Letters of Recommendation

“Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you? You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart” (2 Corinthians 3:1-3).
We have had a recent incident of fraud regarding a letter of recommendation here at Khulna Bible College. One applicant sought to conceal his ineligible status with false documents, including letters purporting to be from trusted friends of the school. In a world where we must often rely upon the good will and honesty of others, such letters may be forged and cannot always be trusted.
A better system is to rely upon the known, demonstrated character of genuinely righteous people. Jesus said,
“You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit” (Matthew 7:16-18).
The Gospel contains the power to genuinely change lives. If it is being preached truly, the evidence will be obvious. In Corinth Paul’s credentials were being questioned. Opponents were demanding that he produce proof of his claim to be an apostle. Where is his letter of authority? Paul’s answer was, it is there in Corinth, in the lives and hearts of those who have accepted Christ through his preaching. No other proof is needed. If we are teaching God’s truth, revealed by his Spirit, the transformed lives of believers will prove it.
What is true of our work is also true of our personal faith. If we have genuinely known Christ and his will, our lives will show it. John claims, “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for his seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:9). This does not state that it is impossible for a Christian to commit an act of sin (see 1 John 1:8-10; 2:1,2) but rather that no one with God’s spirit within him will purposely give himself over to sin, to live sinfully as a way of life. That is simply not possible. The two concepts are mutually incompatible. So righteousness is of God and may be observed; sin is of Satan and is equally plain.
Some things may be successfully faked. But not faith in God. It will reveal itself unmistakably, and so will its absence. Let your life and your work speak for you, and let them speak always positively.

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Michael Brooks

Since 1988 Mike and his wife Brenda have been involved in foreign missions in South America, Africa, and South Asia. Beginning in 1999 they devoted full time to missions, primarily in Bangladesh and Nepal.

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