WHAT is involved in the blotting out of the overcomer's sins in the judgment now in session? Does it include, as some claim, the erasing of inborn sin and the scars of sin from his nature when he is sealed?
This blotting out of sins in the judgment preceding the return of Christ pertains to all the true believers in all ages, and not merely to the remnant who go through to translation. Hence this blotting out of sin cannot rightfully be applied to the erasing of inborn sin in the cases of those who are alive at the close of probation.
When a penitent sinner receives Christ as his personal Saviour, he receives the righteousness of Christ. All his past sins are not only forgiven, but covered so that God does not see them. He is accepted of God as if he had not sinned. How could he stand before God as if he had not sinned unless God forgets his sins? Isaiah says: "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins" (Isa. 43:25).
The blotting out of sins is also connected with backslidden Israel's returning to the Lord. "I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee" (chap. 44:22).
The blotting out of sin in these texts can not be limited to what takes place in the judgment. This blotting out of sin in the sense of God not remembering them against His people has been and is applicable to all who enter into the new covenant. God says to them, "I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more" (Jer. 31:34). The blotting out of sins in these strictures refers solely to the acts of sin, and not to any eradication of inborn sin. They find their place with God casting our sins in the depths of the sea, putting them behind His back, and removing them from us as far as the east is from the west.
Covered With the Robe
In what respect then does the blotting out of the overcomer's sin in the judgment make him sinless at the close of probation? He is covered with the robe of Christ's righteousness. Thus he is accounted sinless in Christ. He is accepted before God as if he had not sinned.
When his sins are blotted out in the judgment, he is sinless from the angle that by the imparted righteousness of Christ he has gained the victory over the practice of sin. He is sinless in that there is nothing in the books against him. He is sinless in the respect that God has sealed him to remain holy and righteous (Rev. 22:11, 12). But he cannot say he has no sin in respect to inbred sin until his body is changed like unto Christ's glorious body at His coming.
In Revelation 14:5 a special company from the last generation are declared to have no guile in their mouth, and are with out fault before the throne of God. Some declare that this could not be true of them unless inbred sin has been erased from their flesh before the close of probation. This would be something that God has not done for Christians in former generations.
Is the erasing of inborn sin from their flesh necessary in order for them to reach the standard? No. Psalm 32:1, 2 shows that there is no guile in the believer who has received the righteousness of Christ for pardon, the covering over of his sins, and the nonimputing of sin. This matter of being faultless is affirmed in Jude 24 for all Christians in all generations who permit Christ to keep them from falling.
No one can be faultless before God except as he has on the robe of Christ's imputed and imparted righteousness. This has been available to every believer before 1844, even as it has been since then.
Paul spoke of true Christians in his day as being "holy and unblameable and unreproveable" in God's sight (Col. 1:22). They were sanctified wholly, with their whole spirit and soul and body blameless (1 Thess. 5:23). Can there be any higher attainment than this?
A Fourfold Plan
Some will ask, "How can the remnant stand in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor during the plagues unless sin in their flesh is wiped out before the close of probation?" God has a fourfold plan for taking care of this for the remnant without wiping out sin from their flesh until their bodies are changed at the coming of the Lord.
1. The complete victory over sinful acts as the preparation for the latter rain. (See Early Writings, p. 71.)
2. The latter rain, or the refreshing, prepares the remnant to stand when there is no intercessor during the pouring out of the plagues.
At that time the "latter rain," or refreshing from the presence of the Lord, will come, to give power to the loud voice of the third angel, and prepare the saints to stand in the period when the seven last plagues shall be poured out." --Early Writings, p. 86. (Italics supplied.)
The latter rain, falling near the close of the season, ripens the grain, and prepares it for the sickle. . . . The ripening of the grain represents the completion of the work of God's grace in the soul. By the power of the Holy Spirit the moral image of God is to be perfected in the character. We are to be wholly transformed into the likeness of Christ."—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 506.
3. The placing of the seal of God upon God's true children prepares them to live without an intercessor when probation closes. Revelation 7:1-4 indicates that the placing of the seal upon them will enable them to stand when the winds are let loose at the close of probation.
Everyone who is sealed will be kept from sin during the time of the plagues when there is no intercessor. "When the decree goes forth and the stamp is impressed, their character will remain pure and spotless."—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 216.
4. When the Lord pronounces them "holy" and "righteous" at the close of probation they will be able to live without an intercessor during the time of the plagues (Rev. 22:11, 12).
The apostles taught that when a Christian is born again he is made a partaker of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). They made it very plain that sin in the flesh, or their sinful nature, was not eradicated by regeneration, but it gave them two natures—the flesh and the Spirit, which would be in constant conflict (Gal. 5:16-18; 1 Peter 2:11). The crucifying of the flesh is a warfare from which there is no release (Luke 9:23). Paul was ever on guard lest evil propensities should get the better of him.
The rule of the indwelling Saviour in the Christian's new nature gives victory over the rule of indwelling sin in "the flesh," or "the old man of sin." This is God's unchanging plan for full victory for all believers from the coming of the Comforter in Acts 2 until the latter rain will have fallen and the work of God is cut short in righteousness.
The Bible shows that through the remnant of the church God will make a demonstration to the entire universe of the adequacy of the gospel in this most evil time, to save believers completely from the dominion of sin. They will reach a very high standard. But it will not be by some addition to the gospel, such as the erasing of inherent sin in the nature. It will be by the final phase of His one true gospel of the ages, by which people have been saved in all ages. It will be by a fuller appropriation on their part of the same righteousness of Christ which has wrought salvation in all ages.
Before the seven last plagues are poured out "there will be among the people of the Lord such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times" (The Great Controversy, p. 464).
An Early-Rain Experience
The outpouring of the Spirit in the latter rain will exceed that of the former rain in the days of the apostles. But this does not mean that the spirituality of the surrendered Christian in these last days is any greater than the consecrated believers of the Pentecostal revival. This quotation from The Great Controversy does not say that the godliness of the remnant will exceed that of the true Christian in apostolic times. Rather, their experience in receiving the latter rain will be like the early-rain experience of the first Christians.
The essential preparation for the latter rain is an early-rain experience like that which came to the believers in the days of the apostles. This shows that the preparation for the latter rain does not confer on the remnant any higher perfection than was achieved by fully surrendered Chris tians under the early rain. The early-rain experience did not eradicate sin from the flesh of the believers. God has one unchangeable plan for making all true Christians perfect, and that is by the imputed and imparted righteousness of Christ. This was fully available during Christ's ministry in the first apartment prior to 1844, as in the second apartment since then.
The Holy Spirit through Paul affirms that Christ saved to the uttermost in His day all who came to Him when He was inter ceding in the first apartment.
This matter of saving to the uttermost applies to the entire extent of Christ's ministry in the sanctuary, whether it was in the first apartment prior to 1844 or in the second since that date. Is it possible to have a salvation beyond the uttermost? No. Thus it is established that there is no fuller salvation or a sinless perfection available now in the cleansing of the sanctuary than was available by full surrender prior to 1844.
The remnant who go through to translation will appropriate by faith the righteousness of Christ to such a full extent that they will have victory over every wrong word and action.
Bible prophecy shows that those who are translated will obtain a deep spiritual experience, like Enoch who walked with God. But it will not exceed the experience of Enoch. They will be without spot (2 Peter 3:14). They will do no iniquity (Zeph. 3:13). They will put away every wrong word and action. They will be purified as gold (Mal. 3:2, 3).
While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God's people upon earth. This work is more clearly presented in the messages of Revelation 14.—Ibid., p. 425. (Italics supplied.)
These messages are summed up in the keeping of the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus (Rev. 14:12). These messages are the final phase of the everlasting gospel by which all true Christians have been made perfect.
The cleansing of the sanctuary as called for in Daniel 8:14 calls upon us to cooperate with Christ in the cleansing of our soul temple from every moral defilement. "Then the latter rain will fall upon us as the early rain fell upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost."—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 214.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the truth. Therefore, truth is a harmonious unit in Christ. Much error has arisen from a failure to recognize the unity of the truth in Christ.
From Genesis to Revelation
Are there, as some claim, two or three or more different gospels in the Bible? No. There is only one true gospel from the entrance of sin to its exit.
Does the Old Testament present a different salvation from that of the New? No. There is only one true Saviour and therefore only one plan of salvation from Genesis to Revelation.
Does the New Testament present the keeping of a different day to that set forth in the Old? No. It is a case of one true Sabbath from the beginning to the end—the seventh-day Sabbath of Creation and re creation.
Is there a special higher perfection for the remnant by the erasing of their in born sin as they are sealed which was not accorded to Christians of previous generations? No. God has one unchangeable plan for the perfection of believers. This is by and through the righteousness of Christ.
Count this settled for a certainty. No one can have the real truth as it is in Jesus until his beliefs constitute a harmonious, Christ-centered unit. Each belief will be in full harmony with every other part. And each will be in full harmony with what all the Scriptures teach on this respective theme.
We have this unity of truth in the three fold message as set forth in the Adventist faith. Let us cling to it to the very end. Let us not be turned aside by this divergent teaching on some alleged superior perfection which is not in complete harmony with the Scriptures.