Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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From an old letter by Brother Jerry to a friend.
While doing a word search on his computer for an old TFT or TFE that he remembered me sending out to everyone many months ago, Brother Jerry came across this old letter. It is part of a correspondence from a couple of years ago with an old friend of his. He sent it to me and I was blessed by all the simple and good things that I read in it. I feel that Jerry was blessed to have been able to write such a wise and compassionate letter to a friend.
I'm glad to hear from you again. I've read your e-mails and I will do my best to answer.
I wonder if we both believe sin to be the same thing. God knows exactly what sin is. The question is, do we? I know nothing but by the grace of God, so if I am right, then it is only because He shared what is right with me.
I believe that sin is the transgression of God's will at any given moment. If God gives me instructions for Monday and I follow them, then I do well. If He then gives me instructions for Tuesday, but I continue on in Monday's instructions, then I have sinned. My actions, which were once holy, did not change, but God's will did. We must stay free from all sin that we know of, so we can hear what the holy Ghost is saying, so that we do not miss God's instruction.
Now there are obvious sins: smoking, alcohol, drugs – we know these destroy the temple of God and cloud our minds. Why would Jesus want to dwell in a place of uncleanness? When I turned my heart back toward God, all of these lusts of the flesh immediately fell off of me, for the holy Ghost has none of these addictions. I had been walking after the flesh, but then turned my whole heart towards the Spirit which still dwelt in me. I did not have to battle them; they were gone. And I was using some heavy, addictive drugs at that time. The power of God is that strong.
Now I make "mistakes" all the time. I mess up at work, forget checkbook entries, etc. I will always make mistakes, but mistakes are not sin. Sometimes I have thoughts that are contrary to God's will, but I DO NOT act on them. To have an unholy thought is natural. We are taught that the flesh will always "war against the Spirit", and that "the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God and never can be." The question here would be, what are we "yielding our members" to? It is a spiritual warfare, we are told, so if a spirit comes my way telling me to disobey God, I am victorious when I do not yield to it. I can't always control what thought I hear in my mind. If I could, there would be no battle. Please take a moment to read Romans Chapter 6 and 1John 5:18. I really hope you read them. They are but two of many examples of God's requirement and our opportunity for sinlessness.
- Jerry's letter to his friend continues in Part 2 -