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Volume 18, Number 6, September, October, November 2000 Editor: Robert Johnson

Letter From God:

What would you do with a letter that came to you from God? Would you throw it in the trash? Would you lay it aside, planning to read it some day in the future when your are ready? Or would you open it eagerly to find out what your Creator might have to say to you?
The following message is presented as if it were a letter from God directed to those who He has created and who are living in our time. It does not claim to be directly inspired (“God breathed”) as the Prophets were miraculously inspired. But, the message is truly from God to you for it contains truths which were miraculously given by God and recorded by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the Bible (John 16:13,14; 2 Tim. 3:16,17).

Dear Precious Soul,
I am writing to alert you to some things which I want you to know. You may be like many who know something about Me, but do not really know Me. I AM the God who created the world and everything in it (Genesis 1; Acts 17:23-28). I created mankind in My Own image and gave him a free will so that he might want to maintain a close relationship with Me. Unfortunately, the freedom to choose and follow selfish desires resulted in sin, which separates those who have sinned from Me (Isaiah 59:2; Romans 3:23). I did not want this separation, but My Holy nature does not permit Me to dwell in the presence of sin (Habakkuk 1:13). It may seem strange to you, but I knew beforehand that men would, in the beginning, choose to reject me. So, before I created man, I already had a plan to save those who would have faith so that they could be reunited with Me again forever sometime in the future (Ephesians 1:4,5; 1 Peter 1:18-20). My plan would take a while to work out, but once completed , I would once again be able to have fellowship with many and it would be by their choice.

My Plan Prophesied:
Let me try to explain My plan to you. Essentially My plan was to send My Only Son Jesus as a sacrifice for the sins of the world (John 3:16). His death would demonstrate My love for those lost in their sins and My desire for them be saved to live with Me forever. To prepare the world for His coming, I had to do several things. I revealed His coming to My prophets so when He did arrive He would be recognized and accepted. It was My hope that thousands of years of predicting His coming would help convince many people to accept Him. I even revealed that He would take human form when I told Satan that one day the “seed” (descendant) of woman (Eve) would bruise his head (defeat him; Genesis 3:15). In Isaiah, I made it crystal clear that He would come to bare the sins of many (Isaiah 53). I predicted the time of His coming (Reign of Rome, Daniel 2:44), the city of His birth (Bethlehem, Micah 5:2), His being born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23), how He would die (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:37), and His resurrection from the dead (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:27). The Old Testament contains several hundred references to the “anointed one” (Messiah), all meant to prepare mankind for His coming.

My Plan and Abraham:
Sometime after the Flood, I called Abraham (Abram) to be a part of My plan (Genesis 12:1-3). He was my “friend” (James 2:23) and because of his faith, I planned something special for him and his descendants. I promised him that he would have many descendants and that his descendants would inherit the land of Canaan (“promised land”). Many people on earth spend a lot of time wondering when I will keep my land promise, but I already fulfilled that promise in the days of Joshua (Joshua 23:14). The more important promise was that one of Abraham’s descendants (“seed”, not “seeds” Galations 3:16) would bring a blessing to all nations and all people of the earth, Christ being that descendant.
To fulfill the “seed” promise I needed to do two things. First, I had to preserve the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (whose name I changed to Israel). I preserved them, not because of their goodness and faith, but because of Abraham’s faith and to fulfill the final promise I had made concerning his “seed.” I made Israel a mighty nation and worked with them for hundreds of years, trying to get them to have the faith of Abraham. But, they rejected me as their King and refused to repent of their idolatry and sinfulness. I destroyed them, except for a remnant. It was through this faithful remnant that Jesus was born into the world. If you want, you can take a look at Jesus’ genealogy traced back to Abraham in Matthew chapter one and Luke chapter three.

My Plan and Moses:
Besides preserving Abraham’s “seed”, I also needed to do something to teach people the awfulness of sin and its penalty. The wages of sin are death, but those who are restored to fellowship with Me will experience the gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23). Adam and Eve lost eternal life when they were cast out of the garden (away from the tree of life) because of their sin. Immediately, I began preparing them for Jesus by teaching them to sacrifice animals to atone for their sins. I wanted them to know that sin brings death, but also the idea of one life being substituted for another. Through my servant Moses, I gave the people of Israel a much more detailed law to teach them about sin and the concept of substituting a life for a life to atone for sin. The blood of animals never actually forgave their sins (it only delayed the penalty), but the sacrifices taught them to be aware of their sins and their need for forgiveness (Hebrews 10:3,4).
Living under the law of Moses was like being in bondage. It contained good morals and many teachings and practices which were shadows of the new faith which I had planned for the future. But, the law had a major weakness. It taught people the awfulness of sin (Romans 7:13), but it could not permanently remove those sins... "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins." (Hebrews 10:4). Moses law was not intended to take away sin. Its purpose was to make people fully aware of sin and the idea of sacrificing another life to make amends for their sin. This would prepare them to accept what Jesus would do on the cross (Romans 7:7-13; Galations 3:19). When Jesus shed His blood He would establish a new and better covenant, thus fulfilling the law’s purpose and taking it out of the way. (Hebrews 8:6-13; Colossians 2:13,14).

My Plan Is Accomplished:
Finally, the time was ready to fulfill my plan and my promise to Abraham. My “Only begotten Son” (Jesus) was born of the virgin Mary who was a descendant of Abraham. Jesus lived as a human all His life and experienced humanity without ever sinning. He was the only One to ever keep or fulfill the law of Moses perfectly. This qualified Him to be a “Lamb without blemish” the only perfect sacrifice for sin. (Hebrews 4:14,15; 1 Peter 1:19). I sent John to prepare the way for Jesus with a message of repentance and baptism for the remissions of sins (Mark 1:4). Jesus also preached repentance and baptism and told the people that He would give His life as a ransom for their sins (John 3:22; Matthew 20:28). Finally, Jesus gave His life for the sins of others so that all who follow Him might have their sins washed away. I deeply grieved the way Jesus died, but hoped that in His death, many would see my love for them (John 3:16). Through Jesus, I provided the opportunity to be forgiven of sin and to be restored to divine fellowship. His miracles and resurrection from the dead proved that He was the “anointed” Messiah that I had promised (1 John 5:10-13). The “Gospel” is the good news of how my plan to save lost mankind has been accomplished through Jesus. Please be sure that there is no other way to be freed from your sins apart from Jesus (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).

How You Must Respond To My Plan:
The religious world is very confusing, as it has been since the beginning of time. Men are always taking it upon themselves to invent some new “god” or some new way of worshipping and serving Me. Please do not be deceived, My way is the only way. I always keep My Word and My promises.
Because of the many religions of the world, there is one more thing I want you to know. I have explained how I sent Jesus to make it possible for those I have created to be restored to fellowship with Me. I have done My part, but My plan does require something of you. If you want to be forgiven of your sins you must have faith. But, do not be deceived by human definitions of faith. Saving faith is not just mentally acknowledging My existence for even the demons believe (James 2:19). Saving faith is an obedient response to My Word (Romans 10:17). I have freely provided you with the gift of salvation, but you must be willing to receive it by having faith according to My Will. I want all people to come to repentance and be saved (2 Peter 3:9).
If you want to be saved, the first thing you should do is put aside the things you have been told by the religions of the world and listen to My Word. I have made receiving salvation as easy as possible, but until you respond to My offer on My terms, you have not demonstrated true faith. When you ignore what I have said and believe what men have said, you are obeying them and failing to submit yourself to My Word. So, if you want to be saved on my terms listen carefully.
The first thing you must do is believe what the Bible says about Jesus being My Son who died for your sins. You must believe that He came back from the grave (1 Corinthians 15:14). Once you have that knowledge (Romans 10:17), you must make a decision to repent and turn away from your old sinful life (Luke 13:3). I cannot repent for you. Like belief, that is something you must be willing to do after hearing and understanding the Gospel. Once you have made this decision to follow Jesus, you are ready to receive the remission of your sins. My Word makes it clear that you are granted remission of sins when you are baptized (immersed) in water in the name of Jesus. Jesus sent His disciples to preach the Gospel to every creature, telling them that, “he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” (Mark 16:16). Many stubbornly reject the role I have given baptism in faith because they trust men’s words instead of the Words of Jesus. They would have you believe that you receive the remission of your sins without baptism. Peter understood what I require when He told those who had heard and believed to “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38). That day, those three thousand who “gladly received his word were baptized.” They had asked what they should do and Peter gave them the exact instruction that I gave him. Most preachers today do not give repenting believers this same answer. Instead they tell them to “accept Jesus into their heart and they will be saved.” My Bible does not have a single example of an inspired preacher telling anyone they would received remission of sins by “only” accepting Jesus into their hearts.
My Holy Spirit cannot abide with you until your sins have been washed away. Baptism is the point of faith where I have ordained that your cleansing be accomplished. My prophet Ananias told Saul to, “arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” (Acts 22:16). He understood the truth about what I require men to do to receive salvation. My Word makes it clear that the purpose of baptism is for the remission of sins. What more do I need to say? Baptism is revealed to be the point of faith when I unite you with Christ’s death (Romans 6:3,4). Baptism is the point of faith when I put you “into Christ” (Galations 3:27). It is the “washing of regeneration” which must take place before My Holy Spirit can fellowship with you (Titus 3:5). It is the “washing of water” by the Word which sanctifies (sets you apart) you from those who are lost (Ephesians 5:26). It is the act of faith which “saves” you and sets you apart from those who are condemned, like getting into the ark separated Noah from the condemned people of his time (1 Peter 3:21). Peter reveals that baptism is the “answer” (request, response) to God for a clear conscience. I require that you be immersed for the remission of your sins. I cannot make it any clearer.
If you believe you have accepted salvation, but have not obeyed this command, or if you were baptized for some human reason (like, “it is the outward sign of an inward faith”), please repent and comply with My Word. Not every one who calls Me Lord will be saved, only those with enough faith to submit themselves to My terms of salvation (Matthew 7:21,22). I regret having to spend so much time on this one essential element of saving faith, but too many preachers have ignored or changed its role in My plan.
After you are baptized into Christ, I will add you to the one church (Acts 2:47). You must not forsake the assemblies of those who teach the truth, but you must encourage each other to greater faith (Hebrews 10:23-25). Remember that since you are saved by faith, you must remain faithful (full of faith) unto death to receive the crown of life (Revelations 2:10).

Promise Kept; Many Blessed:
I have kept my promise to Abraham to bless the world with his “seed” (Galations 3:13-16). If you have the kind of faith Abraham had, you will believe in Jesus, repent of your sins and be baptized into Christ for the remission of your sins. I hope My Words will have enough influence on you, so that if necessary, you will be willing to make some drastic changes in how you have believed.
In closing, let me remind you of My love for you. If your faith is motivated by love for Me you will gladly hear My Words and obey (Galations 5:6; Acts 2:41). As you contemplate the meaning of Biblical faith and the response I have required, please consider what I said through my Apostle Paul:

"For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Gal 3:26-29)

You can be restored to fellowship with Me and become one of my children, but only on My terms. Will you submit yourself to My will and “gladly receive” the Word. You can do that right now by contacting someone in the church of Christ and asking them to help you become a Christian, just like the first people in the church became Christians?
Love, God
(via, My Holy Scriptures?, rlj)

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