Adventist Teaching: Yes
Biblical teaching: No
The Seventh-Day Adventist Church—by way of Ellen G. White—teach that one is reconciled to God through obedience to the Law (10 Commandments) and faith in Christ. Christ’s death made it possible for your works to be seen as acceptable. Through repentance, faith, and good works you can perfect a righteous character like Christ had and receive the privilege of being a son or daughter of God. Obeying the 10 Commandments is the only way to obtain God’s favor. The blood of Christ is not enough, it merely made it possible for you to receive an elevated position where your efforts to keep the Law can be accepted, but now the ball is in your court to do your part. God cannot save someone against their will from the power of Satan. Man has to work with his human power—aided by the divine power of Christ, to resist and conquer at any cost to himself. You have to overcome like Christ did. It’s only after that that one becomes a fellow heir with Christ.
This is a false, law-based gospel (Galatians 1:6-9; 2 Corinthians 11:1-4) that contradicts scripture on a number of fronts. Because of the SDA Church’s inability to distinguish between the law (anything in scripture pertaining to prohibitions and commands) and the gospel (everything in scripture that pertains to faith, forgiveness, reconciliation, pardon, etc.), they don’t realize that obedience is a fruit, not the root. Fruit (sanctification, works, obedience, etc.) and root (faith).
The Bible teaches that our faith in the Person and work of Jesus Christ is what reconciles us to God (Romans 5:9-11; Colossians 1:21-22; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20; Ephesians 2:15-16). Being reconciled means that we are united to God and have peace with Him (Romans 5:1; Colossians 1:19-20). That is how one receives favor, not by the Law (Galatians 3:11). This is done by being “in Christ”. You get “in Christ” by your faith (Galatians 3:23-28; 2 Corinthians 5:17). There is absolutely nothing that can condemn those that are “in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). By being “in Him”, a person is seen as though they kept the Law perfectly and are blameless (Ephesians 1:4). Jesus’s active and passive obedience are credited to the persons account and they are given an alien, foreign righteousness that isn’t their own (Philippians 3:9-10; 2 Corinthians 5:21), but Christ’s. When the Father looks at Believers, He sees His perfect Son. This is why we can claim to be sons and daughters of God, heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17; John 1:12) right now, not after you prove you are good enough.
When God regenerates a person, they are made a new creature “in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17). There is a change that takes place on the inside. This “new man”—the spirit—begins to war with the “old man”— our flesh (Romans 7:14-21)—because the new man desires the things of God that the flesh hates. God begins the process of sanctification whereby our fleshly desires are gradually put to death as the new man shines forth more and more. This process of sanctification happens after having already been reconciled. It is in the process of sanctification that good works are produced. This is the natural result of being born again because God does not leave us where we are. He has promised to finish the work that He has started within us (Philippians 1:6).
Obedience is a fruit of having already been reconciled. It is not something that, alongside your faith, keeps you reconciled gradually over time with hopes of making it. The ball is not in our court. It’s in God’s. And He is a perfect, powerful, and mighty Savior that will never leave or forsake His children (Hebrews 13:5-6; Deuteronomy 31:6). Jesus will lose none of the Believers that the Father has given Him and has promised to raise them up on the last day (John 6:35-40). Believers have good days and bad days—highs and lows. But our hope is not looking to ourselves. It’s keeping our eyes on Jesus who is the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Until we are united with Him face to face, we continue waging war with the flesh and fighting the good fight of faith (2 Timothy 4:7).