Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Earning Condemnation

All mankind is fallen. This is a tenet of every Christian religion or denomination of which I am familiar. But the Bible also teaches that through Jesus Christ, all mankind has been made right with God.

When I tell people this, especially non-LDS, they want to argue the point. Because I would rather discuss than argue, I just turn to the scriptures, and let them defend me:

Yes, Adam's one sin brought condemnation upon everyone, but Christ's one act of righteousness makes all people right in God's sight and gives them life.(Romans 5:18, NLT)
This would seem to present a significant problem for folks who believe God doesn't really want to save ALL of his children. Don't misunderstand me, Paul is developing a masterful doctrine of LDS salvation between Romans 1 to Romans 8. Being made right, or justified (as many translations render it) is not of permanent duration, and so Romans 6 teaches that even those who believe in Christ will be condemned if they do not obey Christ.

But that is the rub. How can one "obey" anything, if, as many supposed "Christians" teach, God has set in people, without their choosing, hearts which are totally depraved of righteous desires to follow Christ?

In the Old Testament, God teaches that there is a statute for dealing with accidentally killing someone. It is called "manslaughter", and one who accidentally kills another, that is with no intent of doing harm, cannot be held to the usual penalty, which is death. See Numbers 35:9-34.

God absolutely hates scales or balances which are uneven. (Proverbs 11:1, 16:11, 20:23)

If only God can put a desire or will into a person to exercise faith, to call on Christ for salvation, then it is impossible for him to condemn to death those who lack that desire. To folks who believe "free will" does not really exist in the sense of being truly free to accept or reject the message of Christ, I am struck by the message of Romans. Christ has already set everyone free.

How long we retain freedom is entirely dependent upon our personal wills being turned to God and faith in Christ. And that is a choice.

"And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil." (Genesis 3:22)
I would welcome someone showing me where this ability to discern Good and Evil was repealed. If such a passage of scripture is not forthcoming, then I must conclude that we each earn our own condemnation, and therefore all of us also have the ability to appeal to Christ and exercise faith unto salvation through the Grace of Jesus Christ. The twisted reading of scripture leading one to conclude we live in total depravity is the work of men, and not God.

Unless, of course, uneven balances are no longer the abomination they once were to God. But that would make him a changeable God, and creates a whole bunch of problems in and of itself.

3 comments:

wizbang said...

Love your site. I think I read all of your posts.

In your post Jesus is Satan's Spiritual brother you didn't finish explaining your point cause she stormed off. I've got a friend that didn't like my explanation cause I couldn't figure out how to back it up with the Bible. Please email me back your passages. Thanks

Mike

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Thanks for your comments Mike.

Here are passages I use to develop the concept that Jesus and Satan ARE literally spiritual brothers. I have to say, as the Church has noted recently, this is really pretty unimportant from any practical perspective. It is like saying it matters that two children who are adopted to separate families are alike, even though one turns out to be a mass murderer, and the other a great humanitarian.

In any case, I start with the premise that Jesus has a spirit, separate from THE Spirit: Matt 27:50; Mark 15:39; Luke 23:46; John 19:30; John 20:22-- This verse shows that there is a separate spirit, THE SPIRIT, being given by Christ.

Next, I affirm that Satan, Lucifer and devils are in fact spirits. Matt 8:16; Luke 7:21; Luke 8:2.

Next we can show that God the Father is the father of all spirits: Hebrews 12:9 "Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? "

The Church issued a statement in December 2007 where they briefly but clearly addressed this issue. You can find it here: http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/commentary/answering-media-questions-about-jesus-and-satan

Isaiah teaches that Lucifer is a fallen "son of the morning"

I find it interesting, then, that we also find this in Job:
"6 ¶ Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them." Job 1:6

So the sons of God show up, and among them is Satan. In the footnote of www.netbible.com for this verse, they note the phrase "sons of god" was understood to be lessor gods by the surrounding Semetic cultures, but they take it to mean angels or divine beings subordinate to God. They then note Satan is there because he is one of them, fallen of course, but not fully cast down to hell.

The FAIRWIKI.com also points out that the early Christian, Lactantius, also observed that Lucifer and Jesus were both spirit brothers from the same heavenly Father. See the Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 7:52-53.

Lastly, Romans 10:29 says this about our relationship to Jesus:
"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."

Jesus' image is that of God (Philippians 2:6 "form of God", which means the external or visible image). The fact is all spirits are related through the fact that God the Father is the Father of all Spirits, but uniquely also the Father of the body of Christ, which is completely unique. (Acts 17:28-29). It was understood that devils where fallen evil spirits. Fallen from the presence of God, God we note is the Father of spirits.

Jesus has a spirit. We have spirits. Satan and devils are spirits. Thus we have a relationship. The D&C 93:29 explains that we all have existed eternally as intelligence. Thus Jesus is not a created being, as the critics of the Church attempt to assert. It is just an attempt to try to define Jesus in ways we as Mormons do not.

I hope this is helpful.

wizbang said...

Thanks for the quick response. I try to do my own research but sometimes it's nice to have something pointed out. Your very clear and precise.

Thanks once again.

Mike