Article Based On A Sermon given 12 December 2009

The Miracle of Growth

by Jon Bowles


In the Update last week, I mentioned about the birth of our latest grandchild. He will be two weeks old tomorrow. He's only very tiny at the moment. He's number six of our grandchildren, number four of our daughter's children. I'll say one thing for my daughter as far as actually having children is concerned; they seem to come right smack on time, almost to the hour! They are certainly very, very prompt as far as that is concerned. This little one was born, as I say two weeks old tomorrow.

Certainly there is a contrast as far as the life in the womb and versus human life. You look at the contrast between what the life was in the womb and how the womb was, and how that little child was. Literally, two weeks past, if you go back two weeks now and you actually look at that little one at that time - he had a totally different life from everything that he's got now. His oxygen was coming through the umbilical cord. His food was coming through the umbilical cord. The exchange; the carbon dioxide was going back and all his entire existence was within that amniotic fluid. He could hear certain sounds. He could probably feel a certain amount. He could feel movement, but nothing like the life that he has suddenly been thrust into today.

About three weeks ago in the Update I also mentioned about a trip that I had taken to London. I mentioned about a discussion I had with some group of students on a train coming back from that trip to London, about evolution. But what I didn't mention in the Update was why I had been down to London that particular day, what I had been down to London for. Basically I had been in contact with this gentleman for several years, two to three years, and he was baptized on that particular day. I baptized him in the bath upstairs, and he then begins a new spiritual life. A new life had been begotten at that time, waiting until finally he is born into real life.

Every single one of us that is baptized, listening to my words right now, eventually we will go into real life. We will have the fulfilment of the physical that we have had - where you've got the physical life that was in the amniotic fluid which had all its nutrients coming in through the umbilical cord, and then eventually thrust into the kind of life that its got now. Yet here we have this individual who has just been baptized. We can think back to our own baptism and eventually we will be thrust into a totally different type of life; a real life at the resurrection.

But you know, something has got to happen between the impregnation, between the begettal stage, and the birth. That thing that has got to happen is growth. Growth has got to actually occur. Do you consider just how small an ovum is? An ovum is the size of a full stop. You can just barely see it with the naked eye. A sperm is many, many times smaller. You can't see a sperm with the naked eye at all, but an ovum is a little bit less than the size of a full stop. (A 'period' for the Americans).

What I want to talk about today is the miracle of growth; the miracle of growth. You see, if our grandson carried on growing the way that he grew in the womb and we then chart from the time now, nine months, what weight do you think he's going to be in nine months time? I worked it out roughly. This is Jon Bowles' figures now, working out the weight that if he carried on growing at the rate that he grew while he was in the womb, in nine months time, he would weigh three thousand million tons. Three thousand million tons!

If you get every single piece of coal for the entire year in China, that's about the same kind of figure. If you took a bag of coal - a half hundred weight bag of coal, and you then started laying bags of coal one after another, end to end, and you keep laying bags of coal to come up with three thousand million, or three billion tons of coal, you would have to go round this earth two thousand seven hundred times! That's the kind of growth that we're talking about. When you start putting it into those kind of terms, you see this little tiny baby, and if he carried on growing the way he had just been growing in the womb, that's what he would be like. Two thousand seven hundred times around the world with coal bags one after another.

Just imagine it. But if you apply that analogy spiritually, when people first come into the Church, they think; "Oh well, you just keep a few laws, just keep the laws of God. Keep the Sabbath, keep the Holy Days, don't eat unclean meats, and these kind of things and that's all there is to it." The growth is not like that. It is much more than that. It is phenomenal. The growth is impossible on a human scale. It is as impossible on a human scale as it is, quite frankly, for an ovum to suddenly become and to develop and change into a human baby, because an ovum, the cell, in the human body doesn't start growing in an organized way, the way it does. The change is huge, and this growth from the equivalent of seven pounds all the way through to about three thousand million tons, that's what we're talking about. That's what we're looking at as far as the sermon is concerned about the miracle of growth. The four points I'm going to deal with are:

1) Physical/Spiritual Growth. Just have a look at certain scriptures that indicate that God is in charge of both. He's having a look at both. He understands about both.

2) The Power to Grow. If we just have our own power as far as just keeping a few laws, keeping the Holy Days, just keeping the Sabbath - now all those have got to be kept; But, if that's all there is to it, we've totally lost the point. There is much more. We have got to have the power to grow. Without that power, we cannot do it. We can keep all the laws. We can keep all the commandments that we feel that we need to, but if we don't have the power to grow, we will not be ready to be born.

3) The Mother of Us All. It talks about Jerusalem above being the mother of us all; in the context of the Church, and the role of the Church in that process.

4) Trials. Trials are used by God, and they are used to help us to grow. They are used purposely and God actually allows us to go to Him for the power. Go to Him for the help, and go to Him so that we can grow because He wants us to come to Him, so that He can then help us through the difficulties that we grow through until we finally get to the end point when we are actually born into the very family and Kingdom of God.

Physical/Spiritual Growth (PLAY FROM 07:50)

Turn over with me if you would to Psalm 139:1, because David here is talking about growth, yes he certainly is, but he is talking about his relationship with God as well; and the growth that he needs to have at this present time, and puts the initial growth within the womb in that context. Let's just read it:

"O [Eternal], thou hast searched me, and known me [God knows us intimately]. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off [He can actually read the very thoughts within our heads]. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O [Eternal], thou knowest it altogether." (Psalm 139:1-4)

Every word that we utter, God knows. He knows when a sparrow falls. He knows all the hairs on our heads. He can tell, and therefore He knows us intimately. Psalm 139:5:

"Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me [He can see us, and the direction in which we are going, and the direction from which we have come]. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it [I cannot understand how you do all this, but I know that you do].Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in [this grave], behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me [you can't get away, the influence; the fact that He is there at all times]. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee." (Psalm 139:5-12)

So God can see in the dark. He then goes on in Psalm 139:13:

"For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb [He could see into the mothers womb, He knew when this growth spurt between an ovum and a baby actually occurred]. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well [the division of one cell that just keeps on dividing and dividing in such an organized way to produce the child, all designed by God]. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth." (Psalm 139:13-15)

What it means is 'what underlies the solid'. In other words what you can see. It is what is actually underlying it, what is going behind it. We are starting to understand DNA. We are starting to understand the atoms and molecules and the things that are behind it. But, we don't understand the spiritual layer. If you look at it in layers, we don't understand the spirit layer that is even underneath that again. Probably better translated; "My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in [what underlies the solid]." (Psalm 139:15). Psalm 139:16:

"Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written [it's all organized, the DNA actually governs everything; once the father's DNA meets with the mother's, then the whole process begins, that DNA then governs everything, the whole process], which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! ..." (Psalm 139:16-17)

In other words, just as he had this system whereby he was made within his mother's womb, he says; "Look, there is more going on here in this life as well. How precious are your thoughts which direct what's happening to me now, O God!" Psalm 139:17:

"... how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee." (Psalm 139:18-19)

I'm still there and these thoughts are still there. They are actually fashioning and moulding me in this life, ready for something in the future. Psalm 139:19:

"Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain. Do not I hate them, O [Eternal], that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies [I'm not going to have anything to do with people going diametrically opposite to the pathway that is being set before me]. Search me, O God, and know my heart: [test] me, and know my thoughts [he's just going through and he says; "Look, you know my thoughts, you can see everything, you can see the way it's going]: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:19-24)

Going into the future into the time that you will actually be born into the very family and Kingdom of God and the growth can take place. In that one Psalm, you can see the contrast between a child in the womb and the way in which David could see that God had the control within the womb; and allowed that child within the womb to grow and develop and become fully formed and be born. Contrast it with what is actually happening now and how God knows now and can see now what is happening in our own life. What's it all for? He says; "...lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:24). Take me right the way through the process.

He could see and understand that the process is one of growth; it's one of spiritual growth. That's what he's saying, he says; "I don't want to go growing down this route, the route that is away from your Law, away from your ways, away from your thinking. I want to grow in the direction of your Law, of your way, of your thinking. Depart," as he says; "from me you wicked man. I'm not going down that route." That's not the direction at all.

Turn over to II Peter 3:18. Here's a scripture that is used many times when you are looking at physical and spiritual growth. It's used many times to justify people going off track within various organizations and so on that we find after the shattering that has taken place within the Church.

"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen." (II Peter 3:18)

People read just the first part of it. It says, "...grow in grace and knowledge..." (II Peter 3:18) Therefore we are going to go and grow in grace and knowledge. You have to put it into the context and the context is in II Peter 3:17:

"Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness." (II Peter 3:17)

In other words, you have got to hold onto what you've been taught. It's talking about how the apostle Paul was in fact instructing them. In that context it says you grow in grace and knowledge. Now I want you to notice: Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is not just grow in grace and knowledge. It's not any old grace and knowledge. It's the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It's His grace and His knowledge. He was the One back in Psalm 139 that David said, "Look, you formed me. You actually determined me within the womb. This growth that took place within the womb, you can now allow me to grow in a spiritual sense right the way through into life everlasting."

The parallel is drawn back in Psalm 139. Here he is saying; "[You] grow in grace, and in the knowledge of...Jesus Christ." (II Peter 3:18). ...of this individual who has gone through the entire process. Christ has gone through the process. He has gone ahead and been born physically. He went ahead and lived a human life. He died and He was resurrected. We have got to go through that same process. He had the Holy Spirit from birth. We have the Holy Spirit from baptism, from our Spiritual begettal stage. That growing process is still to be there, and we go right the way through until our own resurrection.

If we look over in II Peter chapter one, we see the context of II Peter itself. Remember; "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. [Therefore] Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines [teachings]... " (Hebrews 13:8-9). We must remember, Peter was the Chief Apostle. He was the one Christ said in Matthew 16:18:

"...thou art Peter, and upon this rock [talking about Himself] I will build my church...and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matthew 16:18-19)

It's 'thee' and 'thou' being used. He was the one that was put in charge of the apostles. He was the one, not to replace Christ in anyway, not the vicar of Christ, or anything like that; but he was the one to lead. Here in this very last verse, of the very last chapter, and the very last book that is left to us by this individual, he is telling us to; "...grow in grace, and in the knowledge of...Jesus Christ..." (II Peter 3:18). In II Peter 1:1 it says:

"Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord," (II Peter 1:1-2)

I want you to notice; 'through the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ'. What are you supposed to be growing in? Grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. II Peter 1:3:

"According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." (II Peter 1:3-4)

This divine nature is what is being talked about. This is the subject matter of the entire book - the divine nature. That we are to have the same nature, the same character as God Himself. So, we grow. How do we grow? We; "...grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ..." (II Peter 3:18). So that we then end up with the divine nature that He had. The same kind of divine nature that a God Being, that lives in flesh and then is born into the very Kingdom of God; that nature. That's the thing that we are aiming for. That's what we must grow in. That's the heart and core of the subject of physical and spiritual growth. The growth that we are in today is to make sure that our divine nature is the same type of divine nature that Christ, as our elder brother, had. That's what the heart and core of the subject is.

Turn back to John 1:1, right in the beginning of John. Mr Armstrong would go back here over and over again, when he would say; "Look, if you want to know something about the beginning, you go back to John 1:1."

"In the beginning was the Word [the Logos], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1)

Two individuals are being mentioned here. This individual that was the Word, the Logos, was there when time began. He created time. So, quite frankly, you can't go back any further. It's impossible to go back any further. So when time began, the Word and God the Father were there. John 1:2:

"The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made [so He is the Creator, God]. In him was life; and the life was the light of men [it's what gives us light so we can actually see the steps that we are taking]. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." (John 1:2-5)

The darkness just hadn't a clue. It couldn't grasp it, it couldn't comprehend it, it was just totally alien. The darkness was in the world. You look at the understanding that we have, which I wrote about in the Update this week, the understanding that has been given to us. We can look at the world scene and actually understand what's going on. We can see the spiritual dimension to the world. The spiritual dimension to problems, within our homes, within our families, within individuals, within relatives and neighbours and friends. We can see the spiritual side of life. That is not normal. That doesn't come from us. But it's part of something that needs to grow. As it says; "And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness [couldn't grasp it]." (John 1:5). That light was coming from the Word of God, the thinking of God. John 1:6:

"There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light." (John 1:6-8)

Now if you really want to - put in there that there was also an individual sent to bear witness of that Light in our age. That individual also was not that Light, but he was sent to bear witness of that Light. We neglect that at our peril. John 1:9:

"That was the true Light [Christ], which lighteth every man that cometh into the world [every individual, who has come into the world, is going to have to have this spiritual illumination eventually, every single human being has got to have that, if they are to fulfil the purpose for which they are born]. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:" (John 1:9-12)

On His authority, so they were able to grow, that's what it's all about. To actually receive, and accept Christ. It's not just a case of accepting Christ, accepting that sacrifice, having our sins covered; and then we have a relationship with the Father. It's through that relationship, the Holy Spirit is given to us, and an understanding of God's Word is given to us through that Spirit. Through that Word, we then eat that Word, through the umbilical cord of that Word, we are able to grow at the same kind of rate that you see a baby grow from the ovum all the way through until the baby is born. John 1:13:

"Which were [can be translated, begotten or birthed], not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth [we have to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ; He is full of grace and truth, grace and knowledge, the same thing]. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness [of all we have] received, and grace for grace." (John 1:13-16)

In other words, we've got the grace that Christ had, the graciousness, the 'charis', as it is in Greek, Strong's 5485. With the graciousness of Christ The grace is how God is - how He is - and the truth is how He thinks. You can put those things into its place; the grace is how He is, the truth is how He thinks, and the knowledge is the way He thinks. John 1:17:

"For the law was given by ['by' is normally translated 'through'] Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." (John 1:17)

Notice, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. It is that we make sure that we do grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, grace and truth of Jesus Christ. There's your physical and spiritual growth. There are the parallels that we can see.

When you look at a child that comes out of the womb, and just see how that child has grown in nine months, and you look at just the change that has taken place from an ovum, which is almost not there. You can hardly even see an ovum. It's almost not there, and the sperm which is almost not there and then it develops and grows, and grows and develops until you get this child which is perfect in every respect. It just needs a bit more growth to be like its father and mother.

But you know, in order for that growth to take place spiritually, we must be begotten and have had baptism performed as a symbol of what took place, then that growth can begin. The indwelling of that Spirit is able to be given by the laying on of hands, and the growth process begins.

The contrast between an ovum and a fully viable child, ready to be born into this world, and the contrast between ourselves at baptism and ourselves when we are to go ahead and be born into the very Kingdom of God, the Family of God, is as great. It's as great, and probably more so because we are being changed from a cell, and that's all an ovum is. A cell which will die, which has no life in itself. A cell that is then impregnated; and has got to then grow and develop until it becomes a God Being, a son of God.

If you are a son of God, or daughter of God, you are like God. You think like God, and the thinking incidentally is not something that is suddenly developed in the future after the resurrection. It is developed now, in this life. We have got to think like God in this life. Now I'll go on and show you how Mr Armstrong specifically and very clearly said that. Very, very clearly indeed. We have got to be thinking like God now. We cannot kind of put it off, and think; "Oh well, God will make allowances." No, that's not why we're here. The very purpose of us being here, as David said; "...lead me in the ways everlasting." (Psalm 139:24). The purpose of us being here is to grow so that we do think like God. So that our thinking is the same as God.

The Power to Grow (PLAY FROM 27:59)

Going on to the subject of the power to grow; I remember talking to a minister one time. We have since gone our separate ways, but I remember writing something, and quoting II Corinthians 3:6 which talks about:

"Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament [covenant]; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life." (II Corinthians 3:6)

He then took great exception to that. He said, basically "No. You have to say according to both letter and Spirit." I'm not going to say that - because that's not what it says. That's not what the Word of God says. It doesn't say letter and Spirit, it says; "...not of the letter, but of the spirit..." (II Corinthians 3:6). That's the way we administer the laws and the ways of God. He says; "Oh yes, I know, I know, but people don't understand." I thought to myself, it's this individual that does not understand. He didn't get it, as Mr Armstrong often used to say.

We have got to administer God's Law according to the Spirit and not the letter. If you get a Bible program and you put in the two words; 'spirit' and 'letter', and find out where in scripture those two words, the word 'spirit' and the 'word' letter appear in a single verse. You just try it sometime. You can do that quite readily with a Bible program. You will find that four verses appear. One of them is in II Thessalonians 2:2 which says:

"That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us..." (II Thessalonians 2:2)

So that's not talking about the subject at all, which leaves us with three. One is Romans 2:29 where it says:

"But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God." (Romans 2:29)

Not spirit and letter, it is in the spirit and not in the letter, its talking about circumcision which is a physical thing. Now the other two, one is Romans 7:6 which says:

"But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter." (Romans 7:6)

Again, we'll go back and actually read this one in Romans 7:6 in a minute. The other one, is the one I actually mentioned in II Corinthians 3:6, that says:

"Who also hath made us able ministers [or administrators] of the new testament [the new covenant]; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life." (II Corinthians 3:6)

Now this is why I objected to this particular minister's treatment of the subject, because he was going against what the scripture actually does say. We administer God's Law according to the Spirit and not the letter. It's according to the principle. Mr Armstrong continually went to the principle.

Now why is that important? Well, I had another argument at one time; this time with an evangelist. This evangelist was saying to me; "The Word is the important thing. If it is not written in God's Word, then that's it. It is discounted. We have to go to the Word, and that letter is exactly what we apply. That is how we must apply this scripture." I said; "No, that's not how Mr Armstrong applied it.

To give you an example of what we were actually arguing about, and I said; "Look, Mr Armstrong very clearly said that if somebody has something like diabetes, or some major ailment, and they come to the Day of Atonement; the Day of Atonement isn't there to kill them. It is that they take what little nourishment they need to go ahead and allow themselves to get over that Day. Still afflicting their souls, but it is not necessary to give them major health problems."

He would not have that. He said basically; "They should trust God. They should just go ahead and fast on the Day - no water, no food, no nothing. If they die, they die." That was his approach. This is why I fight about this because I've seen this kind of attitude and frame of mind coming out of people. It's harsh, and uncaring. It is not going down the way of God at all. It's going in a totally different direction.

It's going against what Mr Armstrong specifically said. What did Mr Armstrong say? Why did he say what he said? Because he was administering the Law of God; about how to grow. It's how to go ahead and keep God's Law. It's not whether you keep God's Law, it's how. It's not whether you keep it, it's how you keep it. That's the important point. You keep it not according to the letter, but according to the Spirit. You administer it, not according to the letter, but according to the Spirit. You take the Spirit and the intent, and that is the primary focus. The letter then will fit into it. It will fit into it properly.

You try and do it the other way round; you try and keep it by the letter and then tack on the Spirit on the side. It's almost like having an ovum, and then kind of putting the sperm somewhere near. It doesn't work like that. That's not what happened, at least we certainly hope it wasn't what happened when you and I were conceived spiritually. We had to become impregnated with the very Spirit of God. A baby has to become impregnated so that the DNA from the father went into that nucleus and became part of that very nucleus from the mother. The two, mother and father together, direct everything through life.

Turn over to Col 2 {1} It is not a case of going back into the Law of God and just kind of taking the letter and jabbing a bit of Spirit on the side. It's a case of taking that Law of God and putting it in the very heart. That's what it says about the new covenant and the new agreement, the new way of looking at things. It goes into the heart of man. It's written on the heart, and being written on the heart is done by the leadership of the very Spirit of God. It doesn't mean to say the Law has changed. The Law doesn't change, but you don't administer it by letter and Spirit together. You administer it by the Spirit and the letter then will be put right. It will be correctly discerned, correctly applied. Here in Colossians 2:5 notice it says:

"For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ [now these Colossians were being subverted by the doctrines and commandments of men, it was a form of Gnosticism that was subverting them]. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:" (Colossians 2:5-6)

He mentions the doctrines and commandments of men in Colossians 2:22 by the way:

"Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship..." (Colossians 2:20-23)

In other words, Gnosticism by ascetics - it's the same kind of thing that you find in the monks and the nuns today. It is asceticism and it was actually there in Judaism as well with the Kabbalah. It's still there today in the Kabbalah within Judaism. In Colossians 2:6 it says:

"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:" (Colossians 2:6)

You walk in Christ Jesus. You walk in the same type of flesh that Christ had. Why? Because Christ was God in the flesh. We have got to become God in the flesh. That is the key. We have got to grow to become that individual, because when we are that individual, when we are actually God in the flesh we can then be born into the Family, into the Kingdom of God. That is what the gospel is all about. It is the way that we were taught by Mr Armstrong, but it wasn't by Mr Armstrong at all. It came through that individual, but it came from God and Jesus Christ Himself. Colossians 2:6:

"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord [the Sovereign], so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving [you hold onto the core]. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men [which we have just been reading about, these traditions of men, this Kabbalah is not where it's at], after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." (Colossians 2:7-9)

He was Immanuel. He was God with us. He was God in the flesh. He's gone right through the process, and He's come out the other side, resurrected, now sitting on the right hand of God, waiting until eventually He returns. We have got to then go through that process also, and we have got to grow to become like Him. That growth is just as much as it is from an ovum, and probably more so; than from that ovum to a fully formed child. It's the three thousand million tons. That's what we're looking at. That's the kind of growth that we need to be looking at. Colossians 2:9:

"For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ [the circumcision of Christ, that circumcision actually takes place at baptism; notice]: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God..." (Colossians 2:9-12)

So you are buried at baptism, sins are left behind; the spiritual circumcision takes place, so that when you come up you are spiritually circumcised of all sin. Sin is then removed. Not just a point here. Not just a point there, but the whole lot is gone. The whole past is then forgiven. You then walk in a newness of life.

"...who hath raised him from the dead." (Colossians 2:12)

So we see here that the symbolism of baptism, when we are looking at the power to grow, the symbolism of baptism is that you go into the baptismal pool and the old man dies. The sin is left behind. The spiritual circumcision takes place and you then are raised completely sinless, completely spotless.

But there is another principal that has to be applied, and you find that in Acts 8:18. Here is the time when Philip baptized several people in Samaria, however they didn't receive the Holy Spirit because God was involved with this, and wanted the apostles to be the ones that went ahead and gave them the very Spirit of God. I want you to notice:

"And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money," (Acts 8:18)

So that's how the Holy Spirit comes. Impregnation does not take place at baptism. It takes place just after baptism with the laying on of hands. That's where the impregnation takes place. So the power to grow - baptism, you go down into the grave, you are circumcised spiritually, and you come up without those sins. But, you are still like an ovum, but you are a clean ovum. You are an ovum ready to grow, and then hands are laid on you and the Holy Spirit is given and the power, the love, the sound mindedness then flows into you. That's the symbolism of baptism. That is the beginning of the actual process.

Without that, without that power, we wouldn't grow. We can't grow on our own power. It's like having the ovum and the sperm alongside. It's not going to work. It's got to be impregnated. We've got to be converted. We've got to be totally changed, converted into a different type of individual that is then growing to become a child of God.

It is then a child of God. It's the same as a baby is the child of its parents at the point of conception, but it has an awful lot of growing to do. It's the same way a baptized person becomes a child of God at that time, but he's got a great deal of growing to do. As all of us do as well, as all of us are in this process. We will all make mistakes, we will sin, we will fall down on our face; but nevertheless we will grow over the period of time. Until eventually we are ready, and we will grow with the direction, with the understanding, with the knowledge and with the grace that comes from Christ. We will grow in that grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ until we are ready for the birth, until that time comes. Turn over to Romans 6:1 and let's have a look at this section it says:

"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound [we're growing in grace and knowledge, can we therefore go ahead and sin]? God forbid..." (Romans 6:1-2)

Of course not! Absolutely not. Is it because we therefore administer it according to spirit and not the letter, can we therefore sin? Absolutely not. Can we break God's Law? Absolutely not, under no circumstances at all. But we apply it properly. If you try and apply it by applying the letter and tacking a bit of spirit on the side, that is not an impregnated response. That is a carnal response trying to keep the Law carnally, the same way as the Pharisees did. They were trying to carnally keep the Law. It doesn't work; it is not possible to do that. We have got to be converted. We have got to be changed. It says in Romans 6:1:

"...Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" (Romans 6:1-2)

If you just died in that baptismal pool, you had the circumcision spiritually, you come up and then you're impregnated, how can you carry on with sin? Romans 6:3:

"Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life [this growth that has got to take place all the way through until eventually you come to the point of coming into the very Kingdom of God]. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." (Romans 6:3-6)

We should not serve sin. We go from that point in a different type of life. It's a Spirit begotten life that will end eventually within the very Kingdom of God. Let's go over to Romans 7:4 it says:

"Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ [so it's you that have become dead to the Law by the body of Christ]; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God." (Romans 7:4)

In other words, you go down into baptism and you become dead. The old man dies, and you are then raised from the dead, that you should bring forth fruit to God. Romans 7:5:

"For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve [the inference is either the Law, or God Himself] in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter." (Romans 7:5-6)

We are delivered from the penalty of the Law. In other words, the Law has the control over us, but it doesn't have the power to condemn us anymore because the sins have been left in the baptismal pool. It has been left through that repentance that has taken place, and the blood of Christ has covered it. Romans 7:6:

"...being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve [notice] in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter [not the way the Pharisees did]. What shall we say then? Is the law sin [is the Law missing the mark somehow]? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of [lust]. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came [the commandment of coveting], sin [that covetousness] revived, and I died." (Romans 7:6-9)

"When I really understood the spiritual side, when I really applied and administered the Law according to the Spirit, and not just merely letter; I suddenly started to see the mind of God, as opposed to the mind of a human being." That's the difference. You're not just talking about a specific commandment, you're taking the entire mind and thinking of God. We have got to come to a place where we are thinking the way God thinks. God will automatically keep His Law, because He thinks that way. That defines it, that defines what sin is. As far as keeping the Law is concerned, that defines what sin is. Romans 7:9:

"For I was alive without the law once ["I thought I was doing okay" - because he was a Pharisee and the son of a Pharisee]: but when the commandment came [when he really understood the commandment], sin revived [he suddenly saw that no, he had been breaking it left, right and centre], and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death [because he started to see the spiritual intent of the Law, started to apply it, started to administer it according to it's intent]. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good." (Romans 7:9-12)

When you put all the Laws together, you suddenly see the mind of God and you start to see the holy, justness, and goodness of God. The growth from the seven pound child to three thousand million tons, that's the kind of difference. Romans 7:13:

"Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful." (Romans 7:13)

"I'm having my nose rubbed in it." That's what Paul is saying. "I'm getting my nose rubbed it. I'm learning about sin and having this experience within my life. I'm constantly falling on my face; I am constantly making a fool of myself as far as God is concerned. I'm having to go to God continually to ask for forgiveness; and being repentant before Him; because I can see the difference between the two mindsets." It's not just a few points that he is ticking off. It's the mindset - from a human mindset to a God mindset. That's the difference. Romans 7:14:

"For we know that the law is spiritual [that's the Law, all the points that you see, all pointing to the mindset; the Law is spiritual, the Torah, the Way is spiritual]: but I am carnal, sold under sin [I'm still flesh and blood, I still make mistakes]. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not [there are areas there that I'm trying to do, and I fall flat on my face]; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good." (Romans 7:14-16)

"I'm at least acknowledging the Law. The Law is righteous. The Law is good. It's pointing, it's showing me the way, but I've got a problem because of myself". That's what he's saying. Romans 7:17

"Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me." (Romans 7:17)

Because, the 'I' that is doing it at that time - the old man - died; or supposed to have. Circumcised, the old sins have gone. The new man that comes up out of the baptism has then been impregnated with the actual laying on of hands to become this new creation. That's now me; "Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me." (Romans 7:17). I've still got this part that needs cleaning up. Day by day, hour by hour as we live our lives, those areas have got to be cleaned up. We cannot do that on our own power as it goes on and explains. Romans 7:18:

"For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not [humanly speaking, fleshly speaking]. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do." (Romans 7:18-19)

Now it's not saying all the time. He's saying, this is the problem area. I'm doing things that I shouldn't be doing and not doing things that I should be doing and these are the areas. Romans 7:20:

"Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me [it's the individual that came out of that baptismal pool, the individual that has been impregnated, that's the 'I']. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members [in the physical flesh]. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:20-24)

Then he answers the question. Who is it? It's an ellipses here; "...who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord..." (Romans 7:24-25). He will deliver me, that's the ellipses; He will deliver me from the body of this death.

Remember we; "...grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ..." (II Peter 3:18). That's what we've got to grow in. The growth is from seven pounds through to three thousand million tons. That's the growth. That is impossible humanly. That's the growth that takes place within the womb. Romans 7:25:

"I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord [He will deliver me from the body of this death]. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin." (Romans 7:25)

There is still a problem with our walking in this physical flesh, but eventually that will be brought to the point of total conversion, total change into the very spirit being. He says in chapter 8:1:

"There is therefore now [having the Spirit of God] no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit [they are not going in the direction of the flesh, they are aiming their entire life after the Spirit, after the mind of God Himself]. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." (Romans 8:1-2)

It's not just the case of taking a few sins and ticking them off. It's not a case of getting rid of these points. It's a case of the changing and converting of the very mind, to the mind of God. That is what is being talked about. Romans 8:3:

"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:" (Romans 8:3)

That means totally condemned. It doesn't mean; oh, we'll leave a few sins remaining and they will kind of be sorted out in the resurrection. It is total condemnation of sin in this flesh. Notice: In the flesh - condemned sin in the flesh. That's the aim. It's not that we put up with it all the way through. We've got to get rid of it, condemn it. Romans 8:4:

"That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled [filled to the full] in us, who walk not after the flesh [not using a human mind, just tacking on a few Laws and then tacking on a Spiritual bit, that's not what it's talking about; it's an impregnated mind], but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit [set their minds on, again an ellipses] the things of the Spirit." (Romans 8:4-5)

The same kind of things that God sets His mind on. That's what is so important. Romans 8:6:

"For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity [antagonistic frame of mind] against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

If we try and do it through the flesh, if we fail to recognize that we need the power to grow, that we've got to have the power to grow, there is absolutely no hope. We will never be converted. We cannot achieve the Kingdom of God, being ready for the Kingdom of God without the power being given to us, without a converted mind. It says; "...the carnal mind is enmity..." (Romans 8:7). It hates the things of God. That mind has got to change. It has got to be converted.

It has to be totally, totally changed. " is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." (Romans 8:7). You are not going to keep it just by keeping the letter. If you just try and keep the letter, and tack a bit of spirit on the side, you will fail, I will fail. The only way of doing it, is to become converted, to have that impregnation. That impregnation then converts what we are inside. As it said; "'s not I that do it, but the evil that is still with me." (Romans 7:20 paraphrased) The 'I' has got to be converted. The 'I' has got to change. The only way that 'I' can change is through a conversion through an impregnation. That is the very purpose of the laying on of hands. Baptism gets rid of the old man. It does the circumcision bit. It is the purpose of the laying on of hands through the impregnation of the very Spirit of God. Romans 8:8

"So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh [that is all we are, just flesh trying to keep a few laws], but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell [lives] in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his [we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ; if he doesn't have the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his]. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin [therefore you are not a Christian as Mr Armstrong continually brings out; we have got to have the Spirit of Christ there]; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness." (Romans 8:9-10)

It's this new begettal process that will lead through to life. We just read over in Psalms remember, how David likened the change that was taking place within the womb, before he even was, likened to what he was actually going through at that time, leading to eternal life. Romans 8:11:

"But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also [make] your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh." (Romans 8:11-12)

We don't administer the Word of God and the understanding that we have according to the flesh. It is not according to the letter. You administer it according to the Spirit. Romans 8:13:

"For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die [if all we have is a physical, materialistic, administration of God's Way, according to the flesh, you will die]: but if ye through the Spirit do [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live." (Romans 8:13)

The Pharisees administered it according to the flesh. They were purely just as carnal as the day is long, trying to keep the Law of God. Totally impossible. They are not going to be part of the Kingdom of God. It says; "...except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees..." (Matthew 5:20). Romans 8:14:

"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God [being led by that Spirit]. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of [sonship], whereby we cry, Abba, Father [that is what it is, it's the impregnation of the very sperm of God into the very mind of man, the ovum that is there within the Church]. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God [the two together, the spirit in man as the ovum, and the Spirit of God impregnation, that then witnesses that we are the children of God]: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ [our elder brother]; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." (Romans 8:14-17)

As it says in Romans 8:29:

"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [planned] to be conformed to the image of his Son..." (Romans 8:29)

You grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. We have the same kind of flesh. We walk in the same kind of flesh that Christ walked in, which is Immanuel, God with us. It's a God mind in human flesh. That is why it is so vitally important. That God mind in human flesh will keep God's Law, perfectly, absolutely. I mean perfectly. That's what Christ did. He kept the Law perfectly. It requires that power in order to grow. Romans 8:29:

"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." (Romans 8:29)

Among many brethren. As I say that power of God is so absolutely vital.

The Mother of Us All (PLAY FROM 1:02:25)

Put in your notes Galatians 4:26, where it says:

"But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all." (Galatians 4:26)

But let's notice how it is the mother of us all; a baby when it is growing within the womb has the umbilical cord there to be fed by. He was protected by the amniotic fluid of his mother. He was carried and protected within the body of his mother. Here in Ephesians 4:7 notice:

"But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. [And in verse 11, because that whole section there is in brackets] And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers [the various offices within the Church]; For the [maturing or] perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ [teaching grace and knowledge, this is where the grace and knowledge comes from]: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" (Ephesians 4:7-8,11-13)

That's what we're aiming for. That's the direction in this flesh. It's not something way off just after the resurrection. It is now. We'll go into that. Ephesians 4:14:

"That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:" (Ephesians 4:14-15)

This is the growth that is necessary. So through the Church, through the feeding of the Church. That is where the food comes from. It's through this Word, through the Spirit of God that guides us. But it's also through the knowledge that is coming through from the Church as well.

Trials (PLAY FROM 1:04:44)

But there is another area that is also used by God for growth, and that is trials. If we turn over to Hebrews 2:6 it says:

"But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him." (Hebrews 2:6-8)

So looking at man, looking down into the annals of time - off into the future, - we are looking at the time when all things will be under the Spirit born Family of God. Hebrews 2:9

"But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." (Hebrews 2:9-10)

Now I know it's something that we don't particularly like actually have happening, but it is the way it is. It is simply the way it is, that we are made perfect through the sufferings. Through the things that we suffer; as Christ was also made perfect through the things that He suffered.

As Mr Armstrong said, in two articles, one was called 'The Beautiful Analogy of Human Reproduction ' That is from 'The Plain Truth' of January 1978 if you want to look it up. The other one was the identical article that appeared in 'The Good News' in March of 1984. That was called; 'Spiritual Growth ' it had a different title. {2} He says in this particular article, he says towards the end:

"The resurrected Christ was perfect – He was very God! But He did not grow up into perfection after He was resurrected [notice what he said; that's not how it works]. It was during His human lifetime, setting us the example, that He was made perfect, as you read in Hebrews 2:10 and 5:8-9."

So it was in human lifetime that He was made perfect.

"Thus it is plain that we must develop spiritual character, growing to spiritual adulthood, during this life – not after our resurrection in glory!"

This is the time for it. If we put it off, we think; 'Oh, we don't have to be perfect in this life'; then we are not going to be ready for being born into the very Kingdom of God, because the Kingdom of God is the Family of God. We have been given a likeness in human form, as I say from six pounds to three thousand million tons. That's the difference. It's impossible. Humanly it is impossible. He says:

"This is the spiritual growth, of which the physical growth of the unborn child, from tiny embryo to a size and weight of some six to eight pounds at birth, is a type." 'The Beautiful Analogy of Human Reproduction '

We can look at what is that type and we can see what has to take place within our own growth as well. Now humanly speaking, it's impossible. Humanly speaking it is impossible. That's why I say; you've got to go back to the power. It's not a case of according to the letter and then tacking a little bit of spirit on. It's a case of the Spirit impregnating the mind. It is a conversion, total change of mind. A total change of direction, utter, complete, from human to God. That is the change.

Mr Armstrong many times said, "Look, you're not getting it brethren." And he was talking about the huge difference between God's Way and man's way. It is also a huge difference within our lives and the growth that has got to take place. As I say, putting it in that context of seven pounds to three thousand million tons. That's what takes place from an ovum to a seven pound child. That's the kind of difference that has to take place regarding our own growth if we try and draw the analogy physically. If we turn over to James 1:1 it says:

"James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into [different trials]; Knowing this, that the [testing] of your faith worketh patience." (James 1:1-3)

You see, it's impossible for us to go ahead and achieve this. We cannot do it ourself. So what is it? It is faith. We have faith in the operation of God. We have faith in His creative power. We go back to the Psalm we just read at the very beginning, that David recognized the difference between what he is now and what he was in the womb, and the difference between what he is now and what he is going to have to be in the future. The parallels are drawn there. We have faith that the same One who created all the systems for the womb has also created the systems as far as the spiritual side is concerned as well. James 1:3:

"Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom [if you look at this and say; 'It's impossible'],let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." (James 1:3-5)

If you find yourself in a trial, if you find yourself under difficulties, you go to God. We must go to God. We get on our knees before God, and we ask Him for the help through the trial, and in that assistance through that trial, He will then allow us to be further converted, to further grow, to have His character, His frame of mind. That's what it's all about. So His character is therefore produced. James 1:6:

"But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed [you are going to ask in faith, you're hanging in there even despite whatever that trial may be]. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." (James 1:6-8)

In other words, you've got to be single minded. You've got to be going in God's direction as the faithful Creator. Let's turn over to I Peter 4:15 it says:

"But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. Yet if any man suffer [so he's got a trial, he's going through difficulties] as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God [he's being actually led and helped by God to develop the character that's necessary]: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?" (I Peter 4:15-17)

The gospel of God, remember, is the Kingdom of God. It's the Family of God. It's the process that leads to that family. It's the conversion of a human being into a God Being. That's the gospel, that's what Christ brought, that's what Christ proclaimed. What happens within that context, within the context of the Church, if we don't obey that gospel, if we don't submit ourselves to the trial? But allow that trial to draw us back to God to bring us on our knees before Him, asking Him for the wisdom as to how we should approach this particular difficulty that we've got. I Peter 4:18:

"And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear [again, within the context of the Church]? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God [if we are going through a trial, and we realize that God is allowing this trial, for whatever reason it may be] commit the keeping of their souls [their very being, what they are] to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

That's what we need to be doing. Making sure that we recognize as David did, as we read in Psalm 139, that we can see the human birth, and the things that actually took place then, the same God that created the systems that actually caused that human baby to come into the world, is also allowing the spirit creation even working through trials as a faithful Creator to bring about His sons into glory.

Now let me just read another article; this is an open letter. You can find it in 'The Good News' of March 1981. 'To Our Newly Begotten Brethren Recently Baptized ' I strongly recommend that if you haven't read it for awhile, please go back and read it. Go onto and download it. It's by Mr Armstrong, page 1 of 'The Good News' March 1981. In this particular open letter he mentions about the difficulties that so many who have recently been baptized have to go through. He says:

"In order to GROW in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord (II Pet. 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!"

Now this is being addressed to every single one of us. Two things daily, without fail, without fail.

"You must not only read, but eagerly, earnestly STUDY the Word of God to learn how to live..."

By the law is the knowledge of sin. That is how you learn what is off track. It doesn't make you righteous. That's not going to make you righteous. The impregnation of that Spirit of God and the conversion makes us righteous, but it does tell us what sin is:

"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."

Do we have that contact with God? Are we really doing that? Are we making sure that we make that time? Are we bumbling through life? If we do, how can we have the growth that is necessary to grow from six pounds to three thousand million tons? I know I keep coming back to that, but that really is telling us the degree of change. We can't do it on our own strength. It's not possible. Our own strength isn't good enough.

"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!"

We've got to learn to do that. As we go into the time of trouble that is immediately ahead of us, we've got to be able to do that, and got to be doing that.

"Keep close to Him. You can’t afford to be without the SECURITY of His constant guidance and protection." 'To Our Newly Begotten Brethren Recently Baptized '

That's how he ends that particular letter to newly begotten brethren. So every single one of us must make sure, if we have slipped up in that area, that is the area that we then get this impregnation, this flow of God's Spirit. That we get the mind of God - from the Word of God. That we know what God actually says within His Word, so we know when we are off track. So we start building the same kind of mind as Jesus Christ. Growing in grace and knowledge of Christ in these words. He's the Living Word. It is taking these Words and making them live.

Turn over to Jude 1, there's only one chapter, and let's just read starting with verse 17:

"But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;" (Jude 1:17)

And I'll say, and add; of the apostle that was here at this time. Go back and read the things - and this is another point; we are posting this material onto the website, are we reading that? Do we go back and actually read it? Or is it just an exercise? We need to be reading it. Some of these articles that were written by Mr Armstrong are utterly, utterly profound, and yet I believe in talking to people, I don't honestly think that people are reading them. I think it's crazy, it's insane. What are we doing it for? It's This is how you 'get back on track'. It's understanding what the track is. It's understanding the Word of God as delivered to us. Jude 1:17:

"But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who [divide you, is probably best translated], sensual, having not the Spirit." (Jude 1:17-19)

Notice it has got to be according to the spirit. Applying God's Way, God's Law, God's Mind according to the spirit, and making sure we administer it according to the spirit, not the letter. It's not a case of ticking off the points. It doesn't mean to say we don't go ahead and use that letter, of course we do. It's not like an ovum that is there with a sperm tacked alongside. The sperm has got to go inside. It is putting the Law of God into the hearts and into the minds. Jude 1:20:

"But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith [it's the faith in God to be able to do this], praying in the Holy Spirit, Keep yourselves in the love of God [not our love, it's the power of God, it's the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by that Spirit], looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life [looking right the way through]. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh." (Jude 1:20-23)

Remember what David was saying. "Look, I don't want to have anything to do with going the different way." Jude 1:24:

"Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless..." (Jude 1:24)

Notice that; "...present you faultless..." (Jude 1:24). It's not a case of just waiting until the resurrection and then having God just go ahead and suddenly do something. As Mr Armstrong said this is the time we are developing this righteous character. That is what this life is for. It is the development of holy, righteous, perfect character. Jude 1:24:

"Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen." (Jude 24-25)


{1} The next scripture is from Colossians 2 and not Colossians 3.

{2} This article was also the 'Personal' in the March 1984 'Good News'.