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What constitutes a true Christian?

Millions today profess to be "religious" — but DON'T KNOW GOD.
Just what is the BASIS for true conversion and DIRECT CONTACT with God?


WE ARE living in the shadow of violent death. It could come any day or night. Any moment, any time. It could be ignited by the tiniest political spark struck in a far distant land — in Cyprus, in South Vietnam.

This world is teetering on the edge of OBLIVION. Thoughtful men are fearful.

But what are they doing about it? Why haven't they discovered the ONLY sure protection in these times?


WHY No Peace of Mind?

More people have started attending church since the advent of the hydrogen bomb than at any time in the history of the Western world.


To get dressed up? To preen? To get ahead socially or in business? To have "peace of mind" for the rest of the week?

Partly, perhaps. But a lot go because they are scared.

Of God?

No. Of themselves. Themselves collectively. And what they might do to each other if they aren't careful.

When our neighbor meets us coming down the highway at 60 miles an hour — he's the unpredictable. If he wanted to — coming at us at 60 miles an hour — he could give a gentle flick to his wheel and send us both to eternity. That's how dependent we are on each other's whims, decisions and dementias.

Collectively, things are even more scary! This big thing — this hydrogen thing — now belongs to several others. New nations are continually joining the potential "cosmocide club." They will employ this hydrogen thing as they see fit. They will decide where, when and why.

Knowing all this makes us a little restless. It makes us think about many things — not the least of which is our hereafter.

That's one important reason, at least, for the increased interest in religion. People are thinking more and more about making peace with somebody — and they usually include God to be on the safe side.

Are they going about it in the right way?

Are their actions really bringing them into direct contact with the true GOD of the Bible — the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Are they learning to seek and enjoy His Divine guidance and protection?


Where Do You Stand?

What about YOU? Can you afford to take a chance on a thing like this? Are you just following the crowd? Do you really know God as a personal Father? Do you experience His help and POWER in your personal life?

Jesus said of the religionists of His day: "In VAIN do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Mark 7:7). They were following the ideas of men rather than God. They were worshipping the way that seemed right to men. But Jesus -said it was all in VAIN.

This modern world is also in religious CONFUSION. Some religious groups go through ancient forms, ceremonies and PAGAN rituals — yet never really know or understand the Bible or God's PURPOSE for human existence. On the other extreme, many liberals and modernists think of God as an "idea" or "projection" of good — and have NOTHING as a concrete standard of belief, practice or way of life which is based on the Bible, which they consider mainly as a collection of human ideas of ancient Jewish shepherds.

For this first six thousand years of recorded history — these first six millennial "days" — God has permitted the world to go its OWN WAY under the confusing and deceiving influence of a personal spirit being called Satan, the Devil! Your Bible describes the Devil as a personal being "which DECEIVETH the whole world" (Rev. 12:9).

Are you willing to FACE this possibility in your personal life? Are you willing to CHANGE if God shows you through His Word that you have never really been converted before?


What True Christianity Involves

The true original Christianity — the Christianity of JESUS CHRIST — involved understanding and obeying the Word of God, the Holy Bible. Jesus said: "It is written, that man should not live by bread alone, but by EVERY word of God" (Luke 4:4).

The sermons and teachings of Jesus Christ were filled with references to the Old Testament — the only part of the Bible yet written at that time — as the Word of God and as having AUTHORITY over our lives. The early inspired apostles referred both to the Old Testament and to the teachings of Christ as the RULE of life — revealing a WAY OF LIFE by which we should live. In fact, throughout the book of Acts, we find references to Christianity being spoken of as "this way" and "that way" (Acts 19:9, 23; 22:4, etc).

If you are ever going to be "converted" to the type of Christianity which CHRIST taught, you need to PROVE the divine inspiration of the Bible. You need to begin to BELIEVE and OBEY what it literally says in plain language! If you've not yet proved the Bible true, write immediately for Mr. Armstrong's important free booklet entitled, The Proof of the Bible.

For if you don't have the authority of God and the Bible behind your "Christianity" — then very frankly, you should immediately STOP even calling it Christianity, and refer to it rather as your "philosophy" or some other honest and realistic designation!

But if you DO believe in the God of Abraham — the God of the Bible — the God that is now beginning to intervene in human affairs prior to the return of His Son Jesus Christ to this earth as King of kings and Lord of lords — then learn to take HIS WORD for it on the subject of WHAT true Christianity really involves! DON'T try to straddle the fence! Don't try to MIX your ideas with God's teachings and hope that God will be well pleased with the CONFUSED result!

Now notice what GOD says — in His inspired Word — about the true nature of Christianity — and true Christians.

God's Word says: "Now if any man hath not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Rom. 8:9). In plain language, you must have Christ's Spirit in you, or you are NOT a Christian — you have NEVER been converted.

A truly converted person is filled with and LED BY the Holy Spirit of God. "For as many as are LED BY the spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Rom. 8:14). Through the Holy Spirit, God places His very nature and character within us. And it is the Spirit of "POWER, and of LOVE, and of a SOUND MIND" (II Tim. 1:7). By receiving God's very nature and life within us through His Spirit, we are begotten of Him as His children and have spiritual love, wisdom and STRENGTH to overcome our human nature and LIVE as God would have us live.

Through the Holy Spirit, we are, as Peter says, "partakers of the DIVINE NATURE" (II Pet. 1:4).

Very frankly, in the past most of you didn't even know WHAT the Holy Spirit was, what it was supposed to do in your life, and what was the real result of your being led by God's Holy Spirit.

In Romans 5:5, God tells us: "The LOVE OF GOD is shed abroad in our hearts BY the Holy Spirit which is given unto us." Through His Spirit, God gives us His divine spiritual LOVE. Thus we partake of His nature — His character. And God's character is expressed in the spiritual principles contained in the Ten Commandments — obedience to God's law. "For this Is the love of God, that we KEEP His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous" (I John 5:3).

This scripture tells us that God's spiritual love — the love which is GIVEN us through the Holy Spirit — is the love which is expressed in KEEPING God's commandments!

How clear!

God's Spirit leads us to OBEY Him as our Maker and Ruler.

The Apostle Peter was inspired to write of "the Holy Spirit, whom God hath given to them that OBEY Him" (Acts 5:32).

Real conversion, then, involves OBEDIENCE to God and His laws. In Acts 2:38, Peter was inspired to tell us HOW to be converted. He said: "REPENT, and BE BAPTIZED every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the GIFT of the Holy Spirit."

You repent of SIN. And what is the Bible definition of sin? "Sin IS the transgression of the law" (I John 3:4). This is the Bible definition of sin — breaking God's law!

So to be truly converted, you must REPENT of breaking God's law. And "repent" doesn't mean merely to be sorry after a Saturday night drunken brawl leaves you with a hang-over and pounding headache the next morning. It means to be SO SORRY you are willing to QUIT doing wrong and turn around and go the other way! And as sin is breaking God's law, so "turning around" and going the other way means a life of OBEDIENCE to God's law and yielding to let Him fashion and mold your character after His own through His Spirit within you!

Remember that in the New Testament, God's law was magnified by Jesus Christ — particularly in Matthew 5 in the sermon on the Mount. This shows we are to keep not only the letter but the Spirit or INTENT of God's law in every phase of our lives.

We are to let Christ live His life in us through the Holy Spirit. For the Apostle Paul was inspired to write: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but CHRIST LIVETH IN ME: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith OF the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me" (Gal. 2:20).

Since the Bible says that Christ is the SAME yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8), He will live the SAME kind of life in you today as He did live on earth 1900 years ago in the flesh. And during His earthly life — in which He set us an EXAMPLE that we should follow in His steps (I Pet. 2:21) — He said: "I have KEPT my Father's commandments" (John 15:10).

Could anything be more plain and clear than this? True Christianity involves OBEYING your Creator and your God! As Mr. Armstrong has said so many times, "God will not save anyone who does not surrender to His rule!"

True Christianity involves surrendering your will to let your LIVING SAVIOR live His life in you through the Holy Spirit! Through His Spirit — God's very nature and character and spiritual LOVE implanted within you — you are enabled to KEEP God's holy and spiritual law as set forth in the principles of the Ten Commandments, and grow in the very CHARACTER of God until the resurrection!