Monthly letter archive

Monthly Letter, July 2011

Restoring Original Christianity—for Today!

Christian Biblical Church of God

Post Office Box 1442
Hollister, California 95024-1442

Fred R. Coulter,

July 14, 2011

Dear Brethren,

The United States and Europe are in the midst of a tremendous financial debt crisis of unprecedented magnitude. One key fact is evident: It is impossible for anyone—an individual, a family, or a national government—to borrow their way out of debt and become prosperous. While numerous politicians and financial pundits claim to have the answer, the problems grow worse by the day.

Why are we in such a predicament? What is the cause behind our financial woes?

The truth is that our nations have forgotten God, casting Him aside and rejecting His Word. As a result, we are suffering multiplecurses—one of which is financial. People seem to be groping for solutions, yet God has clearly told us in His Holy Bible what we must do. Meanwhile, most people—including their leaders—simply continue to go their own ways. Little do they realize that God has provided the knowledge of how to be free from the self-inflicted curses of disobeying Him.

For example, here in the USA, there is an average of nearly four Bibles per household. Around the world, the Bible is readily available in all major languages. In addition, the Bible is instantly available in digital form, with multiple versions for computers, smart phones and notepads. So the answers are there—right under their noses, if they would only open the Bible and believe God.

It is evident that God is leaving a tremendous witness to the whole world, exactly as Jesus prophesied: “This Gospel of the kingdom shall be proclaimed [and published, Mark 13:10] in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matt. 24:14). That is being done in an ever-increasing manner, in many ways by many people. If you really think about it, Does anyone really have an excuse? That is highly doubtful!

Therefore, we need to look into God’s Word and understand what we must do. What are God’s conditions that must be met in order to receive His blessings and great prosperity? The truth is, all of God’s blessings are conditional—based on this simple command: “Obey My voice!” It can’t get any simpler than that!

This is why we have the Bible, so we will know what God has said and be able to live our lives His way. Look at the choices God set before ancient Israel:“Behold, I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil, in that I command you this day to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments so that you may live and multiply. And the Lord your God shall bless you in the land where you go to possess it.

“But if your heart turn away so that you will not hear, but shall be drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I denounce to you this day that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days on the land where you pass over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore, choose life, so that both you and your seed may live, that you may love the Lord your God, and may obey His voice, and may cleave to Him; for He is your life and the length of your days, so that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers—to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob—to give it to them” (Deut. 30:15-20).

Notice what He promised the twelve tribes of Israel—notice that big, little word “IF”: “And it shall come to pass, IF you shall hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord your God to observe and to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you on high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you IF you will obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, and the fruit of your ground, and the fruit of your livestock, the increase of your cattle, and the flocks of your sheep. Blessed shall be your basket and your store. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.

“The Lordshall cause your enemies that rise up against you to be stricken before your face. They shall come out against you one way, and flee before you seven ways.

“The Lordshall command the blessing upon you in your storehouses, and all that you set your hand to. And He shall blessyou in the land which the Lordyour God gives you. The Lordshall establish you a holy people to Himself, as He has sworn to you, IFyou shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways. And all the people of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you.

“And the Lord shall make you abound in goods, in the fruit of your body, and in the fruit of your livestock, and in the fruit of your ground, in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. The Lord shall open to you His good treasure, the heaven to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. And you shall loan to many nations, and you shall not borrow. And the Lord shall make you the head, and not the tail. And you shall be always above, and you shall not be beneath, IFyou obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you today, to observe and to do them. And you shall not go aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right hand or the left, to go after other gods to serve them” (Deut. 28:1-14).

These are the conditions that God Almighty, our Creator, has set forth in His Word. Not only do the words of the Lord God apply to Israel, they apply to all nations. Notice what God told Jeremiah, as to how He views and judges the nations of the world: “IF at any time I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck it up and to pull it down, and to destroy it; IF that nation, against whom I have spoken, will turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do to them. And IF at any time I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build it and to plant it; IF it does evil in My sight, that it not obey My voice, then I will repent of the good with which I said I would do them good” (Jer. 18:7-10).

Everyone wants these blessings God has promised. However, very few truly want to obey. Rather, they want to be free from God’s rule in order to live any way they choose, with no obligation to God. That is the way of most people! But that approach won’t work—never has and never will—because the human heart is “deceitful above all things and is desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9). The truth is, God never bestows His blessings on those who will not obey His voice and keep His commandments. God’s Word is very clear! “And it shall come to pass, IF you will not hearken to the voice of the Lord your God to observe and to do all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you” (Deut. 28:15). The remainder of Deuteronomy 28 lists all the curses for disobedience in great detail. Read them all one by one and you will realize that nearly all nations are suffering these very curses. There is no question: God’s judgment is upon the whole world—as God is no respecter of persons!

The Golden Age of Solomon: Perhaps the only time ancient Israel received the fullness of the blessings promised to the nation was in the early part of King Solomon’s reign. At Solomon’s dedication of the finished Temple, God demonstrated His presence with a great display of power, visibly filling the Temple with a great white cloud. Fire from heaven consumed the sacrifices Solomon had prepared (II Chron. 7:1). This awesome display of power was witnessed by a great multitude of Israelites from all twelve tribes, and demonstrated that God alone was their Lord and was dwelling among His people.

At this time, God was so pleased with Solomon and the people of Israel that He appeared to Solomon in a vision to give him a warning and a promise: “Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord and the king’s house, and he prospered exceedingly in all that came into Solomon’s heart to accomplish in the house of the Lord and in his own house. And the Lord appeared to Solomon by night and said to him, ‘I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place to Myself for a house of sacrifice.

“ ‘IF I shut up the heavens, and there is no rain, or IF I command the locusts to devour the land, or IF I send a plague among My people, IF My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now My eyes shall be open, and My ears shall be attentive to the prayer of this place, for now I have chosen and sanctified this house so that My name may be there forever. And My eyes and My heart shall be there perpetually. And you, IFyou will walk before me, as David your father walked, and will do according to all that I have commanded you, and shall observe My statutes and My judgments, THEN I will make the throne of your kingdom sure, as I have covenanted with David your father, saying, “There shall not fail you a man to be ruler in Israel.”

“ ‘But IFyou turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and if you shall go and serve other gods and worship them, THEN I will pluck them up by the roots out of My land which I have given them. And this house which I have sanctified for My name, I will cast out of My sight, and I will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations.

“ ‘And this house, which is exalted, shall be an astonishment to everyone who passes by it, so that they shall be appalled and say, “Why has the Lord done this to this land and to this house?” And it shall be answered, “Because they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold upon other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore He has brought all this evil upon them” ’ ” (II Chron. 7:11-22). Again, notice the conditions God gave to Solomon, as well as to the twelve tribes of Israel.

In a recent campaign speech, presidential candidate Michele Bachmann actually quoted part of this section of Scripture, urging people to heed God’s admonition. After she stated the need for Americans to fast and pray, Bachmann quoted verse 14: “IF My people, who are called by My name, SHALL HUMBLE THEMSELVES and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Apparently, she fully realizes that, as a nation, we have forsaken God—and that only through humility and repentance can America be delivered from its problems. Similarly, Texas Governor Rick Perry—who is presently undecided about a run for the White House—recently announced a “daylong prayer and fasting event” in August for the nation’s governors and church leaders. Noting that America is “besieged by financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters,” Perry said: “There is hope for America. It lies in heaven, and we will find it on our knees.” Organizers say the prayer rally is based on Joel chapter two, where the prophet instructs a “nation in crisis” to hold a “solemn assembly” and return to God with “fasting, prayer and mourning.” It remains to be seen what kind of response Perry will get from the nation’s governors.

(Interestingly, a number of liberal-minded politicians and religious leaders have expressed contempt for Perry’s rally, critical of what they call a dangerous mixing of politics and religion. They seem to forget that the majority of our nation’s founding fathers were men of deep faith in God. While the US Constitution does not allow for a state religion or the state regulation of religion, it doessupport the ideals of faith, thankfulness, humility, and reverence toward God and His Word.)

Leaders like Bachmann and Perry genuinely want to get America back on track—and they can see that the real causes behind our woes are spiritual. While we should certainly appreciate their efforts, their zeal does not necessarily mean they are called of God. Yet God does count such people as upright (see Rom. 2:14-15).

No doubt the approach taken by Bachmann and Perry resonated with many, because there are still those who believe that God gave us this country. Most likely, however, such people (including Bachmann, Perry, and other conservative leaders) do not understand that America is one of the modern descendant nations of ancient Israel—nor do they realize that we have received these blessed lands not because of our righteousness, our great abilities, or our hard work, but because of God’s promises to Abraham.

When this great nation was founded, we invited God into our national and state constitutions—seeking His blessings. Our National Constitution includes the following well-known words: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Additionally, nearly every state in the Union boldly claims that its rights and lands are derived as blessings from the gracious hand of “Almighty God.”

In order for our nations to be delivered from their desperate problems, there would have to be tremendous repentance and a return to God with all our hearts—just as in the days of King Josiah of Judah (II Chronicles 34-35). IF we, as a nation, beginning with our leaders, would truly humble ourselves and return to God, He would intervene. Just as He pleaded with ancient Israel through the prophet Jeremiah, God says to us: “Go and cry these words toward the north, and say, ‘Return, O backsliding Israel,’ says the Lord; ‘and I will not cause My anger to fall on you; for I am merciful,’ says the Lord, ‘and I will not keep My anger forever. Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against the Lord your God and have scattered your ways to strangers under every green tree, and you have not obeyed My voice,’ says the Lord” (Jer. 3:12-13).

Since there is very little chance of this kind of national repentance, there must be individual repentance. Such repentance must be coupled with a determination to obey God and keep His commandments, in faith, as a way of life. It takes faith to obey the voice of God. On the other hand, it takes no faith whatsoever to reject God and His laws and commandments and live in sin!

However, in keeping God’s laws and commandments, we are not trying to earn our salvation, because spiritual salvation only comes through the grace of God. Rather, when we love God and keep His perfect laws and commandments, great rewards and blessings result. “The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandments of the Lord are pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether, more to be desired than gold, yea, much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? Oh, cleanse me from my secret faults; and keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; do not let them rule over me; then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psa. 19:7-14).

When we practice this Psalm in our daily lives, we are loving and trusting God. Just as we are to love God with all our hearts, we are also to trust in Him with all our hearts: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It shall be health to your navel and marrow to your bones” (Prov. 3:5-8).

The New Covenant Standard of Commandment-Keeping: There is no question that God’s condition of obeying His voice applies to those of every age. Furthermore, when we examine Christ’s teachings as recorded in the New Testament, we find that God requires a higher spiritual standard for New Covenant Christians. In the Sermon on the Mount, after expounding the spiritual standards of commandment-keeping, Jesus summed up the ultimate goal of salvation unto eternal life at the resurrection: “Therefore, you shall be perfect, even as your Father Who is in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48).

How can this be accomplished? To begin with, we must receive the begettal of the Holy Spirit and the promise of eternal life (John 3:16), as compared to long physical life. We are promised a spiritual kingdom (Matt. 25:34), as compared to a physical kingdom. Instead of dwelling in a physical temple in Jerusalem, God now dwells in us by the Holy Spirit, which is joined with the spirit of our minds: “IF you love me, keep the commandments—namely My Commandments…. The one who has My commandments and is keeping them, that is the one who loves Me; and the one who loves Me shall be loved by My Father and I will love him…. If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him [that is, dwell in him]. The one who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word that you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s, Who sent Me” (John 14:15, 21, 23-24).

Those who have the Holy Spirit are, in fact, a dwelling-place for God the Father and Jesus Christ—or a temple of God! This is made possible by the loving grace of God. Notice what Paul writes about this: “For no one is able to lay any other foundation besides that which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay or stubble, the work of each one shall be manifested; for the day of trial will declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall prove what kind of work each one’s is. If the work that anyone has built endures, he shall receive a reward. If the work of anyone is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet as through fire. Don’t you understand that you are God’s temple, and that the Spirit of God is dwelling in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God [by willfully sinning with no remorse or repentance], God shall destroy him because the TEMPLE OF GOD IS HOLY, which temple you are” (I Cor. 3:11-17).

This is why God requires us to obey in the “newness of the spirit, and not the oldness of the letter” of the law (Rom. 7:6). What does that mean? How is that possible?

The Process of Conversion: The spiritual process of conversion is the operation of God’s grace and begins for us when we answer God’s calling. God the Father draws us to Himself through Jesus Christ (John 6:44-45; 14:6). IF we continue to respond by seeking God with all our hearts (Matt. 7:7-8), He leads us to repentance and baptism (Rom. 2:4; II Cor. 7:9-10; Acts 2:38). We are then rescued from Satan the devil by God the Father personally, as we find in the Epistle to the Colossians: “Giving thanks to the Father, Who has made us qualified for the share of the inheritance of the saints in the light; Who has personally rescued us from the power of darkness and has transferred us unto the kingdom of the Son of His love; in Whom we have redemption through His own blood, even the remission of sins” (Col. 1:12-14).

All of this is the operation of the grace of God the Father and Jesus Christ Who are dealing with us through the power of the Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul describes the process, beginning with the time we were living in sin as captives of Satan: “Now you were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you walked in times past according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [Satan the devil], the spirit that is now working within the children of disobedience; among whom also we all once had our conduct in the lusts of our flesh, doing the things willed by the flesh and by the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as the rest of the world.

“But God, Who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, has made us alive together with Christ…. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this especially is not of your own selves; it is the gift of God, not of works [our own carnal works], so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto the good works that God ordained beforehand in order that we might walk in them” (Eph. 2:1-5, 8-10).

What are those “good works” that God has ordained? Loving God with all our hearts, with all our minds, and with all our strength; loving our neighbor as our selves; loving the brethren as Christ has loved us; and, keeping the commandments of God in their full spiritual intent. These can only be accomplished through the grace of God! Thus, we become the spiritual “workmanship of God”—that is, He is creating within us His holy, righteous character, the beginning of being perfected as He is perfect. This brings us into a personal relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ. The apostle John calls it “our fellowship”: “That which we have seen and have heard we are reporting to you in order that you also may have fellowship with us; for the fellowship—indeed, our fellowship—is with the Father and with His own Son, Jesus Christ” (I John 1:3)

The Work of the Holy Spirit in Our Lives: When we are “begotten again” (I Pet. 1:2-3) by the Spirit of God, the Spirit is conjoined with our human spirit. We thus receive the gift of sonship from God as His begotten children (I John 3:1-3, 9): “[T]hat we might receive the gift of sonship fromGod. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, ‘Abba, Father’ ” (Gal. 4:5-6; also see Rom. 8:15-16).

With our continual participation in our relationship with Him—through prayer and study, obedience to His laws and commandments, and His constant, active grace—God is converting us by writing His laws into our hearts and minds: “And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after He had previously said, ‘This is the covenant that I will establish with them after those days,’ says the Lord: ‘I will give [write] My laws into their hearts, and I will inscribe them in their minds; and their sins and lawlessness I will not remember ever again’ ” (Heb. 10:16-17).

Ultimately, with God’s grace and love for us combined with our love for Him, we develop the mind of Jesus Christ—the converted, Spirit-led mind. “Now then, if there be any encouragement in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any deep inner affections and compassions, fulfill my joy, that you be of the same mind, having the same love, being joined together in soul, minding the one thing [the kingdom of God]. Let nothing be done through contention or vainglory, but in humility, each esteeming the others above himself. Let each one look not only after his own things, but let each one also consider the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:1-5).

This is how Christ is created or formed in us (Gal. 4:19) through the power of the Holy Spirit: “Even the mystery that has been hidden from ages and from generations, but has now been revealed to His saints; to whom God did will to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory; Whom we preach, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, so that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Col. 1:26-28). Remember, we are His workmanship.

This in turn enables us to imitate God as we are led by the Holy Spirit: “Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, even as Christ also loved us, and gave Himself for us as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor” (Eph. 5:1-2). Consequently, we develop the fruits of the Spirit—godly character: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23).

John expressed it this way: “If anyone is keeping His Word, truly in this one the love of God is being perfected. By this means we know that we are in Him. Anyone who claims to dwell in Him is obligating himself also to walk even as He Himself walked…. By this standard we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God: that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome” (I John 2:5-6; 5:2-3).

Yes, we will make mistakes, stumble and fall because of human weaknesses; but when we repent of sin and cry out to God, He forgives us through the blood of Jesus Christ. “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And yet, if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father; Jesus Christ the Righteous; and He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for our sins only, but also for the sins of the whole world…. If we confess our own sins, He is faithful and righteous, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us [through the washing of the water by the Word (Eph. 5:26)] from all unrighteousness” (I John 2:1-2; 1:9).

In truth, this is how we are the children of God in a special sonship relationship with the Father. It is the Father Who also gives us the will and desire to grow, change and overcome: “For it is God Who works in you [because He is dwelling in us] both to will and to do according to His good pleasure…. So that you may be blameless and without offense, innocent children of God in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:13, 15).

We are the workmanship of God which He will complete unto perfection: “Grace and peace be to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God on every remembrance of you, always making supplication with joy in my every prayer for you all, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; being confident of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:2-6).

Thus, in the resurrection, we shall be “perfect” as our Father in heaven is perfect (Matt. 5:48). Paul writes of this glorious resurrection to eternal life, which we will receive IF we hunger and thirst for it: “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body; accordingly, it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul; the last Adam became an ever-living Spirit.’ However, the spiritual was not first, but the natural—then the spiritual.

“The first man is of the earth—made of dust. The second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the one made of dust, so also areall those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly one, so also are all those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the one made of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly one. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I show you a mystery: we shall not all fall asleep, but we shall all be changed, in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruptibility, and this mortal must put on immortality. Now when this corruptible shall have put on incorruptibility, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?” (I Cor. 15:42-55).

Thus, the workmanship of God the Father and Jesus Christ will be complete.

The Book Lord, What Should I Do? We continue to receive many requests for the new book Lord, What Should I Do? As you know, the book includes a DVD with four Church at Home video casts and the hymn “The Almighty God.” Many of the brethren are giving these books to new people to help them understand what is happening in the world and in their lives—especially those professing Christians who are concerned about the rapid decline of the “Christian” church and wondering how they should respond. We have a good supply available, so you may request as many copies as you need for new people.

The CD in This Mailing: We recorded a special Bible Studycovering questions concerning Ex. 12:40-41, Luke 16:10-17, and I Peter 3:18-20. This is the only new message on this CD. However, we did something special for you. Because there is so much talk and concern in government and in society concerning the USA’s debt and the worldwide monetary crisis, we collected nine pertinent sermons going back to 2004 and put them on this one CD. As you listen to them in succession, you will gain a broad overview of the coming financial disaster the world will face over the next few years.

Feast of Tabernacles Information Form: Please be sure to fill out the Feast Information Form for the Feast of Tabernacles and return it to us. This will assist us greatly in making plans for the Feast. Even if you are not able to attend, please return the completed form.

Remember, brethren, that regardless of the troubles in the world, our hope and trust is in God the Father and Jesus Christ, Who are with us and in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. We thank you for your love and prayers for us. We pray for you every day, that God’s love, grace, blessing and protection will be upon you and yours in every way. We thank you for your continued support with your tithes and offerings, which, as you realize, make it possible for us to reach out to our fellow brethren and to those in the world who are seeking God.

With love in Christ Jesus,

Fred R. Coulter