We Must Serve Others to Gain Eternal Life? No—We Serve Others Out of Love For God

This week’s Gospel Principles Lesson claims: “We must serve others to gain eternal life. God has said that those who live with Him must love and serve His children (see Matthew 25:34–40).”

Serving others is not a requirement to gain eternal life. There are no requirements for gaining eternal life. Eternal life is a blessing given to believers the very instant the Holy Ghost brings them to faith in Jesus—before they do any acts of service.

Jesus 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.” (John 5:24)

After a believer has been given eternal life, she will serve others. Faith alone saves, but faith in never alone. The moment a person comes to faith in Jesus, they become a new spiritual creature. All true believers will serve others—they can’t help doing so because they have been “born again”. But these works of service are not requirements for gaining eternal life—they are fruits of having already been given eternal life. All who love God will serve Him—and others, out of gratitude for all that God has given them. It’s simply a fact that believers will do works that please God.

The Apostle John declared that those who believe in Jesus already have eternal life:

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

Those who believe in Jesus “have” everlasting life. John stated his testimony of this belief even stronger in 1 John 5:

“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

Notice again that eternal life is a free gift, given to all who simply have faith in Jesus! And, the Apostle John states he wrote his words so that we can know that we have eternal life!

Believe it, and receive it!

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11 Comments

  1. lizzerly said,

    February 18, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    Thanks for your blogs! I find them uplifting for my own faith. I also appreciate them because they are giving me an idea of how to reach one of my close friends, who is a Mormon. I’m eager to hear the TILM ministries at our LWMS rally in a few weeks!

  2. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    February 19, 2011 at 11:58 am

    You’re welcome. I pray that God will bless your witness of Him with your LDS friend. Is Sarah speaking at your rally? She is such a wonderful gift to our ministry.

  3. lizzerly said,

    March 5, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Sarah spoke at our rally today in San Antonio- she was wonderful! Hearing her message and reminding me of key Bible passages that I’ve always known but now can use more effectively has given me more empowerment to witness my faith to my friend.

  4. shematwater said,

    March 27, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    Question: Why would you change your witness based on your friend’s religion? Are you witnessing to your faith in Christ, or to the error of their faith?

    Basically, why is witnessing to a mormon any different than witnessing to a baptist, or a buddist, or an athiest?

  5. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    March 28, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Shem, you asked the Question: “Why would you change your witness based on your friend’s religion? Are you witnessing to your faith in Christ, or to the error of their faith? Basically, why is witnessing to a mormon any different than witnessing to a baptist, or a buddist, or an athiest?”

    Since I am the person who teaches Christians how to witness to Mormons, I will answer your question.

    Every LDS missionary who goes on a mission first goes to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) for training. Since you didn’t go on a mission, you will not have experienced this first hand. But I would think you should at least have a basic understanding of what goes on there.

    Every missionary does not receive the exact same training, nor do they stay there for the same amount of time. The reason is because some missionaries have to learn a foreign language while others don’t. Missionaries not learning a language usually spend 3 weeks in the MTC, while those learning a foreign language will generally spend 9 to 12 weeks.

    This is the same for Christian missionaries being trained to witness to Mormons. Mormons and Christians do not speak the same language. Mormons speak a foreign language and Christians first need to learn it. The problem, though, is that usually both the Mormon and the Christian have no idea that they are speaking a “foreign” language to each other.

    The reason that Mormons and Christians have difficulty understanding each other is because they speak the same vocabulary, but use a different dictionary.

    Here’s an example, using the word “grace”.

    From the LDS Bible dictionary:

    “Grace. A word that occurs frequently in the New Testament, especially in the writings of Paul. The main idea of the word is divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ. It is through the grace of the Lord Jesus, made possible by his atoning sacrifice, that mankind will be raised in immortality, every person receiving his body from the grave in a condition of everlasting life. It is likewise through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means. This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts.”

    From a Christian dictionary:

    “Grace: since God is holy and righteous, and sin is a complete offense to Him, His love or His mercy cannot operate in grace until there is provided a sufficient satisfaction for sin. This satisfaction makes possible the exercise of God’s grace. Grace thus rules out all human merit. It requires only faith in the Savior. Any intermixture of human merit violates grace. God’s grace thus provides not only salvation but safety and preservation for the one saved, despite his imperfections. Grace perfects forever the saved one in the sight of God because of the saved one’s position ‘in Christ.’ Grace bestows Christ’s merit and Christ’s standing forever (Rom. 5:1-2; 8:1; Col. 2:9-10); ‘for in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete.’ Grace thus obviates any obligation to gain merit, and the law as a merit system is no longer applicable to a believer, since he is no longer ‘under law, but under grace’ (Rom. 6:14).” (The New Ungers Bible Dictionary)

    The reason that a Christian would change their witness of Christ when speaking to a Mormon is so that a Mormon can hear the truth. Only then can a Mormon understand what Jesus has freely done for them. The “language” barrier between Mormons and Christians is one of Satan’s favorite tactics. He loves it when a Christian tells a Mormon that they have been saved by grace. A Mormon simply agrees with his Christian friend–not knowing that they have a completely different definition for the word.

    Instead of using the word “grace” when witnessing to a Mormon, a wise Christian will speak of God’s demand that we be perfect. And then, they can testify that through faith in Christ’s Atonement they have already been “perfected forever” (Hebrews 10″10-18). In truth, that is what grace really means.

    There have been many times that a friend has asked me to come to their home when Mormon missionaries were coming to give them the discussions. I always state up front to the LDS missionaries that I am merely there to “interpret”. Because I grew up speaking the Mormon language and then spent years learning the Christian language through Bible study–I fully understand both languages. I praise my Lord and Savior that He works through me to share the message of free and full forgiveness with my people–the Mormons!

  6. shematwater said,

    March 28, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    I am sorry, but the “language barrier” does not really explain it.

    I have had no problem understanding the difference between our doctrine, and I know that your doctrine of grace is not the same as ours. I know very few LDS members who have had trouble understanding this distinction. In all my experience it simply doesn’t exist (at least not on our part).

    The problem is not one of language, but of doctrine. The Bible Dictionary does not define words in the usual sense, but in a doctrinal sense. Thus the literal meaning for Grace is not found.
    So, it seems that what you are saying is that a person simply needs to understand the LDS doctrine in order to counter it.

    So, when discussing with a buddist do you have to have a translator, or do they use the same “definition” of Grace as you do?

  7. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    March 29, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Shem, of course you would not understand the language barrier–you are the one who can only speak one language. You have no clue as to what I am speaking about. Your Bible dictionary defines words according to your false prophets definitions, not according to the definitions that God’s prophets and apostles have given us.

    And yes, a Christian does need to understand the LDS doctrine; which is the LDS definition of the word being used. How else will Mormons gain eternal life unless someone tells them the truth in words that they can understand?

    I have no idea how to discuss “grace” with a Buddhist, as I don’t know or understand their culture or beliefs. I do know how to discuss “grace” with a Mormon, because I understand the language I grew up with.

    That’s why God has ordained me to share the truth with Mormons–the truth that Jesus has already fully paid the price for our sins. The truth that Justice has been paid and now, mercy reigns. The truth that God mercifully and joyfully has forgiven every person’s sins solely because of Christ’s work–not ours. The truth that Jesus has already paid the price for those sins with His blood. The truth that He does not expect to be paid back for what He freely did for us. The truth that His “grace” really does mean that He has bestowed 100% perfection and holiness on everyone with faith in Christ. The truth that He gives the gift of eternal life through faith alone.

    I have shared God’s “grace” with you, but you refuse to believe what your very own Savior has already done for you–what He freely offers you through His “grace”. But you don’t want to believe that Christ has already satisfied God’s demand for Justice on your behalf. You would rather attempt to do it yourself. Good luck trying.

    I don’t know how many times I have told you this Shem, but I give up on you. I am tired of casting God’s pearls to a swine, who tramples my Lord’s gifts in your own filthy muck.

    Unless you repent, your future is foretold by Christ:

    “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:22-23)

    Trying to share God’s truth with you does remind me that I once used to be like you, rolling around in my own muck and attempting to do what had already been done for me by my Savior.

    Today, because of your rejection of Christ, I am reminded to praise God!

    I praise the Holy Ghost for giving me faith and opening my heart and eyes to the truth; and to clearly see the false teachings that you so tightly cling to.

    I am reminded to praise my Heavenly Father, because I know that God works through me, and I am but the sower: “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-12) It is only through His will “that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life.” (John 6:40)

    And, I am reminded to praise my Lord and Savior for all that He has freely given to me. His “pearls” are worth more to me than my life. Every breath I breathe is done out of thankfulness for my Lord and Savior. He shed His blood for me and gained the complete forgiveness for all my sins.

    My life is His! With my lips I will always praise Him!!

    Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood… to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever, Amen.”” (Revelation 1:5-6)

  8. shematwater said,

    March 30, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I know very well what you are talking about, and it has nothing to do with language.
    But, it doesn’t really matter.

    My point is that you shouldn’t need to alter the message (not meaning, just message) to explain it to different groups.

  9. shematwater said,

    March 30, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Oh, and I am in no way trying to do what Christ has done for me.

  10. catzgalore said,

    March 31, 2011 at 7:35 am

    Shem, you said…
    My point is that you shouldn’t need to alter the message (not meaning, just message) to explain it to different groups.

    EXACTLY!! You get it but you really don’t get it. Joseph Smith and your prophets have changed the MEANING…. the message of the LDS church is NOT the message of the Bible… and we could argue about it all day but unless God gives you understanding you won’t understand… so I am praying that God would let you hear and see the truth…
    You also said…Oh, and I am in no way trying to do what Christ has done for me.
    even the phrase “what Christ has done for me” means something different.
    What Christ has done for ME is paid for my sins. He has provided the Lamb!!! He took me out of my sin and set me upon a ROCK!! Your christ has only made it possible to climb the rock by yourself. And you will never be able to do that.

  11. shematwater said,

    April 1, 2011 at 10:53 am

    I have realized that something things I have said on this thread were not accurate, and some really should not have been said. As such I am going to end commenting on it so that I do not continue to do so.

    Thank you.


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