A Larger View of the Law
You got caught red-handed in the cookie jar. What is your first reaction? “But I was hungry!” “I thought this was where we kept healthy snacks.” “I was really just getting one for you.” “I had a hard day at work.” “It’s not that big of a deal.”
We’re not fooling anyone except, perhaps, ourselves. But that’s the goal, isn’t it? If I can convince myself I’m not all that bad, I might even believe I’m doing pretty good.
We’ve all been there. It was just a mistake. Simply an error in judgment. Only a misstep.
This mindset is especially common in Mormonism. Mormonism emphasizes moral behavior and family values. This piety extends to avoiding coffee and other things forbidden by their Word of Wisdom. With so much emphasis on obedience, Mormonism must really respect God’s law, right?
Not exactly. Mormonism actually minimizes sin. “Sin is knowingly choosing to do wrong or not to do right” (Plan of Salvation, p.9). With that definition, maybe I’m not all that bad after all.
Mormonism also tries to make the law achievable. Mormons are taught they have divine potential and God wouldn’t give a command you couldn’t keep. From that perspective, maybe I’m doing pretty good.
Lowering God’s standards and raising our ability doesn’t respect God’s law. It destroys it.
Imagine road safety laws were eroded. You would only get a ticket if you chose to ignore your seatbelt. You would only get cited for driving 55 in a 25 zone if it was a conscious decision. And if you did get pulled over for missing a stop sign, you could emphasize how good you were, “But I stopped twice at the last one!” It would lead to utter contempt for the laws and result overall in much less safety.
Sayings like “just try harder” or “God only asks you to do your best” actually compromise God’s law and impugns his holiness. Either he’s serious about his law or he isn’t. And even a cursory reading of Scripture indicates he’s not kidding around.
That’s why it is vital to help Mormons see a larger view of the law. If we’re going to take the law seriously, it can’t be broken even once. If we are as good as his law demands, we need to be perfect right now.
A large view of God’s law only leads to one place…down on our knees. Paul wrestled with the evil he did and the good he didn’t do. He cried out, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24). His response was one we, as Biblical Christians, continue to celebrate: “Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25).
A larger view of the law helps us to grasp the greatness of the gospel.
Mormonism asserts that obedience to God’s law is important. It is. And only Jesus could do it. How thankful we are that he obeyed the law in our place.
The next time your hand is caught in the proverbial cookie jar, don’t make excuses. Fall to your knees at his mercy. Marvel all the more at his grace.
This week’s witnessing tip focused on how warnings are loving and important in our witness.
Check it out below: