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I'm a Christian, married to a wonderful man, Steven, and mother to a wonderful little son. I have many interests and a few noteworthy journeys in life and I enjoy sharing them.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Crazy Love for God

Even when I was still LDS, if you'd asked me if I as a church member had a crazy love relationship with God, or if other LDS had an intimate and loving relationship with Him, I would have had to say no.

This isn't to say that the LDS don't love God at all, or that all who call themselves Christians are better at loving him. But the "you must do this to be good enough, and if you can do that you're going to move beyond being subject to God to being an equal with him" teachings of the church make it more difficult than I would have ever realized when I believed in it all.

The post above is a link to a video by author of "Crazy Love," Francis Chan. I read this book recently, am participating in a study of it at a local church, and plan to re-read it again soon. It has helped my relationship with God grow deeper and more beautiful than ever.

I find now that someone cannot call them self a true Christian, or honestly know they are saved from their sins, without having a true love relationship with God. It is all over the Bible:
"If ye love me, keep my commandments." John 14:15
the greatest commandment is to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind" (Luke 10:27) The second greatest it to love others.

I'm not sure how it could get much more obvious than that. If we love Christ, we keep his commandments, and he commands us to love.

Think about the person you love most in life. If you're happily married or in a very serious relationship, this is probably very easy. Can you imagine ever thinking about this person and going, "There has to be something better than this, something beyond just being with them"? Can you imagine looking at them and knowing you have all the love they can give you, and wanting more?

This is what people do to God every day. I remember thinking when I was LDS that there had to be more than just going to heaven and being with God forever. But I never thought of feeling that way about my future husband, nor do I feel that way about my husband now that I am married. Is that right? Should we love God less than we love our spouses, when the greatest commandment is to love him?

If you were to read the New Testament without any preconceptions, do you think you'd find church in the way that many people do church? The way you do church? The way that your religion is? Or do you think that you would find that you were supposed to love God and people as much as you can and that's all Christ truly asks of us?

Don't you want that sort of love relationship with God? Do you have it? I've found that its the most amazing thing you ever could have, and you can never get enough of it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Trinity

I once completely ascribed to the LDS notion that the Trinity just didn't make sense. How could one being be three? How could God just be a blob of Spirit or Light or something immaterial? Didn't that limit who and what he was? Why would he say we were made in his image if we weren't?

Well, amazingly, the Trinity can be correct--and it is Biblical--without flying in the face of those questions.

First of all, let's look at the simple reasoning that if there is only one God, then Jesus had to either be God or not be divine at all. Isaiah 43:10 and 44:6, 8 establish this very well. Notice how definite God is:
Before me no god was formed,
nor will there be one after me.
I am the first and I am the last;
apart from me there is no God.
Is there any God besides me?
No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.

Now, if you accept there is only one God, then you have to ask if Jesus was divine. First of all, the heresy that he was not divine was originally called Arianism, and fighting that heresy is the reason that the doctrine of the Trinity was established so firmly. Also, how else could a human be perfect? We were sinful by nature: it is impossible for us to be completely perfect as creations with free will and a knowledge of good and evil which allows us to use that fee will to sin. Furthermore, a mere human couldn't break the bonds of death for everyone and take on the sins of the world for all.

There are many verses that support Jesus being God, including John 1:1,14 and the last few verses of John 8 (Christ identifies himself as "I am," as God does in the burning bush in Exodus), and many others.

It was not in God's physical image that we were made, but in his spiritual image. Before Joseph Smith tampered with the verse, John 4:24 read:
"God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."

Furthermore, we are made up of multiple parts: just consider the separation of body and spirit upon our deaths. I've also been told that our soul is our third part, but I'm not educated upon that aspect, so I can only give so much. I can say, though, that it makes us very much like God indeed: God and our spirit are comparable, Jesus and our bodies are comparable, and the Holy Spirit and perhaps our souls are comparable. We are as triune in nature as God.

I would urge any curious LDS reader to study deeply in the scriptures on whether or not the Trinity is supported within the precious pages. And for those who would say it can't be doctrine because it isn't expressly said in the verses: remember, "monotheism" isn't expressly said either.

The Spirit

I ended up spending General Conference weekend in a Mormon household due to my grandpa's failing health. I mostly read or talked with my husband while my LDS family listened to the Conference, so I didn't hear much of it, but I did hear a few things that I couldn't help but think, "That is so Biblically incorrect!"

The one I was most moved by was the claim that you must be baptized before you can receive the Spirit. The Bible makes it clear that salvation comes through faith in Christ alone, and that the Spirit testifies in Christ and then dwells in you when you accept Christ. Baptism is not necessary to this--you can read my earlier post on baptism to emphasize and understand baptism's importance and Biblical meaning.

I also thought of the man on the cross beside Jesus, who Jesus promised would be in heaven with him despite the man's sins--I seriously doubt that the man had time to be baptized for those sins, yet he was saved at that moment.

There are many Biblical accounts of people who have no record of being baptized who have the Spirit--Pentecost being a mass experience of this, not to mention the apostles themselves.

Receiving the Spirit is so much more beautiful than a "You must do A to get B," especially considering that Jesus isn't going to deny someone his Spirit if the person accepts Jesus and isn't able to obtain baptism. My Jesus wouldn't, anyways, and I frankly don't want your Jesus if he's that unloving.

No, receiving the Spirit is part of the joy of finding Christ--it is truly becoming the Body of Christ, his Church, his Bride. Since it is Christ's Spirit (and God's Spirit, they being a trinity), you are now the body of his spirit upon accepting him as your Lord and Savior. You are part of his priesthood, his purpose, part of him. This is what it means when Jesus tells God that he and God are one and they will let us be one with them--we are all part of the same body, the same spirit--all a part of God.