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Question: How may we know the true identity of Jesus Christ?

Answer(s) [Printable Version]

At the conclusion of his record of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, Luke includes an account that illustrates how we may know with confidence the true identity of Jesus Christ. In this account, Luke tells of how Jesus spent a significant portion of the miraculous day He rose from the dead with just two of His disciples as they walked from Jerusalem to Emmaus.

And behold, two of them went that same day
to a village called Emmaus,
which was from Jerusalem three-score furlongs.

And they talked together
of all these things which had happened.

And it came to pass,
that while they communed together, and reasoned,
Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.

But their eyes were holden, or covered,
that they could not know him.

And he said unto them,

What manner of communications are these
which ye have one with another,
as ye walk and are sad?

Luke 24:12-16

During their time together Jesus’ disciples spoke with Him as if He were a stranger. They recounted with sadness the many things that had happened concerning Him, interjecting how they had trusted that it had been He who should have redeemed Israel.

And one of them,
whose name was Cleopas,
answering, said unto him,

Art thou a stranger in Jerusalem,
and hast not known the things
which are come to pass there in these days?

And he said unto them,
What things?

And they said unto him,
Concerning Jesus of Nazareth,
who was a prophet mighty in deed and word
before God and all the people;
And how the chief priests and our rulers
delivered him to be condemned to death,
and have crucified him.

But we trusted that it had been he
who should have redeemed Israel.

And besides all this,
to-day is the third day since these things were done;
Yea, and certain women
also of our company made us astonished,
who were early at the sepulcher;

And when they found not his body,
they came, saying,
that they had also seen a vision of angels,
who said that he was alive.

And certain of them who were with us,
went to the sepulcher,
and found it even so as the women had said;

But him they saw not.

Luke 24:17-23

In reply, Jesus chastened them for their unbelief, saying, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” He then expounded unto them in allof the scriptures the things concerning Himself.

Then He said unto them,

O fools, and slow of heart to believe
all that the prophets have spoken!

Ought not Christ to have suffered these things,
and to enter into his glory?

And beginning at Moses and all the prophets,
he expounded unto them
in all the scriptures
the things concerning himself.

Luke 24:24-26

When their journey had come to an end near the close of this most notable of days, they constrained Jesus to abide with them. Although He had spoken with them face to face along the way, it was not until Jesus blessed and broke bread with them at the evening meal that they knew Him. Then, after He was taken from their midst, they quickly returned to Jerusalem to tell the eleven and those with them that Jesus was indeed risen and had ministered to them.

And they drew nigh unto the village whither they went;
and he <Jesus> made as though he would have gone farther.

But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us;
for it is toward evening,
and the day is far spent.

And he went in to tarry with them.

And it came to pass,
as he sat at meat with them,
he took bread, and blessed,
and brake, and gave to them.

And their eyes were opened,
and they knew him;

and he was taken up out of their sight.

And they said one to another,
Did not our hearts burn within us,
while he talked with us by the way,
and while he opened to us the scriptures?

And they rose up the same hour and returned to Jerusalem,
and found the eleven gathered together,
and those who were with them, Saying,

The Lord is risen indeed,
and hath appeared to Simon.

And they told what things they saw and heard in the way,
and how he was known to them,
in breaking of bread.

Luke 24:27-34

Luke’s account of Jesus Christ’s activities on the wondrous day He gained victory over death and the grave reveals valuable lessons about our Lord and His ministry. Consider, for example, the personal way in which Jesus ministered to these two little-known disciples following His resurrection. He apparently spent a substantial amount of time with them, both in listening to their sad account of recent events and in opening the scriptures to them so they might come to believe all that had been spoken and written concerning Him.

The lesson: Jesus Christ is both personal and intentional (cf. Matthew 18:20). He is willing to spend personal time with each one of us (Acts 17:27), even on the most notable of days, and even when we fail to believe all that He has caused to be said and done concerning Himself. And although our Lord listens to us share our concerns and disappointments, yet He is intent on and able to lift us beyond our present views to a greater vision of Himself, His words, His purposes, His plans, and His ways.

This is indeed a valuable insight concerning our Lord and His ministry. Still, it does not fully answer the question about how we may confidently know His true identity. To arrive at our Lord’s answer to this question, we must also consider another lesson found in Luke’s account stemming from Jesus’ rebuke, “O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!

Jesus Christ’s disciples had witnessed the miraculous fulfillment of many prophecies leading up to His resurrection. Yet, as a result of Jesus’ sufferings and death, waves of doubt and discouragement overwhelmed them and they failed to believe all that had been spoken concerning Him. Notwithstanding the perplexing events that confronted them, Jesus nonetheless plainly expressed His expectation that they should have believed all that had been spoken about Him by His prophets, including the prophecies concerning His resurrection.

Lest we too are considered by our Lord to be fools and slow of heart to believe, we must not simply learn lessons about Jesus Christ that gain us insights into His life and ministry (notwithstanding how ministering those lessons may be to ourselves and to others). We must allow Him to open all the scriptures to our understanding such that we may come to believe all that the prophets have spoken concerning Himself. In so doing, we give our Lord the opportunity to actually reveal Himself to us as He did when ministering to these two disciples, and we give ourselves the opportunity to truly come to know Him as did they.

Consider how Jesus accepted their invitation to abide with them at the end of their journey even though it appeared He would have gone farther. Then consider how at the evening meal Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. This was as an expression of His sacrificial covenant love last witnessed several nights previous during the Passover observance (Luke 22:7-20). In this gracious act of blessing and breaking bread, the eyes of Jesus’ disciples were opened and they knew Him. As they would later testify to the others, he was known to them, in breaking of bread.

These two disciples were blessed because they had constrained Jesus to abide with them when it appeared He would leave them at the close of their journey together. The blessing they would receive was fully realized as they sat at meat with Jesus and He blessed and broke bread for them. After He was taken from their midst, they remembered how their hearts had burned within them as He opened the scriptures to them in the way. Jesus’ words had ministered to them in a quiet but powerful manner as they had walked together. His words fed their hungering, discouraged souls with assurance and hope as well as with knowledge, insight, and understanding.

When they dined together, the connection was made (a parallel was drawn) between His ministering to them with His words in the way and His blessing and breaking bread for them to eat at the evening meal.

By ministering bread to them, bread which He had blessed and broken, Jesus emphasized once again our need to receive Him, as the Bread of Life, into our very souls (John 6:48). He reinforced the message that we must eat His flesh and drink His blood to have eternal life (John 6:29-58 with Matthew 26).

Then Jesus said unto them,

Verily, verily, I say unto you,

Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood,
ye have no life in you.

Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood,
hath eternal life;
and I will raise him up
in the resurrection of the just at the last day.

For my flesh is meat in deed,
and my blood is drink indeed.

He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood,
dwelleth in me, and I in him.

As the living Father hath sent me,
and I live by the Father;

So he that eateth me,
even he shall live by me
.

John 6:53-57

What does it mean to eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus Christ? How exactly are we to fulfill these words? Recall that Jesus Christ is God’s Incarnate Word. He is God’s Word made flesh.

And the same word was made flesh,
and dwelt among us,

And we beheld his glory,
the glory as the Only Begotten of the Father,
full of grace and truth.

John 1:14

Brethren, this is the testimony which we give
of that which was from the beginning,
which we have heard,
which we have seen with our eyes,
which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled,
of the Word of life.

I John 1:1

Recall further how Jesus testified that His words are spirit and life.

It is the Spirit that quickeneth;
the flesh profiteth nothing;

the words that I speak unto you,
they are spirit, and they are life.

John 6:63

Briefly comprehended, because He is God’s Incarnate Word, Jesus Christ’s words are His flesh and blood (John 6:48-63 with John 1:14-16). Therefore, we eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus Christ by feasting upon His words. And in feasting upon His words, we receive wisdom, specifically the wisdom to live honorably and righteously before God.

Wherefore, I said unto you:

Feast upon the words of Christ,

For behold, the words of Christ will tell you
all things what ye should do
.

For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in
by the way and receive the Holy Ghost,
it will show unto you all things what ye should do
.

II Nephi 14:4,6

Thus it is written, “…man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live” (Deuteronomy 8:3). Jesus Christ is the bread of heaven, the bread of life that comes to us from our Heavenly Father (John 6). As the Incarnate Word of God, Jesus Christ is every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God for us (cf. John 12:49,50). In Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9). Therefore, we are complete (made perfect) in Him, and our understanding of His true identity is also made complete through our assimilating His words, His flesh and blood, into our very beings (Colossians 2:10 with Luke 9:44).

What may we conclude, then, from Luke’s account of Jesus Christ’s ministry to these two disciples? First, it reveals how He is known to His disciples in breaking of bread. Therefore,by communing with our Lord through feasting upon His words we actually come to know Him and His true identity (cf. John 17:3). In this way, Luke’s account directs us to the witness God gives of His living and abiding Word, His Only Begotten Son. This unique and specific witness is the greatest and most reliable witness we can receive of Jesus Christ. And it is the witness that is to dwell within us.

For there are three that bear record in heaven,
the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost;
and these three are one.

And there are three that bear witness in earth,
the Spirit, and the water, and the blood;
and these three agree in one.

If we receive the witness of men,
the witness of God is greater;

For this is the witness of God
which He hath testified of His Son.

He that believeth on the Son of God
hath the witness in himself;

He that believeth not God
hath made Him a liar;
because he believeth not the record
that God gave of His Son.

And this is the record,
that God hath given to us eternal life,

And this life is in His Son.

He that hath the Son hath life;

And he that hath not the Son of God
hath not life.

I John 5:9-12

Jesus Christ and His disciples explained the reason for this indwelling witness. They testified that it is through receiving and abiding in this unique witness, meaning God’s indwelling Word, that we are born again into the kingdom of God (John 3:3-8 & John 14:6 with John 1:14).

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee,

Except a man be born of water, and the Spirit,
he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

That which is born of the flesh, is flesh;
and that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit.

Marvel not that I said unto thee,
Ye must be born again.

John 3:5-7

Being born again,
not of corruptible seed,
but of incorruptible,
  by the word of God,
which liveth and abideth forever.

I Peter 1:23

Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth,
that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren,
let every man be swift to hear,
slow to speak, slow to wrath;

For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

Wherefore lay aside all filthiness
and superfluity of naughtiness,

And receive with meekness, the engrafted word,
which is able to save your souls.

But be ye doers of the word,
and not hearers only
,
deceiving your own selves.

For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer,
he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass;

For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way,
and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty,
and continueth therein,
he being not a forgetful hearer,
but a doer of the work,
this man shall be blessed in his deed.

James 1:18-25

Note further that we receive this indwelling witness of Jesus Christ through the prayer of intercession Jesus Christ offers unto His heavenly Father on our behalf in response to our love for Him (cf. I John 5:1-4).

If ye love me,
keep my commandments
.

And I will pray the Father,
and he shall give you another Comforter,
that he may abide with you forever;

Even the Spirit of truth;
whom the world cannot receive,
because it seeth him not,
neither knoweth him;

But ye know him;
for he dwelleth with you,
and shall be in you.

I will not leave you comfortless;

I will come to you.

John 14:15-18

Now the Lord is that Spirit;
and where the Spirit of the Lord is,
there is liberty.

II Corinthians 3:17

Our Lord’s promise – to pray that we may receive His Spirit – is to all those who obey His voice (John 15:1-17). For, as John has written, this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.

Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ
is born of God;

And everyone that loveth him that begat
loveth him also that is begotten of him.

By this we know that we love the children of God,
when we love God,
and keep his commandments.

For this is the love of God,
that we keep his commandments;

and his commandments are not grievous.

For whatsoever is born of God
overcometh the world;

And this is the victory that overcometh the world,
even our faith.

I John 5:1-4

So then faith cometh by hearing,
and hearing by the word of God.

Romans 10:16

In the context of Luke’s account considered above, our Lord’s promise is to all those who constrain Him to abide with them and feast upon the bread He blesses and brakes for them (meaning His words which are spirit and life). For by the voice of His Spirit, our Lord declares:

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock;

If any man hearmy voice, and open the door,
I will come in to him, and will sup with him,
and he with me.

To him that overcometh
will I grant to sit with me in my throne,
even as I also overcame,
and am set down with my Father in his throne.

He that hath an ear,
let him hear what the Spirit saith
unto the churches.

Revelation 3:20-22

In the context of the New Covenant, our Lord’s promise is to all those who remember Him in the manner demonstrated by Him. We abide in Him to His honor and glory by partaking of bread as His broken body and drinking wine as His shed blood (Matthew 26 & John 13-17).

In summary, to know Jesus Christ and His true identity, we must have His Spirit dwelling within us (I Corinthians 2:9-16). Through feasting upon the words of the Incarnate Word of God, the Bread of Life, we may also come to testify with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus how our hearts burn within us as He speaks with us in the way and how He is known to us in breaking of bread. And with the psalmist, we may encourage others to come to know Jesus Christ by saying, “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man that trusteth in him” (Psalm 34:8).

Do you have the Son? He is able to feed your hungering soul and thereby give unto you eternal life (I John 5:9-12). Are you feasting upon God’s precious bread of heaven (II Nephi 14:4,6, John 6:29-63)? You may if you are willing, for He is not far from anyone of us (Acts 17:24-27).

Further discussion of scriptures which reveal how we may know with confidence the true identity of Jesus Christ by receiving the testimony of Jesus are provided in the following articles.

See also Convinced along with Jesus Christ on this website for additional scriptural references and discussion on this topic.

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Question: How can I tell the true religion of God from false religions?

Answer(s)[Printable Version]

The true religion of God is established and prospered by God through the revelation of His Word of Truth (John 1:1-16, 14:6, 17:17). Thus, any religion that is advanced by lies, either passively or actively, is a lie itself and is thus a false religion.

Specifically, a false religion is any religion that fosters, encourages, utilizes, justifies, accommodates, hides behind, or perpetrates lies in any form or fashion. This includes those religions in which lying or deceiving those within and/or without is considered justified for the purpose of protecting, preserving, or prospering the religion. Except its adherents forsake lies through repentance and embracing the truth, meaning God’s Word of Truth, a religion so based in or incorporating lies will forever enslave its unsuspecting as well as its suspecting adherents in the darkness cast by thefather of lies, Satan (II Thessalonians 2:1-12 with John 8:44).

To both recognize and appreciate the uniqueness of the true religion of God, it is instructive to consider why false religions exist in the world. Two related reasons will be discussed here.

The first reason was identified by Jesus Christ when He testified of the condemnation that rests upon the world.

And this is the condemnation,
that light is come into the world,
and men love darkness rather than light,
because their deeds are evil.

For every one who doeth evil hateth the light,
neither cometh to the light,
lest his deeds should be reproved
.

But he who loveth truth,
cometh to the light,
that his deeds may be made manifest.

John 3:19-21

Everyone who loves darkness rather than light will be drawn to false religions rather than to the true religion of God. Because they love lies over truth, they seek to hide their evil deeds under the cover which false religions provide. Such organizations not only accommodate them and their evil intents and deeds; they serve to further their dark aims and objectives. Thus, false religions exist in large part to serve the interests and vain pursuits of their adherents. This includes those religions in which their adherents seek their own wills, whether through seemingly innocent endeavors to worship and serve God as they please, or through the pursuit of evil designs.

The direct opposite is true of the true religion of God. Those who love truth and willingly abide in God’s true religion seek to do His will not their own. They choose to be followers of Jesus Christ, who prayed, “not my will, but thine be done” (Mark 14:40, Luke 22:42).

The second reason discussed here regarding why false religions exist in the world is related to the first. The reason for their existence is the judgments of God. God sends strongdelusions upon those who refuse to believe and love the truth that is revealed through His Word of Truth.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven
against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men;
who love not the truth
, but remain in unrighteousness.

Romans 1:16

I also will choose their delusions,
and will bring their fears upon them;

Because when I called, none did answer;

When I spake, they did not hear;

But they did evil before mine eyes,
and chose that in which I delighted not.

Isaiah 66:4

And for this cause
God shall send them strong delusion,
that they should believe a lie;

That they all might be damned
who believed not the truth,
but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

II Thessalonians 2:11,12

Because there are those who refuse to receive the love of the truth – who choose to abide in darkness rather than light – God prepares a place for them outside of the truth, a place of darkness called outer darkness, which is a place of lies and delusions. Why is it God who provides a place of darkness for those who love darkness? As Paul, the Apostle of Jesus Christ, testified, it is God who sets the bounds of the habitation of all people, including those who love darkness over light. And He does so for an express purpose: that they should seek the Lord, if they are willing to find Him.

God that made the world and all things therein,
seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth,
dwelleth not in temples made with hands;

Neither is worshipped with men’s hands,
as though he needed anything,
seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

And hath made of one blood all nations of men
for to dwell on all the face of the earth,
and hath determined the times before appointed,
and the bounds of their habitation;

That they should seek the Lord,
if they are willing to find him,
for he is not far from every one of us.

Acts 17:24-27

God, who is the Lord of all, subjects each and every one of us, including those who love lies over the truth, to tribulation in the hope that being exercised therewith (Romans 5:1-5, James 1:1-5, Acts 14:22), we will come forth from these tribulations as His dear children; as those who rejoice solely in the revelation of truth; as those who are grieved in the presence of lies and vanity.

For the creature was made subject
to tribulation <vanity> not willingly,
but by reason of him who hath subjected it in hope.

Because the creature itself also
shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption
into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Romans 8:20,21

For this cause, to separate the wheat from the chaff (cf. Luke 3), God is passing the nations through the sieve of vanity.

John answered, saying unto all,

I indeed baptize you with water,
but there cometh one mightier than I,
the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose,

He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire;

Whose fan is in his hand,
and he will thoroughly purge his floor,
and will gather the wheat into his garner;
but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.

Luke 3:23,24 (16,17KJV)

And his breath, as an overflowing stream,
shall reach to the midst of the neck,
to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity;

And there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people,
causing them to err.

Isaiah 30:28

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid,
which is Jesus Christ.

Now if any man build upon this foundation
gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
every man’s work shall be made manifest;

For the day shall declare it,
because it shall be revealed by fire;

And the fire shall try every man’s work
of what sort it is.

If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon,
he shall receive a reward.

If any man’s work shall be burned,
he shall suffer loss;
but he himself may be saved;
yet so as by fire.

II Corinthians 3:11-15

If we forsake vanity to receive the truth embodied in God’s Word, He will add precept upon precept and line upon line so that we may grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, theTrue Vine, and become fruitful thereby (John 15).

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you
through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

According as his divine power hath given unto us
all things that pertain unto life and godliness,
through the knowledge of him
that hath called us to glory and virtue
;

Whereby are given unto us
exceeding great and precious promises;
that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature,
having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

And besides this, giving all diligence,
add to your faith virtue;
and to virtue, knowledge;
and to knowledge, temperance;
and to temperance, patience;
and to patience, godliness;
and to godliness, brotherly kindness;
and to brotherly kindness, charity.

For if these things be in you, and abound,
they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful
in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I Peter 1:2-8

For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept;
line upon line, line upon line;
here a little, and there a little.

Isaiah 28:10

Thus the weapons of our warfare in this life were outlined by the Apostle Paul as follows:

For though we walk in the flesh,
we do not war after the flesh;

(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal,
but mighty through God
to the pulling down of strongholds;)

Casting down imaginations,
and every high thing that exalteth itself

  against the knowledge of God,
and bringing into captivity
  every thought to the obedience of Christ;

And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience,
when your obedience is fulfilled.

I Corinthians 10:3-6

If we fail in our warfare by allowing lies and vanity to overrun our minds at the expense of the truth, God will take from us the truth which we have already received.

Now the parable is this;
The seed is the word of God.

Take heed therefore how ye hear;

For whosoever receiveth,
to him shall be given;

And whosoever receiveth not
from him shall be taken
even that which he seemeth to have.

Luke 8:11,18

Therefore, our Lord calls to us to believe His Word while it is yet called “Today.”

Take heed, brethren,
lest there be in any of you
an evil heart of unbelief,
in departing from the living God.

But exhort one another daily,
while it is called Today;
lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

For we are made partakers of Christ,
if we hold the beginning of our confidence
steadfast unto the end;

While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice,
harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.

Hebrews 3:12-15

Those who harden their hearts unto choosing to remain outside the truth, having an evil heart of unbelief, will eventually be shut out from the presence of the God of truth (Psalm 31:5) by being cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 8:12, 22:13, 25:29-31). Why? They love darkness over light; yet in darkness there is no joy nor happiness. Only destitution and torment. So, as explained throughout the scriptures, those planted by the father of lies, even within the church established by Jesus Christ, will eventually be bound together as tares and cast into the fire together with that wicked one who beguiled them with his empty lies and tempting vanity (see Matthew 13:22-29; 13:24-30KJV).

On the other hand (on the right hand of God), those who receive the love of the truth will be given to abide together as one body in the true religion of the God of truth. Why? They hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5-7 with Acts 4). They love truth over lies and vanity. So, by faith they are established in the eternal religion that is upheld by God’s Word (Acts 6:7,8, 19:19-21, etc.), the one true religion that is built upon Jesus Christ and His teachings and commandments – at the heart of which are the two great commandments and His new commandment to love as He has loved us.

Jesus said unto him,

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God
with all thy heart,
and with all thy soul,
and with all thy mind.

This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it;

Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

On these two commandments
hang all the law and the prophets.

Matthew 22:36-39 (37-40 KJV)

A new commandment I give unto you.

That ye love one another;

As I have loved you,
that ye also love one another.

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love one to another.

John 13:34,35

Therefore owe no man anything,
but to love one another;
for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

For this,
Thou shalt not commit adultery,
Thou shalt not kill,
Thou shalt not steal,
Thou shalt not bear false witness,
Thou shalt not covet;

And if there be any other commandment,
it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely,
Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

Love worketh no ill to his neighbor;
therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Romans 13:8-10

If any man among you seem to be religious,
and bridleth not his tongue,
but deceiveth his own heart,
this man’s religion is vain.

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this,
To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction,
and to keep himself unspotted from the vices of the world.

James 1:26,27

Not everyone or everything that is purported to be of God or of His true religion is in fact of God. Lies masquerading as truth abound in this world. Satan and his servants are liars and are intent on beguiling the nations with their deceptive, destructive ways.

Ye are of your father the devil,
and the lusts of your father ye will do;

He was a murderer from the beginning,
and abode not in the truth,
because there is no truth in him.

When he speaketh a lie,
he speaketh of his own;
for he is a liar,
and the father of it.

And because I tell you the truth,
ye believe me not.

John 8:44,45

Therefore, we have been admonished to be careful to prove all things and hold fast to that which is good (I Thessalonians 5:21). This includes proving what we or others may write or say (including the writings on this website) by comparing them with God’s word recorded in the scriptures, which are founded upon the witness God has given of His Son, Jesus Christ (I John 4 & 5). We are to confirm that our words and the words of others glorify Jesus Christ as “the way, the truth and the life,” as the only way that leads back unto the God of truth (John 12,14,16).

Every aspect of God’s true religion glorifies Jesus Christ as His incarnate Word. Every facet of His true religion testifies that faith on the name of Jesus Christ (including the Word and the Bread of Life) is the only way whereby we may be saved from the wrath to come by being saved into the kingdom of God (see Romans 1 & 10 with John 1 & 5, I John 4, II John, etc.).

All words of truth will confirm Jesus Christ’s fulfillment of the prophecies of the holy prophets, e.g. His virgin birth, His intercession for us through the atonement for sin, His death and subsequent resurrection from the dead, and His ascension into heaven to ever intercede for us before our heavenly Father. Most of all, they will substantiate that He, as the Lamb of God, is worthy of all praise and honor for overcoming death and the grave to bring salvation unto mankind justly and mercifully (Revelation 5). Only Jesus Christ is able and caring enough to save us from death and the grave. He alone is able to bring us back into the presence of our heavenly Father.

Let us hold fast, therefore, to God’s good Word of Truth by holding fast to Jesus Christ. Let us embrace God’s incarnate Word unto being led by His Spirit into repentance and worship (in spirit and truth) of the God of truth.

And the hour cometh, and now is,
when the true worshipers shall worship
the Father in spirit and in truth;
for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

For unto such hath God promised his Spirit.

And they who worship him,
must worship in spirit and in truth.

John 4:25,26

For it is only by embracing God’s Word of truth, through faith in Jesus Christ, that we may be guided into all truth (John 16:13). By holding fast to Him as God’s appointed rod (Micah 6:9), we will be led into eternal life that is found only in the light and love of God’s fellowship.

And now I would commend you to seek this Jesus
of whom the prophets and apostles have written,

That the grace of God the Father and also the Lord Jesus
Christ and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record
of them, may be and abide in you forever. Amen.

Ether 5:41

In summary, God’s Word of Truth was made flesh and dwelt among us so that we might come to know and abide in the true religion of God (John 1:1-16 with John 20:30,31). Therefore, we can only come to distinguish His true religion from false religions by coming to know God’s incarnate Word, Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is completely unique. While others may declare the word of God, Jesus Christ alone is the Word of God. Therefore, He is the only way by which we may know God and come back into His presence (John 14:6).

There is, therefore, no other honorable religion beside the one true religion which God has founded in and through the revelation of His Incarnate Word, Jesus Christ. No other religion can feed our hungering and thirsting souls with eternal life. Only in and through feasting upon God’s Word (Jesus Christ) as the Bread of Life, may we be granted the precious gift of eternal life (John 6:48 with John 12:49,50). Thus it is written, “He that hath an ear to hear, let Him hear what the Spirit (of truth) saith to the churches” (e.g. Revelation 2:7 with John 14:15-18 & II Corinthians 3:17).

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Question: How may I know if I have been born again by Jesus Christ?

Answer(s)[Printable Version]

In Jesus Christ we are born again with a spiritual birth for a specific purpose: to become new creatures who dwell in the kingdom of heaven, that is, in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (II Corinthians 5:17 & John 3:1-22 with Romans 14:17 & Matthew 6:9-15). According to Paul, the Apostle of Jesus Christ, through this new birth we are created in Christ Jesus so we may do the good works which God has foreordained for us.

For we are his workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus unto good works,
which God hath before ordained
that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

Therefore, by reviewing scriptures that illustrate God’s methods and His purposes in the new birth, we can better understand how and when this new birth takes place and matures in our lives.

Peter, the Apostle of Jesus Christ, wrote that we are born again (spiritually) by an incorruptible seed, whichhe identified as the Word of God.

Seeing ye have purified your souls
in obeying the truth
through the Spirit
unto unfeigned love of the brethren,

See that ye love one another
with a pure heart fervently.

Being born again,
not of corruptible seed,
but of incorruptible,
by the word of God,
which liveth and abideth forever.

I Peter 1:22,23

Consider further how in the parable of the sower Jesus likened the word of God to a seed, saying:

Now the parable is this;
The seed is the word of God.

Luke 8:11

Briefly understood, God’s word is to be viewed as a seed that is to be sown within us through preaching, that is, through the hearing of the word of God (Roman 10:15-16 & I Corinthians 1:21, 2:3-5, 3:6-7, etc.). The sown word, if retained, establishes faith within us.

So then faith cometh by hearing,
and hearing by the word of God.

Romans 10:16

This is why James, the Apostle of Jesus Christ, encouraged us to receive with meekness the Engrafted Word. James was speaking of Jesus Christ, who is the incarnate Word of God (John 1), the only One who is able to save our souls.

Wherefore lay aside all filthiness
and superfluity of naughtiness,

And receive with meekness,
the Engrafted Word,

which is able to save your souls.

But be ye doers of the word,
and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

James 1:21,22

Why and how can we be born anew by the Word of God? Just how exactly does the Word of God, as a seed, give us a new birth? How is it possible that the engrafted word is able to save our souls? Consider the following.

Jesus Christ testified that we will either be justified or condemned by our words (Matthew 12). Therefore, knowing that none of us can tame his or her own tongue (James 3), God sent His own Word (Son) to dwell within us by the Spirit of His Son (Galatians 4:6). God did this to justify us by having His Word (His Son) become the source of our words. That is, God is intent on replacing our words with His own living and abiding Word, Jesus Christ (see John 1 & 14-17; Galatians 2:20).

If we receive with meekness God’s engrafted Word (Jesus Christ), His words will eventually grow to fruition within us and we will be able to speak words that do not condemn us at the last day. That is, His words – born as the fruit of His Spirit abiding within us – will justify us. As God’s indwelling Word, Jesus Christ enables us to speak without offense before God. More importantly, He enables us to speak through faith in His words (Colossians 3:1-16 with Luke 8:11-15). Through this process, Jesus Christ becomes the abundance of our hearts, the wellspring from which and by which we speak (Isaiah 57:19 & 59:21 with Proverbs 10:21, 15:4, 18:4, 119:1-176 etc.).

I create the fruit of the lips;

Peace, peace to him that is far off,
and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him.

But the wicked are like the troubled sea,
when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.

There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

Isaiah 57:19-21

Consequently, when God looks upon those who have been truly born anew through His incorruptible seed, God will see His Son, meaning His own Word, issuing forth from within their lives as a fountain of living waters (John 7:37-40).

Recall that in the beginning God made every seed such that it brings forth life after its own kind (Genesis 1,2). The incorruptible seed, meaning the Word of God, is no different. It, too, brings forth life after its own kind. Thus, if the Word of God is planted as a seed within our lives, it will bring forth words of truth, good words of faith after its own kind – not words born of our old natures, meaning the thorns and thistles of an evil tongue (Hebrews 6:8 with James 3:6-10). Therefore, if we are truly born anew by the Word (Son) of God, we will speak the words of Jesus Christ – but only if we let His words dwell in ourselves richly through faith on His name (Colossians 3:16 with Hebrews 3,4).

But behold, why do ye ponder these things in your hearts?

Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after that
ye have received the Holy Ghost, ye could speak
with the tongue of angels?

And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels
save it were by the Holy Ghost?

Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost,
wherefore, they speak the words of Christ.

Wherefore, I said unto you,

Feast upon the words of Christ;
for behold the words of Christ
will tell you all things what ye should do.

For behold, again I say unto you,
that if ye will enter in by the way
and receive the Holy Ghost,
it will shew unto you all things what ye should do.

II Nephi 14:2-4,6

Thus, by patiently letting God’s Word become the source of our words, we allow His living and abiding Word, Jesus Christ, to become our justification (Psalm 119 with John 1). With His Word abiding within us, when God looks upon us in judgment He will see His own Son in our place; that is, He will see His Word in place of our words (II Corinthians 3-5 with Romans 5-8). Thus, through grafting His Word within us, God provides the way for us to live through Jesus (I John 4:9); and in so doing, Jesus becomes our life (Colossians 3:1-16 with John 14:6).

Like all seeds, God’s Word has life contained within itself (John 5 & 12). God’s Word contains all of the information needed to bring forth a new life from within us and then bear forth fruit of the same through us unto the glory of God (Hebrews 11:1 & Matthew 5 with Isaiah 37:31 & I Timothy 4:1-4). God’s Word contains the DNA, if you will, of the body of Christ (Romans 1). It contains all of the genetic (spiritual) information or material of the children of God, those who speak the truth by the Spirit of truth (those who are grafted into the True Vine; John 15). Thus, those who hear the word of God, and receive His word such that they allow it to grow within their very souls, are spiritually conceived; and if they continue in the same word of truth, in time they will bring forth an abundance of fruit to the honor and glory of our Heavenly Father (Luke 8 with Galatians 6:7-10).

This process of the new birth begins with God speaking followed by our hearing the Word of God preached (Romans 10 with I Corinthians 2). Recall Jesus’ parable about the sower of the word of God:

And when much people were gathered together,
and were come to him out of every city,

He spake by a parable, saying,

A sower went out to sow his seed;

And as he sowed,
some fell by the wayside;
and it was trodden down,
and the fowls of the air devoured it.

And some fell upon a rock;
and as soon as it was sprung up,
it withered away,
because it lacked moisture.

And some fell among thorns;
and the thorns sprang up with it,
and choked it.

And others fell on good ground,
sprang up,
and bare fruit an hundred-fold.

And when he had said these things,
he cried,

He who hath ears to hear,
let him hear.

And his disciples asked him, saying,

What might this parable be?

And he said,

Unto you it is given to know
the mysteries of the kingdom of God;

But to others in parables;
that seeing they might not see,
and hearing they might not understand.

Now the parable is this;
The seed is the word of God.

That which fell by the wayside
are they who hear;
and the devil cometh and taketh away
the word out of their hearts,
lest they should believe and be saved.

That which fell on the rock
are they, who, when they hear,
receive the word with joy;
and they have no root,
but for a while believe,
and in a time of temptation fall away.

And that which fell among thorns
are they, who, when they have heard,
go forth and are choked with
cares, and
riches, and
pleasures of life,
and bring no fruit to perfection.

But that which fell on the good ground
are they, who receive the word
in an honest and good heart,
having heard the word,
keep what they hear,
and bring forth fruit with patience.

For no man, when he hath lighted a candle,
covereth it with a vessel,
or putteth it under a bed;
but setteth it on a candlestick,
that they who enter in may see the light.

For nothing is secret,
which shall not be made manifest;
neither hid,
which shall not be made known,
and go abroad.

Take heed therefore how ye hear;
for whosoever receiveth,
to him shall be given;
and whosoever receiveth not
from him shall be taken
even that which he seemeth to have.

Luke 8:4-18

As explained in this parable, people respond in four basic ways to the Word of God (cf. Revelation 22:11 with Isaiah 59:21). The first three do not result in the fruit of God’s Spirit being born in a person’s life (see John 15, Galatians 5 with John 6:28-63). Only the last response bears good fruit.

And, again, beware of false prophets,
who come to you in sheep’s clothing;
but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Ye shall know them by their fruits;
for do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit;
but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit;
neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit,
is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Matthew 7:24-29 (15-20 KJV)

It is only by keeping the Word of God with patience within ourselves for the intent of bearing the fruit of the same that we can know we are born of God. That is, it is only in bearing God the fruit of His countenance (His Spirit of truth) to His honor as expressed through Jesus Christ that we may know that His word is truly abiding within us. All other responses to the Word of God fall short of bringing glory to God. Therefore, in the words of the prophet:

Sow to yourselves in righteousness,
reap in mercy;
break up your fallow ground;

For it is time to seek the Lord,
till he come and rain righteousness upon you.

Hosea 10:12

God’s Word, Jesus Christ, became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1). He came so that we be might born of His words, for His words are spirit and they are life (John 6, esp. 6:63). He came to fill us with God’s words so we might be cleansed and sanctified by the same.

Now ye are clean through the word
which I have spoken unto you.

John 15:3

Sanctify them through thy truth;
thy word is truth.

John 17:17

Therefore, it is by faith that the incorruptible seed of God’s Word (Son) is sown into our hearts. By faith we allow God to plant His Word within us, and by faith we allow His Word to take root within us and bear fruit of the same. As it is written, those who receive Jesus Christ as God’s Word of truth, receive the power to become God’s children.

He [Jesus] came unto His own,
and His own received Him not.

But as many as received Him,
to them gave He power
to become the sons of God;

Only to them who believe on His name.

He was born,
not of blood,
nor of the will of the flesh,
nor of the will of man,

But of God.

And the same Word was made flesh,
and dwelt among us,

And we beheld His glory,
the glory as of the Only Begotten
of the Father,
full of grace and truth.

John bear witness of Him,
and cried, saying,

This is He of whom I spake;

He who cometh after me,
is preferred before me;
for He was before me.

For in the beginning was the Word,
even the Son,
who is made flesh,
and sent unto us by the will of the Father.

And as many as believe on His name
shall receive of His fullness.

And of His fullness have all we received,
even immortality and eternal life,
through His grace.

John 1:11-16

Abide 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.

I am the vine,
ye are the branches.

He that abideth in me,
and I in him,
the same bringeth forth much fruit;
for without me ye can do nothing.

If a man abide 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.

If ye abide in me,
and my words abide in you,
ye shall ask what ye will,
and it shall be done unto you.

Herein is my Father glorified,
that ye bear much fruit;
so shall ye be my disciples.

John 15:4-8

The way we become doers of the Engrafted Word begins with feasting upon the words of Christ. By feasting upon His words, we are guided into all truth (John 14:26, 16:13). That is, His words will tell us what we should do in all things, which is what it means to be born again – as opposed to living by the dictates of the fleshly desires and carnal impulses of our fallen nature (II Nephi 14:4 with John 6:63).

Similar to the parable of Jesus and the testimony of Peter, Alma admonishes us to give place to the Word of God as a seed and to allow it to grow within us through faith.

Now, we will compare the word unto a seed.

Now, if ye give place that a seed
may be planted in your heart,

Behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed–
if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief
that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord–

Behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts;

And when you feel these swelling motions,
ye will begin to say within yourselves:

‘It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the
word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul,

Yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding,

Yea, and it beginneth to be delicious to me.’

Now behold, would not this increase your faith?

I say unto you, Yea;

Nevertheless, it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.

But if ye will nourish the word–

Yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow,
by your faith with great diligence and with patience–
looking forward to the fruit thereof,

And it shall take root;

And behold, it shall be a tree springing up
unto everlasting life!

And because of your diligence and your faith
and your patience with the word in nourishing it,
that it may take root in you,

Behold, by and by, ye shall pluck the fruit thereof,
which is most precious,
which is sweet above all that is sweet,
and which is white above all that is white,
yea, and pure above all that is pure,

And ye shall feast upon this fruit, even until ye are filled
that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst;

Then my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith
and your diligence and patience and longsuffering,
waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you.

Alma 16:152-155,170-173

Accordingly, Jesus taught that if we love Him by keeping His words within us, He and His Father will love us and make their abode within us.

He that hath my commandments,
and keepeth them,
he it is that loveth me;

And he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father,
and I will love him,
and will manifest myself to him.

If a man love me,
he will keep my words;
and my Father will love him,
and we will come unto him,
and make our abode with him.

He that loveth me not
keepeth not my sayings;

And the word which ye hear is not mine,
but the Father’s which sent me.

John 14:21-24

I am the vine,
ye are the branches.

He that abideth in me, and I in him,
the same bringeth forth much fruit;

For without me ye can do nothing.

John 15:5

Therefore if any man live in Christ,
he is a new creature;

Old things are passed away;

Behold, all things are become new,
and receiveth all the things of God,
who hath reconciled us to himself in Jesus Christ,
and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.

II Corinthians 5:17,18

Similarly, He taught His disciples to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:9-16). Why? As it is written, we do not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord are we to live:

And thou shalt remember all the way
which the Lord thy God led thee
these forty years in the wilderness,

To humble thee, and to prove thee,
to know what was in thine heart,
whether thou wouldest keep His commandments,
or no.

And He humbled thee,
and suffered thee to hunger,
and fed thee with manna,
which thou knewest not,
neither did thy fathers know;

That He might make thee know
that man doth not live by bread only,
but by every word
that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord
doth man live.

Deuteronomy 8:2,3

In summary, those who are truly born of the Spirit of God bear the fruit of God’s Spirit by the Word of God (Galatians 5:22-26). In the words of Peter, the Apostle of Jesus Christ, we may know that we are born again if we obey the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of one another.

Seeing ye have purified your souls
in obeying the truth
through the Spirit
unto unfeigned love of the brethren,

See that ye love one another
with a pure heart fervently.

Being born again,
not of corruptible seed,
but of incorruptible,

by the word of God,
which liveth and abideth forever.

I Peter 1:22,23

The following articles provide further scriptures and discussion on being born of God through the incorruptible seed, the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ.

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Question: For whom is the wrath of God’s justice reserved?

Answer(s)[Printable Version]

Whether or not a person or a people experience the wrath of God’s justice depends upon the image they worship (Exodus 20:4,5 with Romans 1:18-32). God’s wrath is reserved for those who worship the beast and his image and receive the mark of the beast in their foreheads or hands (Revelation 16:2, 19:20).

And the third angel followed them,
saying with a loud voice,

If any man worship the beast and his image,
and receive his mark in his forehead or in the hand,

The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God,
which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation;

And he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone
in the presence of the holy angels,
and in the presence of the Lamb;

And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever;

And they know no rest day or night,
who worship the beast and his image,
and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

Revelation 14:9-11

On the other hand (God’s right hand), those who worship God and His Image, and receive His mark, meaning His name, in their foreheads are spared from wrath (Revelation 22:4 with Colossians 3:1-7, I Thessalonians 1:10, I Thessalonians 5:9 & Romans 5:9). Hence comes the testimony, that at thename of Jesus Christ, who is the express image of God, every knee should bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory and honor of God the Father.

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners
spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son,
whom he hath appointed heir of all things,
by whom also he made the worlds;

Who being the brightness of his glory,
and
the express image of his person,
and upholding all things by the word of his power,

when he had by himself purged our sins,
sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

Hebrews 1:1-3

Let this mind be in you,
which was also in Christ Jesus;

Who, being in the form of God,
thought it not robbery to be equal with God;

But made himself of no reputation,
and took upon him the form of a servant,
and was made in the likeness of men;

And being found in fashion as a man,
he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him,
and given him a name which is above every name;

That at the name of Jesus
every knee should bow,
of things in heaven,
and things in earth,
and things under the earth;

And that every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11

Why exactly does the image we worship have so much to do with whether or not we drink of the wrath of God? Remember, we were created in the image of God (Genesis 1). But are we thankful, even satisfied to have been made in His image? Do we want to be like the God who gave us life, the One who sustains us day to day? Now, in our fallen state, are we willing to allow God to restore His image in us anew through faith in Jesus Christ, through being born again by His Spirit?

Or, on the other hand (the left hand of God), do we persist in seeking to lift someone or something above God, to worship and praise them above Him and instead of Him? Do we seek to honor someone or something other than our Lord by setting the desires and affections of our hearts upon them and their ways? Are there others we delight to lift up as if they are more worthy of praise and glory than Jesus Christ?

Those who worship any image other than God’s express image, Jesus Christ, are declaring that they have set the affections of their heart, their love and their devotion, on someone or something they consider of greater worth than Jesus Christ, as someone or something more deserving of their adoration and praise than Him. Thus, they not only mock and disgrace the Lord and His image (by placing a lesser image above His own image) they separate themselves from His presence and exclude themselves from His glory (cf. Jude 18,19).

But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before
of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;

How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time,
who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

These be they who separate themselves,
sensual, having not the Spirit.

Jude 1:17-19

Because they worship the creature more than the creator, God turns them over to their own carnal, corruptible desires and forms of worship (cf. Romans 1:18-32 with II Corinthians 4:3,4, Exodus 20:4,5).

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven
against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men;
who love not the truth, but remain in unrighteousness,
after that which may be known of God is manifest to them.

For God hath revealed unto them the invisible things of him,
from the creation of the world, which are clearly seen;
things which are not seen
being understood by the things that are made,
through his eternal power and Godhead;
so that they are without excuse;

Because that, when they knew God,
they glorified him not as God,
neither were they thankful,
but became vain in their imaginations,
and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Professing themselves to be wise,
they became fools.

And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God
into an image made like to corruptible man,
and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness,
through the lusts of their own hearts;
to dishonor their own bodies between themselves;

Who changed the truth of God into a lie,
and worshipped and served the creature
more than the Creator
,
who is blessed for ever. Amen.

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections;
for even their women did change the natural use
into that which is against nature;

And likewise also the men,
leaving the natural use of the woman,
burned in their lust one toward another;
men with men working that which is unseemly,
and receiving in themselves that recompense
of their error which was meet.

And even as they did not like to retain God
according to some knowledge,
God gave them over to a reprobate mind,
to do those things which are not convenient;
being filled with all unrighteousness,
fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness;
full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters,
inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
without understanding, covenant-breakers,
without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful;

And some who, knowing the judgment of God,
that they which commit such things
are worthy of death, are inexcusable,
not only do the same,
but have pleasure in them that do them
.

Romans 1:18-32

The God who created us has been revealed to us in Jesus Christ. He is light and He is love (I John 1 & 4). The question before us then is this: do we want to be filled with His light and with His love, or not? In the above quote, Paul, the Apostle of Jesus Christ, has plainly stated what becomes of those who do not.

In this life we have been given the opportunity to choose for ourselves whom we will worship, that is, whom we hope to be like and with whom we anticipate being in fellowship throughout eternity (cf. Romans 8). Specifically, two images have been placed before us:

  1. God’s express image was manifest in the person and life of Jesus Christ, His Only Begotten Son (cf. Hebrews 1:1-3 with John 14:9).
  2. The other image placed before us is the image of a fallen angel who was cast from heaven because of his pride and rebellion (Revelation 14:9-11 with I Timothy 3:6).

We will worship the image of the one we aspire (hope) to be like, either the Lamb of God, or the evil, fallen angel, Satan, and those who fell with him (John 14-16, Romans 1:18-2:11, etc.). If we hope to be like (worship) the God in whose image we were originally created, God will cause us to be born anew into His likeness according to the image manifest in His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ (I John 4 with John 3). This rebirth specifically comes of the hope to be like Jesus (in light and love) when He returns in glory – this is the only hope that is able to purify and perfect our souls through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:24 with Hebrews 11:1 with Colossians 1:27).

Behold, what manner of love
the Father hath bestowed upon us,
that we should be called the sons of God;

Therefore the world knoweth us not,
because it knew him not.

Beloved, now are we the sons of God,
and it doth not yet appear what we shall be;
but we know that, when he shall appear,
we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

And every man that hath this hope in him
purifieth himself, even as he is pure
.

I John 3:1-3

For we are saved by hope;
but hope that is seen is not hope;
for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?

But if we hope for that we see not,
then with patience we do wait for it.

Romans 8:24,25

Wherefore, cleave unto charity,
which is the greatest of all,
for all things must fail;
but charity is the pure love of Christ,
and it endureth for ever;
And whoso is found possessed of it at the last day,
it shall be well with them.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren,
pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart,
that ye may be filled with this love
which he hath bestowed upon all who are
true followers of his Son Jesus Christ,
that ye may become the sons of God,
that when he shall appear, we shall be like him;
for we shall see him as he is, that we may have this hope,
that we may be purified even as he is pure.

Amen.

Moroni 7:52,53

Those people in whom this purifying hope is not found, in whom it has been replaced with the worship of worldly things, will experience God’s wrath when Jesus Christ returns. They will receive for their eternal inheritance a fallen countenance that must abide outside His fellowship, in the place of darkness reserved for all those who reject the Light of the world (II Peter 2, Jude, etc.).

Therefore, Paul, the Apostle of Jesus Christ, admonishes us to put off the old man rooted in the evil ways of our fallen nature, and put on the new man that is established in the person and power of Jesus Christ (Colossians 3 with Galatians 5 & II Corinthians 5). Otherwise, we must content ourselves with remaining forever in unrighteousness and darkness outside the kingdom of God.

Now the works of the flesh are manifest,
which are these,
adultery,
fornication,
uncleanness,
lasciviousness,
idolatry,
witchcraft,
hatred,
variance,
emulations,
wrath,
strife,
seditions,
heresies,
envyings,
murders,
drunkenness,
revellings,
and such like;

Of the which I tell you before,
as I have also told you in time past,

That they which do such things shall
not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:19-21

While God could have promised us worlds without number, all filled with boundless riches and untold pleasures, instead in the beginning God chose to give us that which is most precious, that which is of greatest worth, the gift of His very own image manifest through His Holy Spirit in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. And in doing so, He provided us with the means whereby we might have full fellowship with Him in His glory, that we might fully commune with Him in all righteousness, peace, and joy in His Holy Ghost (cf. Romans 14:17).

By creating us in His own image, God predestined, even foreordained us to be like Himself. He purposed in His heart that we should abide in His fellowship forever. However, mankind became fallen through the deceitfulness of sin and was therefore cast out from God’s presence. Now, because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, we have been given the hope of being restored to God’s fellowship by being born again into His image by His Spirit through the baptism of Jesus Christ (Romans 5&6, Galatians 4&5 with John 14&15).

If we choose, however, to defile the image of God and act contrary to His character once Jesus Christ is revealed unto us and in us, if we disregard Him and cast off His image as if it were a thing of little or no worth to us, then we will remain in our fallen nature and inherit a place among all those who fight against God and His righteousness (cf. Hebrews 6:4-8). Plainly stated, we will suffer the wrath of God.

Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man,
whosoever thou art that thus judgest;
for wherein thou judgest another,
thou condemnest thyself;
for thou that judgest doest the same things.

But we are sure that the judgment of God
is according to truth against them which commit such things.

And thinkest thou this, O man,
that judgest them which do such things,
and doest the same,
that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?

Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness
and forbearance and long suffering;
not knowing that the goodness of God
leadeth thee to repentance?

But, after thy hardness and impenitent heart,
treasurest up unto thyself
wrath against the day of wrath
and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;

Who will render to every man according to his deeds;

To them who by patient continuance in well doing
seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life;

But unto them that are contentious,
and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness,
indignation and wrath,
tribulation and anguish,
upon every soul of man that doeth evil;

of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;

But glory, honor, and peace,
to every man that worketh good;
to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile;

For there is no respect of persons with God.

Romans 2:1-11

What about those individuals or peoples who have never known God, who have not heard of Jesus Christ and His teachings? God is just. Those who have done evil but have not known God, and that they were created in His image, will not receive the same severity of punishment received by those who have known Him but have failed to prepare themselves for His return (Romans 1:18-32).

And that servant who knew his Lord’s will,
and prepared not for his Lord’s coming,
neither did according to His will,
shall be beaten with many stripes.

But he that knew not his Lord’s will,
and did commit things worthy of stripes,
shall be beaten with few.

For unto whomsoever much is given,
of him shall much be required;
And to whom the Lord has committed much,
of him will men ask the more.

Luke 12:56,57

In other words, God reserves His wrath for those who know His will but who refuse or fail to prepare themselves to meet Him upon His return by failing to hope and trust to be like Jesus (e.g. Matthew 23 with I Thessalonians 4:3). The punishment is far less for those who do not know Him and do evil by their old nature. That is, those who know the truth but sin against it will experience a more severe judgment than those who do not know God and yet sin.

And we will go on unto perfection
if God permit.

For he hath made it impossible for those
who were once enlightened,
and have tasted of the heavenly gift,
and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
and have tasted the good word of God,
and the powers of the world to come,
If they shall fall away,
to be renewed again unto repentance;
seeing they crucify unto themselves the Son of God afresh,
and put him to an open shame.

For the day cometh that the earth
which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it,
and bringeth forth herbs meet for them who dwelleth thereon,
by whom it is dressed,
who now receiveth blessings from God,
shall be cleansed with fire.

For that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected,
and is nigh unto cursing;

Therefore they who bring not forth good fruits,
shall be cast into the fire;
for their end is to be burned.

Hebrews 6:4-8

Here is the patience of the saints;

Here are they that keep the commandments of God,
and the faith of Jesus.

Revelation 14:12

In summary, the wrath of God is reserved for the wicked (Job 21:30), those who are God’s enemies (Nahum 1:2), who are unjust (II Peter 2:9,17) and who do not love the truth nor choose to receive the love of the truth (Romans 1:16-18 & II Thessalonians 2:9-12 versus John 17:17).

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven
against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men;
who love not the truth, but remain in unrighteousness,
after that which may be known of God is manifest to them.

Romans 1:18,19

Yea, the Lord, even Jesus, whose coming is not until
after there cometh a falling away,
by the working of Satan with all power,
and signs and lying wonders,
and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness
in them that perish;
because they received not the love of the truth,
that they might be saved.

And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion,
that they should believe a lie;
that they all might be damned
who believed not the truth,
but had pleasure in unrighteousness
.

II Thessalonians 2:9-12

Every last person who has been created by God will be judged according to whom or what they worship and seek to serve, either secretly or openly. Those who do not worship God and receive God’s Spirit in their countenance will experience great sorrow for turning away from the greatest gift of all, the express image of God found only in the person of Jesus Christ. On the other hand (the right hand of God), those who worship the true and living God, those who receive His image into their countenance through the gift of His Spirit, and act accordingly, will be blessed forever (see Revelation 22, esp. vs. 4 in contrast to Revelation 14:9-12).

For since the beginning of the world
men have not heard,
nor perceived by the ear,
neither hath the eye seen, O God, besides thee,
what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.

Thou meetest him that worketh righteousness,
and rejoiceth him that remembereth thee in thy ways;

In righteousness there is continuance,
and such shall be saved.

Isaiah 64:4,5

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Question: Did God stop speaking after Christ ascended into Heaven?

Answer(s)[Printable Version]

No. God has not changed. He continues to speak. As it is written, Jesus Christ, who is the incarnate word of God, is the same yesterday, today, and forever (John 1:1-16 & Hebrews 13:8). He never ceases being the Word of God (Malachi 3:6 with Psalm 119 & Isaiah 55:10,11). As He has spoken in times past, so shall He speak to us today and on into the future (Isaiah 9:6,7 with John 20:21-31). And we should be very thankful that He does. For as it is written, man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live (Deuteronomy 8:3). To conclude otherwise is to deny that Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd and Bishop of our souls (John 10:11-16 with I Peter 2:25). His sheep in all ages have known (those in the past), do know (those in the present), and will know (those in the future) His voice and, accordingly, have, are, and will follow Him (John 10:2-4).

A review of all scripture clearly shows that God is a living God, One who is continually engaged in and with His creation; One who continually performs and confirms all of His works and words through His spoken Word, Jesus Christ (Genesis 1 – Revelation 22). Therefore, it is vital that we recall the words of Jesus which He spoke to two of His disciples as they walked together along the road to Emmaus following His resurrection. He said, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” (Luke 24:24). So that we may not be considered by our Lord to be fools and slow of heart to believe, should we not read and study the scriptures which His Holy Spirit has caused to be written and preserved for our benefit and edification (cf. I Corinthians 10:11, II Timothy 3:16,17, II Thessalonians 5:16-21, II Peter 1:16-21, etc.)?

 

While I find it best to read and study scriptures in printed form, if you do not have a set of scriptures, throughout much of the world, the free world at least, access to scriptures is readily available via the World Wide Web on the Internet. Here are two examples of the many excellent websites providing open and convenient access to the scriptures and many commentaries through easy-to-use search options:

However, please keep in mind that while search programs are convenient, it is imparative that we do not come to rely upon them to routinely find words or passages of scriptures. For it is written:

Thus saith the Lord;

Cursed be the man that trusteth in man,
and maketh flesh his arm;

And the man whose heart departeth from the Lord.

Jeremiah 17:5

Rather, we must come to rely upon the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of truth, to bring our Lord’s words to our remembrance and, thereby, guide us into all truth in the presence of our Heavenly Father. For as it is also written:

Jesus saith unto him,

I am the way, the truth, and the life;

No man cometh unto the Father,
but by me.

John 14:6

If you love me,
keep my commandments.

And I will pray the Father,
and he shall give you another Comforter,
that he may abide with you forever;

Even the Spirit of truth;
whom the world cannot receive,
because it seeth him not,
neither knoweth him;

But ye know him;
for he dwelleth with you,
and shall be in you.

I will not leave you comfortless;

I will come to you.

John 14:15-18

These things have I spoken unto you,
being yet present with you

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost,
whom the Father will send in my name,
He shall teach you all things,
and bring all things to your remembrance,
whatsoever I have said unto you.

John 14:25,26

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come
he will guide you into all truth;

For he shall not speak of himself;
but whatsoever he shall hear,
that shall he speak;

and he will show you things to come.

He shall glorify me;
for he shall receive of mine,
and shall show it unto you.

John 16:13,14

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Question: Do our works affect our salvation?

Answer(s)[Printable Version]

Yes. God created us with the ability to choose to obey Him or to defy Him and, thus, to do good works or to do evil works. As such, we will receive our eternal reward based upon the works (deeds) we have done in this life. However, there is more to the question of works that we must consider when attempting to address the effect of works on salvation.

Jesus Christ forever answered any and all questions about works when He declared, “for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). Any work we may do that is not a fruit of His Spirit at work within us is a dead work, and is to be repented of because it is a corrupt work of the flesh (Hebrews 6:1 & 9:14 with Galatians 5). In contrast, those works that come of His Spirit working within and through us are good works that bring glory to God and are not to be repented of (Matthew 5, John 14:10-12 & II Corinthians 7:10 with Ephesians 2:10 & Isaiah 26:12 & 57:19).

For we are His workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus unto good works,
which God hath before ordained
that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

Briefly comprehended, we are not saved by any works we may do (Ephesians 2:8,9, Romans 3-5). Rather, we are saved to be created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (cf. Titus 1-3 & I Corinthians 5 with Matthew 25 & John 3,13-17; see also Hebrews 10:16-25). That is, from the beginning God intended – and still intends – for us to bring forth good works (fruits), but onlythrough the means He has provided for us to do so, meaning through Jesus Christ (I John 4:9-5:1 with John 15:1-17).

And this I pray,
that your love may abound yet more and more
in knowledge and in all judgment;

That ye may approve things that are excellent;
that ye may be sincere and
without offense till the day of Christ;

Being filled with the fruits of righteousness,
which are by Jesus Christ,
unto the glory and praise of God.

Philippians 1:9-11

In this was manifested the love of God toward us,
because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world,
that we might live through him.

I John 4:9

Again, any good works that we may do will be the fruit of God’s Son working within us, and it will thus bring glory to His name (Philippians 2:1-13).

By testifying that He created us in His own image (Genesis 1:27), God has assured us that He has a purpose for our lives, that is, to fulfill His good will and pleasure within and through us (cf. Matthew 5-7 & John 14,15; see also Philippians 2:12,13). The fruits of the good works He performs in our lives are to be good works that He also reveals. They are meant to be the fruits of His faithful labors (Philippians 1:6-11). Again, as it is written, we are His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). Our job, then, is to cooperate with God by yielding Him the fruit of His labors performed within us.

Wherefore, my beloved,
as ye have always obeyed,
not as in my presence only,
but now much more in my absence,

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;
For it is God which worketh in you
both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Do all things without murmurings and disputings;
that ye may be blameless and harmless,
the sons of God,
without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation,
among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

Holding forth the word of life;
that I may rejoice in the day of Christ,
that I have not run in vain,
neither labored in vain.

Philippians 2:12-16

The works we perform of our own abilities (separate of Christ) are not to be, nor can they be the foundation or basis of our salvation, nor can they even be a contribution to our faith unto salvation (Galatians1-3, Ephesians 2 with Isaiah 64:6). Rather, the good works God causes to be born and developed in and through us are the evidence of our faith in Jesus Christ; that is, they are the evidence of our salvation (Hebrews 11:1 with John 15:1-8).

Baptism, for example, is to be the revelation of Christ taking up residence within us. It testifies of His death and resurrection. It reveals that He has brought us into His death to sin and His resurrection unto a new life free of sin, one that is found only in Him. Thus, true baptism comes of yielding our lives unto Him through faith on His name, which brings the resident power of His indwelling Spirit (Philippians 3-4).

Know ye not,
that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ
were baptized into his death?

Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism into death;
that like as Christ was raised up from the dead
by the glory of the Father,
even so we should walk in newness of life.

For if we have been planted together
in the likeness of his death,
we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection;

Know this, that our old man is crucified with him,
that the body of sin might be destroyed,
that henceforth we should not serve sin.

For he that is dead to sin is freed from sin.

Now if we be dead with Christ,
we believe that we shall also live with him;

Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead
dieth no more;
death hath no more dominion over him.

For in that he died, he died unto sin once;
but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves
to be dead indeed unto sin,
but alive unto God
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:3-11

The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also save us,
(not the putting away of the filth of the flesh,
but the answer of a good conscience toward God,)

By the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I Peter 3:21

And the firstfruits of repentance is baptism,

And baptism cometh by faith,
unto the fulfilling the commandments,

And the fulfilling the commandments
bringeth remission of sins,

And the remission of sins
bringeth meekness and lowliness of heart,

And because of meekness and lowliness of heart
cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost,

Which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love,

Which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the
end shall come when all the saints shall dwell with God.

Moroni 8:29

Thus we may know that we are brought into the provisions of God’s salvation when we bear God the fruit (good works) of His Son in our lives (I John).

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love one to another.

John 13:35

By this we know that we love the children of God,
when we love God, and keep his commandments.

I John 5:2

For Jesus has said of His sheep, they know His voice, and He knows them, and they follow Him.

My sheep hear my voice,
and I know them,
and they follow me;

And I give unto them eternal life;
and they shall never perish,
neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

My Father, which gave them me,
is greater than all;
and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

I and my Father are one.

John 10:27-30

By these words we learn of three important factors that are essential for our salvation: 1) hearing His voice, 2) being known to Him as one of His sheep, and 3) following Him. To appreciate these three factors further, recall how Jesus also said:

I am the True Vine,
and my Father is the husbandman.

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit
he taketh away;

And every branch that beareth fruit,
he purgeth it,
that it may bring forth more fruit.

Now ye are clean
through the word
which I have spoken unto you.

Abide 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.

I am the vine,

Ye are the branches.

He that abideth in me,
and I in him,
the same bringeth forth much fruit;

For without me ye can do nothing.

If a man abide 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.

If ye abide in me,
and my words abide in you,
ye shall ask what ye will,
and it shall be done unto you.

Herein is my Father glorified,
that ye bear much fruit;
So shall ye be my disciples.

John 15:1-8

As taught here, our being grafted in Jesus Christ involves keeping His words, loving Him unto the keeping of His commandments, and abiding in Him. It involves hearing His voice, being known to Him (“I know my sheep…“), and following Him.

Jesus Christ alone is able to give us a new birth, a spiritual birth (John 3, I Peter 1, James 1, etc.). It is in and through Him alone that can we become new creatures (Romans 6, Galatians 5, Colossians 3, etc.). And only by being grafted into Him can we bear much fruit to the glory of our Heavenly Father (John 15:1-8). As stewards of God, then, each and every one of us must prepare ourselves to come before Him to give an accounting of those things He has placed in our charge (I Corinthians 12 with Hebrews 6). Only by yielding Him the fruit of His Spirit, will we fulfill His will in our lives (Romans 13).

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,
that everyone may receive a reward
for the deeds done in the body;

Things according to what he hath done,
whether good or bad.

II Corinthians 5:10

When the Son of Man shall come in his glory,
and all the holy angels with him,

Then he shall sit upon the throne of his glory;

And before him shall be gathered all nations;
and he shall separate them one from another,
as a shepherd divideth sheep from the goats;
the sheep on his right hand,
but the goats on his left.

And he shall sit upon his throne,
and the twelve apostles with him.

Then shall the king say unto them on his right hand,
Come, ye blessed of my Father,
inherit the kingdom prepared for you
from the foundation of the world.

For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat;
I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink;
I was a stranger, and ye took me in;
naked, and ye clothed me;
I was sick, and ye visited me;
I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying,
Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee;
or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
When saw we thee a stranger,
and took thee in; or naked, and clothed thee?
Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison,
and came unto thee?

And the king shall answer and say unto them,

Verily I say unto you,
inasmuch as ye have done it unto one
of the least of these my brethren,
ye have done it unto me.

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand,

Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire,
prepared for the devil and his angels.

For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat;
I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink;
I was a stranger, and ye took me not in;
naked, and ye clothed me not;
sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

Then shall they also answer him, saying,

Lord, when saw we thee an hungered,
or athirst, or a stranger, or naked,
or sick, or in prison,
and did not minister unto thee?

Then shall he answer them, saying,
Verily I say unto you,
Inasmuch as ye did it not
to one of the least of these my brethren,
ye did it not unto me.

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment;
but the righteous into life eternal.

Matthew 25:32-47

Hereby perceive we the love of Christ,
because he laid down his life for us;
and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

But whoso hath this world’s good,
and seeth his brother have need,
and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him,
how dwelleth the love of God in him?

My little children,
let us not love in word, neither in tongue only;
but in deed and in truth.

I John 3:16-18

Our Redeemer Lord, Jesus Christ, came into the world to destroy the works of the devil (I John 3:7-10). He came to take away our old sin nature and replace it with a new nature which bears Him the fruit of His Spirit, that is, good works (Galatians 5, Ephesians 6 with II Corinthians 5). Jesus Christ came to create in us good works through His baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost (Mark 1, Acts 1-5, John 14). He came to give us His Holy Spirit of truth whereby we may grow and abide in His love unto unfeigned and fervent love of each other (Romans 5:5, I Peter 1:22,23, John 13:34,35, John 15:1-17).

By being born again of the Lord’s Holy Spirit, we become new creatures in Christ by old things passing away (II Corinthians 5, Colossians 3). We are created in Jesus Christ unto good works, in part, so that the world may know God and believe that He sent His Only Begotten Son into the world to save the world from sin (John 13-17). Therefore, whosoever believes on Him will not perish but shall have everlasting life (John 3, Ephesians 2).

Jesus Christ started and finished the work necessary for our redemption and salvation (Mark 1, John 19, Philippians 1). He redeemed mankind from the fall (Romans 5). Jesus alone could and did atone for our sins by offering Himself as an infinite and eternal sacrifice for sin (Alma 16:210-217, II Nephi 6:10-19). He alone was found worthy to satisfy the demands of divine justice so that the arm of divine mercy could be extended unto us on the conditions of repentance (Revelation 5, Alma 16, Romans 5, Helaman 2).

We cannot add to or take away from the work of atoning for our sins, which work was carried out by Jesus Christ. Redemption and salvation are found in Him alone. No flesh will glory in His presence (I Corinthians 1). He has tread the winepress alone (Isaiah 63:3 & Revelation 19:15). The work of salvation that Jesus has accomplished is perfect and lacks nothing. It needs nothing from us.

Does this mean everyone is automatically saved? No. For the atoning blood of Jesus Christ to be applied to us, we must respond to the invitation, the call, the command of God to be gathered into His sheepfold (John 10). We must accept and abide in His words (Matthew 7). We must continue in His Word (Luke 6). We must watch unto prayer (Luke 21:36 with Luke 8 & 14). We must hearken unto His voice. We must believe all that has been written about Jesus and grow in His grace (Luke 24:24-26, II Peter 3:17,18).

Salvation from the desperate condition of our fallen natures and God’s judgment against all sin required the intervention of an Intercessor Redeemer, One who would offer an atonement for sin (Romans 5-8). Thus, in Jesus Christ, God has given us our stewardship in the form of many gifts by which we may bring forth the works of righteousness. He will hold us accountable for how we have applied them (Matthew 25). Thus, in Christ, we will be judged and rewarded according to our submission to His will (Galatians 6:7-9 with Romans 6:16).

God ever always labors with and among us in such a way that He retains forever His judgment seat. At the same time, God ever always labors with and among us in such a way that He retains forever His mercy seat. In doing so He is able to hold us accountable for our actions while offering us mercy according to the conditions of repentance while it is yet called Today (I John 1,2, Hebrews 3 & 4 with Matthew 25).

In summary, through His Spirit, our Lord works out His perfecting will within and through our lives, revealing His will and purposes for us (Philippians 2, I John 3, James 1, etc.). As members of His church (body), our duty before the Lord is to yield to His Lordship, to be His body through whom He performs His good works in this world today (Matthew 5 & 25, John 14, Colossians 1, etc.). Herein, Jesus said, is His Father glorified, that we bear much fruit, specifically the fruit of His Spirit (John 15 with Galatians 5). More on this topic may be found in the following links:

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Question: Does God love us unconditionally?

Answer(s)[Printable Version]

No. God loves us with His covenant love, which is a sacrificial, redeeming love that binds our hearts together in true love for Him and for each other by faith in Jesus Christ.

For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you,
and for them at Laodicea,
and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;

That their hearts might be comforted,
being knit together in love,

and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding,
to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God and of Christ,
who is of God, even the Father.

Colossians 2:1-2

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved,
bowels of mercies, kindness,
humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering;

Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another,
if any man have a quarrel against any;
even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

And above all these things put on charity,
which is the bond of perfectness.

Colossians 3:12-14

To understand the importance of this distinction, consider how John, the Apostle of Jesus Christ, wrote that God is light before he wrote God is love (I John 4:8,16)

This then is the message
which we have heard of Him,
and declare unto you,
that God is light,
and in Him is no darkness at all.

If we say that we have fellowship with Him,
and walk in darkness,
we lie, and do not the truth.

But if we walk in the light,
as He is in the light,
we have fellowship one with another,
and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son
cleanseth us from all sin.

If we say that we have no sin,
we deceive ourselves,
and the truth is not in us.

If we confess our sins,
He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If we say that we have not sinned,
we make Him a liar,
and His word is not in us.

My little children,
these things write I unto you,
that ye sin not.

But if any man sin and repent,
we have an Advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ the righteous;

And He is the propitiation for our sins;
and not for ours only,
but also for the sins of the whole world.

And hereby we do know that we know Him,
if we keep His commandments.

He that saith,
I know Him,
and keepeth not His commandments,
is a liar,
and the truth is not in him.

But whoso keepeth His word,
in him verily is the love of God perfected;

Hereby know we that we are in Him.

I John 1:5-2:5

These qualifying statements made by John, which are emphasized by the frequent use of the word “if,” clearly outline for us the conditions by which we may abide in God’s fellowship and thus in His love. Briefly comprehended, those who walk in the light as God is in the light have true fellowship with God. Conversely, those who lie and do not the truth (i.e. those who walk in darkness by not keeping God’s word of truth) do not have true fellowship with God.

Therefore it is vital that we understand that John’s declaration, God is light, is as important as his declaration, God is love. God is, at the same time, both light and love. Nothing we have done or will ever do can change the true nature and character of God. Consequently, no one should expect to abide in God’s love except they are also willing and committed to abide in His light. As such, it is a very cruel thing to tell people about the love of God without first telling them, as John has done, about the light of God. For as long as a person or group of people choose to remain in darkness, they shall remain outside God’s fellowship.

By remembering that before John wrote God is love he wrote God is light, we are able to keep John’s message that God is love in its proper perspective and balance. Without holding the declaration that God is light equal in significance to the declaration that God is love, we will get out of step with Jesus Christ by failing to observe the proper order for entering into and continuing in God’s fellowship and thus in His love. We will have an unbalanced understanding and view of God and the covenant relationship (fellowship) He calls us into with Himself and with each other.

Recall how the night of His betrayal by one of His apostles, Jesus Christ spoke plainly to His remaining eleven apostles about His love for them, a love He described as being the greatest love of all (implying lesser types of love do exist). He spoke of a sacrificial love, one that was to be revealed by the laying down of His life for His friends.

This is my commandment,
That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his life for his friends.

John 15:12,13

Jesus did not stop here in describing His greaterlove, however. As recorded in the next verse, He went on to clarify that this wondrous, unique love is reserved for His friends, meaning those who do whatsoever He, as their Lord, commands them:

Ye are my friends,
if ye do whatsoever I command you.

John 15:14

Together, His words read:

Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Ye are my friends,
if ye do whatsoever I command you.

John 15:13,14

The message is unmistakable, unambiguous. The promise of our Lord’s love is to those who obey Him and to those who seek so to do.

Jesus spoke these words the night of the Passover meal (commonly known as the Last Supper). Given the setting and the emphasis on friendship based in obedience, it is evident that our Lord was not speaking of unconditional love (which, by definition, knows no covenant terms or conditions). Rather, Jesus was speaking of covenant love, the love He expressed in establishing the New Covenant (Testament) through the shedding of His blood for His friends, that is, for those who love Him unto the keeping of His words to the honor and glory of His Heavenly Father.

When teaching that we are to abide in His love through keeping His commandments, Jesus explained that this is, in very fact, the way He abides in His Heavenly Father’s love, i.e. by keeping His Father’s commandments.

Therefore doth my Father love me,
because
I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

No man taketh it from me,
but I lay it down of myself.

I have power to lay it down,
and I have power to take it again.

This commandment have I received of my Father.

John 10:17,18

If ye keep my commandments,
ye shall abide in my love;
even as I have kept my Father’s commandments,
and abide in his love
.

John 15:10

In saying “even as,” Jesus made it abundantly clear that we are to follow Him in His example of obedience. Therefore, if we obey Him by keeping His words, Jesus assures us that we will abide in His love.

Just prior to stating these words, Jesus made it clear that if obedience (unto keeping His words, teachings, etc.) is the form and quality of our love expressed towards God – to His honor and glory – Jesus and His Father in heaven will love us and will make their abode with us. Only in and through this means (upon these conditions) does our Lord promise us that we may abide in His love.

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them,
he it is that loveth me;

And he that loveth me
shall be loved of my Father,
and I will love him
,
and will manifest myself to him.

If a man love me,
he will keep my words;
and my Father will love him,
and we will come unto him,
and make our abode with him
.

John 14:21,23

John reinforced Jesus’ teaching on God’s love and the keeping of His words by saying that this is, in very fact, the love of God, that we keep His commandments.

By this we know that we love the children of God,
when we love God,
and keep his commandments.

For this is the love of God,
that we keep his commandments
;
and his commandments are not grievous.

I John 5:2,3

Thus it is written, the Lord became the author of eternal salvation to those who obey Him (Hebrews 5:9); and, He loveth them which will have Him to be their God (I Nephi 5:131; cf. Deuteronomy 5:9).

For thou art a holy people unto the Lord thy God;
the Lord thy God hath chosen thee
to be a special people unto himself,
above all people that are upon the face of the earth.

The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you,
because ye were more in number than any people;
for ye were the fewest of all people;

But because the Lord loved you,
and because he would keep the oath
which he had sworn unto your fathers,
hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand,
and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen,
from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God,
the faithful God,
which keepeth covenant and mercy
with them that love him and keep his commandments
to a thousand generations;

And repayeth them that hate him to their face,
to destroy them;
he will not be slack to him that hateth him,
he will repay him to his face.

Deuteronomy 7:6-10

Unconditional love is antithetical to these truths. It proposes to abide with everyone without any consideration as to whether or not we love and obey the true and living God through keeping His commandments and instructions in the light of truth. Thus Jesus asks:

And why call ye me Lord, Lord,
and do not the things which I say?

Luke 6:46

If Jesus did not teach unconditional love, from where then does the teaching that God loves us unconditionally come? Paul, the apostle of Jesus Christ, warned that before our Lord returns, Satan would attempt to exalt himself above God and appear as God in God’s own temple, the church (II Thessalonians 2:1-12). Because God is love, the devil is attempting to supplant God with his own ideal of love, a love that would rob justice and dismiss the mercy extended to us through the atonement of Jesus Christ. In other words, in his rebellion against God, Satan invented unconditional love to rival God’s covenant love. Within and through the church, Satan is seeking to replace the redemptive covenant love of our Lord and Savior with a love that has no covenant terms and conditions. That is, he proposes to love the world with a covenant-breaking love.

Perpetrating a deception about the love of God would be one of the highest, most decisive and influential forms of deception Satan could ever hope to achieve, especially within and through the church. Therefore, knowing that his time is short, Satan and his servants are working harder than ever to deceive the nations, including the elect if possible, about God and His love. They are attempting to marginalize the conditions of repentance by which Jesus Christ has power to redeem mankind (Helaman 2:73 & 5:65-74). Notwithstanding Satan’s efforts at deceiving the nations, the Lord has called His priesthood in these last days to preach repentance and faith in Jesus Christ so that all people may know the conditions by which they may be saved.

Behold, this is my doctrine:

Whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me,
the same is my church;

Whosoever declareth more or less than this,
the same is not of me, but is against me;
therefore, he is not of my church.

D&C 3:16

Say nothing but repentance unto this generation.

D&C 10:4b

And now, behold, I say unto you,
that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you,
will be to declare repentance unto this people,
that you may bring souls unto me,
that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father.

Amen.

D&C 13:3

Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;
for, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh;
wherefore he suffered the pain of all men,
that all men might repent and come unto him.

And he hath risen again from the dead,
that he might bring all men unto him
on conditions of repentance.

D&C 16:3c,d

Call upon the nations to repent,
both old and young, both bond and free; saying,

Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord:
for if I, who am a man, do lift up my voice
and call upon you to repent, and ye hate me,
what will ye say when the day cometh
when the thunders shall utter their voices
from the ends of the earth,
speaking to the ears of all that live, saying:

Repent, and prepare for the great day of the Lord;

Yea, and again, when the lightnings
shall streak forth from the east unto the west,
and shall utter forth their voices unto all that live,
and make the ears of all tingle, that hear, saying these words:

Repent ye, for the great day of the Lord is come.

D&C 43:5d-g

And it shall come to pass
that they shall go forth into the regions round about,
and preach repentance unto the people.

D&C 44:2b

Let them preach by the way,
and bear testimony of the truth in all places,
and call upon the rich, the high,
and the low, and the poor,
to repent;

And let them build up churches,
inasmuch as the inhabitants of the earth will repent.

D&C 58:9g

More on this topic is provided in the following articles:

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Question: Why do bad things happen in the world?

Answer(s)[Printable Version]

The possibility for both good and evil to exist in this world is the result of God’s unique ability and choice to create stewards who actually have the capacity to be stewards over all that He chooses to entrust into their care. God has created humans as well as angels to hold stewardship responsibilities before Him (cf. Romans 8:19-23).

As stewards, all of us are able to honor and conform to God’s will or to defy God and rebel against His will.

The result or outcome of this investment of stewardship by God in humanity as well as angels is evidenced in the world about us. That is, all that is happening around us comes not only from God but also from all stewards He has assigned various stewardships pertaining to this world. Consequently, not everything that occurs in this world, or in heaven for that matter, occurs according to God’s will or plan. Rather, much of what we have to deal with in this life is the result of the actions and decisions of other stewards exercising their stewardship (agency), whether in accordance to His will or in defiance of His will.

Being created a steward does not mean we are free to do whatsoever we please without being held accountable for our decisions and actions. God fully intends to hold each steward accountable for whatsoever he or she is to manage according to their God-given stewardships (I Corinthians 3:12-4:5, II Corinthians 5:10, Matthew 25, etc.). Until that day in which He will bring everyone before Him to give an accounting of their stewardship(s), God ensures that each of us have sufficient space and time to exercise our stewardships; this includes the love of our hearts (cf. Matthew 22:34-39 with II Thessalonians 2:9-12).

While God is capable of intervening in every aspect of our lives, He resists doing so. The reason? He is intent on maintaining the stewardship He gives each one of us. If He does intervene, He does so only according to His wisdom and His plan for His creation. Remember, He does nothing expect it is for the benefit of the world.

For behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you
that the Lord God worketh not in darkness;

He doeth not anything,
save it be for the benefit of the world,

For He loveth the world, even that He layeth down
His own life that He may draw all men unto Him.

II Nephi 11:95,96

God is at work in and through all things. While Satan and his servants are intent to bring about evil (cf. Genesis 50:20 & Job 2:3 with Revelation 2:10), God is able to use the expressions and impacts of their stewardships on others for both His immediate purposes as well as for the final intent unto which He has created all things (Romans 8:28). For this is His work and glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (D&C 22:23b). More on this topic is provided in the following articles:

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Question: Should I live in the “fear of the Lord?”

Answer(s)[Printable Version]

Yes. References to the fear of the Lord are found throughout scripture. Statements such as, “In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence,” and “The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,” are suggestive of a constructive principle, not a destructive or negative one. This is because the fear of the Lord involves our yielding to God as the sole or chief motivating factor in our lives, a positive factor that directs our approach to how we live our lives, including our beliefs and actions. This is in direct opposition to allowing other people and our circumstances dictate how we live or react to life. The fear of the Lord sets us free from the dictates of peer pressure, for example, and from the winds of doctrine that tend to drive us in destructive directions.

As opposed to fearing other people, the fear of the Lord involves keeping our focus on the Lord and how He thinks and views life, i.e. by keeping Him and His ways foremost in our thoughts. Living in the fear of the Lord involves being preoccupied with what God thinks of our conversations, actions, intents, and thoughts – as opposed to being preoccupied with what other people may think about us, our words, or our behavior.

To illustrate this practical understanding, think of your past conversations with people you like and respect, whose friendship you value and wish to keep. Note any tendencies to be careful how you phrase your statements, perhaps to be agreeable to retain their approval. With such people we may also be tempted to say things we would not say otherwise, e.g. to shade the truth or use language that we do not ordinarily use, or to even put down other people or things that the individuals in the group we wish to impress do not favor, etc., all in an effort to maintain a relationship with them.

Next, consider conversations you may have had with those you wish to gain as friends. In such cases, there may be a tendency to exaggerate or shade the truth that may help you win a relationship or to avoid conflict or embarrassment.

Further, consider how you may have carefully framed your words around those you do not trust or those who have hurt you. In such cases there may be a tendency to speak in a guarded manner, even to the point of covering up your true feelings.

In each of these situations, our circumstances can dictate our response and patterns of behavior. When they do, we are driven to conform to the will of those around us, allowing ourselves to become dependent upon what others may think, or at least what we believe they may think.

The fear of the Lord frees us of such dependencies and forces. In contrast to having our behaviors so motivated and controlled by others, when the fear of the Lord operates in our lives we fix our thoughts upon God and His word. We place what and how God thinks about a matter as the foundation of our conversation rather than serve others by attempting to please them in a manner we believe will please them.
The fear of the Lord is to place God first in our thoughts. It is to think more highly of His thoughts than the thoughts of our friends, those we wish to impress, and our enemies.

With the fear of the Lord operating in our lives, we are more concerned with God’s thoughts about us than what people may think about us. Thus we become more consistent in our attitudes towards others. Our thoughts and actions become motivated, not by the fear of others, but by faith in God and His integrity and wisdom. The basis of our judgments becomes founded on principles He teaches: justice, mercy and humility, wisdom, and sound judgment. More on this topic is provided in the following articles:

  • Practicing the Fear of the Lord
  • Enoch had the Testimony that He Pleased God
  • Paul: One Who Chose to Please God Rather than Men
  • “How are You Treating the World?” vs. “How is the World Treating You?”

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Question: Are confidences (secret trusts) a part of the plan of salvation?

Answer(s)[Printable Version]

No. For years, those who have kept confidences (secret trusts of confidentiality), especially among the priesthood, were considered faithful and trustworthy among the people. However, this is not the way God views the matter.

In His kingdom on earth, Zion, there will be no confidences. We must begin now to prepare ourselves to live honestly and perfectly in the light of truth (i.e. in the Light of Jesus Christ) so that when our Lord returns we may abide with Him in His kingdom. For we have true fellowship with Him and each other only if we walk in the light as He is in the light (I John 1).

Those ordained to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ are to preach nothing but repentance and faith on our Lord. Those who enter into confidences are walking in darkness at noonday, not having faith to walk in the light. By entering into secret agreements or arrangements with those to whom they have been sent to minister, they are obligating themselves to other men over God. Thus, when the Spirit of the Lord moves upon them, those who are bound by confidence must consider whether or not their obedience to the Lord would compromise a confidence. Placing oneself in such a predicament is unconscionable to a servant of the Lord. By restricting themselves to serve men over God, can they really be the servant of the Lord? Paul’s confidence was that if he chose to please men, he should not be the servant of Christ.

For do I now please men, or God?
or do I seek to please men?

For if I yet pleased men,
I should not be the servant of Christ.

Galatians 1:10

While we all have been called to place our confidence in the Lord, none have been commanded to enter into confidences with each other. Instead, all are to warn the nations of our Lord’s return, at which time He will cause all peoples to be brought before Him to be judged according to their deeds done in the flesh – including all their secret acts and the thoughts and intents of their hearts, which He has said will be declared from the housetops.

Again, priesthood members are called to speak with the warning voice, which was commissioned by Jesus Christ to go forth in these latter days (D&C 1:1). They are not called to enter into confidences with those to whom they are to preach repentance. Such confidences are tantamount to secret combinations.

What about privacy? The call of repentance is not a call to confess the sins of others. It is a call to confess our own sins. Private matters should remain private and not gossiped about. But they are not to be kept as confidences, lest individual priesthood members become compromised by obliging themselves to keep the evil secrets of individual church members – as opposed to remaining at liberty to obey the instruction of the Spirit of truth in calling everyone to repentance (John 16:7-11). At the same time, remember also that those who sin in private are to be reproved in private. Those who sin in public are to be reproved in public (D&C 42:23).

What about personal, private matters? They are just that, personal and private. But problems arise when we confuse addressing sin with dealing in personal, private matters. Too often a false cover for sin is cloaked under the cover and claim of privacy.

Sin is a leavening agent that must be rooted out of the church. When it is embedded in personal, private matters, the only way to deal with it righteously is according to the scriptures. For someone caught in sin, claiming privacy in the matter is convenient. Nonetheless, each one’s sin must be dealt with according to the doctrine and gospel of Jesus Christ.

Satan tempts us to hide our sins by confusing such matters through blurring the lines between privacy and sin. His aim is to bind priesthood and church member alike by keeping them bound in sin.

For a healthy, balanced perspective on these matters, recall how God sent Nathan to David (II Samuel 12) and John to Herod (John 14) to testify of their sins. Recall further how Jesus testified of the sins of the world (John 7:7). Our Lord likewise sends His servants, the priesthood, to call everyone to repent of their sins and return to the truth. The wicked will be angered at the revelation of truth, while those who embrace the truth will hold fast to God’s Word by repenting of their sins so they may walk with Him in His light.

Just as those who came to John (Matthew 3, Mark 1) for baptism came to him confessing their sins, so likewise those who truly seek Jesus today will come to Him and His servants confessing their sins (cf. Acts 2 & 3). This truth points us to how we may know that someone has truly embraced the truth and departed from sin:

By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins.
Behold, he will confess them and forsake them.

DC 58:9d

And again, I will give unto you a pattern in all things,
that ye may not be deceived;

For Satan is abroad in the land,
and he goeth forth deceiving the nations;

Wherefore he that prayeth whose spirit is contrite,
the same is accepted of me,
if he obey mine ordinances.

He that speaketh, whose spirit is contrite,
whose language is meek, and edifieth,
the same is of God,
if he obey mine ordinances.

And again, he that trembleth under my power
shall be made strong,
and shall bring forth fruits of praise, and wisdom,
according to the revelations and truths
which I have given you.

And again, he that is overcome
and bringeth not forth fruits,
  even according to this pattern,
is not of me;

Wherefore by this pattern
ye shall know the spirits in all cases,
under the whole heavens.

And the days have come,
according to men’s faith it shall be done unto them.

Behold, this commandment is given unto all the elders
whom I have chosen.

DC 52:4b-5b

In summary, confidences are not a part of the gospel of salvation preached by Jesus Christ and His faithful servants. Rather, confidences are one of the many false traditions and doctrines that have hindered the progress of the members of the church of Jesus Christ in embracing the truth and looking upward in these latter days. Therefore, this practice must be repented of, both by priesthood and member alike. Remember the words of Jesus Christ: this is the condemnation, that men love darkness more than light (John 3:19,20). Confidences can only serve to keep souls trapped and drowning in a sea of darkness, under the condemnation of sin. See the following links for further discussion on this topic.

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Question: Is Moroni 10:3-8 scripturally sound?

Answer(s)[Printable Version]

Yes, as shown in the following article, Moroni 10:3-8 represents sound doctrine that is consistent with the teachings recorded in the New Testament of the Bible.

In fact, a review of the scriptures confirms that the injunction to ask God to reveal the truthfulness of the witness found in the Book of Mormon by the power of the Holy Ghost follows scriptural teachings and principles found throughout the Bible (e.g. I Thessalonians 5:21, II Timothy 3:14-17, etc.).

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Question: Does the Book of Mormon teach racism?

Answer(s)

No. In fact, quite the opposite is true. The Book of Mormon authors affirm the equality of all peoples in the sight of God.  Consider the following quotes:

“Behold, the Lord esteemeth all flesh in one;

I Nephi 5:121

Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh;
and all things are given them which are expedient unto man.

And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life,
through the great mediation of all men,

or to choose captivity and death,
according to the captivity and power of the devil:

II Nephi 1:119,120

And he doeth nothing save it be
plain unto the children of men;

And he inviteth them all to come unto him,
and partake of his goodness;

And he denieth none that come unto him,
black and white,
bond and free,
male and female;

And he remembereth the heathen,
and all are alike unto God,
both Jew and Gentile.

II Nephi 11:112-115

And now I desire that this inequality
should be no more in this land,
especially among this my people;

But I desire that this land be a land of liberty,
and every man may enjoy his rights and privileges alike,
so long as the Lord sees fit,
that we may live and inherit the land;

Yea, even as long as any of our posterity remains
upon the face of the land.

Mosiah 13:44-46

Behold, I speak with boldness,
having authority from God;

For I fear not what man can do;
For perfect love casteth out all fear;

And I am filled with charity,
which is everlasting love;

Wherefore, all children are alike unto me;
Wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love;
And they are all alike and partakers of salvation;

For I know that God is not a partial God,
neither a changeable Being,

But He is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.

Moroni 8:18,19

Why then does the Book of Mormon include the following statement?

Wherefore, as they were white,
and exceeding fair and delightsome,

that they might not be enticing unto my people,
the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.

II Nephi 4:35

It is helpful to recognize that similar statements, which reference white and black, are made in the Bible, and that such statements are often related to a person’s spiritual, emotional, and/or physical condition(s), not his or her genetic makeup. Consider, for example:

And he said, Go thy way, Daniel;
for the words are closed up and
sealed till the time of the end.

Many shall be purified,
and made white,
and tried;

but the wicked shall do wickedly;
and none of the wicked shall understand;

but the wise shall understand.

Daniel 12:9,10

The harvest is past,
the summer is ended,
and we are not saved.

For the hurt of the daughter
of my people am I hurt;

I am black;
astonishment hath taken hold on me.

Is there no balm in Gilead;
is there no physician there?
why then is not the health
of the daughter of my people recovered?

Jeremiah 8:21

For further discussion on this question and the related scriptures, select the article linked here:

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