February 14, 2020 Brethren Letter
I’ll begin tonight’s letter with a few excerpts from the booklet What do you mean — “THE UNPARDONABLE SIN?”, by Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong.
In spiritual salvation, the blood of Christ — the death of Christ — paid the penalty we have incurred in our stead. And it SAVES US from this destruction (which is the second death) — that is, PREVENTS US from having to pay it — if and when we REPENT, and accept Jesus as personal Saviour in faith believing (read Romans 5:8-10).
But, God’s gift of eternal LIFE comes to us through Christ’s LIFE, (verse 10) through His resurrection and LIFE — not by His death. His death paid our penalty of past sins IN OUR STEAD. These sins had cut us off from contact with God. When Jesus’ sacrifice is accepted by repentance and faith, we are no longer cut off from God, but reconciled to Him — the connection or contact established, so that, through His Son’s LIFE, He now can GIVE US His Holy Spirit, and, at Christ’s coming and time of resurrection, ETERNAL LIFE. This, finally preserves our life for eternity.
That is why God’s Word says, “he that shall endure unto the end shall be saved” (Matt. 24:23 and elsewhere).
One is already saved FROM the DEATH penalty — eternal punishment — for SINS THAT ARE PAST, upon repentance and faith in Christ — as long as he does not sin again! And he will! BUT, as explained in this booklet, if and when he slips, and sins again, then, upon repentance, he is again forgiven. Yes, again, and again, and again! That is, as long as his ATTITUDE of heart is submissive to God, he has faith in Christ, and God’s Spirit continues to dwell in him.
Several years ago (shortly after I had been ordained), I was given the responsibility of talking to a teen who had been caught in some serious behavioral issues which affected others. Shortly after our conversation began, the teen quickly realized he had been caught. He undoubtedly knew that he was guilty and very sheepishly began to admit it. I won’t go into the entire story, but I will tell you that I believe he made some very positive changes of direction in his life and learned from his mistakes.
The part I remember the most, is what happened long after the incident. This teen asked my son, “Your dad knows what I did wrong. Do you think he can forgive me?” My son answered, “Don’t worry. My dad doesn’t hold grudges against anyone. He’s not like that.”
Well, my son was right. I had never even considered holding a grudge against this young person. I wanted him to succeed, not fail. If I held a grudge, then I would NOT have been following God’s example! In fact, I would have essentially been acting as if I was somehow more righteous than God. When God brought us (those whom He has called – John 6:44), to REAL REPENTANCE, our PAST sins (paid for by Christ’s shed blood), are FORGIVEN! God doesn’t carry a grudge. Those sins are COMPLETELY and THOROUGHLY forgiven!
(8) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. (10) For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life (Romans 5:8-10).
Psalm 103 shows us just how far our past sins are removed from us!
(8) The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. (9) He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger forever. (10) He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. (11) For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. (12) As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:8-12).
Next week, I plan to continue this subject further. Please have a good night’s rest everyone.
Sincerely, Your Brother in Christ,