And the list goes on when one’s inquired about why they are a Seventh-Day Adventist.
In light of the recent notoriety the denomination has been getting through media and news networks, I had to revisit this question myself:
“Why are YOU a Seventh-Day Adventist, Kevin?”
I am not going to lie. This was a tough one. When I reflected on my 25 short years as an Adventist, however, I was able to boil it down to a single reason onto a single sentence.
The only reason I am a Seventh-Day Adventist is because I believe that we have the clearest, richest, and fullest picture of the love of God in the person of Jesus Christ.
How we understand the Scriptures ( the Bible ) presents Jesus as a serious BOSS. He is the Writer, Editor, Compiler, Creator, Presenter, and Protector of this meta-narrative that my friend calls the “God-Story.” The Old Testament points forward to the coming of Jesus and the New Testament looks back at the Jesus who’s already come.
How we understand the Trinity exalts Jesus as One with the Father and the Spirit – distinct yet equal in authority. The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit live out their lives in each other, through each other, and this other-centered love has been poured out full strength to the human race through the person of Jesus Christ.
How we understand creation presents Jesus as One through whom all things were made and in whom all things hold together. I believe that He is the soundtrack of all nature, and the sustainer of all life.
Howe we understand the seventh-day Sabbath reminds me of what was created through Jesus and what was redeemed by Jesus. This is a time where I can fully rest from my need for validation and rest in the love of God.
How we understand the nature of humanity let me know that I am known, valued, understood, appreciated, and enjoyed because I’ve been created by Jesus. Because I’m fearfully and wonderfully made, my life finds its purpose, joy, and function in and through Him.
How we understand the “God-Story” or the Great Controversy, presents Jesus as the conquering hero who has successfully completed the ultimate rescue mission in earth’s history. I find my place in this story as a beloved, victorious son of God who’ll one day see the face of his Creator, Redeemer, and Friend.
How we understand the life, death and resurrection of Jesus elevates Christ as the theme and song of all Biblical history. We believe that His account isn’t localized within just the first four books of the New Testament, but from Genesis to Revelation, every chapter and every verse, echoes His love ultimately manifested through His sacrifice on the cross.
How we understand salvation magnifies Jesus as the Author, Provider, and Finisher of our salvation. We are justified by His blood, sanctified through His Spirit, and will one day be glorified through his grace.
How we understand our spiritual growth transforms every waking moment of our existence as a spiritual experience through the spirit of Jesus. The dichotomous relationship between the “sacred” and the “secular” is decimated through Him. The more I’m aware of His presence in my life, the more I grow into his likeness so I can treat others as He did – with compassion, justice, and mercy.
How we understand the church honors Jesus as the foundational ‘adhesive’ who unites all His children together. This is a context where everyone is entrusted with embodying and telling someone the God-Story. It is a refuge in the midst of this stormy world where we pray together, play together, and process together all the while praising Him who has our back.
How we understand the mission of God’s remnant finds its reason and method in Jesus. We are to introduce others to His love, experience joy in Him, and live out our lives in him as we approach the end of this sojourn on earth.
How we understand Baptism as a symbol of our new birth, finds its impetus and rubric in the life and death of Jesus. As I raise up from the ‘watery grave’, it’s an outward expression of an inward change that has taken place because of Him.
How we understand the Lord’s Supper as an emblem of Jesus’ experience invites all His friends to authentic service, brotherly love, and faithful community in Him.
How we understand the gift of prophecy highlights Jesus as its theme of contemplation and admiration. The ministry of this prophetic gift through Ellen White has brought me closer to Jesus than anyone has ever done.
How we understand the law of God honors Jesus as the mode and purpose for relational faithfulness between God and us. Because of what He did for me on the cross, I no longer work towards victory but from it.
How we understand stewardship acknowledges Jesus as the Provider of my time, talents, and resources. I am entrusted with them to better the environments I find myself in, whether it be within the community of God or outside of it.
How we understand marriage as a heavenly institution finds its reason for existence in Jesus. His selfless love poured out to his bride – the church – gives me a model from which I can learn to love my spouse.
How we understand Christ’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary elevates Jesus as not only my Savior and Friend, but also as my Judge, Advocate, and High Priest who prays for me even right now!
How we understand the end of life honors Jesus as the Conqueror of death! Death is not the end, but a sleep! The real and living hope of reuniting with loved ones energizes my life’s pursuits.
How we understand the millennium, the new earth, and the second coming lauds Jesus as the King of a new kind of existence – one where there will be no more sickness, no more pain, no more death, and no more sorrow. A place filled with inexpressible joy and unfathomable happiness and peace. A place where I can finally see my ever faithful Friend face to face.
There it is. The package and its contents.
I don’t have 28 reasons as to why I’m a Seventh-Day Adventist.
I have One. And He’s all I need.
This post first appeared in Kevin’s personal blog www.crossculturechristian.com