May 5, 2023 Brethren Letter
What words would you say are among the most difficult words for human beings to say? I doubt if you would answer… “The most difficult words to say are, I appreciate your friendship” or, “How have you been?” There could be a variety of answers to this question, but I fully believe that very often the most difficult words for humans to say are, “I was wrong.” It’s hard to admit, and goes “against the grain” saying these simple, yet difficult words. In Mystery of the Ages (page 5), Mr. Armstrong saw the reality of our own human nature when he wrote… “The most difficult thing for any human seems to be to admit being wrong…”
Do we realize that God would never have given any of us His Holy Spirit if we had refused to see we were wrong in our thinking, and that we were living by the world’s standards instead of God’s? Mr. Armstrong also wrote these words on page 5 of 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…
In Acts chapter 2 we see that after true repentance and the ceremonial baptism, we are promised to receive God’s Holy Spirit, through the laying on of hands (Acts 8:17-19). Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission [forgiveness] of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
At baptism, we were given a small “earnest” (down payment) of God’s Holy Spirit. “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14).
When God gives us His Spirit, we are expected to grow with it by producing good spiritual fruit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Brethren, in approximately three weeks we’ll be observing the Feast of Pentecost. I hope each of us will be meditating on what this Festival pictures for us and for mankind. This day has so much to do with God’s Holy Spirit and with us as Christ’s Firstfruits. In the booklet Pagan Holidays — or God’s Holy Days — Which? Mr. Armstrong wrote the following:
Passover symbolized Christ’s sacrifice for the remission of our sins, and the days of unleavened bread the putting away of sin. Pentecost pictures the first part of the spiritual harvest — the calling out of the Church — the called-out ones — which, for the New Testament dispensation, began on Sunday — Pentecost, June 17, A.D. 31. On that day the Holy Spirit came to dwell within flesh, as prophesied by Joel.
What a tremendous blessing for us that God, in His mercy, called us (John 6:44), and gave us an opportunity to be among the firstfruits of the Kingdom of God.
Please have a good Sabbath, everyone!
Your Brother in Christ,