Posts Tagged ‘Judgment Day

19
Apr
13

What will be your defense on Judgment Day?

The sub-title for Chapter 8 of the Teachings of President Lorenzo Snow is “Righteous Latter-day Saints strive to ‘establish a character before God that could be relied upon in the hour of trial.”  This sums up well the chapter’s thrust of encouraging people to develop a good character to win God’s approval.  For example, a title of one of the sections is “If we have established a proper character, we can confidently invite God to search our hearts.”  That section then continues with this quote from President Snow.

“I am under the strongest impression, that the most valuable consideration, and that which will be of the most service when we return to the spirit world, will be that of having established a proper and well defined character as faithful and consistent Latter-day Saints in this state of probation.” (p. 119)

This emphasis on the importance of a person’s character is summed up in the last paragraph of the chapter.  “Our character, as Latter-day Saints, should be preserved inviolate, at whatever cost or sacrifice.  Character, approved of God is worth securing, even at the expense of a life-time of constant self-denial.  While thus living we may look forward. . .with full assurance that. . .we shall be crowned with the sons and daughters of God, and possess the wealth and glory of a Celestial kingdom.” (The quote contains the omissions indicated with the . . .)

Much of this chapter is based on David’s prayer in Psalm 139: 23-24:  “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” I find this reference to David’s prayer interesting for a couple of reasons.  First, David is not held up as a model of virtue in the LDS Church.  The LDS Old Testament manual says of David:  “David is still paying for his sins.” (p. 291) And again, by having Uriah killed, “David thus moved from a serious but forgivable sin to an unpardonable one.”  It further states that David will spend eternity in the lowest kingdom of heaven taught in Mormonism, the telestial kingdom.  Therefore it is striking that President Snow holds David up as a model to follow.

But this use of David is also striking because the Bible points to him as a model – not of a man who trusted in his own righteousness – but one who trusted in God’s forgiveness!  “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 4:6-8)

It’s in that light that we need to read his prayer in Psalm 139.  As one man commented on these verses: “David closes not with pride, but with humility.  He recognizes that without forgiveness he too would fall under the wrath of a holy God.  David circles back to the beginning of the psalm and asks that the Lord would use his knowledge of David to cleanse him from every evil way which would lead him away from God.”  David never thought he would be blessed because of his own righteousness.  He knew that he would be blessed only through the forgiveness won for him by the greatest Son of David, Jesus Christ.

So when you stand before God what will you point to in your defense?  Will you point to your righteous character or Christ’s righteousness?  When it comes to being worthy and acceptable to God, the only righteousness that stands is Christ’s righteousness.  “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.  But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.“ (Romans 3:20-24)

What will be your defense?  I pray that the only evidence you will present will be Jesus’ righteousness.  Everything else, especially pointing to your character, will ruin your defense and result not in praise but condemnation.  David placed all his hope in the coming Savior.  Because of that, in spite of all his sins, he now is living and will live for all eternity in Heavenly Father’s glorious presence.  Place all your hopes in Jesus and you too will spend eternity with God.

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10
May
11

Godly Boldness

I have sometimes wondered what the Old Testament high priest was thinking when he woke up the morning of the Day of Atonement.  He had to be excited seeing what a special day it was.  It was the only day of the year that he could enter the Holy of Holies in the temple.  And he was the only person who could enter it!  One man – one day a year.  It had to be one of the most highly restricted areas in the history of the world.

There was only one object in the Holy of Holies – the Ark of the Covenant.  TheArksymbolized the presence of God.  By so severely restricting access to the Holy of Holies God was teaching a valuable lesson – that sin had separated man from God.  This was emphasized by the fact that anybody, including the high priest, who entered the Holy of Holies on any other day would die.  Even on the Day of Atonement, when the high priest could enter, he had to do so by sprinkling blood before him.  The blood “gained” him access.

Imagine being that high priest that morning.  Excited, but probably also a little apprehensive.  Especially when, according to tradition, a rope was tied around one of his legs to drag him out in the event he would die.  I have to imagine he didn’t go very boldly through the veil that separated the Holy of Holies from theHoly Place.

The writer to the Hebrews had that background in mind when he penned this most amazing section.  “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter the holiest by the blood of Jesus.  By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; (10:19-20).  Now we have access to God!  Now we can approach God confidently and boldly.  All because of Jesus.  His blood gained access for us.  That is the significance of the veil of the temple tearing in two at the moment of his death.  The Holy of Holies of God’s presence is no longer highly restricted.

Over the years, numerous Mormons have been puzzled and even taken aback by how confident I am that I am going to live with Heavenly Father forever.  Some have questioned me about it – some have flat out told me I was dead wrong.  Not that many identified with me.  I would say that most felt that my confidence bordered on being naïve.

In contrast, many Christians identify with that confidence and exhibit that same confidence in Christ.

The contrast between the two is, for me, a striking evidence of the differences between Mormonism and Christianity.

31
Oct
09

JUDGMENT DAY

     A couple of my favorite Bible passages are Psalm 103: 12 (“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”) and Micah 5: 19 (“thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”)  I am so comforted by the fact that when God forgives sin, he forgets them.   (And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” Hebrews 10:18)

     We see this also in Jesus’ picture of the Judgment as it is recorded in Matthew 25.  He doesn’t mention one sin on the part of the sheep whereas all he mentions about the goats is their sins.  When God forgives, he forgets.

     How much different is the message of Mormonism!  More than one Mormon have told me that they were taught that, on Judgment Day, they would be sitting in a large room where everything they thought, said, and did was flashed on a giant screen for all to see.  They all shared that with a sense of dread and not anticipation.  I don’t know if that is how it is always taught but this is what Gospel Principles says:  “Stored in our body and mind is a complete history of everything we have done.  President John Taylor taught this truth:  ‘[The individual] himself tells the story himself, and bears witness against himself. . .That record that is written by the man himself in the tablets of his own mind, that record that cannot lie will in that day be unfolded before God and angels, and those who sit as judges.”  (p. 271)

     Because of what Jesus has done, because he paid for all my sins, and drowned them in the depths of the sea, I can’t wait for Judgment Day.  It will be the best day of my life.  For then I will hear Jesus himself saying, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 25:34)   To Jesus be the glory

21
Jan
09

Being Judged

 

     Questions about being judged have been raised on occasion to some of my posts.  How can we know if we are saved if we haven’t been judged yet? 

     The Bible talks about God’s judgment in two different ways.  The majority of times it describes it, not with a future tense, but with a present tense.  For example, Jesus said:  “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 3:18)  Being condemned or not being condemned obviously is a result of a judgment.  Especially note that these are presents, not futures.  The judgment has already taken place – Jesus doesn’t say they will be condemned or not condemned.

     That is also the case with the whole concept of justification.  Justify was a legal term taken from the courtroom.  It is equivalent to an announcement of an acquittal.  “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”  (Romans 3:28)  Is justified – not will be justified.  Because they have already been formally acquitted in an act of judgment based entirely on what Jesus has done for them, believers can confidently know that they are going to live eternally with Heavenly Father.

     But what about Judgment Day?  The Bible does talk about a future day of judgment.  How then does that mesh with those passages that talk about a present judgment?  On Judgment Day God will make public his verdicts.  It might not be the best analogy, but we have just witnessed the inauguration of our new President.  But nobody was holding their breath on Inauguration Day wondering who our new President would be.  No, that was decided weeks ago in November. Maybe a better analogy would be a person graduating.  Graduates don’t first learn whether or not they are going to graduate on Graduation Day.  No, that judgment had been made and told them earlier.  It is just made public on Graduation Day.  Likewise on Judgment Day God will make public his verdicts to all people. 

    As a believer I can’t wait for Judgment Day.  Because of Jesus, not only do I have an airtight case but God has already announced his verdict.  In Christ I am not condemned!  Therefore I can’t wait to have “my day in court” on Judgment Day so that all will hear that verdict. 

25
Nov
08

JOYFULLY PAYING OFF THE DEBT

 

     One of the greatest feelings in the world is making your final house payment!  That calls for celebration!

     But imagine the following scenario.  A couple has a large balloon payment tacked onto their mortgage.  For years they have been salting away extra money for it.  Finally the day arrives to make that payment.  They eagerly go to the bank.  They are grinning ear to ear as they lay their money down on the banker’s desk.  But as he examines it, he begins to frown.  After further examination he informs them that all their money is counterfeit.  Not only are they still in debt, but the time to pay off that debt has now expired.  They are ruined!

     That is what will happen to people on Judgment Day – to people who – in any way – rely on their own works to get to heaven.  Salvation rests entirely on Jesus’ payment for sin.  All those who mix in their works with Jesus’ work are adding nothing but counterfeit money – worthless money that causes them to default on their debt.

    This is why Mormonism is so dangerous.  It does talk about salvation by grace, but it denies the teaching of salvation by grace alone.  We see that even in the LDS author who speaks the most about grace, Robert L. Millet.  I’m presently reading his book, “Grace Works”.  His whole premise is, as the back cover of the book quotes him as saying, “We have an obligation to cooperate with God in the salvation of our souls. While the ultimate power of change is in Christ, we can do our part and choose to be changed.”

    But the Bible says God’s grace and man’s works don’t mix when it comes to salvation.  “And if by grace, then it is 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)  It’s like the scenario above.  It doesn’t matter what percentage of the mortgage is paid by counterfeit money.  As long as any of it is paid with counterfeit money, the couple is still in debt.  As long as a person is relying on what he does to be saved – no matter what percentage of his salvation he attributes to his efforts – he is still in debt and thus in deep trouble.  Talking about grace is not enough.  The issue is all about salvation by grace alone.

10
Nov
08

judgment day

 

     I can’t wait for Judgment Day to come.  That will be the best day of my life.  On that day, God will not bring up one charge against me.  He will not bring up one instance when I failed him.  Instead of condemning me, he will commend me – without any reservation.  There will not be any hesitation on his part.  There will not be any qualifications in his verdict.   Instead he will welcome me into the wonderful bliss of living with him for all eternity.

     Jesus gets every ounce of credit for that.  He is the one who washed away all my sins.  He is the one who gave me his perfect righteousness.  “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.”  (Is. 61:10)  Jesus did it all.   Because my living eternally with Heavenly Father depends entirely on what Jesus has already done for me, I can’t wait for Judgment Day to come.

     Mormons I have talked to don’t have the same perspective.  More than one has told me how they were taught that Judgment Day would be like sitting in a huge auditorium filled with people as every one of your thoughts and actions were shown on a giant screen.  That agrees with what Gospel Principles states:   “Stored in our body and mind is a complete history of everything we have done.  President John Taylor taught this truth:  ‘The individual himself tells the story himself, and bear witness against himself. . .That record that is written by the man himself in the tablets of his own mind – that record that cannot lie – will in that day be unfolded before God and angels, and those who sit as judges.” 

     For all those who have covered themselves with Christ’s righteousness and disdained trusting in any of their own righteousness, Judgment Day will be a most glorious day.  For all others, it will be a most horrible day.  What we are trusting in will make all the difference in the world – in the world to come.

03
Oct
08

Urgency

 

      Early this morning I was at our local Rec Center playing racquetball when the man I was playing with noticed some commotion right outside our court.  The courts are right next to the weight room and there was a man lying on the ground with staff working feverishly over him.  Soon the paramedics arrived.  For long minutes they performed CPR.  Finally the got his heart started and quickly transported him to the hospital.  It is my prayer that he survived.

     Understandably, that makes a person stop and think.  Am I prepared for death?  Am I ready to meet my Maker?  As I thought about those questions, I am so thankful to Jesus that I can answer with a resounding yes to both of them.  Because Jesus had died for all sins and triumphantly rose, death has lost its sting.  Now the Grim Reaper is nothing more than the doorkeeper humbly ushering me into Heavenly Father’s presence.  Now Judgment Day is something I am looking forward to knowing that there will not be one charge leveled against me because all my sins has been drowned in the depths of the seas. 

     Unfortunately, I have met far too many people who can’t answer those questions so confidently.  They don’t see themselves washed perfectly clean by Jesus.  They don’t see death as the gateway to living eternally with Heavenly Father.  They wonder if they are worthy enough.  They question if they have done all they need to do. 

     To reassure people that Jesus has done it all for them is my reason for writing this blog.  If you have any doubts about your worthiness to live eternally with Heavenly Father, see that Jesus has done everything for you.  See that and confidently look forward to the day of your death.




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