Gospel Herald

What IS Legal Justification?

Final Implications

The focus of the 1888 message was the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary, and as Jones put it in Consecrated Way to Christian Perfection, this must begin at the fountain of sin — in the hearts of the people.14 The life-giving truth of legal justification, when rightly presented, provides the motivating power to surrender our hearts to the God who loves us so much that He willing laid down His own life that we might have eternal life with Him. “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if One died for all, then were all dead: and that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). What people around the world are yearning to hear is how they can be set free from sin. Only the “most precious message” of Christ and His righteousness (and all that this entails) can bring this comfort to the people.

Jones stated at the 1893 General Conference: “Why, brethren, the world is ready to hear the message, when we get the message; the world is ready to hear it, and they will hear it. … Well, what is that all summed up in one thing? What expresses it? — The Gospel. What is it to preach the Gospel? It is to preach the mystery of God, which is Christ in men the hope of glory.” (p. 147; emphasis in original). The message Jones was referring to is the “mystery of God” — that sinful human beings can overcome sin though faith in God’s power to deliver from sin and death. The“mystery of God” includes the 1888 message elements of forensic justification and its corollary of justification by faith in Christ’s work as fallen humanity’s representative, which results in the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary. This then, is the sum total of the everlasting covenant promise: If we do not resist His work, God intends to deliver us from sin and restore us righteous in the New Earth.

Well, then, first, nothing will support us but the power of God. And where do we find the power of God? In Jesus Christ. “Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God;” that is what He is. Where do we find the character of God? In Christ. Where do we find all things, the great things of God? In Christ. Where do we find a better life than this? — The life of God, in Christ.

Well, then, what in the world have we to preach to the world, but Christ? What have we to depend upon, but Christ? Then what is the third angel’s message but Christ? Christ the power of God; Christ the unsearchable riches of God; Christ the righteousness of God, Christ the life of God; Christ is God! That is the message that now we are to give to the world. Is it not? Then what does the world need? Christ. Do they need anything else? No. Is there anything else? No. “In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the godhead bodily, and ye are complete in Him.” (1893 General Conference Bulletin; p. 147).

The focus of the Gospel is the presentation of Christ and His righteousness. The 1888 message shows how this relates to individuals living at the end of time, during this cosmic cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary. When this focus is maintained, all else will fall into its place. Evangelism under the power of the Latter Rain will move like lightning around the world (Revelation 18:1-4). People will more easily understand the prophecies in Daniel and Revelation; from this understanding, people will be able to better comprehend what is going on in the world around them as the final events are taking shape in the religious and political worlds (the making of the image to the beast
that will deny our religious liberties).

All these final events are contingent upon one thing. God is patiently waiting for the day His character is revealed in believing human beings. “Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own. It is the privilege of every Christian not only to look for but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Christ’s Object Lessons; p. 69).

Some day soon, the Lord will point to His people and declare to watching universe: “Here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus!” May our goal be to hasten that day, is my prayer!


  1. “Therefore the very first work in the cleansing of the sanctuary was the cleansing of the people. That which was preliminary and essential to the cleansing of the sanctuary itself, to the finishing of the transgression and bringing in everlasting righteousness, there, was the finishing of transgression, and the making an end of sins, and making reconciliation for iniquity, and bringing in everlasting righteousness in the heart and life of each one of the people themselves. When the stream that flowed into the sanctuary was thus stopped at its source, then, and then alone, could the sanctuary itself be cleansed from the sins and transgression which, from the people, by the intercession of the priests, had flowed into the sanctuary.” (Consecrated Way to Christian Perfection, pp. 118-119 [1905 edition]).
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