Worldwide Church of God

Repost: “COME OUT OF HER MY PEOPLE!” A Light Suggestion? OR DIRECT COMMAND?


Here in 2018, there are a MULTITUDE of “CHURCH ORGANIZATIONS”, but what about the Church founded by Jesus Christ on the day of Pentecost 31 A.D?
Is the Church of God an “ORGANIZATION”? Or is it a SPIRITUAL ORGANISM, made up of the people who have been called of God, and whom received the Holy Spirit upon repentance, belief of the gospel and baptism?
There has been MUCH confusion caused by the numerous misconceptions of what the true Church of God is! A REAL BABYLON!
Perhaps you belong to a certain “Organization”? Perhaps you have been working hard, volunteering, raising money, and donating that money to build up such an “Organization”? What if you were to find out that all of your hard work, all of your sweat, your tears, your sacrificing was ALL IN VAIN? You would be UPSET & ANGRY, now wouldn’t you?
But, whether you realize it or not, IT IS HAPPENING TO MILLIONS OF PEOPLE, and you may be one of the many who have been FOOLED by such a great deception!
 


ARTICLES/BOOKS:


 
The Worldwide Church of God was raised up, through the WORK of preaching the gospel done by Herbert W. Armstrong. The people CONVERTED through hearing this wonderful message preached by the apostle of Christ, who received the Holy Spirit of God upon repentance, belief and baptism, became members of the Worldwide Church of God! This body of believers, is UN-incorporated.
This UN-incorporated body,  SUPPORTED and FINANCIALLY BACKED God’s apostle, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, and the WORK GREW. And when the Work grew, an organization was REQUIRED to be incorporated. But the ORGANIZATION is NOT the Church!


“And, by the way, if you look at the telecast tomorrow morning, I wonder are you indifferent — thinking “Well I don’t need to look at it”? Well, brethren, it’s money that you pay in. Of course, it’s God’s money. But that’s what’s paying for it, and each one of those telecasts tomorrow (The one tomorrow morning on Channel 11, and the one tomorrow evening on Channel 9.), each one of those just for that one-half hour is costing several thousand dollars. Did you know that? But they reach a lot of people; and telephone calls come in by the hundreds and the thousands as a result immediately, from people clear outside of the Church.

But that’s part of your work. I just happen to be the speaker. But you notice that it says, “This is sponsored by the Worldwide Church of God.” Not by me. I don’t sponsor it. You are all the Worldwide Church of God. The Worldwide Church of God is all of us combined, put together. And we’re ONE BODY fitly framed and joined together whether we are in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the Philippines, South Africa, England, Germany, or where — ONE BODY, many offices, many things to do; but one body. So let’s understand that. And each of us has his own job to do. That’s why one scripture says, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” because we each have something to do.”
| Author: Herbert W. Armstrong, “Success Based On God’s Law (Origins)” given July 30, 1983


Today, the Worldwide Church of God membership still supports Christ’s apostle in preaching the gospel.
However, there are today a NUMEROUS AMOUNT of “Church Organizations”, calling themselves “The Church of God”. The men starting these ORGANIZATIONS, were ministers who were ordained into the ministry, under Herbert W. Armstrong in the Worldwide Church of God. They started an ORGANIZATION FIRST, setting up their own CHURCH GOVERNMENT with them in the chief seat of power,  then proceeded to build up a Church membership unto themselves, targeting the membership of the Worldwide Church of God.
Just like Garner Ted Armstrong did:

Now, some libraries are promoting Garner Ted’s writings, and audio, and video, along with Herbert W. Armstrong’s, pretending that he is a minister or member of the Worldwide Church of God!
Since he was removed and MARKED from the Worldwide Church of God, and all members were commanded to AVOID HIM according to the command in Romans 16:17, the act of raising his old publications to the level of Church teaching is the height of disloyalty and rebellion!
Therefore those who do such, are NOT the Worldwide Church of God! But an impostor!
These “ORGANIZATIONS” are not the true Church of God! And as Mr. Armstrong said in the first article listed above, THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR SCATTERING GOD’S CHURCH AND PEOPLE!!!!
They teach their members, that the Worldwide Church of God ceased to exist. They teach that their Church is the continuation of that Church, but they are a DIFFERENT CHURCH ALTOGETHER, while competing with each other on how many members of the Worldwide Church of God they can GAIN as THEIR MEMBERS.
Yes, their members are WASTING THEIR TIME, SWEAT, TEARS and SACRIFICES, to build up these ORGANIZATIONS OF MEN. The Worldwide Church of God funded the organizations of the Church, in order to help and support Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong in the Great Commission(Matthew 24:14)!



  • “It is revealed in Malachi 3:1-5 and 4:5-6 that God would raise up one in the power and spirit of Elijah, shortly prior to the Second Coming of Christ. In Matthew 17:11 Jesus said, even after John the Baptist had completed his mission, that this prophesied Elijah “truly shall first come, and restore all things.” Although it is plainly revealed that John the Baptist had come in the power and spirit of Elijah, he did not restore anything. The human leader to be raised up somewhat shortly prior to Christ’s Second Coming was to prepare the way—prepare the Church—for Christ’s coming, and restore the truth that had been lost through the preceding eras of the Church. Also a door was to be opened for this leader and/or the Philadelphia era of the Church to fulfill Matthew 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”
    It was to be at a time when, for the first time in the history of mankind, the weapons of mass destruction were produced that could erase all humanity from the earth (Matt. 24:21-22). This also was to occur just before the Second Coming of Christ (verses 29-30).
    These prophecies have now definitely been fulfilled. The true gospel has been restored and has now gone in power into every nation on the face of the earth.” | Author: Herbert W. Armstrong, “Mystery of the Ages” (Chapter 6)

The current landscape of the “Churches of God” is a landscape of ORGANIZATIONS, each competing with each other, each politicking, each trying to gain the chief seat with the MOST members, and each trying to make “their organizations great” as the organization under Mr. Armstrong grew great. And so when their organizations wax weaker and weaker in membership, they turn to the World with campaigns to build membership!
So they tell their members that they have been commissioned to fulfill Matthew 24:14, in order to justify their search for NEW MEMBERS! Mr. Armstrong, as the apostle of Christ, was given this commission, and the Worldwide Church of God was commissioned to HELP HIM in that Work! Not, go off helping ANOTHER MAN, or a BOARD OF MEN!
So the Worldwide Church of God are doing their parts LOCALLY where they congregate. Ministers who have REBELLED, have gone out to form their own ORGANIZATIONS, their own GOVERNMENTS, their own BOARDS and COUNCILS, teaching that such boards, or MEN, or COUNCILS have the power to put doctrine within the Church of God.
This is the IMAGE of the BEAST.
Mr. Armstrong magnified the OFFICE of his apostleship! He was UNDER authority! Doctrine did not originate from him, but from God the Father, who gave it to His son Jesus Christ, who then gave it to the apostle, who gave it to all of the Church!
These organizations, alter, reject or change existing doctrines of Christ, and place NEW DOCTRINES into their congregations on their own authority, NOT the authority of Jesus Christ!
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”(1 John 2:19)
Someone UNDER authority cannot CHANGE what the authority OVER THEM has established!
Mr. Armstrong is under Jesus Christ, and was faithful in preaching what he had been taught! The true ministers are UNDER Mr. Armstrong! And so whatever Mr. Armstrong taught must be ADMINISTERED by the lower-rank ministers to the congregations, or they are not carrying out their ministry in Christ!
Any man or woman who teaches CONTRARY to what Christ gave through His apostle, are not fitly joined with the foundation of the Church!
And so the efforts, of these organizations, are all in VAIN. They are NOT the true Church of God!
They are ALL COUNTERFEITS OF SATAN THE DEVIL!
Yes, we have had ONE TIME MEMBERS of the Worldwide Church of God, turn against the Church to bring the members UNDER BONDAGE- BACK INTO BABYLON. And these organizations are being used to get that job done(i.e Obadiah)!
So, don’t be caught up in ORGANIZATIONS OF MEN.
YOU MINISTERS- Don’t be paid by ORGANIZATIONS OF MEN, rely on God, obey God.
The reason why the Church grew weak before the raising up of the Philadelphia Era, was due to the Church mingling with BABYLON, and allowing BABYLON to set up CHURCH GOVERNMENT, and under Babylon’s rule the Church was SCATTERED!
The very reason the Worldwide Church of God today is scattered is due to ORGANIZATIONS.
The 501(c)(3) status is a category the IRS has for “religious non-profit ORGANIZATIONS”. Some leading ministers of another Church claims that Herbert W. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God was 501(c)(3), and they teach their membership THIS LIE! This is done to LIFT UP THEIR ORGANIZATION- their IMAGE OF THE BEAST.
But the Worldwide Church of God was never 501(c)(3), as the Worldwide Church of God is NOT an ORGANIZATION OF MEN, but a SPIRITUAL ORGANISM. And because of this great confusion as to WHAT the true Church IS, this BABYLON of confusion, this array of competing ORGANIZATIONS, SECTS AND DENOMINATIONS is prominent!
WE NEED TO GET THESE THINGS STRAIGHT IN OUR MINDS AND THE TRUTH CEMENTED!
Those of us, who attend with these ORGANIZATIONS, must “DELIVER OURSELVES” as God commands in Zechariah 2:7.
In Revelation 18:4, Jesus Christ tells us- THIS CHURCH- to “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”
Is this a light suggestion? Or a DIRECT COMMAND?
That depends on whether you have been called of God or NOT! Are you going to OBEY God, or just disregard His Word? That is simply up to you.

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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]]>

But Why Isn't God Blessing Me?

Have you asked that question? If so, are you sure God really is not blessing you? And if He is not, what can you do about it?

By Clayton D. Steep The Good News, March 1986

There is no doubt about it. God has promised to richly bless those who submit their lives to Him in obedience to His precepts and laws. The Bible is filled with such promises. Take Malachi 3:10, for example, where God says to those who render to Him the part of their income He claims as His (a tithe, or 10 percent): ” ‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.’ ” Not room enough to receive all the blessing? Do you think that describes your situation? Again, in Job 36:11 we read that if any obey and serve God, “They shall spend their days in prosperity.” And Psalm 1:3 says of the righteous, “Whatever he does shall prosper.” What about that? Can you say that depicts you? Some Christians have looked at these and similar promises in God’s Word and then looked at their own lives and become discouraged. “But why isn’t God blessing me?” they have asked. They have looked around them and seen what the Bible calls the “prosperity of the wicked.” Like the writer of Psalm 73, they know God promises to bless the righteous (verse 1). But then when they observe how some of the wicked prosper, they are perplexed and come close to stumbling spiritually (verses 2-3). And what is perhaps even harder to endure, they may look at other Christians — maybe Christians who haven’t been converted anywhere near as long as they have — and they see how some of them have prospered in a very visible way. Oh, yes, they are aware they should not make such comparisons. Still, they have a difficult time rising above such thoughts. These thoughts are especially hard to deal with when one is faced with a pile of unpaid bills, unexpected major automobile or home repairs, sickness or just the desire to purchase something one cannot afford. Does that sound familiar to you?

Not being blessed?

Let us consider the possibility that you truly are not being blessed as you could be. That can happen. If that is the case, there is a reason. There are causes, and some profound self-examination is certainly called for. Are you habitually disobeying God in some respect? Disregarding one point in God’s laws is, in God’s eyes, the same as disregarding them all (James 2:10). Are you faithful in following the financial laws found in the Bible? If you don’t know what they are, write for our free booklets Ending Your Financial Worries and Managing Your Personal Finances. Are you applying the seven laws of success in your life? (You may have our free booklet on this subject, also — The Seven Laws of Success.) Are you aware of the needs of others — especially the poor? God says He will bless those who generously share what they have with others (Proverbs 28:27). This may seem too fundamental to even mention, but have you asked God to bless you? And more important yet, do you give at least equal time to praying for God’s blessing on others? Including your enemies? God doesn’t expect us to be perfect before He will bless us materially. But He does want us to be sincerely trying to put into practice the truth we know. He wants us to be working toward perfection. That’s the goal of the Christian life (Matthew 5:48). But let’s say you are fulfilling all these considerations, that you are really growing spiritually, but you still sometimes feel you are not being blessed as you should be. In that case we have to ask by what standard you are measuring blessings. What gauge are you using? Is the quantity of material goods a person possesses the Christian standard? Are physical objects the primary measure of how much a Christian is blessed? Not according to the Bible!

The true perspective

Let’s get the true perspective on this. Let’s go back to the beginning of our existence. Each of us was conceived and then born at some point in time. Had we done anything to deserve conception and birth? Did we earn childhood? Did we do something to merit adolescence and adulthood? No, we did not! It was given to us. However long any of us has lived to this moment, we have outlived countless other persons whose lives were cut short before they reached our age. Think of it! The gift of life itself is an enormous undeserved blessing. Anything worthwhile we have in addition to being alive is a bonus. It is more than we deserve. Oh, some may feel they have labored for various acquisitions. But they couldn’t have done so without the gift of being able to labor. All the good things that are part of our lives are unmerited gifts — blessings. What would make any of us think we deserve still more? If God gives us more, that’s wonderful. But if He doesn’t, we must be careful lest we lose the blessings we have, for if we are so blind to our blessings that we don’t know we have them — that we aren’t deeply thankful for them — God may have to take them from us in order to make us realize and appreciate, perhaps too late, what they were (Psalm 39:11).

First things first

What is it that makes a person feel not “blessed”? More often than not such a feeling is a direct result of making the mistake warned against in II Corinthians 10:12 — the mistake of comparing oneself with other humans. It is a common blunder. “So and so has more than I have” is the first thought in a rapid-fire mental process that sees casual observation turn into envy, covetousness and dissatisfaction. The person feels not “blessed” in comparison with how someone else is “blessed.” Jesus illustrated this human weakness in a parable about some employees who would have been happy with the amount they were paid for their work. They would have been happy except for one thing: They saw some fellow workers receiving a higher hourly wage than they received. Gratitude vanished. Dissatisfaction, self-pity and pouting set in. The employer, representing God in the parable, sternly corrected them for their wrong attitudes. “Is it not lawful,” he asked, “for me to do what I wish with my own things?” (Matthew 20:1-16). All blessings — all good gifts — belong to God and come from Him (James 1:17). Who are we to ever question how He chooses to distribute them? It must displease God greatly to see a person pouting for lack of a better TV set or automobile or house or standard of living. If that person’s heart is so set on physical things that he or she carries on like a spoiled child for not having more, one of the most harmful things that could happen to that person would be to be blessed with still more material goods. Such an increase could become a snare, causing that person to even lose out on salvation. Believe it or not, it can be harder for a rich person to stay close to God than for a person who has little in the way of this world’s goods (Luke 18:25). Consider the disastrous effect wealth had on King Solomon. He had lavish wealth, but it helped to ruin him spiritually because he didn’t use it properly. If it happened to a man of such great wisdom, it could certainly happen to any of us. “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses,” Jesus said (Luke 12:15). That is well worth memorizing. Never were those words more important to bear in mind than in this over-commercialized, materialistic age. Don’t set your heart on visible, physical blessings. Instead, seek to be “rich toward God” (verse 21).

Count the blessings that count

The blessings that really count are spiritual blessings, blessings that cannot necessarily even be physically seen, but can be perceived by faith (Hebrews 11:1). These are what we ought to have our minds on (Colossians 3:2). All this is not to say God doesn’t physically, materially and financially bless those who submit their lives to Him and seek the right way to better their circumstances. He certainly does. But the point is, if He doesn’t do it in the way, to the extent or at the precise time we think He ought to, we should nevertheless give thanks unceasingly for what we do have (Ephesians 5:20). There is, after all, no promise in the Bible that a person who becomes a Christian will automatically gain great material wealth. The apostle Paul wrote against the notion that “godliness is a means of gain.” Rather, he specified, “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (I Timothy 6:5-6). When you get right down to it, what is it that makes an object or an experience a blessing? Is it not that the object or experience promotes well-being and happiness? The more situations a person can be happy in, the greater that person is blessed. It is not therefore the physical circumstances that count most; being blessed is primarily a state of mind, because the mind is where a person decides what it is he or she considers enjoyable. “Let your conduct be without covetousness,” Paul penned on another occasion, “and be content with such things as you have” (Hebrews 13:5). Paul knew what he was talking about. Read in II Corinthians 11:23-28 about events that dominated so much of his Christian life — being beaten, stoned, imprisoned, shipwrecked, in constant danger, subjected to hunger, thirst, sleeplessness, to name a few of the trials and deprivations he faced. Hardly what some would consider being blessed! But Paul thought he was blessed — very blessed “with every spiritual blessing” available in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). Read in Hebrews 11 about saints down through history who were homeless wanderers, destitute, afflicted, tormented, put on trial, sawn in half or otherwise executed (verses 36-38). These were some of God’s very own people, His chosen and called ones, individuals whom He loved and richly blessed — if you have the eye of faith to see it. Blessed? By what standard? By the standard that counts most. They had a personal relationship with Almighty God. They had the priceless promise of eternal life. They received inner strength, comfort, joy (even in adversity), hope and all the other fruits of God’s Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Nothing else a person can possess in this physical existence really matters. Anything else is expendable, and they knew it. Wealth? God was their gold and their precious silver (Job 22:23-26). They were indeed blessed. They sought God’s Kingdom first and trusted in Him to add the physical and material blessings when and how it pleased Him (Matthew 6:33, Hebrews 11:13). They knew that if they sought to do the will of God before all else, they would someday become inheritors with Jesus Christ of all wealth (Hebrews 10:36, James 2:5, Romans 8:17). Have you been looking too much at what can be seen — the things that are temporary — rather than the things that are eternal (II Corinthians 4:18)? It’s easy to do. Perhaps a freshened perspective combined with a recount of your blessings is in order. You may be surprised at how much more blessed you are than you had imagined!

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IS THERE A HELL?

IS THERE A HELL? If hell does exist, where is it – and can those who are there ever get out? by Herbert W. Armstrong   (Originally published in the Plain Truth Magazine, August 1982)   If hell does exist, where is it – and can those who are there ever get out? WILL THOSE in hell leave hell at the time of the resurrection – or are they confined eternally to hell, so that they shall be UNABLE to take part in the resurrection? What did Jesus mean when he said in John 5:28-29: “… the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth… those who have done evil, to the RESURRECTION OF JUDGMENT” (RSV). If “those who have done EVIL” – the UNsaved – shall come forth in the RESURRECTION of JUDGMENT, what is the connection between that resurrection of the UNsaved, and their being in an eternal hellfire? It’s about time we took this question out of hiding, and took a good look at it! What is the TRUTH? Common Idea of Hell First, what is the generally accepted common belief in our Western world about hell? Here’s the terse and brief summation of this popular belief, which I quote from the Encyclopedia Americana: “… As generally understood, hell is the abode of evil spirits; the infernal regions… whither lost and condemned souls go after death to suffer indescribable torments and eternal punishment… Some have thought of it as the place created by the Deity, where He punishes with inconceivable severity, and through all eternity, the souls of those who through unbelief or through the worship of false gods have angered Him. It is the place of divine revenge, untempered, never ending.” Now where, and how, did this popular belief about hell originate? The Encyclopedia Americana states further: “The main features of hell as conceived by Hindu, Persian, Egyptian, Grecian and Christian theologians are essentially the same.” The Western religious leaders from Roman times through the Middle Ages borrowed the doctrine of eternal torture from the pagan philosophers. Certain writers of the Middle Ages had such tremendous influence on the Christian-professing world, that their writings and teachings came to be generally accepted and believed, until it became the doctrine of the Christian-professing world. Among these influential writers were Augustine and Dante Alighieri. Some years ago, I ran across a book in a large library, titled Dante, and His Inferno. It summed up the history of the Christian-professing doctrine of hell. This factual history is rather amazing! Dante lived A.D. 1265 to 1321. Dante, remember, wrote a tremendously popular book, titled Divine Comedy, in three parts – “Hell,” “Purgatory” and “Paradise.” From the Pagans Now I quote from the aforementioned book of history: “Of all poets of modern times, Dante Alighieri was, perhaps, the greatest educator. He possibly had a greater influence on the course of civilization than any other man since his day… He wrote, in incomprehensible verse, an imaginative and lurid account of a dismal hell – a long poem containing certain phrases which have caught the attention of the world, such as, ‘all hope abandon… ye, who enter here!’ This had a tremendous impression and influence on the popular Christian thought and teaching. His Inferno was based on Virgil and Plato.” Dante is reported to have been so fascinated and enraptured by the ideas and philosophies of Plato and Virgil, pagan philosophers, that he believed they were divinely inspired. Here is an article on Virgil, from the Americana: “VIRGIL, pagan Roman poet, 70-19 B.C. Belonged to the national school of pagan Roman thought, influenced by the Greek writers. Christians of the Middle Ages, including Dante, believed he had received some measure of divine inspiration.” Plato was a pagan Greek philosopher, born in Athens, 427 B.C., a student of Socrates. He wrote the famous book Phaedo, on the immortality of the soul, and this book is the real origin of the modern belief in the immortality of the soul. I have before me, a copy of the Phaedo, and in the introductory pages, I read this about Plato: “In fact, he acknowledges . .. three kinds of gods: superior, inferior, and intermediate.” There is the general statement of the popular belief about hell, and where that belief came from – actually from the imaginations of pagans who knew not God! What About the Millions of Heathen? Now, before we examine the common idea about hell to see whether it is TRUE, I want you to consider one or two FACTS: See where this concept of hell, if true, leads us! On this earth are some 4,500 million people. The most POPULOUS lands are China, India and other parts of Asia. In spite of missionaries from the West, actually more than half of air the people on this earth have never so much as HEARD the ONLY name by which men may be SAVED – the name of Jesus CHRIST! Now is there some other way by which men may be saved? The Bible says there is NOT! That means that thousands of millions of people on this earth have lived, and DIED, without ever having known anything about Christian salvation – without SAVING KNOWLEDGE – never having heard the ONLY name by which men may be saved! Now think what that means! IF all unsaved go immediately to hell at death – the hell commonly believed in – then more than HALF of the people who have lived on this earth have been consigned there – and they are there, now, without ever having been given so much as a CHANCE to escape it! Ask yourselves candidly, do you believe THAT is the plan by which an all-wise, all-merciful, loving GOD is working out his purpose here below? Now what is the TRUTH? We face this alternative: Either the Holy Bible is the inspired WORD OF GOD, BY WHICH THE CREATOR reveals the TRUTH on the subject, or else we must fling up our hands and confess WE JUST DON’T KNOW – we are ignorant on the question – because no one has ever COME BACK from such an ever-burning hell to tell us about it, and SCIENCE knows nothing about it. We must believe what the BIBLE says, or we can believe nothing, if we are rational and honest! Does the BIBLE say anything about “hell fire”? Did Jesus say something about hell fire? Yes, he did! Hell Fire in the Bible He said, in the passage most often quoted: “And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt” (Mark 9:47-49). Now exactly what is this hell fire? This word hell is an English word. Mark wrote, originally, in the Greek language. The word originally inspired, which Mark actually wrote, was the Greek word gehenna, which certainly does refer to FIRE. But in most passages in the New Testament where the English word hell is found in our English translations, the original Greek word was a different word, hades – which does NOT refer to FIRE at all, but has an altogether different meaning. Incorrectly Translated “Hell” Remember we merely read a translation of the Bible from its original languages. A leading Bible dictionary, called A Dictionary of the Bible, edited by James Hastings, says this: “In our Authorized Version the word ‘hell’ is unfortunately used as the rendering of three distinct words, with different meanings. It represents, (1) the ‘sheol’ of the Hebrew Old Testament, and the ‘hades’ of … the New Testament. … It is now an entirely misleading rendering, especially in the New Testament passages. The English revisers, therefore, have substituted the original Greek word ‘hades’ for ‘hell’ in the New Testament. In the American revision the word ‘hell’ is entirely discarded in this connection… The word ‘hell’ is translated (2) as the equivalent of the Greek word tartaros, (II Peter 2:4; compare with Jude 6), and, (3) as the equivalent of the Greek word ‘gehenna.’ ” The original Hebrew word sheol and the Greek hades mean the same – the GRAVE, and these original words are so translated in many places. Hell is an old English word, and 370 years ago, when the Authorized Version was translated, the people of England commonly talked about putting their potatoes in HELL for the winter – a good way of preserving potatoes – for the word then meant merely a hole in the ground that was covered up – a dark and silent place – a GRAVE. But PAGAN teachings that gained popular acceptance have caused people to apply to the English word the meaning of “hell” which came out of the imaginations of Dante. The Greek word tartaros occurs only once in the New Testament and does not refer to humans, but the place of fallen angels. Its meaning, translated into English, is “darkness of the material universe,” or “dark abyss” or “prison.” And now the Greek word gehenna. Here is the official DEFINITION of that very Greek word which was inspired by God, and written originally by Mark. I quote from Hastings: “Gehenna: the word occurs twelve times in the New Testament. This term ‘gehenna’ represents ‘the Valley of Hinnom’ (Nehemiah 11:30, II Kings 23:10, etc.). The place was … a deep narrow gorge in the vicinity of Jerusalem, understood to be on the south side. It is repeatedly mentioned in the Old Testament (Jeremiah 19:6, etc.). It became an object of horror to the Jews, and is said to have been made the receptacle for bones, the bodies of beasts and criminals, refuse and all unclean things. The terrible associations of the place . . . the fires said to have been kept burning in it in order to consume the foul and corrupt objects that were thrown into it, made it a natural and unmistakable symbol of dire evil,… ABSOLUTE RUIN. So it came to designate the place of future punishment.” Hell – a Place of Destruction Gehenna was a place of DESTRUCTION and DEATH – not a place of living torture! Jesus was talking to Jews who understood all about this Gehenna or Valley of Hinnom. Utter DESTRUCTION by fire was complete. NOTHING was left, but ashes! Every text in the Bible translated from this Greek word gehenna means complete destruction – not living torture – NOT eternal LIFE in torment! THE Bible says, in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is DEATH” – not ETERNAL LIFE in torture. The PUNISHMENT revealed in the BIBLE is DEATH – the cessation of life. Eternal life is the GIFT OF GOD! Then WHY have we been believing that PUNISHMENT is ETERNAL LIFE in fire? And WHY have we been believing we already have eternal life and don’t NEED to come to God through Christ to receive it as HIS GIFT? The PUNISHMENT is DEATH. It is the second death, from which there shall be no resurrection! The PUNISHMENT is for ETERNITY – DEATH for eternity – ETERNAL punishment – but nowhere does THE BIBLE say anything about the PAGAN teaching of eternal punish-ING. It’s eternal punishMENT, not eternal punishING! When Jesus spoke of being cast into “gehenna FIRE,” he was using this expression as an illustration of the LAKE OF FIRE, which THE BlBLE reveals is to be THE PLACE of this final punishment – this second DEATH. He referred to Revelation 20:14: “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” THAT fire will be much hotter than Dante’s imaginary HELL! What Happens to “Hell”? Do people go at DEATH to the fictitious hell of Dante’s imagination to be TORTURED by flames of fire forever – and then are they to be brought OUT, to go into a JUDGMENT, to see if God had made a mistake in having punished them so long in this “hell”? Notice Revelation 20:13-15: “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” The LAKE OF FIRE which JESUS referred to is a place of DEATH, not of eternal life – the SECOND DEATH – ETERNAL punishment! Notice what Jesus said in Matthew 10:28: “… fear him which is able to DESTROY both soul and body in [GEHENNA].” Here in plain language JESUS said the SOUL could be destroyed – and that it would be DESTROYED in this GEHENNA that has been falsely translated by the English word hell! Gehenna is a place of DESTRUCTION! Again Jesus used this word gehenna as quoted in Matthew 23:33: “Ye serpents,” he said to the Pharisees, “… how can ye escape the damnation of [GEHENNA]?” – the second DEATH – eternal PUNISHMENT! The ancient rebellious cities Sodom and Gomorrah suffered, as we read in Jude 7, the vengeance of ETERNAL FIRE. But they are not still burning. They were burned up FOREVER – eternal DESTRUCTION! Now what happens in this “hell” – derived from the Greek word gehenna? Let the Holy Word of GOD answer: “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts” (Mal. 4:1-3). God Is Love – and Justice! God is a God of LOVE – or MERCY, as well as a God of ABSOLUTE JUSTICE! If he were the vain, angry, unjust god pictured by the pagans who invented this popular conception of heaven and hell, then, according to the common belief of the illustration of Lazarus and the Rich Man, saved mothers up in heaven are hearing the shrieks, seeing the indescribable AGONY, writhing, of their own lost children down in hell – actually able to carry on a conversation with them – yet UNABLE to help them. Would THAT be the heavenly BLISS it is generally represented? Psalm 37 OUGHT to make plain to us this matter of heaven and hell. Notice! “For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away. For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever” (Ps. 37:9-12, 20, 22, 29). And now, Psalm 104:35: “Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more.” And now, Isaiah 66:24: “And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.” Never to Be Quenched? “Neither shall their fire be QUENCHED.” Does that mean burning forever and never burning up? Try this test: Put a piece of paper in a pan. Light it with a match. Now, don’t QUENCH that fire! Don’t put it out – for that’s what “quench” means. Very soon the paper will burn up. Then put it down on the floor and step on it! Now it’s merely ashes under the sole of your feet – precisely as THE BIBLE plainly says the wicked shall be! In Jeremiah 17:27, God warned the Jews that Jerusalem would be burned, and the fire would not be quenched – unless they repented. In Jeremiah 52:13, you read the account pf the burning of Jerusalem. That fire was NOT QUENCHED! It is NOT still burning! Do you know that THE BIBLE teaches the resurrection of all who die? The apostle Paul said his HOPE was the hope of the RESURRECTION! As the resurrection is true doctrine, then the pagan myth of an eternal TORTURE, beginning at death, is as deceptive as Satan himself! If all UNsaved – even all who never heard the ONLY name Jesus Christ – are roasting, screaming, in such a hell, and can never get out, HOW can there be a RESURRECTION! Thank GOD! – there is to be a resurrection to JUDGMENT, as well as a resurrection to eternal life of the dead IN Christ! Yes, thank GOD, he so LOVED the world – we NEED not perish, but through Christ we may have EVERLASTING LIFE!]]>

DAILY WATCH | Revelation- Day of the Lord with Herbert W. Armstrong

Revelation- Day of the Lord | The World Tomorrow with Herbert W. Armstrong

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"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.  ]]>