Uplifting faith in Christ as the heart of the Third Angel’s message became central to Ellen White’s message at the 1888 General Conference session and beyond.
Soon after the Minneapolis meeting, she made one of her most powerful statements on Revelation 14:12 and the core meaning of the 1888 message. “The third angel’s message,” she penned, “is the proclamation of the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus Christ. The commandments of God have been proclaimed, but the faith of Jesus has not been proclaimed by Seventh-day Adventists as of equal importance, the law and the gospel going hand in hand. I cannot find language to express this subject in its fullness.
“‘The Faith of Jesus.’ It is talked of, but not understood. What constitutes the faith of Jesus that belongs to the third angel’s message? Jesus becoming our sin-bearer that He might become our sin-pardoning Saviour. He was treated as we deserve to be treated. He came to our world and took our sins that we might take His righteousness. And faith in the ability of Christ to save us amply and fully and entirely is the faith of Jesus . . .
“There is salvation for the sinner in the blood of Jesus Christ alone, which cleanest us from all sin. The man with a cultivated intellect may have vast stores of knowledge, he may engage in theological speculations, he may be great and honored of men and be considered the repository of knowledge, but unless he has a saving knowledge of Christ crucified for him, and by faith lays hold on the righteousness of Christ crucified for him, and by faith lays hold on the righteousness of Christ, he is lost. Christ was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5 KJV). ‘Saved by the blood of Jesus Christ’ will be our only hope for time and our song throughout eternity” (MS 24, 1888; italics supplied).
Are you getting the message? We need to. It is the most crucial thing that we can ever hear — that Christ died for us, and that we can be saved only through having a vital faith in His sacrifice. That is at the core of the faith of Jesus and Revelation 14:12. It is the core of what it means to be a Seventh-day Adventist. And it is the core of what it means to be Christian. With only the commandments of God we might be “Adventists” [i.e. church members], but not Christians.