Your very life during the next few years depends upon your willingness to change! Your eternity depends on what you do with revealed truth. Read and heed this article!
Within the next several years, additional millions of people worldwide will become regular readers of the Plain Truth magazine. They will be talking about the unique and vital message of The Plain Truth and the World Tomorrow broadcast in their homes and at the office or factory. Millions are already talking about The Plain Truth, and about the strong, straight-from the-shoulder Bible articles appearing in this magazine, The Good News. Millions have read booklets and articles showing the truth about the existence of their divine heavenly Father, the Creator, who gives them every breath they draw — and they have seen the utter ludicrousness of the evolutionary fantasy and other false teachings. Many government leaders, educators, lawyers, judges, corporation executives and leading entertainment figures are numbered among those who have heard, who have read and who have wondered. Already, the millions listen, and they read, and they talk. Each year, they are joined by yet additional millions of humans, around the whole broad earth, being affected by this work! Yes, they listen, and they read, and they talk — but what will they do? What will they do? God says' "So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain. Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them. And when this comes to pass — surely it will come — then they will know that a prophet has been among them" (Ezekiel 33:31-33). What is it going to take to make you, personally, know that a servant of almighty God is speaking to you over the World Tomorrow telecast? What is it going to take to make you heed and act on the knowledge you are receiving through The Plain Truth and The Good News? How much will prophesied supernatural punishment have to affect you, personally, before you are willing to change your ways and obey God? For that is the key, you know — your willingness to change. Most thinking people are convicted by what they hear over the World Tomorrow telecast and read in the pages of The Good News — they know it is right. But they resist and resent having to change their human way of life! Yet, in this age above all others, your willingness to change and accept and obey the truth God is revealing through His servants in these end times is the key to your very survival — now and forever. Before much longer you will be able to see that this is not just a sentimental idea — it is a fact.
Your attitude — the key to survival
Down through the ages, every true servant of God has preached a message of change. This is simply because people have always tended to go the way of human nature — the way of vanity, selfishness, lust, hate and war. Almost as if with one voice, those faithful men of God have cried out about the national crimes and sins of their peoples not only in righteous indignation or wrath, but out of deep, personal concern. Ezekiel cried, "Why should you die, 0 house of Israel?" (Ezekiel 18:31), and Jeremiah lamented, "For He [God] does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men" (Lamentations 3:33). Great patriots all, they saw, with keen insight, the sickening excesses and sins of their people. They saw, through God's special revelation, the prophesied punishments those people were bringing on themselves. And they urged their people, whom they loved and wanted with all their hearts to serve, to repent of their sins — to change. They answered the cry of people who had myriad problems people who said, "He's only badmouthing the nation, and he never offers any solutions!" They did offer solutions vast, far-reaching solutions to world problems, and to the problems of individuals, by giving God's own answer. The answer is to repent — to be willing to change. For to repent not only means to be sorry — it means to be so sorry you are willing to quit doing that which is wrong and to turn around and go the other way. True repentance involves a real change. Preparing for Christ's first coming, John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" (Matthew 3:1-2). Soon after, Jesus began His own ministry, preaching the Gospel of the coming government or rule of God. He proclaimed: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:14-15, Authorized Version). Again and again, Jesus warned the people that the only way they could be saved was to repent of the ways, habits and customs of the people around them and begin obeying God. He warned, "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3, 5). As the New Testament Church began, the inspired Peter set forth the way to salvation: "Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). And again: "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:19, AV).
Do you resist having to change? Does it seem too difficult to you to change from your way of life to God's way of life?
The very word convert is a chemical term meaning "to change." To be spiritually converted, a person must be genuinely, actively sorry and repentant for his past disobedience to the true God, and then he must change his way of life to conform to God's will. Haven't you noticed that the articles in the Good News magazine constantly show you habits, customs and beliefs of this world that are contrary to the commands of God? What about the days you should keep holy? What about the reward — the true goal — of the Christian? What about the constant exhortations to obey the commandments of God — all of them? What about the instructions on how to live by every word of God? Are you really doing something about this precious knowledge God is giving you? Following is a letter typical of many from a man who knows he should change. Notice: "I greatly appreciate the literature you have sent me for the past two years. I have learned a lot of things and perhaps I have come close to giving my whole self to God. It's too bad that I fell short. Since I am going to Oklahoma State University this fall, I think that your material that you have been sending me would go to waste. I can plainly see that the materialistic pull and social influence — especially my roommates' — would cause me to put it aside. As you may probably see, I am not too worried about God's wrath. I put the matter aside and think, God will pull me through sooner or later. "At least I know where to run when the times get bad. That is almost like getting something for nothing, isn't it? I have no excuse. I have seen the truth and ignored it. At least you won't find me in a campus demonstration. I'm not disenchanted and looking for an answer to man's ills. I have found the answer through your work. I'm not confused. I'm just sinful. It's a pity that your literature had to be wasted. I am just a typical human."
Too "weak" to change?
Do you, too, resist having to change? Does it seem too difficult to you to change from your way of life to God's way of life? You need to realize that this is a wrong part of human nature that in itself needs to be repented of! God says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9). God is here describing the kind of nature you have! You don't like to change. You don't like to have to admit that your religion or your ways may have been wrong. Notice this striking description of the human mind in Professor James Harvey Robinson's enlightening and popular book The Mind in the Making: "We are incredibly heedless in the formation of our beliefs, but find ourselves with an illicit passion for them when anyone proposes to rob us of their companionship. It is obviously not the ideas that threaten themselves that are dear to us, but our self-esteem which is threatened.... "The little word my is the most important one in human affairs, and properly to reckon with it is the beginning of wisdom. It has the same force whether it is my dinner, my dog, my house or my faith, my country and my God. We not only resent the imputation that our watch is wrong, or our car shabby, but that our conception of the canals of Mars, or the pronunciation of 'Epictetus,' or the medicinal value of salicine, or of the date of Sargon I, are subject to revision.... "We like to continue to believe what we have been accustomed to accept as true, and the resentment aroused when doubt is cast upon any of our assumptions leads us to seek every manner of excuse for clinging to it. The result is that most of our so-called reasoning consists in finding arguments for going on believing as we already do." Isn't that a classic illustration of the human mind — your mind? Now notice what God says about the natural, fleshly mind of man: "The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be" (Romans 8:7). And in the previous verse, God says that "to be carnally minded is death." So the Bible shows that the very key to your survival is your willingness to repent of your own ways and change your own ideas, customs and beliefs so that they really correspond with God's ways and teachings as revealed in your Bible.
God's truth brings responsibility
God has shown millions of you that this is His work — that Herbert W. Armstrong is His true minister. Over the World Tomorrow telecast and in the pages of The Good News, you are constantly challenged in plain, clear terms to obey the Ten Commandments literally as God intended, to keep His days holy, to come out of this world's numerous pagan religious observances, customs and traditions. But many of you just sit back and listen and say, "Well, I agree with Mr. Armstrong, but I don't see that there is anything I need to do about it." But God says, "For not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified" (Romans 2:13). Again, God says, "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin" (James 4:17).
What we teach stands proved. But simply knowing these things will do you or your loved ones no good. You must act on the truth.
In the main, you regular readers of The Good News really know what it is that you should be doing. You know that you should begin acting on the vital knowledge you learn through God's work. You know that even more precious knowledge of God's truth is available by studying the amazing free booklets we offer on many subjects. You know that you can be fed even more of these important spiritual truths by taking and acting on the Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course. You know where the truth is available. You know that there is no one else on earth today who is really making the Bible plain — and the big major events in world happenings plain in their definite, prophetic significance.
Will you act while there is time?
How are you going to feel when things you've been reading about all along suddenly come to fruition in front of your very eyes? How are you going to feel when you have known about these things all the time — have known that you ought to begin to obey God and act on this knowledge He was freely revealing to you — but have just sluggishly or stubbornly refused to change your ways and come under His protection in time? Are you going to react like the fellow who wrote us this letter? "I'm not a Christian. It takes a man to be one of them. I don't pray. I never prayed in my life. I had a chance to join a church but the way they put it across didn't seem right to me. I had a good chance to go the way of evolution but it didn't seem right. "When the truth did come along I wasn't so dumb that I didn't recognize it. I help support this work financially because I believe in it 100 percent. But, please don't think that I pray. I can't humble myself enough." Shocking? Yes. At least it should be if you can comprehend the stakes involved. The God of your Bible states, "On this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word" (Isaiah 66:2). You should surely know by now that we are not playing sentimental little games with you. We challenge you to prove what we say about world events and the fulfillment of biblical prophecies. For what we teach can be and does stand proved. But simply knowing these things will do you or your loved ones no good whatever. For you must act on the truth. You must live by God's laws — all of them. You must change your approach and your very way of life to conform to the example and teachings of the true Jesus Christ of your Bible. For the sake of life and eternity, will you exercise the courage and determination to make this change?