(This one’s a letter I wrote to two of my relatives present during that “discussion” i had with my Adventist friends back home I felt that I owe them an apology at the same time explain where I am at right now in terms of my relationship with God — something I wasn’t successful doing that time. I’m making it public because 1) I know some of my relatives are visiting this blog and 2) there might be some former Adventists that will read this and probably draw strenght from)
I pray that you had a great flight upon reading this letter. I’m writing you not just to wish you well but also to say sorry for having myself engaged in a theological debate with the Jaen Adventist brethren. It wasn’t my intention. It wasn’t my desire to argue with anyone simply because he does not share with my belief. I’m really sorry about it.
It is evident that I have turned away from the beliefs that I grew up with. I know you are disappointed with me. Rest assured, though, that even if I have left the Adventist church, I never turned my back on God and I have an exciting and dynamic relationship with Him.
When I mentioned during our discussion that I have restudied my beliefs in year 2000, I have no hidden agenda for doing so. I did not do it simply because I want to justify whatever desires I have that might contradict with the practices of the Adventist church. I still pay my tithes, in fact, sometimes more than 10% of my income because my giving to the Lord is not governed by any rules rather by my relationship with Him. I still worship God not just on a Sabbath day, but everyday of my life since I accepted Jesus as the ultimate Sabbath rest for my soul. I still don’t eat pork or any of those foods that you consider unclean, although I don’t consider eating or not eating of those foods will ever determine one’s salvation.
The only reason why I reviewed my belief system is to become like the Bereans (Acts 17:11). The Bereans did not simply listen to Apostle Paul and accept everything he preaches. They searched the scriptures themselves and check whether Paul was proclaiming the truth or not. And I believe that, if it’s my salvation and the salvation of my family is in line here, I ought to do what the Bereans did. I had to go back to the Bible and see for myself if the things that were taught me by the church is really correct or not. After several months of prayer and studying the Bible, I have come to a conclusion that I can no longer support the ideals of the church I loved.
After my decision to leave the church, a lot has changed. And I would like to share with you some:
1)My salvation has never been so secured as it is now. Right now, I am secured that even if I die at this very moment, I will meet Jesus in heaven. This is not spiritual arrogance because my salvation is not dependent on what I do but what on Jesus has done to save me. Jesus takes all the credit for my salvation, I have contributed absolutely nothing to it. Before, I was so afraid to die thinking that I may die without confessing all my sins — which in fact are many because all of us do sin everyday, and I will go to hell because of that. But now, God has shown me that all of my sins — past, present and future — has been forgiven when Jesus Christ died on the cross for me. I can now concentrate on my relationship with God and not on “trying to be holy”.
2)I have accepted a large majority of Christians as my brothers in Christ. Before, I used to “hate” those “Sunday keepers”. As I was taught inside the Adventist church, Catholics and Protestants alike will someday receive the mark of the beast for going to church on Sundays. But now, I realized that the only requirement to become a child of God is for one to accept Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior. If one has a real relationship with God, he’s been born of the Spirit irregardless of his denominational affiliation. I started associating with all these Christians and I discovered that there’s a lot more about Christianity than what I previously knew inside the Adventist denomination. I have seen great Christians of character that I have never seen before. I have seen passionate Christ-lovers that I have never thought there is such a kind. Eventually, my Christian perspective and spiritual family grew tremendously.
3)I have realized that the gospel is so wonderful. The gospel I knew before involved a lot of things — Sabbath keeping, tithing, a bunch of dos and dont’s. But now, I understand why people’s lives are changed by the simple gospel of salvation. It’s so easy that people find it too good to be true. What is this simple Gospel? God loves us so much that he wants us to have a relationship with him. But we, starting from our forefathers, are all sinners. We rebel against God. We sin everyday. And that’s a fact. James says, we break one command and we break all. In effect, everyday, we’re breaking all of the commandments – not just the Sabbath, but all. Paul, in Romans says the penalty of sin is death. And because we are all sinners, we deserve to die. Yet, God made a plan to rescue us. He sent Jesus to die on our behalf. All we need to do to be saved is to accept Jesus and what he has done on the cross. No amount of good works can save us, only the grace of God can (Eph. 2:8,9). Unfortunately, religions has distorted that simple gospel. They created rules and regulations that blocks us from appreciating the intensity of the grace of God. Religion is “man reaching for God” while the true essence of Christianity is “God reaching down to man”.
I am telling you this not to say that you are wrong and I am right. Not at all! I respect your beliefs and I love you and all my Adventist friends and relatives. I simply would like to share with you the tremendous blessings that I am experiencing right now even after leaving the Adventist church.
I pray that God will continue to inspire you to worship Him and continuously grow in knowledge of Him. God’s grace can see us through. His grace can inspire us to love Him more and glorify Him more in our daily lives.
May God’s grace be felt and seen in our lives.