Strengthening and Preserving the Family

Our husbands could probably learn a few things from President Joseph Fielding Smith, who seems to have been a wonderfully perfect husband and father. You could hear this from the words of his wife and children in this months Relief Society lesson:

“The man I know is unselfish, uncomplaining, considerate, thoughtful, sympathetic, doing everything within his power to make life a supreme joy for his loved ones…. a kind, loving husband and father whose greatest ambition in life is to make his family happy, entirely forgetful of self in his efforts to do this.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith Chapter 4: Strengthening and Preserving the Family, pp 73-74)

Reading how much President Smith loved his family made it hard to read the lesson. I find it heartrending that he didn’t teach his loved ones the truth about gaining eternal life. There is and always will be, only one eternal Family and that’s God’s. The very moment the Holy Ghost brings someone to faith in Christ, that person becomes a child of God and a member of Heavenly Father’s forever family.

Regarding eternal marriage, Christ testifies that this LDS belief is false. He reveals that marriage isn’t required to gain eternal life: “And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven. (Mark 12:23-25)

But President Smith refuses to believe Christ’s words. He makes the same mistake that I see other LDS leaders do, over and over again. They bear testimony to a belief in Jesus Christ, and yet they don’t believe or teach what Jesus taught. Rejecting Christ’s teaching, Smith uses his own imagination to describe how horrible he thinks this kind of life would be, living in the kingdom of God according to Christ’s teaching:

“Is it possible to imagine a greater source of sorrow than to be left in the eternal world without claim on father or mother or children? The thought of a nation without the family unit as its fundamental foundation, where all the citizens are comparatively strangers to each other and where natural affection is not found; where no family ties bind the groups together, is one of horror. Such a condition could lead to but one end—anarchy and dissolution. Is it not reasonable to believe the same thing true in relation to the kingdom of God? If in that kingdom, there were no family ties and all men and women were “angels” without the natural kinships, as many people believe, could it be a place of happiness—a heaven?” (p.78)

“Is it possible to imagine” living with Heavenly Father, Jesus and the Holy Ghost “where natural affection is not found”? God is Love! Just because marriages don’t last beyond this earth doesn’t mean that believing husbands and wives won’t be together for eternity. It just means that their relationship will not be as a man and wife. All believers will spend eternity together, in companionship with God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. Not only does Christ reject the false LDS belief, He even speaks highly of those who stay single—for the kingdom of heavens sake:

“His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” (Matthew 19:10-12)

Just think of some of these men Jesus was talking about who never married; like the prophets Daniel, Elijah, Elisha and John the Baptist. These men of God “made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.” The Apostle Paul also never married, as he revealed through the Holy Spirit:

“For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.”

“He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.”

“So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better. (1 Corinthians 7:7-9, 32-35, 38)

Reading the purpose for families given in the Relief Society Lesson shows that LDS leaders also don’t know the true Christ. They reject the truth that Christ has already done this for us. Instead, they expect the family to do what God has already sent Christ to do, His mission on earth was to be our righteousness:

“The primary function of a Latter-day Saint home is to insure that every member of the family works to create the climate and conditions in which all can grow toward perfection.”

The most important truth that LDS leaders have kept from you is that your Savior Jesus is your Substitute for righteousness. The Prophet Jeremiah testified of this fact through these words: “The Lord Our Righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:6, 33:16). The writer of Hebrews tells us that Christ offered His body as a perfect sacrifice and in exchange, we have been perfected forever: “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (10:10-14)

We who were sinful and imperfect, are found perfect in God’s sight. This is through faith in Christ as our Substitute. He was punished for our sins, and in exchange covered us with His righteousness, just as the Isaiah prophesied: “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10)

Heavenly Father loves you so much He sent His Son on a Mission to be your Substitute Savior! Believe it and receive it. Now, spend the rest of your life in joy and thanksgiving as I do; giving my life to Him as my gift of love.

You can know these truths for yourself, by doing as the Apostle John revealed:

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:1-6)

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Righteous Living in Perilous Times: Christ Paid the Price for Peace With His Righteousness!

Have you managed to pay the price for peace and happiness with your righteousness? That’s what President Smith claims the Lord requires in this months Relief Society Lesson:

“When the gospel was restored to earth in this dispensation, the Lord repeated what he has said so many times in the Old and New Testaments, that the price of peace and happiness is righteousness.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, Chapter 24: Righteous Living in Perilous Times, p. 259)

Even though LDS prophets testify that a person can attain righteousness through their own effort, “the Old and New Testaments” reveal differently:

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10-12 quoting Psalm 14:2-3)

Jesus declared His testimony of this truth revealed by the Psalmist: “…there is none good but one, that is, God…”. (Matthew 19:16-17)

You can never pay the price God demands for peace and happiness because that price is too high. No one can meet God’s demands for righteousness—even though LDS prophets claim you can:

The Lord has not required something that is impossible. On the contrary, he has given us commandments and advice and counsel that it is possible for all of us to follow in this day and age in which we live. … … All that we need is to repent of our sins, turn from the error of our ways, cleanse our lives of impurity, and then to go about doing good.” (p. 263)

Only someone who doesn’t know Christ as Lord would claim that it is possible to “cleanse our lives of impurity” by keeping God’s commandments. God has required us to be as perfect as He is (Matthew 5:48)—something that is truly impossible. You can search the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find one passage that backs up the false teaching that God will accept anything less. The Apostle Paul revealed that no unclean person can dwell in God’s presence (Ephesians 5:5). The sobering truth is that there is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right (Ecclesiastes 7:20).

This is why Jesus had to come to save us! He kept God’s commandments for us because we were doomed to failure without Him. Jesus perfectly obeyed God’s laws for us—in our place. He came to be our substitute for the righteousness demanded by Heavenly Father. It is through faith in Him that we are made righteous.

The day I found the peace of God was when the Holy Spirit opened my heart to faith. I learned that the only path to peace through righteousness is the one that trusts solely in the Savior for righteousness. Christ is our righteousness—as the Prophet Jeremiah revealed: “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS”! (23:6) It was His righteousness that paid the price of peace; and Christ’s blood that makes us holy:

“And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel” (Colossians 1:19-23)

The Prophet Isaiah knew that our own righteousness is nothing in God’s eyes:

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isaiah 64:6)

That’s why Isaiah revealed that our righteousness comes from the Lord:

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10)

Believing that you must pay for your peace and happiness with your own righteousness shows you don’t know “the God of hope” who “fill[s] you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 15:13)

The Prophet Abraham had faith in God’s promise of righteousness:

“For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” (Romans 4:2-8)

President Smith reveals to you why he thinks you should do good works:

“I want to plead with you, … be as anchors in the community in which you live that others may be drawn to you and feel secure. Let your light so shine that others seeing your good works will have a desire in their hearts to be like you.” (p. 263)

Today, I bear testimony that nothing brings more peace and happiness than following the Words of my Lord Jesus:

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) 61:10

The Strengthening Power of Faith: Through Faith We are Credited With Righteousness!

This weeks Relief Society Lesson claims:

God grants faith as a gift to the righteous… We know that faith is a gift of God; it is the fruitage of righteous living. It does not come to us by our command, but is the result of doing the will of our Heavenly Father.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, Chapter 17: The Strengthening Power of Faith, p 188)

This isn’t true. In fact it’s completely backwards. It’s not possible for someone to be righteous before the Holy Spirit brings them to faith! The Lesson acknowledges: “We are informed that without faith we cannot please God [see Hebrews 11:6]” (p 182)

The only way to become righteous is through faith in Christ:

“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” (Romans 4:3-8)

The basic message taught by the prophets and apostles of the Bible is that without faith, every human is evil and doesn’t even come close to meeting God’s demands for perfection. The first time I recognized this was when I read a Sermon about prayer. The Preacher boldly claimed that all the fathers listening to Him were “evil”!

Hearing that made me feel a little uncomfortable. I know that our earthly fathers aren’t perfect, but calling them “evil” seemed to be a bit harsh. I wondered why the Preacher hadn’t chosen to use a softer word like “weak” or maybe even “sinful”. A little later in His Sermon He even commanded us to be as perfect as our Heavenly Father!

Jesus is the Preacher giving His Sermon on the Mount. His actual words were: “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” When I read His Sermon in context there was no indication that those listening to His Sermon were worse than anyone else. Jesus also told the rich young ruler “there is none good but one, that is, God”.

I soon discovered that Jesus talked about man’s evil deeds several other times during His Ministry. In the book of Mark, Jesus tells us where evil comes from: “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts.” In the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, Jesus asked a question of those who thought that God wasn’t being fair: “Is thine eye evil, because I am good?”

Reading Jesus’ words enticed me to dig deeper into scripture. By the time I finished my study there was no doubt in my mind: all humans are evil. I discovered that the reason it’s difficult for us to see ourselves as evil is because our definition of what “evil” is differs from God’s definition. We like to categorize our sins, claiming that some are worse than others. We don’t tend to think that anything we do ourselves is actually “evil”.

It isn’t surprising that God consideres murder and adultery evil, but Nehemiah preached that not keeping the Sabbath day holy was evil. He also testified that marrying outside the faith was a “great evil” (13:27). Moses wrote in Deuteronomy that it is evil to not give money to a poor man in need. In Genesis, he taught the same message that Jesus had taught: “for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.

Everything I’ve mentioned so far is only a small part of what God’s Word names as “evil”. (The word evil appears 624 times in the Bible.) The Apostle Paul understood that God sees all sin as evil when he lamented about himself:

“but the evil which I would not, that I do” and “when I would do good, evil is present with me.” (Romans 7)

In Timothy he wrote that the love of money is the root of all evil. To the Galatians, he wrote God’s consequence for not following every single command: “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” James solidified Paul’s curse when he proclaimed: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”

James then gave examples of evil: “the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” and: “where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”

Studying God’s Words leaves no doubt that our holy God considers any sin as evil. The writer of Proverbs tells us that “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” On Judgment Day “God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:14)

The inescapable conclusion is that in God’s eyes, anyone without faith is evil! It is amazing that God loves us in spite of our evil! It’s hard to believe, but His mercy is shown to evil sinners! In Galatians, Paul gives us the only reason why:

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

To the Ephesians Paul wrote: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Every person the Holy Spirit brings to faith is equally evil. It’s through Christ’s Atonement that our evil hearts are “sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10)

The “Good News” taught in God’s Word is this:

Jesus not only died for us, He also lived for us. He obeyed every command perfectly, meeting God’s demands for perfection for us–in our place. He is our righteousness!

Heavenly Father credits Christ’s perfect works to all who trust solely in their Savior for righteousness. In God’s sight, all believers wear Christ’s protective robe of righteousness. That’s why eternal life is a free gift given to those who have faith in Christ.

The very same Jesus that proclaimed the dire consequences of evil, shares our only means of escape—it’s through faith alone that we gain eternal life:

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:14-15)

How to Share the Gospel Effectively? First, Have Faith in What Christ Has Done For You

There isn’t anything I love doing more than sharing the Gospel of Christ. I can’t wait to tell everyone I meet what my Lord and Savior has done for me. When I was LDS I didn’t realize that all my energy was spent trying to do something that Jesus had already done for me. Reading this weeks Relief Society Lesson reminded me that you also are trying to do something which you will never be able to do.

President Smith claims that this is the mission of Mormons:
Our mission in the world is to save souls, to bless them, and to place them in a condition that they may go back into the presence of our Father, crowned with glory, immortality, and eternal life.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, Chapter 14: How to Share the Gospel Effectively, p.153)

I bear my testimony to you that this is not your mission—it was Christ’s mission! Your Savior’s mission was to save souls: “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.” (1 John 4:14) Jesus has served His mission and returned to His Father in Heaven with honor.

In saving souls He took “away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). He did this by taking upon Himself every single sin ever committed. At Christ’s death, he was the world’s biggest sinner. And in one instance, His shed blood washed away every single sin you’ve ever committed.

In exchange for our sinfulness, Jesus gave us His righteousness. It was His mission to place each of us in the condition that allows humans “into the presence of our Father”. By the offering of His body as the final sacrifice for sin, we have been “perfected forever.” All who have faith in God are credited with Christ’s righteousness.

The Apostle Paul testifies of this truth. He explains that Abraham was credited with righteousness through faith. He testifies that you too can be credited with righteousness, if you “believe on him that raised up Jesus”:

“He [Abraham] staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness”.

“Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 4:20-5:1)

We read in the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus commanded us to be as perfect as Heavenly Father: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) This is a command we must obey to gain eternal life and dwell in God’s presence. Unfortunatly, we have all failed miserably. The Prophet Isaiah testified that even our righteousness is like filthy rags in God’s sight:

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)

Only Jesus could obey the command to be perfect. But amazingly we get credit for His obedience! It was His mission to make us perfect! He alone could grant us the “boldness to enter into the holiest” by His blood. The writer of Hebrews explains this beautifully:

“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.”

“For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified… 17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus… 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:10-22)

The Prophet Isaiah prophesied of this mission of Christ many years before Jesus was born:

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10)

John the Beloved tells of this righteousness when he testifies that through our hope in Christ, we are as pure as Jesus Himself:

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”(1 John 3:1-3)

Now do you understand why I love Jesus so much; and why I can’t stop myself from sharing the Gospel of Christ?

Only by knowing what your Savior has truly done for you will you be compeled to share the Gospel truthfully, and effectively. And, since you won’t have to spend your time trying to do what Christ has already done; you are now free to glorify Him with all you do.

“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen” (Jude 1:24-25)

BeYePerfect.org. Christ was Perfect for You

The Gift of Eternal Life is Truly a Gift! You Can’t Earn or Qualify for it through Obedience

Since today is my husbands birthday, I got to thinking about my gift for him. I decided to come up with a list of things he needed to do before I let him open his gift: mow the lawn, clean out the chicken coup, fix the rototiller, clean out the gliders cage, change the oil in both the vehicles… I know it’s a long list, but I expect him to finish everything on it before he can receive the gift I bought him.

It might sound absurd to talk about giving someone a gift with conditions attached; or to think that we have to qualify for the gift before we can receive it.  We trust that the giver of the gift loves us and has given us their gift freely and unconditionally. In fact, a gift is something that you freely give to someone you love–no conditions attached. If you look up the word gift in a dictionary you will find it defined as:

“Something that is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation.”

In LDS church teachings, the word gift takes on a whole different meaning. In fact, it has been re-defined! You can do a simple search at lds.org–in the gospel library. Type in the words “conditional AND gift”. You will discover that even God’s love, mercy and grace are all “gifts” conditioned upon your worthiness.

There are really only two unconditional gifts in Mormonism and those are the gifts of immortality (bodily resurrection) and free agency. All other “gifts” are “conditional”.

“Immortality is to live forever as a resurrected being. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, everyone will receive this gift. Eternal life, or exaltation, is to live in God’s presence and to continue as families (see D&C 131:1–4). Like immortality, this gift is made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. However, to inherit eternal life requires our “obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” (Articles of Faith 1:3).”

Praise the Lord that the true Savior of the world loves you and has many unconditional gifts waiting for you! One is the gift of eternal life! Not only does He offer it to you unconditionally but it is also given freely and voluntarily. This gift was made personally–just for you, and it wasn’t an easy gift for Jesus to make. He lovingly spent thirty three years working on His gift. Day after day, despite many temptations by Satan, Jesus perfectly obeyed God’s commandments—just for you. He did this so that He could be your Substitute for the righteousness required to dwell eternally in God’s presence. Through faith in Jesus you are credited with all of His perfect works. This is the only way you could meet God’s demands for righteousness.

His suffering on the night of His death as the Atonement for your sins was tremendous. It must have been excruciating to take upon Himself the sins of the entire world, and then to be cursed and abandoned by His Heavenly Father. His shed blood covered over every sin you will ever commit. He willingly lived and died to give you eternal life–as a gift.

Now, imagine that Jesus comes to you and personally offers His gift to you—freely and unconditionally. But, instead of graciously and excitedly thanking Him for the gift He worked so hard to make for you–you tell Him you can improve on His gift by adding your own works to it. Or, maybe you tell Him you can’t accept His gift because you believe you first have to qualify for it. Imagine His disappointment when you reject His loving gift–the gift that He worked on His whole life and gave His life for. He did this especially for you–because He loves you unconditionally!

Please, don’t do this to my Savior Jesus! Don’t reject the gift of eternal life He worked so hard to freely give you! Don’t leave His precious gift unopened for another minute! Through His perfect works He has already qualified you to live eternally with Heavenly Father:

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

Believe (have faith) that Jesus has already gained this gift for you and you will receive it! Then, spend the remainder of your life freely serving your Heavenly Father. Freely because doing so is your voluntary and unconditional gift of love for your Savior!

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36)

Can Feeling Unworthy be a Blessing?

My oldest daughter Jenifer was born three months early, weighing only two and a half pounds! We couldn’t take her home from the hospital until she weighed four pounds, which seemed like an eternity. My second daughter Laura was born just two days before Jenifer turned one. I had my hands full with two small babies but it was mostly fun. Laura was often colicky and it was hard getting her to sleep at nights.

One of those nights has been etched in my memory forever. It was my Dad’s birthday. He loved cinnamon rolls so I had baked him a pan for his birthday gift. It was late when we got home from my parents house and I put the kids to bed and went to bed myself. Laura started crying so I got up to see what she needed. She wasn’t hungry or wet, and so I rocked her for several hours. I tried everything I could think of to get her to sleep, but nothing worked. I stayed up with her till after four, but finally just left her crying in her crib and went to bed. When I woke up around 8:00 am I immediately knew something was wrong because she always woke up before 7:00. I ran into her room and to my horror, she was dead!

I had never been through anything so traumatic and devastating in my life. The Paramedics who came said she probably died from SIDS. For days everything was a blur but I remember a few things very clearly. My parents and my little brother came as well as the Bishop. And then a few days later I remember running into a teenager from our Ward who occasionally babysat. She said, “Where is Laura?” I remember thinking “How do you tell a teenager that your baby is dead?” I also remember that the whole thing was very hard for my Grandma who had also lost a baby at about the same age.

When her casket was placed in the ground I realized that I would never have the opportunity to try and rock her to sleep again. I learned that death is not negotiable and that life goes on. A few weeks later I went to see my Bishop to get a Temple Recommend. We talked about Laura’s death and he promised me that if I was worthy, I would get to raise her during the Millennium. He also promised me that if I was worthy, Laura would appear to me when I was in the Temple. As the day approached to go to Salt Lake I was filled with nervous anticipation as well as excitement. After Laura’s death I had become consumed with guilt because I had left her to cry in her crib. I desperately wanted to tell her how much I loved her and that I was sorry for leaving her alone to die.

The day came for us to go through the Temple. Laura did not appear to me. I knew the reason why! My Bishop had told me that she would appear to me IF I was worthy. I knew she didn’t come to me because I was unworthy! The pain that this added to a life already full of pain, was unbearable. I didn’t speak of it to anyone. Every LDS person I knew was worthy and I felt like I was the only one who wasn’t. How could I tell anyone else what I was going through? I didn’t know any one as unworthy as I was.

Many years later I still wish my daughter hadn’t died. But looking back, I trust God’s promise that everything will work out. I now know that my feelings of unworthiness when Laura didn’t appear to me in the Temple were a blessing! This major event in my life became one very heavy weight added to many hundreds telling me how unworthy I was! These weights led me to seek a solution outside of myself–my Savior. Now, I realize what a blessing it is to know the truth! No one is worthy!! Every single person is unrighteous! Jesus Himself declared that no one but God is even good.

But in Mormonism, there is a façade that you can somehow be worthy based upon your own actions. LDS Bishops determine that some people are more worthy than others. To determine your worthiness, you are asked a handful of questions based upon a false man-made grading of sins. Certainly Jesus did not grade sins in this way. Simply read the Sermon on the Mount and you will see that the questions your Bishop asks are very different than what Jesus would ask to determine your worthiness. Along with many other questions, He would ask you if you were as perfect as Heavenly Father Himself! (Matthew 5:48)

Have you ever wondered why Jesus commanded you to be as perfect as Heavenly Father? He gave you this command, knowing that you couldn’t do it. The reason is because He loves you and knows that unless you are one hundred percent perfect, you can’t dwell in God’s presence! Jesus testifies that no one will ever be found worthy through obedience. He knows that the only way for you to be worthy is through faith that He was worthy for you–as your Substitute! Jesus wants you to give up trying to be worthy through obedience.

Heavenly Father wants you to realize that you can never be as worthy as He demands. The main purpose of God’s laws — His commands, is to show you just how unworthy you are. God’s law is like a mirror for us to look into and see how often we fail. Only when we know just how much we need a Savior will we turn to Christ and be saved!

It was in 1994 that I learned that all my sins had been forgiven. I gave my life to Jesus and have dedicated my life to sharing my Savior with everyone I meet. One blessing that I never even knew exhisted is attending a Christian Church where everyone knows that everyone else is equally sinful. At my Church everyone freely admits that they struggle with sin constantly. Nobody pretends to be something they aren’t.

In fact, every Christian I know believes what Christ said:

“..there is none good but one, that is, God.” (Matthew 19:17)

At the same time, Christians also know that they have been credited with Christ’s righteousenss–through faith! In God’s sight, believers are as pure as Christ. That’s why true believers live their lives dedicated to their Savior Jesus.

If you feel unworthy, realize what a blessing it is to know the truth! Christ came to save the unworthy and it is through His Atoning Sacrifice that you have been made worthy (perfect) forever! (Hebrews 10:10-14) Because of what He has done for you, spend the rest of your life praising your Savior! He is the One who made you worthy by perfectly following God’s commands all of His life. And He did this for you, as your substitute!

I pray that you will turn to God’s holy Word and read what the Apostle Paul wrote about these truths: Galatians 3:21-24/Romans 7:7-8/Romans 3:19-20.

Did Jesus Really Mean What He Said?

I really enjoyed teaching the 5th and 6th grade Sunday School class at my church. It was such a treat getting to know each child and sharing my faith with them. While I was surprised to discover how often these young kids talked to their LDS friends about spiritual matters, I wasn’t surprised that they were confused about the differences between beliefs. To help, I came up with a few illustrations to show the fundamental differences. These illustrations helped to contrast some of the Lessons being taught to their LDS friends with what the Bible teaches.

Today I share with you an exercise I used with my Sunday School Class that contrasts two very important and fundamental differences between Mormonism and Christianity. While both the Book of Mormon (Alma 11:37) and the Bible (Ephesians 5:5) agree that “no unclean thing” can enter the Kingdom of Heaven; the two differences are seen when we look at what God truly demands of us and at His eternal consequences if we fail.

According to LDS beliefs, our efforts at keeping God’s commands are more important to God than how well we keep them. Elder Bruce R. McConkie stated: “There was only one perfect being, the Lord Jesus. If men had to be perfect and live all of the laws strictly, wholly, and completely [to be eligible for eternal life], there would be only one saved person in eternity.” LDS leaders claim that the majority of people will spend eternity in one of the Kingdoms of Heaven. On Judgment Day, even those who never come to faith in Jesus, including those who hated God and were the world’s vilest sinners, will eventually go to a kingdom of glory.

These LDS beliefs are in direct disagreement with what the Bible teaches. When Jesus commanded us to be as perfect as our Heavenly Father, He really meant it. There is not one single Bible verse that lessens Jesus’ demands for perfection. There is not one passage that claims our best effort is sufficient to gain eternal life. Every Judgment Day scenario in the Bible shows the consequence for any sin is eternity in Hell with Satan.

For my Sunday School illustration I bring out two chairs. Each chair has a piece of paper taped to it, one with the word “God” written on it and the other with the word “Me”. These chairs are placed apart from each other, symbolizing the distance that separates man from God. The point of the exercise is to determine what God requires from man to reach Him and dwell with Him eternally. In this exercise I represent Jesus.

Illustrating LDS beliefs, I place the two chairs on opposite walls of a classroom. The distance between the two chairs is symbolic of the degree of righteousness required by God before man can be judged worthy to dwell in His presence. As I have just shown, this distance is something far short of perfection. Each child stands on the chair labeled “Me” and attempts to jump to the chair labeled “God”. How far they jump is symbolic of their “degree of righteousness” on earth and determines which Kingdom of Glory they will go to. Not one child has ever been able to jump all the way from one chair to the other—but they all tried as hard as they could. No matter how far each one made it, I go to them in my role as “Jesus” and help them walk to where the “God” chair is. This was symbolic of how LDS doctrine teaches Christ’s Atonement saves each person “after all they can do” (2 Nephi 25:23). The fact that they jumped indicated they believed they had to do their best before Jesus would help them. This also shows they did not believe Jesus had fully met God’s demands in their place.

Next we do our exercise with chairs according to what the Bible teaches. Since a classroom really isn’t large enough for this illustration, we pick up our chairs and go outside. We go to a side road next to the Church. I walk as far down the road as I can and put the chair labeled “God” on it. Then, I walk back to the other chair labeled “Me”. This distance is symbolic of the perfection required from God. Each child stands on the chair which is so far away from the “God” chair that it is hard to see. Then, I explain the rules according to the Bible. Symbolic of obeying Jesus’ command to be as perfect as Heavenly Father, they have to jump to where God is. If they don’t make it, in my role as Jesus, I will say to them: “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.

Guess what happens with every child I have ever done this exercise with? They look at how far away the chair labeled “God” is, and then, looking down at me they say “I can’t do it—it’s impossible!!” They won’t even try! In my role as Jesus, I smile and pick each one up and carry them down to the “God” chair. Carrying them is symbolic that Jesus does it for them—they do not and can not help. The fact that they did not attempt to jump indicated they believed Jesus (me) — that anything short of God’s stated requirements was insufficient. Symbolically, instead of attempting to do something that was impossible, they put their faith solely in their Savior and not in themselves.

Can you understand what my illustration exposes? The words from the LDS Lesson explain the true reason why Jesus had to come to rescue us: “There was only one perfect being, the Lord Jesus. If men had to be perfect and live all of the laws strictly, wholly, and completely [to be eligible for eternal life], there would be only one saved person in eternity…

Guess what? We do have to be perfect! That’s why Jesus came to do it for us—because we can’t do what God requires!

The LDS words expose why faithful Mormons will not gain eternal life. Believing that you don’t have to “be perfect and live all of the laws strictly, wholly, and completely [to be eligible for eternal life]” means that you don’t believe your Savior. It means you won’t say “I can’t do it” and turn to your Savior who did it for you. It means that you won’t give up trying to gain eternal life by your faith and obedience. It means that you will stand before God on Judgment Day in your own woefully imperfect works of righteousness: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Is 64:6)

There was only one perfect being, the Lord Jesus Christ. If Jesus had not come to earth to be perfect for us, in our place, no one could be saved in eternity. Christ’s mission was to meet God’s requirements for us– to be perfect and live all God’s laws strictly, wholly, and completely. Christ accomplished His mission and met all God’s requirements for eternal life. He did this for you—in your place, as your substitute. It is through faith that He has met all the requirements for you, that you are credited with His righteousness. Only through faith in His atoning sacrifice will anyone meet God’s command to be as perfect as He is: “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all… For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:10-14)

All who honestly believe they are credited with righteousness through faith respond to this gift with love, praise and thanksgiving. They will do “all they can do” voluntarily. Not because it is required to gain something for themselves, but simply out of love for their Savior who loved them so much He washed their sins away with His blood (Revelation 1:5).
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References for LDS beliefs, taken from two Lessons for 12 & 13 year olds:

Explain that we came to earth to show that we would do everything the Lord commanded us and serve him with all our might, mind, and strength…read Matthew 5:48: [Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”] “What commandment is given here? Has any person other than Jesus lived a perfect life? (No.) What do you think the Savior meant when he told us to be perfect?”…Enoch knew that in responding to God the test is not our capability but our availability… “There was only one perfect being, the Lord Jesus. If men had to be perfect and live all of the laws strictly, wholly, and completely [to be eligible for eternal life], there would be only one saved person in eternity… Explain that none of us knows when the end of his mortal life will be, but if we are on the right path we will continue until we become as our Father in Heaven is, and we will be able to live with him forever…” (Aaronic Priesthood Teachers Manual 2, Lesson 1: “Who Am I?” pages 2-3)

The Truth about Heaven and Hell Quiz…Have class members mark each statement as “True” or “False.”
1. After we have been resurrected and judged, each of us will dwell in one of three kingdoms of glory. True. Just as there are different degrees of righteousness on the earth, there are kingdoms of differing glory in the next life… To reward many different levels of faithfulness, there will be “many mansions” (see John 14:2)…
5. Hell is a place of never-ending suffering where sinners go. Most of mankind will be there forever because of their wickedness. False. Hell, or spirit prison, is a place for people who have rejected the gospel and people who have died without a knowledge of the gospel. The gospel is preached to them there, and those who accept the gospel and repent of their sins will be released and allowed to enter paradise until the Resurrection and Judgment (see D&C 138:29–34). Most of those who do not accept the gospel there will have to suffer for their own sins but will eventually be resurrected and go to a kingdom of glory (see D&C 76:81–85, 98–106).
” Preparing for Exaltation, Teachers Manual, Lesson 8: “The Three Kingdoms of Glory”, pages 38-39.

References for Biblical beliefs:

Now, let’s look at the Bible and determine if Jesus really meant what he said in Matthew 5:48. Reading the passage in context we see that Jesus gave this command while preaching His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew Chapters 5, 6, & 7). In His Sermon we discover that Jesus gave many difficult commands. We read that we commit sins of commission by swearing, getting angry, or judging others. Lusting after a woman is the very same sin as committing adultery. He also gave many commands that expose our sins of omission; such as loving our enemies, forgiving others and turning the other cheek. Amongst these and numerous others comes Jesus’ ultimate command: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Reading this passage in context it is quite evident that Jesus really did mean what He said.

Another aspect of studying scripture is to let the Bible interpret itself. That means that the rest of scripture must agree with our conclusion, and it does! There is not one Bible passage that disagrees with or lessens Jesus’ command to be as perfect as Heavenly Father. James’ testimony supports Jesus’ command: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all (2:10). The most compelling evidence that shows Jesus really meant what He said is seen when we read what God’s stated consequences for sin are: “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” (Galatians 3:10b). Jesus taught what happens on Judgment Day to those who merely committed sins of omission: “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink.” (Matthew 25:41-46).

No One Can Be Worthy Through Obedience! Mormonism’s Wrong Diagnosis Leads You Away From Your Savior — the Only Cure!

Have you ever had a doctor give you a diagnosis, only to discover later that the doctor was wrong? Last week I was finally given the correct diagnosis for all the medical problems I’ve been having for over five years. Unfortunately, the diagnosis was not a good one. Amazingly, as I have been struggling to accept the news that I have a serious, humanly incurable and untreatable disease—I received a personal revelation from the Holy Ghost. My physical disease is just like the spiritual disease that I used to have and that you still have—it is humanly incurable and untreatable.

I praise my Lord that even though I can only be out of bed for very short periods of time, my Heavenly Father has given me a calling. He has ordained me to share my faith with all Mormons. And, to warn you that you have the same incurable and untreatable spiritual disease that I used to have.

I’m sure you are scratching your head, because this is probably the first time you’ve heard of your illness. But the reason you don’t know you have this disease is because you believe the words of Mormon prophets—not God’s prophets! I beg you to read this post so that like me, you can be miraculously cured. The words I need to tell you are so important that your eternal life depends upon it.

The diagnosis of my physical disease came from a muscle biopsy that a surgeon took from my thigh a few months ago. When my doctor told me the results, he said: “I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you aren’t crazy–you are very sick. The bad news is that you have a very serious, incurable and untreatable muscle disease.” The disease causes constant pain in my muscles all over my body. It also drastically affects my energy level. It takes me about two days to recuperate from just going to church for a few hours.

When the muscle doctor found out that one of my other doctors had me going to a Physical Therapist to build up my strength, he said that was the worst thing I could possibly do. The reason, he said, is because whenever I do any kind of physical exercise, my muscles are permanently damaged. When I heard that, I thought about all the other doctors who had given me the wrong diagnosis of fibromyalgia. These doctors gave me a false diagnosis. Then, they gave me a false prescription. They told me the best thing I could do was to exercise daily. Their treatment plan actually caused my body permanent damage!

So how does all of this information regarding my physical condition tie in with the spiritual disease you now have and that I once had? About 15 years ago God’s prophets and apostles—along with Jesus who is the “Great Physician”, gave me the diagnosis for all of the spiritual problems I had been suffering from for all my life. And, just like the physical diagnosis I’ve just received, there was both good news and bad news.

First, let me tell you the bad news. I found out that I was completely evil, through and through. And so are you!

My physical doctor came up with his diagnosis by taking a sample of my muscle tissue. God came up with His diagnosis that we are all unrighteous by looking at a sampling of our failures at keeping His commands. He calls our spiritual disease by many different names: “unworthy” unrighteous” “sinful” “evil” “unclean”… But the disease all boils down to the same cause—sin.

If you have placed your faith in false Mormon prophets, then you probably don’t know just how spiritually sick you are. Because Mormon leaders give a false diagnosis, they claim that you can be “worthy” through your obedience. They testify that you can actually overcome your sin problem with hard work—by keeping God’s commands. But they are wrong! Just like the doctors who were wrong when they told me that I could help myself by working out everyday, you will permanently damage yourself if you attempt to be worthy through your obedience. To believe this false prescription is to trust that your works can overcome your unrighteousness. But Heavenly Father has declared that no one can be righteous by keeping His commands—because no one can truly do what He asks of them.

Now that I’ve told you the bad news, let me proclaim to you the “Good News”! Jesus came to this earth and died for you because He knew you could not be worthy through obedience to God’s laws! The Apostle Paul testified:

I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness came by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21)

Christ’s death was not in vain! Righteousness can never come by trying to be obedient to God’s laws. Every person who tries to be worthy through obedience is unrighteous! Jesus claimed that no one but God is even “good“! (Matthew 19:17)

But miraculously, Jesus cured you of your spiritual disease by being worthy for you—in your place. He is your Substitute for the righteousness that God demands from you. The only way to be found righteous in God’s sight is through faith in what Jesus did for you, through His Atonement!

The Prophet Isaiah prophesied of your Substitute Savior, and that you would be healed through His stripes:

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (53:5)

Believe it, and receive it. Then, bask in your righteousness before God and rejoice with both me and the Prophet Isaiah:

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God: for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness

No Good Thing Comes Without Work? Do You Believe God’s Prophets, Christ & His Apostles; or LDS prophets?

Shem recently commented: No good thing comes without work.

While his words testify to the teachings of Mormon Prophets, is that what God’s Prophets, Jesus and His Apostles taught?

Would you consider being healed (forgiven) a good thing? The Prophet Isaiah prophesied:

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:5-6)

How about being washed from our sins? Don’t you think that’s a good thing? The Apostle John testified:

“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 1:5)

How about being redeemed from the curse of not following God’s laws? The Apostle Paul taught:

“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 11But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” (Galatians 3:10-14)

How about being reconciled to God & not having our sins imputed to us? Would you consider that a good thing?

“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:19-21)

Would you consider being made righteous a good thing? The Apostle Paul testified that this good thing comes without our work:

“Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:18-21)

How about being perfected forever? The writer of Hebrews tells us that this gift is because of Christ’s work, not ours:

“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”

How about gaining eternal & everlasting life? Jesus Himself proclaimed:

“That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Think about these amazing gifts. Being washed from our sins and forgiven, redeemed, reconciled, made righteous and perfect, and gaining eternal life. These are all very good things! And yet, we do no works to receive these amazing gifts.

However, in one way, Shems words are true: No good thing comes without work.

All of these good things come because of Christ’s work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But certainly not by our works—our works are like filthy rags in God’s sight:

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)

Every breath I breathe is in thankfulness to my Lord and Savior!

Faith Without Works is Dead: The Testimony of Three Witnesses!

I once had a testimony that the Mormon Church was true. When I discovered that my testimony was false I went searching to find the true church. I spent almost nine years between Mormonism and Christianity and met people from all different kinds of faiths. I discovered many people with a strong testimony in their church. I even met Atheists, Shamans and Agnostics with a strongly held “faith” that what they believed was true. What I quickly realized is that the sincerity of a person’s “testimony” doesn’t necessarily mean that what they believe in is true. It just means they have “faith” in something.

Through all my searching there was one thing I clearly believed: every person has to do some level of good works in order to live eternally with God. In the back of my head I guess I always remembered what I had been taught as a Mormon—that “faith without works was dead”. What I never realized is that the Biblical teaching that “faith without works is dead” has nothing to do with where we spend eternity and why.

After the Holy Spirit brought me to faith in the true Jesus, it was exciting to read the book of James with new eyes. I discovered that James’ point isn’t “how” we are saved, but how to identify real faith when we see it. He claims that what uniquely identifies a “faith” in the one true God is that it is alive!

Faith is a gift from God placed in a person’s heart by the Holy Spirit. At the moment a person is brought to faith, that person crosses over from being spiritualy dead to being spiritually alive—truly “born-again” (John 5:24). Just as a newborn baby can’t help but take breathe in and out, and to cry out for food; when someone is “born-again” spiritually, they will do good works—they can’t help it! James emphasizes this point by saying that faith without works is like a dead body without a spirit. Even if someone claims to have a testimony of faith, if works are absent, that faith isn’t really a living faith, its dead.

James uses three witnesses to make his point—himself, Abraham and Rahab. He uses the actions of these three witnesses as proof that a living faith always produces works. His first witness is himself. He contrasts his own life of both faith and works with that of a man who claims to have faith, yet has no works. His outward visible actions prove his testimony of faith.

Through Abraham’s witness, James gives us the vital key that faith comes first, and then works automatically follow. Because faith is living, like a living creature; it naturally produces the “fruit” of works. Similar to an apple tree bearing the fruit of an apple, a living faith will bear the fruit of good works, naturally and without being forced. Good works are merely proof that faith is present. Abraham’s willingness to offer Isaac on the altar was one of many actions that evidenced his faith. His actions were the “fruit” of his faith and proved that his faith was true. Because his faith was alive, good works followed. It was not his works that made his faith alive.

We read that Abraham’s actions fulfilled a scripture from Genesis: “Abraham believed God and it was imputed unto him as righteousness”. Here James clarifies a very important point—that a person’s faith gains him righteousness and not his works. Abraham had been declared righteous by God many years before he proved his faith by his works, even long before Isaac was born! Abraham’s works did not make him righteous; his faith had already done that. Abraham’s works were merely evidence that he had already been made righteous by God.

The third witness is Rahab the harlot (who hid the spies at Jericho). Her strong faith and written testimony are found in Joshua: “for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above and in earth beneath”. Her life is a vivid example of how a woman had faith and then acted on it. Not only did she risk her life by rescuing Joshua’s spies, she lived the remainder of her life in Israel; got married and became the mother of Boaz, Jesse’s Grandfather and King David’s Great Grandmother.

Now let’s contrast these testimonies with those of a different group of three witnesses, written about in the Book of Mormon (Ether). These men were prophesied to one day declare to the world the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. But these three men all left Mormonism. Their lack of action is evidence that their faith was dead, their testimony false.

Interestingly, this was not all they claimed in their testimony. They also declared that one day they could be found spotless because of their own works. They testified:

“And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ.”

This testimony shows that they didn’t know what James knew and taught about Abraham: a person is found spotless in Gods eyes through their faith, and not their works!

The Apostle Paul taught the same thing as Moses and James. He revealed that God’s promise to Abraham was not written merely for Abraham’s sake, but also for yours:

“He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 4:20-5:1)

Link to the Testimony of Three Witnesses:

Link to Ether Chapter 5:

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