What will you do, my friend? - by Keith Petersen
September 3, 2015
My old friend – I am glad that all is holding up at your end. I attended a viewing 6 nights ago for a business associate of 58 who several days before left work as usual, drove home and sometime in the evening dropped dead – quite sobering for all. God says “Ye know not what a day shall bring forth” – our expectation is the “status quo” but there are no guarantees.
I initially thought I might refrain from replying to your letter from Anonymous; however, I want to say some things that I hope will resonate with you. Let me preface by saying that you know my history as a teenager and on into my twenties – something then happened to me to cause a total change. Did I just adopt a religious sop for my conscience, etc.; or, did something actually happen? I think, also, that you recognize that I am no dummy; so, please – bear with me as you consider the following:
Here is a question: Do you know what will happen to you when you die? And, on what do you base your thoughts as to your future? I ask simply and honestly.
You do need to know, my friend, because if the Bible is truly the written Word of God and if you refuse His offer of full and plenary payment for your – and all of our – moral disparities (sins) it is abundantly clear that you will die unrepentant and subsequently face God – instead as Savior – as Judge. If this is true – you need to find out with certainty. If a man on the street approached you and spoke that you should give to him all your assets and he would manage them – you would immediately confirm the validity or lack thereof of such statements. Yet, men can drift along occupied with their own pursuits and desires – unalarmed by the status of their impending eternity.
The above is simple enough as to the reality of our state as being morally faulty. Simply put – are you or I without sin? You could not honestly say “no.” If adequate witness clearly shows a thief’s guilt; yet, standing in the docket he refuses acknowledgment – the Judge will likely enact the full penalty of the law. If he shamefacedly confesses his guilt, there might be a mitigation of his penalty; although, the law would still demand the penalty.
God says to you and me that, through Someone Else having born the judgment and penalty for our sins – we are free to go if we believe and confess what He has done. Would we then be in prison? or, out? Would we be in bondage? or, in a state of liberty? Would the penalty of the law have been applied to us? or, not? Christianity properly speaking is a system of liberty; not, bondage.
That’s the Gospel, my friend. The change of life that you saw with me – and, perhaps, others you know – is the result of the humbling and surrender of self under the hand of God. In the Glad Tidings God shows you a Man without sin – Jesus Christ – Who, in an infinite display of tenderness and love, died FOR you so that you wouldn’t have to stand in a day of judgment as guilty and condemned. No works are called for on your part – just faith. ‘Ye are saved through grace by faith” (Ephesians 2:8).
The “seal” of your faith is that God transacts on His own to give you the Holy Spirit. This provides a nature – a new and different nature – in the power of which you can walk here (and, in an eternal day) as suitable to a relationship with God. God says, “I call you son.” God doesn’t ask you to struggle to make yourself “better” – He condemns in the Cross of Christ the man in the flesh (Christ took your place there) with all the activity of his natural lusts, fears, desires, pursuits and provides a new nature and state which through the indwelling power of His Spirit is without sin.
Does this sound like it cannot actually be true? If I told you that an acorn would produce an 80-ft oak tree – is that believable? What about a caterpillar becoming a butterfly? Or a human could be born of one sperm and one egg – in which sperm and egg are an incredible array of DNA?
The apostle Paul said to King Agrippa, “Why should it be judged a thing incredible in your sight if God raises the dead? After the Lord rose from the grave, one of the disciples – even in the face of adequate testimony from others – said he would not believe that Jesus Christ had risen unless he put his hands into the holes in the Lord’s hands and side (i.e., from the nails used to nail Him to the Cross and the spear thrust into His side after His death). The Lord subsequently showed Himself to this man and told him to put his hands into the holes, and said to him, “Be not unbelieving, but believing.” The man’s name was Thomas.
Just as with doubting Thomas, the Lord will show you, my friend; but, you have to surrender your obdurate will (for, such is our natural will – why do you think I ran so hard in the wrong direction for so many years) for His. You have to come to Him as recognizing that you need Him to save you. But, His will is that you become peaceful – and, joyous – in the presence of God – and that in the reality of eternal life. I give you witness that all that I have written is true.
As far as the silly letter of Anonymous – for such it is – it is always of interest (I use the word loosely) that man – who is in and of himself so incredibly small and finite as a creature in God’s universe – thinks he has an “aha” moment where he can challenge God on a variety of levels. If it helps to clarify, the Old Testament shows principles through the law that God sets out in the way of establishing men’s minds in the understanding of what is involved in a relationship in which there is no sin. Man cannot keep that relationship intact, of course – and, God knows that. The Bible is clear that the law was given by God to Moses not to enable man to acquire a proper moral standing before God; but, rather, to, first, equitably give man the opportunity to prove if he could keep a righteous law and, second, then to show man that, as he broke the law, God’s desire was not that he die but that he be kept alive – not immediately die – and this was accomplished by acknowledging and bringing to God a substitute sacrifice in the tabernacle/temple system of the Old Testament.
So, the lamb on the altar has been realized in the Cross of Christ – the Bible has to be taken as a whole (i.e., Old and New Testaments) – the lambs, bulls and goats, etc. are, of course, no longer needed. Slavery, per se, is specifically prohibited in the Bible (Exodus 21:16). The word “slave” only occurs five times in the Bible (one of which I’ve just alluded to in Exodus) and always refers to what is negative in God’s sight. Leviticus 25:44 does not say anything about slaves or slavery – the Hebrew word used is 'ebed' which means servant or bondman.
I could go on; but, the point is that the mind determined to prove God wrong or non-existent simply makes application from its own – very small – perspective. You cannot get around the Word of God because it is and furnishes the truth.
What will you do, my friend? If you refuse God and His overtures you are shutting out the only way for you to be saved from judgment. You told me many years ago that you were not “ready to chuck in the towel.” But, the chucking of the towel is a foregone conclusion – it is only a question of when. When the towel hits the floor, your earthly matters are closed up and your destiny is either Heaven or Hell.
I’m sorry – a bit – to have gone on much longer than intended. I suppose that you can garner from what has been written here and in my Gospel letter of a month or so ago that I have a deep concern as to your eternal welfare.