April 9, 2021 Brethren Letter
We have just finished observing a very meaningful spring Holy Day season (last week). Even though these festivals of God are over for 2021, we continue to live by, and grow through the spiritual lessons we have learned. Obviously, we do not stop removing sin from our lives following the last day of Unleavened Bread, but we continue to OVERCOME every single day, replacing sin with the righteousness of God (Revelation 2:11, 17, 26; Revelation 3:5, 12, 21; Revelation 21:7)
The question is, does putting sin out of our lives mean we are to live in a virtual state of gloom and doom? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Does God really want our lives to be joyful and exciting (within the bounds of God’s law)? Yes, He does want us to have full, abundant lives.
Tonight, I am sending an article written in December of 1971 by Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, entitled, “This is the Life – Real Abundant Living!” Since the article is long, I have split the article into two parts. I will post the rest of Mr. Armstrong’s article, next week.
Please have a wonderful Sabbath!
Sincerely, Your Brother in Christ,
The Good News of Tomorrow’s World
Personal from the Editor (Herbert W. Armstrong)
This is the Life — Real Abundant Living!
WHY DO religious people often seem to feel that their religious life must be one of giving up all the fun and the enjoyment of living? — that in order to please God, they must endure a life of morbid gloom?
Sin to many of these people consists of things that many other people consider to be most desirable. To them, sin is going contrary to a number of “don’ts.” “Don’t smoke.” “Don’t dance.” “Don’t play cards.” “Don’t go to the theater.” “Don’t ever touch a drop of alcoholic beverage.” “Don’t do this!” “Don’t do that!”
What’s Wrong With Religion?
A prominent lawyer’s wife once said to me, “I couldn’t ever become a Christian. Why, if I had to give up smoking, dancing, card playing, the theater, and all the pleasures of life, WHAT WOULD THERE BE LEFT TO LIVE FOR ANYWAY?”
A world-famous philosopher, editor, and lecturer whom I knew — and who also had no use for religion — said that he did not desire to be repressed or to live a life of painful penance. “I desire,” he said, “to be radiant, cheerful, friendly, and to meet people with a smile.”
Apparently HE ASSUMED that such a happy life could not be a religious life.
But strangely, none of these people KNEW HOW TO LIVE.
Very few have ever found or tasted the true abundant life.
You Were Meant to Be Happy!
Now the Creator who gives you the breath that you breathe does not desire for you to live an empty, depressed, or unhappy life. You never please the Eternal by giving up happiness or anything that is good for you.
God Almighty has never given you a single “don’t” except those things that are going to harm you, tear you down, bring on unhappiness later. Oh, of course, some of these things give you a thrill, or a little kick out of life temporarily, but there is always a boomerang. They exact a great penalty later, and the price is too high. It isn’t good business.
God forbids those things that are bad for us, the things that are going to bring on unhappiness and bring on a life of emptiness and gloom. But never does God Almighty forbid one single thing that is for your happiness, your welfare, your real well-being.
I’m reminded of an elderly man who was of the “shouting kind” of religion. He rose up one time in a church meeting and he shouted out a question to those assembled. He said, “Brethren, are you enjoying it, or ARE YOU ONLY ENDURING IT?”
Some people endure a solemn, stiff, and formal church service. And some, emotionally inclined, will go to the kind of church meeting where there is much shouting, and much emotional response, merely to have a good time during the meeting. The rest of the week religion doesn’t seem to have a great part of their lives.
Others feel that if they become, as they call it, “saved,” that they must forever after live a gloomy life of giving up everything that they formerly enjoyed, and that their solemn, unhappy lives will somehow please their Creator. Of course, THAT KIND OF RELIGION IS MORE OR LESS A SUPERSTITION!
Christ Brought ABUNDANT LIVING
Let’s get this matter straight. The founder of the Christian religion, Jesus Christ, said that He came to this earth for a purpose.
“I am come,” said Jesus, “that they might have LIFE, and THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE IT MORE ABUNDANTLY” (John 10:10). Jesus Christ came to bring us the “ABUNDANT LIFE.” Do you know what that is?
God Almighty intended the real Christian life to be one of joy.
Do you know that if you have the real Christian life, if you have the Spirit of God within you, it’s going to bring about this result? It’s going to, as we say, “produce fruits.” Now what kind of fruits will be produced in a real Christian life? — not the morbid, unhappy life. Here is the fruit. Here is what will emanate from a real Christian life. It is found in Galatians 5, beginning with verse 22:
“The fruit of the Spirit” — this is the Spirit of God. This is the Holy Spirit that God imparts ONLY TO THOSE WHO ARE TRULY CONVERTED. “That fruit of the Spirit is LOVE” — first of all is love — and the second is “JOY” Joy is happiness, brimful and running over.
That doesn’t sound like an unhappy, empty, morbid life, does it? Here’s love that will just flow, spontaneously, out from you!
Life Can Be RADIANT
The first “fruit of the Spirit of God” is LOVE. Love will mean that your face is beaming. It’s going to mean that you are really giving out. It’s going to mean that you are radiant and happy. Love results in JOY, the second product of the Spirit of God. The third is “PEACE.” Instead of going around quarreling, resentful, bitter, unhappy, and arguing — that’s not peace, that’s a kind of war — you’ll be at peace in your mind and with your neighbor, and with your God!
And the next is, in the King James Authorized Version of the Bible, “longsuffering,” which in more modern English is “PATIENCE.” Impatience makes more people unhappy than almost anything else! If you can really learn the lesson of patience, you’re learning one of the things that will make you happy, and make life worth living.
The next is “gentleness,” and then “goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” That is the fruit of the Spirit. It will spontaneously spring forth from you. It will be emitting from yourself, radiating from yourself, all the time, IF YOU ARE A REAL CHRISTIAN.
But Most People Are NOT Christians
You read in Romans 8:9 that unless you have received from WITHOUT the Holy Spirit of God, you are not any of Christ’s! You ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN.
THERE ARE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE THAT PROFESS CHRISTIANITY THAT ARE NOT CHRISTIANS ACCORDING TO GOD’S DEFINITION. They’re not Christians at all!
Of course, in a Christian life, there are troubles. There are going to be even persecutions. Jesus Christ was persecuted. He said, “If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you.” That comes from without. That’s something that comes from other people. THAT DOESN’T NECESSARILY NEED TO DISTURB YOU INWARDLY. And the person who does have this inward peace, the person who has this joy and this love and this patience — and who has this tolerance for other people — isn’t going to be too much disturbed because other people don’t agree, and perhaps persecute.
Yes, YOU’RE going to face problems and trials. Those things are good for us. They come upon us for a purpose — to help us develop character. And a real Christian understands. It doesn’t make him unhappy.
We All Have Trials
We are going to have troubles and problems, and trials just like everybody else. They come to test us. They come to strengthen, to build our character. And that’s the very purpose of our being — to make us like God. We, like Jesus Christ, can be born into the Kingdom of God. Notice I Peter 4:12-13:
“Beloved,” this is speaking to real Christians, “think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.”
Some people, when some of these trials and these problems come, think nobody else has ever had anything come upon them like that. It’s some strange thing that is peculiar to them. That is not true!
Every other person on earth is having problems.
Everyone is having troubles. They have things to meet and to overcome, solutions to work out, the same as you do. It’s not strange. And so here is the teaching of God. He says:
“But REJOICE,” yes, rejoice inwardly in these things, “inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings.”
Christ suffered, but Christ also said to His apostles, “My JOY I leave with you.” “I am come,” He said, “THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE LIFE, AND THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE IT MORE ABUNDANTLY.” He came to give us THE, ABUNDANT LIFE. He had that kind of life. He was happy. He was filled with joy, even though at the same time He was a man of sorrows — and why?
Because He LOVED all human beings, and He saw the way they were going. He saw how they were destroying themselves, how they were bringing unhappiness and emptiness, fear and worry, poverty, sickness, disease and sufferings on themselves. He thereby shared their sufferings. He was a man of sorrows. He was sorrowful for them. But he was a man who was happy INSIDE. He was setting us an example of the kind of life that we should live. So we read here:
“REJOICE, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”