Archive for October, 2013

24
Oct
13

Worry is a Big Deal

Some friends of mine have been visiting regularly with a couple of sister missionaries from the LDS Church.  They got onto the topic of sin and my friends pointed to Luke 12:22 and shared how worry is a sin.  (The LDS Bible footnotes this verse by saying that the phrase “take no thought” means “don’t worry”.) One of the sisters replied that if worry was a sin, she was in big trouble!

I knew Mormonism didn’t talk much about worry but I never really explored that more.  So I checked the manual True to the Faith which lists many topics.  Not listed.  Same result with their Bible Dictionary.  Interestingly the Topical Guide said to see “fearful” – which gives it a somewhat different connotation.  I then went to lds.org and typed in the question, “Is worry a sin?”  Some results came up but none of them pertained to the question.  In other words, I couldn’t find any LDS source that labeled worry a sin.

But it is.  Just like Jesus told us not to do many other things, he told us not to worry.  And when you stop and think about it, it is quite apparent why worry is sinful.  It exhibits lack of trust.  As someone once said, worry is a form of atheism.  Whenever you worry, you are calling God less than trustworthy.

But let’s go back to what the sister said.  “If worry is a sin, she is in big trouble.”  That’s absolutely correct.  In God’s sight, worry is as damnable a sin as any other – each and every sin, regardless of how we view it, is a capital crime.  There are no misdemeanors in God’s set of laws.  Neither are there simple felonies.  Each and every sin is a capital crime.  “For whosever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”  (James 2:10)  One sin –regardless of what it is – makes us “guilty of all”.

And that is why we can do nothing to earn our acquittal.  Because we can’t keep ourselves from sinning.  We concentrate on not worrying only to find ourselves falling into pride, or jealousy, or anger or what have you.  Trying to keep ourselves from sinning is like playing a game of whack a mole on a football field!  When we whack one sin, another pops up – and then another and another . . . There is no way that we can even begin to keep ourselves from sinning.

That’s devastating news because sin is so serious. And God wants us to feel devastated by our sins.  Because then, and only then, will we realize how desperately we need somebody to save us. Before we can truly see our Savior, we need to clearly see our sins.  And that is why Mormonism’s tendency to not call sin a sin is so dangerous.  (Another example of that is the explanation that Peter never sinned when he denied knowing Jesus since Jesus earlier had told his disciples to tell no man who he was!)  The less you see the extent and seriousness of your sins, the less desperate you are for a Savior.

Worrying is a big deal.  As is jealousy, pride, selfishness, lust, greed, anger, laziness, harmful words, and a boatload of other things.  The only thing that can atone for them is the pure, unadulterated blood of Jesus.  To him be all praise and glory.

10
Oct
13

Living in a State of Glory

One of the pamphlets LDS missionaries hand out is entitled, “The Plan of Salvation”.  As it title indicates, it summarizes Mormonism’s plan of salvation. Interestingly, when it deals with eternity, it only mentions the LDS three kingdoms of glory.  There is no mention of hell or outer darkness.  Rather it states:  “After you are judged, you will live in a state of glory.  Because everyone’s works and desires vary, heaven includes different kingdoms, or degrees of glory.” (p.14)

Note, as that states, the kingdoms are all part of heaven.  With that in mind listen to whom, according to Mormonism, inhabits the telestial kingdom, the lowest kingdom in heaven.  “Those who continue in their sins and do not repent will receive a place in the telestial kingdom.”

Did you catch that?  People who continue in their sins – people who don’t repent – will be in heaven! By making that claim and then by reinforcing it with no mention whatsoever of hell, this pamphlet removes all urgency to believe in Jesus.  Instead it flatly says to all who read it:  “After you are judged, you will live in a state of glory.”  According to this pamphlet, which is designed to introduce Mormonism’s plan of salvation to interested people, sin has no eternal consequences.

What a deadly message that is.  That is far deadlier than telling someone that arsenic won’t kill them or that cancer isn’t serious.  Think of the lawsuits that would fly if a doctor would be so foolish to make such claims.

But arsenic and cancer can only kill people physically.  Sin kills people eternally.  Any and all sin.  Jesus made this point when he said, “but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”  (Mt. 5:22) Because sin can result in people suffering the eternal fires of hell, it is far, far worse to diminish sin’s consequences than it is to diminish the effects of poison or cancer.

And if you diminish sin’s effect, then you greatly lessen people’s desire to be saved.  Again think of poison.  If you thought it would only make you mildly sick, you wouldn’t be desperate to receive an antidote.  So also with sin.  If, no matter what, “you will live in a state of glory”, why be so concerned about Jesus?  As one LDS missionary recently told one of my friends, going to the telestial kingdom is like being invited to a beach party instead of a formal dinner.  What’s so bad about that?

The sobering truth is that there are two sides to eternity:  heaven and hell.  Even more sobering is the fact that there will be many people who will spend their eternity in hell.  “Broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.” (Matthew 7:13)  Jesus is clear.  We all won’t live in a state of glory.  That’s difficult to hear.  But that’s essential to know.

There is only one way to escape sin’s eternal consequences.  And that is by fleeing to Jesus and trusting only in what he has done.  Friends, see the seriousness of sin – all sin.  And then abandon all trust in what you do and trust only in what he has done for you.  Then, and only then, will you live in a state of glory for all eternity.




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