Most people recognize that the great battle-cry of the Protestant Reformation was sola scriptura (“scripture alone”), sola fide (“faith alone”), sola gratia (“grace alone”), soli Deo gloria (“glory to God alone”) and solo Christo (“Christ alone”).
Among those, the latter has rightfully garnered a great deal of emphasis lately as people have recognized the need to make Jesus the center of all that we do. This is a much-needed corrective.
Two other corollary concepts stemmed from the sola scriptura concept, though, which were every bit as important as the foundational principle: prima scriptura (“scripture first”), and tota scriptura (“all of scripture”).
As we consider the landscape of our present situation and the great emphasis on solo Christo, I think it would be well to also add to this emphasis the important concept of toto Christo – that is, “all of Christ.” Just as we want to make Jesus the center of our all, we want all of Jesus to be at the center. For it is only Jesus – in His completeness – that is really worth having at our center.
What do I mean by this? Seventh-day Adventists have been privileged to be the recipients not only of beautiful truths such as the Sabbath, the non-immortality of the soul, annihilationism, and other unique truths (which, by the way, give us – first and foremost – a more beautiful picture of God); we have more significantly uncovered a picture of a toto Christo – a full and complete Jesus. This is seen through many different prisms. Our understanding of Jesus’s humanity (how He took on our humanity in its weakened condition), for example, gives the picture of a much closer, more intimate and sympathetic Jesus than has been understood in ages past.
It’s also seen in our understanding of just how far Jesus went in His sacrifice on the cross – how He experienced the “second death,” and the feeling of complete and eternal forsakeness and separation from His Father.
Just as significantly, the toto Christo explanation of Jesus recognizes the work that He is doing right now on our behalf – how He’s ministering on our behalf in the heavenly sanctuary, standing not only as our Advocate, but also lovingly trying to completely remove selfishness from our hearts by His grace. Thus, if we are going to be all about Jesus right now, we must also be about all of who Jesus is right now (our great High Priest in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary), and what He’s doing.
These are just three examples of the toto Christo picture of Jesus that Adventism can humbly present. The possibilities are truly endless.
So, yes, let’s be all about Jesus; but may we recognize the totality of Jesus and realize that this version of Him is the fullest, most beautiful rendition humankind has thus far been blessed to understand (with an even richer and deeper picture unfolding throughout eternity). It’s also the explanation of Jesus for which the world – right now, at this precise moment – is the most desperate.
Thus, to stop short of presenting a total Jesus robs not only ourselves but the world of the cure to all that ails us. Because it is only the complete Jesus that can heal our hearts completely.
Indeed: All. Jesus.