First steps: Letter to a young Christian

By John McCrindle

Last month I shared the text of a pamphlet that my grandfather, John Cree McCrindle, wrote many years ago to commend and share his Christian faith with fellow workers in the coal mines in Ipswich, Queensland. That was one of two similar undated pamphlets I possess. In the other, in the form of a letter to a young Christian, John passes on some spiritual lessons he learned in the hope it will bless others. As with the first pamphlet, this one is saturated in quotations from Scripture, backing up his beliefs with what he understands to be the authoritative and trustworthy word of God written. Here it is in full, lightly edited for style.

12 Barclay St

Bergins Hill

Bundamba, Queensland

Dear Young Christian,

The discovery you have made that you were lost and needed to be saved was the most important one that you could have made as far as your eternal destiny is concerned. You took the right step when you learned that “Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6) and you believed in Him and rested your all for eternity on His finished work upon the cross.


This act is once for all as the following verses assure us: 

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

I give unto My sheep eternal life and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of My hand (John 10:28)

Having been assured, then, by this step of faith that we can never be lost, let us look now at what is involved. This faith in the Lord Jesus is living faith. It affects our future life and destiny. This faith can be weak or strong. God wants it to be strong, for there is a great future before us.


The word of God is the food for this living faith, and in 1 Peter 2:1-2 we are exhorted to put away certain evils, and to read and meditate upon the word of God that we may grow thereby. The advantages of reading the Scriptures are as follows.

We learn more of the nature and character of God in whom we have believed. We find therein the steps of the pathway of faith well pleasing to Him, in our home life, our calling in life, and in the house of God.

To be obedient to His instructions in these spheres is to know His abiding presence day by day, and to have His blessings on all that we do. This is a very blessed experience known as “the joy of salvation.” The more we read the Scriptures, the greater our confidence in God becomes.


This is what God wants. This is the reason why we have been made so frail and not great giants, and why He has veiled the future. He wants our trust and confidence, so He has given us the spiritual blessing of prayer.

Prayer is not just some form of words that we say but the means of our communication with our Father. Because of His greatness and our infirmities, we must have someone to undertake for us in speaking to God. The Lord Jesus tells us to come and ask in His Name (John 16:24).

In Hebrews 4:14-16, we are told to come boldly, not irreverently, but with confidence. God wants us to pray, and in Philippians 4:6 we are exhorted to pray about everything. He wants us to live every day in the conscious enjoyment of His presence.


There is one thing that you will discover very early in your experience. You still have the old nature which God has not undertaken to improve, for it is evil beyond repair. You will read about this in Romans 7. This old nature is a great source of trouble to us and will be so while we are here. It can never be trusted.

We must never have confidence in self. in 1 Corinthians 11:31, we are told to judge ourselves. The means of judgment are the Scriptures. See Matthew 15:19-20, Galatians 5:19-21, and Ephesians 4:25-32.

When these and other Scriptures are applied to our behaviour and we find failure, or sin, we learn as stated in Matthew 15:20 that we are defiled and consequently out of fellowship with God our Father. Romans 7 would fill us with despair if it did not end by telling us that the Lord Jesus would undertake for us. He lives to keep us from falling, and day by day we must seek His help to overcome our old nature.

Failing to look to Him, we soon fall into sin and lose our joy. The way that this defilement is removed and our joy restored is found in 1 John 1:7-2:2. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

So our fellowship is again restored and our joy revives, our prayers are heard and we go on with Him. These four things—the assurance that we are eternally secure, reading the Scriptures daily, praying always, and confessing when we fail—make the soul healthy and happy.


In reading through the Acts of the Apostles, you will frequently come across the ordinance of baptism. This was given in the Commission to the Apostles to baptise all disciples in Matthew 28:18-20.

Every believer in the Lord Jesus should be baptised (immersed). Baptism sets forth in figure that through your conversion you have died to self and to the world and are now going to walk in newness of life according to Romans chapter 6, setting your affection on things above.


In the Acts of the Apostles you will also find that wherever the Gospel was preached and souls were saved they gathered together collectively and were called a church, at Corinth, at Rome, etc. In 1 Peter 2:5, we learn that it is not the building that the people gathered in that is the church, but each believer is a living stone and together they are built up a spiritual house.

They are also a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices unto God through Jesus Christ. In Hebrews 13:15, we learn that praise and thanksgiving are some of these spiritual sacrifices and verse 16 says that to do good and to communicate are sacrifices that please God.


In Acts 20:7, we read that on the first day of the week the disciples gathered together to break bread. This is the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. It is partaking of a loaf of bread and drinking from a cup of wine.

These emblems set forth the body and blood of the Lord. While partaking of these emblems we meditate on the Lord Jesus and His sufferings for us. This creates worship in our hearts. This is what the Father seeks and it is the greatest pleasure that you and I can give Him in time or eternity.

These are some of the many things that have been a blessing to me, and I pass them on for your prayerful consideration.

I am your brother in Christ.

John McCrindle

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