We Must Endure Tests and Trials to the Very End

April 2015

Warmest greetings to all our brothers and sisters in Christ.

While going through some of my letters from many years past looking for material for
this month’s assignment, I ran across a very interesting letter written by Mr. Herbert
Armstrong to the newly begotten brethren. I found not only that it would be inspiring for
newly baptized members, but also for the old-timers that have endured the tests and trials that
were sure to come—tests and trials that we all must endure to the end.

Here is what Mr. Armstrong had to say in the October 1957, The GOOD NEWS
magazine:

Greetings! newly baptized Brethren in Christ Jesus:

This year again there is joy and rejoicing among the angels in heaven
over your repentance and having been begotten to a lively hope as children of
God
thru Jesus Christ our Lord!

And there is new joy in the hearts of all our true brethren and co-workers in Christ over your recent conversion from the desires and will of the
flesh and the ways and customs of the world, to the government of God in your
life now, that you may have reward in His Kingdom at the coming of Christ,
in the World Tomorrow!

You will Meet Trials

You have entered upon a new life—a life of great happiness and joy—a
life to continue forever—yet, in this present evil world it will not be an easy
life.

As a matter of fact you have left behind the “easy way”—the popular,
broad road that leads to destruction. You have passed the cross-roads and
turned off onto the narrow, rutty, bumpy, rocky and hard and difficult road
which very few people in this world ever are willing to enter—but which leads
to success, to usefulness, to happiness, joy, and eternal life.

It leads to rewards—not of idleness and ease, but to usefulness and
service and accomplishment and success—so great that I know your mind can’t
possibly grasp it, now. But you’ll have to pay the price!

It won’t come easy! All your temptations, trials, persecutions and
hardships will come from other people—or from the devil—or from the
consequences of sin, which means violations of God’s laws and ways. You
must remember you still have to live in a world organized and living in
disregard of God’s laws—a world governed by the sway of Satan, and
according to the impulses of pride and vanity, the lusts of the flesh, and the
greed and tempers of human nature. If you were still of this world, the world
would love its own. But because you have renounced this world and its ways,
and are no longer of it, the world will hate you, persecute you, turn against
you, even as it hated and persecuted your Saviour before you.

Why You Must Suffer

“My peace I give unto you . . . that my joy might remain in you, and
that your joy might be full
,” said Jesus. “These things have I spoken unto you
that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be
of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

You will meet many afflictions—trials, tests, troubles—even more than
before. But, if you trust in Him, the Eternal will deliver you out of them all.
(Psalm 34:19). All who will live Godly in Jesus Christ shall suffer
persecution (II Tim. 3:12).

But why? Because God has called you to surrender your life to
him—to give your life into His hands—that He may transform you into a
perfect, holy, righteous character. God is creator! And now, with your
consent, according to your own free will, you have placed yourself in His
Hands to change you—to create out of you the Supreme Masterpiece of all
His Creation!

What Is Character?

And character means self-direction, with God’s help, into God’s
way of life. You’ll find it is a new and different way of life from the way you
have lived up to now. It means self-denial! It means self-discipline! It
means resisting all that is evil or wrong in your nature. It means breaking up
wrong habits
—rooting them out of your life—and instilling into your life new
habits—and making these newer right ways fixed habit.

This is not easy. It takes will power. It requires determination.

Besides all this, God will permit trials and tests to come upon
you—severe problems. He will permit circumstances to drive you to Him
for help—for deliverance! You may soon think no one in the world is
troubled like you are. You will begin to wonder why you have greater trouble
to face than anyone else on earth—not realizing that all other real Christians
are going thru the same tests! Perhaps closest relatives will turn against you,
probably because of the Word of God—the truth you have embraced and
started to live.

But, if you learn the lesson of faith—and if you have patience—you
may know that you will be delivered out of every trouble that comes up. God
has promised to deliver you from every trial—if you obey and trust Him. You
see, you are now His very own child—actually begotten of Him just as much
as you were begotten of your human father. When God gave you the precious
gift of His Holy Spirit—placed His Spirit within you to renew your mind, give
you a sounder, more understanding mind, fill you with His love, faith,
patience, power, goodness—His own character. In short, you became an
actual begotten son—or daughter—of God. Not merely a creature or being
He created—but His very own child, actually begotten of Him by His seed, so
to speak—His spirit, entering within you. He is now your father! Not
figuratively, but actually—really!

Now you can go to Him just as any child can go to his father, for
counsel and advice, for wisdom, for direction, for help in any time of need.
Would a good human father deny his own child any good thing the child might
really need? Neither will your heavenly Father deny you anything that is really
for your good. If a human father heard the screams of his child, ran and found
his child imprisoned in a burning building, would he break inside and rescue
his child from danger? Your heavenly Father has given you His written
promise to deliver you from every danger, trouble, or trial—if you call on
Him, obey Him and
rely on Him!

Since you are now a real begotten child of God—now one of the
family of God, which is His true Church—you are one of His heirs. Angels
are not sons, but servants. And a servant is not an heir like a son. You are
now a co-heir with Christ, to inherit, with Him, all things—eternal life, this
earth as an everlasting possession, eternal happiness and joy!

Think of what that means!

But we are now only heirs—only begotten sons. And just as it was
necessary for us to grow physically from the time we were begotten in our
mothers’ wombs until we developed ready to be born, finally separated from
the dependence on the mother for nourishment and sustenance, and coming
into individual and separate existence, so the begotten spiritual infant must
grow and develop spiritually, being fed the spiritual food, the Word of God,
by the Mother of us all, the true Church, until, at the coming of Christ we shall
be changed, finally born of God, to have eternal life inherent in ourselves,
and to be actual inheritors and possessors of the wonderful Kingdom of
God!

In order to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord (II Peter
3:18); in order to develop spiritually and overcome, and have perfected in you
the character of God ready to be fully born of God, you must do two things
daily without fail!

You must not only read, but eagerly, earnestly study the Word of God
to learn how to live—you must live according to God’s teachings in His
Bible—you must make it your guide for everything you do. In this way, God
talks to you!

But you must also talk to Him! You must go to a private place, alone
with God, and have long talks with Him—yes, every day! Unburden your
heart to Him. Take all your problems, your interests, your plans, your troubles
to Him. Talk over everything with Him, continually. Then, even when going
about your work—when walking down the street—when driving your car, or
wherever you are or whatever you do, talk with God as you work, or as you
drive or walk along. Go to a private place, and kneel in prayer (on both knees)
as often as you can, and at least once every day. But talk with God often in
between. pray without ceasing!

Keep close to Him. You can’t afford to be without the security of His
constant guidance and protection (“AN OPEN LETTER to our newly begotten
brethren recently baptized
,” The GOOD NEWS, October 1957, p. 1).

Brethren, although this letter was written by Mr. Armstrong fifty-seven years ago, it
is as applicable for the people of God today as when it was first written. This is evidence that
the real Truth of God is timeless.

Here are some additional verses that speak about God’s work with His children in the
last days, and confirm what Mr. Armstrong said above.

So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen
(Matthew 20:16).

Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto
them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to
enter in, and shall not be able (Luke 13:23–24).

And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the
remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the
testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 12:17).

And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have
driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful
and increase (Jeremiah 23:3).

For thus saith the Lord; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the
chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O Lord, save thy people, the
remnant of Israel. Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather
them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the
woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company
shall return thither. Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in
the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep
him, as a shepherd doth his flock (Jeremiah 31:7–8, 10).

We are part of that remnant, the few, and the worst is yet to come, but it is for our own
good. To receive our reward, we must endure to the end and never deny Him—even in the
face of death.

Your servant in Christ,
John R. Byrd signature
John R. Byrd


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