God’s truth is connected to God’s power. Consider the Book of Mormon teachings. False churches deny the power of God today, they limit his divine works to the past.
2 Nephi 28:5 And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men;
6 Behold, hearken ye unto my precept; if they shall say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work.
Such churches also say that God will justify in committing a little sin. They say that if we are guilty of a little sin, God will beat us with a few stripes and at last we shall be saved.
7 Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us.
8 And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.
These ideas are intimately related. It is not possible to exercise God’s power while sinning a little. It offends the Holy Ghost, and robs us of our ability to discern God’s truth. Thus a church which justifies in committing a little sin is also a church that looks only to the past for manifestations of his power. That is because without the accompanying behavior, their faith is like Cain’s when he offered a sacrifice different than the one the Lord required. Without the accompanying behavior, faith is vain and God can do no miracle for them.
It is worth noting what separates us from other churches in the seventh article of faith.
Article of Faith 7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.
We believe in these things today. Not just in 1830, but today. If we don’t believe that, we don’t have the true gospel. If we don’t believe in prophecy, visions, angelic ministrations, miracles, healings, revelation, then instead all we have is a warm blanket to comfort the simple minded. The power of God and the truth of God go hand in hand. And the exercise of that power requires the same standard God ever gave for exercising his power, the power of righteousness.
Other Christian churches believe in the miracles of the old and new testament. They believe in the visions in the scriptures, and in the healings of Jesus.
But we believe in these things in these days, for ourselves. If we are indeed Latter-day “saints” then we do not look at the people in the scriptures as having distinctive gifts that we are not able to partake of, but we look to them as brothers united in the Faith of Christ and who received their blessings on the same basis that we hope to be worthy to receive ours.
Are we enjoying visions, prophecy, angelic ministrations, healings, interpretation of tongues, revelations, and other spiritual gifts? If there are no gifts of the spirit among us then we shouldn’t go about saying we have the spirit, because the spirit imparts spiritual gifts. Now please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that we don’t have the Gift of the Holy Ghost and it’s accompanying gifts. The Church of Jesus Christ is God’s true church on the earth. We have his gifts among us.
But we live far beneath our privileges, and I include myself in that. And I am concerned that that is no longer concerning to us, because the only way for us to live far beneath our privileges is by living far beneath God’s desires for our behavior.
Can we not take that truth and shake it out, look it over, measure its height and width and breadth and not see for ourselves that our privileges are only limited by our righteousness, and that the only way to live beneath our privileges is to live beneath God’s desires for our behavior.
The Lord said:
Luke 17:6 … If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.
And I think there is not much of the sort of faith in the church today that would allow a person to say to a sycamine tree “Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea” and it would obey.
We must not look back to the early days of the restoration and conclude that in that day God was a God of miracles, who would appear to Joseph in the grove, and in the temple, and would show him the heavens, but then conclude that there is no such thing as miracles these days because he has done his work and has given his power unto men. God is a god of miracles today! But we must, as a people and as individuals, live more worthy of them.
Rather than moving in that direction, I’m saddened to say that I am observing more and more people arguing that the church needs to be more condoning of sin. We must instead endorse the repentance and improvement that every one of us so needs.
Again, this is God’s true church. We have the gift of the Holy Ghost. But we need to reconsider our ways.