Letter to a friend. . .
First, I must ask your forgiveness. My own feelings or pride may have taken the place of what I should’ve said. And I feel that these written words may sound harsher than they would if spoken to you, and please know that it was not my intention. I have already asked forgiveness of God for any wrong that my foolish pride has done to you, and so now ask you to forgive me as well.
I do not claim to know your heart, or anyone else’s, but I do know that God’s word tells me over and over that neither my heart or anyone else’s can be trusted to do good left to itself. My concern for you is the same I have for all, and for myself. That we be not just trusting in a profession of faith, but in the person of Jesus Christ alone, and thereby should have ample fruit to give proof of our faith.
Allow me to explain why this is so important to me. I spent many years of my life in hypocrisy and thinking I was okay with God, because I could profess a faith in Him, and I believed He existed, and that He died and now lives. The problem was that I came to the realization that if I truly believed that, then my life in every aspect should show some sign of my faith being real. There should be submission to His Word and will on my part. Scriptures like those found in Matthew 7:21-23 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” and “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” - 2 Corinthians 13:5, scared me.
These and other Scriptures made me take a hard look at what I was actually living for. I was living for me. I did only things that satisfied me, pleased me, and even when something might look good to others, I did them with the intention of their seeing it and thinking well of me.
I am not trying to presume to know whether or not you are saved, merely to exhort you to be sure, because you have implied to me that we cannot know for sure if we die this instant where we will be. “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:” - 2 Peter 1:10
You have told me that the Bible is full of contradictions. A Christian should never think such a thing of his God. “That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:” - Hebrews 6:18. God cannot lie, so if any of part of the Bible should be seen as untrue or not trustworthy, then it is to call God a liar. I do not say this to be condescending, but because God had to bring me to this. If there is something that may appear to be a contradiction in His Word, I trust that it must be true, not because I always see it as such, but because I trust it to be His Word, and I trust His character, that He cannot lie. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”-2 Timothy 3:16. And that if I don’t understand something, I don’t just have to say, “Oh well, must be wrong.” “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” - James 1:5.
I do not think myself better than you. On the contrary, I see myself as the most selfish and vile of all people. I know who I am and who I have been, and am disgusted with myself. When I read: “Master, what is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law of the prophets.” - Matthew 22:36-40. I see only am imperfect love for my Savior. I cannot keep His commandments. All my heart, soul, and mind do not even to seek to love Him all the time, not even a fraction of the time. I do not love my neighbor as I should, let alone as myself. This only makes Jesus more precious, because He kept all of the law. He was and is the only One who could satisfy the great and perfect requirements of God’s perfect and holy law. My salvation, my hope for anything and everything, rests solely in Him and what He has done. I could never choose right, and have proven so by always choosing wrongly when left to my own wisdom and doing.
Could you share with me your conversion? Is Jesus precious to you? Would those who know you best say that Jesus is the most important thing in your life? Your greatest affection?
“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself so to walk, even as he walked.” - 1 John 2:3-6
We do sin, I sin all the time. But I can also look at my life and see God growing me. The sign of true Christian faith is that we do sin, but we repent of our sins, and we do not live continually in gross sin. We are supposed to submit to the Word of God and its authority in all things.
“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not committ sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” - 1 John 3:4-10
I am in no way claiming that I do not sin, but have the greatest desire not to sin, and am ashamed of my sins, and continually must seek the forgiveness of God for them. I love you, and I think you already know where we disagree, but let us make sure that our disagreement is with eachother and not with God.
I do earnestly seek that all those I know would be saved. I say all this with love for your soul. I do not know whether you have ever looked at the Scriptures or not. I do not know whether or not you believe what they say. I do not know if you have justified yourself in sin by believing they are untrustworthy. I know myself, and I know that the Bible says: “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” - Romans 1:21-23.
We create an image and commit idolatry when we do not take what God has said about Himself through His own word, the Bible, but instead create a god that we are comfortable with. When we take what we like from the Bible and reason away what we don’t like, we call Him a liar, and have made a god for ourselves to please our reason or worse that we might continue to live in sin. I have done this, and according to Scripture so have we all. I am not trying to stand in judgement over anyone. It’s not within my power to exact judgement, nor do I want to, and if I have been judgemental, God forgive me. But do not mistake God’s judgement in what He has already decreed in His Word, the Bible, for my judgement. If you truly have any desire to understand my understanding (which is infinitely limited) for how I would see anyone, myself included, apart from God, read the first three chapters of Romans. Please, read it for yourself, and take it for what it says, instead of assuming that it can’t be trusted. Trust the One it represents, as it is He who wrote it.
I love you enough to speak the truth to you, and will always love you thusly.