Serena Wolfe wrote a wonderful letter to the church that you should take the the time to read.It is worth it. Writing general letters to the church is of course how we got the epistles of the New Testament, and with inspiration from Serena, and in the spirit of the epistles to the church, I offer my own letter as well. It would do well for others to do this also. If you have an outlet for your writing, then please do so, and feel free to link these letters with it as sort of a modern day epistle with not one author, but many. If you don’t have an outlet, let me know, and we will happily put your letter here. Now, for my letter to the church.
Dear brothers and sisters, I had hoped to be able to write to you about the faith that we share in Christ Jesus, but it has struck me that so many of us do not know who it is that we are. How is it that we can proclaim the Kingdom of God and the unending year of the Lord’s favor, when we can not even proclaim who we are within that? How can we proclaim salvation and sanctification through Christ when we can not even recognize who we are because of this?
We are, as the apostle Peter has passed down to us, living stones being laid upon the living corner stone of Christ Jesus. We are being built into a royal priesthood whose mission it is to proclaim the good news of the gospel and whose privilege it is to offer up spiritual sacrifices received by God through Christ. We are a chosen people! We are a royal priesthood with the Son of God as our Great High Priest. This is an honor bestowed upon only those who believe. This honor is bestowed upon us by God Himself, so who are we to not know and claim this? It has come to my attention that some among our number have taken to calling us all sinners, but how dare they call us exactly the opposite of what God has proclaimed we are, through the Word, and through the word. God has called us out of the community of sinners and into the community of the faithful. While it is true that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, in the acceptance of the death and resurrection of Christ we are no longer sinners! This is at the very heart of the good news that we are to proclaim! The psalmist had told the faithful of Israel this even before the glorious incarnation. “Love the Lord, all you His saints! The Lord preserves the faithful” How is it that those who lived before The Messiah walked the Earth can know such a thing, but those of us who know of His resurrection have forgotten? Who are we to reject God’s promise of freedom from sin and death by clinging desperately to the familiar title of sinner instead of embracing the scandalous and glorious title of saint? Yes, we struggle with sin, but it is no longer who we are as if we are faithful, then our identity is in Christ, and in Him there is only righteousness. We can not claim Christ and hold on to the title of sinner, lest we dare to call the Son of God a sinner as He has imparted His righteousness upon us. Our struggle with sin is little more than a faint and hollow echo of a past never intended for us that will soon be fully restored at His glorious appearing, not an identity to be embraced. If we do not know that we are royal priests, and saints, not sinners, then how is it that we can claim to be the children of God via the spirit of adoption that has us cry out to The Father? How is that we can be coheirs with Christ both suffering with him and glorified together? How can the Holy Spirit testify to our spirit if it is still mired in the identity of sinner? How is it that we can be led by The Sprint so as to be called the children of God? I beg of you, stop blaspheming God by calling yourselves that which He has declared us free from.
Knowing now who you are, contend earnestly for the faith once and for all delivered to the saints, passed down from the apostles, through the faithful, until today. This faith is true and worthy of all honor, glory, and praise, breathed by the Creator God, revealed through His son, Jesus, the Christ, taught to us by The Holy Spirit, and defended by the church catholic. Thanks be to God. Amen. This faith is under assault from within for there are among you those who teach not the gospel of Jesus the Christ, but rather the doctrine of demons spewed forth from our adversary. They have crept in among us in secret now fully revealed by their teaching. Just as Michael the archangel called upon the Lord God to rebuke Satan while contending for the body of Moses, we too must do the same when contending with these servants of the adversary. Such enemies of God may be known by their vain lusts after the things of the flesh and the rewards of this world. Their hope lies in the false gods of this world and not in the eternal promises of the Kingdom in it’s fullness. They lust for power and glory, they seek titles having meaning to men, but not to God, the woes to the pharisees have been levied against them in times ancient and are levied against them again. Such are to be pitied, and ministered to, but cannot be permitted to continue their perversion of the church. They have gone the way of Cain and Balaam, and not the way of the faithful. Should they refuse to be reconciled to the faith once and for all delivered, they can not be counted within our number any longer, for while the faithful bare witness to God’s mercy and grace, they bare witness only to His coming, with his saints, in judgment. Flee not only the wrath to come for you by trusting in the Lord, but flee also the wrath to come for them, lest you be caught up in their dreams for themselves instead of God’s dream for all of us. We dare not soil the Bride of Christ any longer with ones such as these.
For the faithful however, I bring tidings of joy and praise for the work which you have done keeping the faith once and for all delivered and honoring the saints who have come before, and yes, even the Lord Himself, by your love, which is obedience to His word. You have remembered the words spoken by the prophets and apostles and built yourselves up in a holy faith, praying in the spirit, caring for each other and for those in need. You have testified to who you are, not for pride and vain glories, but to demonstrate the power, mercy, and grace of the Lord Most High who has not only saved, but transformed and restored, and will restore completely, what was once a sinner, even one such as me. You testify to having been a sinner, but upon your confession, and God’s remission of sin, are freed from that bondage and no longer a subject of death, but a subject of the God Of All Creation. You have been restored to a more perfect creation with the promise of being restored in fullness when the end of this world comes, and the new heaven and earth are brought down. You have testified in all humbleness about the work that God has done, through Christ, in your life so that others may join in the joy and struggle that is the faith once delivered. You have, through Christ, saved some with mercy, and others with fear, snatching them from the fire. Just as Christ and The Holy Spirit were God’s hands at creation, you, having been made a wiling slave to them, have become God’s hands in a fallen word to bring comfort to the grieving, hope to the hopeless, food to the hungry. You have lived out Christ’s great sermon upon the mount demonstrating an imperfect reflection of the perfection to come that provides hope in a world drowning in hopelessness, and light for the path in a world that praises only darkness. You have shunned earthly reward for heavenly glory, and this is to your credit, The crown of righteousness promised will be yours.
Continue then, in this the most holy, and important work of the church, teaching what has been taught, baptizing those who come to faith, and going to the corners that the world tries so desperately to forget. You have not done this for reward, but it has been seen, and The Spirit testifies that you are indeed children of God. Continue in the work of a royal priest proclaiming Christ daily, laying yourselves as living stones, making spiritual sacrifices, and marking everywhere that you step as holy ground by your presence. Thanks be to God for you, and the work that you do. Persevere in the face of all challenges, knowing that God has promised the endurance to carry on. Finally brothers and sisters in the faith, thanks be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit who in His infinite mercy has called us His own. All glory, praise and honor be His, this day, tomorrow, and until all tomorrows cease to be in the presence of His light. Amen, and amen.