"For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light..."
May 11, 2008

Sin Is…Part 5 - The Good News

If you ever see someone standing on top of a mountain you can be sure that he did not fall there. — Anonymous

In regarding some of the characteristics of sin we readily can determine for ourselves that we “like sheep,” “…have all gone our own way.” We all have and do sin. The responsibility to always keep his commandments and always remember him can grind our hopes for exaltation to a halt. Fortunately for us, the gospel truly is “good news.” I am personally so grateful to know that, because of one who did not sin, we can yet be reconciled to God.

…God ceaseth not to be God, and mercy claimeth the penitent, and mercy cometh because of the atonement; and the atonement bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead; and the resurrection of the dead bringeth back men into the presence of God; and thus they are restored into his presence, to be judged according to their works, according to the law and justice.” (Alma 42:23)

In the end, it will be shown through the desires of our hearts what our resolve and resolutions are regarding overcoming sin. If we will strive to go forward and consistently try our best not to sin — not to disobey external principles, not to rationalize bad choices or pervert eternal truths, not to fight against laws and principles that cannot be changed, or waste our limited personal resources on things of lesser worth – we can sever the ties that may have presently bound us to a state of unhappiness. Jesus Christ makes this possible.

It is obedience to eternal truths that will bring us eternal rewards — and joy. Obedience frees us from sin; it removes perverse misconceptions of true principles; it helps us to stop being premature or perilous with our choices; and, happily, it makes the most of our brief sojourn here on this telestial sphere.

Alma (and I) concludes his heartfelt instruction to Corianton with these timeless words:

…I desire that ye should deny the justice of God no more. Do not endeavor to excuse yourself in the least point because of your sins, by denying the justice of God, but do let the justice of God, and his mercy, and his long-suffering have full sway in your heart…” (Alma 42:30)

That we may be and live humbly, repentant, and obedient is the charge. It will bring about the demise of sin and the blessed state of happiness. That we may fight sin and live happily is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ.

September 9, 2007

Christ Alone

How the Atonement was wrought, we do not know. No mortal watched as evil turned away and hid in shame before the light of that pure being. (Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, May 1988, pg. 69)

September 20, 2006

The Bitter Cup

Pastor/teacher John MacArthur, in writing of the “bitter cup” Jesus was called upon to imbibe, observed: “Never was so much sorrow emanating from the soul of one individual. We could never comprehend the depth of Christ’s agony because, frankly, we cannot perceive the wickedness of sin as He could. Nor can we appreciate the terrors of divine wrath the way He did.” Further, he asked: “What is the cup? It is not merely death. It is not the physical pain of the cross. It was not the scourging or the humiliation. It was not the horrible thirst, the torture of having nails driven through His body, or the disgrace of being spat upon or beaten, It was not even all of those things combined.” Rather, MacArthur adds, “what Christ dreaded most about the cross — the cup from which He asked to be delivered if possible — was the outpouring of divine wrath He would have to endure from His holy Father….In some mysterious way that our human minds could never fathom, God the Father would turn His face from Christ the Son, and Christ the Son, and Christ would bear the full brunt of the divine fury against sin….In other words, on the cross, God imputed our sin to Christ and then punished Him for it.” (Joyn MacArthur, The Murder of Jesus, h. 63-71) — Robert L. Millet, A Different Jesus?, p. 91

September 14, 2006

Your God Is Too Small

…many otherwise honest and intellectual people will construct a neat by-pass around the claim of Jesus to be God.  Being people of insight and imagination, they know perfectly well that once to accept such a claim as fact would mean a readjustment of their own purposes and values and affections which they may have no wish to make.  To call Jesus the greatest Figure in History or the finest Moral Teacher the world has ever seen commits no one to anything.  But once to allow the startled mind to accept as fact that this man is really focused-God may commit anyone to anything!  There is every excuse for blundering in the dark, but in the light there is no cover from reality.  — J.B. Phillips, Your God Is Too Small, p 83

August 26, 2006

Inside Out

The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human behavior. — President Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, October 1985, p. 5

August 18, 2006

He IS the Son of God

Fifty years ago or more (circa 1921), when I was a missionary, our greatest responsibility was to defend the great truth that the Prophet Joseph Smith was divinely called and inspired and that the Book of Mormon was indeed the word of God.  But even at that time there were the unmistakable evidences that there was coming into the religious world actually a question about the Bible and about the divine calling of the Master himself.  Now, fifty years later, our greatest responsibility and anxiety is to defend the divine mission of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, for all about us, even among those who claim to be professors of the Christian faith, are those not willing to stand squarely in defense of the great truth that our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, was indeed the Son of God.  — President Harold B, Lee in an address to the LDS Student Association, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, 10 October 1971

April 4, 2006

I AM

Exodus 3:6

Moreover he said, I AM the God of thy father, the God of Abraham….”

“Notice that the words I AM in Exodus 3:6, and the words I WILL in verse 12, are the same thing in Hebrew. I AM, I WILL, I WAS. He says that he is a God of Deliverance. (v8) The God of Exodus is the Delivering God. Keeping the Law makes you free. The same word for “etch”, as in God etched the words in the stone tablets, is the same word for Freedom. Therefore, the law makes you free.

“Carried over into the New Testament, Jesus teaches that if you continue in his word, you are his disciples, and the truth makes you FREE. The truth was etched on the tablets. Jehovah feels that laws and commandments are also freedom-giving. Not binding, but freeing. Another paradox, isn’t it?

“So Moses asks “WHAT IS HIS NAME?” This is what theologians have struggled with. What is the name of God in Genesis. Gen.2:4- LORD God - remember this: every time King James people wrote that, they took that from the Hebrew YHWY, which is pronounced “YAHWAY”, OR “JAWVEY” but we call it JEHOVAH. So the term “LORD God” in Hebrew is “Jehovah Elohim”. The Lord God, is Jehovah Elohim. “Why is that plural?” they ask. What is the relation between Jehovah and Elohim? Scholars have wondered.

14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

“You read all the way through Exodus, and it appears that Moses never said. “I AM hath sent me,” to the Children of Israel. Not only that, but here is the confusing part; in Hebrew, guess what God says?

“EHYEH ASHE EHYEH” which is a form of the verb “to be.” The same as in verse 12. I will, I am, I was. Thus God could be saying to Moses, I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE; or I AM WHAT I WILL BE or I WILL BE WHAT I AM or I AM THAT I AM or I WAS WHAT I AM or I WAS WHAT I WILL BE, ETC. All we get in Hebrew are the consonants. Now look at what God says in D&C 68:

6. Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I AM THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD, THAT I WAS, THAT I AM, AND THAT I AM TO COME.

“What is all this, past, present and future? There is another possibility also; “It came to pass” or “to bring to pass” is another form of the same word in Hebrew. Doesn’t that sound familiar? Notice how the Book of Mormon ties in. There is something more divine in that form of words that finally ends up in English. The NAME of the God who is bringing “everything to pass” is included in that phrase. That is also found in the Old Testament because that phrase would indicate to a hebrew that the God of the Old Testament is the one that is causing everything to come to pass. He is the one in charge. Joseph Smith didn’t know any better in translating the Book of Mormon, so he left them all in there. Even the King James translators, who tried to keep the translation as pure as they could, had to take a lot of them out, because there were just too many. It is rooted in the divine.

“Let me tell you what I think was going on there. The Rabbis look at this and believe that Moses saw God in a way that had not happened before. Therefore, he never took that name and explained it to anyone. But I think what is happening to Moses on the Mount, with the Burning Bush, is the same thing that is happening with the brother of Jared and the hand of the Lord coming through the veil. My guess is that He shows him the wounds in his hands, in his side and in his feet, and says, I WILL BECOME WHAT I AM, and I AM WHAT I WILL BECOME. He is the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world.

“Notice that “I was the Son of the Living God, I am the Son of God, and I will be the Son of God.” D&C 68:6. The Atonement is what? Infinite and eternal from everlasting to everlasting. It has to be worked out down here, but Christ is everything past, present and future. It is all there. What must Moses know? He knows who the Savior is. How does he show it? I WILL BECOME WHAT I AM, AND WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT I WILL BECOME.” — Robert J. Norman