Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Saved By Grace

If you were to ask me if I believe in being saved by grace, or saved by works, I would have to answer both. As I contemplate this subject, it occurs to me that maybe I should explain my definition of some of these words. The words "works", and "grace", might have different meanings to other people.

The "works" mentioned aren't good deeds. I don't believe that you earn your way to heaven by doing good deeds. Oh, I helped an old lady across the street....one more notch on my heaven meter! :) No, when I use the term "works", I'm referring to repentance. Romans 3:23 tells us, " For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." As fallible human beings, we all sin. 1 John 3:4 teaches us: " Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." We have been given commandments, or laws in the Bible. The ten commandments were given us and when we break those commandments, we commit sin. In addition, when the Savior taught the beattitudes, he took these commandments to a higher level. He taught us a higher way to think about the commandments. Revelations refers to the judgement day when we will be judged by our works: Rev. 20:12 "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."

Repentance alone cannot ever make us worthy to enter the kingdom of heaven. We aren't even worthy to approach the judgement seat to ask for mercy. It took someone without sin to be the mediator for us. The "grace" that we speak of is the grace of Jesus Christ to volunteer to be that mediator for us. He suffered for the sins of the world so that if we repent, we can be forgiven. Galatians 2:16: "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."

A modern day Prophet, Ezra Taft Benson said,"The question is sometimes asked, 'Are Mormons Christians?' We declare the divinity of Jesus Christ. We look to Him as the only source of our salvation. We strive to live His teachings, and we look forward to the time that He shall come again on this earth to rule and reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. In the words of a Book of Mormon prophet, we say to men today, 'There [is] no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent' (Mosiah 3:17)."

I once read a story about a little girl who asked her father if he would buy her a bicycle. He told her to save up her money, and then one day she would be able to buy one. She saved her money for a long time, then one day came to her father and said, "I have saved up my money, can we go buy a bicycle now?" Her father took her to the store and let her pick out a bike. Then he asked her to put her money on the counter. She took out several dollars worth of change. The father then made up the difference so that she could purchase the bike. This is what Jesus Christ's atonement does for us. We give all that we can give to try to repent, then his sacrifice makes up the difference that we could never do on our own. It wouldn't be fair to us as His children, for God the Father to deny us the opportunity to try to make up for wrongs that we do. We must be allowed to suffer consequences for our behavior, because this is how we progress and learn. If Jesus Christ's atonement did not require us to suffer consequences, that would not be fair to us a children who are trying to progress and learn.

In order for Christ's atoning sacrifice to take effect in our lives, we must have faith in Him, and look to Him as the only one who can pay that additional price for us. Romans 3: 23-31
"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: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be ajust, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord"
Some believe that faith in Christ's atonement is enough. They believe that if you only believe, you will be saved, no matter what you have done. James teaches differently: "James 2:17-26
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."
We must have faith in Jesus Christ's atonement, but our faith cannot be perfect with out our works. It is easy to say we believe if we dont' have to live it. The true test of our belief comes in our obeying. When we disobey, we must repent. If we do not repent, we aren't worthy to enter the kingdom of God. We are all human, so we must continually repent of things we do that are wrong.
I almost laugh when I hear people say that our religion is not a Christian religion. We look to Jesus Christ as our Savior. It is only because of His grace in suffering for us, that we have any hope. I add my feelings to those of the Book of Mormon Prophet Nephi who said, "For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do. .. And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins." 2 Nephi 25:23, 26

3 comments:

Delirious said...

biblelucid said...
Amen!!

6:06 PM


Epitome of Sweetness said...
I think that doing good deeds should get you into Heaven...

8:54 AM


Delirious said...
I think what doing good deeds does is make you more Christlike...which helps you to become a better person. But doing good deeds doesn't erase our sin. Only repentance through the atonement of Jesus Christ can do that.

9:33 AM


Livingsword said...
Hello Delirious;

As per your comment on Loonies blog I have come and read this article. I am giving it thoughtful consideration and then will provide a response…I didn’t want you to think I was ignoring you, far from it, and I thank you for the dialogue….

9:38 AM


Max said...
Hey Delirious!

I do not believe that the soul can be saved by grace. Our soul is saved by good deeds, being those deeds the observance of the law (commandments) and the fulfillment of one's mission on earth. "You shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord (...)" (Deut. 6:18) this means good deeds.

Our souls go to a realm where it is decided if we are to reincarnate, if we are to help humans as spirits or to keep society with the Angels and the Lord himself. This being said, I do not believe in hell nor in the Christian concept of Heaven.

Humans transgress (or sin), because of matter (body, desires, thirst for more than what they have); however we were gifted with reason and free will, we can choose if we wish to break the law or abide to it, and suffer the consequences of our decisions and actions.
God is Mercifull therefore I do not believe in the eternal punishment, it is a contradiction of the premise "God is Mercifull" not to mention that "If that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it." (Jeremiah 18:8) God forgives you if you propose yourself to repent.

"We have been given commandments, or laws in the Bible. The ten commandments were given us and when we break those commandments, we commit sin." - In fact, 613 commandments have been given, not just 10.

Definition of "Work" - "c. An act, a deed" (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/works) and the example presented was. "I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and behold, all is vanity" Ecclesiastes 1:14
Thus, Works are deeds.
"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works" meaning that the dead will be judged according their deeds...their good deeds. By the way this vision (by John) is full of symbology; it is amazing...

I find this discussion on who is Christian and who is not rather interesting..anyway, if Mormons believe in Christ I say that they are Christians, regardless their idiosyncrasies that seem to upset non-Mormons...

The only way for the soul to learn and progress is to reincarnate. The cycle of re-birth will continue until the soul learns all it has to learn thus progressing.

Interesting article, D!

Cheers

10:09 AM


Delirious said...
Very interesting Max, I'm curious to know what religion you follow. Seems to be a mixture of Christianity and Buddheism. I'm not familiar with Bahai's teachings, I wonder if that is it. Thanks for commenting!

11:10 AM


Max said...
Hello D!

You are most welcome :D!

No, I do not follow the Bahai's teachings! Mysticism is my path.

Cheers

11:15 AM


Delirious said...
Thanks Max,
I can't say that I know anything about Mysticism either. I'm learning all kinds of things by reading blogs lol.

1:32 PM


Livingsword said...
Hello Delirious;

I want to say that I appreciate how you have responded in this article. It is as usual written in your unique and pleasant style…

It seems to me that you have provided the classic Mormon view on this topic; I always like it when people are consistent.

I also have a great appreciation for the fact that you recognize that often different meanings get packed into various words, which is extremely common in these kinds of conversations, well done…

I have provided a more in depth analysis of these topics in a new article on my blog prompted by this article of yours here (I have also included links to this article and encouraged people to come here and read your thoughts in person), here is the link to my article, I would love to get your opinion….

http://lifeontheblade.blogspot.com/2008/04/s-words-salvation-and-sanctification.html

Let me get more detailed in my analysis here…

It is at this conjuncture that I believe there is a departure from Biblical Christianity with the Mormon viewpoint…I am interested in how you view what I say here…

Repentance is part of the “turning to God” that He actually initiates as we are “spiritually dead” we need God to take the initiative. Repentance/faith/salvation are gifts from
God, grace….

Since as I said we are “spiritually dead” I agree with your quote from Romans that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”.

So the repentance of Mormonism is quite different than that of the Bible alone…

Of course as we are dead in our sins we cannot follow the law, we simply are not able to do it. Jesus makes this clear in Mathew 5-7….We need to be born again…The law is signs pointing us towards Jesus and grace; we cannot save ourselves by following the law. Indeed we cannot properly follow the law till we are saved, which of course means repentance is a gift from God, He must intervene for us…

The text you quote from Revelation (please note it is Revelation singular) 20:12 speaks of “books” plural, those books are what people will be judged upon IF their name is not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. If their name is written in that book they will not be judged in this Great White Throne Judgment but in the Bema Judgment (1 Corinthians 3). Genuine followers of Jesus (commonly referred to as Christians) will not be judged by their deeds at the Great White Throne Room Judgment as their names are written in the Lambs Book of Life….

Here is the full section of Revelation you spoke of:

11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and everyone was judged according to what they had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 All whose names were not found written in the book of life were thrown into the lake of fire.
- - Revelation 20:11-15 TNIV

And….

27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
- - Revelation 21:27 TNIV

Christians are covered in the blood of Christ, they are judged according to what He has done and Who He is not who they are and what they have done…as far as salvation goes. This is the point of substitutionary atonement….Jesus as our mediator…

You said:
Repentance alone cannot ever make us worthy to enter the kingdom of heaven. We aren't even worthy to approach the judgement seat to ask for mercy. It took someone without sin to be the mediator for us. The "grace" that we speak of is the grace of Jesus Christ to volunteer to be that mediator for us.

I respond:
First we cannot respond with repentance/faith “turning to God” unless God takes the initiative by His Grace. Jesus is our mediator but that is not what is spoken of in the passage from Ephesians:

8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
- - Ephesians 2:8-10

Grace is an undeserved un-earnable free gift; this passage tells us the gift is belief “God saved you by his grace when you believed.” The gift is faith, trust in Jesus and being “saved”. Faith/repentance and salvation are by grace, Gods free gift.
Delirious in regards to the quote from Mr.Benson the challenge is as you said earlier the meaning packed into the words. The divinity of Jesus to say Protestants/Roman Catholics/Orthodox compared to Mormonism is completely different in that we believe there is only One True God, we believe in the triunity of God from the Bible (not creed, I came to an orthodox view of the triunity of God from reading the Bible alone with no Church background or study notes). We do not believe in a multiplicity of gods, so divinity can be packed with a lot of different meanings.

The story of the little girl is cute, but it hurts my hearts so very much, it is very offensive to me as a Christian. It demeans the value of Jesus death on the cross. We are spiritually dead, we are bankrupt, we are “slaves to sin” slaves don’t own anything, they have nothing to contribute, they need grace…

Without God’s grace we can’t earn any money, we can’t save any money, and we can’t go to the store…

You said:
It wouldn't be fair to us as His children, for God the Father to deny us the opportunity to try to make up for wrongs that we do. We must be allowed to suffer consequences for our behavior, because this is how we progress and learn. If Jesus Christ's atonement did not require us to suffer consequences, that would not be fair to us a children who are trying to progress and learn.

I respond:
This guts the atonement of Christ…Jesus is the perfect atonement for our sins we cannot add to it, to suggest such is…rather offensive…The progressing and learning is part of sanctification not salvation. We cannot add to our salvation it is all of God, however in sanctification we cooperate with God, there is a tremendous difference….Sanctification comes after salvation…

You said:
In order for Christ's atoning sacrifice to take effect in our lives, we must have faith in Him, and look to Him as the only one who can pay that additional price for us.

I respond:
Jesus does not “pay that additional price for us.” He pays for it all every “cent” of it, we can simply receive the gift and God makes even that possible by His grace…

The James passage is all about sanctification, living the Jesus life, if a person does not do good works it is evidence that they are not truly redeemed, saved….

These good things are what are spoken of in Ephesians 2:10, they occur after being saved….being saved actually makes it possible.

You said:
I almost laugh when I hear people say that our religion is not a Christian religion.
I respond:
Most Christians I know don’t think of Christianity as a religion, they think of it as a genuine relationship with the One Living God, we see religion as the Pharisees. But I am curious Delirious….you say “a Christian religion”; I’m not sure what you could mean by that, it seems kind of shades of grey, should it not be either Christian or non-Christian?

You said:
We look to Jesus Christ as our Savior. It is only because of His grace in suffering for us, that we have any hope.

I respond:
From the Biblical point of view the works you add (the little girls money) to His perfect complete atonement which is paid in full by Him causes some troubling issues to say the least…The Bibles view of Jesus as Savior is very different….

The Biblical view of grace is also extremely different, it is redefined and not really the free gift it actually is, the gift itself is different in Mormonism…

The Roman Catholic system says that Protestants are not Christians. I happen to be Protestant, it doesn’t bother me at all when they say I’m not a Christian, I think they are not Christians.

When I speak with Jehovah’s Witnesses they consider them selves Christian and the rest of us as non-Christian but they never get upset when they are considered non-Christian.

Muslims have certain beliefs about Jesus; He is in the Quran, He is considered a great prophet by them does this make them Christians?

I am not sure why Mormons (LDS if you prefer) would want to be called Christians…

Delirious I have a question that may help my understanding, you know from reading my comment that I profoundly disagree with central Mormon teaching (I hope I am not personally disagreeable I have loved engaging in this conversation with you and am eager to read your reply, and hope you will comment on my blog to the article I wrote about this article here). You clearly see I differ on such key issues, should I tell people I am a Mormon?

This is how it looks to us when Mormons claim to be Christians. It would be wrong for me to claim to be a Mormon, my beliefs do not line up with its teachings.

I am very thankful for this opportunity to dialogue with you, I believe that you accurately presented the Mormon point of view, and did it very well. I hope we can continue our conversations and I look forward to your responses…

I hope that my words are taken in a non-personal way, I suppose that such conversations can be difficult, when I read your words they can seem hurtful but I am aware that is not your intent, I will always give you the benefit of the doubt, I probably need the same from you….

1:41 PM


Max said...
LS,

"This is how it looks to us when Mormons claim to be Christians. It would be wrong for me to claim to be a Mormon, my beliefs do not line up with its teachings." - you wouldn't claim to be a Catholic either and yet you consider them Christians, don't you?

Cheers

10:07 AM


Delirious said...
Great point Max! I also think this could likened to my saying, "You don't live in California, how could you consider yourself American?" :P

10:23 AM


Livingsword said...
Hi Max;

Great question!!

If a person is trusting in the official teachings of the Roman Catholic system they are not Christian as it militates against the Biblical gospel…

The official Roman Catholic system says that all Protestants are anathema, cursed, non-Christians (the Roman Catholic Council of Trent decision on the matter still stands). It is logical from their point of view for them to believe that. I don’t hold people that see it that way in disregard. I have no problem with them saying I am not a Christian.

This is why there was a Reformation; non-believers had managed to gain visible control of the Roman Catholic Church and had started introducing false doctrine, being anti-Biblical. The Mormon position is that the Church had actually fallen and needed restoration.

The Protestant position is that the official Mormon teaching in regards to the gospel (the good news of how to get things right with God) is not accurate therefore a person cannot become a genuine follower of Jesus in that way.

Its not personal its theological…

It would be ridiculous for followers of the official Roman Catholic system to consider me a Christian by their theology…Just as it would be ridiculous for followers of the official Mormon system to consider me a Christian by their theology….Just as it would be ridiculous for Biblical Christians (Protestants) to consider Mormons Christian by their theology.

As I said….Its not personal its theological…

10:57 AM


Livingsword said...
Hi Delirious and Max…..

I am loving the conversation, you two are wonderful to talk with!

Delirious you said:
Great point Max! I also think this could likened to my saying, "You don't live in California, how could you consider yourself American?" :P

I respond:
Not everybody that walks into a Church building is a genuine Christian….

I am a Protestant, I deny the official teachings of Mormonism would it then be accurate for me to call myself a Mormon?

11:06 AM


JJJ said...
Hmm whats does it matter what you beleive in, so long as your beleifs are set to be a better person and to be well to others. Why do people need to classify others and not just put them in the same folder marked "human".
I am not a follower of any belief but i follow the basics of most if not all religions and that is to be good to your fellow man.
Just wondering mostly why religious orders need to classify degrees of christianity or others for that matter, sorta defeats the purpose of the religion to bring people togather doesnt it? or am i missing somthing.

11:15 AM


Delirious said...
LS, Thanks for your reply. I have to admit that there were several areas where I read the scriptures differently than you did, but I did my best to reply anyway. I wasn't sure where to post this reply, so am doing it on both your blog and mine. lol
You said, "Repentance/faith/salvation are gifts from
God, grace…." Yes...I agree...the opportunity to repent is a gift from god. Faith is a gift of the spirit. This was my point when I said that repentance alone wasn't enough. I may have worded that badly. I should say that "trying to change and be better" isn't enough. We need the grace of God to fully be forgiven.

I also agree with you about spiritual death. There are two kinds of death...physical and spiritual. Both of these separate us from God. Jesus Christ overcame physical death through the resurrection. This is a free unconditional gift to all. He also paid the price for our sins, but this however is conditional upon our repentance. It is a accessible by anyone, so in that way is a free gift to all, but we must offer up fruits meet for repentance...that of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. " The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and asaveth such as be bof a contrite spirit. Psalms 34:18 We must humble ourselves before the Lord and acknowledge our sin before him. We must feel godly sorrow. "Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made asorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For agodly bsorrow worketh crepentance to dsalvation not to be repented of: but the esorrow of the world worketh death." 2 Corinthians 7:9-10

You said, "Of course as we are dead in our sins we cannot follow the law, we simply are not able to do it. Jesus makes this clear in Mathew 5-7….We need to be born again…The law is signs pointing us towards Jesus and grace; we cannot save ourselves by following the law. Indeed we cannot properly follow the law till we are saved, which of course means repentance is a gift from God, He must intervene for us…" When I read Matthew 5-7, I read it differently. First, in Matthew 5: 17-19, the Savior said, " Think not that I am come to adestroy the blaw, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the alaw, till all be bfulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall abreak one of these least commandments, band shall cteach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and dteach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. " The "law" was speaking of here, that he had fulfilled was the law of Moses. That law included animal sacrifice. Those sacrifices were pointing the people to the last and great sacrifice that the Savior would make. His coming fulfilled that law, and He became that new sacrifice. He says, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil". But he goes on to differentiate between that law of sacrifice, and the commandments. He tells us that if we break one of the commandments, the ten commandments, we shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven. Then the Savior goes on to teach a higher law. Not only should we not commit adultery, but we shouldn't even lust in our hearts. Not only should we not hate our enemies, but we should love them, and pray for them. At the end of chapter 5, He makes it clear, "aBe ye therefore bperfect, even as your cFather which is in heaven is dperfect." Many people believe that belief in Jesus Christ is enough, but in Matthew 7:13,14 he teaches us that the way is not that broad: "Enter ye in at the astrait bgate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to cdestruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because astrait is the bgate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto clife, and few there be that find it."

I'm not sure what you were referring to with this statement: "If their name is written in that book they will not be judged in this Great White Throne Judgment but in the Bema Judgment (1 Corinthians 3)." I looked at 1 Corinthians 3, and couldn't see what you were referring to.

You said, "This guts the atonement of Christ…Jesus is the perfect atonement for our sins we cannot add to it, to suggest such is…rather offensive…" I personally think it is offensive to say that we can believe, but act however we want without fear of consequences. By that thinking, I can treat people however I want, but as long as I believe in Christ, I am saved. You might say that if we believe in Christ, we won't treat each other badly, but there are in fact, many that do. I agree with you Jesus is the perfect atonement.....but he can't save us in our sins. He saves us "from our sins" but not "in our sins". John gives us a great explanation of this, in John 15:1-11,
"1 I am the true avine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every abranch in me that beareth not bfruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he cpurgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 aAbide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the avine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without bme ye can do nothing. 6 If a man aabide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye aabide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall bask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father aglorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 9 As the Father hath aloved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye akeep my commandments, ye shall abide in my blove; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your ajoy might be full." Note "IF ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love". There is a condition required for forgiveness. I do agree that Jesus Christ is the perfect atonement. He was the only one worthy to do this for us because He was perfect, without sin. It is by His grace that we are saved. What he did for us, we could never do for ourselves. No matter how much we try to make up for what we have done that is wrong, nothing we can do is enough without his atoning sacrifice.

My next train of thought as to do with, to what we are saved? 1 Corinthians 15:40-42 teaches us about God's kingdoms. 40 aThere are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the bcelestial is one, and the glory of the cterrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the asun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the bstars: for one star cdiffereth from another star in dglory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in acorruption; it is raised in incorruption" We believe that there are three different kingdoms of glory. It doesn't make sense to me that all people, no matter how they behaved in this life all go to the same place to live with God. That isn't justice. God is a God of mercy, but also a God of justice. The glory of the Celestial is symbolic of the kingdom where God lives. As the glory of the sun differs from the glory of the moon, so too, the kingdom where God dwells differs from the glory of the "Terrestrial" kingdom...or the place where those who did not take advantage of the atonement of Jesus Christ will dwell. The glory of the moon differs from the glory of the stars, in the same way that the Terrestrial kingdom differs from the "Telestial" kingdom..where those who did wickedness will dwell. The devil and his followers will be cast in to "outer darkness" where they will be bound. This is why we are judged according to our works as mentioned in Revelations. It's not a simple matter of believing or not believing.

We also believe that Christ's atonement covers children, those who died before the age of accountability, and also those who never had the opportunity to accept the Gospel in their lifetime. They will in the hereafter be given the opportunity to hear the gospel, and will be given the choice whether or not to accept it. In our religion, we believe in the baptism of the dead as spoken of in 1 Corinthians 15:29 "Else what shall they do which are abaptized bfor the dead, if the dead crise not at all? why are they then baptized for the ddead? " We believe that the ordinance of baptism is necessary for all. It is an outward symbol of a an inward commitment. Therefore, we do baptisms for the dead so that they have the opportunity to have that ordinance. Jesus Christ was baptized, "to fulfil all righteousness" and set the example for us.

You still seem to wrestle with the idea that people who see the teachings of the Bible differently than you could be called Christians. If I were to narrowly define the word "Christian" the way you do, then in my definition, you would not be considered a Christian because you don't believe in repentance or keeping the commandments as being necessary for our salvation. However, in my definition, the word Christian refers to all who believe in Jesus Christ. That doesn't mean our religious beliefs are all the same, simply that we all believe in Jesus Christ. You asked, "If I say I believe in Jesus Christ, does that mean I'm a Mormon?" My answer is no. That isn't really a good argument though because I'm not saying I'm part of your religion (baptist?)...only that I'm Christian. As I mentioned on my blog...saying that I'm not Christian simply because I don't belong to your church is like saying that someone is not American simply because they don't live in my State.
I must say that you can only understand the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to my religion because I have to confine my discussion to the Bible. I however believe in modern revelation, as well as additional scripture. The Bible went through alot throughout the centuries, and we believe many plain and precious truths were lost. We believe that those truths have been restored in these latter days. I wish I could share beautiful scriptures from the Book of Mormon, but I know that you can't accept that. So really, our discussions must be confined to only a small portion of what I believe. I sort of feel like I should break down these comments and make separate posts about each facet..otherwise we end up with these marathon comments ;) I'll try to do that on my religion blog in the future. Thanks again for the dialog, and for bridling your tongue lol. ;)

11:52 AM


Livingsword said...
Hi JJJ;

Interesting points; and I think you speak for many people…

Personally I used to be an atheist before becoming a Jesus follower. These labels are used to denote various sets of beliefs. Certainly we are all human but that is a different conversation.

Various faiths and/or religions have different names or labels to differentiate between them because they indeed are different they are not all the same, actually they can be extremely different.

It is not a matter of degrees of Christianity but a clear line of Christian or non-Christian, it is not a fuzzy topic but one that is very clear when researched.

When you say you are not a “follower of any belief” it seems you mean you don’t fall into any one of the more typical world views since you clearly do have some beliefs as you said “the purpose of the religion to bring people togather”. I am wondering where you would get such an idea?

Here is an example (imperfect as it is) of why this is important:

If you were building a large bridge and you knew the math being used for building it was wrong would you say or do nothing to try and correct the error? Or would you try to explain that somebody had made a mistake in the math so that the structure would be safely built and nobody would be hurt because of this error? Or would you say the math is all the same even though the numbers and formulas are very different it won’t matter that the support on one side is 200 feet short and the cables on the other side are only half of what they need to be, and the deck is only 10% of what it needs to be?

What do you think?

11:57 AM

Delirious said...

Max said,
D,

We have a similar saying about Lisbon LOL (if one isn't from Lisbon then he is not Portuguese)...

Thanks!

12:14 PM


Max said...
LS,

When you speak of a person's religious beliefs it becomes personal, and not only theological.

I am quite aware of the Roman Catholic Church's thoughts on these issues, the same way I am aware of the evangelical and Protestant views too; but from my perspective ( a non-Christian one) all groups follow the same Master, yet have different views on how to follow his teachings, have different-yet-similar interpretations of the Scriptures, and different rules. But the bottom line is: you all believe Jesus to be the Messiah, period.

Cheers

12:24 PM


Livingsword said...
Hi Delirious;

I wanted to let you know that I have read your comment and will be replying.

I have also added your new blog “Rejoice in Christ” with the address http://mormonchristianity.blogspot.com/ to my bloglist on the left sidebar of Life on the Blade.

The new blog address made me smile as per our conversation, very well done!!!!

1:00 PM


JJJ said...
in reply to Livingsword,

I get that from history mostly, religion being used to pull togather groups of people to fight under the same banner, or like a crutch to pull people togather during hard times to ease the uncertainty by being togather.
also having read the bible (a few and diffrent faiths including greek,celtic, aztec, and other ancient faiths), i might not believe but its an interrest to me) which I belive says.

Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, I am the lord.
the words :"But thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." doesnt that in itself imply not to segregate or label people but to love them as you would youself, so to not love (show acceptance) them?
least that is my understanding of that.
And no as a few here can tell you I am not a believer in much other then evolution and other theories far from any relgious connection. Although i think religion is a good thing for those it brings peace and comfort to, I cant say it full fills any personal needs of myself.

Again i want to stress i am not attacking anyones beliefs i know how this can be a tricky topic. :)

1:34 PM


Livingsword said...
Hi JJJ;

I hear where you are coming from and you again make some fascinating points…

Perhaps you would consider these thoughts….

There are times when political leaders try to use religion to further their goals and/or to manipulate their people. It is also at times used in attempts at social and cultural harmony.

Religious/political leaders have also done this including the Popes in their crusades and Muhammad in his conquests by the sword.

Personally I was an atheist for the first 28 years of my life, after nine years of research I found I simply didn’t have enough faith to continue with it. I became a follower of Jesus because I found the evidence for it compelling. It was and is about truth for me, if it isn’t true then it is worthless….

Since you have read the Bible then you realize that a person such as me that is a follower of Jesus is not bound by the Levitical system. Needless to say of course Jesus commanded His followers to love their neighbors and enemies, commands I take very seriously.

However following Jesus is not about following rules, religion or rituals, it is about a genuine personal living relationship with God, turning to God and living the Jesus life….everything else such as loving our neighbors and enemies will come from that relationship…this relationship with God is central to everything…not bringing people together, “family values”, or being good for example.

Would you say that evolution is not compatible with the Bible? In what ways?

I would love to hear your thoughts on these things but certainly don’t want to seem to be trying to hijack Delirious’ blog!

You are welcome to come to my blog and attack my beliefs, no problem, you are welcome to evangelize me, all opinions are welcome there, and personally I am very thankful for your forthright words…

I am also thankful to Delirious for creating such an interesting forum for dialogue…

4:06 PM

Max said...

Hey Delirious!

Thank you so much for having invited me to your newest undertaking; it looks great :D!

I will be back, I just want to thank you and tell you that I am extremely interested in learning more about your belief system :)!

Cheers