Occasionally the Church publishes commentaries on writings not regarded as canonical that are produced by other churches which are deemed of spiritual interest. Although the New Covenant Church does not accept the LDS Doctrine & Covenants as scripture, it does recognise some portions of it to be inspired. The following article, which was produced in the old Independent Church, has been included in the LDS page as an illustration of how New Covenant Christians look upon the works of other churches. We believe in truth wherever it may be found. The following article is included in the LDS Page for our LDS, RLDS and other Restorationist readers.
It is well known that the saints sometimes fail to do their duty and to keep the commandments of God. We all recognise that human power alone is hopelessly inadequate for a disciple to be obedient in all things. But equally we acknowledge that if we exercise the proper faith in Christ that He will empower us to continuously abide in Him and obey all His commandments.
For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward. Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in no wise loose their reward. But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with a doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned. Who am I that made man, saith the Lord, that will not hold him guiltless that obeyeth not My commandments? Who am I, saith the Lord, that have promised and have not fulfilled? I command and men obey not; I revoke and they receive not the blessing. Then they say in their hearts: This is not the work of the Lord, for His promises are not fulfilled. But wo unto such, for their reward lurketh beneath, and not from above (LDS D&C 58:26-33/RLDS 58:6).
When a man or woman rebells against the commandments and sins deliberately, that enabling power is withdrawn. The strength to resist sin departs and he must rely on his own strength. Doubt creeps in and disobedience gradually but surely multiplies until he is disobedient in many things. In the end this leads to a false conclusion about the Gospel of Christ and he is led to proclaim in the arrogance and foolishness of his sinful heart: "This is not the work of the Lord!" And then they begin to invent excuses, by adding: "For His promises are not fulfilled."
To declare that God does not fulfil His promises is to profess a lack of faith in God. It is to doubt His omnipotence, it is to reject the atonement of Christ which is infinite, covering all sin. It is to reject God and to descend even further into sin and isolation. It is the beginning of a long and painful journey of inner lonelines and suffering.
Human nature, our sinful nature, is extraordinarily arrogant. Even when a man has disobeyed a commandment he still expects the Lord to make good the promises He has given to the faithful!
Doubt and disobedience set a chain-reaction in motion. When a Christian rebels against God one of the first things that suffers, if he does not repent, is his prayer life. He stops praying, or cuts it down. Then he stops fellowshipping with the Body. Often he breaks the Word of Wisdom and then stops paying tithing and giving alms to the poor (usually in that order). But when sickness comes and falls like a dark, terrifying shadow across his path, whether physical or spiritual, he expects immediate Divine interference in his behalf either through prayer or the administration of the Priesthood. If his expectations are not realised he says, in rebellious spirit, "His promises are not fulfilled". But the Lord's reply is: "You wilfully disobeyed, therefore your reward lurks from beneath" because he has no claim on heaven...until he has repented.
Brethren and sisters, have you disobeyed the commandments? Have you disbelieved the Word of God? Has doubt entered into your heart? Are you a child of disobedience? Then there is only one way to be restored into the presence of Christ and once again receive the empowerment of His Holy Spirit. Doubtless you will feel sad, but this is not enough. If you desire to regain His peace and joy then you must follow the pattern the Lord has established:
How does one "confess" and "forsake" doubt? One does these things by confessing and forsaking the sin that gave them birth, namely disobedience. Having confessed to disobedience, one must cease being disobedient by doing all that the Lord has commanded not in his own strength but in the strength of the Lord. And how does one do that? One does that by dying to one's own will and inviting Christ back into one's heart, by saying: "Lord, I have sinned. I have disobeyed you and followed my own fallen nature. I bring my fallen nature to the cross to be crucified, that You may live in me, and I in You."
Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more. And by this ye may know if a man has repented of his sins - behold, he will CONFESS them and FORSAKE them (LDS D&C 58:42-43/RLDS 58:9).
This should first be done privately and then before the local congregation. Only in this way can the soul be sufficiently meek for the Spirit of God to work salvation. For we, like W.W.Phelps, are too often inclined to "excell" (v.41) and are not sufficiently broken hearted and contrite.
Forgiveness, which comes after true repentance, is like a flood that washes the whole soul clean. All the inner fighting, the defence mechanisms, the loneliness, the war against the Light, blissfully comes to an end. There is true peace -- true rest, yet also a great energy to preach Christ to all the world. There comes an entry into the New Covenant inwardly, a Covenant which is recognised by its eternal newness and freshness, by its hope and joy. And that New Covenant is Jesus Christ.
Pray always, and I will pour out My Spirit upon you, and great shall be your blessings (LDS D&C 19:38/RLDS 18:6a).