Holy Spirit

Christians Have Lost Their POWER! by Herbert W. Armstrong

Probably you, too, are spiritually powerless! Here is the shocking truth! Read why your prayers are not directly—miraculously—answered! The chances are that even you, if you believe you are a Christian, are today on mighty dangerous ground! You’d better STOP—and check up! Open your Bible! Take a look at the real Christians back in the days of Peter, John, and Paul—AND COMPARE! Take a look at the POWER in the original true Church—in the lives of those Christians. See how your life stacks up!

. . . But Are You Sure?

You think you are under God’s GRACE? Safe and secure for all eternity? Well, listen! “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he FALL!” So warns God’s Word (I Cor. 10:12). It’s time to realize you are going to be finally judged by the very WORD OF GOD. You need to see to what standard you must measure up. Jesus told His disciples just before He ascended to heaven that they should receive POWER when they were converted. “Ye shall receive POWER, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you,” He said (Acts 1:8). Do you have that same POWER today? Did you ever study closely to see what that power is? Have you ever been concerned about HOW you may receive it? Have you ever checked to see WHETHER YOU NEED IT? It’s time you did, for without it you are not truly Christ’s!

What We Do See

Of course many of you professing Christians see that you must accept Jesus Christ as personal Savior to be saved. You may even see that you must repent of transgressing God’s law—His spiritual law, as summarized in the Ten Commandments—because sin is the transgression of the law. Perhaps you’ve gone far enough to realize WHY you were born—you’ve learned God’s great PURPOSE being worked out here below. You may see that today ALL NATIONS are spiritually drunk on the false pagan doctrines of the modern spiritual “Babylon”—that all nations are deceived—that the TRUTH has been turned upside down. You may see that even the churches are deceived, and have turned away from the truth and embraced fables. You may realize that grace has been turned into license! You may even have progressed so far as to comprehend that God is molding our lives until we shall be literally BORN of Him—His character created within us—this mortal becoming immortal—this human becoming divine in the very Kingdom of God. But haven’t you overlooked, or failed to “see,” the POWER of the Holy Spirit of God within you? You may have come to see how evil and paganized this world has become, and to be disgusted with its ways. You may recognize that you must forsake YOUR WAY, and turn to and live God’s way! Yes, you may fully understand that Isaiah said: “Seek ye the ETERNAL while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake HIS WAY, and the unrighteous man HIS THOUGHTS” (Isa. 55:6-7). But have you overlooked or neglected verse 1: “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the WATERS . . .” Thirsty for what! WHICH “waters”? Why, the very “waters” Jesus spoke of: “If any man thirst,” He said, “let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly [innermost being] shall flow RIVERS of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified)” (John 7:37-39). Have you ever fully realized that the Holy Spirit is something that was not born in you? We hear a lot today about tapping your own inner hidden resources—the dormant powers within your mind. Modern religions are springing up calling that sleeping, dormant, latent part of your mind “GOD”! But the Holy Spirit is something you have not had—something you must RECEIVE from GOD! Something infinitely greater and more POWERFUL than any powers within you—something from the great God who created YOU—who created the entire vast universe and all that exists! It is the essence—the very life—the NATURE of God. But it also is something from God, which He gives you from Himself, which is actually a part of Himself—and which IMPARTS POWER! Do you know what that power is? Has that POWER come into you, so that you can wield it? You, as a professing Christian, may have come to realize, to see, to comprehend, many of these things—to have accepted them—but is this POWER actually being manifested in your life? Are you sure you know WHAT that power is?

What Is This Strange Power?

First, let me tell you what this power is NOT. It is not an emotion physically worked up through the senses. It is not something that you can generate, or work up, yourself. It is not falling over backward “under the power.” It is not being robbed of all power, as some people who have accepted the counterfeit emotional religion are, while “under the power.” It is not something that makes people shout, shriek, jerk, laugh insanely and uncontrollably, or go through ridiculous and childish antics in a meeting where the preacher generates a fake, false “power” and a counterfeit spirit by constantly calling for loud emotional responses of “Hallelujah!” “Praise the Lord!” “Amen!” etc., in response to his oft-repeated: “All who believe it say ‘AMEN’!” etc., etc. To know what it truly is, look into your Bible! Jesus is our example, and we find this POWER first of all in His life. It was nothing physically inherent within Him. He said: “I can of mine own self do NOTHING” (John 5:30). But, He said, “the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works” (John 14:10). The Father dwelt IN Jesus by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit imparted POWER. What WAS that power? The inspired Peter, bringing salvation to the Gentiles for the first time, explained: “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with POWER: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him” (Acts 10:38). Notice, that POWER in Jesus did none of those things that are done today by the very ones who most loudly profess to have the power of the Holy Spirit. He used that power, going about quietly, unobtrusively, not shouting, bragging, falling helpless “under the power,” or any of those “wildfire” things—but DOING! Yes, His was a life of DOING—but doing what? Doing GOOD! Serving, helping, OTHER PEOPLE! There was divine power—with it He performed MIRACLES—He HEALED all that were sick—He cast out demons, and had discernment to know when a person was demon-possessed. His was the POWER of the Creator GOD! The very same POWER that produced all creation—when “He spake”! God is a miracle-working God! With that POWER, which came from the Father, and was in Jesus, He stilled the storm, He turned water into wine, He fed five thousand with only five loaves and two fishes!

The Power of the True Church!

Now notice that POWER in the original Church, before the apostasy set in, and before the degeneracy of our day. Soon after being filled with that power from God, Peter and John went up together into the temple at Jerusalem, at the 3:00 p.m. hour of prayer. They entered through the gate called “Beautiful.” At the gate a beggar, crippled from birth, asked for money. “Look on us,” said Peter. “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk”! Grasping the beggar’s right hand in perfect faith, Peter lifted him sharply to his feet. The beggar was healed instantly. He leaped up, and then walked with Peter and John into the temple, leaping as he went, shouting out praises to God (Acts 3:1-8). Jesus, powerless of His own human self, was filled with the divine POWER of the Creator. The very supernatural power of God did the WORK OF GOD through His human BODY. Jesus said, “The works that I do in the Father’s name, they bear witness of me” (John 10:25). And again, “If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do . . . believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him” (John 10:37-38). Today that same Spirit—that SAME SUPERNATURAL power—utilizes the collective body of the true Church of God as God’s human instrumentality, through which God accomplishes His WORK here on earth. In that way the true CHURCH is also the BODY OF CHRIST (1 Cor. 12:27). And Jesus said: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do . . .” (John 14:12). That same POWER of God was in Peter and John. It did the WORK OF GOD in proclaiming Christ’s gospel.

God’s Power in Action!

The miraculous healing of the beggar aroused the antagonism of the priests and Sadducees until they seized Peter and John and threw them into prison for the night. The next day, these religious leaders threatened them, commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then these true Christians went immediately to their own group of believers. And here is a point I want you to get. They were human. They had none of this power inherent within themselves. They, themselves, were not the source of this dynamic power. It had come from God. And the important point is this: We do not receive enough of this divine power all at once to last forever. Remember, Jesus said this power of God SHALL FLOW OUT from our innermost being! (John 7:38.) This POWER of God is active—dynamic! It is not static. You cannot get a supply of God’s Spirit, and then bottle it up within you. This power comes into you from God daily! It circulates—from God, into YOU—and then on out from you in love, in faith, in joy, in patience—even in performing miracles. You might have been imbued with this power yesterday and depleted of it today!

A Refilling of Power

The threatenings of these chief priests and elders, after a night in prison, apparently left Peter and John a little depleted of faith and the confident POWER of God. Yes, they were human! They went to their brethren in Christ. When they reported what had happened, all their brethren were shaken. They, too, being human, must have felt a sudden sense of spiritual inadequacy—a lack of power! But they sensed and knew their NEED. They knew the SOURCE of constant refilling of this POWER OF GOD within them! They didn’t delay! They went immediately to the SOURCE of their divine power! “And when they had heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is. . . . And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus” (Acts 4:24, 29-30). Yes, suddenly this company realized their own human inadequacy—realized their need of renewed POWER FROM GOD. They didn’t run from their difficulty! They didn’t cower and tremble in fear. They didn’t give up their Great Commission. They went directly to the SOURCE of their power. They yielded themselves into God’s hands, as His servants, anew. They urgently, intensively, cried to God to FILL THEM with His power—to give them boldness, faith, power of speech. They asked God fervently and believingly to heal and perform miracles. Was there any God listening? Was there any response? Listen! “And when they had prayed, the PLACE WAS SHAKEN where they were assembled together; and they were all FILLED with the Holy Spirit, and they spake the word of God with boldness! . . . And with GREAT POWER gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 4:31, 33).

We Need It Today

Do you, today, have the SAME POWER the original Christians had? They were just as human as YOU! The real question, then, is this: Do you yield yourself as fully—surrender your will as unconditionally to God—pray as often, as earnestly and intensively, as they? If you do you will be filled with as much of the divine POWER as they—for God is no respecter of persons! This same POWER OF GOD operated actively, continually, in those early original Christians. They actually did do greater works than Jesus—until even the shadow of Peter passing over the sick healed them! They did the very Work of God! The Work of God, which God started in the individual body of Jesus, was carried on through the collective body of disciples, now becoming the BODY OF CHRIST—the true CHURCH of God! Then the great apostasy set in. The apostate false church (Rev. 17:1-5) rose up in A.D. 33, two years after Christ started His true Church. It professed to be Christian, taking on Christ’s name. This professing Christian church turned away its ear from the TRUTH and turned to FABLES (II Tim. 4:4). But there continued, also, God’s true Church, pictured in Revelation 12—persecuted by Satan and his great false church of Revelation 17. No longer was this persecuted Church able to proclaim the true gospel to all nations—to the whole world—in great power. But Jesus had said, prophetically, that just before the END of this world—right now—”This gospel of the KINGDOM shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto ALL NATIONS; and then shall the end come!” (Matt. 24:14.) Today God is opening gigantic doors—the doors of radio, television, and the printing press. Doors of MASS COMMUNICATIONS. The original, true gospel of Jesus Christ—the same gospel HE brought from GOD and taught—is broadcast into EVERY CONTINENT around the world! It is hitting this world with terrific IMPACT—with tremendous POWER! This very WORK OF GOD for our day is foretold in the prophecy of Revelation 3:7-13. But there is revealed that we, today, are a people of but little strength—little power! (verse 8)—within ourselves—though we have faithfully kept God’s Word! The impact of this WORK OF GOD today is going out only through the power of God! Are you having your part in this very WORK OF GOD? But—let’s face it!—we do not have within ourselves, as God’s instruments for His Work today, anywhere near the power of God that activated that original first century Church! For that very reason, the living Christ says (Revelation 3:8) He has opened to us the gigantic door of MASS COMMUNICATION! The magnified power of the microphone and the printing press. Yet that is only physical mechanical power! The REAL POWER that makes God’s Work vital and alive is the Holy Spirit of God! We need to present our bodies a living sacrifice to GOD! (Rom. 12:1.) We need to receive a greater TRANSFORMING—and to be LESS CONFORMED to this present evil world! We need to REPENT! We need to more earnestly SEEK GOD! We need to put on the WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD, as we are admonished in Ephesians 6:10-18! Perhaps some of us need to FAST and PRAY—as Jesus did! Have YOU enough of the POWER OF GOD flowing dynamically into, and out from you? You need to seek a much closer contact with your GOD! Source: “Christians Have Lost Their Power!” by Herbert W. Armstrong page 26 Plain Truth September 1979]]>

"False Conversion!" article from Herbert W. Armstrong

(Originally Published in the Plain Truth Magazine February 1982 Issue) [caption id="attachment_4397" align="alignleft" width="212"]False Conversion article by Herbert W. Armstrong This article is just one of many published in a NEW magazine called “Recapture True Values” published by wwcg-archives.com staff.[/caption] To download your Free Issue of our NEW magazine “Recapture True Values” – Click here! Millions have been led to think they are “saved,” who are only deceived and don’t know it! Here is a frank, daring article, making the truth PLAIN! IT’S DIFFICULT to believe, but it’s true. In today’s religious confusion millions have supposed they had salvation spiritually — they have believed on Jesus Christ — and are not saved! Would you suppose one could actually worship Christ — and all in vain? Do you know what Jesus himself said of these people who want to worship him without obedience to God’s Commandments? Listen to his words: “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men… Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:7-9). Back to the Faith Once Delivered   But what does GOD tell you in his Word? Through Jude, God says: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares … ungodly men, turning the GRACE of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 3-4). Yes, even before the New Testament was completely written, ungodly men had crept inside the Church to corrupt it — turning GRACE into LASCIVIOUSNESS. And what is “lasciviousness”? It means “license” — unrestrained liberty — abuse of privilege. In other words, license to do that which seems right in human eyes — according to human conscience — though it disobeys God’s LAW! And that is exactly what those ungodly men, even in the first century, did — turned GRACE into unrestrained privilege to disobey God’s law and turned to human conscience as a guide! And once introduced, the practice has persisted and spread over the whole world until today! This is one of the FABLES the apostle Paul warned us men would turn to. Paul said: “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. . . . For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts [lasciviousness — human reasoning] shall they … turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto FABLES” (II Tim. 3:13; 4:3, 4). But, one will argue, Jude said these men would deny the Lord Jesus Christ. Do not the men who teach a “no works” doctrine believe in Christ? Do they deny him? Yes, they DENY him! God says: “They profess that they know God; but IN WORKS they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every GOOD work reprobate” (Titus 1:16). The way of human reason — that seems RIGHT — is often DISOBEDIENCE to God!   What the Savior Himself Taught     These deceived teachers have just one favorite text. They quote Acts 16:31: “BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Now that text from the inspired pen of Paul means what it says. But there are two kinds of BELIEVING — the living faith that brings salvation, and a dead “no works” faith that produces only DEATH! But WHY do they, in their tracts and their sermons, never quote what the Savior himself said in answer to the question? WHY? Jesus was asked: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18.) Some might try to tell you that the SAVIOR himself did not know, or teach, the way of SALVATION — he was teaching Old Testament religion. Well, he was asked HOW to gain ETERNAL LIFE. Is that salvation? It certainly is! Old Testament religion teaching lasted until John — not until the cross — not until “Pentecost.” Just UNTIL JOHN (Luke 16:16). Jesus preached the SAME gospel he commanded his disciples to teach ALL nations — gentiles included — the same gospel Paul preached to gentiles. He preached only the NEW Testament gospel. He revealed the WAY OF SALVATION. Here is his answer — that of the SAVIOR HIMSELF on HOW TO BE SAVED: “IF thou wilt enter into LIFE, keep the commandments.” And he enumerated enough of the Ten Commandments to show it was this particular law that must be obeyed AS A CONDITION to receiving eternal life as God’s GIFT. Jesus said “IF” — (THERE WAS A CONDITION) — “IF” we are to be saved, by God’s grace, WE MUST KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS! God lays down his own terms and conditions. His FREE GIFT is conditional — you get it ONLY if you “keep the commandments.” You can’t EARN it. God GIVES it — but only to those who “KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS.” God will not GIVE you eternal life in sin. And what is Sin? “SlN IS THE TRANSGRESSION OF THE LAW” (I John 3:4). Some who pervert God’s truth insist Jesus did not name ALL of the Ten Commandments in the above scripture. Sin is the transgression of THE LAW. It is a COMPLETE LAW. He named enough of its points to designate WHICH LAW he was talking about. And James says that law has “POINTS” — and, if we break any ONE of the 10 points of the Ten Commandments, We BREAK THE LAW, and are sinners (Jas. 2:8-11). The very same day the Holy Spirit came — the very day the NEW TESTAMENT Church commenced — thousands, hearing the inspired Peter’s sermon, which struck straight to their heart, asked, “What shall we do?” — yes, WHAT SHALL WE DO TO BE SAVED? The inspired answer was: “REPENT, and BE BAPTIZED every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts. 2:38). Jesus said, “REPENT YE, and BELIEVE THE GOSPEL.” We must BELIEVE not only in Jesus as Savior, but we must believe also THE GOSPEL he brought and preached — the Gospel of the Kingdom of God — the AUTHORITY of God and the WORD of God over our lives — a message not preached today by most organized churches! After his resurrection, in his parting instructions to his disciples for preaching the way of salvation, Jesus said: “Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that REPENTANCE and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:46-48). This is the gospel for ALL NATIONS! But what must we repent of? WHAT is SIN? Do you realize that VERY FEW people know? Very few know the BIBLE definition of SIN. God’s inspired definition of sin is this: “Sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4). Paul would not have known what was sin, except by the law. But what law? The very law which says: “Thou shalt not covet” (Rom. 7:7). That law is the Ten Commandments. This law is summed up in the one word — LOVE! It is further defined in the two great Commandments, LOVE to God, and LOVE to neighbor. But the same law is further defined and divided into 10 points, by the Ten Commandments — the first four of which tell us how to love God, the last six of which tell us how to love neighbor. James’ Inspired Answer   And thus it is explained in James: “IF ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well” (Jas. 2:8). Here is the royal law — the whole law — as a general principle. The law is LOVE — and LOVE is the fulfilling of the law. Jesus fulfilled it, setting us an example that we, too, should fulfill the law. We fulfill it with LOVE — not any natural, carnal love in human nature, but “the love of GOD is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 5:5). The Holy Spirit in us is merely GOD’S LAW IN ACTION IN OUR LIVES! And so, if we fulfill this royal law we do well — but if not, we commit sin (Jas. 2:9). Now read verse 10. If we keep the WHOLE LAW — the general principle of LOVE to neighbor — yet offend in one point, we are guilty — we have broken the law — and the penalty is DEATH, not eternal life. Notice, please, the law is divided into points! And it is divided into 10 POINTS — the Ten Commandments. These are merely the 10 points, or subdivisions, of the general royal law, LOVE to God and to neighbor. “For he that said [or, that law which said], Do not commit adultery” said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery” — if you do not break that specific point — “yet if thou kill” — you just break that one point — “thou art become a transgressor of the law” (Jas. 2:11). So you see the TEN COMMANDMENTS is the very law it is sin to transgress. It is a SPIRITUAL law (Rom. 7:14). It is fulfilled by the SPIRITUAL LOVE that is God’s precious gift to us — his love placed within us. “Wherefore the law is HOLY, and the commandment HOLY, AND JUST, AND GOOD” (Rom. 7:12). To REPENT of sin means to turn from sin. It means to QUIT SINNING! And that means to stop transgressing God’s holy law. And the way to stop breaking it is to begin KEEPING God’s Commandments — ALL OF THEM, for if you break only one, you bring on yourself the penalty —ETERNAL DEATH — and you lose salvation. Now Jesus “magnified the law, and made it honourable” (Isaiah 42:21). When we put a spiritual “magnifying glass,” so to speak, on the Ten Commandments, it is enlarged in spirit and principle into many more points. And in a larger aspect the ENTIRE BIBLE is a magnification of God’s law. The law is the basis of all Scripture. It defines THE WAY of life — the way to happiness, joy, eternal life! Notice how like God it is! The law is GOOD (Rom. 7:12). God is good. The law is HOLY (Rom. 7:12). GOD is holy! The law is JUST (Rom. 7:12). GOD is just! The law is SPIRITUAL (Rom. 7:14). GOD is spiritual! The law is PERFECT (Psalm 19:7). GOD is perfect! The law — including all his Commandments — is immutable, ETERNAL, stands fast FOREVER AND EVER (Ps. 111:7-8). And GOD is eternal! Of course — for the law is the very character, the very nature, of God! It is the WILL of God. Conscience Not Your Guide   But in the modern-day Babylon — confusion of conflicting teachings — you have been taught, falsely, that YOUR CONSCIENCE tells you what is sin. But your conscience only troubles you when you do what you THINK is wrong! And what you think is wrong, another may think is right! Your conscience is NO GUIDE! Sin is not the doing of what you think is wrong. Not the transgression of conscience — sin is the transgression of God’s LAW (I John 3:4). Sin is thinking and doing what GOD SAYS is wrong — and he says it in his law. One who does what he thinks is right may be committing a great deal of sin! God says: “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of DEATH”! (Prov. 14:12 and 16:25.) Again, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes” (Prov. 12:15). And: “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes” (Prov. 16:2). The world has been going the WAY that seems right to man for some 6,000 years. But this WAY has brought only unhappiness, emptiness, discontent, poverty, sickness and disease and finally, CHAOS and DESPAIR all over the world! It has produced NOTHING GOOD! God says: “SEEK YE the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake HIS WAY, and the unrighteous man HIS THOUGHTS: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. FOR MY THOUGHTS ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS, NEITHER ARE YOUR WAYS MY WAYS, saith the Lord” (Isa. 55:6-8). And there is THE WAY of salvation! There is THE WAY to find GOD! SEEK HIM, by forsaking — WHAT? Forsaking YOUR WAY — your thoughts! The way you have THOUGHT to be right. The WAY of SALVATION   The first step toward salvation is to REPENT, and that means forsake your way — the customs and traditions you have been following, the ways of man, the ways you have been living. FORSAKE YOUR OWN WAY. Turn to God’s way — the way of HIS LAW! The way of HIS WILL! Yes, the WAY of success, achievement, doing good, of prosperity — the WAY Of ETERNAL LIFE! Since the entire Bible contains the magnified explanation of GOD’S LAW, the Bible becomes OUR GUIDE FOR RIGHTEOUS AND SUCCESSFUL LIVING! That is why Jesus said man shall live by every word of GOD! True repentance means you give your SELF to God. And the only kind of repentance that is prerequisite to the gift of eternal life is COMPLETE AND UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER TO GOD — to his will, which means to HIS LAW. You become HIS, literally, and wholly, with no reservations! Repentance is a COMPLETE CHANGE in your life — in your attitude TOWARD life — your purpose in life — your THOUGHTS and your ACTIONS. It means forsaking some of your old friends and companions — if they are living the worldly life that seems right to MAN. It means turning from and forsaking worldly social and religious customs, interests, pleasures that are contrary to GOD’S WAYS. It means THE BIBLE becomes the SUPREME AUTHORITY over your life — your guide to living — yes, to happy, abundant, gracious living, and SUCCESSFUL and righteous living, henceforth and forever — to live your life from now on with GOD’S HELP, and BY HIS POWER, according to the spirit and principle, as well as the letter and precept of his Commandments. You henceforth STUDY THE BlBLE — not just carelessly read, but STUDY, to learn GOD’S WAYS, and to LIVE BY EVERY WORD OF GOD! Now ask yourself, candidly: How MANY people who profess salvation — who have “accepted Christ” — do you believe have REALLY COME TO THIS KIND OF REAL REPENTANCE? “Except ye REPENT,” warned Jesus, “ye shall all likewise PERISH” (Luke 13:3, 5). And again, “He that SAITH, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a LIAR, and the truth is not in him” (I John 2:4). Yes, MILLIONS ARE DECEIVED! But if millions are deceived about the prior CONDITION of repentance, just as many millions are deceived today as to the KIND OF FAITH that really SAVES! The FAITH That SAVES   Now think a moment! Use your REASON! We are taught, and rightly, that we cannot EARN our salvation — it is the GIFT of God. If is by GRACE — and “grace” means undeserved pardon and free gift. Yet, notice how inconsistent people are! They argue there must be NO WORKS — no OBEDIENCE to the Commandments, or doing GOOD — no recognizing of God’s AUTHORITY over your daily living — because salvation comes by GRACE — God’s free GIFT. And yet they seem to believe that somehow WE must supply the FAITH that brings salvation! If WE work up, or if WE supply this FAITH by which we are saved, would not that, in fact, amount to our producing our own salvation by the very WORKS of supplying this FAITH? So notice, briefly! Notice more CLOSELY than you did before! “For BY GRACE are ye saved through FAITH; and that [that FAITH] not of yourselves; it [this saving FAITH] is the gift Of GOD”! (Eph. 2:8.) The faith that really saves is GIVEN TO us by GOD — it is a GIFT from HIM! You don’t supply it, or work it up. Did you ever notice that before? Well, what then? In Gal. 2:16, Paul explains a man is justified only “by THE FAITH of Jesus Christ.” Notice, he does not say, by the man’s faith IN Jesus Christ — he says by “the faith of Jesus Christ” — which means CHRIST’S FAITH — the faith HE has and uses — the same faith with which he performed all his miracles — the same faith by which he lived — his faith, placed by a miracle, as a gift direct from God, into the man! So, PLEASE UNDERSTAND! Salvation is GOD’S GIFT. You do not, cannot, earn it. God GIVES it. But — and here is where people become mixed up, and stumble — God will GIVE it only on condition! Yes, there are terms and conditions! God has set these terms, and you can’t alter them, and he won’t change them! I want to make this perfectly PLAIN. It is not your faith in Christ — a faith YOU supply by BELIEVING in him as Savior — that saves you. It is CHRIST’S faith, which he supplies and places in you by his Holy Spirit, which actually IMPARTS ETERNAL LIFE. But WHAT, then? Is it not necessary for YOU to believe, with YOUR OWN faith, in Christ? Now let me make this PLAIN! Salvation is GOD’S FREE GIFT — it is by GRACE ALONE. Yet the very purpose of God demands TWO prior CONDITIONS on YOUR part. First, you must REPENT! Second, you must BELIEVE in Christ as Savior. But you cannot believe in Christ unless you also believe his message — the gospel of the Kingdom of God (Mark 16:15-16). But NEITHER your repentance, followed by your obedience, NOR YOUR faith earns any salvation! They are merely prior CONDITIONS. But when you supply these two ingredients, then God STANDS BOUND BY HIS PROMISE to impart to you by his Holy Spirit HIS righteousness, and CHRIST’S faith — and THESE, supplied by GOD, are the ingredients that SAVE AND IMPART ETERNAL LIFE! Paul explains: “Even we have believed IN Jesus Christ, that we might be justified BY THE FAITH OF CHRIST” (Gal. 2:16). You must repent and believe in Christ, as a condition, a prerequisite, IN ORDER THAT you may receive, and be saved by the faith OF Christ — by his faith placed within you! Cut Off From GOD   All have sinned! All have gone the way that seems right in human eyes. And our sins have cut us off from God: “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isa. 59:2). Now salvation — eternal life — comes from GOD. But your sins have cut you off from God. The connection is SEVERED. You severed it! God will not GIVE you his gift of eternal life until you are reconciled to him! But he so LOVED you, that he GAVE his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to DIE FOR YOU so that you need not perish — but, through Jesus Christ, be brought into contact with him so he can GIVE you eternal life! The PENALTY of transgressing his law is DEATH! Jesus paid that penalty in your stead. If, and when, you TRULY REPENT, as I have explained at length, and BELIEVE on Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal Savior from sin and from sinning, then by and through HIM you gain access to GOD THE FATHER. The two conditions of turning FROM sin, and accepting Christ (including baptism), YOU must DO YOURSELF! That’s what YOU must do! That is NOT what saves you! It merely reconciles you to GOD — brings you into CONTACT with God, so that God will then GIVE YOU his HOLY SPIRIT — and his SPIRIT imparts the gift of the FAITH that saves — and is also the Spirit of UNDERSTANDING, of knowledge, of the love that FULFILLS the law and imparts GOD’S righteousness. Millions have been deceived and . falsely believe that they have a salvation that they do NOT yet have at all! GOD HELP us, then, to UNDERSTAND. What You Should Do   Now, finally, just HOW shall you go about it? Must you go down the aisle in a church? Must you go to a public altar, and shed tears in front of others, and pray aloud before others? Being converted is not an initiation into a lodge or secret society! It is not a rite or ceremony! It is a matter of turning FROM the old life that was false, yet may have seemed right to you — of turning TO a new and TRUE way of life in Christ Jesus, living by every word of God, in and by the power of God’s Holy Spirit! When you UNDERSTAND the real MEANING and the PURPOSE, you’ll see that it is something that takes place down deep in your HEART and not a matter of THE PLACE or THE SURROUNDINGS, or the presence of other people. What Jesus said about confessing or denying him before men did not refer to a rite, or ceremonial form of being converted. Being converted is the receiving of the Holy Spirit — the very life — of God. You CAN, of course, make this full surrender and consecration to God in front of others, at an altar. You can, also, make it just as sincerely and fully, in a private room at home, all ALONE with God! You can pray in church before others and do it sincerely from the heart. Yet Jesus said, “When thou prayest, enter into thy closet [any private room], and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall, reward thee openly.” WHEN you have really repented — repented of what you are as well as what you have done — WHEN you come to this parting of the ways from the old life — when you come to the place of making this COMPLETE CHANGE — this total unconditional surrender to God — this complete consecration, GIVING your SELF to him, accepting Christ as your personal Savior — turning FROM your sins, and TO GOD’S way of life as you’ll find it in the Bible, you’ll want to PRAY! Yes, you’ll want to throw yourself completely on God’s mercy, and ask him through Jesus Christ to FORGIVE YOU all your past sins and transgressions against him. The apostle Paul reveals how. He confessed: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform “that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do” (Rom. 7:18-19). He saw human nature in its gruesome reality. He struggled with it — fought against it — only to find that it was more powerful than he! What could he do? Paul cried out, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Read the answer to the problem in the Moffatt translation: “Miserable wretch that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? GOD WILL! Thanks be to him through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (verses 24-25). It is not, perhaps, of great consequence where you do it! But the IMPORTANT thing is to DO IT! The longer you put repentance off the harder it will become. WHY it should be difficult to just go and throw yourself on God’s mercy, and ask his forgiveness and give your SELF to him, is hard to understand — yet something in the human nature within you will keep tempting you to PUT IF OFF. That temptation is not of God, you may be sure. If you are sick and tired of the empty, fruitless, materialistic life you have been living — IF in your heart you DO want to turn from it to the FULL and JOYFUL life filled with God’s SPIRIT, then WHY DELAY? This is just the start of the real Christian life. Don’t look for a certain feeling, but repent and believe.  ]]>

The Fountain of Living Waters

The Fountain of Living Waters   By Tony Bosserman The Good News, May 1983   One of the most intriguing stories from the age of discovery is that of Ponce de León’s search, in 1513, for the “fountain of youth.” Caribbean natives had told of a legendary fountain of water on a great island. This fountain, said the legend, had healing powers and power to sustain life forever. Ponce de León, of course, did not find this fountain, but he did discover the great island (at least what he thought was an island) and named it “La Florida.” But there is a real fountain of living waters. This fountain is identified in Jeremiah 2:13, where God, speaking about His people Israel, states, “They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters“! God is the source of the true living water. What are the properties of this fountain?   The power of God’s Spirit   Jesus Christ, speaking of the power available to humans from God, said: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38). Jesus was speaking of God’s Holy Spirit, the power by which God does everything He does. It was by the Holy Spirit that the earth was renewed (Ps. 104:30), and that the whole universe came into being (Job 26:13)! This fountain of living waters is perpetually flowing, never dry (Isa. 58:11). In times of drought one whose well has run dry can become mighty thirsty, but, Christ said, “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst” (John 4:14)! A fountain’s waters can be refreshing, renewing one’s strength on a hot, sunny day. The fountain of living waters also “gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength” (Isa. 40:29). Those who drink from God’s waters “shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (verse 31). In this fast-paced society, the gurgling sound of waters from a fountain can be comforting. The fountain of living waters is the fountain “of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation” (II Cor. 1:3-4). Man has built fountains from which water literally explodes in an upward surge. Such fountains exemplify great power being released. But the fountain of living waters is the source of all power (I Chron. 29:12).   Spectacular assets   Here is a fountain, then, far more spectacular and versatile than anything of which Ponce de León could have conceived. But imagine, for a moment, that old Ponce had discovered the legendary fountain of youth. Imagine that, in his curiosity, he had found that bathing in its waters daily made him feel more youthful and energetic, and that his life was actually extended. Do you think he would have minded bathing daily if it meant he could live forever? Yet, how much easier by comparison is it to come before the throne of God on our knees in daily, heartfelt prayer? God says, “I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely” (Rev. 21:6). We need simply ask for it! As the waters of Ponce de León’s mythical fountain were supposed to have the power to perpetuate life, the water of the fountain of life (God’s Holy Spirit) has the power to perpetuate our lives forever. God is now making available, to those few He is calling in this age, the power of His Holy Spirit. That is the lesson of the Festival of Pentecost, one of God’s annual Holy Days. (Request our free reprint “How You Can Be Imbued with the Power of God” and our free booklet Pagan Holidays — or God’s Holy Days — Which?) Ponce de León’s health was ailing in 1513, and this was probably a big motivation behind his search for the fountain of youth. How much would he have paid to bathe one time in the fountain’s healing waters? But he made two mistakes that resulted in his failure to find this fountain: First, he didn’t search in the right place: “For with You [God] is the fountain of life” (Ps. 36:9). Second, he didn’t properly fear God: “The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to avoid the snares of death” (Prov. 14:27). If we want to find the true fountain of life, we should not make these same mistakes. ]]>

Why Did God Raise Up The Nation Of Israel-And Deny Them Spiritual Salvation?

Why Did God Raise Up the Nation Israel — and Deny Them Spiritual Salvation?

by Herbert W. Armstrong

Published in the Good News Magazine, May 1984

Did anyone ever think to ask WHY God raised up the ancient nation Israel, denying them His Holy Spirit and eternal salvation – except their prophets only? Why “chosen people”? WHY were Old Testament Israelites called God’s “chosen people” —and still denied the Holy Spirit to beget them into eternal life? “Chosen”—for what? To be teacher’s pet? For special favors above other nations? Was God a respecter of nations? To understand, we need to start with Adam and Eve. It is an intriguing story, and I have never seen it put together in this manner before. The true reason for ancient Israel is an integral part of God’s supreme master plan. Continue reading…

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE PASSOVER AND FESTIVAL OF UNLEAVENED BREAD by Herbert W. Armstrong

(SOURCE)

CREATION is the proof of the existence of God. Creation identifies God. The Sabbath is a weekly memorial of creation. A weekly reminder of God’s power to create. Therefore it identifies God to us — keeps us in the true memory and true worship of the true God. No other day but the SEVENTH DAY OF THE WEEK could have that great significance and MEANING. It was designed to keep us in the true worship of God.

Continue reading…

Conversion Is A Process! by Herbert W. Armstrong

(SOURCE) How many times have you heard non-Christians, judging one who professes Christ, say in disgust, “Well, if that’s Christianity, I don’t want any part of it”? How many judge GOD by the way they see professing Christians live? How many assume that one must live a perfect life before he can become a Christian? Continue reading…

Body Must Function Together by Gerald Waterhouse

(Source)

Have you felt this way?

Some brethren feel they are not a vital part of this great work because they are not being used as ministers or full-time employees. Perhaps they have no direct responsibility in their congregations.

The result? Some let feelings of discouragement and despondency come over them.

Why? Could it be that the adversary — Satan — knows discouragement and despondency are the easiest ways he has of keeping us from doing our part?

Continue reading…

A WORLD HELD CAPTIVE by Herbert W. Armstrong

You live in a world of awesome progress, but paradoxically, of appalling evils. WHY? It’s a world held captive, deceived into loving its captivity. Deliverance from kidnap in deception, human discontent, suffering and death hastens nearer. World peace, happiness and joy are just around the corner. Continue reading…