Hold Fast to the Truths Restored by Herbert W. Armstrong
As the New Year rapidly approaches, what should our focus be? Although God's people, in general, are in terrible disarray, we in God's Church, Worldwide have much to be thankful for. We are still fighting the good fight that will bring us successfully into Christ's millennial kingdom.
We can thank God that He selected Herbert Armstrong as His end-time Elijah to restore what the Church of God had so quickly lost during and after the first century A.D., and now is losing again.
People today dispute just how many truths were restored through Mr. Herbert W Armstrong, but Christ states that the end-time Elijah would “restore all things.” Why restore? Because through the ages the Church had either lost sight of, or forgotten key truths necessary for salvation. That's why restoration was necessary and we are the beneficiaries.
In 1966 when God first brought me into contact with His Church, no Catholic priest, Protestant minister, radio or television evangelist would define what sin is. They told people to repent of their sins, but they never gave a biblical definition of what sin is. That was until Mr. Herbert Armstrong came along and provided the scriptural evidence, that sin is the transgression of God's law (I Jn. 3:4).
The others knew of I John 3:4, but refused to cite it because it flew in the face of their own doctrine, that God's law was no longer in effect. Without going into the details of this fallacy, Christ's own words on this subject should be sufficient. As recounted in Matthew 19, someone asked Christ, “What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” (NKJ). Christ told him, “If you want to enter into life keep the commandments” (NKJ). He then proceeded to list some of the Ten Commandments for good measure, so that no one would be confused about which commandments He had in mind.
Yes, we are saved by grace; but to enter a state of grace or forgiveness, we must admit that we are sinners and responsible for Christ's death. His death paid the penalty for our sins, but sins are defined as the breaking of God's Ten Commandments. If we have truly repented, then we should live our lives in accordance with God's great law of love. The fact that we cannot live by that law perfectly, as Christ did, is no excuse to stop trying. When we miss the mark, when we break His law and sin, we have the blessing of going to our loving God to ask forgiveness, which because of Christ's sacrifice for us, He is all too willing to do.
So brethren, we have no reason to fail.
Since we have this wonderful understanding, our task is to hold fast to it and never give up.
This should be our focus in the New Year, as we approach Passover. Satan wants to discourage us. He wants to use our human weaknesses against us and we have plenty of them. Yet God knows us too and He has promised NOT to give up on us if we stay in the race. Paul puts it so beautifully in Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that He [God] who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (NKJ). In I Corinthians 10:13 he adds, “There is no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able [to bear]; but will with the temptation [trial] also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
Do you believe these words brethren? God is faithful. He won't let us down, as long as we don't give up. This is what we need to pray and meditate on. If we believe God, take Him at His word, we in turn will also prove faithful. You must be faithful to God, to Christ, to the truth, to your ministry and to each other. God puts great stock in faithfulness in human beings. Perhaps because so few manage to be trustworthy! He does not appreciate those who give up or give in. He inspired Paul to say in Hebrews 10:39, “But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul [oneself]” (NKJ).
The Christian life is not easy, because we know exactly what sin is. We know its definition. We can't plead ignorance. We also know that God chastises every son (or daughter) He loves. Just always remember that His correction is in love, but it could come from any quarter, or through any person: a minister, a wife, a husband, a child, a fellow worker, from inside or outside the Church of God. If you want to benefit from correction, be humble, because we all need it to grow. Think about it, we begin as Satan's children, but end up as God's. That is a big gulf to cross and obviously requires much overcoming and change. Develop a mind prepared to receive correction. It takes humility to admit that we are wrong and this is a stepping stone to repentance and growing more Christlike. Satan will never admit he is wrong and so is incapable of repentance. He is no longer our example to follow as he was in our past ignorance. Yes, Christianity is a narrow, difficult, but rewarding road to travel, and God promises a bright future of eternal proportions to those who refuse to turn back.
The key is never give up. Sadly too many already have. Tens of thousands have gone back into the world, or they are blind to the times they are living in, so that the tribulation will take them unawares. Therefore, let us think of trials and correction as spurs under the saddle to keep us awake. Mr. Herbert Armstrong, all his life, was beset with trials, yet he never gave up and he held fast to the end. He is a fine example for us. Remember those who rule with Christ were first called, then chosen, and subsequently proved themselves faithful to their calling. Be one of them!
Robert J. Elliott
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Hold Fast to the Truths Restored by Herbert W. Armstrong
God's Church, Worldwide