A Letter To A Dear Friend Prompted By The Exhortation to Examine Our Faith
by Carlton Pruitt
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My soul shall be joyful
in the LORD: it shall rejoice
in his salvation. Psalm 35:9
Friday June 17, 2011
It was good to see you recently when I was in Stockton and I'm thankful for your kind invitation into your home. I trust you and Dot are in good health.
Jim I have to say that while our visit started out well it had a bad ending and not a way for two people who profess faith in Christ to depart company. I felt like I was in the presence of a Jim I didn't know. To say I was offended by your pugnacious behavior would be too mild a description. To say I was both offended and perturbed and shocked would convey a more accurate description.
First lets discuss my general spiritual condition and God's dealings with me. When I was in your living room I recall sharing with you that God was showing me how God had left me to myself to see the depth of my sin and corruption which he sometimes does to his children as well as to those who are not part of his kingdom.
After this confession of mine your response was apparently one of disbelief or dismay that I would describe God's dealings with me in such a way. Regardless, you just didn't or couldn't seem to relate to what I was experiencing which concerns me as one who is a seeker after God and his mercy.
Let me ask you Jim have you attained sinless perfection or such a degree of sanctification apart from God showing you the wickedness of your heart and your many transgressions over the years that you can say you have no more sin? If God has not revealed to you your self-righteousness, your many hypocrisies or inconsistencies and failures at keeping the holy commandments of God from a pure conscience and holy love for God with fear and trembling then I am in doubt of your being in a true state of saving grace as I have often been about myself.
The Devil's lie today with the easy believism free will gospel is that the sinner can receive Jesus Christ as a saviour and not as Lord. The early church preached "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." Acts 16:31 This belief is impossible apart from the work of the Holy Spirit giving us a new
heart and the faith of Jesus himself which justifies us. (Rom 5:1)
Lest you think my doubts of salvation are without grounds or that such a frame of mind is something unheard of in those calling themselves Christians let me allude to the wise writings of the Baptist Confession Of Faith of 1689 on Divine Providence:
"The most wise, righteous and gracious God doth often times leave for a season his own children to manifold temptations and the corruptions of their own hearts to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon himself; and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin and for other just and holy ends."
If such be the case of true believers how much more with those in a lost condition? We know a person is made sensible of his or her sins by the Holy Spirit's work of conviction (for he came to convince the world of sin, righteousness and judgment- John 16:8)
If a person is one of God's elect this person will be humbled with a godly sorrow that leads to genuine repentance by the faith of Jesus Christ and abhor that which displeases God and violates his holy law. There will be a praying for pardon and grace with a purpose to walk before God.
As the blessed evangelist George Whitefield said in a sermon "the Holy Spirit convinces of sin; and generally of some enormous sin, the worst perhaps the convicted person was ever guilty of. Thus when our Lord was conversing with the woman of Samaria, he convinced her first of her adultery: Thus our Lord also dealt with the persecutor Saul: he convinced him first of the horrid sin of persecution, "Saul Saul why persecutest thou me?" Such a sense of all his other sins, probably at the same time revived in his mind, that immediately he died, that is, died to all his false confidences and was thrown into such an agony of soul, that he continued three days and neither did eat or drink. This is the method the Spirit of God generally takes in dealing with sinners; he first convinces them of some heinous actual sin and at the same time brings all their other sins into remembrance, and as it were sets them in battle array before them."
Now Jim I ask you dear one can you say what your great sin has been against God before you made profession of faith in Christ? You might say it was unbelief. Yes but how was that unbelief manifested?
Recall now from memory your many sins against man and God. Did
the Holy Spirit make you cry out to God for mercy as the publican
who bowed his head in shame "God be merciful to me a sinner."
If not then as Whitefield said, you have reason...great reason (unless you were sanctified from the womb) to suspect that you are not yet convicted, much more not converted.
The next few points I will be much briefer as time is short now.
The second point I wish to bring to your attention is your taking credit for God's revelation of truth when you showed me some insights into the book of Genesis 1 regarding time, space, energy (light) and matter. When you left the living room to get your Bible I asked you where you got this insight from and as you returned with Bible in hand you said from nobody and that it came from yourself Jim.
Now beloved I'm sure you are smart but if we know anything from God's word it is that whatever truths we have received it was revealed to us by our most wise and omniscient God so I'm curious why you took sole credit for this insight into Genesis 1 instead of giving God the credit and glory.
Have you not robbed God of his honor by pretending this wonderful
truth came to you without his help or another? If not another then certainly God has revealed this to you. By the way I was delighted that you shared this new and profound insight. Its a truth I've never been shown from the Bible. In my science class I've heard about time, space, light (energy) and matter but not as found in Genesis 1.
The gift of knowledge like wisdom comes from God above (James 1:17) "Every good and perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the father of lights..."
My third point is that you refused both to play the DVD I wanted to share with you and I didn't make this an issue but then when I started reading from the blessed and wise J. C. Ryle a contemporary of Spurgeon you stopped me before I was able to finish. Jim I don't know what came over you because you offered no explanation but you abruptly stood up and angrily hovered over me as if you wanted hit me into silence. Your behavior was very unbecoming of a man your age who should have grace and patience enough to answer in a wise and gracious manner my simple question "Why?"
My visit to your home wasn't to discuss weather or sports or something so trivial but it concerned matters of the soul and life and death.
Then I recall you saying that Bob George was better reading than
J. C. Ryle which you haven't even read before.
Was this a wise way to handle the matter? You rushed me out of your home as though I were an intruder instead of an invited guest. Really Jim you need to repent of this series of offensive behaviors for I walked away rather perplexed and in doubt of your relationship with God. Who are you and where do you stand with God presently?
Have you repudiated the doctrine of grace as found in historic
Calvinism? If so I fear...I say I fear for your soul because the body of true believers have long held to these precious truths found in T.U.L.I.P.
Now meditate carefully on this letter and I shall be glad of your
Of Assurance of Grace and Salvation
Although temporary believers and other unregenerate men may
vainly deceived themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favor with God and in a state of salvation, which hope of theirs shall perish; yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus and love him in sincerity, endeavoring to walk in all good conscience before him, may in this life be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, which hope shall never make them ashamed.
Job 8:13,14; Matt 7:22-23; 1 Jn 2:3; 3:14,18,19,21,24; 5:13;
If after reading this letter over a few times you feel so inclined to call me and discuss this matter and offer an apology for your rather rude and offensive manner with me I should think more highly that God is at work in your soul. If from the hardness of your heart you believe yourself faultless after thinking carefully about this then God hasn't yet worked that necessary conviction of sin which humbles us and lays us at the feet of the cross in tears.
Recently I visited my great grandmother's burial site and wept
hard. I recalled my many years with my loved ones grandparents
and aunts all buried in the Stockton Cemetary. I wept as I
recalled my many sins and how short I've come in obedience to
God. It was the first time I've wept over the dead in a long time and its a humbling experience and sober reality but we must all past the same way.
Death where is thy sting? Grave where is thy victory? Praise
God Jesus Christ has defeated the greatest enemies sin, death,
the grave and the Devil.
To God be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
In God's Abounding Mercy,
Carlton Pruitt 2 Peter 2:9
P. S. This letter was written several weeks ago. I apologize
for the delay in sending it. Try to remember what I've written.
Carlton Pruitt ministers the gospel to the Los Angeles area. Formerly a Hollywood actor (SAG member)and junk removal expert he now spends most of his time studying the scriptures, writing articles, hymns and poems and doing street preaching.
See his videos on http://www.youtube.com Type LAStreetPreacher in the search bar. CONTACT at Carlton2061@gmail.
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