No. 00 – Introduction
Welcome. My name is Camron Schofield.
I would like to share with you a series of presentations that will help to answer some of the questions you have about your salvation. What I am going to tell you are the things that I wish someone told me a long time ago.
It is most likely that you have never heard these things before. But please do not be afraid. They are truths from the word of God that will prepare you for the second coming of Christ and enable you to survive all the experiences that we must meet before that time. Satan does not want us to be ready and so he has been working hard to keep these wonderful truths from us. He wants us to remain either in our confused state of mind in regard to our salvation, or in our Laodicean condition, thinking that we are alright when we are definitely not.
Many Christians are afraid of the future. They are afraid of the time of trouble that is rapidly coming upon us. They are afraid of the judgment and the second coming of Christ when He shall reward every man according to their own works. They look at their lives, the weakness of their faith, and the great standard of morality that God has given to all men and they tremble in their confusion as to how they can ever be saved.
Many ministries appear to want to preach everything else but the message of salvation. They take it for granted that the people know how to be saved and so they focus on subjects like prophecy, doctrine, church history and health. But I have found that they are making a big mistake – most people DO NOT know how to be saved.
These subjects have their place, but they are not the Gospel of salvation and can be a distraction from the more important things. Prophecy, for example, does show us where we are in earth’s history, that the end is very near, and that we need to get ready, BUT it does not tell us HOW to prepare for it. I have spoken with many people who have listened to the preaching of prophecy for many years and found them absolutely terrified for the future because they do not know how to be ready for what they know is coming.
It is my strong conviction that it is time for us to get our priorities right. It is time to give the answers to the questions that we all need answering, that our hearts are crying out for. And so this is why I have prepared these presentations: I want to share with you the answers that I have found.
Before you listen to each presentation, I ask that you will say a little prayer and also when it is finished. You only need to pray a few words, just asking God to be your teacher, and then thanking Him for hearing and answering you. Always let it be a prayer from your heart.
In this series of studies, I am going to explain how our salvation comes to us and how it can become ours. Our studies will be simple, and they will be clear.
A brief outline of what we will study is this:
- First, we will examine our great need that we have due to the effects of sin.
- And then we will have an introduction to what God’s solution is.
- After that we will look at the life of Christ and see how close He came to our experience.
- And we will see how God’s solution for us is exemplified in His life.
- We will learn what faith is, clearly, and simply.
- And we will look at the faith of Jesus – how it worked, and what it did for Him.
- We will also spend an extra study or two investigating faith in a practical sense.
- And then we will begin to investigate how it is that God’s solution for our great need comes to us THROUGH Christ. And in those studies we will discover how much of a personal Saviour Jesus really is.
We may have a few extra studies in between as the Lord impresses but this will be our basic guideline.
But before we commence our studies, I would like first to share with you a little bit of my experience.
I grew up in the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. I learned the Bible stories, I read all the Uncle Arthur bedtime stories, I studied the the prophecies and the history of the Advent movement, but I never really learned about salvation.
Yes, I heard that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
But, what did this really mean? I mean, really, what did it mean for me? Wonderful words, but what did they mean in a real practical sense? In a way that would help me in my daily struggles and help me to get ready for heaven?
In my mid teens I swung into a more liberal way of life. I began to listen to heavy metal music and to watch horror movies. When I got my driver’s license, I broke all the road rules, and I had sex before marriage. I didn’t think too much about my salvation. I didn’t have to. Jesus died for me, right? And I also thought that being a member of the church and giving them my tithe would save me.
One day, I was out walking with a friend and he turned to me and said, “Camron, you’re not going to go to heaven.” “Sorry!?” I replied, half choking. He said, “I’m serious! You love fast cars – but there’s no fast cars in heaven. You love to listen to rock and roll music – but there’s no rock and roll in heaven. When Jesus comes, He’s not going to just click His fingers and suddenly you will hate all those things and love the things of heaven. He’s not like that. He never forces anyone. And so He is not going to take you there because you won’t be happy there.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! I was thinking, How dare you talk to me like that! I listened to him continue to reason this through, and I saw that there could be no happy ending to this conversation. And so I prayed to God and I said, “God, can you please give me something to tell this young man to comfort him, because he is scaring himself out of heaven!”
We continued to walk and my friend continued to talk and no new thought came from God into my head. Everything that my friend said made perfect sense. But I wasn’t willing to believe it. Later that night I sat down and wondered – Why didn’t God give me any answer that I could give to my friend to comfort him? And I came to two conclusions – either I didn’t have a close enough relationship with God so that he could talk through me, or, my friend was right. And so I went and dug out my Bible from where it was being stored and opened it to the story of the rich young ruler where Christ tells him to give all that he has to the poor, and to follow Him. OUCH! I looked at my big television with my surround sound system, I looked at my Playstation gaming console and all of my games, I looked at the cds of my heavy metal music and all the DVD movies that I had and then I looked at the Bible. Hmmm. At that time it wasn’t a hard decision. I closed the Bible, put it away and turned on the Playstation.
But something changed in my heart that day and I began to search for God in a serious way. One thing that was drilled into me as a child was that “you can be sure your sins will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). This came back to haunt me. And so I found myself swinging very much the opposite direction to my liberal way of living and became very legalistic in an attempt to try and atone for all of my sins. I began to examine the ingredients on every packet of food I bought. I threw out my clothing that I thought didn’t meet the approval of Ellen White. I became very strict in everything that I did, even down to the smallest details. There were many things I had done in my life that God was not pleased with, and so I thought that now I could do many things to please Him. I thought that if I do all these things, then I will be good enough to go to heaven. I will make myself ready for heaven by learning to love the things of heaven now so that it wouldn’t be a shock if God took me there. And even worse, I thought that I could help those around me to get ready for heaven as well by telling them what they should do and what they shouldn’t do. It all sounded so good. But I became a hypocritical Pharisee and condemned everyone around me.
I meant well, but my steps were misguided, and I had started upon a path that leads to the same place as the opposite extreme. Liberalism and legalism are the natural consequences of a confused gospel. Faith and works. Faith OR works? How can the two both work together? Some say “Believe! All you have to do is believe!” Others say, “No. You have to do something.” Often, those that say you have to do something become hypocritical pharisees like I was. And in my experience I have found that many of these people are not happy because they are always trying so hard to do things right and they live under a constant shadow of self-condemnation.
But the opposite extreme, “Only believe!” sounds very presumptuous to me. I mean, Jesus is coming. Very soon. And He is not a magician and just going to click His fingers and change me when He comes. And there is a judgment. And very soon He will step out from interceding for me in the sanctuary. The books have been opened and Jesus is cleansing my sins with His blood. But if He stops interceding for me, and I sin when He is not there, who can cleanse the record of that sin from the books? I would be condemned.
God has a law. And by that law I will be judged.
There are some who don’t believe that we can keep God’s law. I understand. Its because we have tried for many years, and it hasn’t worked, and so we say its impossible. But wouldn’t that be agreeing with Satan in this great controversy? Satan says that God is not fair and that we cannot keep His law. Is Satan right? Or is he wrong?
I have to confess that I wondered about these things for most of my life. I was confused about my salvation. As a child, I tried to do what was right, but I was far from perfect, and so I spent much of my life afraid of being punished by God for my sins. As an adult, I spent many years trying to save myself by reforming my own life. My experience hasn’t been much different to Martin Luther’s. And I know that many of you feel that you can relate with him also. We have suffered far more than we need to.
Why have we been suffering in this confusion for so many years? Because we have not found the answers to our questions. The questions we NEEDED answering. How do faith and works harmonize? Do I need to make changes in my life or not? Or do I just have to believe? Isn’t that what Apostle Paul said to the jailor when he said to him, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul said “Believe! Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ! And you will be saved.” But what does it mean to believe? HOW do I believe? WHAT do I believe? And who, really, is Jesus Christ, and who is God? Is He really “love” like the Bible says, or is He just waiting to hurl His thunderbolts at me when I sin? And speaking of sin, do I need to live a completely sinless life? Is it possible? How do I do it? I hate my sins! I hate their consequences. I hate that they made Jesus to suffer on the cross!
In this series of presentations, I want to help you find the answers to these questions. I cannot teach you everything because I don’t know everything. But I can give you the answers that the Lord has given me. There is nothing special about me. I am a human being like you in desperate need of salvation; someone who needs to know HOW to be saved. One of the reasons I teach these things is because I myself need to hear them again and again. By God’s grace, I will provide you with a set of core truths that you can use like “keys” which will enable you to unlock every door in the mansion of truth.
In our studies, we will occasionally read quotations from two men by the names of Alonzo T. Jones and Ellet J. Waggoner. If you do not know who they are, please watch my video called “The 1888 Message & Ellen White.” Or if you would like to know more about the history of the “1888 message”, I highly recommend Ron Duffield’s two books, “The Return of the Latter Rain”, and “Wounded in the House of His Friends”. If God never led me to study the subject of Righteousness by Faith as Jones and Waggoner taught it, I would have nothing to share with you, because I never would have found my answers. And please, study their writings for yourself. Don’t just take my word for it. That is why we are confused – because we haven’t studied the word for ourselves. Your Sabbath School Quarterly, or a sermon once a week is not good enough. You MUST study the word of God for yourself. And these two men will teach you HOW to study it. And yes, there is more light for us today, BUT it must build upon that which God has already given us through them.
After many years of thinking that I was doing pretty well with my life, it began to fall apart. I fell from the delusional heights of self-righteousness into the deepest pits of self-discovery. For a period of years I went through a horrible darkness with no light at the end of the tunnel. But God never left me, and I am so grateful to Him. It was in those dark times that He taught me the truths that I am now going to share with you.
My experience has not been much different to yours, whatever yours may have been. We all live in this world of sin. We all live in this sinful humanity. And while we put on a smile and do our best to live as best we can, we dream of better times and of a better place, and we want it to come quickly. Yet, we are afraid. Because we are not ready. And we do not know how to be ready. We have tried, but if we are honest with ourselves and with God, whatever we have been doing is not working. Our Gospel is broken.
May God have mercy upon us, and give us His Holy Spirit to teach us His true Gospel.