08
Oct
10

What a difference a “not” makes!

      One of my favorite Bible passages is Romans 4:5.  “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”  The whole context is brimming over with comforting statements reassuring us that God forgives us through faith.  For example, the very next verse says, “Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works.”  It is obvious that righteousness without works is Paul’s theme in this section.

      But that is not how Joseph Smith translated it.  His translation, also called the Inspired Version by the LDS Church, translates verse 5 this way.  “But to him that seeketh not to be justified by the law of works, but believeth on him who justifieth not the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”  Besides having no basis for such a translation, it violates Paul’s line of thought.  In the very next chapter, for example, Paul speaks in a similar way about justifying the ungodly when he writes: “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”  (Romans 5:6)

     This is not the only time Joseph Smith did that either.  Another beautiful example of how quick God is to forgive us is seen when the prophet Nathan comes to King David to confront him about his adultery.  After he laid in on the line and also told David that there would be earthly consequences for his sin, we read:  “And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD.  And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.”  (2 Samuel 12:13)  It’s striking how quickly Nathan reassures David of forgiveness. 

     But not according to Joseph Smith.  He translated it, “hath not put away thy sin that thou shalt not die.”  Once again the little word “not” changes the sense completely.  It drains it of comfort for us.  It robs God of great glory.

     A lot of Mormons today shy away from statements like the following what Spencer W. Kimball wrote in his classic book, The Miracle of Forgiveness.  “It depends upon you whether or not you are forgiven, and when.  It could be weeks, it could be years, it could be centuries before that happy day when you have the positive assurance that the Lord has forgiven you.  That depends on your humility, your sincerity, your works, your attitudes.”  I don’t know why they shy away from such statements.  To me, such statements are accurately reflecting the way Joseph Smith translated the Bible. 

     The way Mormonism talks about forgiveness and the way the Bible speaks about it are totally opposite.  I rejoice along with St. Paul that God justifies the ungodly, that to the one who doesn’t work, his faith is credited as righteousness.

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16 Responses to “What a difference a “not” makes!”


  1. October 9, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    A nice thank you letter

  2. 2 Echo
    October 10, 2010 at 2:09 am

    I rejoice that I don’t have to live with the uncertainty of waiting weeks, years or centuries to be forgiven.

    I am so thankful that forgiveness doesn’t rest on my humility, my sincerity, my works, my attitudes but rather, the positive assurance that the Lord has forgiven me rested in Jesus’ humility, Jesus’ sincerity, Jesus’ works and Jesus’ attitudes!

    I also rejoice along with St. Paul that God justifies the ungodly, that to the one who doesn’t work, his faith is credited as righteousness.

  3. 3 Ralph Peterson
    October 14, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Well, shall we look at the “ungodly” in the context of other New Testament verses?

    1 Tim. 1:9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

    1 Pet. 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

    2 Pet. 2:5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
    6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;

    Sounds bad for the “ungodly” doesn’t it!

    2 Pet. 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

    Bad indeed.

    Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
    • • •
    15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
    • • •
    18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

    Yup!!! It looks bad for the “ungodly”. Joseph Smith got it right.

  4. 4 markcares
    October 15, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Ralph:
    You completely ignored the context of Romans 4. Stringing together Bible passages without taking into the context accomplishes nothing.

  5. 5 Echo
    October 15, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Ralph,

    As a freind of mine once said: “When God raises someone from the dead, they are no longer dead.
    And when God justifies the ungodly, they are no longer ungodly”

  6. 6 Ralph Peterson
    October 15, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Are you saying that the context of Romans 4 changes the meaning of “ungodly” in Rom 4 to be consistent with the verses I cited? Or not?

    Or are you saying that the verses I cited are taken out of context? If so can you show how I took them out of context?

  7. 7 Ralph Peterson
    October 15, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    Even Paul in Romans agrees with Joseph Smith.

    Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

    Unless you think “the wrath of God” isn’t something for the ungodly to fear.

  8. 8 Ralph Peterson
    October 15, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    Also, we can look at the other side of the coin, so to speak.

    Will you agree that the opposite of ungodly is godly?

    2 Peter 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

  9. 9 Echo
    October 15, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Ralph, what is Romans 4:4 sayng?

    Romans 4:4 “Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.”

  10. 10 Echo
    October 15, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Yes, we agree that the opposite of ungodly is godly. As was said: God justifies the ungodly, they are no longer ungodly.

  11. 11 Echo
    October 15, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Sorry that should read: “when God justifies the ungodly, they are no longer ungodly. Just as when God raises the dead, they are no longer dead.

  12. 12 Ralph Peterson
    October 15, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    Ex. 23:7 Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked.

    Deut. 25:1 If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked.

    1 Kgs. 8:32 Then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness.

    2 Chr. 6:23 Then hear thou from heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, by requiting the wicked, by recompensing his way upon his own head; and by justifying the righteous, by giving him according to his righteousness.

    Prov. 17:15 He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord.

    Yes, Joseph Smith got it right.

  13. 13 Echo
    October 15, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    Ralph, Lets examine the context in Romans 4 and then everthing we have said to you should fall into it’s proper place.

    Lets begin with Romans 4:4 “Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.”

    How would you interpret this passage?

  14. 14 Echo
    October 15, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    Ralph, everything you have posted is from the law of Moses.

    Acts 13:39 “Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.”

  15. 15 Ralph Peterson
    October 18, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Ex. 23:7 Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked.

    Deut. 25:1 If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked.

    1 Kgs. 8:32 Then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness.

    2 Chr. 6:23 Then hear thou from heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, by requiting the wicked, by recompensing his way upon his own head; and by justifying the righteous, by giving him according to his righteousness.

    Prov. 17:15 He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord.

    1 Tim. 1:9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

    1 Pet. 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

    2 Pet. 2:5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
    6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;

    2 Pet. 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

    Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
    • • •
    15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
    • • •
    18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

    Both the Old AND THE NEW Testaments agree, Joseph Smith got it right.

  16. 16 Echo
    October 18, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    Ralph said: “Both the Old AND THE NEW Testaments agree, Joseph Smith got it right.”

    Joseph Smith got it wrong. He missed the most important teaching of scripture: JESUS CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED as YOUR SAVIOR FROM SIN.

    Joseph Smith inadvertently taught that YOU are your own savior from sin by his teaching you that you must first overcome your sins if you want to be forgiven. By this teaching he was in reality teaching you to reject the one true Jesus Christ of scripture.

    Romans 4:4 “Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.”

    This verse that you don’t want to address begins to explain it quite well. Joseph Smith taught that a man has to work for his forgiveness and that if he works for his forgiveness God will forgive him.

    This verse reflects some of that same thinking of Joseph Smith, that when someone works for forgiveness, then the other man(God) is obligated to pay him his wages (forgiveness).

    But as the verse also shows: forgiveness in such a case is no longer a gift.
    But the truth is that with God it is a gift, watch and see.

    Then Romans 4:5 explains: “5However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness”

    The verse explains that with Jesus, a man does NOT WORK FOR forgiveness but trusts God who justifies THE WICKED. This is the gift of God found only in Jesus the one and only true savior from sin. And when God justifies the ungodly, they are no longer ungodly. Just as when God raises a man from the dead, he in no longer dead.

    Thus we have God justifying the ungodly: Acts 13:39 “Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.”
    And when God justifies the ungodly, they are no longer ungodly. Just as when God raises a man from the dead, he in no longer dead. Romans 4:6 “6David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness APART FROM WORKS: 7″Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.8Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”

    Now if you still believe that forgiveness relies on YOU and YOUR works there will be no grace for you. You are saying that God is obligated to pay WAGES(forgiveness) to those who overcome their sin. So be it. But you do it all without Christ. You are your own Savior. You are obligated to obey the whole law just as Christ did: Galatians 5:3-4 “3Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4You who are trying to be JUSTIFIED by law HAVE BEEN ALIENATED FROM CHRIST; you have FALLEN AWAY FROM GRACE.”

    Be reminded also of Romans 6:23 “the WAGES of sin is death” both now and for all eternity. By the route you are taking, there is no forgiveness for a man who dies in his sin. Someone who claims to be his own savior must also live his life here on earth as perfectly as Jesus did and he must die perfect as well.

    Romans 2:23 “You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

    Make no mistake, Satan is going to either ignore, delete, modify or refuse to address verses of scripture like Romans 4:4 and Romans 4:5 etc so that your soul can belong to him!

    But Jesus said his sheep hear his voice. John 10:26 “but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”


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