Sunday, January 17, 2010

Works - It's Worth Considering

This week I will cover the second article of faith. (See last week’s post) It opens up a very important topic that others may view as opening a can of worms. Not me.

The second article of faith states, “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam’s transgressions.”

This article is about accountability. When we are taught a truth or a commandment and we defile it, then the sin is upon our own head and we will have to answer for that unless we repent.

I know people of other faiths who believe that as long as a person believes in God or accepts Jesus as their savior then they are free of worry and sin. Thus meaning if they continue to sin it is okay because they have accepted Jesus and his atonement has taken care of their sins. The scripture below is the very scripture that these people quote to support this belief.

When the Apostle Paul was imprisoned at Philippi, he was asked by a distressed jailer, “What must I do to be saved?”

Without reference to obedience or repentance or good works that he himself so often spoke of, Paul simply answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Acts 16:30-31

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ we believe very differently. We know that believing is the first step but there is more to it than that. What good does believing do if our actions go against what the Savior taught? Our actions must support our thoughts and beliefs. James explains this very clearly in James 2:17-26

17 -Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

18 - Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy

works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

19 -Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

20 - But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

21 -Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon

the altar?

22 -Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23 -And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed

unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

24 -Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

I jokingly tell those people that faith without works is the lazy man’s way. The lazy man’s way is Satan’s way. True followers of God are hard working people working hard to keep the commandments in their lives.

I have known many people in my life who believe that religion is evil and they seek after non-denominational churches or accept no churches period. Again I say, looking for the easy way in life is not God’s way. I know many people say that they “don’t believe” whether it be in God or religion because they don’t want to be held accountable for their sins. By “not believing” they feel they are off the hook. Believing means having to be accountable and take responsibility for our actions in this life.

It’s important that these people know that God is a God of order. There are laws that He is bound by. If there were no laws it would be chaos. The universe would be full of chaos and we would not have a perfectly functioning solar system or earth. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is very much of order. Every Sunday all over the world in every Latter Day Saint church, members are being taught the exact same lessons in the exact same lesson books. A loving prophet guides us and we all follow the same instruction and rules. D&C 132:8 “Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion.” In a house of order there are rules. Just like our parents told us, “If you live in my house, you live by my rules.” If we want to live with God we need to accept his rules which are known as commandments.

As parents we set rules for our kids because we love them. God has done the same for us. This is the very purpose of why we are here, to have free agency and show God our desire to believe and follow him.

The secret of being free with our free agency is to choose righteousness. Often people mistake choosing righteousness as not being free. I have heard many times, “You are not free to drink, be loose with your morals, or “experience life” when you are a Mormon.” I laugh at that because I am actually making the choice not to do those things, no one is forcing me. By avoiding those things I am very happy and I have never felt more free.

There are many consequences in this life that we will experience when we sin. Adultry can lead to divorce, sexual disease and broken families. This means bondage by loneliness, bitterness, disease and hurt finances. Where is freedom in that? Alcohol leads to health problems, altered rationalizing which leads to committing other sins such as adultery, crime, drunk driving which we know comes with a lifetime of misery, consequences and jail time. What freedom is in that? By following a set of commandments (rules) which were created by someone who loves us and wants what is best for us, now that is where freedom lies. Our parents rewarded us when we did what they asked us to or when we made them proud. Our Heavenly Father blesses us when we make Him proud and keep His commandments. I have never felt more free and happy in my life and I know it is because I have chosen a life of righteousness. This I say in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.


IRAQ said...

Great treatise on the need for works. Not sure if you have served a mission - but you have an excellent grasp of gospel principles. I may steal more stuff from your blog, if you don't mind. Usually I will put the link to your blog with it so others can patrol your space, too. First book report in on John Pontius' book - I cannot wait to read it!

Lindsey said...

I haven't served a mission but would love to in the future. This is why I do the blog - to fulfill that desire. You are welcome to take whatever you like. That's the whole purpose of what we do - to share the good word. :)

I ordered the book last week and can't wait to read it. I read your report on it and am even more anxious to read the book now. Lately when I've tried to comment on your posts it doesn't take my comments for some reason. Not sure if it's a bug or something I'm doing different. Anyways I was trying to thank you for posting my song and the kind words you shared about it. Thanks so much!!