July 10, 2020 Brethren Letter
From time to time I like to send a letter written by God’s end-time apostle, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong. Tonight, in conjunction with tomorrow’s sermon, I am sending a “Personal from the Editor” article (selected text), Mr. Armstrong wrote in 1970. Please have a good night’s rest.
Sincerely, Your Brother in Christ,
The Good News of Tomorrow’s World
Personal from the Editor (Herbert W. Armstrong)
HOW did you come to be here on earth? Did you just happen, an accident of blind, unintelligent, unknowing, lifeless EVOLUTION? Or were you put here and given life by an all-knowing, all-intelligent, purposeful, LIVING Supreme God, who designed and created the human mind and body?
Let me tell you — and I can prove it, and so can you if you are willing — that the Great Creator brought YOU into existence on this earth FOR A GREAT AND MIGHTY PURPOSE!
You were born into a world which has developed a certain type civilization. The instant you were born you knew — NOTHING! But your eyes opened, you looked about, and knowledge of what you saw began registering in your memory — began putting knowledge into your mind. Your ears heard sounds, and thus additional knowledge entered through the sense of hearing. Very elementary at first, but gradually, each bit of new knowledge, entering your mind through your sense of taste, smell, feel, sight and hearing, was ADDED to what had previously been stored there.
Gradually you came to know, and take up with, the customs, ways, generally accepted ideas and beliefs of this world. You accepted them, took them for granted without question.
Some of them were good — but many of them were BAD. But you took them for granted without realizing they were bad.
You were born with a NATURE. We call it human nature. Few people realize what it is. Human nature has a spiritual side, and a physical side. On its spiritual side, it is pure VANITY. Vanity loves and tends to exalt the SELF. It is SELF-centered. It is selfish and greedy. It is this way NATURALLY. On its physical side, there are the five senses, and the PULL of these senses to crave to be satisfied. Exercise of these senses can produce sensations of pleasure. Some of these sensual pleasures are healthy, uplifting and GOOD. But many are injurious, harmful and BAD. Yet the bad ones cry out for gratification — probably far more than the good. Thus human nature exerts an automatic, impulsive PULL toward selfishness, greed, vanity, jealousy, envy, hatred, and toward the lusts (WRONG DESIRES) of the flesh.
Human nature makes it come NATURALLY to resent and resist authority over one. A child tends to resist the authority of his parents. We grow up with a natural attitude of hostility toward any authority, whether from man or GOD.
Human nature wants to BE good — that is, to BELIEVE it is good — to be CONSIDERED good. It just doesn’t want to DO good.
Because GOOD is the WAY of God’s invisible, inexorable, spiritual LAW. That LAW is, simply LOVE. It is love toward God in the form of trusting and willing OBEDIENCE to God’s every command and direction, knowing it is for our highest good. It is love toward God in the form of being GOD-centered — having the mind CONTINUALLY (consciously or sub-consciously) in contact with God, RELYING on God, seeking guidance from God, worshipful in the sense of gratitude, obedience, faith and complete trust. It is love toward fellow MAN — in the sense of outgoing concern, EQUAL TO love and concern for self.
Now No MAN exercises THAT KIND of love NATURALLY. You simply were not born with that kind of love.
You DON’T HAVE IT!
That is, not unless you have received it from God through His GIFT of His Holy Spirit.
THAT love — God’s love — that of His Holy Spirit — travels a certain road. It is the road that leads to peace, to happiness, to confident assurance, security, well-being, ENJOYMENT without kickbacks, prosperity — every good thing the heart desires.
Everyone wants that RESULT.
That is to say, everyone wants to have the RESULT of doing good.
But no one, it seems, NATURALLY wants to Go that way — to Do good.
That WAY — DOING good — is the WAY of God’s Law.
This world is NOT FULL of happiness, peace, joy, and universal prosperity. It is pretty well filled with strife — in the home, in business, in politics, in war between nations. It is pretty well filled with unhappiness, frustrations, insecurity. It is pretty well filled with crime and violence, with broken homes and unhappy quarreling homes, with sickness and disease, with frustrations, failures, tragedies.
Now GOD is NOT the author of all these troubles in the world.
God has, FOR A GREAT PURPOSE, made humans free moral agents, and allotted six thousand years for mankind to MAKE A CHOICE — whether to accept God’s government over him, to be ruled by God’s Law of LOVE — or whether to set up his own ideas of manmade government, following what comes
NATURALLY — HUMAN NATURE.
God Almighty is going to step in, intervene supernaturally and in divine POWER abolish governments and ways of society — rule all nations with GOD’S laws — and BRING PEACE AND HAPPINESS TO HUMANITY.
HOW can that be done?
There is A WAY of personal, group, and organized living that will automatically produce that utopia. And there is A WAY that has, for 6,000 years, produced curses, war, strife and violence, frustration, failure — everything this world has.
God is simply going to ENFORCE, with divine Power, HIS WAY. He is going to take over all governments, in a super WORLD GOVERNMENT, ruled by the very CREATOR. It will rule by GOD’S LAWS — the WAY of love!
Why do some people — even college professors and some who are intellectually inclined — become Communists? Because they see many things WRONG in this world — they want to BE right — they grasp Communism as a last straw and only hope, under the delusion that THEY CAN HAVE A PART IN MAKING THIS A BETTER WORLD!
They want to BE right — but they don’t want to DO right. So they grasp the straw that makes the lying and false PROMISES of producing the solution. But Communism is only another IDEA OF MAN BASED ON HUMAN NATURE. It is a theoretical WAY that would destroy what little good there might be in this world’s society. It is the most false of false hopes.
But YOU can HAVE A PART in actually bringing PEACE, happiness, joy and abundance to humanity. God Almighty is GOING TO DO IT — whether or not you have a part in it! But He is not going to do it alone. He is going to take certain human beings, born in the very LIKENESS of God, who REPENT of their carnal human nature — who cry out to God to CHANGE that nature, and GIVE them the matchless supreme GIFT of His divine LOVE that will travel THE WAY toward peace, happiness and joy.
These are they who, through real repentance of what they ARE as well as what they have done, through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as well as in His resurrected LIFE and POWER, are forgiven their guilty past, given contact with God, CHANGED, CONVERTED, receiving HIS HOLY SPIRIT, being begotten as HIS CHILDREN, receiving the DIVINE nature.
In other words, they REPENT of human nature — they REPENT of hostility to authority — of resentment against God’s Law. They SURRENDER unconditionally to GOD, and wholeheartedly WANT Him to rule in their lives. They CHANGE (through God’s power given by His grace) from rebellion to submission — from SELF-centeredness to GOD-centeredness. They let Jesus Christ (in Spirit) come into their lives and actually live their lives for them (Galatians 2:20).
They change from THE WAY that has brought all the curses upon this unhappy world, to THE WAY that will bring a brilliant, joyous UTOPIA to earth in a very few years when God sends the LIVING Jesus Christ in all Power and Glory to RULE ALL NATIONS and bring the happy, peaceful WORLD TOMORROW!
This CHANGE is conversion. This is what it means to BECOME a Christian. A Christian is NOT merely one who PROFESSES Christ. God’s own instruction to us — the Bible — says that if one has not received God’s Holy Spirit, he is NONE of His — he is NOT a Christian (Romans 8:9). God gives His Holy Spirit ONLY to them that OBEY Him (Acts 5:32). This implants within the mind the DIVINE NATURE — it means a CHANGED MIND!
But it does NOT remove the HUMAN nature. The MIND governs whether the converted Christian now FOLLOWS the pulls, the impulses, the desires of human nature, or whether he resists them and is LED BY the newly received divine nature. “As many as are LED BY the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14). But one’s HUMAN nature cries out to be satisfied — does not like to be repressed.
Just RECEIVING God’s Spirit is not enough. One must BE LED by God’s Spirit. His Spirit opens the mind to UNDERSTANDING of spiritual truth, and the KNOWLEDGE of God’s Law. It opens the mind to THE WAY one should follow. God’s Spirit also is the love of God — God’s own divine love — flooding into the human heart, and flowing on out in love to God and love to neighbor.
One must therefore GROW in spiritual knowledge and in God’s grace (II Peter 3:18). He must become a DOER of God’s Law — actually LIVING in THE WAY of peace and happiness and joy. This means he must OVERCOME his own carnal nature, his old habits, the temptations of the world — HE MUST BE CHANGED! He must develop toward perfect spiritual and righteous CHARACTER. The real Christian is undergoing a life of TRAINING to become a RULER in God’s Kingdom — in the happy and peaceful WORLD TOMORROW.
One cannot learn everything in a minute, a day, or a year. One does not become perfect at one jump. It is a continuous PROCESS. No Christian becomes perfect at the very beginning. He does not overcome or root out all the sins, the wrong habits, all at once. He must do it little by little. But, “he that overcometh, and keepeth MY WORKS unto the end,” says Jesus Christ, “to him will I give power over THE NATIONS TO RULE.”
WHY do THE NATIONS of this earth need ruling by Christ and those trained under a Christian life? Because all the unhappiness — everything WRONG with this world — has come from living THE WAY of hostility to God’s Law and GOD’S Government. Because the only way this world can have PEACE, PROSPERITY, HAPPINESS, is to be forced to build a society based on THE WAY that PRODUCES these desired blessings.
If you have started on THAT RIGHT WAY, don’t get discouraged because you have slipped and fallen down along the road a few times. Get up and KEEP GOING. Even if you have sinned and are truly sorry, you can repent and Christ is your High Priest to forgive. Read and study I John 1:7-10 and 2:1-2. This is written to converted CHRISTIANS.
At the time of Christ’s coming, the dead in Christ will be resurrected and rise to meet the descending Christ in the air. At that instant those LIVING who have been thus CHANGED, begotten by God’s Spirit, will be changed in composition, from mortal to immortal — from matter to spirit — from human to divine.
THEY are then to RULE with and under the all-powerful, living Christ, until ALL NATIONS beat their swords into plowshares, and PEACE shines forth on this war-weary earth!
Jesus Christ taught His followers to PRAY: “THY KINGDOM COME — THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH!” How about it. Shall we pray that prayer?