Gospel Truth #10
The 1888 message is especially "precious" because it joins together the true biblical idea of justification by faith with the unique idea of the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary. This is a Bible truth that the world is waiting to discover. It forms the essential element of truth that will yet lighten the earth with the glory of a final, fully developed presentation of "the everlasting gospel" of Revelation 14 and 18.
How A.T. Jones Understood This Truth
"If the Lord has brought up sins to us that we never thought of before, that only shows that He is going down to the depths and He will reach the bottom at last and when He finds the last thing that is unclean or impure that is out of harmony with His will and brings that up and shows that to us and we say, ‘I would rather have the Lord than that,' then the work is complete and the seal of the living God can be fixed upon that character. [Congregation: ‘Amen.'] Which would you rather have, a character—[someone in the congregation began praising the Lord and others began to look around]. Never mind. If lots more of you would thank the Lord for what you have got, there would be more joy in this house tonight.
"Which would you rather have, the completeness, the perfect fulness of Jesus Christ or have less than that with some of your sins covered up that you never know of? If there be stains of sin there, we cannot have the seal of God. He cannot put the seal, the impress of His perfect character, upon us until He sees it there. And so He has got to dig down to the deep places we never dreamed of, because we cannot understand our hearts. But the Lord tries the conscience. He will cleanse the heart, and bring up the last vestige of wickedness. Let Him keep on His searching work.
What makes our choice easy.
"There is no [difficulty] in making the choice when we know what the Lord has done, and what He is to us. The choice is easy. Let the surrender be complete. And when these sins come up—why, they were surrendered long ago. That is all they are brought up for, that we can make the choice. This is the blessed work of sanctification. If the Lord should take away our sins without our knowing it, what good would it do us? That would simply be making machines of us.
"We are always intelligent instruments—not like a pick or a shovel. We will be used by the Lord at our own living choice" (General Conference Bulletin, 1893, sermon No 17, condensed).
Justification by faith and the Day of Atonement.
"This cleansing of the sanctuary [in the typical service] was the taking out of and away from the sanctuary all ‘the uncleanness of the children of Israel' ‘because of their transgressions in all their sins,' which, by the ministry of the priesthood in the sanctuary had been brought into the sanctuary during the service of the year.
"The finishing of this work of the sanctuary and for the sanctuary was, likewise, the finishing of the work for the people. . . . The cleansing of the sanctuary extended to the people, and included the people, as truly as it did the sanctuary itself. . . .
"And that cleansing of the sanctuary was a figure of the true, which is the cleansing of the sanctuary and the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man, from all the uncleanness of the believers in Jesus because of all their transgressions in all their sins. And the time of this cleansing of the true is declared in the words of the Wonderful Numberer to be 'unto two thousand and three hundred days,' . . . in A. D. 1844. . . .
"This is done in the cleansing of the true sanctuary, only in the finishing of transgression and making an end of sins in the perfecting of the believers in Jesus, on the one hand; and on the other hand in the finishing of transgression and making an end of sins in the destruction of the wicked and the cleansing of the universe from all taint of sin that has ever been upon it.
"The finishing of the mystery of God is the ending of the work of the gospel. And the ending of the work of the gospel is, first, the taking away of all vestige of sin and the bringing in of everlasting righteousness—Christ fully formed—within each believer, God alone manifest in the flesh of each believer in Jesus; and, secondly, on the other hand, the work of the gospel being finished means only the destruction of all who then shall not have received the gospel (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10); for it is not the way of the Lord to continue men in life when the only possible use they will make of life is to heap up more misery for themselves. . . .
"The service in the earthly sanctuary shows also that in order for the sanctuary to be cleansed and the course of the gospel service there to be finished, it must first be finished in the people who have a part in the service. That is to say: In the sanctuary itself, transgression could not be finished, an end of sins and reconciliation for iniquity could not be made, . . . until all this had been accomplished in each person who had a part in the service of the sanctuary. The sanctuary itself could not be cleansed until each of the worshipers had been cleansed. The sanctuary itself could not be cleansed so long as, by the confessions of the people and the intercessions of the priests, there was pouring into the sanctuary a stream of iniquities, transgressions, and sins. . . . This stream must be stopped at its fountain in the hearts and lives of the worshipers, before the sanctuary itself could possibly be cleansed.
"Therefore the very first work in the cleansing of the sanctuary was the cleansing of the people. . . .
"And this is the very object of the true priesthood in the true sanctuary. . . . The sacrifice, the priesthood, and the ministry of Christ in the true sanctuary does take away sins forever, does make the comers thereunto perfect, does perfect 'for ever them that are sanctified'" (The Consecrated Way, pp. 113-119). (Waggoner Agreed With Jones)