The Sealed People of God

This article was originally presented at the Andrews University Campus Dialogue Sabbath School Class on February 9, 2019. It is reprinted here with permission.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

When the ship is listing to port and taking on water fast, one is compelled to lean starboard to try to save the battered ship.

It backfired on George Knight, but I suspect history will judge him to have made a valid point.

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It was an inevitable temporal groundswell of the Spirit they were responding to, in my opinion.

The surf was up in the noosphere!

The Trancendentalist Movement was perhaps another reaction to this stimulus, as was the Second Great Awakening.

(“The same sun melts wax but hardens clay” idea.)

...they longed for a more intense spiritual experience.

Light is Light. Different types of people respond to the same stimulus differently.

How we unpack Light is totally dependent on the clarity of our lens, which is totally dependent on the condition of our hearts, it seems to me.


At its best Adventism was, is and will be ego centric. Thus I find my nurture and hope in the Gospels, and the writings of Paul and the author of Hebrews. Daniel and Revelation are used like the pope’s nose. I do find Rev 4 and 5 assuring.




Yes. Many of those were dead and others are still twisting history as of this moment in the SDA church ( an effort to correct a mistake that resulted to numerous mistakes). History has already judged the dead ones.

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We love dates and timelines! Why? Because it gives certainty. Perhaps even more, it puts pegs in the ground, boundaries. We love the lineal, finite measures of time - second, minute, hour etc for the same reason.
We hate uncertainty or undefined measures - “awhile”, “soon”. Non-defined time measures are flexible and could mean one thing in one place and something different elsewhere.
Putting fixed dates against prophecy, particularly unfulfilled prophecy is a way to try to bring “certainty” to the position of the Adventist Church. Fulfilled prophecy is “irrelevant” in that once it is fulfilled it ceases to be prophecy, it becomes history. This can add to confidence levels but doesn’t add anything from a prophecy perspective.
Having dates associated with unfulfilled prophecy adds an expectation, combined with a non-defined time period is a “lethal” combination. Because Christ said He is coming shortly, the expectation is He is delaying because He is not here yet. It also leads to a sense that we “should be doing more” so He can come.
No dates allows us to be happy and comfortable with non-defined time periods, freeing us to focus on our mission, rather than our LGT status.


I don’t believe that it is possible for SDA’s to ever avoid the “pitfalls of perfection” in regard to receiving the seal of God and being among the 144,000. Why? Because victory over all sin–inherited and cultivated–was a keynote of EGW beliefs. To avoid the perfection pitfall, we have to remove “the Spirit of Prophecy” title from EGW and replace it with “an inspiring author” and a “founding leader” of our church.

“Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one spot or stain upon them. It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement. Then the latter rain will fall upon us as the early rain fell upon the disciples…” EGW

A reason why most SDA’s have refocused attention away from prophecy is that that the date 1844 carries little significance to our society. Would this date convince our neighbor to become and Adventist? If this fulfilled the great 2300 day prophecy which predicted the baptism of Christ and ended in 1844–it seem anticlimactic. Then when we add the 1833 stars falling from heaven and the Lisbon earthquake as a God-send signs of the end–most are left “shrugging our shoulders.”
It doesn’t seem relevant to our life today. Or does it?


Whatever, the religious/social atmosphere was that produced the “Advent movement”, it’s not that today. The most difficult task we have is for self correction. The longer we’ve been going one way, the more difficult it is to make a correction based on changes in information. Physics has a law that covers this in the physical world; but it applies to all human constructs. Gallelio found that out; but some still think the earth is flat. Add to this “truth,” a lifetime of dedicated effort in one direction, it’s impossible to admit “the emperor has no clothes”.

All theology degrees need to include a mandatory second major that can be a source of income. No one who has climbed the institutional ladder in any denomination can be trusted to make theological evaluations. That’s what makes Des Ford stand out in the sea of theologians. He, pretty much, shot himself in the foot when he stood up and declared what he had learned. I’m sure he knew what he was in for, but speak out, he did. Many others told themselves they were more useful in the church (change from within) than to make such declarations, and kept their jobs.

The biggest threat to any institution is “freedom” and “education” - and particularly, freedom IN education. This is why any insular social group secures itself behind institutional prohibitions - what to read; what to to teach; what to wear; what to eat… A built-in system of uniformity is the best assurance for longevity.

To be brutally honest, it can’t work any other way. We can’t just leave each individual to form their own ideas about what to believe and how to relate to the world and to each other. Humanity is too messed up to leave that up to individuals. So, we must decide which institution is the least restrictive to our world-view, and our theological development - and so, here we all are, waiting for redemption.


By ignoring & invalidating bible verses like:

“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,” Jude 24

Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 1 Pet 4:100:

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God 2 Cor 7:1

That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. Eph 5:27

And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. 1 JN 3:3

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 1 JN 3:9

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 2 Cor 10:clock5:

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Heb 12:14

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. PS 119:11

Thank you for listing the Bible quotes. Now, could you give us your personal account of what being faultless, ceasing from sin, perfection holiness, purifying ourselves, cease committing sin, pure thinking, being holy looks like.


Looks like …Jesus.



That’s a safe answer, but you haven’t helped us to break it down within the nine specific points in your answer. Do you mean we are to personalize them according to our own understanding?

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That usually means what a person accepts from some defeatist, oriented teacher instead of what their conscience whispers.

Look, it’s too easy to spew generalities; it’s another, to translate them into specifics.


Gideon, you missed a few.(NASB)

But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. Romans 3 21-25.

Therefore my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another. to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. Romans 7;4-6.

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1.

Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 2 Cor 5:18,19

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Cor 5:21.

…and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Ephesians 4:23,24.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having been justified by His blood, we shall now be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. Romans 5:8-10.

There’s more , but we begin to recognise the enormity of Christ’s finished work on the cross through which our sins were forgiven and our lives are cleansed, and in His resurrection in which we rise to walk in newness of life.

It’s a work of pure grace in our own hearts. We are dead to sin is Paul’s message in Romans 6:2. That’s why we hate it in our flesh but forgiveness and cleansing is ours by grace because we are the righteousness of God in Christ.


That is one of my chief rants against preachers & bible teachers.

On my post…those who are led by the Spirit know exactly what I am talking about.

That is an ambiguous phrase begging for interpretation/elaboration.
Your choice of verses are the typical kind that antinomian contaminated teachers use and fail to explain or corrupt the meaning of.

As to the verses I quoted, your argument is with the Apostles Paul and John, not with me. Seems to me that Paul was constantly being accused of antinomianism. It’s a mark of preaching the gospel, apparently. Paul got beat up and hounded for it by the sticklers for the law.

I’m really at a loss to know how else to read Paul here, for example. “But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.” Romans 7:6.

There’s a choice. Live by obedience to the law for righteousness, or live by the indwelling Spirit of life for the righteousness of God in Christ. It’s one or the other. They don’t mix. I know what works in my life.

The new birth, forgiveness, cleansing, justification, God’s righteousness, God’s love, grace are what we experience on a personal level as the Spirit does His work. If you see it differently to me, that’s OK too.


Bob Brinsmead finally reached his answer to that question: “Those people were crazy!”:wink: