Truth or Stories? To Know Is More Than Finding Happiness.
Interesting thing happened to me today. While I was in Sunday School we were learning about the Apostle Paul's interaction and letters to his converts in Corinth. As we discussed the state of the world then, to what we experience today, it was interesting to realize how similar the human conditions is today compared to our New Testament fathers. The state of their affairs seems to reflect, very well, the state of world affairs today. Corinth was a bustling center of commerce with all the blessings, and vices, of a large affluent city. Its seems Paul’s teachings then, were written exactly for our time now.
With all that is happening now, I find it comforting to know that the early saints dealt with similar issues as we do today. “Don’t you know”, says Paul, “that people who are unjust won’t inherit God’s kingdom? Don’t be deceived. Those who are sexually immoral, those who worship false gods, adulterers, both participants in same-sex intercourse, thieves, the greedy, drunks, abusive people, and swindlers won’t inherit God’s kingdom. That is what some of you used to be! But you were washed clean, you were made holy to God, and you were made right with God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” The sins those people were called to repent from then, are the same that we are called to repent from today. Paul even specifically called out homosexuality. I find the timing of this Sunday School lesson/discussion very interesting...
More than calling converts to repentance, I love how Paul, an eye-witness and Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, was doing his best to help the converts of his day stay true to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He bore strong witness of Christ’s resurrection, and also made efforts to answer questions of the saints and give his apostolic opinion on some matters important to the saints in their time. Again, I am amazed how Paul's words apply so perfectly to today's issues.
All of this; all of this learning and study has greatly helped me further define my moral stance on the moral issues I’m faced with today. I am grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and for witnesses that testify of his divinity. I am grateful for a Prophet and Apostles who share their opinions about “trivial” matters in our day, even develop policy's to help lay ministers with complicated issues. I really do feel so blessed to have people like Paul living and preaching in my day.
For the first time in a loooong time, I took opportunity to study Paul’s powerful testimony of the Savior:
I declare unto you the gospel... By which also ye are saved... that Christ died for our sins... And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day... he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once... After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also... whether it were I or they, so we preach ... that he rose from the dead....and become the firstfruits of them that slept.... For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.... Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death... For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality... when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? ... thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. - 1 Corinthians 15
I love that.
Boiled down, I guess it comes down this for me: What is my belief concerning Jesus Christ? Who was this man Jesus? Was he really the Son of God, who lived, who atoned, who died and was resurrected? Is Jesus Christ really the Son of God?
Or were all the witnesses of Jesus, and writers of the bible, just telling lies and stories? Did the the resurrection even happen? Is it just a cool story to fool the world into being good? or evil? Is Jesus Christ just a figure of fiction?
If the latter position is true, and the bible is a book of fables, life would be even as Paul reasons; all, especially the believers, would be “most miserable.” It would be just as well to "eat and drink; for tomorrow we die." Life would be without purpose.
But, if the witnesses (ancient and modern) are telling the truth. Oh! how the world has great HOPE! There is much reason for rejoicing! With the resurrection of Jesus Christ comes a knowledge that God is real! He hears and answers prayers! There is great joy and safety to be found in following His commandment; and there is divine help provided for all who desire to follow Gods plan. There is purpose to life.
ONE of these positions is TRUE. Christ was actually resurrected, or, he wasn’t. which one is it? (Makes me love Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon SO much more!)
Recently I have heard a lot about people striving for what makes them “happy”. Some even say that life without the church brings them great happiness. To me, personal experience confirms that Christ’s way is a happy way. But, I think there there is much more than just happiness to be found by learning and knowing the truth about Jesus Christ.
I really do think that the most important thing we can do in our lifetime is to find out for ourselves who Jesus Christ is, and join ourselves with His church. In conclusion, I desire to share the words of a friend, even my Sunday School teacher; Scott Woodward. A man I love and look up to.
If there is no resurrection then how we live ultimately doesn't matter, but if Jesus is the resurrected Christ then there is a God, there are moral laws--true rights and wrongs--and how we live matters a great deal. Everything depends on whether or not the apostles, ancient and modern, are telling us the truth.