Do I Need to be an Adventist to be Saved?
The answer to this question is simply, “no.”
When it comes to salvation in Jesus Christ, all that is required of a person is to acknowledge Jesus’ sacrifice for us, believe that He has saved us, and claim the free gift of salvation that is always available to us. Salvation is not based on denomination.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church believes that our Bible-based doctrines help us live Christ-like lives and get to know God in a deeper way while we’re on this earth. But as far as having the assurance of salvation, that is a deeply personal process between you and God. And it certainly isn’t dependent on your church membership.
Even though the answer to this question is a simple one, you might be wondering:
- How we got to that answer
- Why someone might ask the question
- What the official Adventist Church stance is
- What a person needs to do to be saved
So let’s find the answers together, starting with the one that brought you here.
Is salvation dependent on being an Adventist?
We’ve already answered this question with an easy, simple answer: no, you don’t need to be Adventist to be saved.
But maybe you’re wondering why that’s the answer.
After all, Adventists do believe that their beliefs are sound, Bible-based, and help us live a godly life on earth.
However, one of the best parts about the saving gospel of Jesus Christ is that it’s for everyone. It’s not just for people who are part of a certain denomination.
Anyone who claims the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ can be sure of their salvation.
Everything after that is simply in response to this gift: how we live our lives, what we choose to do with our time, and how we grow in our faith through personal Bible study and through communing with other believers.
It’s also important to consider that if Adventism were a limiting factor for salvation, there would certainly be some complications.
For example, the Adventist Church, as an official denomination, didn’t exist until the 1860s. What about Jesus’ followers from thousands of years before that? What about people we know to be in heaven like Elijah and Moses? What about Christ Jesus, Himself?
None of these people were Adventist because “being an Adventist” wasn’t yet possible.
Furthermore, there may be many people who call themselves Adventists but who never sincerely chose Jesus.
On the other hand, there may be people who claimed other Christian denominations, other religions, or perhaps had no religious or denominational affiliation at all…but they’ve accepted the gift of salvation and lived a life of love on earth. And they will also have eternal life with Jesus.
Even those human beings who live in remote parts of the world, those who have never been given the opportunity to know about the gospel or the saving grace of Jesus…these people have still been given a conscience through the Holy Spirit. According to the apostle Paul, these are people who “show that the work of the law is written on their hearts” (Romans 2:15, ESV).
We trust that God knows each heart in a profoundly intimate way. There may be numerous people out there who know God and share His will and desires. But they may not have learned that He is called “God,” or “Jesus” or “The Holy Spirit.”
And at the end of the day, we’re not the ones to answer all of the nuanced questions or judge whether or not someone has salvation. We can be thankful that God is the only one with that capability. And we can take comfort that the default position of God is one of saving, not one of condemning:
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:16-17, ESV).
In other words, God is never desiring to take salvation away. He wants to redeem and save everyone. But because He loves us, He will always uphold our freedom of choice. Each of us get to decide if we want God’s free gift of salvation or not.
All this being said, you definitely aren’t the first people to ask if you have to be an Adventist to be saved. So next, let’s explore the reasoning behind the question.
Why might someone think that you have to be an Adventist to be saved?
Seventh-day Adventists have Bible-based doctrines that they take very seriously:
- The seventh-day Sabbath
- The state of the dead
- A literal 6 days of creation
- The great controversy
- The remnant of Revelation
- The gift of prophecy
Just to name a few.
And though all of our fundamental beliefs are taken straight from Scripture, these have more to do with sanctification than with justification.
The concepts of justification and sanctification are worth more discussion than we can give them in this page (you can read more about salvation, justification, and sanctification here), but put simply…
- Justification is what happens when you accept Jesus as your Savior. We are justified through the blood of Jesus, and because of that, we can “become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21, ESV). Boiled down, it is forgiveness of sin and having our record before God clean. Justification alone has nothing to do with good works. However, it does lead to a change of heart and desire to live a new life, which, in turn, reveals itself in works (Ephesians 2:8-10).
- Sanctification is what happens as our human hearts grow and change in response to Jesus’ sacrifice. His love changes us to become more like Him. And in doing so, we’re becoming the best versions of ourselves. Sanctification involves prayer, study, and putting things into practice as we learn them. God’s law of love becomes written on our hearts (Hebrews 10:16). We can sum up sanctification as the evidence of justification in our daily lives.
And before we go any further, we are in no way saying that sanctification doesn’t matter. In fact, to the person who has accepted the gift of eternal life, sanctification is a natural response to the love we see in Jesus, and the tug of the Holy Spirit.
The grace of God compels us to search the Word of God, and in doing so, we may feel moved to keep the Sabbath, study the last days, etc.
And just for good measure, let’s again remember that you do not need to be an Adventist to be saved. But because the Adventist Church’s doctrines are all biblically based, becoming an Adventist may be an outward manifestation of an inward change of heart.
The official stance of the Adventist Church also expresses this idea. Let’s take a look at it.
What does the Adventist Church say about salvation?
As with all our doctrines, our beliefs about salvation come directly from the Bible.
Within the fundamental beliefs—a descriptive collection of doctrines that describe how Adventists generally interpret Scripture on key topics—the Church states:
“In infinite love and mercy, God made Christ, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, so that in Him we might be the righteousness of God…Through Christ we are justified, adopted as God’s sons and daughters and delivered from the lordship of sin.”1
Again, in another fundamental belief:
“The great principles of God’s law are embodied in the Ten Commandments and exemplified in the life of Christ. They express God’s love, will, and purposes concerning human conduct and relationships and are binding upon all people in every age.
These precepts are the basis of God’s covenant with His people and the standard in God’s judgment. Through the agency of the Holy Spirit they point out sin and awaken a sense of need for a Savior.
Salvation is all of grace and not of works, and its fruit is obedience to the Commandments.”2
Officially, the Adventist Church acknowledges that salvation is by the grace of God alone, and all we must do is have faith that Jesus saves and accept this salvation. What a hopeful message!
Now, before we wrap up, let’s briefly recap what we need in order to have salvation.
What do I need to be saved?
Let’s turn to the Word of God to answer this question. There are several verses that can do this question justice.
- “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (Romans 10:9-10, ESV)
- “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10, ESV)
- “Then he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ And they said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household’” (Acts 16:30-31, ESV).
- “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13, ESV).
- “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1, ESV).
- “But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, ESV).
And there are many more!
So what do you need to do to be saved? Simply accept Jesus as your Savior. He desires to be with you eternally. There is no greater hope than what we have in Jesus. He is all we need for salvation.
Jesus is our salvation and our hope
Moral of the story?
Not any creed, religion, amount of good works, earthly prophet or leader, or denomination—Adventism included—can save you.
Only Jesus can.
He has given us the choice of a lifetime. All we have to do is accept His gift of salvation, and have faith that He died for us.
If you are on a spiritual journey and want to accept Jesus as your savior, we have resources that will help you on that journey.
Questions about Adventists? Ask here!
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