Saturday, June 28, 2008

Empowered By Grace To Choose The Right

According to Mormonism, all of mankind are essentially "gods in embryo." I've never understood this and would love to have a Mormon try and explain this one to me (with reference to John 10:30):

Good Question! A number of Jews were apostate at the time of Christ. They had a counterfeit orthodoxy (correct belief), which led to an errant orthopraxis (correct action) and an mistaken orthocardia(correct heart). One manifestation of incorrect doctrine was their mistaken concept of blasphemy.

In John 10 it says that there were Jews who wanted Jesus to plainly declare His Messiah-ship. When Jesus did, they wanted to stone Him for saying He is the Son of God and one with the Father. They considered equating man with God to be blasphemy.

John 10:30 I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?

These Jews had changed the meaning of blasphemy. These Jews believed that considering a man to be like god was blasphemy. Jesus corrected this false definition by reminding them of Ps. 82:6. If God had called the wicked judges and the afflicted and needy "I have said, Ye are gods; and all are children of the Most High," then considering man to be gods is not blasphemy; let alone Christ declaring that He is the Son of God.

So, Here Christ declares His relationship with the Father as the Son of God, and corrects the Jews for their mistaken definition of blasphemy, and verifies that Psalms 82:6 really does refer to the judges and the afflicted and needy as gods. The point of the psalm being that the judges who were chosen in the pre-existence in the Heavenly Council [congregation of the mighty (Elohim = gods)] covenanted to judge righteously and that even the afflicted and needy are considered gods in embryo and are of infinite potential worth just as much as the judges themselves are who must remember that without God they will "die like men."

How can man be considered a "god in embryo" if gods have no beginning and no end? That concept violates all those scriptures in Isaiah that says before God was no God formed neither after. And there is only God who saves.

Joseph Smith answered this question:

"The mind or the intelligence which man possesses is co-equal [co-eternal] with God himself. I know that my testimony is true; hence, when I talk to these mourners, what have they lost? Their relatives and friends are only separated from their bodies for a short season: their spirits which existed with God have left the tabernacle of clay only for a little moment, as it were; and they now exist in a place where they converse together the same as we do on the earth. I am dwelling on the immortality of the spirit of man. Is it logical to say that the intelligence of spirits is immortal, and yet that it has a beginning? The intelligence of spirits had no beginning, neither will it have an end. That is good logic. That which has a beginning may have an end. There never was a time when there were not spirits; for they are co-equal [co-eternal] with our Father in heaven."[The King Follett Sermon By Joseph Smith, Jr. (1805–1844)]

But there is a big difference between being considered God and a god. God the Father will always remain our God and Father. And Christ will always remain our Savior and source of Eternal Life. Men don't become gods. That is our species. Gods are not created; they ARE or ARE NOT. And as the self-existent Christ declares I AM THAT I AM, so men ARE THAT THEY ARE. Christ does not only reveal the relationship of God to man, but also reveals the relationship of man to God. The eternal spirits of men where created children of God (but not created from nothing) and placed in physical bodies and through Christ can be made eternal parents like the Eternal Father. But men were not created gods, men have always been "gods in embryo." A child becoming like a parent is no more blasphemy in heaven then it is on Earth.But God calls Himself the Most High God.

If God had a Father, then doesn't He take orders from His Father?

Remember that God doesn't have a beginning but is co-existent and co-eternal. Yes, Our God loves His Father. But being God and being an Eternal Father is not "King of the Mountain." And while God loves His Father like we should Love Our Eternal Father, Our God doesn't "take orders." That is because God is an agent unto himself. He doesn't need to be told what to do. Like Christ, he sees a need and does it before needing to be asked.

John 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

D&C 58:26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward. 27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; 28 For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward. 29 But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned.

How can this scripture say that man can do good? Paul says that no man can do good.

This is the key to the whole grace/works enchilada right here. The power in man to do good was given by the grace of Christ. Without which man could do no good but would have been doomed to become a servant to the devil and suffer death, hell, and eternal damnation. While the spirit of all men possesses will, which is an essential characteristic of existence; what Christ's grace and atonement does is makes us agents, makes us free, and gives us the choice to choose righteously and empowers us to make decisions that will result in our becoming like our Heavenly Father.

All mankind have lost their souls. We have given ourselves away to sin and the devil. But Christ has purchased us with His flesh and blood. He has paid the price of sin and death alone. But now we must give God what He has bought and paid for--us. We are expected to give God our whole souls and keep nothing back unlike Ananias and Sapphira.

So, accepting Christ is only the first of many righteous choices we need to make. God expects us to surrender our wills and sacrifice a broken heart and a contrite spirit to Him. We will be empowered to make these correct choices only by the grace of Christ, who will not make our decisions for us, or coerce us, or force us. Christ has sent the Holy Ghost which will guide us into all truth, and empower us, entice us, and persuade us to repent, receive specific covenants and ordinances and do right. And as we do right (only by Christ's grace), the light, power, spirit, and grace of Christ's love will grow within us until we are fully changed, sanctified, purifies, and perfected. And if not fully achieved now, sanctification may require 1000 more years during the Millennium to complete but we need to get on the straight and narrow now and not procrastinate the day of our repentance.

This is how the grace of Christ has the power to fully save us from our sins and not just in our sins. This is how we are saved by grace 100%. This is how Christ's grace is all-sufficient for our salvation. Christ doesn't sweep our sins under the rug, but will change us and by His grace we are empowered to choose the right.

Matt. 7: 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

God allows us to participate in our salvation by exercizing our will and Christ-given agency so that we might witness the power, grace, spirit and love of Christ in us which empowers every correct and righteous decision. But in no way does man contribute one iota to his own salvation without Christ. We don't meet God half way or even part way. Christ's grace empowers every good work, every act of righteousness, every sanctifying ordinance. But choosing righteousness and obedience in and through Christ is required for exaltation.

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