January 30, 2023

Rooted in Our Collective Heart

The what and why of who we are.

Wilona Karimabadi

When my kids were younger and expressed interest in baptism, one of the things my husband and I emphasized was that taking “studies” with a pastor wasn’t just about knowing Jesus better. The commitment of baptism is a personal one, but when one also joins a movement such as Seventh-day Adventism, it’s important to fully understand what you are signing up for. That may sound blunt, but it’s true. Especially as time marches toward the inevitable and our beliefs become increasingly more questioned, all Adventists need to know the “whats” and “whys.” This “primer” on the 28 Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is designed to help old and new believers alike discover an easy way to refresh and renew themselves on core beliefs we hold dear as a spiritual movement. We hope you find it useful. —Wilona Karimabadi 

01 - The Holy Scriptures

Official Wording: The Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, are the written Word of God, given by divine inspiration. The inspired authors spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. In this Word, God has committed to humanity the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are the supreme, authoritative, and the infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the test of experience, the definitive revealer of doctrines, and the trustworthy record of God’s acts in history. 

Search for Yourself: Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 30:5, 6; Isaiah 8:20; John 17:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:20, 21. 

In Conversation: We believe the Bible is the real deal—the Word of God through His influence on the minds and hearts of those who were devoted to Him. Through the Bible, God guides, inspires, teaches, and regulates us. It’s a solid guidebook for life, and we can trust it. 

02 - The Trinity

Official Wording: There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons. God is immortal, all-powerful, all-knowing, above all, and ever-present. He is infinite and beyond human comprehension, yet known through His self-revelation. God, who is love, is forever worthy of worship, adoration, and service by the whole creation. 

Search for Yourself: Genesis 1:26, Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 6:8; Matthew 28:19; John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 1:21, 22; 13:14; Ephesians 4:4-6; 1 Peter 1:2. 

In Conversation: There is one God, and He is Father, Son (Jesus), and Holy Spirit. He’s always with us, will never leave us, knows everything, and our human minds will never be able to fully comprehend how awesome He is. Most of all, He’s the personification of love. 

03 - The Father

Official Wording: God the eternal Father is the Creator, Source, Sustainer, and Sovereign of all creation. He is just and holy, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. The qualities and powers exhibited in the Son and the Holy Spirit are also those of the Father. 

Search for Yourself: Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 4:35; Psalm 110:1, 4; John 3:16; 14:9; 1 Corinthians 15:28; 1 Timothy 1:17; 1 John 4:8; Revelation 4:11. 

In Conversation: If you’ve wondered about who God is, He’s wonderful. Caricatures you might have in your mind about God as a mean and unforgiving being who is happy to wield punishment aren’t true. God is pure love, comfort, wisdom, compassion, and joy. The universe exists because of God. 

04 - The Son

Official Wording: God the eternal Son became incarnate in Jesus Christ. Through Him all things were created, the character of God is revealed, the salvation of humanity is accomplished, and the world is judged. Forever truly God, He became also truly human, Jesus the Christ. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived and experienced temptation as a human being, but perfectly exemplified the righteousness and love of God. By His miracles He manifested God’s power and was attested as God’s promised Messiah. He suffered and died voluntarily on the cross for our sins and in our place, was raised from the dead, and ascended to heaven to minister in the heavenly sanctuary in our behalf. He will come again in glory for the final deliverance of His people and the restoration of all things. 

Search for Yourself: Isaiah 53:4-6; Daniel 9:25-27; Luke 1:35; John 1:1-3, 14; 5:22; 10:30; 14:1-3, 9, 13; Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 5:17-19; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:15-19; Hebrews 2:9-18; 8:1, 2. 

In Conversation: Jesus is miraculous in every sense of the word. We believe God came to earth through Jesus Christ, who lived as a human being; therefore, there isn’t anything humanity has experienced that He doesn’t understand. Because of Him, this life isn’t all there is. And because of Him—the Lord who has saved us, redeemed us, and is always rooting for us—we can be with Him in heaven, because He will clean the messes of our lives once and for all time. 

05 - The Holy Spirit

Official Wording: God the eternal Spirit was active with the Father and the Son in Creation, incarnation, and redemption. He is as much a person as are the Father and the Son. He inspired the writers of Scripture. He filled Christ’s life with power. He draws and convicts human beings; and those who respond He renews and transforms into the image of God. Sent by the Father and the Son to be always with His children, He extends spiritual gifts to the church, empowers it to bear witness to Christ, and in harmony with the Scriptures leads it into all truth. 

Search for Yourself: Genesis 1:1, 2; 2 Samuel 23:2; Psalm 51:11; Isaiah 61:1; Luke 1:35; 4:18; John 14:16-18, 26; 15:26; 16:7-13; Acts 1:8; 5:3; 10:38; Romans 5:5; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Peter 1:21. 

In Conversation: The Holy Spirit communicates with us and convicts us. What that means is that humans can’t understand how He does what He does when He does it, but He’s there. That conviction to do something you never imagined you could? It’s the Holy Spirit. That unexplainable comfort and peace in the worst situation? The Holy Spirit. The voice that tells you which way to go? Again, the Spirit. Those who believe find the unexplained often has the Holy Spirit written all over it. 

06 - Creation

Official Wording: God has revealed in Scripture the authentic and historical account of His creative activity. He created the universe, and in a recent six-day creation the Lord made “the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them” and rested on the seventh day. Thus He established the Sabbath as a perpetual memorial of a work He performed and completed during six literal days that together with the Sabbath constituted the same unit of time that we call a week today. The first man and woman were made in the image of God as the crowing work of Creation, given dominion over the world, and charged with responsibility to care for it. When the world was finished it was “very good,” declaring the glory of God. 

Search for Yourself: Genesis 1-2; 5; 11; Exodus 20:8-11; Psalm 19:1-6; 33:6, 9; 104; Isaiah 45:12, 18; Acts 17:24; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2; 11:3; Revelation 10:6; 14:7. 

In Conversation: We believe God created this vast and complex universe in six literal days. And on the seventh day He rested. It’s not that God ran out of energy, but in doing so He set up the seventh day as a much-needed day of rest and remembrance that is just good for us. In His creation of humanity, God made something unique and intrinsically linked to Him forever. Every living thing in this world speaks of how amazing our God is. 

07 - The Nature of Humanity

Official Wording: Man and woman were made in the image of God with individuality, the power and freedom to think and to do. Though created free beings, each is an indivisible unity of body, mind, and spirit, dependent upon God for life and breath and all else. When our first parents disobeyed God, they denied their dependence upon Him and fell from their high position. The image of God in them was marred and they became subject to death. Their descendants share this fallen nature and its consequences. They are born with weaknesses and tendencies to evil. But God in Christ reconciled the world to Himself and by His Spirit restores in penitent mortals the image of their Maker. Created for the glory of God, they are called to love Him and one another, and to care for their environment. 

Search for Yourself: Genesis 1:26-28; 2:7, 15; 3; Psalm 8:4-8; 51:5, 10; 58:3; Jeremiah 17:9; Acts 17:24-28; Romans 5:12-17; 2 Corinthians 5:19, 20; Ephesians 2:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 1 John 3:4; 4:7, 8, 11, 20. 

In Conversation: When God made human beings, they were perfect. Everything about humans was connected to Him as individuals with the power to choose. Sadly, Adam and Eve’s fall set us on the path to humanity as we know it now—flawed, wounded, and destined for death. But through Christ and what He did for us, we have a second chance at what God always intended for us. What is asked of us in return? Only that we love the Lord and one another and to take care of this great big world He created. 

08 - The Great Controversy

Official Wording: All humanity is now involved in a great controversy between Christ and Satan regarding the character of God, His law, and His sovereignty over the universe. This conflict originated in heaven when a created being, endowed with freedom of choice, in self-exaltation became Satan, God’s adversary, and led into rebellion a portion of the angels. He introduced the spirit of rebellion into this world when he led Adam and Eve into sin. This human sin resulted in the distortion of the image of God in humanity, the disordering of the created world, and its eventual devastation at the time of the global flood, as presented in the historical account of Genesis 1-11. Observed by the whole creation, this world became the arena of the universal conflict, out of which the God of love will ultimately be vindicated. To assist His people in this controversy, Christ sends the Holy Spirit and the loyal angels to guide, protect, and sustain them in the way of salvation. 

Search for Yourself: Genesis 3; 6-8; Job 1:6-12; Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:12-18; Romans 1:1932; 3:4; 5:12-21; 8:19-22; 1 Corinthian 4:9; Hebrews 1:14; 1 Peter 5:8; 2 Peter 3:6; Revelation 12:4-9. 

In Conversation: It’s a tale as old as time—that of the battle between good and evil. Satan, once an integral part of heaven, became an enemy and led a good chunk of the angels into downfall. Since then evil has existed. And because of that, humanity is rife with sickness of mind, body, character, and heart. But all is not lost. God’s love has already claimed the victory, and while we endure the assaults of the devil, Jesus does not leave us defenseless. We can count on Him to come through in a clutch every time we call out to Him, and it will remain that way until we are with Him in the very end. 

09 - The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ

Official Wording: In Christ’s life of perfect obedience to God’s will, His suffering, death, and resurrection, God provided the only means of atonement for human sin, so that those who by faith accept this atonement may have eternal life, and the whole creation may better understand the infinite and holy love of the Creator. This perfect atonement vindicates the righteousness of God’s law and the graciousness of His character; for it both condemns our sin and provides for our forgiveness. The death of Christ is substitutionary and expiatory, reconciling and transforming. The bodily resurrection of Christ proclaims God’s triumph over the forces of evil, and for those who accept the atonement assures their final victory over sin and death. It declares the Lordship of Jesus Christ, before whom every knee in heaven and on earth will bow. 

Search for Yourself: Genesis 3:15; Psalm 22:1; Isaiah 53; John 3:16; 14:30; Romans 1:4; 3:25; 4:25; 8:3, 4; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4, 20-22; 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15, 19-21; Philippians 2:6-11; Colossians 2:15; 1 Peter 2:21, 22; 1 John 2:2; 4:10. 

In Conversation: We believe that Christ came to earth to die for our sins, and His resurrection put the cap on all the evil we could be bombarded with. That is not to say we don’t go through moments of great suffering. But through Christ and what He did for us, we have been given the upper hand over Satan. This ultimate power is ours to claim, all because of the love of Jesus Christ. We just have to accept it. 

10 - The Experience of Salvation

Official Wording: In infinite love and mercy God made Christ, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, so that in Him we might be made the righteousness of God. Led by the Holy Spirit we sense our need, acknowledge our sinfulness, repent of our transgressions, and exercise faith in Jesus as Saviour and Lord, Substitute and Example. This saving faith comes through the divine power of the Word and is the gift of God’s grace. Through Christ we are justified, adopted as God’s sons and daughters, and delivered from the lordship of sin. Through the Spirit we are born again and sanctified; the Spirit renews our minds, writes God’s law of love in our hearts, and we are given the power to live a holy life. Abiding in Him we become partakers of the divine nature and have the assurance of salvation now and in the judgment. 

Search for Yourself: Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 45:22; 53; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 33:11; 36:25-27; Habakkuk 2:4; Mark 9:23, 24; John 3:3-8, 16; 16:8; Romans 3:21-26; 5:6-10; 8:1-4, 14-17; 10:17; 12:2; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Galatians 1:4; 3:13, 14, 26; 4:4-7; Ephesians 2:4-10; Colossians 1:13, 14; Titus 3:3-7; Hebrews 8:7-12; 1 Peter 1:23; 2:21, 22; 2 Peter 1:3, 4; Revelation 13:8. 

In Conversation: Salvation is real. You fall because of sin, but through Christ’s salvation, you are lifted. That is the whole mission of Christ for us. Faith in God’s grace and mercy is what will hold us above the fray. Salvation because of Jesus is powerful and as real as the nose on your face. 

11 - Growing in Christ

Official Wording: By His death on the cross Jesus triumphed over the forces of evil. He who subjugated the demonic spirits during His earthly ministry has broken their power and made certain their ultimate doom. Jesus’ victory gives us victory over the evil forces that still seek to control us, as we walk with Him in peace, joy, and assurance of His love. Now the Holy Spirit dwells within us and empowers us. Continually committed to Jesus as our Saviour and Lord, we are set free from the burden of our past deeds. No longer do we live in the darkness, fear of evil powers, ignorance, and meaninglessness of our former way of life. In this new freedom in Jesus, we are called to grow into the likeness of His character, communing with Him daily in prayer, feeding on His Word, meditating on it and on His providence, singing His praises, gathering together for worship, and participating in the mission of the church. We are also called to follow Christ’s example of compassionately ministering to the physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual needs of humanity. As we give ourselves in loving service to those around us and in witnessing to His salvation, His constant presence with us through the Spirit transforms every moment and every task into a spiritual experience. 

Search for Yourself: 1 Chronicles 29:11; Psalm 1:1, 2; 23:4, 77:11, 12; Matthew 20:25-28; 25:3146; Luke 10:17-20; John 20:21; Romans 8:38, 39; 2 Corinthians 3:17, 18; Galatians 5:22-25; Ephesians 5:19, 20; 6:12-18; Philippians 3:7-14; Colossians 1:13, 14; 2:6, 14, 15; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, 23; Hebrews 10:25; James 1:27; 2 Peter 2:9; 3:18; 1 John 4:4. 

In Conversation: Life is not meant to be stagnant. And though we live in a sinful world with “infractions” of our own, Jesus walks beside us to keep us growing and moving forward. He is our example to follow in making the best life decisions that not only honor God but benefit our lives on this earth. We don’t have to be stuck—Jesus always offers us a path of forgiveness and growth that in the end prepares us for eternal life with Him. He has freed us from all that could hold us down. 

12 - The Church

Official Wording: The church is the community of believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. In continuity with the people of God in Old Testament times, we are called out from the world; and we join together for worship, for fellowship, for instruction in the Word, for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, for service to humanity, and for the worldwide proclamation for the gospel. The church derives its authority from Christ, who is the incarnate Word revealed in the Scriptures. The church is God’s family; adopted by Him as children, its members live on the basis of the new covenant. The church is the body of Christ, a community of faith of which Christ Himself is the Head. The church is the bride for whom Christ died that He might sanctify and cleanse her. At His return in triumph, He will present her to Himself a glorious church, the faithful of all the ages, the purchase of His blood, not having spot or wrinkle, but holy and without blemish. 

Search for Yourself: Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:3-7; Matthew 16:13-20; 18:18; 28:19, 20; Acts 2:38-42; 7:38; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 1:22, 23; 2:19-22; 3:8-11; 5:23-27; Colossians 1:17, 18; 1 Peter 2:9. 

In Conversation: The church is not a building. It’s not a weekly spot to find people on a Saturday morning. Rather, the church is the collective group of all those who believe that Jesus is our Savior. The church looks only to Jesus—the ultimate authority who is only a prayer away. His love for His church is unfathomable—yeah, it’s that deep. 

13 - The Remnant and Its Mission

Official Wording: The universal church is composed of all who truly believe in Christ, but in the last days, a time of widespread apostasy, a remnant has been called out to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. This remnant announces the arrival of the judgment hour, proclaims salvation through Christ, and heralds the approach of His second advent. This proclamation is symbolized by the three angels of Revelation 14; it coincides with the work of judgment in heaven and results in a work of repentance and reform on earth. Every believer is called to have a personal part in this worldwide witness. 

Search for Yourself: Daniel 7:9-14; Isaiah 1:9; 11:11; Jeremiah 23:3; Micah 2:12; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Peter 1:16-19; 4:17; 2 Peter 3:10-14; Jude 3, 14; Revelation 12:17; 14:6-12; 18:1-4. 

In Conversation: There are a lot of people today asking Google if the world is about to explode, taking us with the fallout. So we’ve got a special mission to help the world understand that this life isn’t all there is—something the book of Revelation says a few things about. Thus, as things get increasingly dicey, the way forward is to follow the commandments and hang on to Jesus as though our lives depended on it, and leave our fear behind. He’s got this. 

14 - Unity in the Body of Christ

Official Wording: The church is one body with many members, called from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. In Christ we are a new creation; distinctions of race, culture, learning, and nationality, and differences between high and low, rich and poor, male and female, must not be divisive among us. We are all equal in Christ, who by one Spirit has bonded us into one fellowship with Him and with one another; we are to serve and be served without partiality or reservation. Through the revelation of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures we share the same faith and hope, and reach out in one witness to all. This unity has its source in the oneness of the triune God, who has adopted us as His children. 

Search for Yourself: Psalm 133:1; Matthew 28:19, 20; John 17:20-23; Acts 17:26, 27; Romans 12:4, 5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14; 2 Corinthians 5:16, 17; Galatians 3:27-29; Ephesians 2:13-16; 4:3-6, 11-16; Colossians 3:10-15. 

In Conversation: In Christ we belong together regardless of how we look, what languages we speak, how we think, and what makes us tick. Our differences are all right because we are part of one family headed by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and we are chosen. We are loved and valued for who we are, just as we are. Thus we should impart that type of love to all those around us. 

15 - Baptism

Official Wording: By baptism we confess our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and testify of our death to sin and of our purpose to walk in newness of life. Thus we acknowledge Christ as Lord and Saviour, become His people, and are received as members by His church. Baptism is a symbol of our union with Christ, the forgiveness of our sins, and our reception of the Holy Spirit. It is by immersion in water and is contingent on an affirmation of faith in Jesus and evidence of repentance of Sin. It follows instruction in the Holy Scriptures and acceptance of their teachings. 

Search for Yourself: Matthew 28:19, 20; Acts 2:38; 16:30-33; 22:16; Romans 6:1-6; Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:12, 13. 

In Conversation: While one can become a follower of Christ in their hearts, baptism is a public symbol that denotes a deep commitment to a new life with Jesus. The symbolism of washing away and burying all that held you down before and rising from the water renewed in Christ is very powerful. 

16 - The Lord’s Supper

Official Wording: The Lord’s Supper is a participation in the emblems of the body and blood of Jesus as an expression of faith in Him, our Lord and Saviour. In this experience of communion Christ is present to meet and strengthen His people. As we partake, we joyfully proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes again. Preparation for the Supper includes self-examination, repentance, and confession. The Master ordained the service of foot-washing to signify renewed cleansing, to express a willingness to serve one another in Christlike humility, and to unite our hearts in love. The communion service is open to all believing Christians. 

Search for Yourself: Matthew 26:17-30; John 6:48-63; 13:1-17; 1 Corinthians 10:16, 17; 11:2330; Revelation 3:20. 

In Conversation: This part of spiritual practice exemplifies the power of remembrance. Through this we follow Christ’s example: lowering Himself to wash the feet of those who had many faults; loving and caring for them regardless. Through consuming the bread and juice, we remember that precious and emotionally charged last meal He shared before He went forward to accomplish the bravest thing that could ever be done. Participating in these ordinances is good for the soul, as is remembering the Savior at the root of them. 

17 - Spiritual Gifts and Ministries

Official Wording: God bestows upon all members of His church in every age spiritual gifts that each member is to employ in loving ministry for the common good of the church and humanity. Given by the agency of the Holy Spirit, who apportions to each member as He wills, the gifts provide all abilities and ministries needed by the church to fulfill its divinely ordained functions. According to the Scriptures, these gifts include such ministries as faith, healing, prophecy, proclamation, teaching, administration, reconciliation, compassion, and self-sacrificing service and charity for the help and encouragement of people. Some members are called of God and endowed by the Spirit for functions recognized by the church in pastoral, evangelistic, and teaching ministries particularly needed to equip the members for service, to build up the church to spiritual maturity, and to foster unity of the faith and knowledge of God. When members employ these spiritual gifts as faithful stewards of God’s varied grace, the church is protected from the destructive influence of false doctrine, grows with a growth that is from God, and is built up in faith and love. 

Search for Yourself: Acts 6:1-7; Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, 27, 28; Ephesians 4:8, 11-16; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; 1 Peter 4:10, 11. 

In Conversation: It’s easy to think we exist on this planet in possession of a few basic talents with which we are to live with. But God has a lot more value placed on us than we may understand. He has given each person specific and special gifts with which to serve all of humanity. Gifts such as the ability to teach, to be empathetic and compassionate, to preach, to heal, etc. All of these are given from a loving Creator who equips everyone He calls. 

18 - The Gift of Prophecy

Official Wording: The Scriptures testify that one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an underlying mark of the remnant church and we believe it was manifested in the ministry of Ellen G. White. Her writings speak with prophetic authority and provide comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction to the church. They also make clear that the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested. 

Search for Yourself: Numbers 12:6; 2 Chronicles 20:20; Amos 3:7; Joel 2:28, 29; Acts 2:14-21; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17; Hebrews 1:1-3; Revelation 12:17; 19:10; 22:8, 9. 

In Conversation: Not to be confused with fortunetelling, prophecy has been inherently featured throughout Scripture. And in more modern times, through the ministry of a woman called Ellen White. Through visions given to her from the time she was a young woman, she has been instrumental in shaping and guiding Seventh-day Adventist beliefs. Her ministry provides another resource by which to understand what is to come as we look forward to Christ’s return. But the Bible, as the definitive Word of God, will always be the number-one standard by which everything should be held up—something Ellen White repeatedly emphasized in her work. 

19 - The Law of God

Official Wording: The great principles of God’s law are embodied in the Ten Commandments and exemplified in the life of Christ. They express God’s love, will, and purposes concerning human conduct and relationships and are binding upon all people in every age. These precepts are the basis of God’s covenant with His people and the standard in God’s judgment. Through the agency of the Holy Spirit they point out sin and awaken a sense of need for a Saviour. Salvation is all of grace and not of works, and its fruit is obedience to the Commandments. This obedience develops Christian character and results in a sense of well-being. It is an evidence of our love for the Lord and our concern for our fellow Human Beings. The Obedience of Faith Demonstrates the Power of Christ to Transform Lives, and Therefore Strengthens Christian Witness.

Search for Yourself: Exodus 20:1-17; Deuteronomy 28:1-14; Psalm 19:7-14; 40:7, 8; Matthew 5:17-20; 22:36-40; John 14:15; 15:7-10; Romans 8:3,4; Ephesians 2:8-10; Hebrews 8:8-10; 1 John 2:3; 5:3; Revelation 12:17; 14:12.

In Conversation: We believe every one of the Ten Commandments is meant to be taken seriously, and when we do, our lives improve. Through obedience to these laws, our characters grow through Christ’s example, and we can become living witnesses to the world, remembering that our salvation comes through the grace of Christ. While we certainly fall short of perfect adherence to the law, it is through our mistakes that the mercy and love of the Savior is shown. The Lord forgives and redeems no matter how much we mess up. 

20 - The Sabbath

Official Wording: The gracious Creator, after the six days of Creation, rested on the seventh day and instituted the Sabbath for all people as a memorial of Creation. The fourth commandment of God’s unchangeable law requires the observance of this seventh-day Sabbath as the day of rest, worship, and ministry in harmony with the teaching and practice of Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is a day of delightful communion with God and one another. It is a symbol of our redemption in Christ, a sign of our sanctification, a token of our allegiance, and a foretaste of our eternal future in God’s kingdom. The Sabbath is God’s perpetual sign of His eternal covenant between Him and His people. Joyful observance of this holy time from evening to evening, sunset to sunset, is a celebration of God’s creative and redemptive acts. 

Search for Yourself: Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus 20:8-11, 31:13-17; Leviticus 23:32; Deuteronomy 5:12-15; Isaiah 56:5, 6; 58:13, 14; Ezekiel 20:12, 20; Matthew 12:1-12; Mark 1:32; Luke 4:16; Hebrews 4:1-11. 

In Conversation: The Sabbath is a gift. Not only is it a much-needed rest day from our busyness, but it renews our tired spirits and bolsters our faith through worship and time spent with those we love. It is a special 24-hour period that shows the world our commitment to following the commandments and exemplifies our devotion to Jesus, who is the Lord of the Sabbath. It revives us, fortifies us, and strengthens our bond to the Creator. 

21 - Stewardship

Official Wording: We are God’s stewards, entrusted by Him with time and opportunities, abilities and possessions, and the blessings of the earth and its resources. We are responsible to Him for their proper use. We acknowledge God’s ownership by faithful service to Him and our fellow human beings, and by returning tithe and giving offerings for the proclamation of His gospel and the support and growth of His church. Stewardship is a privilege given to us by God for nurture in love and the victory over selfishness and covetousness. Stewards rejoice in the blessings that come to others as a result of their faithfulness. 

Search for Yourself: Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15; 1 Chronicles 29:14; Haggai 1:3-11; Malachi 3:8-12; Matthew 23:23; Romans 15:26, 27; 1 Corinthians 9:9-14; 2 Corinthians 8:1-15; 9:7. 

In Conversation: We’ve been given many blessings from the Lord in the form of physical and mental abilities, material possessions, our physical beings and relationships, and this beautiful earth we live in. Because of the Lord’s great love and generosity, we believe it is important to take care of all He has given us and to give back through tithing and blessing others in whatever ways we can. 

22 - Christian Behavior

Official Wording: 

We are called to be a godly people who think, feel, and act in harmony with biblical principles in all aspects of personal and social life. For the Spirit to re-create in us the character of our Lord we involve ourselves only in those things that will produce Christlike purity, health, and joy in our lives. This means that our amusement and entertainment should meet the highest standards of Christian taste and beauty. While recognizing cultural differences, our dress is to be simple, modest, and neat, befitting those whose true beauty does not consist of outward adornment but in the imperishable ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit. It also means that because our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, we are to care for them intelligently. Along with adequate exercise and rest, we are to adopt the most healthful diet possible and abstain from the unclean foods identified in the Scriptures. Since alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and the irresponsible use of drugs and narcotics are harmful to our bodies, we are to abstain from them as well. Instead, we are to engage in whatever brings our thoughts and bodies into the discipline of Christ, who desires our wholesomeness, joy, and goodness. 

Search for Yourself: Genesis 7:2; Exodus 20:15; Leviticus 11:1-47; Psalm 106:3; Romans 12:1, 2; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20; 10:31; 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1; 10:5; Ephesians 5:1-21; Philippians 2:4; 4:8; 1 Timothy 2:9, 10; Titus 2:11, 12; 1 Peter 3:1-4; 1 John 2:6; 3 John 2. 

In Conversation: One of the highest ideals we can aim for in this life is to be like Jesus. So in our wanting to follow how He lived His life, healthy habits and behavior are key. Since Jesus was not a drinking, smoking, drug-abusing person eating unclean foods and harming His body and spirit, neither should we be. We have nothing to lose from avoiding those things, yet, as we know, a lot to lose when we partake in them. Our bodies and minds run so much better when filled with the good stuff, as Jesus has known all along. 

23 - Marriage and the Family

Official Wording: Marriage was divinely established in Eden and affirmed by Jesus to be a lifelong union between a man and a woman in loving companionship. For the Christian a marriage commitment is to God as well as to the spouse, and should be entered into only between a man and a woman who share a common faith. Mutual love, honor, respect, and responsibility are the fabric of this relationship, which is to reflect the love, sanctity, closeness, and permanence of the relationship between Christ and His church. Regarding divorce, Jesus taught that the person who divorces a spouse, except for fornication, and marries another, commits adultery. Although some family relationships may fall short of the ideal, a man and a woman who fully commit themselves to each other in Christ through marriage may achieve loving unity through the guidance of the Spirit and the nurture of the church. God blesses the family and intends that its members shall assist each other toward complete maturity. Increasing family closeness is one of the earmarks of the final gospel message. Parents are to bring up their children to love and obey the Lord. By their example and their words they are to teach them that Christ is a loving, tender, and caring guide who wants them to become members of His body, the family of God which embraces both single and married persons. 

Search for Yourself: Genesis 2:18-25; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:5-9; Proverbs 22:6; Malachi 4:5, 6; Matthew 5:31, 32; 19:3-9, 12; Mark 10:11, 12; John 2:1-11; 1 Corinthians 7:7, 10, 11; 2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4. 

In Conversation: We believe in marriage between a man and a woman united in the same faith for a lifetime. Marriage can be hard, and so this union is something to take very seriously. The Lord knows the effects sin has on our relationships, so He is always ready to help. The family is a very important unit—a gift that figures into the spreading of the gospel, and so we seek to raise our children in the faith through the example and exposure to the loving nature of Jesus. That said, all members of God’s family, regardless of whether they are married or single, are highly treasured, valued individuals. 

24 - Christ’s Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary

Official Wording: There is a sanctuary in heaven, the true tabernacle that the Lord set up and not humans. In it Christ ministers on our behalf, making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross. At His ascension, He was inaugurated as our great High Priest and began His intercessory ministry, which was typified by the work of the high priest in the holy place of the earthly sanctuary. In 1844, at the end of the prophetic period of 2300 days, He entered the second and last phase of His atoning ministry, which was typified by the work of the high priest in the most holy place of the earthly sanctuary. It is a work of investigative judgment which is part of the ultimate disposition of all sin, typified by the cleansing of the ancient Hebrew sanctuary on the Day of Atonement. In the typical service the sanctuary was cleansed with the blood of animal sacrifices, but the heavenly things are purified with the perfect sacrifice of the blood of Jesus. The investigative judgment reveals to heavenly intelligences who among the dead are asleep in Christ and therefore, in Him, are deemed worthy to have part in the first resurrection. It also makes manifest who among the living are abiding in Christ, keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and in Him, therefore, are ready for translation into His everlasting kingdom. This judgment vindicates the justice of God in saving those who believe in Jesus. It declares that those who have remained loyal to God shall receive the kingdom. The completion of this ministry of Christ will make the close of human probation before the Second Advent. 

Search for Yourself: Leviticus 16; Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6; Daniel 7:9-27; 8:13, 14; 9:24-27; Hebrews 1:3; 2:16, 17; 4:14-16; 8:1-5; 9:11-28; 10:19-22; Revelation 8:3-5; 11:19; 14:6, 7, 12; 20:12; 22:11, 12. 

In Conversation: Christ is working in the heavenly sanctuary much like the high priest would have in the sanctuary of the Old Testament. But now Jesus is working through all of humanity by putting together the gathering of His people. Through this work in the heavenly sanctuary, He is making certain that those who love Him, keep the commandments, and hold fast to the faith He exemplified on this earth will be counted when He returns to take us to heaven. While the word “judgment” can be a negative term, in this case it’s all about the pulling together of Christ’s beloved—a labor of love, if you will. 

25 - The Second Coming of Christ

Official Wording: The second coming of Christ is the blessed hope of the church, the grand climax of the gospel. The Saviour’s coming will be literal, personal, visible, and worldwide. When He returns, the righteous dead will be resurrected, and together with the righteous living will be glorified and taken to heaven, but the unrighteous will die. The almost complete fulfillment of most lines of prophecy, together with the present condition of the world, indicates that Christ’s coming is near. The time of that event has not been revealed, and we are therefore exhorted to be ready at all times. 

Search for Yourself: Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 5:1-6; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; 2:8; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:28; Revelation 1:7; 14:14-20; 19:11-21. 

In Conversation: Life on Planet Earth is temporary, and soon all the pain, suffering, and sorrow will finally be over when Jesus returns. But His coming won’t be a quiet incident. Every living being on earth will see it, hear it, and feel it. All those who have loved and lived for Him and died in the knowledge of His return will be resurrected. Broken families will be reunited, and those we have lost will be with us again. Everything that prophecy has pointed to regarding this moment will be fulfilled. Because only the Father knows this time, it’s important to live in readiness. 

26 - Death and Resurrection

Official Wording: The wages of sin is death. But God, who alone is immortal, will grant eternal life to His redeemed. Until that day death is an unconscious state for all people. When Christ, who is our life, appears, the resurrected righteous and the living righteous will be glorified and caught up to meet their Lord. The second resurrection, the resurrection of the unrighteous, will take place a thousand years later. 

Search for Yourself: Job 19:25-27; Psalm 146:3, 4; Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10; Daniel 12:2, 13; Isaiah 25:8; John 5:28, 29; 11:11-14; Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54; Colossians 3:4; 1Thessalonians 4:13-17; 1 Timothy 6:15, 16; Revelation 20:1-10. 

In Conversation: This belief is filled with so much hope. Death isn’t the end of the story for those who claim Jesus as their Savior. It’s a pressing of the pause button on life. Then, when Christ comes back for us, the play button is pressed again, and a new life in Christ will emerge better than ever to live in joy in heaven with Jesus. 

27 - The Millennium and the End of Sin

Official Wording: The millennium is the thousand-year reign of Christ with His saints in heaven between the first and second resurrections. During this time the wicked dead will be judged; the earth will be utterly desolate, without living human inhabitants, but occupied by Satan and his angels. At its close Christ with His saints and the Holy City will descend from heaven to earth. The unrighteous dead will then be resurrected, and with Satan and his angels will surround the city; but fire from God will consume them and cleanse the earth. The universe will thus be freed of sin and sinners forever. 

Search for Yourself: Jeremiah 4:23-26; Ezekiel 28:18, 19; Malachi 4:1; 1 Corinthians 6:2, 3; Revelation 20; 21:1-5. 

In Conversation: While this might sound like the plot of a Hollywood sci-fi blockbuster, there are no actors or special-effects gurus to be found. In real life the saved in Jesus will be safe in heaven with Him, while Satan and his angels—no longer able to touch us—will be running amok on a ravaged Planet Earth. But at the close of 1,000 years we will descend with Christ from heaven, where fire from God will consume all evil and cleanse the earth forever. Sin and sinners? Never again. 

28 - The New Earth

Official Wording: On the new earth, in which righteousness dwells, God will provide an eternal home for the redeemed and a perfect environment for everlasting life, love, joy, and learning in His presence. For here God Himself will dwell with His people, and suffering and death will have passed away. The great controversy will be ended, and sin will be no more. All things, animate and inanimate, will declare that God is love; and He shall reign forever. Amen. 

Search for Yourself: Isaiah 35; 65:17-25; Matthew 5:5; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 11:15; 21:1-7; 22:1-5. 

In Conversation: And finally, we will come to the best of the best, where the peace and joy we’ve longed for is all we will know for eternity. The earth made shiny and new will be the perfect place for God’s people to live in joy— completely free of suffering, death, and pain. There is no more battle between good and evil, for the Lord has won and shall never be challenged again. And everything—every last thing—will tell the story that God is, and has always been, love.