[Thanks for bringing this to my attention Carlos. It sums up the thoughts that I had for a number of years. A refusal to love God's SDA Church and confess its sins reveals the lack of Agape needed to pass through the judgment.]
Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Some suggest that the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was the real second coming of Christ. They say that it has been going on ever since. The longer the great delay continues, the stronger will be the temptation to restructure the doctrine of the second coming and abandon belief in a personal, literal, imminent return of Jesus.
Implicit in this lurks a virtual charge against God Himself. “My Lord delayeth His coming” (Matt. 24:48, KJV) is the re-echoing theme. It is assumed that He has mocked the prayers of a sincere people who have stood loyal to His commandments and the faith of Jesus. He has disappointed His people. The question at issue is the faithfulness of God!
If our Lord has delayed His coming, He has deceived us and we cannot trust Him. If we have delayed the Lord’s return, then there is hope. Something can be done. Our impenitence can be healed. Insisting that our Lord has delayed His coming virtually destroys the Advent hope; recognizing that we have delayed it can validate and confirm our hope.
Our historical parallel with the ancient Jewish nation is striking. They were God’s true denominated people, enjoying as much evidence of His favor as we. Their pride in their denominational structure and organization was shown by their attitude, “The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these” (Jer. 7:4). The “temple” today is a worldwide organization, which is as much a source of pride as was the temple to the ancient Jews. The Lord did indeed establish and bless the ancient temple, but the Jews’ refusal of national repentance nullified its significance.
A wise writer has said that the same disobedience and failure which were seen in the Jewish church have characterized in a greater degree the people who have had this great light from Heaven in the last messages of warning. She also says that there is a terrible amount of guilt for which the church is responsible
Whatever that guilt may be, the church is still the one object of the Lord’s supreme regard. Without the atonement of Christ, it is devastating to any individual’s self-respect to face the reality of his or her guilt. It is the same with the church body. In order to face this terrible amount of guilt without discouragement, we also must see how God’s love for the church as a body is unchanging. This involves recognizing the creative aspect of God’s agape love.
Critics who are ready to abandon hope for the church are unwittingly at war with the fundamental truth of God’s character—“God is agape” (1 John 4:8). The “final atonement” must include a final reconciliation with the reality of His divine character in the setting of the antitypical Day of Atonement. Where the Jews failed, the church must overcome in response to grace, which does “much more abound.”
--Robert J. Wieland
From: "As Many As I Love ... ," 1986.
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