But now let us look more closely at the purpose of Satan’s sneak attack on standards in the remnant church. We have described his cunning program of gradual infiltration through borderline issues, and how those tiny loopholes were slowly expanded into major departures from our historic principles. The divine cause-and-effect law immediately began to operate, creating doubt and confusion about the true doctrine. And Satan made very certain that a masterpiece of deception was in both wings waiting to emerge just as soon as enough minds had been sufficiently dulled by conformity to the world. Desmond Ford and Walter Rea appeared on the stage almost simultaneously, and for the first time the old, stale objections began to raise questions in the minds of Seventh-day Adventists.
It is only when we look closely at the focus of the “new theology” errors that we can understand Satan’s ingenious strategy. Almost all of its attack is aimed at the law of God. Even though some Seventh-day Adventists are afraid to say it, the real issue in the age-long controversy is over the subject of God’s law and whether it can be kept or not.
Satan knows even better than we do that the final clash in the great contest will revolve around loyalty and obedience to that law. Anything he can do now to weaken and discredit the law in the eyes of Seventh-day Adventists will be a master stroke on his part. He has no problem with the rest of Christendom, because their doctrine already belittles the Decalogue, but he needs some incredibly deceptive approach to make Adventists look lightly upon the law.
The roots of the law controversy go all the way back to the fallen angel, Lucifer. That rebel angel based his entire attack against God on the premise that Heaven’s law was too severe and could not be obeyed. Those false charges were aired before the unfallen universe, and one third of the angels were persuaded that Lucifer was right. From that time to this, the governments of good and evil have been locked in a titanic struggle to settle those issues raised by Lucifer.
The plan of salvation was designed by God to vindicate His justice and honor before the universe, and to clear His name from the lying accusation that His law could not be obeyed. The purpose of His 6000-year program has been to produce a people who will live without sin. If God’s plan is not able to restore man to that original position of obedience from which he fell, then Satan’s arguments will be upheld. On the other hand, if God is able to exhibit a people who have totally obeyed Him, under the most adverse conditions Satan can create, His character will be eternally vindicated before the unfallen worlds. The universe will be forever secure from further disobedience, because, age upon age, the living testimony of the redeemed remnant will be a reminder of God’s righteousness in dealing with His creatures.
Now, can you see how important it must be for Satan to make people sin? And do you see why the remnant of the woman-those who keep the commandments and have the Spirit of Prophecy-are the special objects of the dragon’s wrath? Whatever Satan does against God’s faithful saints will be aimed at diluting their confidence in the law. Somehow he must prepare them to regard the law so lightly and see sin as so unobjectionable, that when their lives are on the line, they will choose to disobey rather than perish. Satan sees this as his last opportunity to strike out against God’s plan to bring His people to perfection.
Does it begin to make more sense now for Satan to prepare special assaults against Sabbathkeepers? No wonder he devised the clever plan to slip worldly customs slowly into the church. He knew very well the Bible principle that doctrinal confusion would quickly follow. And he made careful preparations to introduce his artful “anti-lawism” through respectable inside spokesmen who would have the widest influence.