Tag Archives: Joy

All things for work for my eternal good. Romans 8:28-30

What Paul says:”And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” (ESV)
Most segregate verse 28 from the rest, and without this context some common errors come up. 
It’s not saying Christians will have any less pain, suffering or general hard/bad circumstances in life than anyone else. The “all things” is simply that, all of life – the good, the bad and the ugly, are part of the Christian experience. Jesus didn’t die to lessen our hard times in this life. 
It’s not saying that because you did not get your initial dream job (bf/gf, car, college….) that the “working together for good” means that a better job (or whatever you’re after) is just down the road a few days or weeks at most. 
It’s not a negative version karma where I look at bad circumstances in life as something that triggers an equal and opposite positive circumstance. 
It’s not saying to look at bad circumstances as if they are good or come with silver linings. Bad things are really bad. At the tomb of Lazarus, Jesus was mad and wept, because death was real, and it was bad. He didn’t look past the pain of death and approach the situation as if He was looking to prove a point with a smile on his face. 

We so often tell people, who are in the midst of a tragedy that God will make it good, as in they will be able to comfort somebody else later on who befalls the same thing. That may be, but that’s not the promise here. 
It is saying:

* That all of life, for God’s children, is fixed and structured in a manner that it works to mold us, more and more into the image of Jesus (our greatest “good”). 

* That circumstances (good or bad) are the means/tools by which God molds us into Christ’s image. They are no less great or as bad as God intends, as He knows exactly what we need and can withstand. He never cuts off too much or too little. 

* That within this image bearing, God can refer to all Christians (men, women, children, Greeks, slaves…) as inheritors (“sons” as a position/title, not just gender). 

* That glorification is so fixed for the children of God, that it can be referenced in the past tense as already a part of what we are. 

* That, as Tim Keller summarizes in a sermon on joy, Christians have joy that transcends circumstances because these passages tell us 1) bad things are for our ultimate good, 2) the good (Christ) we can never lose, and 3) the best is yet to come.

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Research of and Discussions within Mormonism: 7

Text and doctrinal issues:
Looking over texts from Mormon books I will show where they drastically differ in doctrine from what Christians teach from Scripture. The differences should be quite easy to see, and uncover why they are not considered Christian or even a denomination. This is meant to be instructive and an aid in talking with Mormons about finding the true Christ of the Bible, and hopefully reject these books of errors they have attached to the Bible.

Pearl of Great Price, Moses 5:11 – “And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.”

The first problem is that God had told them to be fruitful and multiply (have children) prior to the fall. Thus either Eve or Smith is confused not recalling this from either the Genesis 1:28 (Bible) account, Moses 2:27-28 (POGP) or the account in 2 Nephi 2:23 (BOM). So this is wrong, because children were not a condition of obedience or of the fall. If Adam had remained innocent he and Eve would have still had children.

Still from these passages we also see that it is Mormon teaching that the fall of Adam (sin) was a necessary and also to them (and them alone) a blessed thing. To know good and evil is not a good thing as Smith assumes. The references keep mentioning that man would not know joy without the sorrow of the fall. But this logic is faulty because if followed out I would not know faithfulness without cheating, and so forth. Also, if Smith is right, that not knowing sin we would not have known joy, then it stands to reason that in heaven one day, we will not know joy, because we will no longer know sin. But heaven is talked about as the Christian’s hope and joy for eternity, because there will be no sin. Thus Adam must have known this same kind of joy, without sin, prior to the fall.

The theological interpretation is that sin is not just a simple knowing of what is and what is not evil, but the essence of sin is that each individual person will decide for themselves what is good and what is evil for them. As the Bible makes mention of in Judges, everyman did what was right in his own eyes, is the thought behind knowing or deciding for one’s self what is good and evil. Adam took it upon himself to eat of the fruit and so overthrew or rather threw off the reign of God to make those decisions for him. This autonomous sin is no good thing, and logically no good pattern of thought to follow.

Another thought that my missionary visitors were not able to answer was about this initial sin also. The result of Adam’s sin is to be like God, knowing good and evil (as explained above). Because Mormons teach that there is the possibility to become a god of their own world one day, why is it a sin for Adam at all then? In other words, for Adam it’s a sin, but then it’s the goal in Mormon life anyway (to become your own god). It’s like saying he was punished for what he is now instructed to do in this life.

This is totally different teaching than what Christian churches teach about the nature of the fall, Adam’s sin, and our strivings in life by faith.

See link below for a confessional overview of the Bible’s teaching on Providence.
http://www.opc.org/wcf.html

The LDS references can be looked up for what they are in context at:
http://scriptures.lds.org/en/contents

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