As I have written elsewhere, being a Seventh-day Adventist provides a wonderful identity. Looking at that identity in terms of relationship only makes it deeper and more meaningful.
“Seventh-day” tells us that we are creatures, that we are the created, not the creator. And it tells us that an inherent part of that creation is an entire day every week devoted to relationships. Our relationship to God, yes, but this also defines our relationships to one another.
When I was in SDA boarding academy, we had a teacher make a point of telling us that he slept in a separate room from his wife on Sabbath. I’ve come to realize that he saw the Sabbath as some sort of legal requirement of sacrifice. But that is not how it began. After all, Adam and Eve were created male and female on the sixth day. When the sun set that day, it was their first night together. That sounds more like honeymoon than monastery.
In the Old Testament, there was no special worship ceremony on Sabbath. That day was set aside for families to be together, not working, but spending time with each other, relating and loving one another as beloved children of God. So the Sabbath truly was made for man, man the relational creature. Man who needs time with wife and family; man who needs time for God.
Our understanding of the seventh day as Sabbath reinforces our understanding of ourselves as creatures, not the creator, in another way. Rather than being a legal requirement we must satisfy in order to be saved, celebrating the Sabbath is resting in Christ’s finished work of Salvation. He rested on the seventh day of Creation week, and Christ rested in the tomb on the Sabbath–the only 24-hour period, the only full day he was in the tomb–at the end of Redemption week.
“Adventist” tells us of our destiny; tells us that God has not forgotten us, that we were not made for this world, that sin and all the suffering it causes must come to an end. Christ will return so that where He is, we may be also, and restore our face-to-face relationship with him. Because it tells us that, the very name “Seventh-day Adventist” includes within it, then, an understanding of our relationship to God the Creator and God the Redeemer.
If salvation is to be understood in terms of a saving relationship with Jesus, then every doctrine should help explain our relationship to Jesus. Many of those doctrines we hold in common with all or most Christians. And in many ways our relationship to Jesus is the same as anyone who belongs to one of those other denominations. So I will mainly concern myself in these blogs with those doctrines that make us unique as a people, and provide us with a unique understanding of/relationship to God.