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I am just wondering what is your opinion of who can be saved into God's kingdom of grace.  Please provide Scriptural evidence if possible. 

We know for sure that the one entering the strait gate, and narrow way are saved.  But what about the rest of the people which are in the billions, who don't have both of the the above. 

Group 1:
What about Buddhists, Islams, Catholics, and all other non-SDA religions = are those that enter not the strait gates, but they are walking in narrow way and are in harmony with society and do good to others?  By narrow way, I mean they are keeping the principle of the Commandment 5-10 in their way of lives, but because of their faulty religious beliefs, so are they in keeping the Commandment 1-4 and that include having idols.  Can they still be saved?  What about the story about Cornelius, or the Samaritan widow, or Namaan, or the men of Nineveh, and that men's conscience convict them?

Group 2:
What about people who are entering the strait gate?  they seem to understand the Bible and even seem to have much knowledge in SOP, but their lives are on the broadway, by that I mean their lives are not in harmony with Commandments 5-10.  They seem to be doing all the right religious activities including leadership, and they mouth claim grace, and pray for God's forgiveness, but then in their lives, they are unforgiving in actions and words, often want to believe the lies instead of the good spoken about others, and their points of views in their opinions are always right?

Group 3:
What about the people who seem like the nicest people on the world, and friendly, and doing benefits to society, but they never seem to be interested in Bible doctrine their whole lives?

This question has been on my mind for a long time.  Please be yourself in answering.  May God bless you. 

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William

At one time, the SDA church was unique in the belief of the "great controversy between God and Satan." Oh, yes, every organization that claimed to be "Christian," and even many if not most who were not, believe in a god and a devil. But it was not the same as was understood in the Adventist communion.

The way most Adventist, at least the ones in North America seem to believe today, is like the same as what we labeled as "apostate protetstants" believed back then. Instead of converting the world, it seems like the world has converted Adventist. Not just in the obvious, i.e. music, dress, use of jewelry, the wedding ring etc., but in many points of theology, such as evolution, diet, and the selection of church leadership, just to name a few. The idea that if something is not according to God's word, that it is of Satan is considered to be extremely old fashion and most uncharitable. Or is it?

This has come about becasue, at least the way I see it, as a reaction to the legalism of the past.

So,one one side, we have the "legalist, that although they would never admit to it, seem to beleive that they must earn their salvation (I have been one of them, so I do not talk from heresay) to the other side where if it feels good, do it (sad to say, I have walked there before too). Where feelings and desire is their god and indepencence is their motto. And anyone who fails to not just agree with them, but actually supports them, is simply terrible. Of course no one who reads this will be part of that group, right? This is a description of those "other guys."

It is my belief that we have lost the heart of the Adventist message. There is a devil, Satan, who use to be the arch angel in heaven, who rebeled against God and is now doing all he can to bring rebellion in amonst God's people. Oh, how often I have been told: "we need to be more concerned about what God can do then what Satan is doing." If kept in balance, I would agree. However, Satan loves it when we totally ignore him and just profess to be looking at Jesus.

While I may be wrong, I have come to the position that: We must keep our eyes on Jesus, and as with Paul, determine to know nothing, except Jesus and Him crucified, BUT we must never loose sight of the fact that there is a very real enemy out there who is seeking to destroy us. Or as one person put it: "We should not get so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good."

Some focus on health. Fine, I believe in healthful living. I don't drink hard spirits, I don't eat smorgasboard of the animal kingdom, I don't smoke, I try to get my foods from as fresh and natural sources as possible. But, I have no illusions that I will be saved in that manner. All those things can do is to make us either a healthy saint or a healthy sinner, depending on our other choices.

The same for social issues, church political issues and, yes, even theological issues. Then some come along and say: "that it is all in a relationship. If one has a right relationship with Jesus, that takes care of the problem of being lost." I also beleive in having a relationship with Jesus. I have attempted to foster that for some 60 years. All of these things are fine, good and have their place.

But, do any, part or all of these things make us a Christian?

Do any, part or all of these keep us out of Satan's camp?

For Jesus said:

>"Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters."</</i>b> Matthew 12:30 (ESV)

If none of those are the answer, just what is the key? What position is it that is essential to take, in order to know that we are "in Christ Jesus?" Allow me to share what I have found. One day i was reading a passage in Revelation. First some background. Having written a sylabus on Revelation, having give Revelation Seminars where several were baptized into our church, and continuing to study the two books of Daniel and Revelation, I could quote the verse I am about to post by heart, but it had not seeped into my heart.

"The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne." Rev. 3:21 (ESV)

One day, when I read that text, suddenly a light came on in my brain. Whoever, conquers in the same way that Jesus conquered sin, will receive the same reward Jesus receives. WOW!!! Does that tell us something? Can you even start to fathom that promise? I still can't, as long as I have studied it.

Well, when I read it, I asked myself: "I wonder if John spelled out the way Jesus conqurered?" Knowing that the gospel of John was written after Revelation was written, I turned to the Gospel of John and read it through in one sitting. Looking for any hint of how Jesus over came sin. Because, in my life sin had been doing far more overcoming then I was doing. While most of the sinning was that which is common, even among Adventist, it still bothered me. Well, I did find out how Jesus overcame sin and it is deceptivly simple. Here it is.

>"I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me."</</i>b> JOH 5:30 NASB

Then I remembered a wonderful passage in the writtings of Ellen White.

">The Power of the Will
"The tempted one needs to understand the true force of the will. This is the governing power in the nature of man--the power of decision, of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will. Desires for goodness and purity are right, so far as they go; but if we stop here, they avail nothing. Many will go down to ruin while hoping and desiring to overcome their evil propensities. They do not yield the will to God. They do not choose to serve Him." {MH 176.1}

Then I ran onto this passage.

"Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?" Romans 6:16 (ESV)

God gave to mankind the special gift of free moral agency. It is this power that sets humans apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. Sin, is the attitude that casues us to use this heavnly gift to make wrong choices. To use our will in the wrong way. When we make those wrong choices, we "miss the mark," and end up being a slave of Satan.

So, William, it is my belief that in the above, will be found the answer to your questions.

May I venture a description of a Christian? Maybe someone can improve this, but it is a start.

A Christian is a human being, who has choosen to enter into a covenant relationship with the God of Heaven, choosing Him as His absolute Lord and Master, who has chosen to Love Him with the divine love recieved from God, with all of his/her heart and refuses to anything except what he/she is told to do by the God they have chosen.

OK?

Maranatha :)
Ray
Rob

True, I did not focus on his questions. However, I tried to present the information that includes the answers to those questions. It is my belief that if an intelligent person has the facts, they will know how to apply them. Which was the focus that I took. If this is still not clear, then I can write a much, much, much longer post to address his specific question.

Maranatha :)
Ray
Thank you Pastor Phillips for the explanation of the surely saved Christians that enter the strait gait, and narrow road. That's the will to govern our actions from right understanding of biblical truth, and the steady relationship with Christ so that we don't give up until Christ return.
MsMS

Not to disagree, but to use your comments as a springboard. All three groups have a common problem. "Almost, but not quite."

See, in being a Christian, it is like a lady being pregnant. No one has ever been almost pregnant. Either one is, or they are not. But, today we do not like that concept. We want to feel that we can be near Christ, when we need to be "in Christ." As the saying goes: "Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades." Almost, but, not quite is a miss. Paul said to Agrippa:

"Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." Acts 26:28 (KJV)

But, almost did not make it for Agrippa, nor will it make it for us. It is only total, whole hearted surrender of our will and loyalty to God that will bring us to the condition where we are "safe to save."

Maranatha :)
Ray
Thank you brother Rob and sister MsMS for your response, this is what I think of the groups:

Group 1: There are some portion of people in this group will be saved. Before Christ was the high priest, the Holy Spirit was. The Holy Spirit which convicts the heart, which is the conscience in Non-Israel (non-SDA), or the gentiles, or nations, which is the law unto themselves. Brother Rob gave good examples in Roman 2:12, 14,15. We know that Naaman, as captain of the host of king of Syria, and he was "honourable" 2 King 5:1, and I would say that if he had perished before meeting Elisha, he would still be saved. (Elisha represent the modern 3 angel messages, and separation from Babylon metaphor). And then God forgives him w/ Elisha confirmation when he have to bow down to idol when king of Syria lean on his hand. 2 king 5:18.

Another example: Cornelius, "There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always." Act 10:1-2 These people were surely not Israel, but were saved. In fact if Cornelius had died before meeting Peter, he would have been saved. Why? because he feared God, which is he lives up to the best light that he had, doing work judge by his conscience, and the Holy led him further into the truth. I think had he chose to refuse to see Peter, then he would fail the test. But Cornelius passed this test, and so in the future, there will be many people of non-Adventists will accept the 3 Angel message and come out Babylon and be saved. I think that there are many people who are not Adventists or even Christians but are considered to "fear God" because they live up to best light they have.

Group 2: Their actions already determine their faith, and there will no further light for them. In fact, this group is the one that turn people away from God.

Group 3: I think there's a difference b/t living the principles according to heaven but don't want to beat other people on the head with it, vs. a group that is doesn't bother about truth at all. The former one will, by the power of the Holy accept the truth when further light is shown to them. Whereas the latter group tend to appear happy, but they have god in some form or other but we don't see them, ie. workaholic, worshipping money, doing things because of pride. So the former one I think will likely be saved as long as they live up to the best light.

Overall what really matter is living according to the principles of heaven, and nature is the second Bible, and knowing about Christ help the process easier.

Brother McCoy you just answered your own question

Hi William.

I think you have posed good questions. It would seem that anyone can be saved provided they do not cross the line of resisting the drawing of the Holy Spirit when He makes a final appeal to them.

Group 1: These can be saved provided that they never receive any new light before death or they do not continually reject opportunities to advance in the truth resisting the Holy Spirit. .

Group 2: These people must be converted not just once but everyday just as everyone of us who have the light on what it means to be a Christian living before the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.

Group 3: These people can be saved if they are converted before death but not if they reject Bible teachings when the teachings are presented to them.

Please permit me to further share some interesting thoughts from the Bible and Spirit of prophecy that have have helped me sort it out in my mind:

WHO WILL BE LOST - WHO WILL BE SAVED

Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. (Matthew 12:31)

Any sin that is not forgiven is not blotted out of the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary and consequently leaves the guilty one in a position where he or she will not be saved.

No soul is ever finally deserted of God, given up to his own ways, so long as there is any hope of his salvation. "Man turns from God, not God from him." Our heavenly Father follows us with appeals and warnings and assurances of compassion, until further opportunities and privileges would be wholly in vain. The responsibility rests with the sinner. By resisting the Spirit of God today, he prepares the way for a second resistance of light when it comes with mightier power. Thus he passes on from one stage of resistance to another, until at last the light will fail to impress, and he will cease to respond in any measure to the Spirit of God. Then even "the light that is in thee" has become darkness. The very truth we do know has become so perverted as to increase the blindness of the soul. {MB 93.1}

All should be intelligent in regard to the agency by which the soul is destroyed. It is not because of any decree that God has sent out against man. He does not make man spiritually blind. God gives sufficient light and evidence to enable man to distinguish truth from error. But He does not force man to receive truth. He leaves him free to choose the good or to choose the evil. If man resists evidence that is sufficient to guide his judgment in the right direction, and chooses evil once, he will do this more readily the second time. The third time he will still more eagerly withdraw himself from God and choose to stand on the side of Satan. And in this course he will continue until he is confirmed in evil, and believes the lie he has cherished as truth. His resistance has produced its harvest (MS 126, 1901).

What Pharaoh has done, will be done again and again by men until the close of probation. God destroys no man; but when a man stifles conviction, when he turns from evidence, he is sowing unbelief, and will reap as he has sown. As it was with Pharaoh, so it will be with him; when clearer light shines upon the truth, he will meet it with increased resistance, and the work of hardening the heart will go on with each rejection of the increasing light of heaven. In simplicity and truth we would speak to the impenitent in regard to the way in which men destroy their own souls. {RH, February 17, 1891 par. 2}

Thank you for allowing my reply
William, just curious, where did u get this idea "Before Christ was the high priest, the Holy Spirit was"???

As to who shall be saved, who can be saved, these two verses from Acts 10 says it all:

"Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons. But in every nation (or denomination) he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted of Him." Acts 10:34,35.

One thing we should know is that the Lord revealed to us through His servants that "there is salvation for you but only through the merits of Jesus Christ ." Testimonies to Ministes, p.97.

In other words the grace of the Holy Spirit is offered to us in rich fullness but in order to receive this most precious gift we must appropriate to ourselves the merits of the Saviour, otherwise, the Spirit says, we cannot be saved.

"Unless he makes it his lifebusiness to behold the uplifted Saviour and to accept the merits which it is his privilege to claim, the sinner can no more be saved than Peter could walk upon the water unless he kept his eyes fixed steaduly upon Jesus." Testimonies to Ministers, p.93.

This is the light that the Lord caused to shine in brilliant rays between 1888 and 1901.

The God of Heaven solemnly declared that it is sufficient to plead the merits of His Son in our behalf in order to receive all the blessings of the covenant of grace. These infinite blessings are the gifts of pardon, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit for the Holy Spirit brings the righteousness of Christ into the life and His righteousness is love and love is the light and the life of God and the life of God in the soul is man's only hope. See Mount of Blessing, p.18 and Ministry of Healing, p.115.

"The merits of His sacrifice are sufficient to present to the Father in our behalf." Steps to Christ, p.36.

Thus we read, "The only faith that will benefit us is that which embraces Him as a personal Saviour: which appropriates His merits to ourselves." Desire of Ages, p.347.

We appropriate them by claiming them.

So then faith is the hand by which the soul lays right hold upon the all-sufficient merits of a crucified and risen Savior for they are the only remedy provided for sin.

"Faith is the condition upon which God has seen fit to promise pardon to sinners; not that there is any virtue in faith whereby salvation is merited, but because faith can lay hold of the merits of Christ, the remedy provided for sin." Review and Herald, Nov.4, 1890.

Mrs. White stated that this was the light that was to illuminate the whole world for when it is received, believed, and acted upon, the soul is joined to Christ, to the Head, and in that soul the Lord intends that no authority shall be known but His own. See Desire of Ages, p.324.

sky
I know, I know , you keep repeating that there is a whole lot more.,,,, of course there is a whole lot more, but this is the foundation upon which everything else rises or falls.

This is the truth that if received, believed, and acted upon joins us to the Head and if joined to the Head, there will be a whole lot more to come.

What I have posted from Mrs. White is the Lord's own summary of what Jones and Waggoner taught, their message in a nutshell.

It is left to each and everyone of us as to what we shall do with it.

It is the 1888 message in a few words, in clear, distinct lines, and unless we receive it, believe it, and act upon it with the simple faith of a little child, we cannot be saved.

sky
I have been on adventist forums for the last 13 years and I have witnessed many a discussions on the nature of Christ as far as His human side was concerned and I will say that because the remedy provided for our fallen condition has not been appreciated as it should be these discussions only lead to a dead end.

We need the eyesalve before we can discuss these issues.

"Oh be so full of the message that it is like fire shut up in your bones, that you cannot hold your peace. It is true, men will say, 'You are too excited; you are making too much of this matter (merits and righteousness of Christ) and you do not think enough of the law; don't be all the time reaching for this righteousness of Christ, but build up the law.' Let the law take care of itself. We have been at work on the law until we get as dry as the hills of Gilboa, without dew or rain. Let us trust in the merits of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. May God help us that our eyes may be anointed with eyesalve that we may see." E. G. White, 1888 Materials, Vol.2, p.557.

This is the 1888 message again in a nutshell.

How could anyone not see that?

Salvation is obtained through merits. All the religions of the world teach that the only way to gain the approval of God is through the merits of one's own good works but the Religion of the Bible, the true religion, the only religion of the Bible teaches that through the merits of Christ alone can we find the approval of God.

This is the difference between the Old and the New Covenant. In the Old Covenant spirit the people seek to gain the favor of God through their own merits. But in the New Covenant, the people make no promises to obey God. God makes the promises. Even His commandments are promises in that Covenant for as the sinner appropriates to himself the merits of Christ He is made a partaker of the Divine nature and He is made more than conqueror over all his inherited and cultivated tendencies to evil and the character of Christ is impressed upon him by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

This is what Jesus experienced in taking our sinful, fallen, human nature.
He is our example in all things. He lived a sinless life in sinful flesh.

Now He is in the Most Holy Place pleading His own divine merits, the merits of His infinite sacrifice in our behalf, claiming the gift of the Holy Spirit, the gift that cannot be excelled and that brings all other blessings in its train, that He may pour it upon us. It is written that He has turned the merits of His sacrifice into prayer. It is His prayer and ours for it is the remedy provided for sin. As we plead His divine merits before the Father as our only plea (besides our great need) He clothes us with the robe of Christ's righteousness and His righteousness is made manfest in obedience to all the commandments of God. See T.M.92,93,97)

"Here are they who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus" through the merits of the blood that is of value beyond estimate. (Rev.14:12)

sky
Hi Sky, your question, "William, just curious, where did u get this idea "Before Christ was the high priest, the Holy Spirit was"???"

Answer, "Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils." Hebrew 6:20, 7:1-4

It seems like Melchisedec gave a good summary of the third Godhead person.

God has never left Himself without witness on the earth. At one time Melchisedek represented the Lord Jesus Christ in person, to reveal the truth of heaven, and perpetuate the law of God (Letter 190, 1905). {1BC 1092.8}

S.D.A. Bible Commentary Vol. 1 p. 1093.1
It was Christ that spoke through Melchisedek, the priest of the most high God. Melchisedek was not Christ, but he was the voice of God in the world, the representative of the Father. And all through the generations of the past, Christ has spoken; Christ has led His people, and has been the light of the world. When God chose Abraham as a representative of His truth, He took him out of his country, and away from his kindred, and set him apart. He desired to mold him after His own model. He desired to teach him according to His own plan (The Review and Herald, February 18, 1890).
Hey William, the Holy Spirit was not Michesedek. I read your post and there is nothing in it that even suggests that He was. Christ is our High Priest, not the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was never "made like unto the Son of God'

Melchisedek was taken among men. That man was without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. That man was translated. It had to be Enoch. Remember how Mrs White saw him on another world. He was made like unto the Son of God just as every redeemed individual will be. Melchisedek was a partaker of the divine nature and that nature has neither beginning nor end of life and unlike our human nature it is without father, without mother, without descent.

In Hebrews 5:1 it is stated that a priest had to be taken from among men. That excludes the Holy Spirit.

sky

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