Gaining Forgiveness: Do You Believe Christ’s Apostles, or LDS prophets?

There is nothing that divides Mormonism from Christianity more clearly than looking at how one gains the forgiveness of sins. While both faiths believe that Jesus paid for the sins of the world, the difference is seen when we look at how each person obtains forgiveness for their sins.

Mormonism teaches that Christ’s Atonement merely gives people the opportunity to repent of their sins. All who have faith in Jesus receive forgiveness for each sin after they do all the necessary works required in the LDS Process of Repentance.

Christianity claims that Christ’s shed blood obtained the forgiveness for every sin ever committed. All who have faith in Jesus receive the forgiveness that Christ won for them over 2,000 years ago.

The fruit (words) of LDS Prophets:

The prophet Joseph Smith revealed in LDS scripture that forgiveness is granted to all who keep the commandments:

“For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance; Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven;” (D&C 1:31-32)

LDS prophet Spencer W. Kimball testified that forgiveness depends upon your works, not Christ’s:

“It depends upon you whether or not you are forgiven, and when. It could be weeks, it could be years, it could be centuries before that happy day when you have the positive assurance that the Lord has forgiven you. That depends on your humility, your sincerity, your works, your attitudes.” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, pages 324-325.)

The fruit (words) of Christ’s Apostles:

John the Beloved revealed that Christ’s blood has washed our sins away:

“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” (Revelation 1:5)

The Apostle Peter testified that all who believe in Jesus receive forgiveness:

“To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43)

I pray that you will turn away from false prophets and place your trust in our Lord and Savior Jesus. The moment you do, you will receive the forgiveness that can never be obtained through your works.

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23 Comments

  1. ckuhrasch said,

    January 24, 2011 at 8:01 am

    I have read that LDS baptism, by the proper authorities is for a remission of sins…is that true?

  2. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    January 24, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    No, baptism in the LDS church isn’t for the remission of sins. Baptism is a covenant that you make with God to keep his commandments. A person is supposed to have repented of all their sins before they are baptized. Baptism is also an ordinance that must be performed to become a member of the church and, to have the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    The following is from Gospel Principles (this years Priesthood and Relief Society Lessons) chapter 20, pages 117-118:

    We Make Covenants When We Are Baptized. Many scriptures teach about baptism. In one of these scriptures, the prophet Alma taught that faith and repentance are steps that prepare us for baptism. He taught that when we are baptized we make a covenant with the Lord. We promise to do certain things, and God promises to bless us in return. Alma explained that we must want to be called the people of God. We must be willing to help and comfort each other. We must stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places. As we do these things and are baptized, God will forgive our sins. Alma told the people who believed his teachings about the gospel:

    “Behold, here are the waters of Mormon. … And now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, … what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?” (Mosiah 18:8, 10). The people clapped their hands for joy and said it was their desire to be baptized. Alma baptized them in the Waters of Mormon. (See Mosiah 18:7–17.)…

    Alma taught that when we are baptized we make covenants with the Lord to:
    1. Come into the fold of God.
    2. Bear one another’s burdens.
    3. Stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all places.
    4. Serve God and keep His commandments.

    When we are baptized and keep the covenants of baptism, the Lord promises to:
    1. Forgive our sins
    (see Acts 2:38; D&C 49:13).”

    __________________________________________________________________

    I praise God that Mormon prophets are false! In contrast, Christ’s Apostles and His followers tell us that baptism is for the forgiveness of sins.

    Ananias, a devout Christian who was sent to heal Saul of his blindness, declared:
    And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” (Acts 22:16)

    The Apostle Peter testified that baptism is for the forgiveness of sins:
    Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” (Acts 2:38-41)

    Since Baptism works forgiveness, it delivers a person from spiritual death and gives eternal salvation:
    But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:5)

    I like how it is described here:
    “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:26-27)

    It reminds me of what God’s Prophet–Isaiah, revealed about how the Lord has covered us with His Robe of righteousness:

    I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10)

    What amazing gifts! It is no wonder that every breath I breathe is in thankfulness for what my Savior has done for me.

  3. ckuhrasch said,

    January 25, 2011 at 8:56 am

    But doesn’t baptism for the remission of sins put us in the same category as Mormons if it is something that we have to do? I thought that it was Christ’s sacrifice on the cross that paid for our sins, not our act of baptism. That baptism is an outward symbol of an inward change. John said, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire”. This kind of baptism by fire wouldn’t be visible to others, but we could witness that to others by being baptized afterward.

    That baptism in and of itself could not serve as a remission for our sins, but it is our belief in the grace of Christ through which we actually receive this gift ” Acts 10. So while there were some in the scriptures who were asked to demonstrate their acceptance of the gift of the remission of sins through the physical act of baptism, it isn’t required for our salvation.

  4. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    January 25, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Ckuhrasch,

    You’ve got some great questions and ones that I have wrestled with myself. Back in 1994 when the Holy Spirit brought me to faith, the Pastor in the church I started attending wanted to baptize me. At that time I was very wary of any organized religion. I told him that I wanted to be baptized but that I would not become a member of his church. Because of that, he refused to baptize me and then told me that baptism was merely my public confession to follow God and keep His commandments.

    At that time I did a thorough Bible study on baptism and came to the conclusion that I did not agree with him. I was not baptized until over a year later when I attended the church that I now attend. The Pastor there told me that he didn’t care if I ever joined his church and that my baptism was very important. He baptized me even though I promised him I would never become a Lutheran. Interestingly enough, I am now an active and happy member of a WELS Lutheran Church.

    Looking at the passages I already mentioned, we see that through baptism a person gains eternal life and receives the forgiveness of sins. The reason this is true is because the Holy Spirit works through baptism to create faith in a person. Some people describe it as a “means of grace”. Maybe where you are confused is that while baptism is one of the instruments that God uses to bring the benefits of the cross to us, it isn’t the only one. The Holy Spirit also works through God’s Word to bring someone to faith. In baptism the Holy Spirit works through the water AND the Word and produces faith in a person.

    We read in the New Testament where many people are brought to faith, gain eternal life and receive the forgiveness of sins by hearing God’s Word. The thief on the cross was saved even though he wasn’t baptized. I was brought to faith and gained eternal life through the hearing of God’s Word—before I was baptized. For someone who already has faith before they were baptized, baptism strengthens and preserves that faith.

    Most important though, baptism is not a work that we do; it is a work that God does for us. While many churches teach that baptism is merely a public confession of our faith, that is not the purpose of baptism. There are incidences that we see in the New Testament when someone is brought to faith through the hearing of God’s Word. For these people, they were first saved and then AFTER they had been saved they desired to be baptized. They made a public declaration at that time of their newfound faith, but these passages are what are called descriptive passages. They are describing an event, not giving us a command or telling us a doctrine. God’s Word tells us that baptism is not something we do for God; it is something that God does for us.

    I hope this helps. I know I don’t have the gift of writing, so if I didn’t explain it clearly, just let me know and I can try again.

    _______________________

    I just re-read what I wrote and I didn’t address the aspect of how baptism is something that we “have to do”. I have a sinus infection so my head is killing me right now. I will write another comment about that tomorrow. Also, if there is something else you didn’t understand, just let me know.

  5. shematwater said,

    January 26, 2011 at 9:06 am

    CKUHRASCH

    Let me explain a few things. Baptism is most definitely for the remission of sins. This is clearly taught by all the leaders of the LDS church, and a few odd quotes that are misunderstood so not change this fact.
    Now, there is preparation that must be done to receive baptism, such as quitting those habits that are in direct violation of God’s law (like smoking or drinking). However, it is not until one is baptized that a forgiveness of these sins is obtained, which is what LDSWOMAN fails to mention. You can quit everything and never sin again, but without baptism all the sins of the past are still on you.
    I would use the same quotes from the Bible as LDSWOMAN did, as the LDS church believes just as firmly in the Bible as she does. However, I would add to them a quote from John the Baptist
    Matthew 3: 7-8 ҦBut when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
    Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:”
    John the Baptist refused to baptize those who were not repentant, just as the LDS church will not baptize those who do not bring forth the proper fruits. This does not mean that Baptism is not for the remission of sins.

    Also, speaking of the baptism by fire that John the Baptist taught Christ would bring, I would direct you to a quote by Christ himself.
    John 3: 5 “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
    There is the baptism of water for the remission of sins, and then there is the baptism with fire, or the Holy Spirit. Both are required for salvation, as is clearly stated by Christ himself. We know that these are two very separate baptisms from what John the Baptist taught.

    So, baptism is a required ordinance that truly does remit the sins of the person receiving it. It is not the same as the baptism with fire, or what we in the LDS church call the Gift of the Holy Ghost, or being born of the Spirit.

  6. echoechoecho said,

    January 26, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Ckuhrasch,

    Baptism is God’s sign to us that he has made us his children and that he calls us his sons and daughters. When Jesus was Baptized in water, God immediately then said: “This is my son…” And God says that about us too in our Baptism! Amen! 🙂

    God gave us Baptism to create and strengthen our faith and even looking back at the fact that we were Baptized continually strengthens our faith.

    When we go through life feeling weighed down by our sins and wondering whether or not we have truly given our life to God, or whether or not we truly had an inward change, we tend to worry about whether or not we have lost our salvation or whether or not we truly were saved to begin with. When we are afraid like this, all we need to do is remind ourselves of our Baptism. Baptism is God’s sign to us. There God said: “This is my son, this is my daughter” and our security and certainty is restored. Faith is once again strengthened.

    1 Peter 3:20-22 ” who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also —not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge[a] of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.”

  7. ckuhrasch said,

    January 26, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Thank you all for your thoughtful responses. It is evident that we all want to demonstrate our deep love for Christ in the way He wants us to. So I guess my question boils down to this…do we demonstrate our love for Christ through obedience or by having belief in His work on our behalf? And if it is not either or, which I don’t think that it is, then is the order our our response important? I mean, is it okay to obey before believing, or does that negate our faith in His work? And if it’s okay that obedience comes first, then how do we ensure that our obedience is not self-serving in any way? Sorry, I guess it didn’t boil down to one question, did it? I’d love to hear your thoughts…

  8. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    January 26, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Shem,

    Did I misunderstand the original question? The LDS Church does teach that baptism is for the remission of sins—meaning that if you do all the necessary works prior to being baptized, then you will receive forgiveness.

    However, LDS doctrine does not teach that baptism, in and of itself, “forgives sins”. That was the point I was making, and, what I thought was the question being asked. According to Mormonism, the purpose of baptism is to enter into a covenant with God. That covenant states that the person agrees to keep the commandments of God, and, only when that person is faithful to their covenant will they be blessed to receive the remission of sins.

    You mentioned that I provided a “few odd quotes“. Really? My quotes were from the current Priesthood/Relief Society Class being taught, and, even the specific chapter on Baptism. So I hardly think they were odd quotes.

    But. to simplify things, go to lds.org, “Gospel Topics” and the topic of “Baptism“. That could hardly be considered an “odd quote“.

    Here is what it says:
    Baptism by immersion in water by one having authority is the first saving ordinance of the gospel and is necessary for an individual to become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to receive eternal salvation. All who seek eternal life must follow the example of the Savior by being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost.
    Additional Information
    Baptism in the Lord’s Way. The Savior revealed the true method of baptism to the Prophet Joseph Smith, making clear that the ordinance must be performed by one having priesthood authority and that it must be done by immersion: “The person who is called of God and has authority from Jesus Christ to baptize, shall go down into the water with the person who has presented himself or herself for baptism, and shall say, calling him or her by name: Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. “Then shall he immerse him or her in the water, and come forth again out of the water” (D&C 20:73–74). Immersion is symbolic of the death of a person’s sinful life and the rebirth into a spiritual life, dedicated to the service of God and His children. It is also symbolic of death and resurrection. (See Romans 6:3–6.)
    The Baptismal Covenant
    Those who are baptized enter into a covenant with God to take upon themselves the name of Jesus Christ, keep His commandments, and serve Him to the end (see Mosiah 18:8–10; D&C 20:37). Church members renew this covenant each time they partake of the sacrament (see D&C 20:77, 79).

    Those who keep the covenants they made at baptism are blessed by the Lord for their faithfulness. Some of the blessings include the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, the remission of sins, and the privilege of being spiritually reborn. If they continue faithfully, they are promised eternal life (see 2 Nephi 31:19–20).”

    _________________________________________
    Notice that the only mention of receiving the “remission of sinscomes because a person “keeps the covenants they made at baptism“. Forgiveness is one of the blessings given to those who earned it by their obedience.

    So, if I have understood you correctly, and you are trying to say that LDS teaching claims that the purpose of baptism is to forgive sins, then I ask you to provide us with quotes, and, as always those quotes need to have links to lds.org so we can read the article referenced.

  9. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    January 26, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Ckuhrasch,

    Wow, I’m not sure if I do understand your questions. Since we were discussing baptism, then are you asking if it’s OK to be baptized before we believe in Jesus?

    If that is your question, then the answer is a resounding yes!

    Remember, baptism is not man’s work, it is God’s work. It “saves” a person. The Titus 3 passages:

    But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

    This “washing of regeneration” (the NIV uses the word “rebirth” instead of regeneration) has to refer to baptism because baptism is the only washing that Jesus directed His church to do. Baptism is the washing of rebirth because through it the Holy Spirit creates faith, making us spiritually alive–which saves us.

    If baptism both saves and forgives sins, then wouldn’t you want everyone you love to be baptized? In the New Testament, we see that this was true with both Lydia and the jailer (the man who came to faith upon hearing Paul and Silas while they were in prison). Upon coming to faith, they immediately had their whole household baptized. (Acts 16)
    _________________
    Just in case that isn’t what you meant, I will answer your questions directly. Here is your first question:

    do we demonstrate our love for Christ through obedience or by having belief in His work on our behalf?

    We definitely demonstrate our love for Christ through our obedience! But, it is our belief in what Jesus did for us that compels us to try and be obedient. Is that confusing?

    We love Him because He first loved us.

    However, if we believe that our obedience can somehow gain eternal life or contribute to it somehow, that shows that we don’t have faith in Christ’s work—that His work was sufficient. Those types of works would be considered “self-serving” because they are attempting to gain something for yourself. That is why Mormonism is so damning. All the works required to gain the forgiveness of sin, and all the works required to gain eternal life–are self-serving. Those works are done to obtain something for yourself. As well, they show that you don’t believe in the Savior who has already obtained those amazing gifts for you!

    Your second question:
    And if it is not either or, which I don’t think that it is, then is the order in our response important? I mean, is it okay to obey before believing, or does that negate our faith in His work? And if it’s okay that obedience comes first, then how do we ensure that our obedience is not self-serving in any way?

    Hebrews 11:6 says “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

    So, those without faith cannot please God. But that does not include “baptism”, because baptism is a work of God, not a work of man. God works through baptism to bring a person to faith.

    I am not sure I understand how your works could be self serving. Do you trust that Christ’s work has gained your forgiveness and eternal life? If so, then you are a believer and all your sins are forgiven!

    Yikes, I don’t even know if I have answered you correctly. Please, just let me know.

  10. ckuhrasch said,

    January 26, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Thanks for taking a shot at this for me. I am asking abut baptism specifically, but also works generally…is it alright in God’s eyes to do any kind of work, baptism included, before truly and fully believing that our final place in eternity with Him is settled? If I don’t believe this, my works could be self-serving because they would be done in the hopes of improving my relationship with God. I am having this discussion with a Mormon friend, and this is the spot at which we keep getting stuck.

    It seems to me that if I fully believe that Christ died for my sins, offered me full forgiveness and actually took my place and received my punishment so that I could be with God-all three persons-in heaven for eternity, that any work I do in response would be purified through that belief. I think 1 John 3 says something to that effect.

    But if I don’t believe that-if I believe that Christ only began the process of exaltation for me-then aren’t my works, baptism included, like the filthy rags of Isaiah? It seems as though that is what Hebrews 11:6 is also saying.

    But if baptism could bring a person to faith, couldn’t my friend argue that other ordinances (that were perhaps lost) could do the same? That baptism for the dead, tithing, etc., could all serve as methods of humbling us and bringing us to faith in Christ? But then aren’t we right back to fulfilling the law as a way to God instead of faith in Christ?

    That’s why I would perhaps question the Titus verse and ask whether or not it might be saying that both the washing of regeneration and the renewing are of the Holy Ghost, as a result of of a belief in Jesus.

    I read in Acts 19 the following:

    “2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. 4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.”

    Couldn’t it be that we receive the Holy Spirit based on our belief in Christ and then respond with works that witness our commitment to, and love of Christ?

    Sorry…this is a lot…I wish we were sitting over a cup of cocoa…

  11. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    January 26, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    Ckuhrasch,

    Thanks, that helps me understand where you are coming from. I think that if I approach it from a different angle, it might help.

    There is only one Christ—one Savior whose shed blood paid for and covered every sin that will ever be committed. All who have faith in this Savior have received the benefits of Christ’s Atonement—free and full forgiveness as well as eternal life:

    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” (Revelation 1:5)

    That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:15-18)

    Notice here that Jesus claimed that those who do not believe in Him are condemned already—because they don’t believe in Him.

    Jesus prophesied that there would be false Christ’s. One of these false Christ’s visited Joseph Smith in what is known to Mormons as “The First Vision”. This false Christ merely opened the door so that all humans may gain forgiveness with their own works. Mormons are taught that “through the Atonement of (this false) Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.” This Christ merely began the process for them.

    Trying to be “saved by obedience” means you do not have faith in the Savior who has already saved you by His obedience! Attempting to become righteous by your own works is a worthless endeavor. As you said, every work a Mormon does, baptism included, is like the filthy rags of Isaiah:

    But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)

    You asked: “Couldn’t it be that we receive the Holy Spirit based on our belief in Christ and then respond with works that witness our commitment to, and love of Christ?

    Yes!!! The Holy Spirit creates faith in a person. In the Acts 19 passage, Paul re-baptized those people because the Holy Spirit had not yet come when they had been baptized. Remember, Jesus told His followers to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit gave them power from on High? This is Acts 2:

    And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

    You also asked: “But if baptism could bring a person to faith, couldn’t my friend argue that other ordinances (that were perhaps lost) could do the same? That baptism for the dead, tithing, etc., could all serve as methods of humbling us and bringing us to faith in Christ? But then aren’t we right back to fulfilling the law as a way to God instead of faith in Christ?

    I will address this last set of thoughts tomorrow. My daughter is here and I want to spend some time with her tonight. I really appreciate your well thought out questions, though. I also am so thankful that you are sharing your faith with your Mormon friend. So many Mormons have been deceived and need to hear about their true Savior.

  12. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    January 27, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Ckuhrasch,

    Now I will address your last set of thoughts:

    But if baptism could bring a person to faith, couldn’t my friend argue that other ordinances (that were perhaps lost) could do the same? That baptism for the dead, tithing, etc., could all serve as methods of humbling us and bringing us to faith in Christ? But then aren’t we right back to fulfilling the law as a way to God instead of faith in Christ?

    First off, Mormons do not believe that baptism brings a person to faith. They believe that you are to have faith before you are baptized:

    We Make Covenants When We Are Baptized. Many scriptures teach about baptism. In one of these scriptures, the prophet Alma taught that faith and repentance are steps that prepare us for baptism. He taught that when we are baptized we make a covenant with the Lord.”

    Mormon prophets do teach that every person must be baptized to gain eternal life. Many LDS scriptures make this claim, but in using the Bible, Mormons usually refer to this conversation Jesus had with Nicodemus:

    There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:1-5)

    It’s important to remember when studying God’s Word to look at the context in which something is stated. Here, Jesus was speaking to Nicodemus who was a Pharisee. The Pharisees rejected baptism and God’s purpose for it (Luke 7:30). The Pharisees boldly and outright rejected God’s truth so Nicodemus needed to be spoken to with the strongest words possible. This is exactly what Jesus does here because he was a Pharisee. Jesus told him in no uncertain terms that if he rejected baptism he would not enter the Kingdom of God.

    Another important thing to remember when studying God’s Word is to not isolate one passage from the rest of scripture. When determining what is necessary to gain eternal life, it’s important that we look at every scripture talking about eternal life. And in this situation, we don’t have to look very far! Just a few passages later, Jesus tells Nicodemus:

    That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 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.” (15-16)

    There are numerous other passages that state a person receives eternal life simply through faith. But getting back to your questions, the Bible tells us that when a person is brought to faith they will naturally want to do what God has commanded. God has told us to be baptized and so every believer will have the desire to do so, as long as they understand God’s command.

    But LDS prophets don’t look at following God’s commands as a way to thank Jesus for saving us. They use God’s commands as the means to gain eternal life. That is what you meant by your question:

    But then aren’t we right back to fulfilling the law as a way to God instead of faith in Christ?

    What is ironic is that if you think you can gain eternal life through your obedience, God allows you to try. But in doing so, you have to realize that your standard for perfection is God Himself (Matthew 5:48). Our Savior lovingly told us to be as perfect as Heavenly Father because He knew that we really do have to be perfect to dwell in God’s presence. Having even one sin means you will fail to gain eternal life.

    Through faith in Christ’s Atonement all of our sins are forgiven and in God’s sight, we become perfect:

    By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all… For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:10-14)

    Amazingly, all who use God’s law as a means to gain eternal life are cursed! The Apostle Paul tells us why:

    For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.”

    That is why we need a Savior! And oh, what a Savior He is. The very next verse tells us just what He did for us:

    Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” (Galatians 3:10-13)

    It’s no wonder that every breath I breathe is in thankfulness for my Savior, who has redeemed me!

  13. echoechoecho said,

    January 27, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Ckuhrasch,

    For Mormons, Baptism is an ordinance (Law) It’s something they do.

    For us, Baptsim is the Gospel (what God has done for us)

  14. shematwater said,

    January 28, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    CKUHRASCH

    To clarify what LDSWOMAN says, the purpose of baptism is to enter the kingdom of God. The Power of Baptism is to remit sins. We are not baptized because it remits our sins, no. But that does not change the fact that it does remove all sins from us. It is frequently said that a person who dies right after baptism does spotless. The is because they are now completely clean of all sins. This is also true after one takes the sacrament or is healed through the power of God. All these ordinances effectively cleans all sins from the person, though their purpose is to establish covenants between God and man.

    Thus it is not accurate to say that Baptism is not for the remission of sins, but it is accurate to say that the primary purpose of baptism is not the remission of sins.

    As to your other questions, Jesus himself said in John 14: 15 “If ye love me keep my commandments.”
    Now, it is true that without faith nothing can please God, but James also tells us (2: 14) that Faith without works is dead. As such, the only way to please God with our faith is to have the works that prove our faith. One cannot be separated from the other, nor can one take president over the other. After all, in the same chapter(v 19), James also tells us that the devils also believe in god, but they lack the works necessary to be saved.

    As to requiring faith before we can have the works, or works before faith, I would say that in general faith does come first, but it is still possible for works to create faith. Consider the Syrian Naaman (2 Kings 5). When he came down with leprosy he went to Elisha to be healed and was told to wash seven times in the Jordan. Not having faith he left in anger, but was persuaded by his servant that he had nothing to loose in trying. So he washed and was healed. He returned to Elisha and in verse 17 we have his words “And Naaman said, Shall there not then, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules’ burden of earth? for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the Lord.”
    He became a man of tremendous faith after he had done the works that God had required of him.

    I believe, as the LDS teach, that we must do our part. No good thing comes without work. To say that nothing we do can have any impact on our eternal salvation leads to the logical conclusion that God chooses who is saved and who isn’t, which idea destroys his justice. However, to say that Christ’s Atonement has made it possible for us to be saved and exalted if we obey the laws of the Father to best of our ability keeps his justice, for now he has grounds on which to judge.
    Also, to say that the Atonement covers all sin is to deny the Bible. We read in Matthew 12: 32-33 “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost SHALL NOT be forgiven unto men.
    And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, IT SHALL NOT BE FORGIVEN HIM, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”
    We also read in 1 John 3: 15 “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”

    The Bible itself testifies that murderers and those who blaspheme the Holy Ghost cannot gain salvation, and thus the Atonement cannot have effect on them (at least not full effect). These are the words of the Bible, and I believe the firmly.

  15. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    January 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Shem

    You wrote:

    But that does not change the fact that it does remove all sins from us. It is frequently said that a person who dies right after baptism does spotless. The is because they are now completely clean of all sins. This is also true after one takes the sacrament or is healed through the power of God. All these ordinances effectively cleans all sins from the person, though their purpose is to establish covenants between God and man.

    So you are stating that the LDS ordinances of baptism and the sacrament actually “cleans all sins from the person”?

    Remember, we are not talking about your opinion, we are discussing official LDS doctrine. As I have asked you multiple times, please provide us with a quote from one of your prophets or apostles, which shows us that what you are saying truly is official LDS teaching. And, as always, give the link to where this is written on lds.org so that we can read the quote in context with the entire article.

  16. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    January 29, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Shem,

    You also wrote:

    As to requiring faith before we can have the works, or works before faith, I would say that in general faith does come first, but it is still possible for works to create faith. Consider the Syrian Naaman (2 Kings 5).

    Your conclusion of this story was:

    He became a man of tremendous faith after he had done the works that God had required of him.”

    How do you know that he didn’t come to faith because God healed him, not because he was willing to wash himself?

    Now remember, we are talking about what the Bible teaches. The Bible clearly states that coming to faith is not our work, it is the work of the Holy Spirit.

    The Apostle Paul testified that faith comes by hearing God’s word:

    So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)

    Jesus attempted to tell Nicodemus about this, when He said that a man must be “born-again”.

    Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born againb. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

    Can a person do any works to contribute to being physically born? The same is true with spiritual birth. It is all God’s work!

    Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (John 6:28-29)

    Faith ALWAYS comes first–before works. All our works are fruits of our faith. As the writer of Hebrews taught, without faith it is impossible to please God. How could a work, done before the Holy Spirit brings a person to faith, contribute to that faith being created?

    Shem, I do challenge you to find a Bible passage that actually says that our works can create faith.

  17. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    January 29, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Shem, you also wrote:

    However, to say that Christ’s Atonement has made it possible for us to be saved and exalted if we obey the laws of the Father to best of our ability keeps his justice, for now he has grounds on which to judge.

    Two things:

    1) You wrote: “if we obey the laws of the Father to best of our ability

    Show me even one Bible passage which teaches that God is satisfied with our best efforts at obedience. Nowhere will you find this false LDS teaching!!!!!! No one will be saved by their sincerity. Jesus told us God’s standards–we must be as perfect as Heavenly Father Himself! (Matthew 5:48) If Jesus believed that obedience to the best of our abilities was sufficient, then why didn’t he use a different standard for our perfection? Jesus meant what He said! We must be as perfect as God Himself to be saved.

    Amazingly, that perfection is freely given to us because of Christ’s Atonement:

    By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all… For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:10-14)

    2) You wrote: “However, to say that Christ’s Atonement has made it possible for us to be saved and exalted if we obey the laws of the Father to best of our ability keeps his justice, for now he has grounds on which to judge.

    Your words show that you deny that Christ’s Atonement was sufficient to meet God’s demands for Justice. The offering of Christ’s body paid for every sin ever committed. Justice has already been paid. Now, mercy reigns!

  18. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    January 29, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Shem, you also wrote:

    We also read in 1 John 3: 15 “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” The Bible itself testifies that murderers and those who blaspheme the Holy Ghost cannot gain salvation, and thus the Atonement cannot have effect on them (at least not full effect). These are the words of the Bible, and I believe the firmly.

    The passages you bring up show that anyone who hates his brother will not receive eternal life–as well as a murderer. Why do you separate murder from anger? These passages are evidence of the false LDS teaching that on Judgment Day, God will grade sins. All sins–even one tiny little sin of anger and God will send that person to the very same domain as Satan.

    Praise God that He forgives all those sins! That is why He sent His Son–to save us. Anyone who believes in this Savior is born of God and all sins have been cleansed from them.

    Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” (Romans 4:6-8)

    Nowhere in the Bible do we find that murder is somehow any different than any other sin committed. The sin of murder is forgivable, just as anger is.

    You wrote: “Also, to say that the Atonement covers all sin is to deny the Bible. We read in Matthew 12: 32-33 “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost SHALL NOT be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, IT SHALL NOT BE FORGIVEN HIM, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

    The Atonement covered all sins, and that is what is taught clearly in the Bible:

    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. 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. 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.” (2 Corinthians 5:19-21)

    John the Baptist prophesied that Christ’s sacrifice would take away our sins:

    The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)

    And, my personal favorite is from the Apostle whom Jesus loved, John the Beloved:

    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, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

    Notice that He washed our sins away with His blood–John doesn’t teach that we can cleanse our sins away through our obedience, or by our works.

    Shem, the sin against the Holy Ghost is the sin of unbelief–those who reject Christ’s work, done for them. Someone like yourself who has heard God’s truth, over and over and yet rejects what Jesus has done for you is in serious danger. I beg you, as Christ’s Ambassador, to turn from trusting in your obedience–to trusting in your Savior who was obedient for you–in your place. He is your substitute!

    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. 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. 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.” (2 Corinthians 5:19-21)

    All praise, honor and glory to my Savior and Lord! He took upon Himself all my sins, and replaced those sins with all His righteous works! What an amazingly merciful God!

  19. ckuhrasch said,

    January 29, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    I have read with great interest and prayerful consideration all of the posts in response to my (many…sorry!) questions. This whole idea of works vs faith has been a difficult subject, and a point of contention between me and my dear LDS friend, and I feel it doing the same here as well. I have had the “obedience” scriptures (John 15:10, James 2) pointed out to me by my friend, and to be honest, I have not been open to hearing them because they didn’t match with my Ephesians 2:8 world view.

    I have been afraid to accept, at face value, Christ’s command for me to demonstrate my love for Him through obedience because it seemed like then I might not be accepting His grace.

    But recently I prayed to be open to God’s truth beyond my perspective…what if Christ WAS really saying, “Hey, if you love me, then prove it?” Although I couldn’t imagine Him saying that, what if He was? What would be the result? The result will be a tangible expression of whatever I really do believe about Him! If I believe that He died for me to have eternal life and the opportunity to gain my own exaltation, then my works will take the form of things that I can achieve. But if I believe that He literally took my sins upon Himself and exchanged His righteousness for mine so that I can live forever in the presence of He and my Heavenly Father, then my works will take the form of things that the Holy Spirit can achieve through me. And because I won’t need to do any work for my own salvation, I will be freely available to do His will at any time. My works then can truly glorify Him! I thank God for this new understanding of His glorious ways!

  20. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    January 30, 2011 at 12:36 am

    Praise the Lord!

  21. echoechoecho said,

    January 30, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    ckuhrasch,

    I loved your post! Praise the Lord!

  22. shematwater said,

    January 31, 2011 at 11:57 am

    LDSWOMAN

    Why is it that you will not accept the Bible as proof of LDS doctrine. We believe its words just as surely as you do, and it teaches very clearly (as you have pointed out) that Baptism is for the remission of sins.
    However, if you want something besides the Bible simply look at our articles of faith, number four. “We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.” I would say this is a very clear teaching and official doctrine, as it is printed in every copy of the scriptures you will find. Your denial of this shows that you do not truly understand LDS doctrine.

    (I will comment again later)

  23. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    January 31, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Shem, you wrote:

    Why is it that you will not accept the Bible as proof of LDS doctrine. We believe its words just as surely as you do, and it teaches very clearly (as you have pointed out) that Baptism is for the remission of sins.

    Accept the Bible as proof of LDS doctrine? You have got to be kidding me! The Bible proves that LDS doctrine is false! That’s the reason I compare the words found on its pages with the words of LDS prophets.

    Do you need me to give you all the quotes which state how Mormon prophets view the Bible? Simply read what President Hinckley claims God revealed to him about the Bible:

    I speak next of another very important thing which God revealed. The Christian world accepts the Bible as the word of God. Most have no idea of how it came to us. I have just completed reading a newly published book by a renowned scholar. It is apparent from information which he gives that the various books of the Bible were brought together in what appears to have been an unsystematic fashion. In some cases, the writings were not produced until long after the events they describe. One is led to ask, “Is the Bible true? Is it really the word of God?” We reply that it is, insofar as it is translated correctly.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Great Things Which God Has Revealed,” Ensign, May 2005, 80)

    Notice that his revelation appears to have come because he “just completed reading a newly published book by a renowned scholar.” It’s too bad that President Hinckley didn’t consider Jesus a “renowned scholar“. If he had, he would have realized that Jesus fully accepted the Old Testament writings “as the word of God“. Jesus knew that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible and that the words he wrote were “not produced until long after the events they describe.” In fact, Moses wrote about events that happened hundreds and hundreds of years before he was even born. Jesus knew the truth–that God’s Word was not written by man, but inspired by the Holy Spirit: “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Peter 1:21).

    If you want to know the importance that Jesus placed on the Bible, go and read Luke chapter 16. Here He tells a story about a rich man who had died and gone to hell, and was worried about his five brothers who were still alive. This man could see Abraham up in Heaven and wanted him to send someone to warn his brothers about hell–because it was such a horrible place. But Abraham told him “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

    How I do wish that Mormons would hold the Bible’s teachings above their prophets words. But you know, as all Mormons know, that according to LDS beliefs, the words of the “living” prophets supersede those of the “dead” prophets.

    You wrote: “However, if you want something besides the Bible simply look at our articles of faith, number four. “We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.” I would say this is a very clear teaching and official doctrine, as it is printed in every copy of the scriptures you will find. Your denial of this shows that you do not truly understand LDS doctrine.

    Again, you know as well as I do what the words in this article of faith mean. As I clearly stated earlier, while LDS Baptism is for the “remission of sins”, it does not remit sins–the act of baptism does not forgive a persons sins. LDS prophets clearly teach that there is only one thing that takes away a persons individual sins and that is their own works, not the act of baptism.

    Shem, it seems that your goal is not to tell us what your church really teaches, but to be argumentative. I feel so sorry for you, that you don’t even want to listen to the very words of God. I have told you many times before that I give up on you. I don’t know why I continue to try. I guess the reason is because every time I think of you standing before God on Judgment Day, I cringe.

    Shem, in the future, if you submit a comment stating that I have not defined Mormon teachings correctly, that comment needs to have the quotes that prove what you are saying. Those quotes have to be from LDS prophets or apostles, and have a link to lds.org so that we can read the quote in context. If you don’t do that, your comment will not be posted.

    Link to President Hinckley’s quote about the Bible:


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