Dad, the one thing that has become enormously clear to me in reading scripture and listening to other Bible-based preaching — the emphasis should ALWAYS be on the blood of Christ. All of us are sinners – we are no better than anyone else – we are not better than drug addicts, murderers, child molesters, adulterers, drunks, etc. etc. And, as soon as we start thinking we are better than someone else, we have committed the sin of self-righteousness! We’re just like that Pharisee piously praying “I thank God that I am not as other men are”! Our righteousness is, as Isaiah put it, filthy rags to God.
But, I can confidently now state that I am saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. Scripture says that He was “ONCE offered to bear the sins of many” It only took ONCE – one atoning sacrifice where ALL of my sins – even the ones I haven’t committed yet – were imputed to Jesus Christ – and His righteousness was been imputed to me!! So, when God looks at us, He does not see our sin – He sees the blood of Christ. We are justified before God through the blood of Christ – as Paul put it we are “made accepted in the Beloved”. There is NOTHING OF our own filthy rags (i.e. our “good” works or own righteousness) in that scenario!! Salvation is a GIFT –because of God’s grace (unmerited favor) and His great love towards us. I cannot lose my salvation – not even by my “bad works” or sin – because knowing that I am saved means:
1) I want to do God’s will, so that inclination/temptation to sin is not anywhere near as strong as it used to be! I wake up every day thanking God that I am saved through the blood of Christ–so thankful and so humbled!! I pray “What are you going to do today, God? And, how can I be a part of it?” I used to pray that He would make me willing. Well, He has answered that prayer – I AM willing for His will.
2) – and most importantly — when I do sin, and I will, I am convicted of that sin and I will repent and be forgiven. God knew when He sent Jesus Christ to earth that I would sin next week and probably every day/week of the rest of my life – but He’s got me covered!! Because the blood of Christ has already provided that redemption for me — He paid the price, so I don’t have to. He was already punished for my sins. If I think that His sacrifice was not enough and that I need to be “punished more” – then I am denying the power of the blood of Christ!! I am then, in effect, making His sacrifice ineffective. How dare I?!
Accepting that we are saved by the blood of Christ, which I have only done over the past few weeks – Dad it is LIFE CHANGING. My perspective and mindset are completely different. I understand for real now what being born again as a new creation in Him means.
The Greek phrase “work out” as in the verse “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” means “the manifestation, expression or actualization of something ONE ALREADY POSSESSES”! So, what Paul was asking us to do was to manifest our salvation and express our salvation – the salvation that God, through the blood of Jesus Christ ALREADY provided for us!!
There is NOTHING of our own works in that. All we need to do is be humble and trust God enough to ACCEPT that gift of salvation that He so wants us to accept!! Trust Him that HE is enough, that the blood of Jesus Christ was/is enough!! And, it is necessary that we are weak and incapable of overcoming sin in our own strength – because recognizing that is what keeps us on our knees, repenting and recognizing that we need HIM – that nothing of ourselves is worthy, that HE is our strength and our everything.
There is, of course, that process of sanctification – being set apart by God for the purpose of being made more like Christ. BUT, that is something that comes because of being saved!! Those true good works, that are the Holy Spirit working through our life, the fruits of the Spirit – those result FROM accepting God’s salvation through the blood of Christ.
And, accepting salvation means that we view others differently. How dare we react in anger and think we should punish anyone else for their sins? Jesus Christ took the punishment for them too – if we think we need to punish them more, then we again are denying the power of the blood of Christ. Paul says we are ALL given the ministry of reconciliation, so when others sin, our place is to show them the love of Jesus Christ and point them to Him– with that message that they have been reconciled to God through the blood of Jesus Christ. I pray that Mom will be given this knowledge – and I definitely want the Holy Spirit to continually convict me of this when I deal with others.
I can’t accept your statement that going the meeting is the “closest way”. There is too much emphasis on the method/the organization – and the religion has become an idol to many of the Friends/workers that keeps them from getting close to God. There is too much emphasis on a person’s works – which denies the power of the blood of Christ. Are there Friends like Olan and others who do/did have a true knowledge of scripture and know God?
YES, I believe there are…but to promote a method as being “better” or “closer” is so dangerous. Nothing of man is “better” than anything else and if we promote a method or person it creates the danger of it/them becoming an idol. There are too many things that importance is placed upon in meetings- the meeting in the home, the homeless, celibate preachers going 2×2 – that are not according to scripture. God isn’t concerned with the METHOD – He wants us to get the MESSAGE – the good news that we are saved through the blood of Jesus Christ!! Anything that gets in the way of that message is NOT of God.
I love you – I hope you recognize that what I say I say in love! I know that you know that Jesus is the Way and the Truth, but I think it would really help you to check out the website www.tellingthetruth.info. For one thing – it proves that there is another group of folks out there meeting exactly like the Friends, who followed Edward Cooney when he was excommunicated. Their method is the same. But again, the method is NOT important to God.
It may have made some things easier if we kids would have known how you felt about other Christians. BUT, after the past few months of experiencing all the God has shown me – I’m thankful for how things happened. Finding out about the origins of meeting was a sucker punch to the gut, but I am so thankful that I got that shocking wake-up call. It has taken me from relying on a man-made system to discarding everything that is not of God and His Word – and having Him open my heart and mind to HIM and His message in a way that is truly glorious.
God works in His own time. I have total confidence in Him when it comes to Em too. He has His hand on her. And, if we keep praying and keep pointing her to Him – it’s just a matter of time before she comes around!
I pray for the Friends and workers too – daily. And, for you and Mom. One of the things He has taught me is to TRUST Him more and more. Trust that situations that look hopeless to human eyes- never are if we trust Him.