Day 23 September 1 - Acts 27-Romans 4

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For I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel

Scripture Reference: Romans 1: 14-17

14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.

15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

The gospel of Jesus Christ provides the path that leads us to peace and happiness in this life and eternal life with our Heavenly Father. Satan, on the other hand, tempts us to follow a path that leads to misery and destruction. Paul described these different paths in vivid detail in Romans 1 . Then he boldly declared which path he had chosen to follow: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” ( Romans 1:16 ).

Our actions speak louder than words. Paul said he was not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and his actions proved it. Elder David B. Haight, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said: “The Apostle Paul was fearless and never wavered in his testimony of Jesus. His faith and determination lifted him from being a tentmaker to become a teacher, a missionary, leader, and organizer of Christian branches. He most certainly wasn’t a sissy nor weak. People of great faith know what is right and do it. They have uncompromised determination and commitment and are capable of enduring pressure or hardship. Paul knew what was right, and you know what is right. When you take courage like Paul and do what you know is right, nothing will stop your progress but yourself” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1991, 50; or Ensign, Nov. 1991, 36–37 ).

President N. Eldon Tanner, “Are We Ashamed?,” New Era, Jul 1979, 49

From an address given at the Buenos Aires, Argentina, area conference on October 29, 1978

Paul said: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Rom. 1:16). I would add to that, “and to all who live the commandments of God.”

And then I should like to ask the question: What is there in the gospel of Christ to be ashamed of? As we go back to man’s earliest recorded history as we know it, there was a council in heaven at which we were all present. There God presided. And Jesus Christ was chosen as the Savior of the world. And Satan rebelled and determined to destroy man and to destroy the plan of life and salvation. And all evil is under his direction. (See Moses 4:1–6.)

Now, we believe that we are spirit children of God and were made in his image. Is that anything to be ashamed of? Or would you rather believe that you descended from a monkey? We believe and know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of the world. Would you rather not believe in God at all? So many people in the world today do not believe in God the Eternal Father, and a great majority of them do not believe in a living, personal God. Should we be ashamed of believing in such a person and in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world and that Jesus Christ directly or through prophets of God gave us the plan of life and salvation? “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Now, we believe that through his atoning sacrifice all mankind will be resurrected and may be saved by keeping the commandments. Would you be ashamed of that and rather believe that when we die we are finished? So many people in the world today believe that when we die that is the end of our existence. Are we ashamed of the fact that we believe that we will be resurrected and that we can go back into the presence of God the Eternal Father? Are we ashamed of that? What a great blessing it is to believe that and to know that it is true.

Are we ashamed of the fact that God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith? Or are we ashamed of the fact that God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ organized and reestablished the Church upon the earth and that we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ? Are we ashamed to be members of the Church of Jesus Christ? Or do you feel thankful that you are prepared to live according to those teachings all your life and to help your neighbors, your children, your friends to understand it and to live it every day? Are we ashamed to stand up and say we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ?

Are we ashamed of the fact that the Word of Wisdom was given to us through a prophet and that other commandments were given to us? Let us just talk about the Word of Wisdom (D&C 89) for a few minutes. We find that by breaking the Word of Wisdom we are destroying our health. Scientists are now telling us of the dangers of tobacco and liquor, tea and coffee. Are we ashamed of the fact that a prophet of God gave us that Word of Wisdom years before the scientists proved it? Are we ashamed of the fact that by keeping the Word of Wisdom we may prevent sickness and the destruction we are told will happen to those who break it?

How blessed we are to have that Word of Wisdom. How fortunate our children are to be raised in homes where we keep the Word of Wisdom. And therefore our children do not have the temptation of those forbidden things in their homes.

I told the sisters this experience: A young man and young woman who were going together were killed in a car accident, and when the father of the girl arrived at the scene, he saw these two lying dead and a whiskey bottle nearby. He was enraged, and he said, “I will kill the man who gave them that whiskey!” On returning home he opened his liquor cabinet, and he saw a note which read: “Father, I hope you will forgive us for taking your whiskey tonight.” You can imagine how he felt.

Again I say, are you ashamed of the fact that we have that Word of Wisdom?

And are you ashamed of the fact that the gospel is the answer to the questions of the world today? When Jesus was asked what is the great commandment, he said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind, and strength, and thy neighbour as thyself” (see Luke 10:27). What is there about that teaching that we need to be ashamed of? If we kept that commandment in the world today, we would have no wars.

How fortunate we are, then, to be members of the Church of Jesus Christ. As I think of it, I ask again the question: Is there anything in this church that we need to be ashamed of? Or are you glad to be able to say to those with whom you associate, “I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ.”

Are you ashamed of the fact that you can prepare yourselves to be married in the temple for time and all eternity and that as a result you may have your family for time and all eternity? Brethren and sisters, these things we should appreciate and strive to live worthy of.

Are you ashamed of the fact that we are taught in this church to be morally clean? Or would you rather be as so many in the world are today, with all kinds of immorality approved even by government? We believe that man must choose for himself what he will do. The Lord has said, “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Ex. 20:14), “that ye should abstain from fornication” (1 Thes. 4:3). Surely we are not ashamed of those teachings by which we can raise our families and know that they are being raised as they should be.

Edited by KeithLBrown
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Acts 27:2 Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us

Paul is not traveling alone. The physician Luke has been his companion for most of the last several years. The third member of Paul’s entourage is Aristarchus, a Thessalonian convert who was a close friend to Paul.

“During the Apostle's subsequent long journey to Jerusalem, Aristarchus was to be found by his side (Acts 20:4). It is reasonable to suppose that this faithful friend remained in Palestine during Paul's two years' imprisonment there, for we find him again accompanying the Apostle when the latter shipped for Rome as a prisoner in charge of the centurion Julius (Acts 27:2)…He had been so long faithful to his friend the Apostle that it would rather appear as if he had thrown in his lot with him altogether and had no intention of forsaking him at all, and this view is strengthened by the fact that we find him sharing Paul's imprisonment throughout the two years during which the latter dwelt in his own hired house in Rome (Col. 4:10 and Philemon 24). So far as one can gather from the few instances in which his name is mentioned, he was always near the Apostle, ready to render him service and to work with and for him in the cause of the gospel from the time that he was converted in Thessalonica in A. D. 53 up to the close of Paul's first Roman imprisonment in A. D. 64. This friendship was therefore one of several years' standing, and must have been a source of considerable comfort and consolation to the aged Apostle in the trying circumstances of his later life, and during his weary and lengthy imprisonments both in Palestine and in Imperial Rome.” (St. Paul's Companions in Rome. by Col. R. M. Bryce-Thomas, Improvement Era, 1909, Vol. Xii. August, 1909. No. 10)

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Acts 27:3 Julius courteously entreated Paul

The Roman centurion in charge of Paul allowed him to refresh himself and later kept his soldiers from killing him (v. 23-24). What can we learn from the way Julius treated Paul? This Roman had no interest in the Jewish religions; he did not believe that Paul was a messenger of God (see v. 11). Yet he treated him with courtesy as a matter of common decency. May we treat everyone, even our own enemies, with the same measure of courtesy.

Sterling W. Sill

“M. A. Kelty said, ‘Small kindnesses, small courtesies, small considerations, habitually practiced in our social intercourse, give a greater charm to the character than the display of great talents or great accomplishments.’ Goethe declared, ‘There is no outward sign of true courtesy that does not rest on a deep moral foundation.’ And Emerson said, ‘We should be as courteous to a man as we are to a picture, which we are willing to give the advantage of the best possible light.’

“…One of the wisest decisions we can make is to always be courteous, kind, and gracious. A courteous person does not violate the rules of accepted conduct. A courteous person is not immodest or offensive. He is always thoughtful of God, of his country, of his family, of his friends, and even of his enemies.

“May we always be courteous in our speech, in our activities, in our appearance. Then, when we go to stand before God, it is likely that one of the qualities that will shine brighter in our lives than almost any other is that great gem of courtesy.” (The Wealth of Wisdom, 83-85)

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Acts 28:5 he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm

Paul’s ministry is marked by miracle after miracle. This rather unusual miracle demonstrates the protection from serpents which is promised to believers in Mark 16:17. The DC also records the following, ‘And these signs shall follow them that believe…the poison of a serpent shall not have power to harm them. But a commandment I give unto them, that they shall not boast themselves of these things, neither speak them before the world; for these things are given unto you for your profit and for salvation’ (DC 84:65-73). Contrary to this command, some misguided preachers have taken up snake handling during their services. Unknowingly, they tempt the Lord, seeking for signs ‘that they may consume it upon their lusts’ (DC 46:9).

“The practice is believed to have started with George Hensley in the hills of Tennessee (Melton 1996, 636). As church lore has it, snake handling started sometime in the later part of the first decade of the twentieth century while Hensley was preaching at the Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee. During Hensley's sermon about Mark 16 some men dumped out a box full of rattlesnakes in front of him. Without missing a beat Hensley reached down and picked up the snakes, preaching the entire time. By 1914 the practice had spread throughout the Church of God, however, the actual act of snake handling was only practiced by a small portion of the members (Melton 1996, 636).

“Hensley then settled to preaching in the Grasshopper Valley region of Tennessee a few miles away from Cleveland. He stayed here for a number of years. When ‘a member almost died from a snake bite [Hensley] moved to Pine Mountain, Kentucky.’ By the Late 1920s the support for snake handling vanished…In the 1940s snake handling saw a resurgence led by Raymond Harris and Tom Harden. These men went on to start the Dolly Pond Church of God with Signs Following in Grasshopper Valley. Lewis Ford a member of the Dolly Pond congregation died from snake handling in 1945. His death led to the official banning of snake handling in Tennessee in 1947 (Burton 1993, 81).” (Colin Smith, “New Religious Movements,” University of Virginia, 05/16/01)

Orson Pratt

’They shall take up serpents, or if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them.’ This promise of our Great Redeemer was also made to every creature in all the world who should believe the gospel. The use of this miraculous gift was to preserve life, in case any believer should accidentally be bitten by a poisonous serpent as Paul was (Acts 28); or should unintentionally swallow a deadly poison, as the sons of the prophets did (II Kings 4). Jesus promised that it should not hurt them. When the Israelites were bitten by poisonous serpents, they were healed by simply looking at a brazen serpent which the Lord commanded Moses to raise up in the wilderness; so the believers in Christ can prevail against deadly poisons by simply looking to Him in faith; for Jesus cannot fail to fulfill His promise to the believer.” (Orson Pratt's Works [salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1945], 85.)

Edited by pam
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Acts 28:22 as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against

LeGrand Richards

“Sometime ago, Brother Clifford Young gave a [radio] address. He told me following that of some of the letters he had received commenting on his address. And one was from a minister of the gospel, in which he said something like this: ‘It pleases me greatly to know that the Mormons believe in the Christ.’ I have thought a great deal about that statement since, and I have thought of the feeling the world has toward our people. I have compared it to the time when Paul stood at Rome to be judged, and they said unto him, ‘ . . . we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against.’ (Acts 28:22.)

“That is just like the world. They don't understand, and so they malign us, and they tell all manner of things that are not true, and they do not have the right conception…

“A short time ago I sent one of our Church books to a distant relative on my mother's side, back in Massachusetts. My cousin, Merlin Steed, had been there and had visited him. He wrote Merlin a letter and said he had spent three weeks reading the book. He said, ‘It is a great eye opener to me. It is the first book I have ever read in favor of the Mormons.’ And then he added this statement, ‘I doubt if you have any idea of the fantastic yarns that are current in New England concerning the Mormon Church. Some of them are so wild that I doubt if the persons who tell them really believe what they are saying themselves.’

"That is what we have to meet in the world. If the Lord would but take that prejudice out of their hearts!…I had an experience in Oregon after my first mission. I had spent some time with a prominent businessman. He didn't know I was a Mormon, and he painted the Mormons and the Mormon missionaries so black it almost made my blood run cold. When he was through, I said, ‘My friend, now don't you feel embarrassed, because,’ I said, ’you are sitting right here at the side of a Mormon missionary.’ He went red in the face, and I said, ‘I forgive you,’ because I had qualified him before. I said, ‘Have you ever read a Mormon book?’ He said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Have you ever met a Mormon?’ And he said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘I forgive you because you are not supposed to know any better. Where did you get your information from?’ ‘Oh,’ he said, ‘you hear it on the streets, and you read it in the magazines and in the newspapers; everybody knows what the Mormons are.’” (Conference Report, April 1953, Second Day—Morning Meeting 72.)

LeGrand Richards

“Why was the truth everywhere spoken against? Well, you see, there was a war in heaven…Isaiah speaks of him who has deceived the nations and destroyed the world and the inhabitants thereof, and all we need to do is to look at the history of the world, and realize the power that is bringing about such destruction, when, if we would heed the light of truth and inspiration of the Spirit of the Lord, all men might live in harmony and in peace, and the nations of the earth might walk in the light of the Lord their God…

“So these great persecutions we find in our own work. As the Church was evil-spoken of in that day, it is evil-spoken of in our day. We have found this as we have labored among the people. If it were not for that power that deceiveth the nations, there would be hundreds of thousands of honest people in this world join this Church because it literally is the Church of Jesus Christ restored again to the earth in this day.” (Conference Report, April 1957, First Day—Morning Meeting 15-17.)

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Romans 1 Introduction

“Sent from: Paul, at Corinth.

Sent to: ‘All . . . in Rome . . . called to be saints.’

Date: Probably early in A. D. 58.

Purpose: To prepare the Roman members for his intended visit and to refute false teachings of the Judaizers.

Main themes: God's patience and judgment; justification by faith; the baptismal covenant; conditional election; moral laws of the gospel.

“Background: The City

“Perhaps a million people were interlocked in Rome, city of the emperor, the aristocracy, and the masses. Augustus could claim that he found a city of brick and changed it to marble. This boast had merit, for he left behind an astounding list of temples and public buildings that he built and repaired. Political and geographical center of the empire, Rome had long attracted Paul as a culminating missionary opportunity. He wrote to the Saints that he had desired ‘these many years to come unto you’ (Rom. 15:23)…Rome is wicked but on the move with projects and ideas—an international city and a melting pot…And the Jews? They are also unwelcome realities in Roman satire.” (Richard Lloyd Anderson, Understanding Paul [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 169.)

“The church at Rome was composed of a mixture of Jewish and gentile converts. The Apostle Paul is aware that the different backgrounds of these two groups, prior to church membership, brought about conflicting views among them. His chief concern is with the claimed necessity and benefits of the law of Moses. Preoccupation with the centuries-old, legalistically annotated law had left a deep imprint in the lives of the Jewish converts to the church. The gentile converts were influenced by the Hellenistic philosophical system and concepts of learning. Their accompanying paganistic worship of idols was an additional deterrent to the proper understanding of gospel truths about which they were cautioned. (Rom. 1:20–25.)” (Edward J. Brandt, “New Testament Backgrounds: Romans,” Ensign, Jan. 1976, 82)

Bruce R. McConkie

“The epistle to the Romans is a letter, not a treatise on gospel subjects. It is not written to the world, but to the saints, to people who already know and understand the doctrines of salvation. Paul’s comments on gospel subjects presuppose an extensive prior knowledge on the part of the readers. He does not here expound doctrines as such; he simply comments about them, leaving unsaid the volumes of gospel understanding already possessed by the saints. Romans, hence, is not a source of gospel knowledge for the spiritually untutored; it is not the initial place to turn to learn of Christ and his laws.” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 2:212.)

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Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ

Peter must have feared the chief priests and the Sanhedrin to deny Christ three times, but weeks later he was a new man. Empowered by the gift of the Holy Ghost and tutored by the resurrected Christ, Peter would be ashamed no more. Therefore, when he was brought before this same powerful and intimidating group, he made sure he set the record straight. When asked by what power he had healed a lame man, Peter replied, ‘Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel…Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved’ (Acts 4:8-12). The elders of the people were stunned and ‘commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.’ (Acts 4:18-19).

Peter was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. Never again would he fear men more than God. Another example of such boldness comes from the life of John Taylor:

“In 1838, soon after his call to the Quorum of the Twelve, John Taylor traveled toward Far West, Missouri, to join the Saints. Along the way, he was scheduled to speak to a group near Columbus, Ohio. A little before the appointed time, some brethren brought news that a number of men had gathered at the meeting place and were plotting to tar and feather Elder Taylor. The brethren advised him to cancel the meeting because they were outnumbered and would not be able to protect him. However, Elder Taylor insisted he would go and preach as planned and would do so even if he had to go by himself.

“When he reached the large crowd assembled to hear him, he proceeded to speak first about his having recently come from countries ruled by monarchs. He told them about the honor he felt of standing on free soil. In reference to how that freedom was achieved, he said: ‘Gentlemen, I now stand among men whose fathers fought for and obtained one of the greatest blessings ever conferred upon the human family—the right to think, to speak, to write; the right to say who shall govern them, and the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences—all of them sacred, human rights, and now guaranteed by the American Constitution. I see around me the sons of those noble sires, who rather than bow to the behests of a tyrant, pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honors to burst those fetters, enjoy freedom themselves, bequeath it to their posterity, or die in the attempt.’

“Having said that, he tore open his vest and exclaimed: ‘Gentlemen come on with your tar and feathers, your victim is ready; and ye shades of the venerable patriots, gaze upon the deeds of your degenerate sons? Come on, gentlemen? Come on, I say, I am ready!’ Elder Taylor paused for a few minutes, but no one would move or speak. He then continued his remarks and preached to the crowd with boldness and power for three hours.” (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: John Taylor, 219-221)

James E. Faust

“This morning I want to speak about the importance of each of us bearing our testimony. We bear testimony, not only through our words, but also through our lives. I take as my text Paul's message to the Romans, ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek’ (Rom. 1:16). . . . Some of us are naturally reserved and timid about bearing our testimony with words. Perhaps we should not be so timid. The Doctrine and Covenants tells us, ‘But with some I am not well pleased, for they will not open their mouths, but they hide the talent which I have given unto them, because of the fear of man’ (D&C 60:2) We should testify with a spirit of humility. D&C 38:1 of the Doctrine and Covenants reminds us, ‘And let your preaching be the warning voice, every man to his neighbor, in mildness and in meekness’ (D&C 38:41). . . . All my life I have tried not to hide who I am and what I believe in. I cannot recall a single instance when it hurt my career or I lost valued friends by humbly acknowledging that I was a member of this Church.” (James E. Faust and James P. Bell, In the Strength of the Lord: The Life and Teachings of James E. Faust [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1999], 445 - 446.)

Delbert L. Stapley

’For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation’….If we are not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, then we should not be ashamed to live it. And if we are not ashamed to live it, then we should not be ashamed to share it.” (Thomas S. Monson, “That All May Hear,” Ensign, May 1995, 49)

N. Eldon Tanner

“The people with whom you associate respect you if you live according to the teachings of the church of Jesus Christ. People expect a great deal from the members of this Church because we profess much. I have never at any time found that my membership in the Church and living according to the teachings of the gospel were deterrents.

“Let each of us every day live an exemplary life, that our influence may be felt for good and that others, seeing our good works, may be led to glorify God. Parents, be an example every day to your children—and you children and young people, live to show the world that you are ‘not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth’ (Rom. 1:16).

“We are members of the church of Jesus Christ. May we always live worthy of this.” (“Never Be Ashamed of the Gospel of Christ,” Ensign, Feb. 1980, 5)

Edited by pam
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Romans 1:16 for it is the power of God unto salvation

“The gospel is the ‘power of God unto salvation’ (Romans 1:16), a power that can make of earth a heaven and of man a god.” (Robert L. Millet, Alive in Christ: The Miracle of Spiritual Rebirth [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 56.)

B. H. Roberts

’The gospel…is the power of God unto salvation’. The first thing to note in the definition is that the gospel is Power. It is not a book—not even the Bible. It is not an organization—not even the church. It is a Power. But what is ‘power’? … for our purpose here, ‘power’ may be regarded as that which produces movement, that which causes effects. ‘Power’, as related to the gospel is that which produces whatever is the objective of the gospel. In this case the objective is ‘the power…unto salvation’; or that which produces salvation.” (The Falling Away, [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1931], 204)

Joseph L. Wirthlin

“Paul's definition causes one to pause and contemplate the intriguing term ‘godly power’ as an element in the plan of salvation and whether or not man can acquire and develop godly power.” (Conference Report, October 1944, Afternoon Meeting 36.)

Bruce R. McConkie

“What, then, is the gospel that is dispensed from heaven to men? It is the great and eternal plan of salvation. It is the way and the means provided by the Father whereby his spirit children—Christ included—can advance and progress and become like him…And because it is the power of God that saves men, it includes both what the Lord does for us and what we must do for ourselves to be saved. On his part it is the atonement; on our part it is obedience to all that is given us of God. Thus the gospel includes every truth, every principle, every law—all that men must believe and know. Thus it includes every ordinance, every rite, every performance—all that men must do to please their Maker. Thus it includes every priesthood, every key, every power—all that men must receive to have their acts bound on earth and sealed eternally in the heavens.” (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 98.)

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Romans 1:26-27 even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men…burned in their lust one toward another

Rome may have been the cultural and political capital at the time, but it was also the capital of sexual sin and homosexuality. Paul could not afford to avoid this subject as it was so prevalent among the Romans of the day. So prevalent in fact that it contributed to the very fall of Rome. “The grandeur of ancient Greece, the majesty of Rome, once the proud rulers of the world, have disappeared; and the verdict of history specifies the prevalence of sexual immorality as among the chief of the destructive agencies by which the fall of those mighty peoples was effected.” (Editors' Table, Improvement Era, 1917, Vol. Xx. June, 1917. No. 8 .)

Spencer W. Kimball

“The unholy transgression of homosexuality is either rapidly growing or tolerance is giving it wider publicity. If one has such desires and tendencies, he overcomes them the same as if he had the urge toward petting or fornication or adultery. The Lord condemns and forbids this practice with a vigor equal to his condemnation of adultery and other such sex acts. And the Church will excommunicate as readily any unrepentant addict.

“Again, contrary to the belief and statement of many people, this sin, like fornication, is overcomable and forgivable, but again, only upon a deep and abiding repentance, which means total abandonment and complete transformation of thought and act. The fact that some governments and some churches and numerous corrupted individuals have tried to reduce such behavior from criminal offense to personal privilege does not change the nature nor the seriousness of the practice. Good men, wise men, God-fearing men everywhere still denounce the practice as being unworthy of sons of God; and Christ's church denounces it and condemns it so long as men have bodies which can be defiled. (80-53)

““Homosexuality is an ugly sin. There is today a strong clamor to make such practices legal by passing legislation. Some would also legislate to legalize prostitution. They have legalized abortion, seeking to remove from this heinous crime the stigma of sin.

“We do not hesitate to tell the world that the cure for these evils is not in surrender.” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball [salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982], 274.)

Harold B. Lee

The scriptures warn against homosexuality. We have a case again—the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. I bring this into your thinking because of the circumstances which justified the destruction. I suggest that you read Leviticus, the seventeenth and eighteenth chapters, and "Deuteronomy 23:17, Romans 1:27, and 1 Corinthians 6:9. The sin that was most abhorred in the sight of God and which brought down the vengeance of heaven upon them. This isn't a pretty story. It is one that should strike terror to us as we contemplate similar things happening among us today: ‘Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.’ (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13.) He is talking of homosexuality and the practice of it, as you can well understand. (54-09)

“Homosexuality can be overcome. I was asked by a prominent family some years ago to work with a girl who was headed along the homosexual trail. As much as we deplore the ugliness of that word, it is among us, both among boys and girls, perhaps to a greater extent than we hardly realize. And so, yielding to the importunings of this good father and mother, I sought with this girl to try to dissuade her from a course that she was about to take that would lead her further along this trail, and she just sort of laughed at me and she berated her father because he had snooped into her private affairs. Well, we talked and finally she just said, ‘Well, I can't make up my mind,’ which meant that she wasn't going to pay any attention to what I had said. And later that evening she came and repeated it, ‘Well, I still am undecided,’ just sort of smirking about the whole thing. Six months went by.

“[i was returning from a] meeting [one day, and] I walked down to my office and here was the girl I had had this struggle with, trying to dissuade her from her course and it looked like she was so far gone that I had about written her off my list of hopefuls at least. Her mother had pleaded, ‘Won't you give her a blessing?’ I took her in my office and thought I would talk with her a few minutes alone (she and her mother had been at loggerheads), and I said to her, ‘Well, now, you say you want me to give you a blessing? Now it would just be sheer mockery for me to put my hands on your head until you are prepared to take me by the right hand and look me squarely in the eye and tell me that from this time forth you will never again return to this ugly practice.’ And she buried her face in her arms and she sobbed, ‘But I love her, I love her so much.’ ‘Well,’ I said, ‘then you are just wasting my time and I am wasting yours. There is nothing I can do about it.’

“So we talked a little bit more and she cried, and finally she said, ‘Oh, Brother Lee, please, I promise you that I will never do this again. I need a blessing, please help me.’ With my hands on her head I had another experience. [T]he impression came to have her pray as soon as I had finished, so I said to her, ‘Now I want you to kneel down and I want you to pray to God to give you the strength to do what you have promised me this day that you will do.’ And as she buried her face in the seat of that chair, I never heard such a prayer from a youth: ‘Please, Heavenly Father, you know that I want to be a wife, and I want to be a mother, help me to be a normal, natural woman. Father, help me to lick this cursed thing that is about to destroy my life,’ and she just pleaded and she sobbed.

“Well, if you should see the girl today, you would see what Alma was when he came out of that three days' experience , and you would see her as a wholly different [person] than the one who looked like she was far gone. But there was a spark still there; she hadn't committed the unpardonable sin. And I was an agent; I was an agent of God to give to her some spiritual help to fan the flame that was flickering into a full burning desire to be a true woman. (62-02)” (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 230-232.)

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Romans 1:31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection

Boyd K. Packer

“My message is to you who are tempted either to promote, to enter, or to remain in a life-style which violates your covenants and will one day bring sorrow to you and to those who love you.

“Growing numbers of people now campaign to make spiritually dangerous life-styles legal and socially acceptable. Among them are abortion, the gay-movement, and drug addiction. They are debated in forums and seminars, in classes, in conversations, in conventions, and in courts all over the world. The social and political aspects of them are in the press every day….

“The point I make is simply this: there is a MORAL and SPIRITUAL side to these issues which is universally ignored. For Latter-day Saints, morality is one component which must not be missing when these issues are considered—otherwise sacred covenants are at risk! Keep your covenants and you will be safe. Break them and you will not.

“Several publications are now being circulated about the Church which defend and promote gay or conduct. They wrest the scriptures attempting to prove that these impulses are inborn, cannot be overcome, and should not be resisted; and therefore, such conduct has a morality of its own. They quote scriptures to justify perverted acts between consenting adults. That same logic would justify incest or the molesting of little children of either gender. Neither the letter nor the spirit of moral law condones any such conduct.

“I hope none of our young people will be foolish enough to accept those sources as authority for what the scriptures mean. Paul, speaking on this very subject, condemned those ‘who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator.’ (Rom. 1:25.) In that same reference the word covenantbreakers is used for the only time in scripture. (See Rom. 1:31.)

“Some choose to reject the scriptures out of hand and forsake their covenants. But they cannot choose to avoid the consequences. That choice is not theirs or ours or anybody’s.

“All of us are subject to feelings and impulses. Some are worthy and some of them are not; some of them are natural and some of them are not. We are to control them, meaning we are to direct them according to the moral law.

“The legitimate union of the sexes is a law of God. The sacred covenants made by husband and wife with God protect the worthy expression of those feelings and impulses which are vital to the continuation of the race and essential to a happy family life. Illicit or perverted conduct leads without exception to disappointment, suffering, to tragedy.” (“Covenants,” Ensign, Nov. 1990, 84)

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Romans 2:1 wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things

Spencer J. Condie

Joseph Smith assured the Saints, ‘I do not dwell upon your faults, and you shall not upon mine. Charity, which is love, covereth a multitude of sins, and I have often covered up all the faults among you; but the prettiest thing is to have no faults at all. We should cultivate a meek, quiet and peaceable spirit.’ In admonishing the Saints to cover each other's sins, he did not indicate that we should ‘call evil good,’ rather he was advocating that the Saints look for the good in others and refrain from continual criticism.

“The Savior's statement in the Sermon on the Mount is good medicine for all of us: ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged.’ He further asks us: ‘And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?’ (Matt. 7:1, Matt. 7:3) In this same vein, the Apostle Paul wrote the Romans in unmistakable terms that ‘wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things’ (Rom. 2:1). In short, our criticisms of others are generally a reflection of our own weaknesses with which we, ourselves, are currently struggling.” (In Perfect Balance [salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1993], 217.)

Spencer W. Kimball

“Our vision is completely obscured when we have no mirror to hold up to our own faults and look only for the foibles of others. When we follow the instructions of the Lord, we are kept so busy perfecting ourselves that we come to realize that the faults of others are small in comparison. We should establish the delightful habit, then, of minimizing the weaknesses of others and thus increase our own virtues.

“He who will not forgive others breaks down the bridge over which he himself must travel.” (The Miracle of Forgiveness [salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969], 269)

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Romans 2:7 patient continuance in well doing

Angel Abrea

“Patience must be our constant companion during the journey which carries us toward that great goal, ‘Continue in patience until ye are perfected,’ the counsel the Lord gave to the elders of the Church. (D&C 67:13.)

“It should be made clear that we are not talking here about a passive patience which waits only for the passing of time to heal or resolve things which happen to us, but rather a patience that is active, which makes things happen. Such was the patience Paul described in his epistle to the Romans when he used the words ‘by patient continuance in well doing.’ (Rom. 2:7.)” (“Patience in Affliction,” Ensign, May 1992, 26)

Neal A. Maxwell

“Once we have become grounded, rooted, established, and settled, the concluding quality needed is to endure well to the end. Clearly this is much more than merely surviving over the months and the years of life: ‘And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.’ (D&C 121:8. Italics added.)

“Patient perseverance in Christian service is part of this final challenge: ‘To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life.’ (Romans 2:7.) Commandment keeping, serving well, letting ‘all these things’ tutor us and give us that experience which is for our good—these are things that should continue to the end. We do not, therefore, merely go on living in the world—we overcome it: ‘He that is faithful and endureth shall overcome the world.’ (D&C 63:47.)” (We Will Prove Them Herewith [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 114.)

Hugh B. Brown

“The gospel of Jesus Christ is not only a theory to be believed, a creed to be recited, or a set of rules of conduct to be adopted. It is a goal to be achieved by ‘patient continuance in well doing.’ (Rom. 2:7-8.) Christ is more than a theological dogma. He is a moral ideal. He was what he taught, and he asked that we show our love for him and our testimony of him by keeping his commandments. In other words, by being, not seeming.

“The very essence of Mormonism is practical and active morals. In our articles of faith we say, ‘We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, etc.’ Merely repeating the words or giving intellectual assent to the idea of honesty, virtue, etc., will never save a man.

“Bringing one's life into harmony with God's laws is prerequisite...” (Continuing the Quest [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1961], 277.)

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Romans 2:16 God shall judge the secrets of men

Dallin H. Oaks

“If we refrain from evil acts, we have clean hands. If we refrain from forbidden thoughts, we have pure hearts. Those who would ascend and stand in the ultimate holy place must have both.

“In the second chapter of Romans, the Apostle Paul teaches to the same effect. He explains that God will ‘judge the secrets of men’ (Rom. 2:16) ‘according to truth’ (Rom. 2:2). He contrasts the position of the Gentiles who do not have the Mosaic law but by their actions ‘shew the work of the law written in their hearts’ (Rom. 2:15) with those Jews who preach the law and then do not practice it. The Apostle Paul then concludes with these profound truths:

‘For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:

But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.’ (Rom. 2:28–29.)

“What do these teachings about feelings and desires mean for each of us?

“Are we sure to be guiltless under the law of God if we merely refrain from evil acts? What if we entertain evil thoughts and desires?

“Will hateful feelings go unnoticed in the day of judgment? Will envy? Will covetousness?

“Are we guiltless if we engage in business practices that are intended to deceive, even if they involve no act punishable by law?

“Are we guiltless under the law of God just because the law of man provides no legal remedy for our victim?

“Are we eligible for blessings if we seem to seek the things of God, such as by preaching or publishing the gospel message, but do so to obtain riches or honor rather than with an eye single to his glory?

“Our answers to such questions illustrate what we might call the bad news, that we can sin without overt acts, merely by our feelings and the desires of our hearts.

“There is also good news. Under the law of God, we can be rewarded for righteousness even where we are unable to perform the acts that are usually associated with such blessings.” (“The Desires of Our Hearts,” Ensign, June 1986, 66)

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Romans 3 Introduction

Paul was faced with a dilemma. The Jewish segment of the Roman church was teaching that righteousness came by living the Law of Moses. For them, the power of the atonement was a new concept. They did not understand how much they needed the saving grace of Jesus Christ. They mistakenly thought they could get to heaven on their own merits if they just kept the law. Furthermore, they were critical of Gentile members who did not keep all the rabbinical rules of the Mosaic Law.

What does Paul do to counter this false doctrine? He teaches them the necessity of faith, grace, and God’s mercy. He explains why the atonement is necessary and how it works. Those who misinterpret Paul’s writings seem to forget his purpose in writing. On the faith and works spectrum, the Jews were so far off the deep end that they needed to be brought back into the middle. Ironically, Christianity has used the doctrine of this chapter to go off the deep end the other way—teaching that faith is the only requirement for salvation.

“Since the scriptures—not just the Bible but all the scriptures—discuss the importance of both grace and works, we are not at liberty to choose sides or to throw out one in favor of the other. Any theological view that slights the vital role of either grace or works is defective. Luther was wrong to ignore James. Latter-day Saints are wrong to shy away from Paul. Both James and Paul wrote the word of God. Both the Epistle of James and the Epistle to the Romans are scripture. Unfortunately, some LDS missionaries, when confronted with Paul's ‘By grace are ye saved’ (Ephesians 2:8) or ‘A man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law’ (Romans 3:28) have counterattacked with James' ‘Faith without works is dead’ (James 2:26) as though Paul was wrong or as though James somehow cancels out Paul. But Paul was an apostle of the Lord, and his letters are just as much the word of God as the letter from James (see the eighth Article of Faith). We cannot choose sides between grace and works—both must be right!” (Stephen E. Robinson, Following Christ: The Parable of the Divers and More Good News [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1995], 80.)

Joseph Fielding Smith

“So Paul taught these people—who thought that they could be saved by some power that was within them, or by observing the law of Moses—he pointed out to them the fact that if it were not for the mission of Jesus Christ, if it were not for this great atoning sacrifice, they could not be redeemed. And therefore it was by the grace of God that they are saved, not by any work on their part, for they were absolutely helpless. Paul was absolutely right.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 2: 310.)

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JST Romans 4:16 Therefore ye are justified of faith and works, through grace

The Joseph Smith Translation clarifies that justification does not come by faith alone, but requires both faith and works. This is keeping with James teachings on the same subject. Remarkably, James’ epistle seems to be written in direct response to Paul’s writings in Romans 4. He seems to be making commentary on this exact verse when he says:

‘But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.’ (James 2:20-24)

Abraham is a good example of one whose faith was made perfect by their works of righteousness. Righteous works follow true faith as surely as the night follows the day. “God's initial approval comes when a prophet or convert responds with undoubting faith, but final approval is strictly conditioned on the successful testing of that faith. The first approval of Abraham appears powerfully in "Rom. 4:1Romans 4, whereas the testing of Abraham's faith appears in Hebrews 11. James speaks bluntly of this second stage in saying that Abraham was ‘justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar’ (James 2:21).” (Richard Lloyd Anderson, Understanding Paul [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 222 - 223.)

Bruce R. McConkie

“Abraham's works of righteousness were these: He had faith in the Lord Jehovah, whose gospel he believed and in whose paths he walked; he repented of his sins, was baptized, after the manner of his fathers, and received the gift of the Holy Ghost. Thereafter he endured in good works all his days—honoring the priesthood, living in the patriarchal order of matrimony, receiving visions and revelations and the gifts of the Spirit, and worshipping the Father in the name of the Son, as did Adam and all of the ancients. As to that celestial marriage practiced by Abraham and that eternal life which grows out of it, the revealed word to latter-day Israel is: ‘This promise is yours also, because ye are of Abraham, and the promise was made unto Abraham; and by this law is the continuation of the works of my Father, wherein he glorifieth himself. Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law and ye shall be saved.’ (D&C 132:31-32.)” (The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4 vols. [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979-1981], 3: 163.)

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Romans 4:18-20 Who against hope believed in hope…He staggered not…but was strong in faith

James E. Faust

“Hope is trust in God’s promises, faith that if we act now, the desired blessings will be fulfilled in the future. Abraham ‘against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations.’ Contrary to human reason, he trusted God, ‘fully persuaded’ that God would fulfill His promises of giving Abraham and Sarah a child in their old ages.

“A few years ago, Sister Joyce Audrey Evans, a young mother in Belfast, Northern Ireland, was having trouble with a pregnancy. She went to the hospital, where one of the nurses told her she would probably lose the baby. Sister Evans replied: ‘But I can’t give up. … You have to give me hope.’ Sister Evans later recalled: ‘I couldn’t give up hope until all reason for hope was gone. It was something I owed to my unborn child.’

“Three days later she had a miscarriage. She wrote: ‘For one long moment, I felt nothing. Then a profound feeling of peace flowed through me. With the peace came understanding. I knew now why I couldn’t give up hope in spite of all the circumstances: you either live in hope or you live in despair. Without hope, you cannot endure to the end. I had looked for an answer to prayers and was not disappointed; I was healed in body and rewarded with a spirit of peace. Never before had I felt so close to my Heavenly Father; never before had I felt such peace. …

“’The miracle of peace was not the only blessing to come from this experience. Some weeks later, I fell to thinking about the child I had lost. The Spirit brought to my mind the words from Genesis 4:25 `And she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed. …`

“’A few months later, I became pregnant again. When my son was born, he was declared to be `perfect.`’ He was named Evan Seth.” (“Hope, an Anchor of the Soul,” Ensign, Nov. 1999, 60)

Neal A. Maxwell

“…faithful Abraham ‘staggered not … through unbelief’ (Rom. 4:20). Of that episode John Taylor observed that ‘nothing but the spirit of revelation could have given him this confidence, and … sustained him under these peculiar circumstances’ (in Journal of Discourses, 14:361). Will we too trust the Lord amid a perplexing trial for which we have no easy explanation? Do we understand—really comprehend—that Jesus knows and understands when we are stressed and perplexed? The complete consecration which effected the Atonement ensured Jesus’ perfect empathy; He felt our very pains and afflictions before we did and knows how to succor us (see Alma 7:11–12; 2 Ne. 9:21). Since the Most Innocent suffered the most, our own cries of ‘Why?’ cannot match His. But we can utter the same submissive word ‘nevertheless …’ (Matt. 26:39).” (“Swallowed Up in the Will of the Father,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 24)

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