FEEL I must immediately have a real heart to heart talk with my growing
family of readers and co-workers, sharing with you thoughts that came
to my mind—while they are still fresh and vivid.
How to Live by Faith
It concerns the
most important thing in life and eternity for you. But at the moment, I
was thinking about myself. Every person—yes, even you—is his own worst
enemy. All my life I have been impelled to fight my worst enemy —that
troublesome inner self, which by nature is desperately wicked. I was
not born with a mild, submissive, weak-willed inner self. Had I been, I
probably never could have been used as God's instrument in bearing His
message to you. My mother has often mentioned I was a very
strong-willed boy; and while I was still young enough to be under
parental discipline, I caused her and my father no end of trouble.
Since growing into the age of self-discipline, this same evil,
determined inner self has caused me no end of trouble. And I should add
that since I gave that self over to God, it surely must have tried His
That brings us to the point. The thought that came to
my mind concerned this very troublesome inner self. How, came the
question, can I myself ever become finally saved, and inherit eternal
life in the Kingdom of God, with such a powerful, seemingly
irresistible inner force of evil constantly pulling the other way? When
God says "there shall in no wise enter into it (the Kingdom of God)
anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or
maketh a lie" (Rev. 21:27), it surely seemed impossible that I should
be able to "overcome," and "endure unto the end."
But the same
instant the answer flashed to mind—God will save me! I can't save
myself. When I look at this troublesome, naturally evil self, so human
and full of faults and weaknesses, so beset by temptations of pride and
the flesh, with all its limitations and shortcomings; knowing that to
be finally saved I must GROW in grace and God's knowledge—must develop
in righteous holy character—must overcome this self and temptations and
weaknesses—and must endure thru trial and test and opposition and
discouragement unto the end—well, when I look at it this way, it seems
utterly hopeless to expect ever to be saved.
And I wondered, as
this thought flashed thru my mind, how many of my readers and
co-workers are tempted to look at it the same way—to feel a sense of
futility and helplessness—perhaps to become discouraged and lose faith?
Ah, that's the key word—FAITH!
Our plight isn't hopeless at all!
course, of ourselves it is impossible to be saved. But with God it is
certain—if we yield to Him and TRUST Him. We shall be saved, not by our
own power to overcome and develop perfect characters, but thru FAITH IN
But right here is where 999 out of 1,000 become
deceived by the fables of this time. And when the blind lead the blind,
they both fall into the ditch!
Because we can't save
ourselves—we can't master the evil inner self—we can't always resist
every temptation— we can't keep God's holy Law perfectly —and, of
ourselves we would fail to overcome, to grow in spiritual character,
and to endure to the end; the false teaching is going out that Jesus
did THESE THINGS FOR US—that we don't need to do them.
Millions today believe that God imputes Jesus' righteousness to us,
counting us as righteous when we are not!
There couldn't be a more soul-damning delusion of the devil!
Jesus didn't live a good life for you, in your stead! You are not
excused from keeping God's commandments, living a righteous holy life,
overcoming, growing in spiritual character, and enduring in spite of
all opposition, persecution, trial and test unto the end. You and I
must actually do these things in order to be saved!
Here is the
great mystery! Since we must do these things to be saved, yet are
utterly unable to do them, it is natural to conclude either that God
sent Jesus to do it for us and excuse us from accomplishing it, or else
to become discouraged and be tempted to quit trying.
The true answer is the KEY to salvation!
We can't save ourselves. God will save us! But how?
by saving us in our sins—not by deceiving Himself into counting us
righteous by imputing Jesus' righteousness to us while we remain
»«righteous —BUT BY SAVING US FROM OUR SINS, by giving us His very own
Spirit—His POWER to overcome these cantankerous selves, His love to
actually fulfill His law, His PEACE to avoid strife with enemies and
resentment and bitterness at their injustices, His patience to endure!
can't save ourselves—God must save us! But He does it by changing us,
thru His indwelling divine supernatural power, from what we have been
into the holy, righteous characters He wills to make of us! He does it
by forgiving past sins not only, but cleansing us from sinning now and
in the future!
God does not look upon our hopeless plight—our
evil natures, our weaknesses and inabilities—and say, "Poor, helpless
humans! Since they are unable to master and overcome their evil
natures, to keep my Law, to endure trial and test and temptation, and
to grow into holy characters; I'll be merciful and have my Son do it
for them, and save them just as they are in all their sins."
God who knows our every weakness, and who Himself is responsible for
this human nature in every one of us, sent His Son into the world to
proclaim His MESSAGE to us that we must yield to God's government over
our lives—that we must REPENT and turn from our filth of the flesh
and pride of mind and heart. He sent His Son into the world to be
tempted in all points as we are—human as we are— to prove that a human
can, with the help of the Spirit of God, live without sin—TO SET AN
EXAMPLE FOR US THAT WE SHOULD FOLLOW HIS STEPS
also without sinning! He sent His Son into the world to die for us,
—not living a good life in our stead, but paying the penalty of all our
past sins in our stead—that we might be reconciled to God, so that we
might receive His Spirit, begetting us as His SONS, so that God thru
the power of His Spirit may CHANGE us from mortal sinners into immortal
holy sons of God!
Some hotels and restaurants, catering to
tourists who may be in old clothes and dirty from traveling, post a
sign, "COME AS YOU ARE!"
The favorite "invitation" or
"altar-call" hymn sung by the popular denominations in revival or
evangelistic services is "just as I am."
But be not
deceived—God won't RECEIVE YOU JUST AS YOU ARE!
You can't sit down at His immaculate holy table with your wrinkled,
soiled clothes and dirty hands, which symbolically represent the human
sinning condition. No, you must be first washed in the blood of the
lamb Jesus Christ—and before Jesus as your Saviour and Mediator with
God can wash you of the filth of your sins, you
must first repent of TRANSGRESSING
GOD'S HOLY LAW, WHICH MEANS TO BE SO SORRY THAT YOU FORSAKE YOUR WAY
AND THE WORLD'S WAY, AND TURN TO A LIFE OF OBEDIENCE TO GOD'S LAWS AND
Of course, you'll have to come as you are to Christ for CLEANSING from the filth of your past life—but confessing
filthy, sinful condition, asking Him to cleanse you and to wash you in
His blood, because you can't cleanse yourself—so that He may present
you chaste and pure and spiritually clean to His Father, that you may
then receive the indwelling POWER of God which will enable you to
overcome, and keep God's law, and live as His sons ought to live!
showed by his life that we can, if we rely upon God in faith for the
power to do so, live the way of God's will as expressed in His
Spiritual Law! Of Himself, even Jesus said He could not do it—"the
Father that dwelleth in me," He said, "He doeth the works." And again:
"The works that I do shall ye do also."
And so it was that,
almost the same instant the temptation to doubt the final result came
to my mind as I thought of my own weaknesses, faults, and limitations,
the answer flashed strong and firm: "GOD WON'T LET ME fall!
may punish me more yet to chasten and teach me and to make me
righteous, but He won't let me fail— He will impute His very own
righteousness by implanting it into my life until, thru His power
energizing me, I'm really
comforting and definite ASSURANCE of the final result, based on God's
own unbreakable PROMISES, just warmed my heart and made me feel good
clear thru—and so I had to come immediately to the typewriter to share
this glorious assurance with all of YOU! Read Jude 24, and II Peter 1:10.
by Herbert W. Armstrong The Plain Truth Magazine August 1963 Issue
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