The Dilemma of One Accord &
the Third Angels Message in Verity

By Ivor Myers

The most formidable obstacle standing between the people of God and the final outpouring of the Holy Spirit is the issue of unity. Of Pentecost, the Bible records that “when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” Acts 2:1.

They were all, 120 people, on “one accord”. As difficult as it may seem to get 120 on one accord, imagine the task at hand when thinking of the millions of seventh-day Adventists around the world. To complicate the issue, just consider some of the things that cause division in the church. There are the matters of music, conservatism versus liberalism, race, dress, Spirit of prophecy, the nature of Christ, righteousness by faith. The list can go on and on. Will God’s people ever be able to be one “one accord” so that the spirit may be poured out? The answer is an encouraging and necessary yes! How?

In 1888, a message was given to this church that was calculated to bring God’s people into unity. That message must become our unity cry. Ellen White said of it, “The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders [E.J.] Waggoner and [A. T.] Jones. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. Many had lost sight of Jesus.” LDE 200

Again, she wrote, “The time of test is just upon us, for the loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth. {1SM 362.4}

She summed it up well in these words, “Several have written to me, inquiring if the message of justification by faith is the third angel's message, and I have answered, "It is the third angel's message in verity."-- Review and Herald, April 1, 1890.

“Justification by faith”, “the righteousness of Christ, the sin pardoning Redeemer”…this is the message we are to receive and unite upon. But what does this mean for us? What is justification anyway? And how does the acceptance of this message enable us to receive the latter rain?

Justification means to be made right. And we are justified, or made right by the faith of Jesus, and faith in Jesus. The third angel’s message ends with these words:

Rev 14:12 “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”

The Faith of Jesus. This is what justifies of. Notice again:

Gal 2:16 “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”

How is it that Christ’s faith justified us? The answer is profound. You see, faith looks upon present reality and sees something different than the natural eye. Faith sees the things that are not as though they were. Now listen to how Jesus faith justified us.

Rom 5:6-10 “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

When Jesus looked upon humanity, he saw a wretched sight. But by faith, he saw us for what we could be through Him. And he justified us, by His faith in what God could do in us. While were his enemies, he justified us by his faith. Justified means “just-as-if-I’d” never sinned. While we were yet His enemies Christ extended to us justification. He saw us, just as if we’d never sinned. Now how does this incredible truth help prepare us to receive God’s spirit?

When we truly understand and receive justification by faith of Jesus, we are so awed at what He did for us, that we not only become recipients of His faith, but we extend that same faith to others. We in turn see others “just as if” they had never wronged us. (See the parable of the wicked servant who was forgive his debt, yet held account of others who owed him. Mt.18:23-35). And is this not the great issue that currently keeps us divided? We are unwilling to forgive, unwilling to see each other as Christ saw us. If someone disagrees with us, we are ready to hate them with “Godly hatred”. We cannot pray with our brother or sister because we view them as heathens. We hold record of each other’s sins and slights, instead of forgiving regardless of the other asking or not asking.

If we truly understand this message, justification by faith as the verity of the third angels message, we will cease to hold grudges against one another, and will cease “to justify” why we cannot pray together in a true spirit of unity. Ellen White wrote, “What is justification by faith? It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself. When men see their own nothingness, they are prepared to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ. {FLB 111.2}.

Justification by faith, the third angel’s message in verity, lays man’s glory in the dust.

How? By telling us that nothing we do, none of our works merit us to Christ. It is all his glory and none of ours. This lays our self-glorying in the dust. Isaiah experienced this kind of self realization when he cried, “Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” Isa.6:5.

Commenting on this Ellen white says, “Isaiah had denounced the sin of others; but now he sees himself exposed to the same condemnation he had pronounced upon them. He had been satisfied with a cold, lifeless ceremony in his worship of God. He had not known this until the vision was given him of the Lord. How little now appeared his wisdom and talents as he looked upon the sacredness and majesty of the sanctuary. How unworthy he was! how unfitted for sacred service! His view of himself might be expressed in the language of the apostle Paul, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" {4BC 1139.1}

Have you ever noticed how it’s the other people that are always presented as Laodecia?

Everyone accuses everybody else as the cause of lukewarmness. When the third angels message in verity is received, the faith of Jesus, we will cease to point the finger at others, and genuinely realize our own heart conditions. I am the one that becomes “miserable, wretched...naked…blind”. The “straight testimony” becomes applicable to me.

When men see their own nothingness, they are prepared to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ. {FLB 111.2}. It is this nothingness upon which we must unite. We must unite upon the fact that we are all “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked”. Our glory, our desire to be the greatest (even in righteous things) must be laid in the dust and we must accept that we can be justified only as we realize (1) our nothingness and (2) Christ our righteousness. Then we will no longer compare ourselves among ourselves, for we will realize that we are all in the same boat, wretched and in need of the Holy Spirit. This is the unifying factor, our nothingness, and Christ’s righteousness. It is only nature, human nature to blame others in order to justify self. There are many debates about the nature of Christ. One can get the answer to this question wrong and still be saved. But there is a greater question, one we cannot get wrong and still be saved. That question is, Which nature do I have? If it is not the one found in 2 Peter 1:4, we are indeed in trouble regardless of our stance on the human nature of Christ. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:4. We need the divine nature of Christ!

Without accepting this message, the third angel’s message in verity, we can never expect to receive the rain. Only this can bring us on one accord. All our knowledge of truth avails to nothing without the righteousness of Christ lived out in a practical manner.

The greatest deception of the human mind in Christ's day was that a mere assent to the truth constitutes righteousness. In all human experience a theoretical knowledge of the truth has been proved to be insufficient for the saving of the soul. It does not bring forth the fruits of righteousness. A jealous regard for what is termed theological truth often accompanies a hatred of genuine truth as made manifest in life. The darkest chapters of history are burdened with the record of crimes committed by bigoted religionists. The Pharisees claimed to be children of Abraham, and boasted of their possession of the oracles of God; yet these advantages did not preserve them from selfishness, malignity, greed for gain, and the basest hypocrisy. They thought themselves the greatest religionists of the world, but their so-called orthodoxy led them to crucify the Lord of glory.

The same danger still exists. Many take it for granted that they are Christians, simply because they subscribe to certain theological tenets. But they have not brought the truth into practical life. They have not believed and loved it, therefore they have not received the power and grace that come through sanctification of the truth. Men may profess faith in the truth; but if it does not make them sincere, kind, patient, forbearing, heavenly-minded, it is a curse to its possessors, and through their influence it is a curse to the world. {DA 309.3}(emphasis added)

“The first disciples went forth preaching the word. They revealed Christ in their lives. And the Lord worked with them, "confirming the word with signs following." Mark 16:20. These disciples prepared themselves for their work. Before the day of Pentecost they met together, and put away all differences. They were of one accord. They believed Christ's promise that the blessing would be given, and they prayed in faith.” {DA 827.1}. Note that they did not debate all differences, instead, they put them away. They knew that if they were spirit filled, all differences would take care of themselves, for they would all be humbled enough to take rebuke, to learn, and to admit were mistakes had been made (Remember Paul’s rebuke to Peter, and God’s revelation to Peter about his faulty concept of Gentiles in Acts 7).

But there is more to this message of justification that must be accepted in order to be prepared for the latter rain. “Justification” means that there is an explainable cause for our actions. An understanding of justification as it relates to sin is the key to victory over sin. Justification is the state of being right. Again, Ellen White writes, “The thought that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, not because of any merit on our part, but as a free gift from God, is a precious thought. The enemy of God and man is not willing that this truth should be clearly presented; for he knows that if the people receive it fully, his power will be broken. {GW92 103.2}

Justification by faith is so powerful a concept that to understand and experience it fully is to have the devils power broken in our lives. How is this? We gain an incredible insight from the book Great Controversy. “It is impossible to so explain the origin of sin as to give a reason for its existence. Yet enough may be understood concerning both the origin and the final disposition of sin, to fully make manifest the justice and benevolence of God in all his dealings with evil…Sin is an intruder, for whose presence no reason can be given. It is mysterious, unaccountable; to excuse it, is to defend it. Could excuse for it be found, or cause be shown for its existence, it would cease to be sin.”{GC88 492.2}

In other words, there is no reason to sin. Think about that for a moment. Justification by faith pulls the cover off of every other type of justification. It tells us, that man can be justified in no other way. But it also shows that the only thing justifiable is that which is so by faith. In other words, once we realize that there is no reason to sin, and live in accordance with that principle, we will cease to justify and do that for which we have no logical reason to do. In plain language, sin is illogical and stupid. It is like punching a wall because someone said hello to you.

Satan attempted to get Christ to justify sin in many ways. “Son of God, this is a good enough reason to retaliate against humanity, look how they are using you! This is as good reason to turn stone into bread, for you are hungry. God has forsaken you, this is a good reason to come down from the cross.” But none of these reasons made any logical sense to Jesus. They were in all actuality illogical to him. And sin must become illogical to us before we start to behave like Jesus did. As it stands now, we justify why we are mad at others because. There is a cause for my stealing, my lusting, my unhappiness, my covetousness, my retaliatory words. I looked because it was tempting. I fell because it was in my face. As long as we buy into the lie, that sin has a cause, we will live by the lie.

Many of us use the fact that we are human to excuse sin. Will we on the day of God be able to use the fact that we were human as a justification for falling into sin? No, every mouth will be stopped, and every reason vanish as illogical when the whole guilty world will stand before God with no reason, no explanation for their actions. Then they will see how illogical sin was. Where there is no cause, there can be no effect. Jesus lived by this “no cause” principle. That is, He did that which was justifiable only by faith. And faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.

By accepting the third angel’s message in verity, we rid ourselves of all self justification as to why we sin. By so doing, we effectively empty ourselves and shift ideological paradigms, and receiving the “mind of Christ” which sees sin as illogical, we cease to do that which to us has become illogical. This justification begins to be demonstrated in our lives on a daily basis. This is called sanctification. Sanctification is the unfolding result of justification.

In understanding this message, and experiencing it, we now have the everlasting gospel to bring to the world in connection with the Law of God. Says White, “If we would have the spirit and power of the third angel's message, we must present the law and the gospel together, for they go hand in hand.” Gospel Workers, p. 161.

Speaking of the Loud cry, she says “This message of the gospel of His grace was to be given to the church in clear and distinct lines, that the world should no longer say, Seventh-day Adventists talk the law, the law, but do not preach or believe Christ. {14MR 129.1}

When we go to the world with the Loud Cry, and point them to the broken law of God, the sincere will ask, “How then can man be justified?” We cannot point them to the law, which we have already done to make them aware of their guilt before God. We must point them to the solution for their guilt, the Lamb of God. No one will be justified (declared right) by the works of the law. Our mission will be to show the true meaning of Justification. How will they be justified? First, by ceasing to justify themselves in breaking God’s law. They will see that they have “no logical reason”, no justification for doing this. Next, they will see that the only true justification is the one by faith, which comes by hearing, and that by the word of God. They can be justified only by the things written in the Word accepted and lived out by the faith Christ had in God to work in and through us to make us new creations! Then they too will cease to excuse sin, and having received the mind of Christ in seeing sin as illogical, will live accordingly by his divine nature in them. And this is the message that is to lighten the earth with His glory!

The argument of perfection in the Adventist church has been a long-standing one. Man cannot be perfect. This is why Christ asks us to decrease, that He may increase. When we decrease, when we lay our glory (pride) in the dust, then Christ becomes our glory, and He, the perfect one, lives out his perfection in us. The perfection is His, not mine. We are perfect when we cease to be and Christ is all in all. We are perfect when we realize our own nothingness, step aside, cease to live justification by self, of self, and begin to experience justification by faith of Christ and in Christ. That is perfection. We are incapable of it, but Christ in us is capable of it. Our work is not to seek perfection as much as it is to lay our glory in the dust so that the perfect Christ can live in and through us. He then becomes the perfect one, doing the perfect work. Christ in you, and in me unifies us. We are perfect when our glory is laid in the dust and Christ becomes our righteousness. Righteousness is no longer measured by what I do, but by what He does in and through us. It is measured by our nothingness. The more we decrease, the more he increases. When we experience this “nothingness”, we will not exalt ourselves above one another for we will realize that we are nothing.

The message of justification by faith is calculated to stop us from seeking to justify ourselves in our attitudes of separation and hostility towards one another. It is calculated to put an end to the attitude of “Who is the greatest” and a justification of why we sin. Will we accept this message? Will we lay our glory in the dust, and seek Christ as equals at the foot of the cross? When we unite on this point, the Spirit will be poured out, and that which we had not seen eye to eye on before will be made plain, and because our hearts have been softened, we will be ready and willing to receive correction. If we accept our nothingness, and unite on that, pleading to God in our utter helplessness, He will hear. We will be on one accord, though in many places. If we wait for the day when we will by our own efforts cause others to see all things in the same way we do, before we come together to pray, that day will never come. May God help the liberal, the conservative, black, and white, Asian, Latino, official and lay realize and unite upon our nothingness, and Christ’s righteousness!

In 1888 there was much debate, much bitterness and much separation over the message of justification by faith, and Christ our righteousness. We now have an opportunity again to come together, humble ourselves and unite upon the righteousness of Christ and our own nothingness. We are at a crossroads. Again. The decision is ours. Will we pass the test?

Note: The above article was posted with the permission of the author, Ivor Myers. The article was featured in a "power of the lamb newsletter" published by powerofthelamb ministries.