|Such Great Faith
|It's Not My Fault!
|Were There "Christians" in Old Testament Times?
Such Great Faith
On Saturday, September 11, 2004, Dave Harris will be giving the sermon, titled, “Such Great Faith.”
The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at 12:30 pm Pacific Time (which is 2:30 pm Central Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.
The Feast of Trumpets is next week – from Wednesday sunset to Thursday sunset. Date – September 16.
Please note that there will be two services that day:
Norbert Link will be speaking from Madison, Wisconsin at 11:00am CT; and Edwin Pope will be speaking from San Diego, CA. at 4:30pm CT. Norbert Link will also conduct Sabbath Services in Madison on September 18, 2004 2:30pm CT.
It's Not My Fault!
by Brian Gale (United Kingdom)
Recently in the U.K., the Butler report on the Iraq war was released to the public. Lord Butler concluded that in spite of billions of pounds spent, scores of British soldiers killed, 11,500 civilians dead, no weapons of mass destruction found, no immediate threat proven, flawed intelligence, Parliament and the British public having been misled — no one was to blame.
It appears that it is never our fault. Today, taking responsibility for our actions is so rare that it provokes comment. As one commentator said, “It is a cruel irony of modern life that the only people who can regularly be relied on to accept – indeed, to claim – responsibility for their actions are terrorist bombers. Elsewhere, in almost every sphere of activity, society seems to be in retreat, in denial.” However, while terrorists who bomb innocent civilian targets usually do accept responsibility for doing their terrible deed, they then blame the target for what they’ve done. For example, the 9/11 attacks in New York “had” to be carried out because of the “great Satan” (America).
Where did this all begin? Right at the dawn of civilization! Right at the beginning – where else? Genesis 3: 12 states: “Then the man said, ’The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.'”
The first man, Adam, said in effect, “It’s not my fault – YOU, God, made the woman – it’s all Your fault – here I was, after naming the animals, You took a rib out of me while I was asleep and made the woman – and she made me do it. SHE gave me the fruit – it’s not my fault! And if You hadn’t allowed the serpent into the garden, none of this would have happened!” Doesn’t that approach sound rather familiar?
And in the following verse, it states: “And the Lord God said to the woman, “‘What is this you have done?’ The woman said, ’The serpent deceived me, and I ate.'”
Now Eve climbs on the “no fault” bandwagon. No hint of apology or admission of wrongdoing. No sign of it whatsoever from either Adam or Eve. And that’s where the attitude of “It’s not my fault” all started from. It has shown no signs of abating in the last 6,000 years, although there have been honorable people, at times, who admitted when they were wrong. There have been some who have taken responsibility for the consequences of their actions. But they were the exceptions — and today, we live in a “no blame,” “no fault” society where other things or other people are the problem – never the self. That is how the world reacts and behaves. It is a blatantly dishonest approach when people are clearly at fault. But human nature, being what it is, doesn’t like to admit guilt.
Our approach — the approach of truly converted Christians — must be diametrically opposite. When we are wrong, we should admit our failings and guilt. Anything other than that would be lying – and therefore breaking one of the Ten Commandments. We may look at the ways of this world and make the commitment not to follow them. We are to be different – and this is just one area that proves the point.
Next time we are wrong on some matter and we may think – even for just a fraction of a second — that we can get out of it, by blaming someone or something else, let us remember that we will have to give account to God for OUR actions and reactions. That should really motivate us to admit our wrongs and change for the better. Let us not deceive ourselves. When we sin, it is our fault!
This Week in the News
President George W. Bush addressed the Republican Convention on September 2, 2004. We are bringing you the following excerpts from his speech:
“We will build a safer world and a more hopeful America and nothing will hold us back… I believe the most solemn duty of the American president is to protect the American people. If America shows uncertainty and weakness in this decade, the world will drift toward tragedy… In this world of change, some things do not change: the values we try to live by, the institutions that give our lives meaning and purpose. Our society rests on a foundation of responsibility and character and family commitment….
“Four years ago, Afghanistan was the home base of al-Qaida, Pakistan was a transit point for terrorist groups, Saudi Arabia was fertile ground for terrorist fundraising, Libya was secretly pursuing nuclear weapons, Iraq was a gathering threat, and al-Qaida was largely unchallenged as it planned attacks. Today, the government of a free Afghanistan is fighting terror, Pakistan is capturing terrorist leaders, Saudi Arabia is making raids and arrests, Libya is dismantling its weapons programs, the army of a free Iraq is fighting for freedom, and more than three-quarters of al-Qaida’s key members and associates have been detained or killed.
“In Afghanistan, terrorists have done everything they can to intimidate people yet more than 10 million citizens have registered to vote in the October presidential election — a resounding endorsement of democracy. Despite ongoing acts of violence, Iraq now has a strong Prime Minister, a national council, and national elections are scheduled for January. Our Nation is standing with the people of Afghanistan and Iraq, because when America gives its word, America must keep its word… Our allies also know the historic importance of our work. About 40 nations stand beside us in Afghanistan, and some 30 in Iraq… America is grateful, and America will not forget….
“The progress we and our friends and allies seek in the broader Middle East will not come easily, or all at once. …To everything we know there is a season — a time for sadness, a time for struggle, a time for rebuilding. And now we have reached a time for hope. This young century will be liberty’s century. By promoting liberty abroad, we will build a safer world. By encouraging liberty at home, we will build a more hopeful America. Like generations before us, we have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom. This is the everlasting dream of America… Now we go forward grateful for our freedom, faithful to our cause, and confident in the future of the greatest nation on earth.”
Former President Bill Clinton is presently recuperating from a complicated quadruple heart bypass surgery. Many are praying for his speedy recovery. On July 26, 2004, Mr. Clinton gave a highly recognized speech at the Democratic Convention. We are quoting the following excerpts from his speech:
“The 21st century is marked by serious security threats, serious economic challenges and serious problems, from AIDS to global warming to the continuing turmoil in the Middle East. But it is also full of amazing opportunities to create millions of new jobs and clean energy and biotechnology, to restore our manufacturing base and reap the benefits of the global economy… To build that kind of world, we must make the right choices…
“Americans long to be united. After 9/11, we all just wanted to be one nation. Not a single American on September 12, 2001, cared who won the next presidential election… All we wanted to do was to be one country, strong in the fight against terror, helping to heal those who were wounded and the families of those who lost their loved ones, reaching out to the rest of the world so we could meet these new challenges and go on with our democratic way of life….
“America just works better when more people have a chance to live their dreams. And, secondly, we live in an interdependent world in which we cannot possibly kill, jail or occupy all of our potential adversaries. So we have to both fight terror and build a world with more partners and fewer terrorists…
“In the early days of the republic, America was divided and at a crossroads, much as it is today, deeply divided over whether or not to build a real nation with a national economy and a national legal system. We chose to build a more perfect union. In the Civil War, America was at another crossroads, deeply divided over whether to save the union and end slavery. We chose a more perfect union. In the 1960s, when I was a young man, we were divided again over civil rights and women’s rights. And again we chose to form a more perfect union…
“Now, again, it is time to choose. Since we’re all in the same boat, we should choose a captain of our ship who is a brave good man, who knows how to steer a vessel through troubled waters, to the calm seas and the clear sides of our more perfect union. That is our mission.”
EU vs. Great Britain
As Associated Press reported on September 3, 2004, “The European Union’s executive will take Britain to the Court of Justice of the European Communities in a dispute over the controversial nuclear power plant at Sellafield, EU officials said.” The article continued: “The European Commission had told Britain in March to give EU inspectors unfettered access to the Sellafield site or face legal action, in a stern warning welcomed by environmental campaigners. The European Union executive’s patience had run out after repeatedly asking British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) to open up access, under a European agreement, to a facility on the site in northwest England that stores spent nuclear fuel. Under the terms of the 1957 Euratom Treaty, EU inspectors have the right to enter nuclear facilities in member states to ensure that material is being stored safely and cannot end up in the wrong hands. But for several years, inspectors have been unable to gain access to a pond at Sellafield called B30 that stores irradiated fuel because of high radiation levels and poor visibility, Brussels complained.”
Attacks on Iraq’s pipelines
AFP reported on September 3 about serious and heavy attacks on Iraq’s pipelines. The article stated: “Saboteurs exploded a bomb on the strategic pipeline at 6:30 pm Wednesday by the town of Riyadah 50 kilometres (30 miles) south of Kirkuk, Iraqi officials said. They called it the most serious attack on the north’s oil infrastructure since the US-led invasion of Iraq.” The article continued: “Repeated sabotage of Iraq’s oil industry has cost the country more than a billion dollars in revenue. In particular, exports from the lucrative Kirkuk fields have been brought to a virtual standstill by insurgents for well over a year. A recent string of attacks has also damaged several pipelines in southern Iraq. That area accounts for 90 percent of exports from the country, which sits atop the world’s second-largest oil reserve.
What’s Happening in Russia?
While Russia’s leader, Putin, is blaming the terrible fiasco at a southern Russian school on terrorists, questions are being asked by some as to what happened — especially in light of the fact that Russia’s dealings with “Chechen rebels” have ended in tragedy before. Associated Press published an article on September 4, 2004, stating the following:
“More than 340 people, including 155 children, were killed in the violence that ended a hostage standoff with militants at a southern Russian school, a prosecutor said Saturday. President Vladimir Putin accused the attackers of trying to spark an ethnic conflict that would engulf Russia’s troubled Caucasus Mountains region.”
The article continued: “Two major hostage-taking raids by Chechen rebels outside the war-torn region in the past decade provoked Russian rescue operations that led to many deaths. The seizure of a Moscow theater in 2002 ended after a knockout gas was pumped into the building, debilitating the captors but causing almost all of the 129 hostage deaths. In 1995 – during the first of two wars in Chechnya in the past decade – rebels led by guerrilla commander Shamil Basayev seized a hospital in the southern Russian city of Budyonnovsk, taking some 2,000 people hostage. The six-day standoff ended with a fierce Russian assault, and some 100 people died.”
In addition, Reuters published an article on September 4, titled, “Moscow Angered at EU Demand.” The article explained: “Russia denounced today as ‘blasphemous’ a request by the EU’s Dutch presidency for an explanation for the bloody end to a mass hostage seizure at a school by Chechen gunmen. But Dutch foreign minister Bernard Bot, who made the request in a statement yesterday on behalf of the EU presidency, said he had been misunderstood… In a statement issued in the name of the EU presidency yesterday, Bot said all countries should work together to stop such tragedies, adding: ‘We also would like to know from the Russian authorities how this tragedy could have happened.'”
Questions are also being raised about Russia’s treatment or mistreatment of journalists. Associated Press reported on September 7, 2004:
“The detention of several journalists traveling to and from the deadly school siege in Russia is raising new concern about press freedom in the country, media watchdogs said Tuesday. There are also accusations that a prominent Russian journalist and critic of Moscow’s campaign in Chechnya, Anna Politkovskaya, was victim of a deliberate case of food poisoning…. Some analysts fear the Russian government may tighten its grip further following the school siege and other attacks in recent days blamed on Chechen separatists. ‘The fear of the Russian population will be used to justify further restrictions on the media,’ said Luitgard Hammerer, of Article 19, a London-based free speech group. … Chechnya is the most taboo subject, watchdogs say. ‘There is a complete blackout of information on what’s happening in Chechnya,’ Blatmann, of Reporters Without Borders, said. ‘In this critical moment, the Russian population has the right to receive independent and complete information.’ … Press freedom organizations say that in recent years Putin has been exercising strict control over much of the media, particularly broadcasters.”
The Bush Administration pointed out its different position regarding Putin’s “handling” of the Chechnya situation. As Associated Press reported on September 7, 2004, “The Bush administration differed Tuesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin and said that only a political settlement could end the crisis between Russia and the breakaway region of Chechnya.” But Putin’s hard course was again manifested, as the article continued to point out: “In an interview Monday with a group of foreign journalists and academics, Putin rejected Western calls for negotiations with Chechen rebel representatives, Britain’s Guardian and Independent newspapers reported. ‘Why don’t you meet Osama bin Laden, invite him to Brussels or to the White House and engage in talks, ask him what he wants and give it to him so he leaves you in peace?’ the Guardian quoted Putin as saying sarcastically.”
In a related article, the Washington Times wrote in its editorial of September 7, 2004: “Vladimir Putin’s government, which has had trouble getting its stories straight every time there’s a massacre, now says it has determined that at least 10 of the 30 or so intruders who took more than a thousand hostages were Arabs, and the others were Chechens and Ingush who were trained at al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan. Survivors of the massacre said some of their captors spoke Arabic, and Russian security agents confiscated notebooks in the rubble, inscribed in Arabic script.”
The ongoing consequences of this act of terrorism show how swiftly seemingly isolated events can cause major international difficulties. As reported by www.comcast.net, 9/9/2004, “The European Union, already at odds with the Bush administration over pre-emptive military strikes, reacted warily to a warning from Moscow that it too reserved the right to neutralize terror threats anywhere in the world.” The article continued: “Col. Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky, the chief of the general staff of Russia’s armed forces, said Wednesday that ‘we will take all measures to liquidate terrorist bases in any region of the world.’ “
This article also showed that the prevailing position of the EU in matters such as this was against such pre-emptive strikes: ” ‘For us, it is by its nature a question that must be debated under the European framework, in the Group of Eight and of course in the United Nations,’ spokesman Herve Ladsous told reporters.”
Is Schwarzenegger Changing History?
www.nctimes.com published an article on September 4, regarding statements about Austria, as uttered in a recent speech by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Austrian historians are alleging that Schwarzenegger inaccurately described Austrian history. The article pointed out:
“Historians criticized Arnold Schwarzenegger for telling the Republican National Convention that he left a ‘socialist’ country when he moved away in 1968, noting that Austria had conservative leaders during the entire time he lived there. Some also were doubtful about Schwarzenegger’s remark that he saw Soviet tanks as a child, since he lived in an Austrian region occupied by British troops after World War II… In his convention address Tuesday, Schwarzenegger said: ‘As a kid, I saw the socialist country that Austria became after the Soviets left’ in 1955 and Austria regained its independence. But Austria was governed by coalition governments that included the conservative People’s Party and the liberal Social Democratic Party, Martin Polaschek, a law history scholar and vice rector of Graz University, told the Vienna newspaper Kurier. Between 1945 and 1970, all the nation’s chancellors were conservatives — not socialists. And when Schwarzenegger left in 1968, Austria was run by a conservative government headed by People’s Party Chancellor Josef Klaus, a staunch Roman Catholic and a sharp critic of both the socialists and the communists ruling in countries across the Iron Curtain.”
The article published the following retort, in defense of Schwarzenegger: “Schwarzenegger’s spokeswoman, Margita Thompson, said the governor was not referring specifically to the Socialist party but rather to ‘a socialistic style of government and governing that he experienced when living in Austria’… [and] to a visit to the Soviet zone, which was as close as 30 miles to his family’s home. ‘Never in there did the governor reference that the tanks were where he grew up. It was a reference to visiting Soviet-occupied Austria,’ she said.”
The article also briefly commented on the (somewhat sad) reaction of the general Austrian public, as follows: “Many ordinary Austrians seemed in a forgiving mood Friday over any gaffes. ‘Maybe he has a wrong recollection — it’s so many years since he left,’ said Wilma Fadrany, 32, a waitress in Vienna. ‘There must be political reasons for such comments,’ she said. ‘You’ve got to tell the (convention delegates) what they want to hear in order to win them over. Politicians always talk the way it fits into their agenda.'”
Hurricane Frances’ Damage
According to an article of the Associated Press, dated September 6, 2004, “Hurricane Frances did more damage to the Kennedy Space Center than any other storm in history, tearing an estimated 1,000 exterior panels from a giant building where spaceships are assembled, officials said Monday.”
Even as the human and economic toll for Frances is tallied, another more powerful hurricane name “Ivan” is threatening to hit the state of Florida by late this weekend. This dangerous storm has already brought devastating destruction to several Caribbean islands.
Military Deaths in Iraq
Associated Press reported on September 7, 2004, that “U.S. military deaths in the Iraq campaign passed the 1,000 milestone Tuesday, with more than 800 of them during the stubborn insurgency that flared after the Americans brought down Saddam Hussein and President Bush declared major combat over.” The article continued: “The 1,003 figure includes deaths from hostile and non-hostile causes since the United States launched the Iraq campaign in March 2003 to topple Saddam’s regime. The vast majority of U.S. deaths – all but 138 – came after Bush’s May 1, 2003 declaration of an end to major combat operations. ‘Mission Accomplished,’ read a banner on an aircraft carrier where Bush made the announcement.”
IPS reported on September 7, 2004, that “The new outbreak of violence in Baghdad has shattered ceasefire talks between Shia militants and the Iraqi government.”
British Report on Iraq
Associated Press reported on September 7 that a British report concluded: “British Evidence on Iraq Thin.” The article continued: “Intelligence indicating Saddam Hussein had stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons was ‘very thin,’ the author of a critical report on the British government’s case for war in Iraq said Tuesday. In his first public comments since publishing the results of his inquiry in July, Lord Butler said the weakness of a government dossier on the threat posed by Iraq had ‘come home to roost’ as no such weapons had been found.”
Germany and the Wall
A somewhat shocking survey was just published in Germany. Reuters reported on September 8, 2004, that “Fourteen years and a trillion euros after reunification one in five Germans would like to see the barrier that split the country during the Cold War put back, a survey found Wednesday. A poll by the Forsa institute found a quarter of western Germans wishing the 15 million east Germans were cut off again by the Berlin Wall, living in a different state, while 12 percent of eastern Germans wanted out of the united Germany….The lingering divisions have erupted in recent months as Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s government attempts to reduce unemployment and welfare benefits, touching a nerve in the east… Thirty-seven percent of west Germans said the 80 billion euros ($96.28 billion) the government pumps into the east each year was too much. But almost a third of east Germans thought it too little, Forsa said.”
Associated Press reported on September 6, 2004, about Germany’s economy and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s recent state election defeats. The article stated: “Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder insisted on Monday that there was no turning back in cutting social programs despite pressure to reverse the unpopular measures after his party suffered a rout in a German state election. Schroeder’s Social Democrats lost 45 percent of their voter support Sunday in the small western state of Saarland, while the conservative Christian Democrats – the main opposition party at the national level – retained control of the local legislature and the governor’s post… Schroeder has staked his political future on the reforms, which he says are needed to boost Europe’s largest economy, reduce debt and fight unemployment. But the latest electoral defeat reignited criticism of his course inside his party and among labor unions. … In Sunday’s vote, support for the Social Democrats plunged to 30.8 percent from 44.4 percent in the last Saarland election in 1999, the party’s worst showing in the state since 1960. Those capitalizing on the backlash included the small far-right National Democratic Party, which came out of nowhere to win 4 percent of the vote with a platform opposed to Schroeder’s welfare-state cuts.”
Were There "Christians" in Old Testament Times?
Not in name, of course, but yes, if we understand properly what the word “Christians” stands for. Prior to New Testament times, nobody was called a “Christian,” per se. We read, in Acts 11:26, that “the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” Subsequently, the term became known as a description for Christ’s followers, and was used both by unconverted people (Acts 26:28) and by converted disciples (1 Peter 4:16).
A Christian, in the true sense of the word, is one in whom Jesus Christ lives — through the Holy Spirit. Paul said that Christ was living in him (Galatians 2:20), and that we are only true Christians, if His Spirit dwells in us: “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the spirit of Christ, he is not His” (Romans 8:9). Paul even adds the thought that we will only enter the kingdom of God by a resurrection from the dead, if the Holy Spirit dwells in us at the time of our death (Romans 8:11).
The substantial conditions based upon which we enter the Kingdom of God and inherit the promise of eternal life, are the same for every human being — regardless of whether he or she lived and died before or after Christ’s First Coming.
We know that Old Testament followers of God will be in the Kingdom of God. Christ said in Matthew 8:11: “And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.” We read that king David will be ruling, as king, in the Kingdom of God. Jeremiah 30:9 points out: “But they shall serve the LORD their God, And David their king, Whom I will raise up for them.” Hosea 3:5 states: “Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God and David their king.” We also read: “My servant David shall be their prince forever” (Ezekiel 37:25).
We also read about a vision of the Kingdom of God, which was given to some of Christ’s disciples. In that vision, Moses and Elijah appeared in a glorified state, showing that they, too, will be in the Kingdom, once Christ establishes it here on earth (Matthew 16:28-17:9; Luke 9:27-36).
In addition, we find a rather long list of God’s Old Testament servants in the 11th chapter of the book of Hebrews. The list includes people like Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. Verses 39-40 explicitly state: “And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise [of eternal life and of entering the Kingdom of God], God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect APART FROM us.”
So, they will be made perfect, in the first or better resurrection (compare verse 35), TOGETHER with us. In order to be resurrected, they must, however, “sleep in Jesus” (Compare 1 Thessalonians 4:14). That is, they must have believed in, and accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, as there is none other than Jesus, through Whom we can be saved (compare Acts 4:12).
The Bible reveals that Christ was the Personage within the Family of God Who actually dealt directly with mankind. God the Father created everything, including man, through Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:16). Christ talked with Abraham (John 8:56-58). He was the God being Who led Israel out of Egypt (1 Corinthians 10:1-4). It was Christ Who was tried by disobedient Israel (verse 9). And, most importantly, it was the Spirit of CHRIST which dwelled in the prophets of old, as 1 Peter 1:10-11 clearly proves: “Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST [WHICH] WAS IN THEM was indicating when [it] testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.”
We also read that, after Samuel anointed David, “the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward” (1 Samuel 16:13). Later, David prayed to God not to take His Holy Spirit away from him (Psalm 51: 11). Moses, too, had received God’s Holy Spirit. God took a portion of the Holy Spirit, dwelling in Moses, and gave it to seventy elders (compare Numbers 11:16-17, 25, 29). Later, Moses laid his hands on Joshua, In whom was already the Spirit of God (compare Numbers 27:18), and then “Joshua the son of Nun was FULL of the spirit of wisdom”
(Deuteronomy 34:9), that is, he received an extra portion of the wisdom of God, through God’s Spirit. Elisha asked for and received “a double portion” of Elijah’s Holy Spirit — which was, of course, IN Elijah (compare 2 Kings 2:9).
We read, too, that king Saul received the Holy Spirit, but he subsequently lost it again — showing that it IS possible to lose the gift of the Holy Spirit.
There is, however, one difference in regard to the receipt of the Holy Spirit in New Testament times, after the New Testament Church was founded. That is, that we receive the Holy Spirit today, after we are properly baptized. Today, baptism as an adult, after repentance and belief, is commanded and is the only guarantee that we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (barring extraordinary circumstances). Our free booklet, “Baptism – A Requirement for Salvation?,” explains this truth in detail. When reviewing the Old Testament record, we don’t read that the ancients, in Old Testament times, were baptized prior to the receipt of the Holy Spirit, but we DO read that some had, within them, the Holy Sprit of God the Father and Jesus Christ.
We also read that the gospel of the Kingdom was preached to Abraham (Galatians 3:8) and to ancient Israel (Hebrews 4:2). This message included the announcement of man’s potential for his entrance in the Kingdom of God, through Christ, and the rule of Christ, as King of kings, over all the earth, in the future (compare Isaiah 8:6-7).
In order to be able to enter the Kingdom of God, we must repent of our sins and obtain forgiveness, by accepting the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We do so, today, by looking to the past — what Christ did for us, when He died for us. The ancients of old, who had been called by God, looked forward to this event, believing that Christ would accomplish it. In a sense, this even required more faith, and we can understand why Abraham, for example, is called “the father of all those who believe” (Romans 4:11). Paul gives a remarkable testimony about Abraham’s faith, in Romans 4:13-21. Abraham believed God who “calls those things which do not exist [yet] as though they did” (verse 17). Abraham was “fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform” (verse 21). God had promised that Christ would become the Savior of mankind (compare Matthew 1:21; John 1:29). He was the One “slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). Although it was certainly possible for Christ, when He was in the flesh, to sin, God the Father and Jesus Christ had the utmost confidence that Christ would not sin.
The ancients of old had to have that same faith, as well, believing in Christ as their Savior, BEFORE He had even died for them. Only the Spirit of Christ within them could have given them that kind of faith.
In conclusion, although the holy saints of God, living in Old Testament times, were not specifically referred to as “Christians,” they were, indeed, Christians, as we understand this expression today.
A new member letter was written by the ministry. A copy of the letter can be found at: http://www.eternalgod.org/lit/letters/.
How This Work is Financed
This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.
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