06
Aug
08

COMMANDMENTS: RUNGS ON THE LADDER TO HEAVEN?

 

     Mormonism teaches that keeping God’s commandments are vital to salvation.  Joseph Smith said, “To get salvation, we must not only do some things, but everything which God has commanded.”  (Teachings of Presidents of the Church – Joseph Smith, p. 161)  Members of the LDS church regularly point to all the commandments in the Bible as proof of this.  They scoff at the idea that salvation is through faith alone.  One of the men whom they look upon as a living prophet wrote:  “One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation.”  (Spencer W. Kimball)

      There is no denying that the Bible is full of commands.  The question is:  what is the purpose of those commands?  Did God give us commands so that by obeying them we could obtain salvation?  This is a possibility the Bible discusses.  “For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.”  (Romans 10:5)  The key word is “doeth”.   The righteousness of the law is a righteousness obtained by doing, keeping, obeying.

     But here comes the rub.  According to the Bible, it’s all or nothing.  It’s not trying your best – it’s not progressing – it’s doing everything all the time.  “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, is guilty of all.”  (James 2:10)  And this is something the Bible says no one can do.   So much so that all who are trying to do that are under God’s curse and not his blessing.  “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.”  (Galatians 3:10)   Note that a person has to continue to do all things in the law if they don’t want to be under God’s curse.  Stumbling at just one point, breaking one commandment, makes people guilty.

     That was the point Jesus was making with the rich young man.  Notice what the young man asks Jesus.  “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?”  (Matthew 19:16)  He asks what he must do.  That’s how Jesus answered him.  “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give it to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.”  (v. 21)  In other words, Jesus says, if you want to base your eternal life on what you do, you need to do everything.

     This highlights one of the main reasons why God gave us so many commandments – to convince us that we can’t keep them perfectly.  “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.”  (Romans 3:20)  God has given us the commandments so that we despair of trying to save ourselves through our own works.  Commandments are not rungs on the ladder of salvation.  It’s only when we realize the desperate straits we are in that we will quit trying to save ourselves and cling to our Savior, Jesus.

     Yes, the Bible is full of commands.  But the critical question is how the Bible uses them.  Does it put them into the discussion of salvation?  It does that only by saying that if you want to be saved by keeping the commandments, you have to keep them perfectly – you have to continue to do all of them.  As soon as you break one, you are under God’s curse- a situation that was remedied only by Jesus.  “Christ has 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.”  (Galatians 3:13) 

    Jesus has done it all.  It is my prayer that more and more members of the LDS church see that and rely totally on what Jesus has done for them.

Advertisements

11 Responses to “COMMANDMENTS: RUNGS ON THE LADDER TO HEAVEN?”


  1. 1 Susan
    August 6, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    I agree. The commandments are meant to humble us. God’s Word says that only the humble will inherit eternal life, this means realizing that you are spiritually and morally unworthy and bankrupty of anything that God sees “good” in you. Acts 17:24-25 “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made by hands; neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needeth anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;” We must realize who God is and is not. The very first commandment is THOU SHALT HAVE NO OTHER GOD and the world religions of today have created their own gods of their own imaginations. God knew this was man’s tendency and Satans #1 tool, that why is the first commandment. Yahweh is eternal, all-knowing, everywhere present, all powerful and unsearchable. Numbers 23:19 says “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent:…”
    See also: Duet. 4:35,39; 5:7,6:4; 32:21, 39; 33:27; I Kings 8:60; I Chronicles 16:25-26; 17:20; 29:11-14; read entire books of Job 38-42. We need to reply like Job in 42:3-6 “there I uttered that I understand not; things too wonderful (meant unfathomable or unsearchable) for me, which I knew not… wherefore I abhor myself, and repent…” This is such a very brief listing of Scriptures that tell us who this YAHWEH is, for more, ask and I can write them down.
    So until everyone is listening to and trusting in the ONE TRUE GOD, there is no hope for them except by the grace of God Himself to open their eyes and He will save them. So for those who truly believe that they must keep all the commandments in the Torah and for those who want to accept God’s free gift of eternal life, we must start with who is this GOD we are to worship and seek…

  2. August 6, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    “But the critical question is how the Bible uses them. Does it put them into the discussion of salvation? It does that only by saying that if you want to be saved by keeping the commandments, you have to keep them perfectly – you have to continue to do all of them. As soon as you break one, you are under God’s curse- a situation that was remedied only by Jesus.”

    This situation truly only can be remedied by Christ and His atonement. Christ suffered, so that we might not have to suffer for our sins, if we would repent.

    “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15

    Christ is clearly making the point here that forgiveness will be granted to us.

    Further more, in the Lord’s prayer, Christ even includes a request for forgiveness as part of the words of the prayer, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)

    I like to think relate this to going to being accepted to a prestigious college. Say there is a student who is accepted into a very high-ranking college. As he goes through school, he is not going to be perfect in his school work. Sometimes he may achieve a 98% on a test, or even 100%, but often times he will receive less than 100% of a grade. In these circumstances, he will not throw up his hands and say “I’ve failed! I was not perfect!” Instead, he will press on, and the next assignment or test he will hopefully score a better grade, and improve.

    I know this is not a perfect analogy, but out life here on earth is a little like this. The ideal that our teachers, and the Savior, would like for us is to be 100% perfect. Unfortunately, as some of the scriptures you cited earlier, no man will ever be able to keep all of the commandments every day of his life. “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, is guilty of all.” But if we fully repent of this offense, we will once again be found spotless before God:

    “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18

    God bless.

  3. August 6, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    Well thanks for responding to my inquiries about your views on the commandments. I’m still extremely confused. If I understand you correctly you believe the commands are only included for the benefit of those who wish to try in vain to follow them?

    All of the cited passages need to be put into context if you really want to understand their meaning. There is a common pattern in the Bible, teachings about the need for a Savior due to mankind’s imperfections, and teachings about what mankind should do to receive the benefits of the Savior’s Atonement. Here you are mixing the types together, as if when the prophets taught about God’s commandments they included disclaimers that it’s pointless to follow them. I submit this is 100% incorrect; the separation is clear. The commandments are there for us to follow, just like was done by all of the examples included in the Bible, and it would all be pointless without the Savior.

    Let me put it this way, do our individual choices matter? Abraham was told to sacrifice his son and was willing to do so at the Lord’s command and was praised by the Lord for this willingness. Would Abraham have been included as a great example if he had not obeyed the Lord? Jonah tried to disobey the Lord’s call to preach repentance in Nineveh and well we all know what happened. The Israelites where punished for their disobedience and forced to wander in the wilderness until that generation had passed on. Would Moses have been able to receive the Lord’s instructions and lead the people out of bondage if had been leading an evil lifestyle by ignoring all of God’s commands? The examples go on and on. Why do we have scriptures that include commandments and examples of great and respected people/prophets who followed them and cautionary tales of those who didn’t, if the commandments have no purpose? What about the apostles chosen during Christ’s mortal ministry? Did their choices matter? Would you say that Judas was an equal example of a disciple of Christ as the rest of the apostles? What about Paul? If after his vision of the Lord he had refused to change his behavior and followed his old ways would it have mattered? I mean at that point he knew who his personal Savior was. Had he continued on his previous path would he have been showing his faith in Christ? What about Peter? He is singled out for his testimony of Christ being the Son of God and our Savior (clearly we know that he had faith in Christ), but then later denies this testimony. If he had continued down the path of denying this testimony instead of preaching the gospel throughout the land and living what he preached would it have mattered? Would he still have had faith in Christ if he didn’t do that which Christ asked him to do?

    Having faith in Christ is having enough faith to actually follow Him as He invites all to do. We start by accepting Him as our Savior, then we follow His teachings to repent of our sins, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and continue walking the strait and narrow path by being obedient to all of God’s commandments; just exactly as He did. God is our loving Father and has given us the commandments in order to teach us to be like Him. He is a giving person, giving us all that He has in the form of His only begotten Son of the flesh. Thus He has given us commandments that teach us to do the same: tithes and offerings, loving Him and our neighbors over ourselves, and on and on it goes. Do you teach your children the difference between right and wrong? Do you think it matters what choices they make? Do you give children instructions when there is no point in following them?

    Do you really believe that God appeared to Moses on the mountaintop just to give him pointless commandments? Do you really believe that acknowledging Christ as your Savior is enough, even if you continue to live the most evil life possible? As if making that one decision matters more than the actions that demonstrate whether one really believes or not.

  4. August 6, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    Very nice post Reggie, I agree.

    While Mormonism has been portrayed on this site to be a religion of great despair and hopelessness, the message that Mark is proclaiming seems to be the true fit. Giving us commandments that we cannot follow? How depressing must that be if you believe that the commandments that God gives us are too high for us to reach.

    On the contrary, I attest that we are totally able to follow the commandments of God. Yes, we will struggle, trip, and fall. But the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ, if we reach out and use it, can make us clean once more, that we can continue on with our journey, despite our struggles.

    “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

    “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” 1 Nephi 3:7

    God bless.

  5. 5 sfb83301
    August 6, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    Reggie,

    Jesus asked his followers to love one another then the world will know you are mine. This is the sign of a true born-again believer. We do good because of our joy in the secure arms of a loving Father, not to earn that love. Do you make your own child earn your love? Does he have to behave himself and do good works for you in order to get your love? If a person says they are a Christian, but live in rebellious sin against God, they are not truely born-again. When you come to Christ by faith, you will go away forgiven, healed and whole as in most of the recorded healings Christ did. It was always their faith Jesus said healed them and even this faith comes from God. At the moment of belief, you are a new creation – Jesus gives you a new heart and mind. We do believe in doing good to our fellow man because we now have the heart of Jesus and have experienced this great gift; not to earn some position or favor. All are works are as filthy rags when done with the motive to earn something. So if you want to work at doing good to better yourself or position on this earth, that is fine, but to earn favor with God is only bringing you condemnation. God has no desire for your works. So we, as Bible believing Christians are in no way saying that a Christian can go on habitually sinning and doing evil, in fact, it can’t happen if the person was truly converted… Now don’t think we don’t sin at all, that isn’t true, but when we do, we are immediatly convicted by the Holy Spirit and should repent, ask forgiveness. We have the confidence that we are completely forgiven. The world religions are seeking a circumsion of the flesh, a true Christian has a circumsion of the heart.

    So therefore, the commandments are what God uses to build our morality and conscienceness of sin. Even an athiest knows that lying, murder, rape, stealing, etc. are wrong. Without God’s moral law, we would see no need for a Savior.

  6. August 7, 2008 at 12:55 am

    These are some of the revelations from the Lord as to the purpose of His commands:

    “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” D&C 130:20-21

    “Who am I that made man, saith the Lord, that will hold him guiltless that obeys not my commandments?

    “I command and men obey not; I revoke and they receive not the blessing.” D&C 58:30,32

    “Yea, blessed are they whose feet stand upon the land of Zion, who have obeyed my gospel; for they shall receive for their reward the good things of the earth, and it shall bring forth in its strength.

    “And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.” D&C 59:3,21

    Unfortunately, it looks like we will not be finding common ground in the Bible on this one :)

    However, as Christ teaches, if any man will come unto Him in true sincerity of heart, the Holy Ghost will witness to the truth of these revelations found in the Doctrine and Covenants of Christ’s church.

    Jesus further teaches that “if any man will do [God’s] will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” (John 7:17).

    I testify that God and Jesus Christ are living! That they still do speak to us here on this earth! How beautiful a message this really is!

    God bless.

    http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/introduction

  7. 7 Texas
    August 7, 2008 at 1:13 am

    Well said, sfb,
    I think Ephesians 2:8,9 states it very clearly: 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.
    Clearly we are saved by God’s grace, not by anything we can do. It is a gift. You don’t
    earn gifts for then they would not be gifts. God saves us. He does it and in that way,
    we have no bragging rights because we did not earn it.

  8. August 7, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    sfb83301,

    We’re saying the exact same thing: living in rebellious sin against God is not showing faith in Christ. By definition, sin is failing to follow God’s commandments. So the only way we can show our faith in Christ is by following all of His teachings. That’s the definition of faith: belief strong enough to actually follow the Savior.

    When one receives a testimony of the Savior it truly is a life changing event, described as being born again. Once this change of heart takes place however the work is not done. That person still has strength, intelligence, time, and effort that they can use to improve their faith and to progress further down the path and do good upon this earth. One doesn’t do it to boast. All of our strength, life, and resources are a gift from God to begin with, of what can we boast? However God asks us to choose what we will do with those gifts. Will we follow His instructions (which are designed to change us into being like He is) as good and faithful servants or will we squander those gifts and prove that we’re not able or willing to handle such responsibility. There are commandments that teach us what to avoid and there are commandments that teach us what we should do. Or in other words if the Savior were placed in our situation how would He handle it? That’s exactly the point, that we should modify our behavior to be line with His.

    It’s not about earning love. If you have children you love all of them. You also teach them that choices matter. If a child doesn’t learn to drive safely and responsibly will you trust him with the family car? Does that mean you love them less if you withhold this privilege? Would it be more or less loving to allow a child who isn’t ready, to drive a car anyway and thus endanger his own safety and that of others?

    Our Father loves all His children so much that knowing we would all fail our mortal test, He sent His Son to suffer and die for our sins. This great gift doesn’t completely resolve us from our personal responsibility. We must try our best to use our time and talents as He taught, we must place our lives on the alter. This is called faith in Christ. And when we fall down and when the burden is too much, we recognize our failure and our weakness in our attempts and we ask our Savior to forgive our weakness through the power of His sacrifice, and then we keep on trying. This is the definition of faith in Christ, striving to follow His teachings and then allowing Him to release us from our weakness through the repentance process which is made possible by the great and eternal Atonement of our Lord and Savior. So yes indeed, it is through our faith that we may receive the blessing of salvation.

    “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
    Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” – Matthew 28:19-20

  9. August 7, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Mark,
    one thing you must understand when it comes to “Mormonism.”
    “Moromons” are not just concerned with “Salvation” we accept it as do you, but it is not merily “Salvation” that is our preoccupation but it is keeping with the spirit of God. That influence in our lives is a sage guide, and a protective armor. The Holy Spirit shows us truth and prompts us to do right, including all of these things you think are not good for man to do because you seem to think it is the works that we are relying on for “Salvation.”

    Let’s move beyond “Salvation” for a moment to understand what we “Mormon’s” are doing with all of this follow the commandments and do good stuff. Let us say that you are saved. Your salvation is insured and garenteed and that you have made the choice to accept it. Well, what do you do then? Do you go on and on about how other people that are intrested in doing good are wrong for seeking after righteousness? Do you rest at ease knowing that all wrong and evil that you choose to do will be wiped away as if it has not been done? Or, do you realize that Christ bore your sins, even the sin you yet will do before the end of your life, not just paid for them but experienced the darkness and pain that that sin creates, and in that pit of sorrow do you find a way to make yourself better than you are today, Do you, knowing that you have been given “Salvation,” seek our righteousness and good, and turn away from your former sinning way?

    What comes after you are sure of your “Salvation?”

    Is it not right for us to encourage echother to do good? Thus we do.
    -D

  10. 10 Stephanie
    August 9, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    Reggie, referring to your comment 8 above, I respectfully submit that having the faith of a mustard seed is sufficient for salvation. Christ said so. You defined faith as “belief strong enough to actually follow the savior.” I assume you mean “belief strong enough to enable us to follow all of the commandments.” But no where is this written in the Bible. A mustard seed is the smallest grain, almost like a speck of dust. Yet Christ says that even a faith this small is enough!

  11. August 11, 2008 at 5:30 am

    Stephanie,
    You must reread that parable about a mustard seed. It states clearly that have the faith of the ammount of a mustard seed you can say to a mountian to move hence and it will. But have you ever seen Faith? I have seen a mustard seed and it is very small indeed but faith is not visible at all, the results of that faith is what is apparent. Also you should read
    John 14:15, and John 14:21
    There are many more but this is to show that you are wrong about the Bible not saying anything about the Commandments..

    God Bless,
    -D


Comments are currently closed.

August 2008
M T W T F S S
« Jul   Sep »
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Blog Stats

  • 182,152 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 998 other followers


%d bloggers like this: