I am just another member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints airing my personal opinions.
This "hands-on" is in the form of what we call a personal testimony.

My personal ideas and interpretations.

I hope it's useful. If not, I hope you'll forgive me for wasting your time.

Above all, don't take my word for the things I write. Look the scriptures up yourself. Your opinion of them is far more important to you than mine.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Ch. 0.1: Foundation -- Faith in Jesus Christ

If you go looking for the meaning of the name, "Jesus", you find that it is cognitive of the name, "Joshua": "God is help."

Now, some people translate that as "God is our help." I suppose that is not exactly wrong, but we have to be very careful about how we read "our".

It is true that, before His death and resurrection, He often said that He was sent to the Jews. But that didn't stop Greeks and Samaritans from believing, nor from receiving the benefits of faith.

And He was explicit to His apostles that they were called to take the Gospel to all the world.

The Book of Mormon tells us more. He explained to His followers in the Americas, after His resurrection, that the "other sheep of His fold" (John 10: 16) which He went to visit were not just those who heard His voice in the Americas (3rd Nephi 15: 21, 22), but His believers all over the world (3rd Nephi 16: 1-5).

And, if you continue reading the references I've linked in here, you find that He tells the believers that the non-believers are to be taught by the believers, especially by example (Matthew 5:16 or 3rd Nephi 12: 16).

I can provide some scriptures that indicate that ancient Israel was under the same obligation. The warning voice mentioned so often is not that the chosen people are coming and everyone better just give up or you'll got the snot beaten out of you.

Read Jonah carefully, for starters. Jonah's message is not that Nineveh is going to be destroyed. Jonah was himself displeased that it was not. But the king of Nineveh understood the message and convinced his people to change their ways, and Nineveh averted the destruction they had been inviting upon themselves by their wickedness.

That was what God wanted, that the people of Nineveh should be saved as long as they were willing to follow moral law.

Likewise, read Ezekiel 33. Those who believe and exercise faith to change their lives in keeping with God's moral laws are saved.

God helps everyone who is willing to believe in Him.

God is help.

And the first principle of the Gospel is to believe in the Son of God, who was sent to us to show us quite plainly that God helps us through our belief.

Some might call this a vicious cycle. You have to believe to be a believer.

I call it a beneficent cycle. We believe, we have faith, our faith moves us, and God strengthens our faith, gives us more reason to believe.

But we do have to believe things that are true. Yeah, it seems obvious, but apparently it has to be said: Belief in things that are not true doesn't really save us.

What should we believe, then? The sermon on the mount (starting from Matthew 5) is one place to start.

But all the scriptures testify of Jesus Christ, which is why it is good to read all the scriptures, a little at a time, and think about them, and ask God for understanding and direction and help in applying what we learn from them.

But the very first thing is to believe that God is really on your side, to believe on the name of His Son, Jesus Christ.

(I explain a little about why we can believe in Jesus here.)

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I have no problem with differences of opinion, but seriously abusive comments will get removed when I have time.