The Final Generation
The consideration of the glory of Christ's perfection should help us bring the unique witness of the final generation into better focus. Andreasen, James, Collier and others have all given special emphasis to this area. Adventist authors have often emphasized how God's law is going to be vindicated and put on display in the final generation (Rev. 18:1).
The following statement shows how God's people will act a part to lighten the earth with the glory of God:
"With tears they warn the wicked of their danger in trampling upon the divine law, and with unutterable sorrow they humble themselves before the Lord on account of their own transgressions. The wicked mock their sorrow, ridicule their solemn appeals, and sneer at what they term their weakness. But the anguish and humiliation of God's people is unmistakable evidence that they are regaining the strength and nobility of character lost in consequence of sin. It is because they are drawing nearer to Christ, and their eyes are fixed upon His perfect purity, that they so clearly discern the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Their contrition and self-abasement are infinitely more acceptable in the sight of God than is the self-sufficient, haughty spirit of those who see no cause to lament, who scorn the humility of Christ, and who claim perfection while transgressing God's holy law. Meekness and lowliness of heart are the conditions for strength and victory. The crown of glory awaits those who bow at the foot of the cross. Blessed are these mourners, for they shall be comforted."—Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 474, 475.
It will be noticed that God's people vindicate God's law by deep repentance and confession of how far they come short of its glory. It will be a real, earnest Romans 7:14-25 experience. On the other hand, they will encounter their greatest opposition from a world-wide "holiness" movement - people who actually think they are without sin.
Likewise will God's people be greatly humbled by a sense of the sinfulness of their lives during the time of trouble:
"The righteous in their distress will have a deep sense of their unworthiness, and with many tears will acknowledge their utter unworthiness, and, like Jacob, will plead the promises of God through Christ, made to just such dependent, helpless, repenting sinners." —Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, pp. 121, 122; see also Story of Redemption pp. 96-98.
"As he [Jacob] reviewed his past wrongs, he was driven almost to despair. . Thus will it be with the righteous. As they review the events of their past lives, their hopes will almost sink." —Ibid., p. 122.
"But," asks one, "what of those statements about reflecting the image of Jesus fully (Early Writings, p. 71), "this is the condition" (Great Controversy, p. 623), and "cannot bring them [sins] to remembrance" (Ibid., p. 620), etc.? Yes, we need to know them too. That is the other side of the paradox. Unless both sides of the paradox are considered, the truth will be distorted.
There will be a final generation to the glory of God. They will be a community fully settled into the truth of justification by faith, and their righteous characters will be "a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God." 1 Thess. 1:5.
"In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem." Isa. 4:2, 3.