COULD you, yourself, answer these questions? If someone asked youto open your Bible and show him exactly where the Bible sayssalvation means going to heaven -- could you do it? Is salvation aplace, a destination, a condition, a reward --or what? ... and wherewould you turn in your Bible to find it?
Are you sure?
Could you open your Bible and show a questioner where it tells youwhen you receive salvation? Do you actual]y get it now, when you die,when Christ returns -- or at some other time? This booklet will showyou plainly. Are you, at conversion, an inheritor, an heir toinherit, or what -- and just what does one inherit?
Suppose you were asked what connection there is between salvationand that whole third of the Bible devoted to prophecy. Could youexplain it? Another third or more of the Bible is taken up withhistory. Can you explain the connection of this vast amount ofScripture with salvation? Can you believe MOST of the Bible istotally unconcerned with the matter of salvation?
Religious people talk about "getting saved." Yet even mostreligious people understand no more of what the Bible teaches aboutsalvation -- the real meaning of the word "salvation" -- than acertain young man did about another religious expression. He said tome, "I gave my heart to the Lord at the revival meeting last night.""Well," I said, "Just what do you mean -- you gave your heart to theLord? Just how did you do that? Did you reach in your hand, take yourheart out, and actually hand it to the Lord -- and was He reallyright there, in Person?"
"Well, uh -- uh -- " he stammered, confused, "uh -- well, no, Ididn't do that."
"Then just what did you do? How did you give your heart to theLord?" He stammered some more, then guessed he didn't know. That'sthe way it is with a lot of people who say "I got saved." They don'treally know what they mean by "getting saved."
Do you know what the Bible teaches about salvation? Millions ofsincere people have supposed they knew -- yet have been deceived intoaccepting a false salvation.
It's about time to get to the plain WHYS, WHATS, HOWS, and WHENS,SO you can see it clearly, plainly, right in your own Bible! Whyshould the most important thing in life be a vague, mysterious,superstitious, ethereal, meaningless thing?
I'm going to make it plain -- in your Bible! So prepare yourselffor a shock! And don't believe me -- believe the Bible!
While the real truth must come from the Bible, the dictionarydefinition may help a little. Webster defines "salvation" as: "1. Thesaving of man from the spiritual consequences of sin; especiallydeliverance from sin and eternal damnation .... 2. Preservation fromdestruction, failure, or other evil." Now we need to learn the Bibledefinition of sin, and to see what the Bible reveals the spiritualconsequences to be. Whatever the consequences, Webster says salvationis to save you from it -- and in this the Bible shows Webster wasright. Also salvation means preservation -- and in this, we shall seethe Bible affirms the definition.
But why would you need to be saved from the spiritual consequencesof sin? And why, if you are an immortal soul, do you needpreservation from destruction? What has this to do with you? Supposeyou say, "Look, I don't go to church. I don't pretend to bereligious. Why should I be concerned with all these religious wordslike 'sin' and 'salvation' and 'spiritual consequences'?" Does thisconcern only religious people?
God Almighty, who designed, created, and sustains human life --including yours, says this: "ALL have sinned, and come short of theglory of God" (Romans 3:23).
That involves you!
Right now you probably have no conception of what is meant by "theglory of God" you have come short of. You'll really open your eyes inastonishment when that is made plain to you.
But, whatever sin is, you have sinned. ALL humans have! Christ,only, is excepted. You are involved. And since salvation is savingman from the consequences of sin (and the Bible affirms this, as weshall see), let God's Word tell you what the consequences are.
It is plain and simple. Here it is: "The wages of sin is death;but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord"(Rom. 6:23).
But why have you hardened possibly believed-just theopposite? Lookat that -- read it in your own Bible! Notice! The wages you are goingto be paid for having sinned is death! Then why do so many religiouspeople teach exactly the opposite of the Bible -- why do they teachthat the wages of sin is eternal life in hell?
Look at that again, in your Bible! On the one hand, thepenalty isdeath -- on the other hand, the gift is eternal life. The two arecontrasted -- it is one or the other -- death, or eternal life.
Right here let me make very plain one thing the Bible teaches. Afew persecutors have accused us of teaching "a salvation by works" --that is, that our "works" earn salvation.
Let it be made clear and plain right here that your "works" --your evil works -- do earn something -- but it is not salvation --what they earn -- the wages they earn -- is death, and not salvation!
Further, let's get this point straight and plain righthere--eternal life is not something you can earn, it is God's giftthrough Christ! That is the plain teaching of your Bible! You earnwages. The only wages you can earn is death. Your Bible says that. Wesay that. But our accusers actually teach the very thing they accuseus of teaching! -- they teach that eternal life is the wages you earnby your works -- even though it is eternal life in hell fire!
Again -- your Bible says very plainly that "the gift of God iseternal life." Now this very verse (and all others in the Biblebearing on the subject agree) says plainly that what you receive byGod's grace -- as His gift, is eternal life. It says that eternallife is something you have to obtain as a gift from GOD! Thereforesalvation actually is "eternal life" -- a gift! But do you know theaccusers who try to discredit this very work of God deny that? Theyactually deny that eternal life comes only as God's gift by grace andthrough Christ. They say you already have eternal life. They say youare an "immortal soul"!
Yes, this is amazing!
This is important! This is the crux of the whole question -- oflife -- of the reason for existence! If you have an immortal self youalready have eternal life -- then the Bible is not true when it saysplainly eternal life is a gift from God. According to the Bible, whatthe "saved" receive as God's gift through Jesus Christ is eternallife. Salvation, then, actually is the receiving of something youdon't now have -- eternal life. And if that Bible statement is true,then our accusers are false!
They try to deceive people into believing they do not need to besaved from death by Christ's free grace -- by His shed blood. Theysay you do not need saving from death at all. They say, as Satandeceived mother Eve, that you will not surely die -- you are -- orhave -- an immortal soul!
Notice this in your Bible!
It's time to quit believing and following men. Look in your ownBible. Believe God!
Now does the Bible say anywhere that you are, or have, an"immortal soul"? For years we offered $1,000 to anyone who can showany place where the words "immortal soul" are found in the Bible. Noone ever found it! Why is it that religious people speak continuallyabout "your immortal soul," about "going to heaven," about dead lovedones being now "with the Lord," and many other such things supposedto be the basic beliefs of Christianity -- and yet never once showingyou any such teaching in the Bible! They talk of these teachings asif they were true. They lead you to take these teachings for granted-- to suppose they came from the Bible.
What does the Bible teach about the soul? Will you read it in yourown Bible? Don't take my word for it-don't believe me -- believe God!
Read it, in Ezekiel 18:4: "The soul that sinneth, it shall die."Yes, again the wages of sin is DEATH -- that soul that sins shallDIE! That truth about the soul is so important God caused it to bewritten twice. Turn now to Ezekiel 18:20: "The soul that sinneth, itshall die." Souls are not immortal. Your Bible says they can die!
But the deceiver may say: "That's in the Old Testament." Read inthe NEW Testament that ALL Scripture all that Timothy had known fromyouth, which was the Old Testament -- is given by inspiration of God(II Timothy 3:15-16).
Again, in the New Testament: Jesus Christ Himself said you should"fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" -- afire that will burn them up -- cause them to die -- destroy what isburned! Oh, yes, the Bible does teach that kind of hell fire -- butnot the kind where one burns forever and yet never burns up (Matthew10:28). Let's believe Jesus Christ when He says souls can bedestroyed! They are not immortal!
This may come as a surprise: not only is it true that there is nosuch expression anywhere in the Bible as "immortal soul," but theword "immortal" occurs only once in all the Babylon I Timothy 1:17,where it refers to GOD as being immortal.
Further, the word "immortality" can be found only five times inall the Bible. In Romans 2:7 you will read it is something for us toseek for. Of course! It is the gift of God, who has it to give! Youdon't need to seek for something you already have! In I Corinthians15:53, and again in verse 54, immortality is something the "saved"shall put on, at the time of the resurrection. In I Timothy 6:16 itspeaks of the resurrected and glorified Christ, who, only, of all whohave been born human, has immortality. And finally, in II Timothy1:10, immortality is something Jesus Christ brought to light -- madepossible for us to receive -- through the Gospel. So the Bibleteaches that the soul is not immortal, but is mortal, subject todeath as the penalty of sin! Now where does this leave you? Let's getback to you!
All have sinned. That includes you. The penalty is death! You donot possess eternal life from natural birth. Christ said: "That whichis born of the flesh is flesh" (John 3:6). So you are only mortal,material FLESH. You are "of the earth -- earthy" (I Cor. 15:47). Thelife you were born with is merely temporary chemical existence! Youlive by breathing air in and out of your lungs -- the breath of life.
You are only one breath away from death -- the cessation of theexistence we call "life." If you don't draw that next breath, youcan't keep alive or conscious ten more minutes. There is no immortalsoul that will keep you alive and conscious. You ARE a soul (Gen.2:7) that has sinned, and so shall die, unless saved from it byChrist's grace.
If your heart does not make that next beat, there is nothing inyou to keep you alive ten minutes. You exist by breathing of air andcirculation of blood -- fed by food and water. You have onlytemporary chemical existence. You are like a clock wound up, andrunning down. You don't know at what second it will stop!
You can't give yourself any life beyond this running-down chemicalexistence. There is no eternal life inherent in you. Nothing you cando will produce it, supply it, or earn it. You can't get it by yourown works!
What your own works have done for you is earn for you the penaltyof death. And it is eternal death -- eternal punishment! You see,everyone has "works" -- either good or bad.
GOD -- and God only -- has immortality! Instead of assumingcarelessly the pagan teaching of "immortality of the soul," turnagain to I Timothy 6:16 and read it with your own eyes in your ownBible! The risen Christ, and He only, of all who were born human, hasimmortality. God has immortality -- life inherent, in Himself (John5:26). He has given to the Son, Jesus Christ, also to have life inHimself. And only GOD can impart eternal life to you! It comesthrough Christ. But how are you going to go to God? Your past sinsnot only have condemned you under penalty of death they also have puta total BARRIER between you and God. They have cut you off from allaccess to God! Read it! See it in your own Bible: "Behold, the Lord'shand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy,that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between youand your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he willnot hear" (Isaiah 59:1-2).
So how, when this barrier stands between you, are you going to goto God to obtain eternal life? Again Isaiah answers; "Seek ye theEternal while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near; letthe wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts....For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways myways, saith the Eternal" (Isaiah 55:6-8).
So now you seek God, so you may obtain eternal life from Him. Yourepent! You forsake your way of life, and turn to God's way. But youfind something is still lacking! You find you still are cut off! Thebarrier is still there! Do you know why? At this point we need tostop and find out what is meant by that word "sin." Haven't youhonestly been a bit confused by this religious terminology? You hearpeople talk about "sin," "getting saved," "under law or under grace,""justification," "sanctified," "heaven," "hell," "predestination,"and dozens of other terms. Haven't they been pretty vague to you --rather meaningless? Do you know that most religious people who useall these religious words usually don't know any more than you dowhat they really mean?
We started by quoting the scripture "ALL have sinned." We saidthat included you!
But what is sin? Why, when men preach, don't you hear thatexplained, defined, made clear and understandable? Why are thesereligious terms used most of the time loosely, vaguely,meaninglessly?
Once, in Springfield, Oregon, a young man with a Bible in his handaccosted me on the street. An evangelist had come to town and pitcheda tent. He brought with him a "gospel team" including some eightyoung men of college age, who roamed the streets carrying Bibles,stopping people and inviting them to attend the services. One stoppedme.
"Well now," I said, "Does your evangelist teach that Christ savesus from sin?" He assured me he did.
"Well, what I want to know," I persisted, "is what I have to quitdoing -- or what I have done that you call 'sin.' Just what is'sin'?"
"Well," he answered, "Christ died for our sins."
"But that doesn't tell me exactly what I've done that Christ hadto die for," I insisted. "What is 'sin'?"
"Christ died for our sins," came the reply.
"Yes, I know -- you said that before. But what is this thing,'sin,' that He died for? What do I have to quit doing? Can you openthat Bible you have, and show me the Bible definition of the word'sin'? Is there a place in the Bible where it gives a plaindefinition -- where it says 'sin is -- ' and then in plain wordstells what it is?"
He called to a second of the young men -- then a third, and afourth. Finally, with a large crowd gathering, they called theevangelist himself. But even he could not -- or would not -- turn tothe Bible answer! One by one, they all slunk away!
Then I took a Bible out of my briefcase, turned to I John 3:4, andread to the crowd: "Sin is the transgression of the law."
But what law? This is explained in Romans 7. So next I read: "Whatshall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not knownsin, but by the law" -- or, in the plainer English of the Moffatttranslation: "Why, had it not been for the Law, I would never haveknown what sin meant!" In other words, the Law defines sin. Sin isbreaking the Law. But what Law? Continuing, same verse: "for I hadnot known lust, except the Law had said, Thou shalt not covet" (Rom.7:7). There we are told plainly what Law it is sin to transgress. Itis the Law that says: "Thou shalt not covet." That Law IS the TenCommandments. It is sin to break the Ten Commandments. In verses 12and 14 of this same 7th chapter of Romans you will read that the Lawis holy, just and good, and that it is a spiritual Law -- a Law ofspiritual principles of living! Of course the whole spiritual Law maybe summed up in the word LOVE. This may be divided into the two GreatCommandments, love toward GOD, and love toward neighbor. The firstfour of the Ten Commandments tell us how to love God; the last sixhow to love neighbor. The whole Bible elaborates, showing theprinciples involved, until it includes the entire right way of life!
Now notice Romans 3:20. "Therefore by the deeds of the law thereshall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is theknowledge of sin." Of course! False accusers to the contrarynotwithstanding, that is precisely what we teach. Keeping the Lawwill not justify anyone. We have all sinned. We cannot justify thisguilt we have incurred -- we cannot avoid the wages we have earned --death -- by obedience, goodness, works, or anything we can do. Let'smake that real plain! Most women carry a mirror in their purses. Awoman takes out her mirror, steals a glance at her face, discoversdirt on it. Does she try to wash off the dirt with the mirror?Ridiculous? Yes, of course. Looking into the mirror won't cleanse thedirt already there. Why? Because by the mirror comes the knowledgethat the dirt is there! Now God's Law is His spiritual mirror. YourBible says so -- plainly (James 1:22-25). You look into God's Law. Itshows you the spiritual dirt on your heart. To hear God's Word, whichcorrects, reproves and rebukes (II Tim. 3:16) and then do nothingabout the spiritual dirt it reveals is like a man beholding his facein a mirror, seeing the dirt -- gaining knowledge of it -- thenforgetting how dirty he is -- doing nothing about it.
God's Law is His spiritual mirror. But keeping yourself frombecoming more dirty today does not wash off the dirt already there.So, "By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in hissight" -- why? Because "by the law is the knowledge of sin." Ofcourse! Sin IS "the transgression of the law." Paul would not haveknown it was sin to lust, except the law had said "Thou shalt notcovet." The function of the Law is to tell us what sin is! Not tocleanse us of yesterday's sin or erase the penalty of last year'ssin. There can never be a law, unless there is a penalty for itsviolation. And, where "no law is, there is no transgression" (Rom.4:15) and could be no penalty -- no punishment. If the wages--thepunishment -- of sin is death, and death is the penalty, then thereis a law. And if there is no law being broken, there is notransgression and no penalty -- and then we need no Saviour -- nosalvation from the punishment.
Now where did the Law come from? Again, through James, God says"There is one lawgiver" (James 4:12). That is God. God set in motionmany laws -- of physics and chemistry among them. The great Law ofLOVE IS a spiritual Law. It is the way of peace, of happiness -- ofright relationship with God and with human neighbor. It is inexorablyliving Law as much fixed and in motion as laws of gravity andinertia. To break it is to turn in the opposite direction from peace,happiness, security, abundance, and toward strife, fear, worry,unhappiness, suffering, death. The final wages you earn travellingthat way is death!
Yes, the wages of sin is death! But we have hope! The gift of Godis eternal life.
So now, where are we? Eternal life can be had only from God. So,as stated above, you seek God. But you find a tremendous,impenetrable barrier -- your sins you have committed. Until they arejustified you have no access to God. Isaiah 55:6-8, already quoted,says that if you would seek God the sinner must forsake his way, andturn to God's way. God's Law is God's way -- and sin, thetransgression of His Law -- rebellion and disobedience -- is yourway. So now you forsake your way -- you forsake sin or breaking HisLaw. You forsake breaking it by keeping it -- obeying it. At leastyou try -- you do it the very best you can.
But what do you find? You are still cut off from God! Actually, aswe shall see in a moment, you can't keep a spiritual law with acarnal mind. But, even if you could, your obedience now is only whatis required of you now! It does not make up for PAST law-breaking.That penalty still hangs over you. As we have seen, by beinglaw-abiding now, no flesh shall be justified of past law-breaking! Aman convicted of committing murder last month does not erase hissentence by being law-abiding this month.
That is what your Bible teaches! And that is what The PLAIN TRUTHteaches! That is what Herbert W. Armstrong and The WORLD TOMORROWtelevision and radio programs proclaim to the whole world! Get thatstraight! All the good works in the world -- all the law-keeping --cannot justify you of your past guilt. Now where do you findyourself? You are now submissive -- obedient to God's Law. Is thisnecessary? Most assuredly it is!
Does it JUSTIFY you? A thousand times no! NO!! NO!!! Where are younow? You have forsaken your way -- sin; you have turned to God's way-- His Law. And you are still cut off from God! Your works yourLaw-keeping, while certainly required, still has not justified pastguilt -- has not reconciled you to GOD. YOU still have no accesswhatever to God. And you have to gain access to Him in order toobtain His gift of eternal life! I am trying to make this plain. Iwant all to understand it, once for all!
After all this -- after forsaking sin -- turning to God's way, asHe commands -- keeping His Law -- that DEATH penalty for past sinsstill hangs over you -- the punishment is still death -- and it isETERNAL punishment death for all ETERNITY! So your Bible teaches!
Don't let anyone tell you we do not teach eternal punishment. TheBible teaches eternal punishment. We teach eternal punishment. Thatpunishment, your Bible says, is not eternal LIFE in a hell fire ofendless torture -- not eternal punishING -- but eternal punishMENT --it is death for eternity -- and God's gift is life for eternity! Iwant to make it plain. Don't ever be confused about what we proclaimto the whole world. The Bible is the truth, and we make it plain --mighty plain!
The Bible says the punishment is the second death for eternity. Itis appointed to men once to die -- but after that, the judgment (Heb.9:27). How? As in Adam all die (sinners and saints alike), so inChrist shall all be made alive -- the same all, sinners and saintsbathe die the first death (I Cor. 15:22-23). How? By a resurrection(John 5:28-29) -- there is to be a resurrection of the just and theunjust -- they that have done good, and they that have done evil.Read it and believe what your Bible says! The unjust end up in a hellfire that shall burn them up (II Pet. 3:10; Rev. 20:14-15; Mal. 4:1,3), until they become ashes under the feet of the saved! Read it.Believe what you read in your Bible!
So, where are you? Even with your Commandment keeping which --make no mistake God requires of you -- still you are pretty helpless.You can't give yourself eternal life. You are doomed to die -- andyou are still cut off by sins of the past from GOD, who, only, haseternal life to give. You are pretty helpless, aren't you? Well youhave made a right start, even if you are still helpless.
And now you have made this right start, there IS a way you maygain contact with God who has eternal life to impart. God so lovedthis world of sinners, cut off from Him, that He gave His onlybegotten Son! Remember, God gives eternal life through Christ! NoticeRomans 5:6, "For when we were yet without strength, in due timeChrist died for the ungodly."
Jesus Christ never transgressed God's Law. He said, "I have keptmy Father's Commandments" (John 15:10). He also said He set us anexample that we should do as He did. He never incurred the deathpenalty. He never cut Himself off from God. When He voluntarily paidthe death penalty, He did not pay it for any sins of His own -- forthere were none. He gave His life instead of yours! He paid yourpenalty for you!
The life He gave was that of the MAKER of us all! God created allthings by Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:9). All things- including all humansmade by Him (John 1:1-3). Therefore the life He gave on the cross wasgreater than the sum-total of all other human lives! That is the lifethat died for you -- that paid your penalty for you! Now, continue inRomans 5:8-10: "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, whilewe were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being nowjustified by His blood...."
NOTICE! "Being now justified." How? By your works -- by yourrequired obedience to God's Law? No! By the blood of CHRIST! If youhave repented, and accepted Jesus Christ as personal Saviour you arealready now justified!
But right here is where so many go off into error. They simply donot understand Biblical terms. "Justified" does not refer to thefuture -- it has to do only with your guilty past! This term"justified" does not mean "saved" as we shall now see. It does notmean the gift of life It means the gift of acquittal of past guilt!It means the penalty of past sins has been paid in full, by Christ,for you!
The law stood over you. It claimed your life -- you were under it.It took Christ's life in payment instead of yours. The penalty standspaid! You are no longer under the Law. It no longer has claim overyour life! You are now under grace -- undeserved pardon. You arepardoned from paying the penalty, since Jesus Christ paid it for you!This is not your works. It is Christ's sacrifice. You are nowacquitted -- justified -- the slate is wiped clean of a guilty past!In other words -- the barrier between you and God has now beenremoved! You are now, by Christ's sacrifice, given contact with GOD-- reconciled to Him!
So, continue: "Much more then, being now justified by His blood,we shall be saved by Him." Notice it! You are already justified. Notby works, but by Christ's blood! The past is squared up -- thepenalty paid -- the contact with God made. But are you already saved?Look at it! It says "we SHALL BE saved." Not that we already aresaved. It says "being now justified" but it does not say "being nowsaved." It says "we shall be" -- yes, in the future -- saved. That isstill future! See it with your own eyes. Don't believe me. Don'tbelieve preachers who say you are already, now, saved! Just believethese plain words in your Bible! It is real plain, isn't it?
Now here comes a surprise. Notice verse 10: "For if, when we wereenemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son ...."Here, again, we were reconciled -- past tense. Not by your works --by Christ's death. When you have truly repented, forsaken your way,sought God, accepted Christ as Saviour and His death as payment foryour past sins, you have been, already, reconciled. So the wordinghere is we were reconciled -- past tense -- to God by the death ofHis Son.
What was accomplished by Jesus' death? It paid the penalty -- itwiped out your guilty past -- justified you of your guilt --reconciled you to GOD. But did it save you? Did it? Wait -- don'tjust glibly say yes -- see with your own eyes what your Bible says!It says, continuing, same sentence: "much more, being reconciled, weshall be saved by His life."
Can you believe your own eyes? There it is, in your own Bible!Already reconciled, by Christ's death; but -- "we shall be saved" --that is future tense. Not yet saved -- but we shall be -- in thefuture -- saved. Now are you going to be saved by Christ's death? Candeath impart life? There is no stronger law in science than the lawof biogenesis which says life comes only from life. Death cannotimpart life. Now how shall we -- in future -- be saved? By Christ'sdeath?
No! Notice! Read it! "We shall be saved by His life!" After Christdied, God raised Him back to life. We are saved by His resurrection-- by His life -- by a living Saviour! Read I Cor. 15:14-23.
Now where do you stand? You are now making progress. You now havereal hope. You have repented -- you have sought God, forsaken yourway -- turned to God's way, as defined in His Law and all through HisWord. You have accepted Jesus Christ as personal Saviour, and Hisshed blood for remission of sins. You are now reconciled to God. Youare justified of -- forgiven -- your guilty past. You are out fromunder the penalty of broken law. Now, we read the question: "Whatshall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?"(Rom. 6:1). You are now under grace -- undeserved pardon!
You deserved only death. You didn't earn forgiveness -- pardonfrom the death penalty. You received it by grace through JesusChrist. Now, shall you continue in sin -- that is, continuetransgressing the Law? The answer is "God forbid" (Rom. 6:2). Youwere under the law, when the law stood over you, claiming itspenalty. When Christ paid the penalty, and satisfied the claims ofthe law, you were no longer under the law, but under grace. Now doesthat mean you are not under obligation to obey the law -- that youhave license to sin -- to break the law? Remember sin is thetransgression of the law.
Now read this in your Bible!
"What then? shall we sin" -- that is, according to the Bibledefinition, shall we break the Law -- "because we are not under thelaw, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yieldyourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey;whether of sin" -- breaking the law -- "unto death" -- penalty fordisobedience to God's Law -- "or of obedience unto righteousness?"(Rom. 6:15-16.) There it is! We must not return to rebellion againstGod's inexorable Law of LOVE -- His right way of life. If we do, weare again under the Law -- again automatically sentenced to death!Jesus Christ did not die to give you license to continue inlaw-breaking. When you accept, by His grace, remission of sins, it isonly for sins that are past! You cannot obtain in advance remissionof all the lawlessness you might like to commit in the future.
Read that in your Bible: "Being justified freely by His gracethrough the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath setforth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare hisrighteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through theforbearance of God" (Romans 3:24-25). We are justified only of sinsthat are past. We have remission only of sins that are past -- notlicense to break the Law in the future. Why do some religious peopletoday teach that it is all right for Christians to go right onbreaking the Law? Why do they say that grace means license to disobeyGod's Law? No wonder God found it necessary, through Jude, to warn usto contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints byJesus Christ -- for, as you'll read in Jude 3-4, there are certainmen crept in unawares -- deceiving people -- turning grace intolicense! They are the ones who accuse us of teaching "salvation byworks."
Would a governor pardon a man convicted of murder so he couldcontinue murdering more and more people? God's merciful pardon -- Hisgrace -- is bestowed on us because we have repented, with a sinceredesire to turn from our wicked ways of lawlessness. If we are willingto live, from here on, righteously, happily as we should have fromthe beginning, the merciful and loving God has been willing to giveHis Son Jesus Christ, who, in turn, was willing to give His life, tosquare up our past law-breaking -- to wipe the slate clean, and giveus, by His merciful grace, a fresh, clean start. So, from here on, wemust obey -- untorighteousness! (Rom.6:16). Yet you cannot, of yourown strength, keep the spiritual Law spiritually. Now let's reallyunderstand that!
Many religious people -- many ordained ministers -- will tell you,"It is impossible to keep the Law." Are they telling the truth? Whatdoes your Bible say? Notice! Of the parents of John the Baptist, youwill read: "And they were both righteous before God, walking in allthe commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless" (Luke 1:6).
Why, if it is impossible, did Christ command that if we wouldenter into life, "keep the commandments"? (Matt. 19:17.) Of those whoclaim to "know the Lord," often using such sentimental religiousphrases as "Oh, how good it is to know the Lord," but who teach weshould not keep the Commandments, your Bible says this: "He thatsaith, 'I know Him,' and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, andthe truth is not in him" (I John 2:4).
Yet you cannot, alone of yourself, keep the Law spiritually! Thatis not a contradiction. You can keep the literal letter, but not thespirit. Let's make that plain. At the same time, we shall explain howyou receive Eternal life -- that is, how you receive salvation! Backagain, now, to you! You have now gained contact with God. You aremortal, possessing only a temporary chemical existence. God only haseternal life. Life can come only from life -- not from death.Christ's death paid the penalty of your guilty past -- it reconciledyou to GOD -- gave you access direct to God. But it did not give youeternal life -- did not, yet, save you! Now what?
Jesus Christ said it was necessary for us mortal humans that He goto the Father's throne in heaven (John 16:7) in order to send theHoly Spirit of God for us. This required the resurrected livingChrist. So after His resurrection, Jesus ascended to the throne ofGod that rules the entire universe (Rev. 3:21). Then, some ten dayslater, on the annual day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came to enterinto the very minds of all who had sincerely repented of theirrebellion against God and His way, and who had been reconciled to God-- had gained access -- by faith in Christ's shed blood for theremission of past sins (Acts 2:14). These first disciples receivedGod's Spirit through the work of the resurrected, glorified, livingChrist. The Spirit of the Father is also the Spirit of Christ. Thusit actually was the living Christ, Himself, entering into them -- notin Person, but in spirit! Christ is a living Saviour who does Hissaving work from within!
Now let's get the connection.
If the Holy Spirit of God actually dwells within you, then as Godraised Christ from the dead, He shall also make immortal ("quicken"means energize -- make eternally alive) your mortal body BY HisSpirit dwelling in you (Romans 8:11). But (verse 9), unless HisSpirit is actually IN YOU, YOU are not a Christian -- no matter howmany churches you join! God's Holy Spirit is His LIFE. It imparts Hislife to you! It imparts more, as we shall now see!
One thing more, the Holy Spirit is divine, spiritual love -- thelove of GOD flowing into you from God Almighty -- through the livingChrist! (Rom. 5:5.) Jesus explained how we should come to him, anddrink in of His Spirit, like drinking in living water -- and how thissame Holy Spirit would flow, like a river of living water, on outfrom us (John 7:37-39). Now let's make all that plain and clear.
God's Law is a law of love -- love to God in reverence, worshipand obedience -- love to neighbor in service, kindness, sharing. Ittakes love to fulfill -- to perform -- the Law. You will read that inRomans 13:10. But, remember? -- we saw, in Romans 7:14, that this Lawis a spiritual Law. Science knows only about physical laws. Humansare mortals -- physical. We were born with a capacity only forphysical love. The love of a parent for a child, a husband or wifefor a mate, or even relatives, friends, neighbors. We also are bornwith capacity for envy, jealousy, hate.
But this spiritual Law can be fulfilled -- performed --spiritually kept and obeyed -- only by spiritual love! You were notborn with that kind of love. You do not have, naturally, the kind oflove required to truly keep this great Spiritual Law! You must go toGod to obtain that kind of love. That is a love He gives you throughthe living Christ. That is His own love. It emanates directly fromHim.
Now understand! True righteousness is keeping "all thycommandments" (Psalm 119:172). It is performing God's Spiritual lawwith the spiritual love which only GOD can supply. You drink it infrom Him -- once the contact is established. It pours on out from youlike rivers of living water. Water in a river flows in a certaindirection, guided by the river bed or channel. GOD'S LAW is thatriver bed which guides the flow -- the expression -- the direction inwhich the divine love flows! God's Law is the way of perfectspiritual character -- the very character of God.
So -- the very spirit by which God imparts to you His life -- Hissalvation -- is also His own love which imparts to you Hisrighteousness! It is no longer just you, in your own power andstrength "keeping the commandments" -- it is, spiritually speaking,the living Christ IN YOU, keeping His Father's Commandments -- evenas He kept them by this same divine love even while He was human hereon earth!
Can you brag, or boast, then, about your righteousness? No -- itis not your righteousness -- it is God's! If Christ, by His grace,erased your guilty past, gave you access to God, and now pours forthinto and through you the spiritual love that keeps the Law, this isnot your righteousness, but God's. And this is not your "works"! Itis nothing you earn!
God does not "kid Himself." Some religious teachers tell youChrist lived a righteous life FOR you over 1940 years ago, and sinceyou "can't keep the Law," as they claim, God "imputes" Christ'srighteousness of 19 centuries ago to you -- by sort of "kiddingHimself" that you are righteous, while you are given license to stillbe a spiritual criminal breaking His Law! GOD does not impute to yousomething you do not have. Far from this -- the living Christ by Hispower makes us righteous! He imparts to us power to actually becomerighteous. It is His doing!
Once again, back to you! Now where are we?
There are, first, two things you must do. On that very day ofPentecost after Christ had ascended to heaven, many who had joinedthe mob crying out "crucify Him!" during Christ's trial beforePilate, were conscience stricken and afraid, when they heard theinspired Peter's sermon. They cried out, "What shall we do?" They,too, were helpless. "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in thename of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receivethe gift of the Holy Spirit" was the inspired answer (Acts 2:38).Note it! Two things YOU do:
1 ) REPENT -- turn from your way, by turning to God's way -- HisLaw! You repent of sin. Sin is the transgression of the spiritualLaw.
2) BE BAPTIZED. The Ethiopian eunuch, coming to a lake of water,asked Philip what hindered him to be baptized. "IF thou believestwith all thine heart" was Philip's condition (Acts 8:36-37).Repentance is toward God, for the Law comes from God, but faith istoward Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). Faith in Christ's atonement for sinis commanded to be expressed by being baptized. (Write for our freebooklet "All About Water Baptism".) This, then, gains contact withGod. That is as far as you can go, on your own. You have reached yourextremity! So now GOD does something!
3) You SHALL RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT. This is God's gift. It isthe presence, conditionally, of Eternal Life.
And now if you faithfully follow God's way -- the way the HolySpirit leads -- you are already a begotten son of God! "For as manyas are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Romans8:14). "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yetappear what we shall be: but we know that, when he [Christ] shallappear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is" (I John3:2).
Get it straight! You are now converted -- a changed person -- forGod's Spirit (Eph. 4:23) produces a renewing of your mind. Your wholeconcept and direction of life is changed! God's Spirit is His verylife imparted to you! You are now a begotten son of God.
But it does not yet appear what you shall be. This scripture doesnot say "where you shall GO" -- or "where you shall BE." It istalking about a condition, not a place: "what we shall be"! Salvationis a matter of what you become -- not where you shall go! God'spurpose is to change you -- from your vile character to HIS gloriouscharacter -- not to change the place where you are! But -- you arenow already a begotten son of God -- you may now call Him Father! --as long as you are led by His Spirit! -- and no longer (Heb.10:26-27). (Write for our free booklet "Just What Do You Mean -- "theUnpardonable Sin"?")
And there are still some "if's." You must grow spiritually (IIPet. 3:18). It is "To him that overcometh" that Christ will grant tosit with Him on HIS throne, when He returns to earth (Rev. 3:21). Ifyou overcome -- overcome your own carnal nature, the world and thedevil -- and keep Christ's works (not your own works, but Christ's --by His spirit in you) then you shall reign and rule all nations withHim, in the happy world tomorrow! The real Christian life is, truly,a life of overcoming, spiritual growing -- but it is the only happylife -- the abundant life -- here and now! Yet we must endure andremain steadfast -- for it is he who endures to the end that shall besaved! Read this in your BIBLE -- Matthew 10:22; 24:13; Mark 4:17;John 6:27; I Cor. 9:24-27; Heb. 10:26-27.
So, finally, back again to you! Where are we, now? You have beenconverted -- changed in mind, concept, attitude, direction of way oflife -- you are begotten as a child of God -- you have now eternallife abiding in you -- as long as you are LED by God's Spirit inGod's way -- as long as you continue in contact and fellowship withGod (I John 1:3) -- all by God's grace as His gift, and not anythingyou have earned by your works; and now if you continue overcoming,growing spiritually -- and all this actually through God's power --you shall inherit the Kingdom of God, and be made immortal to liveforever in happiness and joy!
If you are one who really wants to receive salvation -- to repentand obey God -- then here is GOOD NEWS! The Worldwide Church of Godhas dedicated, consecrated, converted, fully instructed and trained,ORDAINED MINISTERS in all parts of the United States and many otherparts of the world -- available to call on you, visit in your home,answer your questions, and explain the Bible to you. Of course, noneof them will ever call on you, unless you of your own free willrequest it.
But if you of your own volition want to know more about the Bible,salvation, and the Christian life -- why not request a personalvisit.. We will have one of God's own ministers call on you.
This booklet has covered the truth of how we may become a begottenson of God. The Worldwide Church of God has published a sequelbooklet making plain what salvation is -- when we receive it -- whatone inherits -- when and how one is "born again." It is titled "WhatDo You Mean -- Born Again?" Send in your request for it now. It'sfree, of course.