This Is the Spirit of Revelation?

I was amazed when I discovered that Christians believe God still speaks to them today! When I was LDS I had always been told that only the LDS Church believed in continuing and personal revelation. But Christians don’t believe the heavens are closed! Every person who has been brought to faith by the Holy Ghost receives personal revelation from Heavenly Father all the time. I relish the fact that God lives in my heart and speaks to me personally every single day of my life:

“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Eph 4:4-6) In addition to this amazing gift, the Holy Spirit also dwells in my heart and guides me every moment of my life.

The Gospel Doctrine Lesson states that “Personal revelation is the way we learn divine truths.” It also claims it is “the way we receive guidance beyond our own limited understanding in answering life’s questions, meeting challenges, and making decisions.” (Doctrine and Covenants and Church History: Gospel Doctrine Lesson 5: “This Is the Spirit of Revelation” p. 25)

I’m here to tell you that this personal revelation comes to you when you read scripture! I have a very personal relationship with my Heavenly Father. I get to talk to Him through prayer and He speaks to me personally when I read His Words in scripture. Jesus taught this truth when He rebuked the Jews for not knowing scripture or the power of God. He told them that God literally spoke divine truths to them when they read scripture:

“But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Mathew 22:31-32). God spoke to the Jews through scripture telling them the divine truth that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were living prophets, not dead ones.

When I was LDS I didn’t know this truth, that God speaks to us personally through scripture. That’s because I didn’t understand the important truth that God’s Word is living and active—it’s alive! Now, I know it is the “sword of the Spirit” and is so powerful it can literally pierce the soul and spirit of man. It also can discern the thoughts and intents of a person’s heart (Ephesians 6:17 and Hebrews 4:12).

The Holy Spirit actively works through the hearing or reading of God’s Word; this is actually how the Spirit works the miracle of faith in an unbeliever. Jesus claimed God’s Word is so powerful that a person is immediately granted everlasting life through hearing it and believing:

“He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

The authors of scripture didn’t use their own words to write it. They were inspired about what to say when the Holy Ghost moved them to write Words given to them. In fact, the inspiration of scripture was the very mission of the Holy Ghost. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”. Scripture is “able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3: 15-17/2 Peter 1:20-21).

Because I believe and trust in God’s Word I do not stumble in darkness! I boldly proclaim that God’s “word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). One of my favorite Psalms tells the importance of meditating on God’s Word:

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Psalm 1).

Scripture written several hundred years earlier still “spoke” to Jesus and His Apostles, and they were guided by it daily. We read one example in the book of Romans where Paul talks about the Prophet Abraham. Paul reminds his readers of the scripture from Genesis saying that Abraham was imputed with righteousness because of his faith. Paul then says

“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).

Did you read that? These scriptures were also written for your sake! If you “believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead” you also will be imputed with righteousness through faith!!! Just like Abraham and anyone else whose trust is in what Jesus has done for them—even me!

Have You Been “Pickled in Mormonism”? Lifelong Conversion: Continuing to Advance in the Principles of Truth

Today I compare God’s revealed way of determining truth with the method found in Mormonism. Why is the difference important? God’s truth has been hidden from those who have been “pickled in ‘Mormonism” because of a false spirit which is described in this weeks Relief Society lesson:

“I will [present a] figure in regard to bringing about and getting this spirit in us, and digging deep that we in the time of storm, may not be driven off. Place a cucumber in a barrel of vinegar and there is but little effect produced upon it the first hour, nor in the first 12 hours. Examine it and you will find that the effect produced is merely upon the rind, for it requires a longer time to pickle it. It does not establish the law of right and of duty in him during the first 12 or 24 hours; he must remain in the church, like the cucumber in the vinegar, until he becomes saturated with the right spirit, until he becomes pickled in ‘Mormonism,’ in the law of God; we have got to have those things incorporated in our systems.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow Chapter 3: Lifelong Conversion: Continuing to Advance in the Principles of Truth, p. 68)

There is only one way to be “saturated with the right spirit” and you will never find that spirit in Mormonism. I know this because I believe the words of Christ who taught us how the Holy Spirit works. Being “pickled” into Christianity is not like Mormonism; it happens in an instant. The Holy Ghost brings an unbeliever to faith through a spiritual rebirth that Jesus calls being “born again”:

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:6-8)

Christ also taught that the Holy Spirit shall bring you to a remembrance of what has been taught by Jesus and His apostles:

“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:” (John 15:26) “These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:25-26)

The Apostle John warned you about false spirits and prophets. In fact he commanded that you “try the spirits” so as to discern whether a spirit is from God. How do you do this? He revealed that those who aren’t from God—won’t even hear his words or the words of Christ’s other apostles:

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world…. 6 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)

Do you really want to know whether Mormonism has the spirit of truth or the spirit of error? Then compare God’s revealed way of determining truth with the method found in Mormonism. We read of this method in the Relief Society lesson:

“Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you when you took no thought, save it was to ask me; but, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you,” etc. [See D&C 9.]

Here we read the LDS method of determining if something is true: You can’t just ask God—you must also “study it out in your mind” and then “if it is right” God “will cause that your bosom shall burn within you.” While these words were written specifically to Oliver Cowdery, President Snow explains how this method applies to you:

“So in regard to us, respecting the things which we are undertaking. If we expect to improve, to advance in the work immediately before us, and finally to obtain possession of those gifts and glories, coming up to that condition of exaltation we anticipate, we must take thought and reflect, we must exert ourselves, and that too to the utmost of our ability. We ought to … get the Spirit ourselves” (p. 65).

Can you see the difference between Mormonism’s false method of determining truth and what Jesus and the Apostle John revealed? In speaking of the Holy Ghost, Jesus taught “He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

Mormonism tells you to “study it out in your mind”. But what if “your mind” doesn’t know very much about God’s truth? If you’ve seldom studied what Christ originally taught, how can the Holy Ghost bring His Words to your remembrance? What good will it do to study the matter out in your mind if you haven’t studied what the Holy Spirit has already revealed in scripture?

Only a false spirit would tell you to use your wisdom and study it out in your mind to decide if something is true. Does your mind possess more knowledge than the wisdom that God has revealed through scripture? Satan wants you to trust in your own knowledge and feelings. But doing so will expose you to false spirits and you will be led astray; just as President Snow was:

Although he was content for a time with this understanding, he soon yearned for a special manifestation of the Holy Ghost. He said, “I had had no manifestation, but I expected one.” …No language can describe the instantaneous transition from a dense cloud of mental and spiritual darkness into a refulgence of light and knowledge, as it was at that time imparted to my understanding. I then received a perfect knowledge that God lives, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and of the restoration of the Holy Priesthood, and the fulness of the gospel.”

President Snow “yearned for a special manifestation” but the spirit he received was not from God. And because He didn’t test the spirit, he was deceived. To those who “received not the love of the truth” the Apostle Paul revealed that “God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie”:

“And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12)

I pray that you will be as the Bereans; of whom the Apostle Paul praised:

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed” (Acts 17:11-12)

All praise and glory to our Savior Jesus, for teaching us how to discern truth!

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

Never Has Man Believed in Me As Thou Hast—The Testimony of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon: Faith Without Works is Dead

This month’s Gospel Doctrine Lesson asks: “How has the testimony of the Three Witnesses helped strengthen your testimony of the Book of Mormon?” Have you ever given consideration to the fact that all three “witnesses” actually left the LDS church? Do you believe that faith without works is dead? If you do, then shouldn’t their faithless lives actually weaken your testimony of the Book of Mormon?

According to the Book of Mormon, 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.

I once had a testimony that the LDS Church was true. When I discovered that my testimony was false I went searching to find the true church. I spent nine years between Mormonism and Christianity and met people from all kinds of faiths. I discovered many people with a 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 always remembered what I had been taught as a Mormon—that “faith without works is dead”. What I didn’t know then is that the Biblical teaching “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 Christ, I enjoyed reading 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. The very moment a person is brought to faith, that person crosses over from spiritual death to being spiritually alive—truly “born-again” (John 5:24). Just as a newborn baby can’t help but breathe in and out, and to cry for food; when someone is “born-again” with a new spiritual life, 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, then that faith isn’t really a living faith, its dead.

Through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost 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 alive—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” (Romans 4:3; Genesis 15:6). Here James clarifies a very important point—that a person’s faith gains him righteousness—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! Before Abraham was credited with righteousness; he had kept no law, performed no service or ordinance that had earned credit to his account before God. It was his belief in God alone that caused Heavenly Father to credit him with righteousness. James testifies that Abraham’s works were merely the 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. She got married and became the mother of Boaz, Jesse’s Grandfather; and King David’s Great Grandmother.

The faithful lives of these three witnesses proved that their faith was alive and true. They had been born-again, just as Jesus taught that we must be: “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)

What happens when we look at the lives of the men who were prophesied to be witnesses to the Book of Mormon?:

“Who were the three witnesses Moroni spoke of in Ether 5:3? (Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris: “And unto three shall they be shown by the power of God; wherefore they shall know of a surety that these things are true.” (Ether 5:3) See The Testimony of Three Witnesses in the introductory material of the Book of Mormon.) (Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Lesson 45: Never Has Man Believed in Me As Thou Hast, p. 201)

These men had supposedly been shown the power of God. They claimed to have a strong testimony that the Book of Mormon was true. And yet when we look at their actions, their lack of works proving they were alive spiritually—we know their faith was dead. It’s when we read these three men’s testimony in the introduction to the Book of Mormon that we know why their faith was dead. They 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 trust that God had already made them righteous because of their faith–as Abraham had done. They didn’t know what James knew and taught about Abraham: a person is found spotless in God’s sight through their faith—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:

Temporal Salvation for Ourselves and Others: I delight to do thy will, O God!

Do you know what Heavenly Father’s will is? For many years I didn’t realize that my church leaders said things that were contrary to the revealed will of God. The reason I didn’t know I was being deceived was because I hadn’t bothered to test their words with God’s revealed Words.

After the Holy Ghost brought me to faith in the true Christ, I wanted to make sure I learned God’s truth. I had spent so many years blindly following LDS prophets and I wanted to make sure I never made the same mistake again. Reading Christ’s Words in Matthew Chapter 7 is where I first started to learn about God’s will:

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (7:20-23)

This made me wonder what God’s will was. Did Jesus mean we had to do something to enter the kingdom of heaven? If this was what He was saying, then these words disagreed with all the times He had testified that eternal life was a gift of God. Many times in the book of John He revealed that eternal life is a free gift from God.

It took me several hours, but by the time I finished my study—I was delighted! I found out that what Jesus had said about doing God’s will to enter the kingdom of heaven merely reinforced His testimony:

“And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:35-40)

The reason it is God’s will to freely give salvation, is because of Christ’s Mission, (which was also God’s will):

“Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Galatians 1:3-5)

I give thanks to our God for revealing the mystery of His will to us:

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: (Eph. 1:6-9)

In this weeks Relief Society Lesson it almost seems as though President Smith is warning you of listening to his own words, as well as other LDS leaders:

“We are living in perilous times. The scriptures are being fulfilled, and as it appears to me this is the particular time when, if it were possible, the very elect would be deceived…. And it is strange to me how many people fall into the habit of listening to those who say things that are contrary to the revealed will of our Heavenly Father. …” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, Chapter 20: Temporal Salvation for Ourselves and Others, p. 214)

Are you listening to President Smith as he says:

“We have to make our choice, and if we want to be the servants of God and the children of our Heavenly Father and earn his blessings, we must do it by honoring him and by keeping his commandments.” (p. 218)

Do you think it’s Heavenly Father’s will that you honor Him and keep His commandments just so you can earn His blessings?

I can tell by President Smith’s words that he doesn’t understand the joy that comes from truly knowing God and His will: “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

“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. 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. He 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.” (John 3:15-18)

When you really know and understand all that God has done for you, your whole desire is to spend every minute of every day honoring Him and keeping His commandments. Not because you have to–but because you get to!

I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. (Ps. 40:8)

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

How Could Ye Have Departed from the Ways of the Lord? Jesus Loves You Anyway!

Many Mormons don’t understand why I believe that the LDS church is not Christian. Since I was born and raised LDS and married in the Salt Lake Temple, I do understand why my words are hard to believe. Looking at how a person gains eternal life is one way to see the differences between faiths. God’s Word—as taught by Christianity teaches that we are saved by faith alone. Mormonism—as taught by LDS prophets claims that a person is saved by faith and works.

LDS prophets testify that eternal life must be gained “by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel”? (Articles of Faith 1:3) However, since no one can be perfect, the Prophet Nephi declared: “For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do”. (2 Nephi 25:23)

Here we see the LDS teaching that a person is saved by faith and works. What is really required is our ‘best effort’. The determining factor to gaining eternal life is not the final product, it’s the effort expended. If you just try as hard as you can then Jesus will step in and His Atonement makes up the difference.

While this sounds comforting, it is false! You can search the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find one passage that backs up this false teaching. Not one single verse claims that eternal life can be gained simply by trying to follow God’s commands. I challenge you to look at every Judgment Day picture mentioned in the Bible. If you do, you will discover that each and every sin (liars, murderers or having even only one sin) ends with the same exact outcome—living eternally in Outer Darkness with Satan and his demons.

This month’s Gospel Doctrine Lesson explains that Judgment Day is one of the purposes of the Book of Mormon: “For what purposes was the record kept and preserved?

“a. That ye may know that ye must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ … to be judged of your works” (Mormon 3:20). “And these things doth the Spirit manifest unto me; therefore I write unto you all. And for this cause I write unto you, that ye may know that ye must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, yea, every soul who belongs to the whole human family of Adam; and ye must stand to be judged of your works, whether they be good or evil;” (Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine, Lesson 43: How Could Ye Have Departed from the Ways of the Lord? p.192)

A Christian Church teaches what Christ taught. Christ clearly testified that having even one sin remaining on Judgment Day means you will be cursed to spend eternity in Hell with Satan and his demons. There is no more vivid picture of this truth than Christ’s words, recorded in Matthew 25:31-46. He testifies that on the Final Day of Judgment all the nations of the world will be gathered before God. But even before the Judgment begins, God’s angels divide everyone into two groups—a “two-part division of the righteous and the wicked.” Through faith in Christ all believers are 100% perfect. Those who die in unbelief will stand before Christ on Judgment Day to be found 100% evil.

Amazingly, Jesus also revealed that we are saved by faith alone:

“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. 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. He 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.”

The reason salvation is granted solely through faith is because that is the only way a person can meet God’s requirement to be righteous!! One must be perfect to enter into God’s presence. Jesus came to earth and was perfect for us, in our place. It is only through faith in Him as our substitute that we are declared righteous!! This was true for Abraham and as well as for us: “And therefore it [faith] 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;” (Romans 4:21-24).

It is impossible to gain eternal life by being obedient to God’s law, or by trying to add your works to your faith. In Romans, Paul explains using Old Testament scripture: “There is none righteous, no, not one: 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 ” (3:11-12). No one will be declared righteous by trying to follow God’s law: “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (3:20). Notice the important words “in his sight”. Heavenly Father has demanded we be as perfect as Him (Matthew 5:48). In His sight, “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (3:23).

During Christ’s time the unbelieving Jews were sincere, but they were sincerely wrong! They earnestly sought righteousness, but they tried to acquire it in the wrong way. They thought they had to gain eternal life through obedience. They believed they could be righteous through their own works. They had a zeal for God, but they were ignorant of the truth! (Romans 9:30-10:4)

What is God’s truth? Eternal life is obtained only as a gift from God, received by faith, without any works!!! In fact, if you bring works into the picture you ruin God’s free gift and you loose His favor!! That’s what Paul meant when he wrote: “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” (Romans 11:6)

Turn to your Savior who grants you His righteousness through faith: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).

This Is My Gospel: The Power of God for Salvation to All Who Believe

LDS Belief:

“The word gospel means good news. The good news is that Jesus Christ has made a perfect atonement for mankind that will redeem all mankind from the grave and reward each individual according to his/her works.” (LDS KJV Bible Dictionary)

Having your garments washed by Christ’s Atonement is conditional upon having faith, repenting of all your sins (through the LDS Process of Repentance) and being faithful till the end.

LDS Words

(Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine, Lesson 42: This Is My Gospel
pages 186-187)

Point out that when Latter-day Saints bear their testimonies, they often say that they know the gospel is true. Ask class members to silently consider how they would respond if, after saying “I know the gospel is true,” they were asked, “What is the gospel?

Write “This is my gospel” on the chalkboard. Explain that after Jesus said that His Church must be built on His gospel, He gave His disciples a concise, complete definition of His gospel. Have class members take turns reading verses in 3 Nephi 27:13–22, looking for different aspects of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

3 Nephi 27:15:
And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.

3 Nephi 27:19:
And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end.

Link to Lesson:

Lesson 42

The Bold Truth:

The true Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16) The true Gospel of Christ is the “good news” of free and full forgiveness from sin simply through faith in Christ: “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43) Jesus successfully completed His mission to be the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. Not only did He die for us, He lived for us. Because of Him we have been perfected forever: “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)

I grew up loving New York Cheesecake. My mom had a recipe that was easy to make—no baking and little fuss. When I had children I often made this for them. One evening my husband took me to a restaurant for a special meal. For dessert I ordered the “Authentic New York Cheesecake”. But, when the waitress brought it, I was appalled. It did not look like the cheesecake I was familiar with. I didn’t want to try it but the waitress assured me it was delicious. I took one small bite and felt like I had entered heaven. It was the best thing I had ever tasted in my entire life! I realized that the recipe I had been using all those years was not really New York Cheesecake, even though it was titled such. I had no idea what I had been missing all those years. Now, whenever I see a “fake” cheesecake I identify it immediately because not only does it taste different, it looks different.

In a similar way, I grew up believing in the LDS gospel. It never entered my mind that it might not be authentic. The only doubts I ever had were doubts about my own ability to follow the gospel. I knew I was unworthy and no matter how hard I tried, I could not gain forgiveness. My prophets taught that forgiveness was dependent upon my own works, my ability to keep all the commandments. Every day I failed miserably and every minute I felt unworthy. While I doubted my own ability, I never doubted in the LDS gospel.

A few years after tasting my first authentic New York Cheesecake I tasted the true gospel of Jesus Christ! My loving Father in Heaven rescued me from the torment of my guilt by bringing me the “good news” of His true Gospel. I learned that “gospel” literally means “good news”. The good news is that not only was Jesus worthy for me, He died for me! The good news is that Jesus satisfied Gods’ demands for Justice and now Mercy reigns. The good news is that Heavenly Father has forgiven every single sin you have ever committed. This is a fact proven by His resurrection.

Jesus’ entire purpose for coming to earth was to cover our sins with His blood. That is the authentic Gospel. We can discern the true gospel by answering the question from the Lesson “Why was Jesus lifted up?” According to the LDS Gospel the answer focuses on what we have to do—Jesus gives us bodily resurrection so we can be judged by our own works. That is not good news” because our inadequate works make us unworthy! According to the true Gospel the answer focuses on Jesus—He paid the penalty for the sins of the world which washed away everyone’s sins with His blood.

I thought I was using the authentic recipe for New York Cheesecake. It wasn’t until I tasted the real thing that I knew the difference. The same was true for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I had no idea what I had been missing for all those years. The true gospel tastes so sweet to me that it is the foundation for everything I do. The good news of the gospel compels me to serve Jesus every minute of every day. Not because I have to, but because I get to!

Eternal Consequences

Anyone who rejects the true gospel of Jesus Christ will stand “unclean” before Heavenly Father on Judgment Day. No unclean person will dwell in the kingdom of God with Jesus, Heavenly Father or the Holy Spirit. The only other alternative is to spend eternity in hell with Satan.

Additional Testimony of the Bold Truth:
The Gospel: Why Jesus came:
– Isaiah 61:1
– Isaiah 53:4-12
– Luke 4:17-20
– John 1:29
– Romans 1:16
– 1 Corinthians 1:17-18
– 2 Corinthians 5:19-21
– 1 Peter 1:18-25
– Galatians 3:10-13
– 1 John 2:2
– Hebrews 10:12
– Revelation 1:5
– Revelation 7:14
Don’t believe in false gospels, even if an angel tells it to you:
– Galatians 1:6-9
– 2 Corinthians 11:3-4
Even the Apostle Peter had to be reprimanded about following the gospel:
– “But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? 16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified… 21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. (Peter didn’t walk according to the truth of the gospel) Galatians 2:14, 16, 21
Additional LDS Words:

Found in lesson 42, page 187:
What did the Savior promise to those who live according to His gospel? (See 3 Nephi 27:21–22.) 21 Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do; 22 Therefore, if ye do these things blessed are ye, for ye shall be lifted up at the last day.

3 Nephi 27:13-14:
Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me. 14 And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil

Stay on the Lord’s Side of the Line: By Knowing That You Cannot Earn The Celestial Kingdom

This months Relief Society Lesson teaches that “Staying on the Lord’s side of the line requires strict obedience to the commandments.” (p 192) President Smith claims the reason this is so important is because that’s the only way you can “earn the celestial kingdom“:

“How careful we as Latter-day Saints ought to be to live every day of our lives that we may be influenced by the power of the Lord, and that we may be able to turn aside from those things that have a tendency to break down our power to earn the celestial kingdom.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, Chapter 18: Stay on the Lord’s Side of the Line (p 198)

LDS Prophets testify that God gave us His law as the means to become righteous and gain eternal life:

“The laws of God given to mankind are embodied in the gospel plan, and the Church of Jesus Christ is made responsible for teaching these laws to the world. They are given by our Heavenly Father for only one purpose, that you who are governed by law might also be preserved by law and perfected and sanctified, or made holy by the same” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church-Harold Lee, page 27).

But in truth, God actually gave you His commandments to show you that you could never become righteous by obedience! It is through God’s law that you become aware of your sins. The Apostle Paul claimed that God’s law is like a mirror. When you read His law and see what He demands from you, you then see how far off from the mark you are. When you look into the mirror of God’s law; you will see an utterly sinful person!

From this months lesson we read of only a few of God’s commands:

“If you attend to your secret prayers and your family prayers… If you are grateful for food and express that gratitude to God… If you love your neighbor as yourself… If you are honest in your dealing with your fellow men… If you observe the Word of Wisdom… And so I might go on through the Ten Commandments and the other commandments that God has given… Finding fault with the things that God has given to us for our guidance…

[The Lord has said]: “I cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance;” not with the least degree of allowance [D&C 1:31]…. The Lord himself has said that we must keep his commandments: “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated.” (p 192)

The uncompromising commands in God’s law prove we can’t meet God’s demands. In fact, we don’t even come close! Jesus knew that the commandments were given so we could see our sinfulness. Think about when He commanded us to “be as perfect as our Father in Heaven” (Matthew 5:48). Did He truly believe that anyone besides Himself could fulfill this command?

Jesus knew that God’s law was given to unbelievers so that sin would increase (Romans 5:20). Can you believe that? God actually gave His commandments so that people would sin more!

Why would He do this? Because, it is only when you despair of saving yourself that you will see your complete need for a Savior. Only then will you give up on your impossible efforts to become righteous by obedience. Only then will you know that Jesus couldn’t just “help you” return to your Heavenly Father–He had to do it for you!

Only then will you turn solely to Jesus for rescue. And when you do, a miracle happens. Through faith in your Savior you are credited with His righteousness, His perfect obedience! At that moment, you are righteous in God’s sight and receive the gift of eternal life! You have been saved by Jesus’ obedience to God’s laws, not your own! Isn’t that amazing?

When I was a Mormon I misunderstood Christians who claimed they didn’t have to keep the commandments in order to be saved. I thought this meant they didn’t want to keep the commandments and I assumed they must be living a life of blatant sinfulness. Now I understand this isn’t true. Christians don’t have to obey God to be saved, because they have already been given eternal life. But, they are privileged to obey God simply because they love Him. What a blessing it is to stay on the Lord’s side of the line–through faith! In thankfulness to Jesus my whole life is devoted to Him!

While LDS leaders teach that you can “earn the celestial kingdom” by keeping God’s laws, God’s Prophets and Christ’s Apostles testify that no one can earn eternal life through their own obedience:

“Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ that we might be justified by faith.” (Galatians 3:21-24)

Truly the Lord has already delivered us! “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21)

________________________________________________
“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”

“Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”

“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.” (Romans 3:19-20, 5:20, 7:7-8).

Old Things Are Done Away, and All Things Have Become New: It’s Through Christ’s Atonement You Have Been Perfected Forever!

The sentence I most remember my Father saying was: “All blessings are predicated upon obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.”

These words are from a revelation given by Joseph Smith and recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 130. Today, it’s important to look at how this principle affects qualifying for the grace of God so Mormons can be perfected in Christ.

We read in this weeks Gospel Doctrine Lesson:

“After teaching the Nephites that they should love their enemies, Jesus said, “Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect” (3 Nephi 12:48). “Why do we need the Atonement of Jesus Christ in order to be perfected? (See… Moroni 10:32–33. (Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Lesson 38: Old Things Are Done Away, and All Things Have Become New, p 171)

Next, lets look at a simple illustration of earning a blessing through obedience:

(Condition): If she cleans her room. . .

(Blessing): then, she can go outside and play with her friends.

Now lets apply the words from the Lesson to this same illustration. In the Lesson, the question is asked: “Why do we need the Atonement of Jesus Christ in order to be perfected?” You are told to see Moroni 10:32–33 teaching us the condition for qualifying for God’s grace so as to be perfected in Christ:

“Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.”

(Condition): If you deny yourself of all ungodliness, and if you love God with all your might, mind and strength…

(Blessing): then, you can qualify for God’s grace and be perfected in Christ.

But what does “deny yourself of all ungodliness” mean, according to LDS doctrine? Since I prefer to let LDS Prophets explain their own scripture, I went searching and found the LDS definition in the Sunday School Teachers Manual for 12 & 13 year olds:

“Have class members find and read Moroni 10:32. According to this verse, what must we do to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him”? (“Deny [ourselves] of all ungodliness, and love God with all [our] might, mind and strength.”) Explain that “deny yourselves of all ungodliness” means “give up your sins.” (Preparing for Exaltation, page 123)

I also learned from the LDS Apostle Neal Maxwell that this includes both large and small sins:

“Moroni declared the need for us to deny ourselves of “all ungodliness” (Moro. 10:32), thus including both large and small sins.” (Neal A. Maxwell, April 1995 General Conference, Ensign, May 1995, p. 66)

Can any person actually do this? Can you “give up” all of your sins? What about all the sins of omission: visiting those in prison, praying constantly or not worrying? Could you stop sinning for even one day? If you truly could give up all of your sins wouldn’t that mean you were already perfect in yourself?

The sobering truth is that no one can meet these requirements! Even though we are commanded to do so, no one can deny themselves of all ungodliness and love God with all their might, mind and strength! Not even for one hour.

Jesus testified to the rich young ruler that no one is good but God (Luke 18:18). Similarly, no one is Godly but God. Even one little white lie makes a person “ungodly”. No one (except Jesus) even comes close to denying themselves of all ungodliness.

So how does a person qualify for God’s grace? Instead of qualifying for it like you would a scholarship, it’s more similar to a need-based grant. You have to be poor and needy—you have to be sinful. A righteous person doesn’t need Christ’s Atonement. But guess what—the truth is that no one is righteous. We all need Christ! Jesus said: “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth…” (Matthew 9: 12-13). It means that all of us are sick (ungodly) and need our Great Physician who came to heal us!

Christ’s mission for coming to earth was to die for the ungodly. “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6). If you believe this and know that you are among the ungodly—a miracle will happen! In an instant, you will be made godly through faith in Jesus! You will be perfected forever in God’s sight:

“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 10:10-18)

Don’t place your faith in the words of LDS prophets who claim that you must deny yourself of all ungodliness to be found perfect. If you do, you will die in your sins and spend eternity with Satan. Why? Because you rejected the Savior who denied Himself of all ungodliness for you—in your place.

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:15-17)

Additional Testimony of the Bold Truth:
Believe in the God that justifies the ungodly:
– Romans 4: 4-8
Jesus is the Deliverer:
– Romans 11: 26-27
Christ died for sinners – the ungodly:
– Romans 5: 6-8
– Matthew 9: 12-13
– Luke 19:10
– 1 Timothy 1:15
Godly blessed / Ungodly shall perish
– Psalm 1: 1-6
Wrath of God against ungodly:
– Romans 1: 18
– 2 Peter 2:6
– 2 Peter 3:7
God’s law is not for righteous, but for ungodly:
– 1 Timothy 1: 8-9
Links to LDS Words:
LDS Definition of “Denying ourselves of all ungodliness”
– May 1995 Ensign
– Preparing for Exaltation
– Preparing for Exaltation
– JST Mathew 16:25-26
Mormons believe in a god who “justifieth NOT the ungodly”
– JST Romans 4:2-5

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)

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