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"I think we may accept it as a rule that whenever a person's
At the Concerned Christian Website, Bob Betts asks a question of Latter-day Saints:
What good is your "restored gospel," if you don't live it,
Here, Bob Betts is saying: Since Mormons have a "restored gospel" that includes continuing guidance of living prophets, and scriptures that complement and clarify the Bible — the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price — therefore shouldn't the fruits of that "restored gospel" be greater for Mormons, compared to Christians who just have the Bible? Bob Betts points to the Book of Mormon passage 1 Nephi 3:7 with a sarcastic taunt: Why aren't Mormons living their "restored gospel" since they are perfectly able to do so? (1 Nephi 3:7)
The following rebuttal explains why Bob Betts isn't acknowledging, and so may not fully understand, the amazing power and promises of the Bible — "all things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark 9:23) — for if he did understand powerful promises in the Bible, he wouldn't be taunting his neighbor for failing to do, that which he is also failing to do, ironically — obey every commandment and resist every temptation, because the Bible says you can. (Mark 10:27 — 1 Cor. 10:13)
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Your question is framed in a way that does not correctly characterize the meaning of
First, the passage in 1st Nephi does not use the words "perfectly able," it simply says that the Lord gives no commandments "save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."
Understood in context, 1 Nephi 3:7 refers to accomplishing a specific "thing" (singular); it refers to a unique commandment given to Nephi through his father Lehi: "seek the records, and bring them down hither." This commandment was a finite "thing" for Nephi to "accomplish" at a particular time and place.
There are dozens of specific and immediately do-able commandments given by God in the Bible. For example, Moses was commanded to say and do certain "things" in regard to Pharaoh:
"And it came to pass on the day when the Lord spake unto Moses in the land of Egypt, That the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, I am the Lord: speak thou unto Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say unto thee." (Exodus 6:28-29)
"And the Lord said unto Moses and unto Aaron, Take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it toward the heaven in the sight of Pharaoh. And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt." (Exodus 9:8-9)
These are two examples, among many, of the Lord giving unique commandments in specific situations, . . . personalized commands given to particular people. This kind of command is not given "generally" for all to do — like the "general" commandments we strive to do every day for a lifetime (Exodus 20:1-17 & Matt. 22:36-40) — instead, personalized commands are often finite and do-able, "things" to be accomplished at particular times and specific places.
When the Lord speaks specifically to His servants, the following Old Testament passage makes clear that God is prepared to back His word with His infinite power, and make it good:
"God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19)
So whenever God gives a unique commandment to specific individuals, it is crystal clear that he will do His part in helping us accomplish each finite "thing." And when a particular and do-able command is not accomplished, where is the break down? Is it with God? Of course not!
After the exodus from Egypt, Moses was given a unique commandment that was immediately do-able, but "Because [he] believed me not," Moses failed to do a particular "thing" that God commanded, in the way God wanted. I'm referring to the time when Moses was commanded to "speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water" (Num. 20:8).
At Meribah, because Moses did not have sufficient belief, the Lord said, "therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them" (Num. 20:12).
Bob, please explain why Moses was unable to "escape" his temptation at Meribah, when the Bible teaches that "God is faithful" to "make a way to escape" temptation? Here is God's promise:
"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (1 Cor. 10:13)
Bob, explain why you, and Moses, are not able to resist every temptation, given the fact that "God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will . . . make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."?
Further, Jesus taught: "With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible" (Mark 10:27). So Bob, how can you possibly fail to "escape" every temptation given that "Christ liveth in [you]"? (Galatians 2:20).
What good are your Bible Teachings if you don't live them,
Matt Moody, Ph.D.
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