We Adventists want to be known for our focus on health, education, and a hopeful belief in a soon Second Coming. What we don’t like to admit is how fearful we are of God.
It’s not the healthy reverence found in the Psalms, the awe that inspires us to strive for holiness. This fear is deeper, more insidious. It whispers doubts about our salvation, even when we cling to every commandment. It amplifies our imperfections through the megaphone of guilt, a guilt often stoked by zealous sermons.
Part of it, perhaps, is our theological spectrum. We navigate a tightrope between assurance and vigilance, forever wary of complacency. Fear is a motivator, a tool to prod us towards righteousness, and we forget perfect love casts out all fear.
And then there are the images. The fiery skies, the monstrous beasts, the graphic depictions of a coming Apocalypse. These paint a terrifying portrait of the future, one that leaves us cowering rather than drawn in.
But this is not the God we find in the Gospels. This is not the God who knelt to wash dusty feet, who embraced the ostracized, who whispered forgiveness to a dying thief. This is the God who loves fiercely, unconditionally, a love that surpasses any human understanding.
We pride ourselves on rejecting “cheap grace,” yet somewhere we fear embracing the true cost: surrender. Letting go of control, of our self-made righteousness, and trusting fully in the boundless grace offered. It seems too simple, too effortless, like a contradiction to our earned-salvation mindset.
But it’s not. Grace is not about ease; it’s about acceptance. It’s about recognizing that our best efforts, however compliant with General Conference policy, fall short, and yet we are still held in the palm of God’s everlasting love.
So, let’s choose a different path for the future of Adventism. Let us shed the chains of fear and step into the light of perfect love. Let’s embrace the assurance of salvation, not as a reward for our deeds, but as a precious gift, freely given.
Executive Director, Adventist Today
27 January 2024
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