Gospel Doctrine 2015 – Lesson 36 – “Beloved of God, Called to Be Saints”

  1. We are justified by faith in Jesus Christ.

Romans 3: 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

‘In the Hebrew Psa 14:2, God is represented as looking down from heaven to see, that is, to make investigation, whether there were any that understood or sought after him. This circumstance gives not only high poetic beauty to the passage, but deep solemnity and awfulness. God, the searcher of hearts, is represented as making investigation on this very point. He looks down from heaven for this very purpose, to ascertain whether there were any righteous. In the Hebrew it is not asserted, though it is clearly and strongly implied, that none such were found. ‘ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)



 Romans 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

“…as President Ezra Taft Benson observed, people do not yearn for salvation in Christ until they know why they need Christ, which thing they cannot know until they understand and acknowledge the Fall and its effects upon all mankind. The atonement of Jesus Christ is inextricably and eternally tied to the Fall of Adam and Eve. To attempt to offer the solution without a knowledge of the problem is to teach the Atonement in the abstract, to lessen its impact, to mitigate its transforming power in the lives of men and women. Thus it is that the Apostle Paul began at the beginning; he laid stress where it needed to be. Quoting the Psalmist, he affirmed: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one’ (Romans 3:10-12; see also Psalm 14:1-3; 53:1-3).” (Robert L. Millet, Selected Writings of Robert L. Millet: Gospel Scholars Series [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2000], 70.)

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

‘Because we have all “sinned, and come short of the glory of God” and because “there cannot any unclean thing enter into the kingdom of God,” every one of us is unworthy to return to God’s presence.

Even if we were to serve God with our whole souls, it is not enough, for we would still be “unprofitable servants.” We cannot earn our way into heaven; the demands of justice stand as a barrier, which we are powerless to overcome on our own.

But all is not lost.

The grace of God is our great and everlasting hope.

Through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the plan of mercy appeases the demands of justice “and [brings] about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance.” Our sins, though they may be as scarlet, can become white as snow. Because our beloved Savior “gave himself a ransom for all,” an entrance into His everlasting kingdom is provided unto us. The gate is unlocked!’ (Dieter F Uchtdorf, General Conference, April 2015)

Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

“Martin Luther and some of the other early Reformers were impressed by Paul’s Epistle to the Romans in which he wrote: ‘Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law’ (Rom. 3:28). Luther felt so strongly about the importance of faith expressed in this verse that he translated it into German with a word added-‘justified by faith alone.’ This, of course, created a great controversy among the Catholic theologians of the day, who held to the notion that the sacraments or ordinances of the Church were necessary for salvation.

“Legend has it that as Luther was translating the New Testament and came upon James’s epistle, he declared that this epistle was ‘straw,’ for James declared: ‘Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone’ (James 2:17).

“The tension between faith and works, grace and ordinances, is readily resolved in Nephi’s teaching ‘that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do’ (2 Ne. 25:23).” (Spencer J Condie, In Perfect Balance [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1993], 56.)

Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

‘It is evident that this grace, or enabling power, is accessed by faith. No wonder faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the first principle of the gospel.’ (Gene R Cook, General Conference, April 1993)

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

‘But God commendeth … – God has exhibited or showed his love in this unusual and remarkable manner.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

 Romans 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

“The word atonement is only found once in the New Testament. It’s found a number of times in the Old Testament, but only once in the New Testament. And it’s not found at all in the Revised Standard Version. They don’t use atonement at all. The word doesn’t even appear in the New Testament. They use instead reconciliation, keeping it quite literal, from reconcilio. Reconciliation means ‘to return and sit down beside somebody again.’ …You return and then you sit down. You sit down by the side of the Lord, and you sit down again because you’ve been there before. It’s reconciliation. It’s redemption. It’s the redeeming. This means buying back something that he had before. We weren’t just created out of nothing, you see. We are returning to his presence. We’ve been there before, and the whole thing is a sense of returning to his presence. That’s what reconciliation is, which is the equivalent of atonement, …[Atonement] is not a Latin word. It’s not a Greek or Hebrew word. Atonement a good old English word, a theological word. At-one-ment, being at-one with the family, to go out no more, as he says, ‘with all our holy fathers, to go no more out.’

“There’s your solid security. You’re home at last. You’re back where you started from, and we hope that you’re back with some added credentials, etc. The only passage [where atonement is found] is in Rom. 5:11 in the New Testament. There in the King James [translation] you’ll find the word is atonement, but now in the Bible they use only reconciliation, which is a good word. We’re reconciled.” (Hugh Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon–Semester 1: Transcripts of Lectures Presented to an Honors Book of Mormon Class at Brigham Young University, 1988–1990 [Provo: FARMS], 214.)

Romans 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

“Does this doctrine of justification by faith, then, dissolve the obligation of the law? If so, it cannot be of God. But away with such a thought, for it does just the reverse.” (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary)

  1. We can be reborn and become joint-heirs with Christ.

Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.


“The new life in Christ entails a new energy, a new dynamism, a new source of strength and power. That power is Christ. So often people simply go through the motions, do good and perform their duties, but find little satisfaction in doing so. One Christian writer offered this thought: ‘There are few things quite so boring as being religious, but there is nothing quite so exciting as being a Christian!'” (Robert L. Millet, Selected Writings of Robert L. Millet: Gospel Scholars Series [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2000], 75 – 76.)

Romans 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

‘The fruits of repentance are sweet. Repentant converts find that the truths of the restored gospel govern their thoughts and deeds, shape their habits, and forge their character. They are more resilient and able to deny themselves of all ungodliness. Moreover, uncontrolled appetite, addiction to pornography or harmful drugs, unbridled passion, carnal desire, unrighteous pride are diminished with complete conversion to the Lord and a determination to serve Him and to emulate His example. Virtue garnishes their thoughts, and self-confidence grows. Tithing is seen as a joyful and protective blessing, not as a duty or a sacrifice. Truth becomes more attractive, and things praiseworthy become more engaging.’ (Russell M Nelson, General Conference, April 2007)

Romans 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

‘Do mortify – Do put to death; do destroy. Sin is mortified when its power is destroyed, and it ceases to be active.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

“Then, being children of God, we can see our true destiny. And being thus related to him, as his children, we now see ourselves in an entirely new light-not as the descendants of ape-like creatures living an aimless existence, but as the descendants of Almighty God, with the possibility of becoming like him!

“Now we can understand the true place and dignity of man. Now we can see his infinite potential.

“As members of the family of God, we can know that he has placed us here on earth in a type of school that will help us to become like him, if we are willing to follow the curriculum.” (Mark E Petersen, Conference Report, October 1968, General Priesthood Meeting 100 – 101.)

Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

‘In the theology of the restored church of Jesus Christ, the purpose of mortal life is to prepare us to realize our destiny as sons and daughters of God—to become like Him. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young both taught that “no man … can know himself unless he knows God, and he can not know God unless he knows himself” (in Journal of Discourses, 16:75; see also The Words of Joseph Smith, ed. Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, Provo: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1980, p. 340). The Bible describes mortals as “the children of God” and as “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ”. It also declares that “we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” and that “when he shall appear, we shall be like him”. We take these Bible teachings literally. We believe that the purpose of mortal life is to acquire a physical body and, through the atonement of Jesus Christ and by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel, to qualify for the glorified, resurrected celestial state that is called exaltation or eternal life.’ (Dallin H Oaks, General Conference, April 1995)

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

“I must be careful about what I promise you as you try choosing to be good. It won’t be all roses. President Ezra Taft Benson spent a lifetime trying to be good. Every time I was with him I felt his goodness. As nearly as I could tell, he had used the Savior as his standard about as well as anyone I ever knew. And yet, in his advanced years, life got harder, not easier. In 1989 he expressed a sense of joy that included the edge of reality: ‘I leave you my testimony of the joy of living-of the joys of full gospel living and of going through the Refiner’s fire and the sanctification process that takes place. As the Apostle Paul so well said, `We know that all things work together for good to them that love God.` (Romans 8:28.)’ (“To the Elderly of the Church,” Ensign, November 1989, p. 8.)” (Henry B Eyring, To Draw Closer to God: A Collection of Discourses [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 70.)

Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

‘The love of Christ.—That is to say, the love which Christ has for us, not that which we have for Christ.’ (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)

 Romans 8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

“There was no lack of certitude on the part of Paul after he had seen a light and heard a voice while en route to Damascus to persecute the Christians. For more than three decades after that, he devoted his time, his strength, his life to the spreading of the gospel of the resurrected Lord. Without regard for personal comfort or safety, he traveled over the known world of his time, declaring that ‘neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Rom. 8:38-39.)

“Executed in Rome, Paul sealed with his death his final testimony of his conviction of the divine sonship of Jesus Christ.

“So it was with the early Christians, thousands upon thousands of them, who suffered imprisonment, torture, and death rather than recant their stated beliefs in the life and resurrection of the Son of God.” (Gordon B Hinckley, “Faith: The Essence of True Religion,” Ensign, Nov. 1981, 6)

  1. We should live as becomes Saints.

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

‘Which is your reasonable service; or, which is agreeable to reason; nothing is more reasonable, than that you should devote yourselves to God in this manner.’ (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

“We cannot improve the world if we are conformed to the world (see Rom. 12:2). The gospel represents constancy amid change, not compliant adaptation to changing fashions and trends. Firm followers of Jesus, therefore, will not be mere chameleons-adapting their colors to match the ever-changing circumstances by simply blending in.” (Neal A Maxwell, “Popularity and Principle,” Ensign, Mar. 1995, 15)

Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

‘We are told in sacred writ, “that vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, and I will repay.” And in speaking of ourselves we need not be under any apprehensions pertaining to the acts of men, for the Lord has said, “It is my business to take care of my saints;” but it is our business to be Saints. And to be worthy of that character it is our duty to live by the principles of virtue, truth, integrity, holiness, purity, and honor, that we may at all times secure the favor of Almighty God; that His blessings may be with us and dwell in our bosoms; that the peace of God may abide in our habitations; that our fields, our flocks, and our herds may be blessed of the Lord; and that we, as a people, may be under His divine protection. Fear him and keep his commandments, and if we do this we need know no other fear either on this side of heaven or of hell, for God has pledged himself to take care of his people and to sustain and deliver them from the hands of their enemies. Therefore we may feel easy, and we can always afford to treat all men right. What! Would you treat your enemies well? Why, yes. If they were hungry I would feed them; if they were thirsty I would give them drink; if they were naked I would clothe them; but I would not be governed by their principles, nor influenced by the feelings which animate their bosoms. I would try and imitate and cherish the same truths that dwell in the bosom of God, who makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and the rain to fall on the just and on the unjust. Then, having done that, I would leave them in the hands of God, and let him direct his affairs according to the counsels of his own will.’ (John Taylor, Journal of Discourses)

 Romans 12:20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

‘Thou shalt heap … – Coals of fire are doubtless emblematical of “pain.” But the idea here is not that in so doing we shall call down divine vengeance on the man; but the apostle is speaking of the natural effect or result of showing him kindness. Burning coals heaped on a man’s head would be expressive of intense agony. So the apostle says that the “effect” of doing good to an enemy would be to produce pain. But the pain will result from shame, remorse of conscience, a conviction of the evil of his conduct, and an apprehension of divine displeasure that may lead to repentance. To do this, is not only perfectly right, but it is desirable. If a man can be brought to reflection and true repentance, it should be done.’ (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

 Romans 12:21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

“Without contention, without argument, without offense, let us pursue a steady course, moving forward to build the kingdom of God. If there is trouble, let us face it calmly. Let us overcome evil with good. This is God’s work. It will continue to strengthen over the earth, touching for good the lives of countless thousands whose hearts will respond to the message of truth. No power under heaven can stop it. 11667This is my faith and this is my testimony.” (Gordon B Hinckley, Conference Report, April 1970, First Day-Morning Meeting 23.)

Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

‘Hence, our highest priorities in life are to love God and to love our neighbors. That broadly includes neighbors in our own family, our community, our nation, and our world. Obedience to the second commandment facilitates obedience to the first commandment. “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” ‘(Russell M Nelson, General Conference, April 1994)

Romans 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

‘ Fulfilling of the law.—The form of the Greek word implies not only that love helps a man to fulfil the law, but that in the fact of the presence of love in his heart the law is actually fulfilled.’ (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)



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