The other day a friend asked me about something they read on the LDS website: LDS.org. The article she was referring to can be found here: http://lds.org/plan/jesus-christ-is-the-way?lang=eng and addresses the way that sinful people can be reconciled with a Holy God. The beginning of the article states that the Holy Spirit cannot be with us if we are sinful, and goes on to state that no matter how hard we try to live righteous lives, we will commit sin.
The Bible actually agrees with part of this statement and tells us that “there is none righteous” (Romans 3:10) and that “all of us have sinned,” and because we sin, “we fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and finally, that before we knew Christ (of if we don’t know Christ) we “were by nature the children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3).
However, the Bible also teaches us something slightly different about God the Father and Jesus, and that is that He is a gracious God, full of mercy, and a God who desires all of mankind to be saved. In fact, the picture the Bible paints is of a seeking father who’s standing on a hill searching, day after day, for his lost son, or a shepherd who leaves his entire flock, and devotes himself and all he has, to search for the one sheep that is missing (Luke 15).
And, that picture doesn’t just apply to those who have already put their faith in Jesus, but also applies to those who don’t yet know Him. Romans 5 is one of the most beautiful passages in the Bible as it talks about us before we knew God, and says that He saved us (or saves us) “while we were yet sinners,” or in other words while we were STILL sinning He saves us. The same passage goes on and tells us that He actually saved us (or reconciled us to Himself) while we were still ENEMIES!
And, when you think about it, it just makes sense. . . I mean think about it for a minute: who among us doesn’t sin in some way daily? Really. I don’t mean the sins that we generally think of as “big” sins; sins that ruin lives and devastate families like adultery, murder, stealing, etc. What about coveting? Hmmm, are we really totally and completely content with what we have right now? How about tomorrow? What about having faith in God: do we really, every minute of every day, have total confidence and faith in God? Or, one of my personal favorites (by that I mean that it’s one I struggle with way too often) are we “rejoicing always” and in every circumstance like Philippians 4:4 commands?
That’s why grace is essential in the Christian life: if we didn’t live a life of grace we’d all be toast—really, because there’s just no way I can ever, ever live up to God’s standard of perfection.
And, you know what? Romans 8 chronicles what God does for those who live in that relationship with Him, in a daily walk of experiencing His grace. It tells us that first and foremost there is NO condemnation for those who are in that relationship, (Romans 8:1) and that nothing, absolutely nothing can ever separate us again from the love of Jesus, (Romans 8:35-39) and further that not only that, but God the Father, Jesus His Son, and the Holy Spirit are all advocating for us! (Romans 8:31-34, and 26)
Now that’s good news!
Next week I'd like to spend a bit more time on this article and see how it stands up biblically. See you then!