March 13, 2020 Brethren Letter
What words do you think are the most difficult words for a person to say? I doubt you would answer, “How have you been?” or “What’s new?” Though there could be a variety of answers, I fully believe that the MOST difficult words for a human being to say are these three: “I am wrong.”
I remember a man jokingly saying to me many years ago, “It’s not hard for ME to admit when I’m wrong. In fact, just the other day I thought I had made a mistake, and then I suddenly discovered I was wrong about that.” Again, his statement was intended to be humorous, but at the same time it does illustrate human nature quite well! “SELF,” does not want to be wrong! If anyone is wrong, it must be the other person.
In Mystery of the Ages (page 5), Mr. Armstrong commented on this same point, when he wrote, “The most difficult thing for any human seems to be to admit being wrong…” Yes, it surely is!
Do we realize that God would never have given any of us His Holy Spirit if we had refused to see that we were wrong in our natural human reasoning and direction, and to realize we were living by the world’s standards instead of God’s? God had to bring us to the point of repentance! Mr. Armstrong wrote the following in Mystery of The Ages:
No one can have the Holy Spirit, which alone can open the human mind to understanding of this Word of God, without a complete repentance and an implicit belief in Christ as well as believing what he says. Repentance can only follow admission of being wrong…
The Spring Holy Day season begins with the Passover, the very first step in God’s MASTER PLAN! “In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’S passover” (Leviticus 23:5). Jesus Christ through His shed blood paid the penalty for our sins. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Following the Passover, we are commanded to observe the Days of Unleavened Bread.
And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; seven days you must eat unleavened bread (Leviticus 23:6)
The Days of Unleavened Bread picture the removing of sin from our lives and replacing sin with the righteousness of God.
In the booklet, Pagan Holidays — or God’s Holy Days — Which?, Mr. Armstrong wrote the following:
Can you see the wonderful meaning? Do you grasp the true significance of it all? Do you see God’s purpose? The Passover only pictures the death of Christ for the remission of sins that are past (Rom. 3:25). The accepting of His blood does not forgive sins we may later commit; it does not give license to continue in sin.
Therefore when we accept it, our sins are forgiven only up to that time — past sins.
But shall we stop there with only past sins forgiven? We are still flesh beings. We still shall suffer temptations. Sin has held us in its clutch — we have been slaves to sin, in its power. And we are powerless to deliver ourselves from it! We have been in bondage to sin. Let us understand the picture — the meaning.
We are admonished in I Corinthians 5 to “purge out” (remove), sin from our lives! Sin is the transgression of law (I John 3:4). Christ’s shed blood paid the penalty for our PAST sins (those repented of), but not for any future sins committed. That’s why we examine ourselves each year (I Corinthians 11:28)! We are to see ourselves from God’s perspective, realizing where the “SELF” is WRONG, and making the necessary changes through God’s Spirit. Remember, it’s not the other person’s WRONGS (or sins) we’re looking for, IT’S OUR OWN!
(7) Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.
(8) Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (I Corinthians 5:7-8).
Finally, I’ll close with another paragraph from the booklet, Pagan Holidays — or God’s Holy Days — Which?:
God’s true Church is to have these feast days, the first of which is a memorial picturing deliverance from sin, in OUR right hand and forehead, as God’s sign, in order that we shall keep His commandments. And since the forehead is the seat of the intellect, and symbolizes acceptance, and the right hand symbolizes work, we have this sign of God there by accepting this truth about the holy days and Days of Unleavened Bread, and by NOT WORKING on these holy days! Not only is the weekly Sabbath God’s sign (Ex. 31:12-17) but annual Sabbaths are signs as well!
God’s Festivals are a REAL BLESSING for us!
Please have a good Sabbath, everyone!
Your Brother in Christ,