1 Peter 1

1 Peter 1: Trial of Faith Precedes Salvation

                Peter writes to the gentiles that are scattered throughout the world and explains to them; “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious that of gold….though it be tried with fire… be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:7) Here we learn that the trial of our faith, even though it be difficult is what we will be judged on in the last days. Gold, silver, jewels… any worldly possession will not help us gain salvation. We must EARN our own salvation through the trial of our faith. Yes, it is true that Jesus Christ died for our sins and therefore granted our Salvation. However, we must remember that Jesus Christ gave us the ABILITY to gain Salvation, but never did we instantly gain Salvation for nothing, and this is exactly what Peter is saying.

Peter goes on to explain, that since the dawn of time Prophets have “…enquired and searched diligently…” (1 Peter 1:10) in order to obtain the necessary information regarding our Salvation, for this purpose having prophets is important. Peter explains that we need to be “…obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts of your ignorance… Be ye holy; for I am [God] holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work.” (1 Peter 14;16-17) Peter urges us to be obedient, and put our former lusts and desires in the past. As God is Holy, we being His children should also be holy. Why? Because ultimately God will judge us on our work.

Our Salvation was gained through the “…precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world…” (1 Peter 1:19-20) Peter invites us to be “…born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible…” (1 Peter 1:23) In other words, once we decide to follow Christ, we must do as He would do. We must work diligently daily, doing good works as He would also do.

2 Thessalonians 1

2 Thessalonians 1: Jesus will take Vengeance

                Paul encourages the Saints to be of good courage and patient through their trials; “…we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure.” (2 Thessalonians 1:4)

Paul explains that those who knew God and suffered through trials would be rewarded and those who knew not God would be punished;

“…to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8)

Romans 5

Romans 5: Adam Fell, Christ Atoned

Paul explains the importance of the Role of Jesus Christ;

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; …  because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly… God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 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. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” (Romans 5:1-11)

We learn that we should be glad that God gives us tribulations, because through these trials we are able to learn patience, gain experience and have our hearts filled with Christ’s love through the Holy Ghost. We learn that Christ died for everyone, including the sinners. Through HIS Atonement and Sacrifice we have the opportunity to return to live with our Heavenly Father. Grace is a free gift and Salvation is ours if we desire.

Paul explained that “…death reigned from Adam to Moses… after the similitude of Adam’s transgression…” (Romans 5:14). Essentially because Adam and Eve transgressed we were all doomed to a Spiritual death, where we could no longer return to God’s presence. However Jesus Christ made it possible, through His death on the cross and His pleading in the Garden of Gethsemane that we could escape this Spiritual death.

Paul reminds us that we have a choice; “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19) This means that YES Adam and Eve broke a commandment of God, but by them breaking the commandment we were given a Savior to take our sins away from us. Jesus Christ Atoned for our sins, and gave us the free gift of Grace, but we still must choose to accept it. The Book of Mormon helps us to understand this further; “Adam feel that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” (Book of Mormon; 2 Nephi 2:25)

Acts 14

Acts 14: The Spreading of the Gospel

                Paul and Barnabas go into a synagogue in Iconium where they preach to the Jews and Greeks. Unfortunately only half of the people believe in them and the other half desired to kill them. Paul and Barnabas seeing there might be trouble flee to Lystria where they continued to preach the Gospel. While in Lystra, Paul heals a lame man, and the excited crowds declare that both Paul and Barnabas are gods in men form visiting the earth.

Jews from Iconium had followed Paul to persecute him, they stone him and think that they had stoned him to death… but he manages to escape and got to Antioch, where many churches are established. Paul reminds the Saints in the area that “…we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22) Essentially he is saying that if you believe in Jesus Christ and follow his commandments there will always be someone, with evil intent, who will persecute you. Believers will always be tested through tribulations, but if they endure well… God will reward them on high!

John 16

John 16: The Mission of the Holy Ghost

Jesus continues His address from the last chapter, He explains that there will come a time when those who believe on Christ will be forced out of the Synagogues and “…that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” (John 16:2) This act was seen in ancient times and in modern times. Shortly after the death of Jesus Christ, the Apostles He had called were also killed, and done in the name of doing ‘service to God’, just like bombings that occur in our modern society in the ‘service or name of God’.

The Apostles were upset by all of what Jesus had told them, but He assured them that all this must come to pass, but that after He leaves the world, the Comforter or Holy Ghost will guide them. “…he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will shew you things to come.” (John 16:13)

Jesus then tells them; “A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.” (John 16:16) The Apostles all thought to themselves, how is this possible? They were confused by His statement, and Jesus perceived this in their hearts and asked them; “…Do ye enquire among youselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me?” (John 16:19) Jesus knew that they wanted to know, but were too afraid to ask, so He explains; “…ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world…. Ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” (John 16:20-22)

The Apostles did not ask to receive this answer, but Jesus tells them in the future they will need to ask, but that if they ask they shall receive. Jesus explains that He will no longer have to use Parables to explain, and will instead show them plainly; “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again I leave the world, and go to the Father.” (John 16:28) Jesus asks them if they now believe, seeing that He speaks plainly. The Apostles say they do believe.

Jesus reminds His Apostles and Followers, that; “…In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I [Jesus] have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) We need to remember that when we are sad, lonely, angry, upset, etc. that Jesus Christ overcame the world for us, and gave His life that we could be forgiven of our sins, if we use our agency to repent and longer commit those sins. Jesus Christ enabled us to return to live with the Father. Jesus Christ overcame the world, and we too can overcome the world.