[CF Devotionals] 2013-01-08 - Love or Law?

The Epistles of John ~ Part 86 ~ 1 John 4

Love or law? At the extreme end of the spectrum, both pull individuals away from God to a life of either self-absorption or works. And often the "false prophets" control their followers by the use of one of these extremes or another. Certainly, many want to follow those who teach "love means never having to say you're sorry." This appeals to those who want to live by their own rules.

On the other side, those whose life is typified by pride want to believe they can make God accept them because they are deserving of His approval and recognition. Of course, both approaches are self-destructive.

Consider the burden of having to earn your way into God's approval. Think about the grim picture presented to the Jehovah's Witnesses.

"While religious denominations may talk of salvation by faith or by character, Russell and Rutherford (founders of the cult) hammer into the thickest skull of the simplest-minded devotee that there is a mansion in Heaven for no one who does not devote his days and nights unto the hour of death itself—to the high calling of door-to-door canvassing and propagandizing. There is no other test of "faithfulness." It matters not what one believes or what one does, he is doomed to extinction unless he incessantly witnesses in the prescribed manner. Rutherford says: "While on the Earth, those who receive God's approval must be witnesses to the name and kingdom of Jehovah. In no other way can they be faithful and perform their commission (Riches). "If Jehovah's Witnesses should fail or refuse to deliver the message, they would be unfaithful to God and would suffer destruction" (His Vengeance). 1

What a way to live. And Mormons, too, live under the burden of law. No, failure for them doesn't mean destruction. But the fulfillment of Mormonism only comes with a lifetime of bondage to law.

"… conditional or individual salvation," otherwise known as exaltation or godhood, goes far beyond a mere resurrection from the dead. McConkie explained: Salvation, in its true and full meaning, is synonymous with exaltation or eternal life, and consists in gaining an inheritance in the highest of the three heavens within the celestial kingdom…Salvation in the celestial kingdom of God, however, is not salvation by grace alone. Rather, it is salvation by grace, coupled with obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.

Unlike resurrection from the dead, exaltation requires a concerted effort on the part of the individual, to live according to all the commandments. It means keeping all the commandments as instructed by the LDS Church for a person's entire life." 2

But the Christian is subject to the Law of Love, and his salvation is not self-dependent; it is God-dependent. And it is truth and love together that demonstrate the reality of salvation.

  1. Gerstner, John, H., The Teachings of the Jehovah's Witnesses, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1985, p. 14.
  2. McKeever, Bill and Eric Johnson, Mormonism 101, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI, 2000, p. 151.

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