longer worry whether our behavior will fit us for heaven. Instead, we walk in the assurance of our salvation (our guaranteed hope) and respond by faith (in this moment) to the Spirit’s leading.



  1. Jesus truly did take away our sins once and for all by His death on the cross.
  2. The lesson’s author makes a common mistake by equating Jesus’ death with salvation.
  3. Jesus’ death provided reconciliation/forgiveness.
  4. Jesus’ life provides our salvation.



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