False Conversion A MORTAL DANGER! - by Roderick C. Meredith
THE END of this age is very near! The "World Ahead" is at hand!
Through His work, God is WARNING His people of impending destruction and national punishment. This warning particularly effects the United States and the British Commonwealth of nations.
We have been materially BLESSED by Almighty God above other peoples. Our people also have been spiritually blessed by having free access to the Bible - and literally hundreds of Bible study helps, and by the complete freedom of worship we have been granted. Also, through the material blessings, we have had more time to pursue the spiritual things, to find Gods Truth, and to live it.
But we have FAILED!
A Dead Religion
Although we cherish favorite opinions and man-made traditions - and although we hate to be told we are wrong - our modern religion is a DEAD thing.
Some of us realize it.
But most people hate to ADMIT it. It is painful to admit they have been WRONG. But the END of this civilization is near!
God says He is going to have to PUNISH our people for our national and individual sins. "Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD, O Israel" (Amos 4:12).
Are YOU prepared? God tells us to get ready! The time is NOW!
Most of you who read The Plain Truth regularly realize that before this you had been LACKING something for many years.
Now you have come to understand a great deal of new truth. A new way of life is opening up before you.
Now you are beginning to really UNDERSTAND Bible prophecies, and the great PURPOSE being worked out here below.
WHY have you been in almost total ignorance of the real meaning of Bible prophecy and of world affairs all the years before this?
IF you were truly a Christian - a begotten child of God - WHY werent you given to understand these things before? Why didnt God seem more real? Why didnt you really study and UNDERSTAND the Bible all these years?
And WHY didnt your minister really understand and preach the Bible and its prophecies all these years? If he is a true minister of God, why doesnt he do so now?
Why does he almost NEVER admit he has been wrong about some points? Why doesnt he constantly study, and change and GROW in grace and in knowledge?
Again, what about YOU? Why havent you been doing these things - IF you have really been a Christian and a child of God for many years?
Lets FACE the FACTS! Excusing ourselves will do no good whatever when we are brought before the judgment seat of God!
Does This mean Someone Else?
The little word my is a precious one to most people. They lovingly speak of my opinion, my job, my house, my country, my religion and my God.
We RESENT being told that our opinion, our faith, or our religion is wrong. We like to continue to believe what we have been accustomed to accept as true. Everyone HATES to admit he has been wrong.
Yet, in all this maze of religious Babylon, somebody HAS to be wrong!
Are you willing to admit that it could be YOU?
May God help you to do so! Because if we will believe our Bibles, we will find that MOST of the people on this earth are steeped in religious error. And even most professing Christians are DECEIVED!
One of the least understood principles in all the Bible is that God has purposely blinded this world and is letting it go its own way and learn lessons during this first six thousand years of human history. In Revelation 12:9, God describes Satan as, "that old serpent called the Devil, and Satan, which DECEIVETH THE WHOLE WORLD."
Hard to believe, isnt it?
Yet - in many places - your Bible indicates that this whole world has been completely DECEIVED in spiritual things. Remember that a deceived person doesnt know he is deceived. He is sincere. But he is sincerely WRONG!
The great false religious system dominating our western world today is pictured in Revelation 17. God describes this apostate church as a fallen woman - a great whore: "With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made DRUNK with the wine of her fornication" (verse 2).
Because of false teachings and false concepts assumed since childhood, people are spiritually DRUNK - having a distorted outlook - so that they are unable to see spiritual truths. Like a drunk person, they are stupidly SATISFIED in the foggy, hazy, confused spiritual state in which they find themselves.
They THINK they are all right - on the surface at least. But deep down inside is the haunting realization that something is missing - their religion seems EMPTY - God seem UNREAL somehow, and so very, very far away.
A Counterfeit Christianity
The GREAT RELIGIOUS DECEPTION that has gripped this world is the result of Satan the Devil working through false ministers who preach a counterfeit Christianity. After all, a deceiver is a counterfeiter. And Satan the Devil is the supreme COUNTERFEITER of the ages! Therefore, his ministers have a doctrine that appears to be the TRUTH.
The apostle Paul describes these false, Christian ministers - who were already prevalent in his day: "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing that his (the devils ) ministers also be transformed AS the ministers of righteousness; who end shall be according to their works" (II Cor. 11:13-15).
Yes, Satan the Devil has MINISTERS! They appear to be the ministers of Christ! But actually, they teach a doctrine of "no works" - no obedience to Gods law. Therefore, they themselves will be judged according to their EVIL works!
God warns us to "try" or test every spirit or spiritual doctrine that comes through men. "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (I John 4:1).
unknowingly, and in most cases sincerely, most of YOU have in the past been deceived by false preaching - which originated and proceeded forth from Satan the Devil through his demon spirits, which inspire and influence the religious system and false ministers of our day! It is time to WAKE UP!
In these last days, before the second coming of Jesus Christ, you need to KNOW whether or not you are prepared to meet your God! With an open mind, you should be willing to prove whether or not you have ever been really converted.
Your misplaced confidence in a FALSE CONVERSION is a great and MORTAL deception which could very easily cause you to forfeit eternal life! It is such a dangerous deception because your own personal VANITY will, in many cases, prevent you from admitting that you have never been converted!
Are you willing to FACE this possibility? Are you willing to CHANGE if God shows you through His Word that you have never really been converted before?
What Conversion Really Is
Gods Word says: "Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Rom. 8:9). In plain language, you have to have Christs Spirit in you or you are not a Christian - you have NEVER been converted.
A truly converted person is filled with and LED BY the Holy Spirit of God. God places and lives His very life within us through His Holy Spirit. By this means, we are begotten of Him as children and thus partake of His very nature! "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Rom. 8:14).
Frankly, in the past, most of you didnt even know WHAT the Holy Spirit was, what it was supposed to do in your life, and what was the real result of your being led by Gods Holy Spirit.
In Romans 5:5, God tells us: "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts BY the Holy Spirit which is given unto us." Through His Spirit, God gives us His love. Thus we partake of His nature - His character. And Gods character is expressed in the spiritual principles contained in the Ten Commandments - obedience of Gods law. "For this IS the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous" (I John 5:3).
Gods Spirit leads us to OBEY Him as our Maker and Ruler.
The apostle Peter was inspired to write of "the Holy Spirit, whom God hath given to them the OBEY him" ( Acts 5:32),
Real conversion, then, involves a real surrender to obey God and His Laws. In Acts 2:38, Peter was inspired to tell HOW to be converted. He said: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
You repent of SIN. And what is the Bible definition of sin? "Sin IS the transgression of the law" (I John 3:4). That is the Bible definition of sin - breaking Gods Law! So to really be converted, you must REPENT of breaking Gods Law. Remember that in the New Testament, this Law was magnified by Jesus Christ - particularly in Matthew 5 and the Sermon on the Mount as a whole. We are to keep not only the letter but the spirit or intent of Gods Law in every phase of our lives.
Jesus said: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY word of God" (Luke 4:4). You must repent of disobeying Gods Law - His Word - His RULE over your life. Then you need to be baptized as an outward sign of your willingness to completely BURY your old self - and literally give your very life to God and to Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, High Priest, and Master.
In Romans 6:1-4, the apostle Paul describes baptism as a burial of the old self. It is to be a complete immersion of the body under the water as a type of the burial of the human body in the grave.
False Conversion Is Very Common
But frankly, most people attending the churches of this world and having been baptized by them never really knew WHAT to repent of! They didnt know WHAT sin really is.
At the time of baptism in most churches, most people sincerely intend to "do better" or to "make their peace with God." But since they have not been taught what sin actually is they completely fail to realize how ROTTEN and SINFUL they have really been!
They dont really REPENT! They arent broken up about the wretched state of their lives and their own human VANITY and selfishness, which expresses itself constantly in all of us.
And such people dont immediately begin to study and UNDERSTAND the Bible. They just continue to go along with the customs, the ways and the traditions of this world. Their lives are not actually CHANGED. They dont come to personally KNOW GOD!
Speaking of converted people, Jesus said: "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you INTO all truth, for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come" (John 16:13) A truly converted person, then, will be guided into new TRUTH by Gods Spirit. He will come to understand and GRASP Bible prophecy - or things to come!
Genuine conversion actually REVOLUTIONIZES a human beings life! It is a renewing of his mind - his attitude - his character!
He comes to really KNOW God - to more and more of Gods Word - and he is able to pray and talk to God in a personal way. he receives constant answers - he is blessed - he GROWS more like !
The sad truth is that most professing Christians havent even begun to get ready to START on the road to this kind of Christian life!
Are you willing to face this fact and ACT on it?
Face Up to Human Nature
The Almighty God, Who created our minds and our human nature, repeats twice a warning for us in the book of Proverbs. He warns: "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Prov. 16:25; 14:12).
It is only human nature to believe that your way is right. But God says that the way that SEEMS right to a man ends up in death! Remember that the wages of sin is DEATH (Rom. 6:23).
The greatest stumbling block that prevents most people from accepting the truth and being truly converted is their own VANITY. Most people have grown up in and attended some church or another. And they hate to admit that they have never been converted! Human nature makes them want to maintain their OWN righteousness.
God has inspired an entire book in His Word to deal with this common problem of human beings. It is the book of Job - one of the least understood books in all the Bible.
The primary lesson in this entire book is that God HATES our own human self-righteousness!
Notice Jobs attitude throughout this book! "God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me. My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live" (Job 27:5-6).
Job again voices his real attitude in Job 31:6: "Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know MINE integrity." Even Jobs carnal friends could sense his own self-righteousness and vanity. "So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his OWN eyes" (Job 32:1).
Finally, after dealing personally which God and learning a little more about his own insignificance and utter weakness and wretchedness, Job at last REPENTED. "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I ABHOR myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:5-6).
But the real question remains: Have you ever come to really ABHOR yourself? Have you REPENTED in dust and ashes? Have you totally SURRENDERED yourself to God and given your very LIFE to Him to use as He see fit?
God commands us to quit justifying the self! "Let the wicked forsake HIS way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon" (Isa. 55:7). But perhaps you dont think youve been wicked?
The Almighty God declares: "There is NONE righteous, no, not one" (Rom. 3:10). Again, He states: "For ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (verse 23).
God thunders: "For my thoughts are NOT your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the lord. For as the heavens are higher then the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isa. 55:8-9).
Our own human ways and reasonings are always WRONG!
This means YOU! Dont apply this to someone else- apply it to YOURSELF!
It is almost certain that most of you reading this article still have what the Bible describes as a "carnal" mind. Many of you think you are already "saved" when the truth of the matter is that you NEVER have come to the place of total surrender to God and His absolute RULE over your lives! Therefore, you have NEVER received of Gods Holy Spirit and been begotten as His spiritual son.
That is WHY you have not been able to understand Bible PROPHECY before! That is WHY you never really understood that great PURPOSE being worked out here below. And that is why God always seemed so far away - so UNREAL.
This lack of Gods Spirit is the reason that you were not continually GROWING in grace and in knowledge - and that you have lacked vital scripture truths so many years of your life.
Now it is time to AWAKEN! Now it is time to be really CONVERTED!
What You Should Do
First of all, you should apply this article to your own SELF. And you should strive NOT to get your feelings hurt by the correction and the exhortation which is here given in deep LOVE!
Remember that when Jesus had been showing His disciples that they had to literally "eat" of Him and His message, many got their feelings hurt and drew back. "Many therefore of his disciples, when they heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?" (John 6:60). but Jesus asked the twelve, "Will you also go away?"
Then Peter gave an answer which has the same significance today. He said: "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life" (verses 67-68).
If God has shown you by the "fruits" that this is the WORK of His Church, then you should FEAR to turn aside from the truth! Where else would you go?
Thousands of you have come to realize that you are getting the truth and message of God through this work - The World Tomorrow broadcast and The Plain Truth Magazine. You are beginning to realize that this is the true Church of God.
But you have never thought of actually DOING very much about it!
If we are the servants of the MOST HIGH GOD, then you ought to follow and obey our teaching and example as you see it is according to the Bible. You ought to apply such articles as this more LITERALLY and personally in your own private lives.
The apostle Paul was inspired to write: "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ" (I Cor. 11:1). The Greek word here literally means to "imitate." You need to imitate the example of Gods ministers - and of Jesus Christ.
Frankly, most of you have never been counseled with by one of Gods true ministers about real conversion and baptism. If you realize the vital necessity of this personal contact and guidance of the true servants of Jesus Christ, then tells us and send your name and address immediately to Mr. Armstrong, Box 111, Pasadena, California.
And ALL of you need to realize the vital importance of coming to a REAL conversion! Dont put it off too long!
Remember that God doesnt have a habit of doing His work through false ministers! If you want to be really SURE of your spiritual state, youd better counsel with the true ministers of God who are being used as instruments to preach His message to this dying world. You had better humble yourself to take their advice - to follow their instructions - if you are satisfied they are TRULY Gods ministers. If not, you had better MAKE SURE where God is working!
Be Willing To CHANGE
Never forget that before real conversion comes real REPENTANCE. You had better humble yourself until you can sincerely repent as David did in Psalm 51. "Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin," David cried, "For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my SIN is ever before me."
Notice that David did not try to justify himself - he acknowledged his sin freely and asked for forgiveness.
He continued: "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this EVIL in thy sight."
God didnt have to argue or "reason" David into admitting his guilt! As Job, David had come to see himself as he really was and to ABHOR himself. And you are no better!
When you are finally ready to repent of breaking Gods Laws, of following human traditions, of conforming to this society and its ways, the here is what god requires of YOU. "The sacrifices of God are a BROKEN spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise" (Ps. 51:17).
When that time comes you will quit arguing and reasoning with the ministers through whom God shows you by the "fruits that He is working. You will not grudgingly hang on to a false conversion any more. You will not get your "feelings" hurt at the correction and exhortation of Gods chosen servants.
At that time, you will be humble and TEACHABLE like a little child - not assuming that you are a spiritual giant before you even start on the road to real conversion.
And you will realize the great DANGER of assuming - because of spiritual pride and vanity - that a previous false conversion was the real thing. you will KNOW that this kind of vanity could prevent you from ever being truly converted - and could cut you off from God for all eternity!
You will also KNOW that God has always given the right advice through the SAME ministers He is using to preach His message to the world.
"He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."