CONCERNING FLESHLY AND SPIRITUAL WHORING . . . If the label fits . . .

Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.” (Reference: Revelation 2:20-23 )

Historic Anabaptist Valerius Schoolmaster has some interesting thoughts, inspired in part by this passage. He says, “in short, every sin is left uncommitted more on account of constraint, shame, and fear of men, than from voluntary goodness for the Lord’s sake.” He puts forth the theory that the poor do not get drunk because of lack of money. And the rich have to much honor and sense of place to do wrong. Furthermore, he says, crime deterrents work to stop people from committing crime. Would that our modern society had such built in constraints.

Nowadays the poor find ways to drunkenness and vices of sin. The rich have no shame or sense of place, but assume and depend on their financial resources and place in society to get them out of trouble or not be held accountable. And crime deterrents do not seem to work.

Schoolmasters makes another observation that does seem to find echo and confirmation in our current society. He says, “And though men are so devoid of shame and given up to evil that they openly keep brothels, and live far more detestably than beasts; they are nevertheless called Christians, and claim to be children and heirs of God by grace.” I found this statement and his previous sort of at odds – but I do not want to make an issue of it.

His final comment to excerpt I think could and should be applied to this current generation; but come to think of it, it might not mean much in current society. He said, “Oh, if men’s sins were written on their foreheads, how constantly would they keep in the house, and conceal themselves in corners, holes and dens, so as not to be seen by men.

I could go on a diatribe about how the social media seems to broadcast the sins of men and women as if each one had their faults listed for all the world to see. And sadly, if there is no shame from that, why would they care if God knew their sins and faults? This is one of the times, beloved, that Christians who strive in all things to live an accountable life seem to be out of step with everyone else. The theme for today forms a very apt title for these reflections. May you beloved seek mercy and forgiveness from our Lord for each of your sins – both those seen easily and those hidden away. Selah!

LEAVEN . . . It gets into the most unpredictable places

Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast–as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth. “ (Reference: 1 Corinthians 5:6-8)

Five years ago, when this scripture passage under the theme of Reading from the Anabaptist Bible appeared on “Sip of Scripture” I wrote Crackers of Goodness. I focused on the history of the Jewish Passover and the prohibition of using yeast during the period time of the Passover. And while rough in some spots, in capture in essence what the writer of 1 Corinthians was saying. But it is not how the historic Anabaptists appropriate the verse.

Their focus was on keeping unworthy people out of their circle of faith, as opposed to each person doing a self-cleansing of their own life. The editors of Reading from the Anabaptist Bible tell us that “Many Anabaptists took these words of Paul as support for fraternal admonition. Menno Simons, who supported a strict application of the ban, appealed to these verses.” Menno Simons himself wrote, “Again, with these words Paul reproves the Corinthians and all other churches with them, who glory in being the church of Jesus Christ and the spiritual house of Israel, and nevertheless tolerate such shameful, corrupting leaven as this Corinthian and his ilk, in their communion. For how can we glory in the piety of the church and reprove the outside churches on account of their ungodly doctrine and life, so long as we tolerate the like leaven of doctrine and life among us, and do not expel it? If we are unleavened, why are we not afraid of the leaven, since the apostle tells us that, A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?”

Simons is not talking theology or philosophy of church life and discipline. He is being very pragmatic and fundamental; how can we, he says, exhort and challenges those outside the church to life a scriptural life when we allow people in the church to get away with all sorts of things (according to Simons’ standards).

What Simons (conveniently?) forgets is that Paul is writing specifically to the church at Corinthian on a particular issue that was both religiously and socially contrary. Paul’s exhortation rests on the fact that they (the Corinthians) were saying they were a pure and holy people, yet this sin was among them. I assure you beloved, an Anabaptist would rarely say they are pure and holy!

It is, I think beloved, a very Anabaptist thing to apply scripture to every day living. I have been doing it for . . . untold amount of years. My writing is proof of that. We grab on to a verse and passage, and try it out in many spots to see where it might be applied best and most accurately/appropriately. We may also see a situation that needs a verse or two . . . or three or four, and then look for scripture that matches our mood and temperament; if we are lucky and bible-literate (in that order!) we will find a verse or more. It is beloved, our cultural “leaven.” It is also might be why the book Reading the Anabaptist Bible could be long enough to span 365 days – they had a lot to say about/write about scripture. But I digress.

May you beloved keep yourselves pure and holy, and apart from sin and those things that mar sincerity and truth. Selah!

SIN . . . Right and wrong paths

Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” (Reference: 2 John 1:9 )

I am not going to write about or quote what the historic Anabaptist quoted this day wrote. It is a letter from a mother to her son, her young son. It exhorts him in his faith and asks him how he feels/thinks about his faith. The editors suggest that he was young enough that he was just learning to write. I can image him laboring over a letter to his mother, expressing what sort of faith I do not know. But what child of the age that h e/she is learning to write is concerned about anything other than the fact that his mother is not with him, and that perhaps his father has already been put to death. No beloved, I could not and would not use it. It comes to close to the current modern situation of Christian children or at least children of Christian parents who have been put to death in the most horrific way. And disrespected after death. No beloved, I will not use that letter.

I firmly believe that until a child is of the age of accountability that being naughty is not sin but just misbehaving. Jesus said let the children come to him. And they came. And I believe that children who suffer unto death in this world are most warmly welcomed and comforted when they arrive in heaven.

Have you ever seen a child “run ahead”? My middle child/oldest son would run ahead, or try to run ahead, just about everywhere we went. It was a challenge to make sure he was save and that he was running ahead to the right place. That is how I think this verse best applies; making sure our children are save and introducing them to Jesus so they can run to meet him in their own time. Teach a child in his/her youth and they will not stray from it when they are older. But let us not burden a child with sin; neither with the harsh realities of this world. Time enough when they are older.

And may you, beloved, be children of God, running ahead of all other things to meet Jesus. Selah!

SIN . . . Confession and Belief

But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.” (Reference: 1 John 3:5-10 )

Peter Riedeman’s, historic Anabaptist, wrote his Confession of Faith. It says in part, “We believe that we have salvation in Christ. We believe that Christ has redeemed us from the might and snare of the devil, in which we were held captive, for he has robbed the devil of his power and overwhelmed him. [Heb. 2:12-15] The devil’s snares are the sins in which we were imprisoned. By sinning we were serving the devil until Christ came to dwell in us by faith. Then through Christ’s strength and work in us, [Eph. 3:14-17] our sin was weakened, quenched, put to death, and taken away from us, [1 John 3:5-6] so that we could live for righteousness. [1 Pet. 15:1-5] Christ is the one who brings about this righteousness in us, because without him we can do nothing. [John 15:1-5] The Lord is truly our Redeemer. He works in us and has taken away those sins from which we could not otherwise ever be freed. [1 Cor. 15:51-57]”

As I said before (yesterday in fact) confession is good for one’s soul. And a confession of faith that is inclusive speaks to sin and the absolution of sin. I talk a great deal about theology, faith issues, spirituality, right living etc. I cover a lot of theological issues in my writing and also address pragmatic issues in Christian life. But I don’t say a great deal explicitly about my faith – I mean what I believe as opposed to how I live out my faith. Now beloved, you might feel that you know a lot about my faith beliefs, reading between the lines . . . and reading the lines. But I am not sure I have ever said explicitly what my faith beliefs are. I am not sure really how to articulate them. Maybe that is because I am aware of so many different ways to speak of, understand, and live out faith. And that might be why there is more reading between the lines than of the lines.

However . . . recently I became aware of a song by the group “Newsboys” – the song is “We Believe.” And the lyrics pretty much sum up my confession of faith; or at least that is I how felt after hearing it and really listening to the words. Turns out my faith is pretty basic.

We believe in God the Father!
We believe in Jesus Christ!
We believe in the Holy Spirit!
And He’s given us new life!
We believe in the crucifixion!
We believe that He conquered death!
We believe in the resurrection!
And He’s comin’ back again!”

So, where is the issue of sin in this song you may ask. It’s there beloved, it is there.

Or more precisely, confession and belief means coming back to square one each time you get off course. And for me, sinning is getting off course in life. Oh the little sins are there everyday of our lives – being less perfect than we ought and should. So we go back to our core beliefs and back to the new life that the Holy Spirit has given us. As for the big sins? Well, belief – that is, strong belief – keeps us from those sins. And if not, it’s back to the core basics. Because the wages of sin are death, but Jesus conquered death so we don’t have to pay that peace. And what does Jesus require for our sins to be paid? Belief! Believing in Jesus, and believing that the example that Jesus set is the way to live will keep us from sin, and tell us when we have sinned!

I think Riedeman stated very well the same belief I have of sin. I hope that in his fuller confession of faith he talked about more than just sin, because the Christian life is more than just avoiding sin and being forgiven of sin. I hope you believe that too beloved. I encourage you to look up the “Newboys” song “We Believe” because it has more in it than just a statement of faith.

May your beliefs comfort you every day of your life and insure for you the mercy and forgiveness of sin that you need. Selah!

SIN . . . The good news!

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” (Reference: 1 John 1:7-10 )

I want to take this section by section beloved, because we (meaning all of humanity) needs to hear this so we do not become despondent over our sin.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light . . .” Walking in the light means not seeking out the dark places. We know it/they are there, and so knowing we chose to avoid those places.

. . . we have fellowship with one another . . . “ I think the old adage, you never walk alone, could come from here. We are not alone in this world, but in communion with one another and creation. That means we need to be attentive and aware of how we are relating to one another.

. . . and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” This is the good news beloved! Walking in the light also means walking with God and Christ. More precisely however it means having made the choice to live the way Christ showed us and God desired. Our desire and mindful intent is what qualifies us for forgiveness and salvation. And note, as I have said before, this forgiveness and salvation was prefigured before our sinning!

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” Setting aside deceptive practices, feel relieved that we CAN claim to be with sin and that is okay! Admit to the Divine your sin and know that by walking with our Lord we are walking in the light and the blood of Christ cleanses us.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Like I said, confession is good! And our Lord God and Christ is even better!

If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” Why, you ask, would we make God/Christ to be a liar if we do not confess our sins? Because God and Christ already know we are sinners! The Divine already knows! Even the historic Anabaptist Dirk Philips agrees with me and you know how down they were on sinners. He wrote, “But if anyone through human weakness makes a mistake and is overtaken with a fault, then this sin is not reckoned to him but it is forgiven and covered through the righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ, Gal. 6:3; Ps. 32:1; Rom. 4:7-8; 8:1, as it stands written that Christ is the reconciliation for our sins, 1 John 2:2; 4:10 . . .”

Rejoice, beloved, that our Lord Christ has undertaken for us and God Almighty has provided forgiveness and mercy for our souls! Selah!

SIN . . . And there is the writer of James’ take on this

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” (Reference: James 4:14-17 )

The title of this post/commentary was prompted by verse 17 of this passage and I guess my (in the light of the writer of James’ words) futile attempt to assure you beloved that sinning does not necessarily mean that all hope is lost. And the words of Joost de Tollenaer to his daughter Betgen do not help. He said, “My dear child, endeavor from your youth to shun and avoid evil; for it will now be time to perceive and learn to discern what is good and evil. For he that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it shall be accounted sin. James 4:17. And the wise man says: “That the Spirit of God does not dwell in a careless soul, nor in a body that is subject to sin.” Wisd. 1:4. Therefore learn henceforth to shun sin like the face of a serpent. Hence be sober, of good conduct and modest, and avoid all light company, which is carnal and worldly minded; for the world and all the lust thereof shall perish, but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever. 1 John 2:17.” He goes on to caution her to associate only with those who fear the Lord, and walk in God’s ways . . “ and if she does so she will “grow up as a daughter of Sarah, which will be acceptable before the Lord.”

It makes me wonder, beloved, what were we/humanity created for? If we are nothing but “mist” what does it matter what we do? Does “mist” anticipate something beyond this world? If we are destined only to really “live” after our death in this mortal world, why were we created in the first place?

No, there has to be more than “mist-ness” about us. And if we are more than mist and we are precious to God, for why would Christ come to die for “mist”? And it matters to God that our sins are forgiven, for again why would Christ die for us? So I am convinced beloved that our time on this earth has meaning and reason. Yes, we need to be as sin free as possible. But I have also heard the idea put forward that our time on earth is in preparation for heaven, and that our uniqueness will somehow be made manifest in heaven.

So I do not share the dim view of humanity that the writer of James has. And I am equally convinced that God does not want perfectly made automatons that follow in march step. Does this mean we can sin all we want? Of course not! But it also means that God cares about us as individuals and knows us – knows where our weakness and temptations are, and seeks to guide us in our lives.

May you beloved be guided by God to know your own value, and maybe you live up to the value that God sees in your unique self. Selah!

SIN . . . When it is really sinful! Part II

“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Reference: Hebrews 10:26-29 )

Lord, I really don’t know what to do! I have this really bad habit of . . . of . . . sinning! I just can’t help it! I try to do what’s right. Or at least what I think is right. I fear the Lord. And I love the Lord. I try to follow the laws of Moses, not only in word but in spirit also. I know and understand what Jesus was saying about the spirit and intent of the laws that were passed down! But sin finds me! I know judgment shall come upon me!

Beloved, do find yourself praying such a prayer as above? I think at one time or another every believer has expressed this sort of fear. The writer of Hebrews is very good at summing up the failings of humanity and delivering it in a fiery letter. But this is the same person who wrote “I don’t do what I should do. And I shouldn’t do what I do.” Or something like that.

What we need to be attentive to in this verse is the word “deliberate.” It does not mean the slip ups that we are all guilty of. No, it is the tossing out of everything we know about God, letting go completely of God’s laws, both of Moses and Jesus’ law of love. It is a calculated doing of things that is at all points contrary to what God would have us do.

The writer of Hebrews says Moses’ law called for death on small points with only a few witnesses. But that is NOT the deliberateness that the writer of Hebrews means. It is the utter rejection of God and the Son of God that will result in there being no appeal possible to God’s grace and mercy. For indeed, if someone has rejected God, then God’s grace is also not available to them.

The historic Anabaptists took sin very seriously. Their dogmatism reminds me of the writer of Hebrews – not when he was doing his internal assessment of self but when he was lashing out at others. And if you doubt what I am saying, hear the verses that come before this passage. “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds,” he also adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.” (Verses 16-18)

Beloved, remember both the words of the apostles and disciples of Christ and the words of our Lord Jesus and God. Remember that mercy and forgiveness were offered even before you first sinned. Honor and glorify God and Christ by living a Christian and accountable life. And may the Divine keep as free from sin as possible. Selah!

SIN . . . A new definition

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word.” (Reference: John 8:31-37 )

I could wish beloved, that I had Preacher and Seeker here to help me move slowly and meticulously through this passage. I consulted Albert Barnes and he was not able to answer my question on this passage. My question is this – How could Jews who proclaimed that they believed in Jesus also seek to kill him? Or am I putting to much emphasis on the depth of their belief?

Barnes suggests they are new believers, and have not been tested yet. This may be the reason – if only yesterday or the day before they sought Jesus’ death because at that time they were convinced Jesus was an impostor and fraud, there may not have been time realize the fuller and deeper implications. It is one thing to belief, but quite another to put that believe into action and organize your life around it. And the fact that they are still strongly identifying with Abraham might indicate that their concept of faith still rests on Old Testament principles. What the Old Testament calls sin and how Jesus was defining sin were two different things. In addition, Jesus is creating a new theology and a new way of talking about “belonging” and purity issues, and so many more things.

As I was searching the commentaries on this passage, I came across the “Pulpit Commentary” and it answered the question that I had of this passage. According to this commentary the believing Jews were people “who accepted the Messianic claims, but persisted in interpreting them, not by his word, but by their own ideas of the theocratic kingdom, by their privileges as children of Abraham, by their national animosity to their nearest neighbours the Samaritans, by their inability to press behind the veil of his humanity to his Divine nature. Their faith was of the most imperfect kind . . . “ This explains sufficiently for me what is going on in this passage and why Jesus says they still might decide to kill him. For Jesus was not necessarily they kind of Messiah they were looking for.

But I am straying from the theme – Sin. It may be hard for new converts/Christians to understand that with new belief comes new ways to live out that belief. And one’s failure to do so has large and far reaching consequences. And that these failures are not just “oops” in life, but opportunities for faith to erode and your old way of life to intrude. This is what sin is. Sin will trap you and keep you trapped until you are set free by the Son who is the true source of all things. When you are trapped by sin, you are a slave to it and labor under its demands – we shall not talk about how unpleasant that is. But when you are set free you belong to the family of God and all the pleasantness and shalom is yours to enjoy. And may you enjoy it and your relationship to God to the fullest. Selah!

SIN . . . When it is really sinful!

“And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” (Reference:  Matthew 12:31-32 )

Every once in a rather than using comments from the historic Anabaptist perspective on these passages, we need to look at the context according to biblical story. Theologian and biblical commentator Albert Barnes is my favorite go to person. It is because of Barnes’ comments on this passage that I could that the historic Anabaptist had (again) appropriated the verses for their own situation.

In actuality, Jesus was speaking against the Jewish religious leaders of the time and their charges that Jesus was not given power by God but by the evil one. Let me share with you what Barnes said.
“Jesus states the awful nature of the sin of which they had been guilty. That sin was the sin against the Holy Spirit. It consisted in charging him with being in league with the devil, or accusing him of working his miracles, not by the “spirit” or “power” of God, but by the aid of the prince of the devils. It was therefore a direct insult, abuse, or evil speaking against the Holy Spirit – the spirit by which Jesus worked his miracles. That this was what he intended by this sin, at that time, is clear from Mark 3:30, “because they said he had an unclean spirit.” All other sins – all speaking against the Saviour himself – might be remitted. But this sin was clearly against the Holy One; it was alleging that the highest displays of God’s mercy and power were the work of the devil; and it argued, therefore, the deepest depravity of mind. The sin of which he speaks is therefore clearly stated. It was accusing him of working miracles by the aid of the devil, thus dishonoring the Holy Spirit.”

Barnes also makes an interesting observation concerning Jesus’ fellow Jews.
“The Jews were offended at the humble life and appearance of the Saviour. They reproached him as being a Nazarene – sprung from Nazareth, a place from which no good was expected to proceed; with being a Galilean, from Galilee, a place from which no prophet came, John 7:52. Jesus says that reproaches of this kind could be pardoned. Reflections on his poverty, on his humble birth, and on the lowliness of his human nature might be forgiven; but for those which affected his divine nature, accusing him of being in league with the devil, denying his divinity, and attributing the power which manifestly implied divinity to the prince of fallen spirits, there could be no pardon. This sin was a very different thing from what is now often supposed to be the sin against the Holy Spirit. It was a wanton and blasphemous attack on the divine power and nature of Christ. Such a sin God would not forgive.”

The “now often supposed to be sin” is exactly what the historic Anabaptist laden on to this passage. The historic Anabaptist categorize it as a turning away from God and the Holy Spirit, which they see as sin. This stands in contrast to the actual sin that Jesus accused the Jewish religious leader, of falsely accusing Jesus of being in league with the devil, and therefore maligning the Spirit of God who was with Jesus. Barnes says the Holy Spirit “ . . . probably refers here to the “divine nature” of Christ – the power by which he performed his miracles. There is no evidence that it refers to the third person of the Trinity; and the meaning of the whole passage may be: “He that speaks against me as a man of Nazareth – that speaks contemptuously of my humble birth, etc., may be pardoned; but he that reproaches my divine nature, charging me with being in league with Satan, and blaspheming the power of God manifestly displayed “by me,” can never obtain forgiveness.”

You make think, beloved, that I have quoted Barnes at great length, and have said little of my own thinking. Although Barnes may have written a bit more than 140 years ago, he speaks/writes much the way I do, and I would write things the same way if I had his knowledge and understanding of scripture. But, I digress (again!).

Barnes emphasizes the point strongly that failing to acknowledge the divinity of God and by extension the divinity of Christ is a sin that not even the grace and mercy of God can wipe out, because it is deliberately misconstruing God and the Spirit. In this the historic Anabaptist got it right, that even if the blasphemer would to seek God, they will not find the Divine.

May you beloved, for all you sins and faults, recognize that God is God and Christ’s power and divine nature is that of God’s. Selah!

SIN . . . ? Do so no more!!

My son, hast thou sinned? do so no more, but ask pardon for thy former sins. Flee from sin as from the face of a serpent: for if thou comest too near it, it will bite thee: the teeth thereof are as the teeth of a lion, slaying the souls of men. All iniquity is as a two edged sword, the wounds whereof cannot be healed.” (Reference: Sirach 21:1-3 )

Yesterday’s dialogue between Preacher and Seeker was an interesting and illuminating one, if I say so myself. [That was my attempt at humor – I hope you smile beloved.] I find it helpful at times to set a scene apart from my personal/internal perspective, and imagine a conversation between two people – one seeking answers and being unsure, and the other sure of their own knowledge and faith and desirous to share and guide others. It is a didactic style that I hope engages your mind as well beloved.

This second passage from Sirach seems to be an echo of the day before. The writer of Sirach, also known as the book of Ecclesiasticus, addresses again the need to flee from sin and to be forgiven or pardoned. The historic Anabaptist quoted today, Jan Wouterss, writing to his fellow believers says in part, “live according to the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the works of the flesh . . .O my dear brother, take care for your salvation; the time here is so short, and eternity is at hand. O heavenly Father, I humbly beseech Thee, that Thou wilt keep my only brother from all evil, and sanctify him in Thy name through Christ Jesus, and ever guide him by the Holy Spirit, that we may rejoice together hereafter. Amen. “ I like Wouterss stated desire that his fellow brothers and sisters be with him in the time to come, as I am sure they are. It is my wish for you also beloved. Selah!