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Paperback, 208 pages. Regular price $19.99

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T I S T E N V D

T H E O L O G Y

GEORGE R. KNIGHT There is no more important topic than God’s plan of salvation for a lost world.

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onverted from agnosticism to Christianity more than 40 years ago, George R. Knight long wrestled with what it means to be saved— what God can do for us and in us. This book in many ways is the result of that personal search: the combination of biblical findings, scholarly studies, and encounters with Christians. Sin and Salvation is an insightful and clear work that will help you better understand God’s redemptive plan.


Preview this riveting new book in the following excerpt from chapter 1!

Chapter 1

Pharisees Are Good People

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still get upset when I read the Bible.1 Take, for example, the New Testament portrayal of the Pharisees. In spite of the impression left by the biblical picture of them, the Pharisees were the best of people. The Jewish Encyclopedia is undoubtedly right when it claims that no complete “estimate of the character of the Pharisees can be obtained from the New Testament writings, which take a polemical attitude toward them.”2 In a similar vein, we find a great deal of truth in the accusation by Encyclopaedia Judaica that it is “mistakenly held that New Testament references to them as ‘hypocrites’ or ‘offspring of vipers’ (Matt. 3:7; Luke 18:9 ff., etc.) are applicable to the entire group.” The leaders of the Pharisees were themselves well aware of the insincere among their numbers and frequently describe them as “sore spots” and “plagues of the Pharisaic party.”3 Most Christians need to revise their picture of the Pharisees. They were not merely good people—they were the best of people. Not only were they morally upright, but they were desperately earnest in their search for God and in their protection of His holy name, law, and Word. Certainly the church and the world would be infinitely better if more of us daily came to God with the central Pharisaic question: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25; cf. Matt. 19:16). Here was a people totally dedicated to serving God from the time they arose in the morning to when they retired at night. Not only were the Pharisees intellectually dedicated to doing right, but they realized the highest level of morality in their daily lives. Jesus never contradicted the Pharisee in Luke 18 who thanked God in prayer that he was “not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers” (verse 11). Nor did Christ take issue with the young man who claimed to have “observed” the Ten Commandments from his youth (see Matt. 19:18-20). It stretches the imagination even to attempt to conceive of a people more

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Sin and Salvation intent on obedience and ethical living than the Pharisees. A brief look at some of their praiseworthy characteristics should help us put them in perspective. First and foremost, they loved and protected the Bible as the Word of God. They were intent on preserving the relevant meaning of Scripture. That goal, however, ran into trouble when it encountered divergences of opinion on the exact meaning of a biblical passage. As a result, they developed the theory that along with the written text there was, and always had been from Moses’ time, an unwritten tradition that supplemented the written text and pointed to its true meaning.4 Thus the oral tradition of the Pharisees was really a product of their reverence for the holy Word of God. A second high point for the Pharisees was their love of and dedication to God’s law. R. Travers Herford sums up that aspect of Pharisaism concisely when he states that “the primary concern of the Pharisees was to make the Torah [law] the supreme guide of life, in thought, word and deed, by study of its contents, obedience to its precepts, and, as the root of all, conscious service of God Who had given the Torah.”5 The Pharisees were deeply committed to not breaking the law of God. Consequently, they devised a system to avoid violating it. With their oral traditions they built a “fence for the Law” to “protect it by surrounding it with cautionary rules to halt a man like a danger signal before he gets within breaking distance of the divine statute itself.”6 Thus, for example, they developed 1,521 oral rules for the Sabbath alone.7 By the time of Christ, the Pharisees had countless of these fences or rules that affected every aspect of their daily lives. The Jews of Christ’s day could tell you how large a rock people could carry on the Sabbath day, how far they could take it, and how many cubits they could throw it. Their oral tradition covered every aspect of life, and an individual had to be zealously sincere about religion to live the pharisaic life. Beyond strict Sabbath observance, the Pharisees were energetic and sacrificial tithers, even going so far as to separate every tenth leaf of their mint plants and other garden herbs as being the Lord’s (see Matt. 23:23). And, of course, they would never eat or even touch any food or item regarded as unclean. People can say what they like about the Pharisees, but one thing all must admit is that they led lives totally dedicated to serving God and obeying His law. Jesus commended them for such a life (see Matt. 23:23). And Paul, looking back to his Pharisaic years, could say that “as to righteousness under the law” he was “blameless” (Phil. 3:6).


Pharisees Are Good People A third commendable aspect of Pharisaism was its missionary and evangelistic zeal. They would “scour sea and land to make a single convert” (Matt. 23:15, Phillips). The Pharisees not only sought to convert non-Jews to their religious views and practices, but also other Jews. Thus, writes Joachim Jeremias, the Pharisaic group set forth the rules of purity laid down for the everyday life of the priests as the ideal for every Jew. “In this way they meant to build up the holy community of Israel” into the “true Israel” of God (God’s remnant). As a result, while the average Jew did not like the superior airs of the Pharisees, the common people “looked to the Pharisees . . . as models of piety, and as embodiments of the ideal life.”8 A fourth positive aspect of the Pharisees is that they were “adventists.” They looked forward with intense desire to the coming of the Messianic kingdom. But they tied it to the faithful keeping of the law. Some of them believed that Messiah (Christ) would come if God’s people kept Torah (the law) perfectly for one day. As a result, they fully dedicated their lives to bringing about that day through perfect holiness.9 The Pharisees were an elite corps of highly dedicated men, being about 6,000 strong in the time of Christ. The New Testament refers to the religious scholars among them as the “scribes.” One interpretation of the name Pharisee is “the separate ones.” By extension, it would represent “the holy ones, the true community of Israel.”10 The sect of the Pharisees developed after the Babylonian captivity. God had allowed the Jews to be taken into captivity because (1) they had not been faithful to His law, and (2) they had adopted the ways of their pagan neighbors. After the 70-year captivity, Ezra early became a central figure in steering the Israelites toward God’s commands and away from the compromising culture of their day. The Pharisees first appear as an organized group in the second century B.C. during the Maccabean crisis. The “separated ones” adopted a lifestyle and a theological outlook that would preserve faithfulness to God so that Israel need not repeat its captivity. Thus, in their search for holiness, they separated themselves from the surrounding cultures and their customs, from the this-worldly and compromising practices of the priestly Sadducees, and from the careless ways of the common people. Because the Pharisees sought to pave the way for the coming of the Christ through godly living, their motivations were praiseworthy in every way.11 Given this positive view of the Pharisees, one of the most shocking and revolutionary teachings of Christ is that “unless your righteousness ex-


Pharisees Are Good People Law” and “is repentant when he fails.” George Eldon Ladd points out that the sincerity and primacy of one’s purpose to keep the law and “the strenuous endeavor to accomplish it are the marks of a righteous man.”16 Thus Jewish teaching, while recognizing the reality of and need for grace, forgiveness, and repentance, put obedience to the law at the center of humanity’s relationship to God. That led in daily practice to legalistic approaches, even though Judaism at its best recognized and taught that the matter of greatest importance was the spirit of the law as exemplified in love for God (see Deut. 6:5; 10:12) and for one’s neighbor (see Lev. 19:18). During the centuries that Pharisaism developed, the role of the law went through a significant change in Jewish thinking. Ladd indicates that the importance of the law came to overshadow the concept of God’s gracious covenant and became “the condition of membership in God’s people.” Even more important, observance of the law became “the basis of God’s verdict upon the individual. Resurrection will be the reward of those who have been devoted to the Law.” The law became the hope of the faithful and central to justification, salvation, righteousness, and life.17 That emphasis, not surprisingly, led eventually to a kind of legalistic bookkeeping among the Jews. We can think of their approach in terms of a moral balance scale in which the godly are those whose merits outweigh their transgressions, while the ungodly are those whose transgressions are heavier. The Jewish Mishnah puts it nicely when it says, “The world is judged by grace, yet all is according to the excess of works [that be good or evil].”18 The Talmud later presented the same thought: “One who performs mostly good deeds inherits the Garden of Eden, and one who performs mostly transgressions inherits Gehenna [hell].” The real problem for the judgment, of course, would be the “intermediates”—those whose merits and faults balance each other. That problem proved to be a point of exciting debate between the Pharisaic schools of Hillel and Shammai in the New Testament period. According to one tradition, God’s grace comes in to tip the balance in favor of righteousness.19 The important point to note is that the Pharisaic merit system of righteousness atomized sin. That is, it defined sin primarily as a series of actions, even though Judaism at its clear-thinking best recognized sin as a rebellious state of mind and as an offense against God.20 Walther Eichrodt notes that the atomization of sin into specific actions was undoubtedly aided by the fact that when the “Old Testament speaks of sin the chief emphasis unquestionably


Spiritual Enrichment The Cross of Christ LIBRARY OF ADVENTIST THEOLOGY, BOOK 1 George R. Knight At the heart of Christianity is the issue of sin and atonement. Knight addresses such crucial topics as God’s justice, the human response to salvation, and God’s solution for reversing the consequences of sin. 978-0-8280-2067-1. Hardcover. US$19.99

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The Refiner’s Fire Gavin Anthony The author shares the inspiring, life-transforming lessons he has discovered about the hard times in life. Moving beyond cliché answers, he offers a comforting, hope-filled perspective on God’s purpose in pain. 978-0-8280-2007-7. US$10.99

The Trinity Woodrow Whidden, Jerry Moon, and John Reeve The authors trace the doctrine of the Trinity through Scripture, church history, and the writings of Ellen White and discuss the theological and practical implications of Trinitarian belief and worship. 0-8280-1684-4. Hardcover. US$19.99 8

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Spiritual Enrichment Armageddon at the Door Jon Paulien The author’s explanation of the many confusing symbols in John’s vision unveils the mystery surrounding the battle of Armageddon, providing answers crucial to our understanding of earth’s final events. 978-0-8127-0477-8. US$15.99

The Time of the End James L. Hayward, Sr. This chronological study of last-day events is a compilation of Spirit of Prophecy quotes and Bible references. 978-0-911833-10-2. Hardcover. US$24.95

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Prophecy Speaks Earle Albert Rowell This is one of the classic stories of David Dare. Dare invites skeptics, scoffers, and unbelievers to his lectures and shows how prophecy proves that the Bible is true. 978-0-8280-2402-0. US$9.99

Helps to Bible Study J. L. Shuler Using simple symbols, the author explains how to mark a Bible to facilitate giving a study without notes. Includes 28 studies of SDA beliefs. 0-8280-1198-2. US$1.99

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Bible Study and Beliefs Battle of the Spirits G. Edward Reid During earth’s last hours the Holy Spirit and spirits of demons will exhibit tremendous power and influence in the struggle for souls. This book provides confidence for victory in the power of Christ. 0-9711134-0-8. US$14.99

Jesus Is My Judge Leslie Hardinge In this study of Daniel the author offers in-depth, Christ-centered scholarship and practical application of prophecy to daily life. 0-91183-05-6. US$14.99

With Jesus in His Sanctuary Leslie Hardinge This is an in-depth discussion of all aspects of the earthly sanctuary and Jesus’ ministry in the heavenly sanctuary. 0-911833-01-3. US$19.99

The Lamb Leslie Hardinge These meditations on the book of Revelation explain perplexing passages and awaken love for Jesus Christ, the lamb at the center of prophecy. 978-0-9118330-8-9. US$19.99

The Sanctuary Service M. L. Andreasen In this Seventh-day Adventist classic the author probes the meaning of Jesus Christ as our substitutionary sacrifice and our high priest in the heavenly courts. 978-0-8280-1989-7. Paperback. US$12.99 978-0-8280-2005-3. Hardcover. US$15.99 10

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Bible Study and Beliefs Christ’s Way to Spiritual Growth Philip Samaan By focusing on what the Bible and Ellen White reveal about Christ’s spiritual life, the author shows how we can become more and more like Him, our great example and model. 0-8280-0946-5. US$12.99

The Coming of the Comforter LeRoy E. Froom Find answers to vital questions, such as What is the difference between a prick of conscience and the promptings of the Holy Spirit? What are the conditions of being filled with the Spirit? Is regeneration the same as being filled with the Spirit? 0-8280-0519-2. US$10.99

The Cross and Its Shadow S. N. Haskell This is a reprint of an important early Advent book, which explains the sanctuary and its services. 978-0-8280-0134-2. US$12.99

The Sabbath in Scripture and History Kenneth Strand, editor This book consists of comprehensive studies by 18 scholars and takes the first in-depth look at the Sabbath since J. N. Andrews’ study in the nineteenth century. 978-0-8280-2094-7. US$24.99

Teaching the Faith Donna Habenicht and Larry Burton Discover how to teach in the different learning modes and styles; how to discipline; how to get kids to talk, think, and remember; and how to teach truth so that kids can grow spiritually. 0-8280-1819-7. US$19.99

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Science and Creation Origin by Design Harold G. Coffin, Robert H. Brown, L. James Gibson This updated classic presents new advances in plate tectonics, turbidity currents, and recent geological catastrophes—and reveals God behind the great questions of modern science. 978-0-8280-1776-3. Hardcover. US$29.99

Evidences for Creation George Javor The author explains how genes, germs, and galaxies all show the fingerprints of God by dissecting the cell to reveal the self-replicating, fully animated microscopic factories that maintain the endless cascade of life. 0-8280-1827-8. US$12.99

Science Discovers God Ariel A. Roth The author examines key scientific issues related to the “God question” and arrives at the conclusion that science itself is providing the answer to the question of whether or not God exists. 978-0-8127-0448-8. Hardcover. US$19.99

Creation, Catastrophe, and Calvary John Templeton Baldwin This collection of essays by leading Adventist scholars provides an in-depth biblical and geological analysis of issues related to the biblical creation and flood narratives. 0-8280-1323-3. Hardcover. US$19.99

Evidences DVD The Record and the Flood Beautiful location photography reveals scientific evidence supporting the story of Noah. This is an eye-opening experience that will strengthen your trust in the Bible and the Creator. 978-0-8280-2026-8. US$14.95 12

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Christian Motivation A Love Song for Sabbath Richard M. Davidson The author reveals how each one of us can know the exquisite joy of God’s holy day. Includes ideas from Jewish tradition to add touches of beauty to your own family’s celebration of Sabbath. 978-0-8280-0431-2. US$10.99

In the Footsteps of Paul DVDs Tony Moore Each of the 20 presentations was filmed on location and will bring fresh meaning to Paul’s teachings by applying them to our lives now. Includes the leader’s manual and one copy of the study guide. (Additional lesson sets available below.) US$259.95 From Tarsus to Jerusalem (study guide, set of lessons 1-20) US$19.95

Feed My Sheep H.M.S. Richards, Sr. Brimming with anecdotal gems from the author’s vast experience in evangelism and gleaned from his wide reading, Feed My Sheep has become a treasured manual on preaching.0-8280-1897-9. US$17.99

A Positive Church in a Negative World Jonas Arrais Do you serve in a challenging church? This insightful book presents biblical guidelines that will equip you to cultivate a healthy, positive approach to negative situations. 978-1-57847-047-1. US$9.95

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Great Book Bargains Wrestling With Angels IN THE GRIP OF JACOB’S GOD Larry L. Lichtenwalter As did Jacob, we wrestle with the results of past decisions. But as we grow, we find new hope to face our fears.0-8280-1623-2. Regularly US$12.99, SALE US$2.97

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The Book of Beginnings CREATION AND THE PROMISE OF REDEMPTION Ben Clausen and Gerald Wheeler Take a look at the issues addressed in Genesis, the starting point for science, history, theology, philosophy, and every aspect of life. 0-8280-1985-1. Regularly US$10.99, SALE US$4.97

The Compassion of the Christ Keith Burton Move beyond passive reflection on the sufferings of Jesus to an active participation in His compassionate ministry. 1-904685-05-6. Regularly US$10.99, SALE US$5.97

Crossing Jordan Roy Adams The author explores the underlying historical, geographical, and psychological subtexts of the book of Joshua, providing a strategic understanding of Israel’s military campaign and the covenant form. 0-8820-1845-6. Regularly US$12.99, SALE US$2.97 14

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Ephesians John Fowler The theme of unity in Christ makes the Epistle to the Ephesians a gospel of new relationships. The author emphasizes Paul’s confidence in the new creation God has wrought in Christ and its ultimate triumph in the great controversy. 0-8280-1885-5. Regularly US$10.99, SALE US$3.97

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Just for Kids Saying Thank You to God Karen Holford Activities and suggestions to help children understand giving and encourage them to delight in saying thank You to God. 978-1-906381-42-4. Hardcover. US$9.99

Your Angel Becky De Oliveira This delightful story helps kids figure out answers to their tough questions about angels. 978-1-906381-67-7. Hardcover. US$9.99

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Tatum and Her Tiger Andy Nash Kids learn to use their character traits to glorify God as they watch Tatum and her tiger, Passion, at the spring picnic. 978-0-8127-0451-8. Hardcover. US$9.99 Prices and availability subject to change. Printed in U.S.A. Canadian customers, please contact your local Adventist Book Center速 for current pricing.

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