(Continued from page 332)
One God vs a 'council of gods on Kolob'
RO 2:1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?
RO 2:5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God 'will give to each person according to what he has done.' 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.
RO 2:12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15 since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: 'The righteous will live by faith.'
v16: Paul, first, did not forget that the gospel was to be first directed toward God's chosen nation, Israel, but the words indicate that Paul was well aware that the message of the gospel is a universal message, for everyone needs it. It is not for just the Jew or the Roman citizen, it is not just for the wise, but it is for the heathen and the Roman slave as well. The gospel is open to all, it is for everyone, but there is a condition or restriction put on that everyone. That restriction is faith. The gospel is for all who believe.
v17: The gospel is 'dynamite' (Greek: dunamis) because through it the righteousness of God is revealed. Righteousness is that aspect of God's holiness which is seen in His treatment of His creatures. Simply, righteousness is how God treats us. Jesus Christ is our righteousness. He is how God treats us. We are unrighteous, unholy, and unlovely. Yet Christ died for our sins (I Corinthians 1:30). How is righteousness obtained? From faith to faith. Righteousness is received by faith in Christ Jesus and is in turn revealed in faithful living. Thus, in answer to the question, 'How are the righteous to live?' Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4, 'The just shall live by faith.' This faith implies more than mere acceptance of Christ's righteousness for salvation. It implies a life style that is characterized by faith and righteous living.
v18: Paul lays for his case against man's self-righteousness. His aim is to show that the whole world is morally bankrupt, unable to receive a favorable verdict at the judgment bar of God, and desperately in need of divine mercy and pardon. God's attitude toward the sin of mankind is not one of tolerance. He does not simply hold man accountable for what may be reasonably expected of him in view of man's nature as a sinner. If God did, His holiness and purity would be soiled by complicity with our guilt. God hates man's sin. His wrath is a holy aversion to all that is evil. Wrath is as essential to divine righteousness as love and mercy are. God could not be free from wrath unless He were also free from all concern about His moral universe. Ungodliness has to do with religion, our relation to a sovereign God. Unrighteousness has to do with morality, our relation to our fellowman. Ungodliness is sin against the being of God. Unrighteousness is sin against the will of God. Man is both a religious sinner (he is ungodly) and a moral sinner (he is unrighteous). The unrighteous man lives as if there were no will of God revealed. The ungodly man lives as if there were no God at all. God's wrath is against both.
Those who are unrighteous and ungodly restrain the truth of God's righteousness. The meaning of this word is clearly seen in the way it is used in Luke 4:42, 'And when it was day, he (Christ) departed and went into a desert place: and the people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them.' Paul contends that the heathen have had the righteousness of God revealed to them, yet they suppress the truth of His righteousness for they are ungodly and unrighteous.
v19-20: The apostle then anticipates the question: 'If these ungodly men do not have full knowledge of God, are they then really lost?' The key word in Paul's answer is the first word of verse 19, Because. Paul will now present two lines of argument which will prove that the condemnation of the sinner does not rest upon the depth of his knowledge of God but upon what use he makes of that knowledge. That which may be known of God is manifest in them. Paul's first reason that the heathen are lost (or any man who willingly suppresses the knowledge of God) is because of the revelation of God in nature. Man has a sufficient knowledge of God to make him responsible to God. That knowledge arises from the fact that the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen (cf. Psalm 19:1). Man's mind is capable of drawing obvious conclusions from effect to cause. To the animals below us the phenomena of nature may just be a spectacle before their eyes, but make no impression on their minds. But to man, they have a language, a communication. They awake wonder, awe, a basic idea of God and His righteousness. Even his eternal power and Godhead. Nature does not simply give the impression that God is an abstract principle but a real person, the Supreme Person, transcendent above His creation and not part of it. The testimony of nature alone is sufficient to lead man to an understanding of the personal, righteous nature of God, 'so that men are without excuse'. What could be clearer? God's Word declares that men have no excuse for not seeking out God's righteousness!
v21-23: Paul's second line of argument is that the heathen are lost because of the revelation of God to the conscience: 'they neither glorified him as God ...'. As if the natural world around us isn't enough, God has planted in the heart of every man the knowledge that there is a righteous God. Though the heathen knew that He was God and deserved to be glorified, they wilfully chose not to glorify Him as God. They did not ascribe to His person the holiness, perfection, and sovereignty which are His alone - 'nor gave thanks to him'. To add injury to insult, the heathen accepted the good things of nature from the hand of God, but were not thankful for them - as the King James Version declares: 'But became vain in their imaginations'. On the most elementary level we often hear non-Christians treat the blessings of God with disdain and attribute them to 'Mother Nature', 'the gods', or, simply, sheer luck! In order to suppress the witness of the ordered structure of the universe, and the innate testimony of the conscience, fallen man had to develop a reasoning process of imagination. This reasoning is described by God as vain because the whole structure of man-made philosophy is devoid of divine truth and therefore invalid. Thus, by suppressing the truth of God and believing their man-made falsehood, they plunged their foolish heart deeper into darkness. When they exalted their human reasoning and paraded their wisdom before their peers, they acted as fools. The foolish heart is not one deficient in intelligence but one deficient in the moral understanding of who God is. It has to be said that the 'vain imagination' of Smith and Young, et al, has plunged the Mormon follower into the same miry pit of insulting the God of grace and attributing the wonders He created alone (as One God of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) to a 'council of gods on Kolob'!
Labouring under the handicap of this extreme deficiency, the heathen (King James Version) 'changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image'. By creating a god suitable to their own fallen conception of deity (as Smith and Young, et al, have done) the heathen have violated the first commandment. They have devised their own concept of divinity and placed it above the one true God. (King James Version) 'Made like corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things'. More than just conceptualizing what they thought God ought to be, Smith and Young, et al, made out that their 'god' was once a man as we are - which is clearly contradicted by the Bible (Hosea 11:9):
I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim. For I am God, and not man - the Holy One among you.
While the heathen actually created animal-like images of their concept of God, we see the similarly horrendous way in which Smith took the Egyptian papyrus record of the 'Book of Breathings' funeral instructions, from the mummy supplied by Michael Chandler, and created the 'Book of Abraham' in which the Triune Godhead are insulted by being analogised to occult phallic gods! A justified eternity in Hell awaits those who have blatantly violated the second commandment.
The apostle has thus given two reasons why the man without God is lost and deserving of condemnation: (1) because of the revelation of God in nature (v19-20); and (2) because of the revelation of God in their conscience (v21-23). The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all who suppress the truth of these two witnesses, as Smith and Young, et al, have done. To the heathen who does not suppress this fundamental light, the Lord God grants additional enlightenment concerning His person. But whoever is guilty of suppressing the available truth about God - as the Mormon leaders have plainly done - does not receive light unto salvation.
Polygamy - 'restoring' an error!
Mormon 'god' can only organise!
v24: (King James Version) 'Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness'. Ungodliness and unrighteousness have a definite terminal point and that is idolatry. The word wherefore indicates that the retribution to follow finds its ground in the antecedent sins and is therefore justifiable. Because the heathen participated in idolatry, God gave them up to uncleanness. As seen by Paul's usage of this term elsewhere (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; I Thessalonians 4:7), uncleanness means sexual aberration by which they would dishonour their own bodies between themselves. Have you ever seriously considered the reality of the sexual behaviour of Smith and Young, et al? It is pointless comparing their polygamy with the errors of Abraham, David, or Solomon, because Jesus made it clear that they were in error (Matthew 19:3-9) and Smith was supposedly correcting 'errors' in the transmission of the Biblical text and bringing the 'fulness' of the Gospel to light. Further, the Book of Mormon also clearly forbids polygamy (1 Nephi 16:7-8; Jacob 1:15; 2:23-24; 3:5, 12; Mosiah 11:2-14; cf. Genesis 2:24; Deuteronomy 17:17; Luke 16:18; Matthew 5:31-32; 19:4-6; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6; cf. D&C 132)
v25: (King James Version) Who changed the truth of God into a lie, Suppression of the truth which God gave to the heathen - and which most of the world is guilty of - became the basis for their idolatry and thus they 'worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator'. The Mormon church has raised man to the level of God and the heathen likewise degrade themselves in that which they worship and exalt those things created to a higher position than the One who created them!
v26-27: (King James Version) For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections. These vile affections were passions of infamy. The apostle goes on to explain that their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature. Sexual perversion always accompanies idolatry. And likewise also the men … burned in their lust one toward another; men with men. Homosexuality is likewise the result of idolatry. Although today the world seeks to popularize and legitimize homosexuality, nevertheless it is despicable to God and condemned by Him. Increased homosexuality is a sign of the soon return of the Lord (2 Timothy 3:2). God never overlooks this blatant misuse of the body and consequently those who have engaged in this perversion receive in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.
v28: (King James Version) God gave them over to a reprobate mind. The word reprobate means 'unapproving' or 'undiscerning.' Since they had suppressed the truth of God revealed to them, the heathen did not retain God in their knowledge and consequently, for the third time in almost as many verses, the apostle records that God gave them up (or over) to what they wanted all along. When He did so, the results were disastrous. The same is true of those who embrace the Mormon doctrines. The effects of their abandonment result solely from the corruption of the human heart; this cannot be blamed on God.
v29-31: (King James Version) Being filled expresses (by the Greek perfect tense) that the heathen were not simply tainted by the catalogue of sins that follow but were in fact saturated with them. Thus the ugly character traits listed as the result of abandonment by God include: unrighteousness, or injustice (Greek: adika) fornication, wickedness (Greek: poneria), covetousness (Greek: pleonexia, grasping for more than is needed), maliciousness (Greek: kakia, intending evil toward others), … whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection … unmerciful. This gallery of iniquity describes pretty much the whole world including the false religions such as Mormonism, not just the first-century heathen world, and such acts fill our newspapers today.
v32: (King James Version) Who knowing the judgment of God … do the same, … have pleasure in them that do them. The heathen world is not unaware of God's displeasure with these activities. Therefore, fully cognizant of the consequences of their sin, they continue to defy the Lord God of heaven and take great pleasure in keeping company with those who do the same. Paul's conclusion is that the heathen are never without a witness to the presence and personality of God. They have the witness of nature and the witness of their own conscience. However, the heathen have deliberately suppressed these witnesses to the truth and have consistently opted for a lie in place of the truth. A good example is the presentation of the evolutionary hypothesis as fact and the rejection of God as Creator. Mormons may believe that they are good Christians in refuting evolution but they insult God by claiming He is merely an exalted man who could only organise matter and not create out of nothing ('The King Follett Discourse' - Teachings of Joseph Smith, p.350-52; John A. Widtsoe, A Rational Theology, p.12). The majority of the world have chosen the course of idolatry, which is always accompanied by debauchery. Thus, God has revealed His wrath from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth of God. In addition, God has given them up to idolatry, to passions of infamy, and to an undiscerning and unapproving mind. Are the heathen lost? Yes, the entire heathen world is lost, deserving condemnation, desiring evil, and desperately wicked.Mormon evil vs Biblical view
2:1. (King James Version) Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest. In the last chapter Paul painted a picture of the deplorable condition of the heathen. The apostle knew, however, that there would be a whole class of men who would say 'amen' to what he had said about the heathen. These were the self-righteous moralists. So Paul expands his argument to show that all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men (1:18) includes the moralist as well as the debauched heathen. The moralist is inexcusable when he judges the heathen for sin but is blind to his own sin. He only condemns himself when he condemns another. For thou that judgest doest the same things. It is obvious that the moral man was not involved in the sexual deviations of the heathen, else Paul could not call him a moral man. But he was inwardly living in an identical manner as the heathen was living outwardly. Perhaps the moral man did not commit adultery, but did he lust? The Lord Jesus Christ put them in the same category (Matthew 5:27-28). Maybe the moral man did not steal, but did he covet? Stealing and covetousness are listed together in Mark 7:22. The moral man might not commit murder, but did he hate? The Bible says if you hate your brother you are guilty of murder (I John 3:15). No one dares judge another while he is doing the same thing because he is then condemned by his own judgment. Because Mormon doctrine persuades its adherents that they are righteous under the doctrines of the church, they do not submit to the righteousness found in Christ alone (see multitude of earlier texts) apart from good works which they strive to add and are therefore guilty with those they would consider to be 'the heathen.' Remember, we have quoted the views of Mormon leaders on orthodox Christianity (page 56) :
John Taylor, who succeeded Brigham Young in 1877, expressed these views: 'We talk about Christianity, but it is a perfect pack of nonsense....the Devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work than the Christianity of the nineteenth century (JofD, 6:167); 'What - are Christians ignorant? Yes, as ignorant of the things of God as the brute beast (JofD, 6:25); 'WHAT DOES THE CHRISTIAN KNOW OF GOD? NOTHING....WHY, SO FAR AS THE THINGS OF GOD ARE CONCERNED THEY ARE THE VERIEST FOOLS; THEY KNOW NEITHER GOD NOR THE THINGS OF GOD' (JofD, 13:225).
2:2: (King James Version) The judgment of God is according to truth. When God judges it is always according to truth or in accordance with the facts. The moralist may attempt to hide the facts, but God always exposes them. The searching eye of God always reveals the truth.
v3-4: (King James Version) And thinkest thou this, O man … that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long-suffering. Since the judgment of God is according to truth, it is foolhardy for the moralist to believe that God will judge the heathen and not him. Since he does in his heart what the heathen does in his life, the moralist must withstand the same judgment as the man he condemned. To put ourselves in the position of the moralist would mean to despise God's goodness (Greek: khre:stote:s, literally, kindness), forbearance (Greek: anoche:, the willingness to tolerate the intolerance of others), and long-suffering (Greek: makrothymia, patience which forgives until there is no more hope of repentance). The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance. In judging others, the moralist has completely missed the truth that the purpose of God's goodness is to lead to repentance. It never occurs to the moralist that he personally needs the goodness of God just as the heathen does. He is unaware of his need for repentance. It is these kind of sinners that the Mormon leaders claim will inherit at least the lowest heaven! The God of the bible says otherwise.
v5: (King James Version) But after thy hardness and impenitent heart. After years of glossing over his personal sin and guilt, the pride of the moralist will not allow him to have a change of mind (Greek: metanoia) which is repentance. Thus his pride and sinful heart stockpile the wrath of God so that in the day of wrath, the day of God's righteous judgment, the Lord God will deal as justly with the moral man as he does with the heathen.
v6: (King James Version) Who will render to every man according to his deeds. When unsaved men appear before the final judgment bar of God, the Great White Throne Judgment, salvation will not be the issue there. This is a judgment to determine the degree of punishment. Thus God will mete out punishment in relation to the evil deeds of the individual. By the same token, at the judgment seat of Christ, where only believers appear, God will reward true believers according to their deeds.
v7: (King James Version) To them who by patient continuance in well doing. Patient continuance in well doing does not mean that we are saved by doing good. Paul is expressing an eternal truth. Obedience to God does well in every dispensation. When Cain brought his fruit as an offering and God rejected it, God said: 'If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?' (Genesis 4:7). Obedience to God in bringing the proper sacrifice would have been doing well. Mormons join Cain in believing that anyone doing 'their best' will enter 'heaven'. Today, in the age of grace, we do well by placing our faith in Christ Jesus as Saviour. Thus faith in Christ is patient continuance in 'well doing' - as described earlier - in this age. This is what will bring glory and honor and immortality, eternal life.
(Continued on page 334)