No One is Good but God!

Mormon prophets testify that to gain eternal life we must obey the commandments. Recently I received a comment pointing me to the story of the rich young ruler in Matthew 19 as proof that LDS prophets speak God’s truth. The commenter writes: “Christ is asked point blank: What must I do to gain eternal life? And Christ’s response? Keep the commandments.”

I absolutely love this story because when you read it carefully it actually shows that a person can’t gain eternal life with their works! This story gives Christians a great example of how we should share the gospel with someone who thinks they can be “good” enough at obeying God’s commands. This story shows that Jesus understood God’s intended purpose of His law. (Read my recent Post from February 11th titled: “Why did Heavenly Father Give Us Commandments?” for more information.)

This young man was someone who thought he didn’t sin very often. Here we read about an arrogant man who truly believed that he was “good”. We can see his arrogance in his response to what Jesus says to him. His first words to Jesus were “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Before he even begins his conversation with Jesus, he already believes that he must “do something good” to gain eternal life. Notice that he doesn’t ask Jesus how to gain eternal life, he already thinks he knows. Jesus responds to this by saying “Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God” Jesus tells the rich man that only God is good! This gives the young man the opportunity to come to the realization that he (the rich man) is not good.

In response to his question Jesus tells the rich man “but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” He does this because Jesus knows the purpose of God’s law!! Jesus understands that this man has to recognize how sinful he is, before he will seek a Savior! Jesus gives this man God’s laws, and He comes down very hard on him. He first gives him the do not commandments:
1) Do not murder 2) Do not commit adultery 3) Do not steal 4) Do not bear false witness.
And then Jesus tells him the do commands:
5) Honour your Father and Mother 6) Love your neighbor as yourself.

And how does the rich man respond? He tells Jesus that he has kept all these commandments from his youth up. This man believed that he wasgood and possibly only lacked “one good thing”. But, do you think that Jesus believed him? In His Sermon on the Mount Jesus had already taught that we must be as perfect as our Heavenly Father! Jesus taught that looking on a woman and lusting after her is the same as committing adultery. Do you think Jesus believed the rich man’s claim that he had always loved his neighbor as himself?

At this point in his life this man sees no need for a Savior. Why would he? He truly believes that he is good enough to gain eternal life with his own works. He had already rejected the message Jesus first gave him—that “only God is good”, and boldly claimed that he was good. So, in response: “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.”

Think about the commandment that Jesus gave to the young man. This would be a very hard thing to do, to sell all you have and follow Jesus. But, Jesus lovingly told him the one thing that would cause this man to look into his heart and see that he was sinful–that he was not good. This is the purpose of the law. God’s law is a mirror for us to look into God’s Word and see that we are sinful and that only God is good! We do not hear anything more about this rich man, but possibly he came to faith later as a direct result of Jesus’ pointing out his sin to him.

God’s Law was given to you as a way to cause you to despair of saving yourself through you’re own works–and then to cling to the perfect works of Jesus! Through faith in Jesus you will be credited with His righteousness! All praise and glory to our Savior Jesus!

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Lesson 18: Beyond the Veil: Life in the Eternities

LDS Belief:

Heaven consists of three kingdoms and people will be assigned to one of these kingdoms based upon their obedience to God’s law.

LDS Words (J. Smith)

Found in Lesson 18, pages 219-220:
“My text is on the resurrection of the dead, which you will find in the 14th chapter of John—‘In my Father’s house are many mansions.’ [John 14:2.] It should be—‘In my Father’s kingdom are many kingdoms,’ in order that ye may be heirs of God and joint-heirs with me. … There are mansions for those who obey a celestial law, and there are other mansions for those who come short of the law, every man in his own order.”

But,’ says one, ‘I believe in one universal heaven and hell, where all go, and are all alike, and equally miserable or equally happy.’ “What! where all are huddled together—the honorable, virtuous, and murderers, and whoremongers, when it is written that they shall be judged according to the deeds done in the body?

Additional Testimony of the Bold Truth:

Jesus:
– Matthew 13:37-43
– John 5:28-30

John the Baptist:
– Matthew 3:2

John the Beloved:
– Revelation 20:10-15
– Revelation 21:7-8
– Revelation 21:27

The Apostle Peter:
– 1 Peter 4:17

The Apostle Paul:
– Romans 2:6
– Titus 1:15

The Prophet Daniel:
– Daniel 12:2

The Psalmist:
– Psalm 1:1-6

King David:
– Psalm 11:5

The Prophet Ezekiel:
– Ezekiel 18:20

The Prophet Malachi:
– Malachi 3:18

The Bold Truth:

The very Son of God believed in one universal heaven and hell!

Jesus taught that there were only two eternal destinations for all peoples of the world. He claimed that Heaven is where God and His eternal family will dwell and Hell will be the domain of Satan, his demons and the wicked. Jesus also grouped all peoples of the world into only two broad categories-the righteous and the wicked. According to the Son of God, you are either righteous, or wicked.

Our Savior gave us a very vivid picture of this truth in Matthew 25. On Judgment Day all the nations of the world will be gathered before Him to have their works judged. But even before He begins the Judgment, God’s angels divide everyone into two groups. Those on Jesus’ right are called righteous because they did good to others in need. The wicked on His left are there because they didn’t do good to those in need. Notice that these wicked people aren’t even charged with doing what we humans might call grievous sins like murder or adultery. They are simply accused of committing sins of omission. Jesus condemns them as “cursed”—then sends them into everlasting fire to live eternally with Satan and his angels. This picture certainly shows Jesus’ belief in one universal heaven and hell. It also shows us that Jesus divides the whole world into only two broad categories.

Many Mormons have said to me “Heavenly Father is a loving God—He would never send someone into eternal punishment”. But Jesus testified that Heavenly Father will do just that. God has given Jesus the authority to judge the world on Judgment Day. Jesus (not Joseph Smith) will determine who is worthy to receive a mansion in the Kingdom of Heaven. To be Righteous a person must have kept God’s law perfectly. Falling short of God’s law, in even one point, makes a person wicked. God does not “grade sins”. Each and every sin is disastrous because it is rebellion against God. Jesus shows that not doing the good things God commands will cause a person to live eternally in hell with Satan.

Yes, Heavenly Father is a merciful and loving God and wants every person to live eternally with Him. That’s why He offered His Son as a sacrifice to ensure this could happen when Jesus paid the demands of Justice. Jesus’ shed blood truly covers over the sins of the entire world. All who believe that Jesus kept God’s law perfectly for them, are righteous because their sins have been removed. On Judgment Day, God’s angels will gather these true believers to sit at the right hand of Jesus—before He begins judging anyone’s works. Every believer will receive a reward in God’s celestial glory.

Eternal Consequences

Please don’t reject Heavenly Father’s offer of complete forgiveness through Jesus’ blood. If you do, this means you don’t have faith in what Jesus did for you and you will sit on His left! “Then shall he (Jesus) say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”