Jesus Has Delivered You From Your Sins!

After I came to faith, I had a burning desire to share my faith with my Father. He was dying of cancer and I lived 3000 miles away. I had gone back to college as an older student at the College of William and Mary. During the summer before my senior year I grabbed an opportunity to take a few classes at Boise State. My daughters and I stayed with my folks and I took every opportunity I could to share my new-found faith with my Dad. I felt that the Lord was leading me to stay in Idaho to witness to my father, so I gave up my last year at William and Mary and stayed with my parents. The Lord gave me a full year with my father before he died and I cherished every moment with him. We had different faiths, but the Bible was our common ground and I read it to him often as he lay in bed. I must have read the book of Romans to him a hundred times. The message of free and full forgiveness seemed so clear to me and I couldn’t understand how my family couldn’t see the truth.

My father’s health deteriorated as the months went by. I believe that through his physical limitations, God was giving him the opportunity to become humble and see his need for a Savior who did everything for him. One day, about three months before he died, I heard him ask my uncle this question: “Bob, how is it possible that we can become gods?” My uncle replied “It’s possible, just believe it.” My dad said: “But we are so far from it!” My heart sang when I heard his words! My father had taught the false LDS doctrine that man could become a god for many years. His words were the words of someone who was truly seeing himself as the sinful man that he was. He was being humbled by God.

Humility is one characteristic of every person who has a living faith in Jesus. Humble sinners know that they are nothing in comparison to God’s perfection. They know that if their eternal destination depended upon anything they had to do, they would be doomed to hell. They know that God loves them so much He sent a Savior to rescue them from their depravity. In Corinthians, the Apostle Paul described the criteria God uses to choose His followers and why: “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.

Today’s Gospel Doctrine Lesson talks about humility and pride. It asks: “What is pride?” President Benson gives the LDS answer: “Most of us think of pride as self-centeredness, conceit, boastfulness, arrogance, or haughtiness. All of these are elements of the sin, but the heart, or core, is still missing. “The central feature of pride is enmity—enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen. Enmity means ‘hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.’”

While pride certainly has an element of enmity towards God, that is not the heart or core of it. The Tyndale Bible Dictionary explains: “The ten Hebrew and two Greek words generally used for pride refer to being high or exalted in attitude, the opposite of the virtue of humility, which is so often praised and rewarded by God. One other Greek word refers to a person’s being puffed up or inflated with pride or egotism. The idea is that one gives the impression of substance but is really filled only with air… Pride is basically a sin of attitude and of the heart and spirit.

The very essence of Mormon doctrine leads a person away from humility and towards pride by claiming that man is good enough to one day progress to godhood! In God’s eyes, this is blasphemous and the epitome of arrogance! He has claimed that even your righteousness is like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). When you believe that you can become a God, to be God’s equal; it shows that you are inflated with pride and egotism. As my father had come to know, you are so far from God’s holiness that you could NEVER become a god!

The Apostle Paul knew how sinful he was: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Do you know how utterly sinful you are? If so, count yourself blessed!!! Turn to Jesus who has delivered you! Then, live your life in thankfulness to Him, as I do!

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22 Comments

  1. shematwater said,

    March 15, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    I believe the author here has come to many misunderstandings concerning teh meaning of Pride as given in the definitions he quotes and compares to President Benson, as well as the meaning of the verses in Romans.\

    First, when I read the definitions he gives for pride I see the exact same thing as what President Benson said, only in a little less strength. To be exhalted in attitude means that you put yourself above others. This will usually end in your realization that you are not better, and thus either making you humble or making you hostile to those whom you think are beneath you (or hatred). If you exhalt yourself above God the same thing will result. Thus, while the thoughts of pride are simply thinking yourself better, the actions are those of hatred, hostility, or opposition to that which you think you are better than, but are not. As actions carry much more wait, and are a greater sin than just thoughts this becomes the core, or the pinicle of the sin of pride.

    As to the quote from Romans, I do not see what if beeing infered. I see Paul speaking of two different forces opperating in him. One is the desires of his flesh, or physical body, and the other is the desires of his spirit (mind) or inward man. The one, through instint and passion is driven to do evil. the other, through understanding and love is driven to do right. He cannot settle this war on his own, and so he thanks God that Christ is there to assist him. He does not say we cannot become like God, nor does he say that he or anyone else is a gross sinner. In fact he makes quite the opposite statement. He is saying that we can strive to do good, that our spiritual nature is to do good, but it is at odds with the physical nature. Thus with Christs help to overcome the physical nature we can become good men through our spiritual nature.

    On a final note, it says in Psalms 82: 6 “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.” Here we have God telling us that we are gods.
    Jesus quotes this in John chapter 10. It says in verses 33-36 “The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?”
    Here Christ himself uses the Psalms passage to help prove that he the son of God, confirming that God has called those who except the scriptures gods.
    Finally, in Romans 8: 16-17 Paul say “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 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.” Paul tells us that we may receive the same glory that Christ did.
    I do not expect anyone here to except this belief, but with all this I do hope that you will come to understand that the doctrine of becoming a god can be supported through the Bible.

  2. jumpingjackagain said,

    March 16, 2009 at 9:39 am

    I am so sorry that your father passed away. Do you think he will go to heaven? Was he humble enough? (you know I am worried about who goes to heaven 🙂

    love,
    meg

  3. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    March 16, 2009 at 10:37 am

    Oh Shem, my heart goes out to you. You are so blind to God’s Word and truth! Anyone who believes that they can one day be elevated to the same position as God is blaspheming His glorious nature. I will pray for you.

    You write: “On a final note, it says in Psalms 82: 6 “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.” Here we have God telling us that we are gods.”

    Are you claiming to be God, right now? Read the words again. It says: “Ye are gods.” The word “are” is a present tense verb—meaning “right now”. Show me one place in official LDS literature that teaches that a man can be a God while still on this earth.

    Also, if this were the interpretation of the words in Psalm, it would contradict strict Jewish law. Anyone who claimed to be God was stoned. As seen by the words you quoted from the New Testament, the Jews were going to stone Jesus because he claimed that he was God.

    You write: “To be exhalted in attitude means that you put yourself above others. This will usually end in your realization that you are not better, and thus either making you humble or making you hostile to those whom you think are beneath you (or hatred). If you exhalt yourself above God the same thing will result.

    Mormons do not exalt themselves above God. They simply have the pride to think that they can be His equal and reach God’s level of perfection. This is pride! God’s ways are so far above our ways that there is no comparison. We are like a worm compared to God. In His love and mercy, He will exalt us in Heaven. But, only because we had Jesus as our substitute and only because the Holy Spirit flowed through us to do the works of God! Anything that we do that is worth “exalting” is truly not us doing it—it is Jesus flowing through us. He alone deserves the glory, honor and praise!

    You write: “As to the quote from Romans, I do not see what if beeing infered. I see Paul speaking of two different forces opperating in him. One is the desires of his flesh, or physical body, and the other is the desires of his spirit (mind) or inward man.

    You have misread Paul’s words. He isn’t merely talking of the desires of his flesh or spirit! He is speaking of actions! He writes: “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

    You write: “nor does he say that he or anyone else is a gross sinner.
    Shem, he claims that he does evil. Wouldn’t you say that doing evil makes someone a a gross sinner?

    You write about Paul: “He cannot settle this war on his own, and so he thanks God that Christ is there to assist him.

    Assist him? Oh Shem, do you see how you diminish what Jesus has done for Paul and for you? Paul doesn’t say that Christ merely assisted him. He cried out, as do all humble believers of Christ: “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Jesus didn’t assist him! He delivered him! Please, I beg of you, turn to the Savior who has delivered you.

  4. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    March 16, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Oh Meg, you are thinking like a Mormon again! You wrote: “Was he humble enough? (you know I am worried about who goes to heaven.

    Nothing that a person does will gain them entrance to heaven. Asking if a person is humble enough to be allowed into heaven is like saying you can be saved “after all you can do”.

    The very moment a person is brought to faith by the Holy Ghost, they are saved. As John the Beloved testified “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

  5. shematwater said,

    March 16, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Laterdaysaintwoman

    Yes it does say we “are” gods in the present. And yes this is exactly what it means. We are the children of God, we were born spriritually of deity. We are not glorified yet, and may not be, but that does not mean we are not like our Father. We are of the same race as God, and in that sense we are gods.
    Also, we will never be on the same level as the Father or Christ. But we can inherit the glory of godhood. When we are glorified we will live with all those of our generation who have also been glorified, a family, a counsel of gods. And at the head of this counsel, with greater authority than we will ever have, stands Christ to lead us through the eternities. Above him is our Father, who is the head of his generation, having greater authority than Christ. We can be gods, but we will not rise in authority to equal our savior.

    As to the Romans parts, I still don’t see it. I understand that you see it and know why you see it, but please understand that I don’t. I have a different understanding of salvation and the eternities, and I can support all of it through the Bible. I do not see any of this as speaking to gross evil. The term evil is a fluid concept and can range from a little white lie to murder. While murder is a gross sin a small lie is not. Therefore, Paul is not speaking of gross sins, but the small evils that all men fall into.
    I also know that you can quote from James where he says that if you sin in one respect you are guilty of the entire law, but let me explain my understanding. In all the scriptures the prophets are teaching that which is necessary to gain a full salvation, to be exalted as a god in the Celestial Kingdom. If we break even one law we will miss this highest reward, thus it is as if we broke all the law.
    I am not asking you to agree with me, but to understand what I believe and why I believe it. I can think of nothing that I believe that I cannot see taught in the Bible, though it may be hidden and abscure.

  6. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    March 16, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Shem,

    You wrote: “I do not see any of this as speaking to gross evil. The term evil is a fluid concept and can range from a little white lie to murder. While murder is a gross sin a small lie is not. Therefore, Paul is not speaking of gross sins, but the small evils that all men fall into.”

    Do you see how you are making your own sins seem less than they are? You think: “I haven’t murdered anyone, so I’m pretty good. I can become a god.” And yet, in doing this, you are puffing yourself up in pride. By ignoring all the commands that God has commanded you; and choosing only specific sins as being “gross ones”; you actually fool yourself into thinking you can become a god some day.

    God has declared that any and all sin is gross evil. Committing murder is as serious as telling a small lie! Telling a small lie is a gross sin according to God! You have stated your opinion, not God’s truth! You are not God, so your opinion is irrelevant!

    God had declared that the consequence for telling a small lie is the same as that for a murderer! John the beloved revealed this truth:

    Revelation 21: 7 “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

    Look at this list:
    the fearful
    the unbelieving
    the abominable
    murderers
    whoremongers
    sorcerers
    idolaters
    all liars

    Al liars receive the same punishment as a murderer! Everyone in this category receives the same consequence–eternity living with Satan!!!! John had already declared in the previous chapter that the lake he speaks of here is the same lake where Satan will dwell:

    20:10 “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”

    In your pride you have changed God’s Words!

  7. jumpingjackagain said,

    March 16, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    I am sorry. Did I misunderstand you? When I read this part:

    He was being humbled by God.

    Humility is one characteristic of every person who has a living faith in Jesus. Humble sinners know that they are nothing in comparison to God’s perfection. They know that if their eternal destination depended upon ANYTHING they had to do, they would be doomed to hell.

    I thought this meant that YOU thought your Dad was “converted” to the Lord. I know I get hung up on who goes to heaven. It means a lot to me. I just don’t know why God would put us on earth as a family and then take that away. I love my family and want to be with them. My heart was hurting for you because your dad and you didn’t agree on everything. I guess that was my clumsy way of asking if you think your dad will go to heaven. (Did he do enough? was he humbled enough?)
    Sorry if I offended you in any way.

    meg

  8. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    March 16, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Yikes, Meg, you did not offend me! I’m sorry if I gave that impression! I think you just misunderstood me. I must not have explained it correctly, I certainly don’t have the gift of writing. I wrote “Humility is one characteristic of every person who has a living faith in Jesus.

    Humility is the “fruit” of faith. Someone with faith will be humble, they just can’t help but be. It’s kind of like an apple tree. You will find apples on an apple tree, simply because it is an apple tree. Someone with a living faith will be humble simply because they are alive spiritually. They can’t help it–humility is one of faith’s fruits.

    You wrote: “I just don’t know why God would put us on earth as a family and then take that away.

    Jesus testified: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:34-37)

  9. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    March 16, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Meg, I think maybe I am missing your point. I’m sorry, I can be pretty dense sometimes.

    A person can be humbled by God without coming to faith in Jesus. I was very humbled by my knowledge of how sinful I was for most of my life. But, I didn’t trust that I had been forgiven because I believed my forgiveness depended upon my works, not in Jesus’ works. I didn’t have faith. It wasn’t until I had been brought to faith that I trusted that i had been forgiven and that Jesus had fully covered my sins with His blood.

    You can see the difference between Judas and Peter. They both denied and betrayed their Lord and Savior–they were both humbled by their sin. But, Judas didn’t trust that Jesus’ blood paid for that sin so he despaired and committed suicide. Peter did put his faith in Jesus, so he received the forgiveness already won for him.

    My post doesn’t focus on the fact that humility can be present in someone who doesn’t have faith in Jesus. I was really focusing on how humility is always present in one who has faith.

    As far as my father is concerned, I cannot say whether the Holy Spirit had brought him to faith or not. The Holy Spirit works through the hearing of God’s Word. That is why I read the Bible to him as often as I was able. The simple fact that he knew he was nowhere close to God’s perfection is evidence that he doubted his Mormon faith. When I get to heaven it would be such a joy to find him there!

  10. shematwater said,

    March 17, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    LATTERDAYSAINTWOMAN

    You are putting words into my mouth, and assume the thoughts of my heart. I know my sins, and I know how grevious they are. I have not ignored any sin, and know that even one lie can keep me from being exhalted. Yet I know that not all sins are equal in nature, and some sins carry a greater penalty with them, making them more difficult to repent of. I know that a person who lives an honest life, helps all those around him, and strives to be like Christ, and yet lives a little too lightheaded, or has a short temper is a good man, and a better man than one who murders, or violates the daughters of God. If it were not so there would be no justice, and God must be just or he is no god.

    As to the list you give, you still do not understand that I have a different understanding of things. The term liar in this passage refers to thosw who make a habit of it, or who tell lies to hurt others. A person who tells a little lie only once that has no real harmful consequences is not a liar. Why do I say this? Look at the list. All these things are grevious sins. All are great sins that require a great deal of effort to repent of. Logic and Justice show that a small lie is not equal to murder, or adultery, or any of these other sins.

    You still refuse to even consider what I say, or understand why I believe it. You insist in your belief that I use this only to justify myself, which is not true and is truly insulting. You seem to think that a belief in works can have no other purpose, and so refuse to understand the true purpose I see in it.

    Can you even see what I am saying? Can you understand it? Are you simply ignoring it in an attempt to convince me I’m wrong? I would like know.

  11. roxy77 said,

    March 18, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    I love reading your posts, they are very positive and uplifting! I am looking forward to studying Romans with my husband sometime soon. Maybe it will bring us closer (religiously) and he could possibly feel the same way that your father did.

    When discussing the “becoming a God” topic with my husband, I remember saying the same exact thing as you mentioned (that it almost seemed prideful to think of yourself in that way). When I was in the LDS church for a little while I did not hear too much about us becoming Gods out in the open at church. It was more subtly talked about as “being like Christ”. I think it’s sad that people who have talks with the missionaries don’t even hear about these things that the church really does believes. I haven’t really gone through the temple endowent (just baptisms) so I don’t completely know what is discussed there, but I just thought it was odd how things like “becoming gods” and ruling planets with multiple wives and children are not brought up in the conversation with missionaries!! Of course they don’t want to tell people this because then they will not join the church!

    Also when I have been in discussions on this topic, I have been told from the LDS that thinking about and questioning if we become Gods or not is not important because that concept is “too in depth for us to understand” and such a minor detail in the whole religion. That it’s “way far in the future and not to be focused on here”. To me, it is every importance and describes our own Gods nature not to mention ours!! It contradicts everything the Bible says. This explains why so many of the LDS people believe it and many other things…because they repress their doubts in their mind. I admit that is what happend with me, until one day it all burst.

    Well…better stop writing or else it will turn into a novel. 🙂 Thanks for the blog post!

  12. peacethroughgrace said,

    March 19, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Shem,

    In your first comment, you said:

    “Thus, while the thoughts of pride are simply thinking yourself better, the actions are those of hatred, hostility, or opposition to that which you think you are better than, but are not. As actions carry much more wait, and are a greater sin than just thoughts this becomes the core, or the pinnacle of the sin of pride.”

    God tells us that all sin is equal, none worse than another in His eyes. Anything that is contrary to God’s very nature is sin. He also tells us that the very thought of sin is the same as committing the action itself.

    Matthew 5:19-24 and 27-28:
    “19Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
    21″You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother[b]will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
    23″Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.
    27″You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

    Jesus is teaching that none of us will ever be good enough to enter God’s kingdom of our own doing by illustrating how we ALL break His commandments. Thoughts are the same as deeds. We may not commit the act of murder, but being angry with someone is the same in God’s eyes as committing murder. In the same way, we may not commit the act of adultery, but any lust in thoughts is the same as committing adultery. Our thought life is as important to God as the actions we do. For He knows the intentions of our hearts.

    Pride is pride, thought or action does not matter. Anyone who thinks they could possibly be as good as God is prideful. It is not possible to attain that – this is why Christ’s sacrifice for our sins was necessary. He paid the price and closed the gap between us and God, giving us full access to Him and the power of the Holy Spirit if we choose to accept that we are sinners in need of His grace and the Savior Jesus, repent, and turn to Him. That grace is a free gift, not earned by anything we do because that would make us prideful (or boasting, as the below passage says).

    “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

    It is also vitally important when studying God’s Word to know that Scripture will never contradict Scripture. If a passage says something that seems to disagree with what is true about God, we must test it against all of Scripture and not make a doctrine out of one or two verses. God very clearly throughout His Word says that He is a jealous God, the only God, the only way, there are no other Gods before Him, etc. This theme permeates Scripture from beginning to end. Therefore, one verse talking about gods must be studied in its context to determine what the true intention of it was, as it does not agree with the common theme that God is the only One.

    I would challenge everyone here to always test what you read in Scripture, for it does not contradict itself. To me, that is a huge encouragement and comfort.

  13. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    March 19, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Shem,

    My heart goes out to you and I am so sorry that I insulted you. It was certainly not my intent to do so. I was not assuming to know the intent of your specific heart or to know your sins and how grievous they are. In referring to your sins, I can make general assumptions, simply because you are a human and all humans are gross sinners. This isn’t merely my opinion, it is God’s opinion! When I say so, I am simply restating His Words. So, please forgive me if you thought I was in some way trying to say that your sins were different than those of any one else.

    Shem, I can tell by your words and the passion that you share that you are very sincere. I can see and understand the words you are saying. I know, because I used to believe like you do. I daily lived with the very belief that you are talking about. Like you, I believed what LDS Prophets taught me, that not all sins are equal in nature. The difference, I think, is that I fell into a different category of “sinner” than you how you see yourself. I was a grievous sinner and I clearly saw my sin. That, amazingly, is what led me to my Savior.

    I am not ignoring what you are saying and I am not trying to convince you that you are wrong. What I am doing is proclaiming God’s Word to you and praying that when you read it, the Holy Spirit will bring you to faith. That’s how the Holy Spirit works—through the reading or hearing of God’s Word. When the Holy Spirit brings you to faith, your eyes and heart will be opened and then, a miracle will happen. It is the same miracle that happened to me. You will understand and believe what I am telling you. Then, all this will make sense to you.

    I don’t have the best health and I have been having a few rough days. I would like to do a Post which addresses your concerns more thoroughly. Hopefully, I will feel well enough to do that tomorrow. God’s blessings.

  14. shematwater said,

    March 24, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    PEACETHROUGHGRACE

    In all that you quote I still do not see all sins being equal, nor do I see thoughts being as bad as action. Yes thoughts are sin, and yes even one sin will keep you from gods presence. I have never denied this.
    Now, if you believe in one heaven, and one hell than what you say is true and I cannot disagree. If one sin keeps you from heaven, and there is only one other place, than all sins would be considered equal, and thus thoughts are equal to action.
    However, I do not believe there is only one heaven. God has said he will reward us according to our works, and thus there must be different levels for different works.
    As it says in Genesis, we are like God, knowing good and evil. We have the same understanding, or capacity for understanding. So, when people form a government and proclaim death for one crime and a small fine for another I see this understanding coming out and demonstrating that some acts are worse than others. As we are like God in this understanding than all sin cannot be equal. Thus the need for verying degrees within heaven and hell to give according to our works.

    LATTERDAYSAINTWOMAN

    I have committed gross sin in my past, and have been struggling with it. This is why what you said was offensive. It is because of this that I cling to hope of forgiveness, and power of healing that comes from Christ. However, to be given something for nothing takes the value away from it. His forgiveness is no longer sweet to me if I don’t earn it. I not only want to be forgiven, but I want to do everything I can to be worthy of tht forgiveness. If I do not I cannot in good conscience except the forgiveness.

    I know that no matter what I do I will never do enough to earn a place in exaltation. However, I also know that if I do not try I Christ will not except me.
    In the parable of the talents (Matt 25) we read that the master gave one servant five, another two, and a third one. When he returned he demanded an acounting. The one who had five now had ten. The one who had two now had four. They were given the praise “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” But the servant who was given one had not increased it and was cast out.
    I want to hear my Lord say to me “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” But how can I hope to hear this praise if I take what he has given me and do not do the work required to increase it.

    I see this same message taught over and over in the scriptures. There have been very few miracles performed that did not require some action on the part of the benefactor. Something is always required before the Lord will bless us.

  15. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    March 25, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Oh Shem, my heart goes out to you. I know and understand your struggle. It is human nature to want to earn our forgiveness—to do something to pay back our shame. But, you must believe that we have not been “given something for nothing”. Free and full forgiveness was not cheap—it was won for us at a great cost! Heavenly Father Himself endured much pain as He punished His Son for the very sins that you have committed. Jesus Himself has already suffered the penalty and paid the price for your sins. You cannot earn forgiveness!!! Forgiveness is granted only one way—through the shedding of blood: “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission” (Heb 9:22). Working to earn your forgiveness shows you do not trust that Jesus’ blood was sufficient to pay the price for your sins!! You will not receive forgiveness if you try to earn it. There is only one way to receive the forgiveness already won for you: “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Acts 10:43

    You quoted the parable of the talents in Matthew 25. This story illustrates what James teaches us in chapter two. This man’s actions proved that he did not have faith!!! Faith without works is dead! Notice, all three of the people that Jesus mentions were “given” their talents (as a free gift). The servant who had not increased his talent was cast into Outer Darkness (which, according to Mormonism means he will spend eternity with Satan). This man simply did not do the things asked of him. How does that sin (not increasing his talent) rank with the grading of sins that Mormon Prophets teach? How could this man, according to Mormonism, be cast into Outer Darkness to spend eternity with Satan? According to Mormon teaching, only someone who is an apostate of the Church and speaks out against the Church will go to Outer Darkness. According to Mormon Prophets, there will be only a handful of people go to Outer Darkness. This is a false teaching, but I bring it up to show you that these passages prove that grading sins is false. Even one minor sin will send someone to Outer Darkness, if they do not trust in God’s love and mercy.

    Shem, if you want to hear our Lord say to you “Well done, though good and faithful servant” then accept the perfect gift He spent His entire life making for you. It is not a cheap gift—he worked so very hard to give it to you. He wants to spend eternity with you. He wants you to spend your life devoted to him. But, you cannot do that until you trust that what He has done for you has already earned you your forgiveness! Trust me, when you “take what he has given” to you (full forgiveness) you will do the work that will increase it. Works naturally flow from the love and gratitude you feel when you know of the forgiveness given to you.

    You claim that “something is always required before the Lord will bless us.” No! You have it backwards. The Lord freely blesses us with forgiveness first and then, we act on that gift. Look at what Jesus told the Pharisee: “There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? 43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.

    Shem, you and I both have a great capacity to love Jesus because we have both been forgiven much!!! I relate to the story of this sinful woman so much, and I know how sinful I am. I have been forgiven much and because of that—I love Jesus with my whole being!! I love Him more than anything or anyone. My whole life is dedicated to Him. He has given to me talents, and every day I work to increase those talents—not because they are required of me, but because I love both Him and Heavenly Father!!!

    Jesus just wants your love. He knows that when you see how much you have been forgiven, you will love Him with every fiber of your being. He knows that only then will you strive to obey Him because you love him, and not because you are trying to meet some false requirements in order to gain forgiveness.

    There are many passages speaking of God granting forgiveness simply because of His love, mercy, Jesus’ blood and our belief in Jesus:

    Revelation 1:5 “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Do you believe what John the Beloved testifies here? Has Jesus washed you from your sins, or, as LDS Prophets claim, must you wash your sins away through your own works, doing the process of repentance?)

    Mark 4: 11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. (Jesus claims that a person’s sins are forgiven them when they are converted.)

    Luke 7: 36 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. 37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, 38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. 40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. 41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? 43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. 44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. 45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. 49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? 50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.
    (Forgiveness granted first.)
    Romans 4: 6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. (Those with faith have all sins forgiven–God does not even impute their sins to them.)

    2 Corinthians 5: 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (Through Christ we are reconciled to God–he doesn’t even impute our sins to us.)

    Ephesians 1: 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; (We have been redeemed and forgiven through Christ’s blood, and because of God’s love.)

    Colossians 1: 12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (Past tense, we have forgiveness and redemption through Christ’s blood.)

    Colossians 2: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross. (The sins we have committed have been blotted out–nailed to Christ’s cross.)

    Colossians 3: 12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. (Christ has forgiven us, this knowledge is how we can forgive others.)

    Hebrews 10: 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, 16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. (God does not remember our sins, in fact, we have been perfected forever through the offering of Christ’s body on the cross.)

    1 John 3: 1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. 4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. (Whoever places their hope in Jesus has been made as pure as Christ.)

    Revelation 1: 3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. 4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; 5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (Jesus has washed us from our sins in his blood!!!)

    Psalm 32: 1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.

    Psalm 78: 32 For all this they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works. 33 Therefore their days did he consume in vanity, and their years in trouble. 34 When he slew them, then they sought him: and they returned and enquired early after God. 35 And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer. 36 Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. 37 For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant. 38 But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath. 39 For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again. 40How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert!

    Psalm 85: 2 Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah. 3 Thou hast taken away all thy wrath: thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger.

    Psalm 103: 1 Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: 3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; 4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; 5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. 7 He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel. 8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. 9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. 10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. 13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. 14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

    Psalm 130: 1 Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD. 2 Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. 3 If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? 4 But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. 5I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. 6 My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning. 7 Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. 8 And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

    Isaiah 43: I have not caused thee to serve with an offering, nor wearied thee with incense. 24 Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices: but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities. 25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. 26 Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.

    Isaiah 44: 22 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee. 23 Sing, O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel.

    Isaiah 50: 20 In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.

    Jeremiah 33: 7 And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first. 8 And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me. 9 And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.

    Jeremiah 50: 20 In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.

    Ezekiel 36: 25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. 28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. 30 And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen. 31 Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. 32 Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel. 33 Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded.

  16. shematwater said,

    March 27, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    LATTERDAYSAINTWOMAN

    Free and full forgiveness was not cheap—it was won for us at a GREAT cost!
    -If it carried such a great cost how can it be called free? The point I make is that it cost me nothing. Even what you say confirms this. It is still something for nothing, and becuase of that it is no longer sweet. Just as the money I earned from working is much more presious to me than money handed to me by the government.

    Working to earn your forgiveness shows you do not trust that Jesus’ blood was sufficient to pay the price for your sins!!
    -I have full trust. I understand that even after I do everything that is in my power Christ must still grant that forgiveness. Just as I know that even after I work all day my boss must give me my pay check. I do the work because I trust that in the end I will be given what was promised.

    This man’s actions proved that he did not have faith!!! Faith without works is dead!
    -But he did have faith, as he was waiting for his Lord. All these men had faith. All were looking forward to the return of their Lord, and each fully expected to be rewarded. This is shown in the dialogue of each.

    Notice, all three of the people that Jesus mentions were “given” their talents (as a FREE gift).
    -But the final reward (salvation) was not free. It was earned by increasing what they had been given.

    This man simply did not DO the things asked of him. How does that sin (not increasing his talent) rank with the grading of sins that Mormon Prophets teach? How could this man, according to Mormonism, be cast into Outer Darkness to spend eternity with Satan?
    -To really understand this you would have to understand the entire concept of hell, and outer darkness that is taught by the church, which would take to long. Suffice it to say that in the Bible Hell and Outer Darkness are interchangable.

    You have it backwards. The Lord freely blesses us with forgiveness FIRST and THEN, we act on that gift.
    -Show me three miracles in the Bible that no action was done to receive them.

    Look at what Jesus told the Pharisee: “There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? 43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
    -Yes, but as it says, he forgave them when they could pay nothing. It does not say that they could have paid but were forgiven anyway. No, they had paid all they could, and when they had nothing to pay they were forgiven. This is my desire. I know I cannot repay all the debt, but I can pay something.

    I know that God loves me. I know that in order to show my love for him I must do my best to keep his commandments (John 14: 15) So, what it all comes down to in the end is what you believe he has commanded us to do.

  17. osbornekristen said,

    March 27, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    Shem,
    I have a question. You mentioned “grading of sins that Mormon Prophets teach.” Where do I find this in the Bible……..really, I am interested. I also have another question about Outer Darkness. I have always heard that the church teaches that it is for Satan and “sons of perdition” and apostate Mormons. What exactly is an apostate mormon? Is that simply someone who once joined the church and then rejects the teachings of Joseph Smith and decides to leave the Mormon church…….and then becomes a Christian and attends a Protestant church? If so, is this a greater sin than sexual sin, abusing children or murder?

  18. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    March 29, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    Shem,

    You wrote: “I understand that even after I do everything that is in my power Christ must still grant that forgiveness. Just as I know that even after I work all day my boss must give me my pay check. I do the work because I trust that in the end I will be given what was promised.”

    You say Christ must grant you forgiveness. Why must He? How do you know He will forgive you? According to LDS Prophets, even though you have to forgive all men, GOD doesn’t have to. “I the Lord will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.” (D & C 64:10)

  19. shematwater said,

    March 30, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    LATTERDAYSAINTWOMAN

    You are confusing the language. I do not say that Christ is forced to grant me that forgiveness. I say that in order for me to have that forgiveness he has to give it. I cannot get it myself. It is in his power, and not mine. However, I trust that if I do all that he has commanded (or at least try) he will grant it. I know this because he has promised it, and God will never break a promise.

  20. catzgalore said,

    April 2, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    I have a question. If Psalm 82:6 is where the idea of becoming gods came from, what does the next verse mean? I’m not trying to ask a loaded question, I want to understand…
    verse 6–“I said, You are gods; you are all sons of the most high. verse 7–But you will die like mere men; you will fall like every other ruler.” It seems more like a warning than a blessing.

    God’s free grace means a great deal to me. I did not earn it. I do not deserve it. It is most precious because it is a gift that cost the giver everything, and I do not deserve it at all.

  21. shematwater said,

    April 8, 2009 at 8:56 am

    Verse 6 tells us we are gods, or the children of God. Verse seven tells us that we are mortal.

    Quite simply put, this is telling us that we are of the same species as God, the same race, and we are his children. We are gods in this sense, or as some have put it, we are gods in embryo. We thus have the potential to be like our Father, full gods in glory and power. However, at this point in our existant we are mortal and thus we will die like every other mortal (even Christ died). If we remain spiritually dead in this life we will be as gods that miscarried. However, if we are spiritually alive in this life we will be reborn as gods in the world to come.

  22. shematwater said,

    April 8, 2009 at 8:59 am

    By the way, I don’t think this is were the doctrine originated, not even in these days. It was simply found to support the doctrine that Joseph Smith taught.
    I will also say that even before he taught this doctrine, there were others who knew this to be true. I believe it was Lorenzo Snow who that “As we are God once was. As God is we may become.” He had approached Joseph Smith Sr. with this idea, telling him he had had it revealed to him and asked the Patriarch if it was of God. Joseph Smith senior told him that it was true, but he was not to share this with others, as it was the responsibility of Joseph Smith Jr., the ordained president of the church, to introduce doctrine to the body.


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