August 26, 2014

September 18, 2014

On Closer

Regarding “Radical Grace” (Sept. 18, 2014): The use of “the” in
the phrase “the three main points” that Mark Finley identifies in Romans
3:24-26 means that he believes the points he lists are the only main points to
be found in the passage, to the exclusion of all others. This, despite the fact
that more than half of the text focuses on Christ’s death as a demonstration of
God’s own righteousness, which had to be demonstrated because “God had passed
over the sins that were previously committed.”

God had warned Adam and Eve
that if they sinned, they would die, whereas Satan said that they would not
die, which they didn’t (at least not right away, and then it was only the first
death). So God’s own truthfulness was called into question. God could have
allowed them to die, which would have shown God to be just (i.e., right), in
that He was telling the truth about His warning. But Adam and Eve would have
been dead, so that God could not be their Justifier.

But the universe, thinking God
had caused their deaths, would have served Him from fear. Instead, God forgave
Adam and Even (as their Justifier), veiled the glory of His presence, and
preserved their lives (and ours), that we might have time to consider the
truth: It is only by the death of Christ that “God can be just, and yet the
Justifier of him who believeth in Jesus” (Steps
to Christ
, p. 14), where Ellen White’s addition of the words “and yet” indicates
the tension that exists between God’s being able to be both just and the

The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary is helpful in clarifying the
meaning of this passage, which seems to be not well understood, even by
Adventists. Yet in the setting of the Great Controversy, it is the scriptural
passage that explains, in real terms, not in symbols or metaphors, why Jesus
had to die. It presents a paradigm shift in our understanding of the reason for
Christ’s death. Christ’s death as a demonstration of God’s own righteousness
definitely qualifies as a “main point” (Rom. 3:4) in this passage.


Honesty Appreciated

Thanks for the reality check in “Ready to
Be Real” (Sept. 11, 2014). It seems that humanity has become one big cadaver,
and that churches and charities just swat the flies nearest the odor.

be honest and add a good bit of real love.

E. Myers

Heart for Service

The cover story “Silent Victims” by Celeste
Ryan Blyden (Aug. 28, 2014) was an outstanding blessing. Being involved in
prison ministry ourselves, our hearts were touched.

We plan to
see that this article is copied and given to key people in our church. We hope
and pray that a special issue of our church letter will take it to all our

we have a heart, everyone will wish to be involved, from prayers to action, in
small or large ways. When it comes to prison ministry, “You did it to me”
(Matt. 25:36).



Thanks for the news article, “Adventists
Tell of Faith in Conflict-Hit Ukraine” (Aug. 21,2014). It is inspiring to read
that even though they are dealing with horrific circumstances, prayer meetings
are being held, sometimes daily, and “even on the darkest Sabbath” people
manage to make their way to church.

last paragraph brought tears to my eyes as I read of their fervor: “We felt the
power of prayer, understood the importance of repentance, and prayed everyday
with our brothers and sisters, as well as with our neighbors in the basement
during the shelling.”

it brought to mind our early pioneers as they awaited Jesus’ return fasting and
praying. Ellen White saw little groups meeting and praying earnestly with and
for each other.

this what it will take to confirm Jesus’ prayer to His Father: “That they all
may be one”? How meaningless it would seem in such circumstances to be arguing
over issues and policies that fade into insignificance compared to our
relationships with our fellow believers and our Lord.

article was a wake-up call. Troublesome times are ahead. We need each other,
and we will need each other even more as the end approaches.