Are Seventh-day Adventists Legalists?

Are Seventh-day Adventists Legalists?

A legalist is somebody who relies on his or her ability to keep the law to earn Salvation. Seventh-day Adventists believe that we are only saved by the grace of God through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We cannot do anything that will earn our salvation. Jesus earned our salvation and gave it to us as a free gift. Our belief in the saving work of Christ therefore makes it impossible for us to be legalists.

The charge is sometimes levied against us that we are legalists because we believe in the importance of keeping the 10 Commandments. We do not keep the 10 Commandments in order to be saved. We do believe that once we enter into a life-giving relationship with Jesus, we want to live according to the principles of his Kingdom. This is a natural and a grateful response to the magnificent free gift of his salvation. We do not earn any points towards our salvation by doing this, but we feel that it helps us to live fulfilled lives according to the plan that God has always intended for God's creation.

There are times when we do struggle with our own fallen human natures though and when we as individuals forget that we are only able to do anything for ourselves because God gave us our free gift of salvation we run the risk of becoming legalistic, even if our theology is not legalistic. This is a struggle that is almost universally present in any Christian church. It goes back as far as the first temptation in the Garden of Eden (you can do it on your own, why do it God's way). When we become aware of this spirit within ourselves we seek to confess it, and to return to the saving power of Jesus.

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