Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Other Side of the Coin

Christ commanded his followers that they give to everyone who asks. This is not an interpretation of what he said; it is what he said at literal face value, repeated three times. There is wisdom to this, and it is not the wisdom of men, but of God. We have been asked to suspend our own judgement in favor of executing God's expressed will.

By granting others' requests, they experience the consequences of their chosen principles and can change if they see a need. But there is another side to that coin: by granting God's requests, we choose and experience the consequences of God's principles, as expressed in the commandments.

In doing what God does, we experience what he experiences, and we come by these means to understand him and his purposes. As we pursue the course of keeping the commandments of Christ with full purpose of heart, he works changes in our nature and we become more like him.

There is an interesting implication of Benjamin's sermon - that God is continually and actively upholding our existence so that we may live and move and execute our wills. God even actively supported and sustained Hitler's life so that Hitler could move and act according to his will and bring about the death of six million Jews, whose lives God was likewise supporting and sustaining so that they could move and act according to their wills. We have to be made of such stern stuff as well if we are going to be what he is - in God's place, we, too, would have to actively sustain and support Hitler so that he could do his deeds. If God had the will to cut off a third part of his children from the outset, we likewise have to have this mettle. Compared to that, it seems a paltry task to give to everyone who asks.

Keeping the commandments can be seen as a mutual test of integrity. In keeping his commandments, we test God to see if he keeps his word, and likewise through his commandments God tests us to see if we keep ours. When we are each convinced of the others' integrity, then we have faith and are proven faithful in all things; then we are like him.

If we don't keep his commandments, then we won't be like him; we won't have fulfilled the conditions upon which his grace is sufficient for us - which is the keeping of his commandments. One of the things people find intolerable about each other is ideological differences. Would you willingly live with someone you vehemently disagree with, who says things you don't believe and wouldn't say, who does things you wouldn't do, and whose motives you cannot understand, forever and ever, worlds without end? Would that be heaven to you?