Letter to New Christian openhandspublications.com Glenn W. Harrell 11-17
Hello new believer and friend In Christ. Welcome to the family of God in which God himself has made you his own child. You are a New Creation! While all humans are a part of God’s creation and are loved by him, only the born again are his children. (John 3:5-8)
Never forget that this new family status was given by faith and not earned by your goodness.
“Money paid to workers isn’t a gift. It is something they earn by working. But you cannot make God accept you because of something you do. God accepts sinners only because they have faith in him.” (?Romans 4:4-5)
NOTE: Baptism is a picture of three things:
1-The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (salvation)
2-Your death, burial and resurrection (salvation)
You are to be baptised BECAUSE you have been born again. NOT TO MAKE YOU SO.
Baptismal waters have no saving power. Our baptism is a foreshadow of things to come. It signifies an awakening to our new relationship with God and sin.
“What should we say? Should we keep on sinning, so that God’s wonderful kindness will show up even better? No, we should not! If we are dead to sin, how can we go on sinning? Don’t you know that all who share in Christ Jesus by being baptized also share in his death? 4 When we were baptized, we died and were buried with Christ. We were baptized, so that we would live a new life, as Christ was raised to life by the glory of God the Father.
If we shared in Jesus’ death by being baptized, we will be raised to life with him. We know that the persons we used to be were nailed to the cross with Jesus. This was done, so that our sinful bodies would no longer be the slaves of sin. We know that sin doesn’t have power over dead people.
As surely as we died with Christ, we believe we will also live with him. We know that death no longer has any power over Christ. He died and was raised to life, never again to die. When Christ died, he died for sin once and for all. But now he is alive, and he lives only for God. In the same way, you must think of yourselves as dead to the power of sin. But Christ Jesus has given life to you, and you live for God.
Don’t let sin rule your body. After all, your body is bound to die, so don’t obey its desires or let any part of it become a slave of evil. Give yourselves to God, as people who have been raised from death to life. Make every part of your body a slave that pleases God. Don’t let sin keep ruling your lives. You are ruled by God’s kindness and not by the Law.” Romans 6:1-14
WALK IN NEWNESS OF LIFE
As you live, study and worship together with other Christians. You will learn so much more about what has happened to you. Your journey just begun by faith will continue by the same faith. You will learn about prayer. (honest conversation with God who knows you and cares for you) Prayer is not a place to stop and perform a religious duty. It is a closet AND a way of life.
“When you pray, don’t be like those show-offs who love to stand up and pray in the meeting places and on the street corners. They do this just to look good. I can assure you that they already have their reward.
When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. Pray to your Father in private. He knows what is done in private, and he will reward you.
When you pray, don’t talk on and on as people do who don’t know God. They think God likes to hear long prayers. Don’t be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask. You should pray like this: Jesus’ MODEL PRAYER (also called “the Lord’s Prayer)
‘Our Father in heaven,help us to honor your name.
Come and set up your kingdom,so that everyone on earth will obey you, as you are obeyed in heaven. Give us our food for today. Forgive us for doing wrong, as we forgive others. Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil.
If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.’ –Jesus Matthew 6:5-14
Pray silently as you walk and go about your day. Tell your Lord how you feel. Ask him questions as you would any friend. He will answer you through his Word (the bible).
A specific time and place for bible study and prayer is wonderful, but the most exciting time is when you relate with him as friend with friend, even while you are with others–or especially when you are with others. Appreciate that there are those who are more mature and knowledgeable, but don’t wait for others to feed you.
Open your bible daily and read for yourself. When you don’t understand, pray for wisdom. (James 1:5-8) Seek wisdom from others whose lives demonstrate the character of Christ.
The bible calls you a “babe in Christ”, (I Peter 2:2) and you will meet more babies as well as the more mature, and all in-be-tween.
Love them and learn from them but remember that they are imperfect humans on the same journey as you.
Keep your eyes on Jesus! God is now making you to be more like Jesus each day you live. You are not to remain a baby for long.
“My friends, you are acting like the people of this world. That’s why I could not speak to you as spiritual people. You are like babies as far as your faith in Christ is concerned. So I had to treat you like babies and feed you milk. You could not take solid food, and you still cannot, because you are not yet spiritual. You are jealous and argue with each other. This proves that you are not spiritual and that you are acting like the people of this world.” Corinthians 3:1-3
“Stop being hateful! Quit trying to fool people, and start being sincere. Don’t be jealous or say cruel things about others. Be like newborn babies who are thirsty for the pure spiritual milk that will help you grow and be saved. You have already found out how good the Lord really is.” I Peter 2:1-3
YOUR NEW IDENTITY IN CHRIST WILL CONTRADICT YOUR OLD SELF
The bible calls you and me a “brand new creation” with a past (some regrets) and yet a future full of hope.
“Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.” (II Corinthians 5:7)
YOUR NEW POSITION IN CHRIST WILL INSTRUCT AND REFORM YOUR MORAL BEHAVIOR EACH DAY YOU LIVE
The bible calls you a Saint–one consecrated to God, holy. (I Corinthians 1:2) The name “Saint” is not a commentary on your moral behavior–past, present or future, rather your new position in Christ. God no longer sees you as a “Sinner” (noun). You will still be sinful (verb), yet your sins are forgiven and your new position before God is that of one set apart and made to be his. You now belong. Every Saint has a past–(learn from it but don’t live in it or bow to it) Every Saint has a future–(trust God for it while you live in the present)
Always remember that you never worked so that you could finally be loved and accepted by God. (Titus 3:4-7) The bible reminds us,
“But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Ephesians 5:8
His unconditional love and acceptance of your faith in him results in the truth that you can do nothing to cause him to stop loving and accepting you as belonging to him. You don’t work to keep your salvation either–you work as a natural demonstration that God has saved you. Good works, for the Christian, are symptomatic, not causal, as relating to redemption and salvation. He will do his good works through you so that you may help others see Him, not so that you can become a self-righteous, puffed up show-off.
YOU ARE NO LONGER OBLIGATED TO SIN OR ITS POWER, THOUGH YOU WILL STILL SIN
The bible calls us to confession. The already-Christian does not confess sin to become a Christian again, (This is not possible) rather to be a Christian. Confession is agreeing with God about sin. Confession is necessary for us to agree with God about what is bad and or good in our walk and fellowship with Him. Little growth happens until we learn such openness and honesty.
The Child of God needs no priest or minister. He may go directly to his heavenly Father in true repentance and confession.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His truth is not in us.” I John 1:9-10
EXPECT HIS LOVING DISCIPLINE–HOPE FOR IT BECAUSE OF ITS PROOF OF YOUR BELONGING
If the new-born Christian chooses not to confess, but to live in rebellion, the love of God can be felt in His discipline. God does not abandon His children, He corrects them.
“When the Lord punishes you, don’t make light of it, and when He corrects you, don’t be discouraged. The Lord corrects the people He loves and disciplines those He calls His own.
Be patient when you are being corrected! This is how God treats His children. Don’t all parents correct their children? God corrects all of His children, and if He doesn’t correct you, then you don’t really belong to Him.” Hebrews 12:5-8
ALL LASTING DEEDS – GOOD WORKS – THAT YOU WILL DO ARE BECAUSE YOU ARE HIS CHILD, (they are fruits) NOT SO THAT YOU MAY EARN OR KEEP HIS FAVOR AND YOUR SALVATION. (roots)
The bible calls us to trust. “Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
GET BUSY–GO TO WORK (not to become or remain saved, but because you are)
Now, prayerfully find that local church where the bible is held to be God’s Word and love is the true mark of a believer. (I John)
Join with these (equally imperfect as you) people and get busy doing your faith.
“Be doers of the word, and not hearers only. Otherwise, you are deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22)
“So work with fear and trembling to discover what it really means to be saved. God is working in you to make you willing and able to obey him.” (Philippians 2:12-13)
We can never work to be saved, but each of us who profess to follow Jesus Christ as his disciple will work harder than ever because of this fact. Religious people work towards a false security of becoming righteous on their own for the pride of being acceptable to God because of some work they did or do. Christians know that apart from Christ death and resurrection, nothing can make them acceptable to God. Christians are not better than anyone else, though we may well be better off. Rather than creating obnoxious religious-do-gooders, He is making us to become (over our lifetime) true humble Christ-Like servants.
Finally, two more good verses to commit to memory:
“You have accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord. Now keep on following him. Plant your roots in Christ and let him be the foundation for your life. Be strong in your faith, just as you were taught. And be grateful.” (Colossians 2:6-7)
“You have never seen Jesus, and you don’t see him now. But still you love him and have faith in him, and no words can tell how glad and happy you are to be saved. That’s why you have faith.” (I Peter 1:8-9)