Posts Tagged ‘witnessng to Mormons

12
Jan
10

The Temptation of Jesus

      This Sunday I will be preaching on Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness.  Today, as I began preparing my message, I was again struck by Matthew’s wording, “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.”  This occurred right after Jesus’ baptism and entrance into his public ministry.  Immediately the battle is joined.  But what I so appreciate is that it’s God who takes the initiative – Jesus is led by the Spirit to be tempted.

      I appreciate this so much because here Jesus is already acting as my Hero, my Substitute.  Jesus did not just die for us, he also lived for us.  Paul wrote to the Romans: “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19)  Not only did God credit Jesus death on the cross as payment for our sins, he also credited Jesus’ obedient life to us as our obedience.  It is his perfect life, his righteousness that makes me acceptable to God.

     That is why I so appreciate how Jesus’ temptation is recorded.  Jesus is taking the initiative to do what we couldn’t do.  Unlike Israel’s 40 years of repeated failures in the wilderness, Jesus experienced 40 days of victory in the wilderness – for Luke tells us that Jesus was tempted all 40 days.  “Being forty days tempted of the devil.”  (Luke 4:2)  His successful resisting of the devil’s temptation serves much more than an example for me; it serves as a wonderful reassurance that God already sees me as successfully resisting the devil – in Christ.

     For curiosity sake, I looked to see how the LDS Church talked about Jesus’ temptation.  This is what I found in its manual, The Life and Teaching of Jesus & His Apostles. 

     Matthew 4:1: Did Jesus Go into the Wilderness to Be Tempted?

         Compare the Inspired Version account of these verses with the King James.

         “Then Jesus was led up of the spirit, into the wilderness, to be with God.

         “And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, and had communed with God, he was afterwards an hungered, and was left to be tempted of the devil.” (Matthew 4:1, 2, Inspired Version. Italics added.)

          “Jesus did not go into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil; righteous men do not seek out temptation. He went ‘to be with God.’ Probably he was visited by the Father; without question he received transcendent spiritual manifestations. The temptations came after he ‘had communed with God,’ ‘after forty days.’ The same was true in the case of Moses. He communed with God, saw the visions of eternity, and was then left unto himself to be tempted of the devil. After resisting temptation he again communed with Deity, gaining further light and revelation.” (McConkie, DNTC, 1:128; see also Mosiah 3:7.)

     Both the change made by the Joseph Smith in the Inspired Version, and the explanation by McConkie, remove the idea of God taking the battle to the devil.  That not only drastically changes the meaning but also, for me, dramatically weakens this account.

Advertisements
23
Sep
08

Eternal Life

 

     In John 5:24 Jesus says: “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” It is important to note the tenses.  They are not futures.  “Hath” is a present tense.  “Is passed” is in the past tense.  When Jesus  speaks about eternal life, he is not talking about something that lies in the future.  The person who hears Jesus’ words and believes already has eternal life.  This is possible only because of Jesus – because with his perfect life he fulfilled God’s commandments for us and with his death he paid for all our sins. 

     Mormonism, however, defines eternal life differently.  “Eternal life, or exaltation, is to inherit a place in the highest degree of celestial kingdom, where we live in God’s presence and continue as families (see D&C 131:1-4).  Like immortality, this gift is possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  However, it requires our ‘obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel’ (Articles of Faith 1:3).”  (LDS Church Manual, True to the Faith, p. 52)  A little bit later it says, “be assured that eternal life is within your reach.”

      Jesus says believers have eternal life.  Mormonism says it is in our reach.  Mormonism teaches that because it says that eternal life requires something from us:  obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.  But Jesus never mentions that.  In fact, if anything was required of us, Jesus couldn’t have said that believers already have it.  He too would have to talk about it being in our reach – not being in our possession. 

     But he didn’t say that because eternal life isn’t conditioned on our obedience.  It is God’s gift to us through Jesus Christ our Lord.  To him be all praise and glory!




September 2019
M T W T F S S
« Apr    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30  

Blog Stats

  • 182,770 hits

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

Join 997 other followers

Advertisements