Letter to New Christian www.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)
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. 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.
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)
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.
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
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
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)
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)