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Faith in God and Love for Our Fellowmen

Faith in God and Love for Our Fellowmen
The Apostle Paul tells us that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).  Faith in God is believing that He exists, that He is a rewarder of them that seek Him and love Him.  It is this faith that leads men to all knowledge and to all happiness.      
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“The truth is, every son and daughter of God must first have faith in God—faith that He is, that He is righteous, that He is almighty, that He governs all things, and that in Him all perfection dwells.  You may not have a knowledge of this, but you must have faith that this is true.  This is the first principle of revealed religion.  It is written that without faith it is impossible to please God.  It is also written that the just shall live by faith.  Therefore I say it is necessary for all men to have faith in God, the Maker and Creator of all things, the ruler of heaven and earth.  Without faith worlds could not have been made; without it they could not be held in their positions; but by faith all things are possible with God and with man….

It is said that faith is a gift of God, and so it is; but faith does not come without works; faith does not come without obedience to the commandments of God” (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church:  Joseph F. Smith, pages 52-53.).

As we obey the commandments there is born within us the desire to do His will and to do what He has commanded us, and one of those commandments has to do with obeying the law of tithes and offerings (Malachi 3:7-9.)

The Lord requires His people to obey this commandment in order to help us understand that our faith in Him is stronger than earthly goods or any material thing.

No person can obtain the fullness of God’s blessings if he or she does not approach, at least to some degree, the standard of faith in God’s justice and His mercy.  Every person must have fixed in his own soul the belief and trust in this principle of justice and mercy.  This has to be something individual since no person may act for another.  I cannot pay tithing or fast offerings for my neighbor or my brother.

We should always remember that we pay fast offerings so that the Lord, through His leaders, may bless the lives of His sons and daughters in need.               

Each person must learn this lesson, which must be so indelibly engraved on his soul and become so well fixed in his being that nothing can separate him from the knowledge of God’s love, though death and hell should stand in his way.  God is good; His promises never fail; trusting absolutely in His kindness and His mercy is a correct principle.  Therefore, let us put our trust in Him and He will move heaven, sea and earth for our benefit and that of our fellowmen.                                    

If our religion does not lead us to love God and our fellowmen, and to treat every person fairly and correctly, then it is in vain to profess it.  The Apostle John said:  “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?  And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also” (1 John 4:20-21.) 

The best way to show our love for God is to live our religion.  It is in vain to profess that we love God and that we have faith in Him when our actions show something different.                         

The sacred covenants we have made strictly impose upon us the duties we have to one another and to Him.  If we fulfill the obligations of our religion we will feel the commitment to do our duty.  We would never have any feeling other than appreciation and love for God and all men (2 Nephi 31:13.)

Christ earnestly devoted himself to teaching us these principles and He said: “…Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40.)  That is the message that God has imparted to us.  This is His Church, and it is so perfectly organized that every man, woman and child can have the opportunity to do something good for someone.         

Consequently, by doing God’s will we will know Him and will draw nearer to Him and we will feel that we are going to attain eternal life.  We will feel that we love human beings everywhere and that we can exclaim as did the Apostles of old, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren…” (1 John 3:14.)

The Lord has given us the law of tithing as well as the commandment to contribute fast offerings.  As we do it we are building the Kingdom of God.  Thus we bring happiness to many people on the earth.  When we obey these laws we show love for our Heavenly Father, for His Son Jesus Christ, and for our brothers and sisters.  We also show our faith in God and in exchange we receive temporal and spiritual blessings worth far more than the money we give.  (Isaiah 58:8-12)

Therefore we can say that tithes and offerings are not a question of money but of faith.   

May our Heavenly Father guide us as individuals and as families to put our house in order, because there are things in our homes that are not right (D&C 93:43.)  My dear brothers and sisters, may we be faithful, that we may receive from on high the inspiration we need to show our God that we believe in Him and in the infinite Atonement His Son accomplished so that through our repentance we may return to His presence.