Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev. 14: 12)
Illustrating the lack of faith among the professed children of God by the parable of the Pharisee and the publican, Jesus asked the question,
“...when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8).
The answer is a resounding “Yes!” Though true only of a tiny remnant, God’s end-time saints will
“...keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12).
The distinction between the lost and the saved rests basically with the issue of faith, for we cannot keep the commandments of God except as we keep the faith of Jesus.
“Instead of releasing man from obedience, it is faith, and faith only, that makes us partakers of the grace of Christ, which enables us to render obedience.” (Steps to Christ, pp. 60, 61).
“Only by faith in Christ can the sinner be cleansed from guilt and be enabled to render obedience to the law of his Maker.” Acts of the Apostles, p. 425).
“It was only by faith in Christ that they could secure pardon of sin and receive strength to obey God's law. They must cease to rely upon their own efforts for salvation, they must trust wholly in the merits of the promised Saviour, if they would be accepted of God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 524).
The Greek word pistis translated faith in Revelation 14:12, is used often in the New Testament and has a broad meaning including assurance, belief, faith, fidelity, (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible). It is commonly used to refer to an abiding and complete trust in God for our every need and our hope of eternal salvation, to the exclusion of man-devised plans and reasoning:
“Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Hebrews 10:38).
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20).
Sister White defines this “faith of Jesus” as “perfect confidence” in His heavenly Father’s promises and power.
“Our Saviour showed perfect confidence that His heavenly Father would not suffer Him to be tempted above what He should give Him strength to endure, but would bring Him off conqueror if He patiently bore the test to which He was subjected. Christ had not of His own will placed Himself in danger... Jesus knew that if He preserved His integrity in this extremely trying position an angel of God would be sent to relieve Him if there was no other way.” (Confrontation, p. 51).
The relationship between faith and law is seen in the first earthly sin. Eve lost faith in the Word of God and thus she was led to disobey His commandments.
“It was distrust of God's goodness, disbelief of His word, and rejection of His authority, that made our first parents transgressors, and that brought into the world a knowledge of evil.” Education, p. 25).
Paul also understood the relationship between faith and commandment keeping.
“...whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23).
Thus for professed Christians to claim that they are saved by faith while denying the power of that God-given faith to free from the bondage of continued sin is to proclaim a false faith that is, in reality, presumption.
The third angel’s message has a special relevance to the sanctuary truth which focuses upon Christ’s final atonement for repentant humanity. It is especially the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus that focus upon Christ’s blotting out of sin from the eternal record of the universe.
“The third angel closes his message thus: "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." As he repeated these words, he pointed to the heavenly sanctuary. The minds of all who embrace this message are directed to the most holy place, where Jesus stands before the ark, making His final intercession for all those for whom mercy still lingers and for those who have ignorantly broken the law of God. This atonement is made for the righteous dead as well as for the righteous living. It includes all who died trusting in Christ, but who, not having received the light upon God's commandments, had sinned ignorantly in transgressing its precepts.” (Early Writings, p. 254).
The faith of the saints has not come suddenly nor is it a miraculous infusion from God, but rather it has simply been steadily growing as the elect have learned to distrust self and to cling to the all-powerful Source of divine love. Selfish goals and motives no longer exist. They have long discovered the impotence of the arm of flesh and the inadequacy of their own efforts and plans. They have chosen to lean wholly upon Jesus for their strength and guidance and rejoice in His leading no matter how bleak and uncertain the future appears, for they know in whom they believe. While they are earnest and dedicated in their witness foe God, they realise that there is no good in themselves, and that it is in the worthiness of Christ that they minister.
“Their confidence in God, their faith and firmness, will be severely tested. As they review the past, their hopes sink; for in their whole lives they can see little good. They are fully conscious of their weakness and unworthiness.” (Great Controversy, pp. 618, 619).
What a contrast between the saved and the lost! The redeemed see no goodness in themselves not their works, but the lost in tragic self-deception see themselves as eminently worthy of salvation.
“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:22,23).
They have relied upon human strength and planning. Their motives have been tarnished with selfishness, and they have allowed themselves to be flattered by the plaudits of men. Therefore they have become the pawns of Satan while still deceived into believing that the power of their miracles has come from God.
Why is faith of such value to the development of the saints? It is faith that is the antidote to selfish plans and humanistic philosophies. It is faith that is the basis of all victory in the Christian life.
“This is the victory that overcometh the world, even out faith” (1 John 5:4).
In fact the righteous cannot live but by faith.
“...the just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4).
It is faith that justifies,
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:” (Romans 5:1).
“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” (Acts 26:18).
“Faith ...with its justifying, sanctifying power, is above what men call science” (In Heavenly Places, p. 51).
That works miracles,
“Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole (Matthew 9:22).
That purifies the soul,
“Without the grace of Christ, the sinner is in a hopeless condition; nothing can be done for him; but through divine grace, supernatural power is imparted to the man, and works in mind and heart and character. It is through the impartation of the grace of Christ that sin is discerned in its hateful nature, and finally driven from the soul temple.” (Selected Messages. Vol. 1, p. 366).
The Lord has four avenues by which faith is strengthened. As God’s people prepare for the climactic events of earth’s history, they intensify their closeness to their Lord in these three vital aspects of their Christian life.
“Their faith must be strengthened by fervent prayer and fasting, and humiliation of heart. They must be emptied of self, and be filled with the Spirit and power of God. Earnest, persevering supplication to God in faith--faith that leads to entire dependence upon God, and unreserved consecration to His work--can alone avail to bring men the Holy Spirit's aid in the battle against principalities and powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and wicked spirits in high places”. (Desire of Ages, p. 431).
2.) Study of the Word.
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
3.) By remembering God’s power, goodness, and faithfulness, and expressing it freely.
“If more praising of God were engaged in now, hope and courage and faith would steadily increase.” (Prophets and Kings, p. 202).
4.) Witnessing their faith to others.
“God gives us opportunity to impart grace, that He may refill us with increased grace. Hope and faith will strengthen as the agent for God works with the talents and facilities that God has provided. He will have a divine agency to work with him.” (Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 6, p. 44).
This quotation defines the growth of faith in precise terms of behaviour. While it is possible to have a form of works without faith, faith cannot exist without good works.
“Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” (James 2:18).
“Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?” (James 2:22).
“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James 2:26).
“The apostle James saw that dangers would arise in presenting the subject of justification by faith, and he labored to show that genuine faith cannot exist without corresponding works.” (SDABC, Vol. 7, p. 936).
“Our faith should be prolific of good works; for faith without works is dead. Every duty performed, every sacrifice made in the name of Jesus, brings an exceeding great reward. In the very act of duty, God speaks and gives His blessing” (SDABC, Vol. 7, p. 936).
It is this active and evident faith that is described as the faith of Jesus in Revelation 14:12. It is this faith alone which enables the saints to keep the law of God.
Let us turn now to the secondary meaning of the faith of Jesus. Not only will the saints have unwavering, implicit faith in the leading of their Lord; they will also keep His truth as a precious treasure. Like Jesus they will live by the Word of God.
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4”4).
These saints will not be shaken by every wind of doctrine, but will daily search the word, willingly growing in all the light that is revealed to them. They will increasingly see the truth of God, especially the vital pillars of the church that are under attack. They will ultimately recognise their role as not only to believe and live the truth, in the love of Christ but defend it. They will sigh and cry for the abominations that flood into the church, but they will not compromise principle nor truth, for theirs is a living, active faith that is secured by the love of Jesus.
Thus the redeemed saints will have developed a constant reliance upon Jesus in every facet of their lives and will accept, preserve, follow and teach the living faith of God’s Word.
Extracts from “Adventism Proclaimed” by Standish and Standish, pp 175-182.