My dear Friend! I am very glad to know that you have received Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour. This is the best thing you have ever done.
God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and all the angels of heaven are rejoicing with and about you.
I am writing this letter to encourage you in your New Life with Christ. There are seven things which I want to draw your attention to.
THE FIRST OF THESE IS ASSURANCE
When you confessed your sins to Christ and invited Him to come and live within you, He immediately forgave you ALL your sins. He says in His Word, "I will remember their sins and their misdeeds no more" (Hebrews 10:17). Again He says, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:8-9). So, all the sins you have ever committed have been dealt away with from God's record. You stand before Him as one who has never sinned.
In addition to your sins being forgiven, you have been made a child of God. You see, everyone is God's creature, but only those who receive Christ become God's children. The Bible says, "But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God" (John 1:12). You are now a true member of God's family. God is not going to throw you out of His family. Jesus says, "All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out" (John 6:37).
Because you are now a child of God, born into His family by faith, you have eternal life. Eternal life is God's own life, and when you receive Christ, He brings God's life along with Him into your life. Of course, the portion of eternal life that you have now is just a foretaste - the first instalment - of what you will have when you go to be with Christ. Nevertheless, it is real. The Bible says, "And this is the testimony that God gave us eternal life and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; He who has not the Son has not life. I write this to you, you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life" (1 John 5:11-13). Again Jesus says, "My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me, and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of my Father's hand" (John 10:27-29).
You may be wondering and asking yourself, "How can I know that I am forgiven and that Jesus has come to live within me? How can I be sure?" Your certainty should rest not on whether or not you feel forgiven, but on the promises that God has made in the verses which I have just cited above. Can God lie? No, He certainly cannot; for, "God is not man that he should lie, or a son of man that he should change his mind. Has he said and will he not do it? Or has he spoken and will he not fulfil it?" (Numbers 23:19). The God who cannot lie promised to forgive you, make you His child, and give you eternal life. He promised to do so immediately you receive Him. Having received Him, do not depend on your feelings since these always change. Having received Him, you can trust Him to fulfil His promises immediately. God's unchanging promises are the sure ground for your faith.
What if you sin after you have confessed your sin and received Christ? Are you immediately cast away by God? God does not throw away His children who sin. Rather, He invites them to repent. If you have lied or had an evil thought, immediately confess the sin to Christ. He will forgive you immediately. But do not sin deliberately; for this will be to crucify Christ again.
THE SECOND THING IS THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. He is also the Spirit of Christ. When we confess our sins and invite Jesus Christ to come and live in our hearts, He comes in the person of the Holy Spirit. So we can say that the Holy Spirit is Christ in a receivable form. Therefore the Holy Spirit lives in all who have forsaken their sins and received Christ. So, dear friend, if you have truly received Christ, then the Holy Spirit lives in you.
The Bible, in talking to people who have received Christ, says, "Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" (1 Corinthians 3:16). Again the Bible says, "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given to us" (Romans 5:5).
The Holy Spirit lives in you to give you power to overcome sin and to love Christ wholeheartedly. Why not just stop now and thank God that He has given you His Holy Spirit? Continue to pray that the Holy Spirit will fill your heart and life. When you surrender your whole life and everything in it to Christ, holding nothing back, you will be completely filled with the Holy Spirit. This is the plan of God for all who know Christ and love Him.
The Holy Spirit has gifts, (1 Corinthians 12:1-13) and fruit, (Galatians 5:22-23). Ask Him for these gifts and fruit earnestly, and do not rest until He has bestowed them on you.
THE THIRD THING IS WITNESSING
You have received God's love and forgiveness. You must help others to receive them too. Therefore, you should tell other people about Jesus Christ: what He has done for you, and what He will do for them. Pray everyday that the Lord should lead you to someone to whom you will tell the Gospel. Write the names and addresses of the people to whom you witness, including all the members of your family, as well as friends, and pray everyday that each of them should repent and receive Christ.
THE FOURTH THING IS STUDYING AND OBEYING THE WORD OF GOD
The Bible is God's Word. Get a copy of the New Testament and begin to read it at once. Read as fast as possible and complete the New Testament very soon. It is best to start from the Gospel according to St. John. If you neglect Bible studies you will not grow in your New Life in Christ and that is dangerous. As you read the Bible, obey all the commands of God in it. Obey the Word of God even if others around you are disobeying it . Jesus said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments" (John 14:15).
THE FIFTH THING IS PRAYER
Prayer is talking to God. You have become a child of God, therefore you have a right to talk to Him, for He is your Father. He loves to hear you talk to Him. Talk to Him often and always. Tell Him you love Him. Thank Him for all the good things He has done for you and for others. Follow the following pattern in prayer:
- Confess any sin you have committed in thought, word or deed.
- Praise Him for His greatness.
- Thank Him for all His goodness to you and to others.
- Ask Him to give you the things you need. Be specific.
- Ask Him to supply the needs of others.
- Pray for members of your family, your friends and others, that they should repent and be saved.
It is good to write down your requests so that when God answers them, you can thank Him very specifically. God has promised to answer prayers. He says, "Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name; ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full" (John 16:24).
THE SIXTH THING IS FELLOWSHIP
The New Life in Christ is best lived in fellowship with others who have also received that new life. Now that you have received that life, you should seek such people and meet with them for Bible teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer (Acts 2:42). Do not continue to "worship" with those who have not received Jesus Christ as their Lord and personal Saviour (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
THE SEVENTH THING IS BAPTISM
The Lord Jesus said, "He who believes and is baptised will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:16). The Apostle Peter said, "Repent and be baptised every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38) and "Baptism which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 3:21). The apostle Paul said, "Buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God who raised him from the dead" (Colossians 2:12).
Read also Acts 19:1-6. You have believed. Now obey Jesus by being baptised (buried with Him) as soon as possible. Do not delay this act of obedience; for Jesus commands it and you have no choice but to obey at once.
I am praying for you. Please write back to me very soon or call me and let me know how you are getting on in your new life with Christ. If you have spiritual problems, please share them with me in your letter or phone call.
May the Lord bless you very richly in every area of your life.
Professor Zacharias Tanee Fomum