April 15, 2016 Brethren Letter
Tonight’s letter will be the last one written before the Spring Holy Days. One week from tonight we will be observing The Night To Be Much Observed. This evening, I’m sending out a selected portion of Mr. Armstrong’s booklet, “What do you mean – THE UNPARDONABLE SIN?” Please have a good night’s rest everyone.
Your Brother in Christ,
“What do you mean – “THE UNPARDONABLE SIN”?
by Herbert W. Armstrong
Jesus says “I am the Vine, and my Father is the Husband man” — that is, the owner and cultivator of the vineyard (John 15:1). Next verse: “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away.” Further, “He that abideth in me, and I in him” (Christ abiding, or dwelling IN YOU through the Holy Spirit) “the same bringeth forth much fruit … If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned” (verses 5, 6).
In other words, the fruit of God’s righteousness MUST be produced in the Christian life. And what is “righteousness”? God says, “All thy Commandments are righteousness” (Psalm 119:172).
This does not necessarily mean God will cut you off immediately, the first day or week or month you might let go by without producing active and positive fruit. There is, however, a limit somewhere along life’s way where, unless you are definitely growing spiritually, that God’s Spirit will no longer “dwell in you,” and if you let that time come, you shall, like a dead grape branch, be ultimately cast into the final “gehenna fire.”
But be sure of this: It is a DANGEROUS thing for a truly converted Christian to grow lukewarm and careless, and become a “passive” Christian. Perhaps most have temporary lapses in spiritual progress. But as soon as you “wake up” to such a lapse, repent immediately and seek God with your whole heart, for a CLOSER, more active spiritual walk with Him.
The Two Opposite ATTITUDES
Notice now this BASIC TRUTH.
There are just the two opposite philosophies of life — two OPPOSITE WAYS.
1) The WAY of human nature. This is the self-centered way of vanity, greed, envy; the way of getting, taking, accumulating; the way of competition and strife. It is the WAY of Satan — the way of sin.
2) The WAY of the divine nature, which may be implanted within by the Holy Spirit. This is the GOD-centered way of humility, exaltation of GOD, submissiveness to God; the way of outgoing concern for fellow man; the way of GIVING, sharing, serving, helping. It is the WAY of righteousness — GOD’S WAY.
Also, there are the TWO opposite and opposing ATTITUDES of mind.
You have a natural mind that is in tune with the devil’s wavelength (Eph. 2:2). It picks up the very attitudes of Satan as expressed by selfishness, criticism, envy, unhappiness, etc., etc.
Satan actually transmits to humanity that attitude of mind and heart which travels the way of sin as explained in 1) above. Of this natural mind, God says: “The carnal mind is enmity [hostile] against God; for it is not subject to the law of God …” (Rom. 8:7).
The opposite ATTITUDE is that of the repentant Christian — that of the divine nature implanted by the Holy Spirit. It travels THE WAY of 2) above. This is the spiritual mind. The mind of Christ — in you!
Now remember, there are TWO required CONDITIONS, which you must supply, before you receive the GIFT of God’s Holy Spirit.
Neither of these supply or earn salvation. But God will not GIVE His precious GIFT until we put down the hostile rebellion. These two conditions, as stated before, are repentance and faith.
What is repentance?
This comes to the very crux of the whole question.
Just What IS Repentance?
Repentance is a change of mind and ATTITUDE. It is a change from this carnal attitude of hostility toward God — of rebellion against God’s Law, to the opposite attitude of love, submission, obedience, and worship of God, and reliance on Him. It is an “about-face” in attitude and intent, to THE WAY of God’s righteousness.
Repentance means that you come to really see yourself as you ARE — as GOD sees you — as a self-centered, hostile, shrivelled-up, rotten, vile, filthy, sinning hulk of rotting human flesh, unworthy to breathe the free air God gives you! It means to be so SORRY, not only for what you have done, but also for WHAT YOU ARE — that you so ABHOR yourself that you come, emotionally broken up, throwing yourself on God’s mercy, asking His forgiveness, and His redemption! It means wanting to be made righteous.
To REPENT means a total change of ATTITUDE and HEART! A continuously repentant attitude! For God’s Spirit will dwell only in such a mind!
FAITH means to accept the living Jesus Christ as personal Saviour, RELYING on Him, in full confidence that HIS SACRIFICE of His very life for YOU is altogether sufficient to pay the penalty of your transgressions; relying on Him completely to save you from sinning, and to GIVE you righteousness and Eternal Life.
When you receive God’s Holy Spirit, you have received the very life of God. But that does not make you, as yet, an inheritor of eternal life. You are not yet IMmortal.
You are then an HEIR of God — and a joint-heir with Christ. You are a BEGOTTEN child of God, not yet Spirit-BORN; that is, an heir, not yet a possessor or inheritor. Still mortal flesh and blood — not yet composed of spirit.
But as long as God’s Holy Spirit dwells in you (active, as described above), you remain an heir of God, later to inherit and share with Christ ALL that the heavenly Father has!