Proclamation! | Winter | 2017 | Editor’s Comments
By Colleen Tinker
Christmas is twelve days away as I write this. The house is partly decorated, but the rest of the lights and ribbons have to wait until I finish my work on this issue of Proclamation! Sometime, I find myself thinking, I want to usher in Christmas with no distractions. I want to decorate, write a Christmas letter, and bake Christmas cookies without a deadline competing for my attention.
In my next sane thought, I realize that no such luxury is likely in my lifetime. The Lord has given me His work to do, and His glory and His great name are the reasons I live. Christmas, I realize, was never meant to be an isolated indulgence.
In spite of the deadlines, God has granted us unexpected joy this Christmas season. We have been studying passages in Hebrews in our Friday evening Former Adventist Fellowship Bible studies. A new family just making the transition out of Adventism has been attending, and they have had questions about the Sabbath. We have found amazing new covenant insights in Hebrews 7 where the author explains that Jesus is from a different priesthood than the Levites. Chapter 8 quotes Jeremiah 31 and flatly states that God has brought a new covenant because the first one was flawed; God found fault with the people and established a new covenant based on better promises.
Chapter 9 explains that blood was necessary for any forgiveness to occur, and Jesus’ blood is the only eternal sacrifice. Chapter 10 reiterates the often-ignored fact that the law contained “only a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very form of things” (v. 1).
As we have been preparing for Christmas and pondering the fact that Jesus took flesh and became a human baby in whom all the “fullness of deity dwelt bodily” (Col. 2:9), the stunning truths in Hebrews have made me well up with tears more than once. Jesus was born so that He could offer up Himself as an eternal sacrifice for sin. His birth was shadowed by the cross, and I cannot celebrate the one without honoring the other.
Moreover, I cannot hope to create a space of rest for “doing Christmas”. Quite the opposite is true: because of Christmas, I now have eternal rest—even in the push of a deadline and too many things to do in a small amount of time. My heart is praising the Father for sending Jesus, and my spirit knows His peace because I trust His word, His blood, and His resurrection. I now have His righteousness imputed to me, and even when I am unable to achieve anything close to perfection, the Father sees Jesus when He looks at me. My righteous Savior is the credit in my “account” with God, and when I am burdened with more work than time, I know that His sovereign promises—and not my anxiety—are the last word about my life.
This Christmas we want you to savor the gift of Steve Pitcher’s article comparing what the Bible says about the law with what Adventism, as articulated by Jack Blanco in The Clear Word, says about the law. It’s no wonder so many of us lived with anxious fear; Adventism obscures what Scripture reveals about the new covenant.
We also share Martin Carey’s article, “Don’t Be Anxious For Your Life”. I share my experience of discovering that the cross is really at the heart of Christmas, not a distraction from it, and Margie Littell tells her story of coming to faith in Jesus. Dale Ratzlaff reflects on the spreading work of Life Assurance Ministries, and Rick Barker examines the Adventist Fundamental Belief on marriage and the family.
In this issue we say goodbye to our back page columnist Chris Lee. His incisive observations have helped many of us navigate our Life After Adventism. We will miss him, and we commit him to our Father who is leading him to His next assignment.
We pray that this Christmas you will know the wonder of the angel’s words to Joseph: “You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Mt. 1:21). †