The Gift of Eternal Life is Truly a Gift! You Can’t Earn or Qualify for it through Obedience

Since today is my husbands birthday, I got to thinking about my gift for him. I decided to come up with a list of things he needed to do before I let him open his gift: mow the lawn, clean out the chicken coup, fix the rototiller, clean out the gliders cage, change the oil in both the vehicles… I know it’s a long list, but I expect him to finish everything on it before he can receive the gift I bought him.

It might sound absurd to talk about giving someone a gift with conditions attached; or to think that we have to qualify for the gift before we can receive it.  We trust that the giver of the gift loves us and has given us their gift freely and unconditionally. In fact, a gift is something that you freely give to someone you love–no conditions attached. If you look up the word gift in a dictionary you will find it defined as:

“Something that is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation.”

In LDS church teachings, the word gift takes on a whole different meaning. In fact, it has been re-defined! You can do a simple search at lds.org–in the gospel library. Type in the words “conditional AND gift”. You will discover that even God’s love, mercy and grace are all “gifts” conditioned upon your worthiness.

There are really only two unconditional gifts in Mormonism and those are the gifts of immortality (bodily resurrection) and free agency. All other “gifts” are “conditional”.

“Immortality is to live forever as a resurrected being. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, everyone will receive this gift. Eternal life, or exaltation, is to live in God’s presence and to continue as families (see D&C 131:1–4). Like immortality, this gift is made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. However, to inherit eternal life requires our “obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” (Articles of Faith 1:3).”

Praise the Lord that the true Savior of the world loves you and has many unconditional gifts waiting for you! One is the gift of eternal life! Not only does He offer it to you unconditionally but it is also given freely and voluntarily. This gift was made personally–just for you, and it wasn’t an easy gift for Jesus to make. He lovingly spent thirty three years working on His gift. Day after day, despite many temptations by Satan, Jesus perfectly obeyed God’s commandments—just for you. He did this so that He could be your Substitute for the righteousness required to dwell eternally in God’s presence. Through faith in Jesus you are credited with all of His perfect works. This is the only way you could meet God’s demands for righteousness.

His suffering on the night of His death as the Atonement for your sins was tremendous. It must have been excruciating to take upon Himself the sins of the entire world, and then to be cursed and abandoned by His Heavenly Father. His shed blood covered over every sin you will ever commit. He willingly lived and died to give you eternal life–as a gift.

Now, imagine that Jesus comes to you and personally offers His gift to you—freely and unconditionally. But, instead of graciously and excitedly thanking Him for the gift He worked so hard to make for you–you tell Him you can improve on His gift by adding your own works to it. Or, maybe you tell Him you can’t accept His gift because you believe you first have to qualify for it. Imagine His disappointment when you reject His loving gift–the gift that He worked on His whole life and gave His life for. He did this especially for you–because He loves you unconditionally!

Please, don’t do this to my Savior Jesus! Don’t reject the gift of eternal life He worked so hard to freely give you! Don’t leave His precious gift unopened for another minute! Through His perfect works He has already qualified you to live eternally with Heavenly Father:

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

Believe (have faith) that Jesus has already gained this gift for you and you will receive it! Then, spend the remainder of your life freely serving your Heavenly Father. Freely because doing so is your voluntary and unconditional gift of love for your Savior!

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.” (John 3:36)

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8 Comments

  1. Paula Coyle said,

    October 11, 2011 at 11:24 am

    It has been interesting to see the kerfuffle that Romney’s candidacy has caused yet again. So many Christians are unwilling to call a spade a spade, so that their political chances are not damaged. Herman Cain has been honest at least by refusing to answer the question.

    I found this quote from Legrand Richards interesting:
    One erroneous teaching of many Christian churches is: by faith alone we are saved. This false doctrine would relieve man from the responsibility of his acts other than to confess a belief in God, and would teach man that no matter how great the sin, a confession would bring him complete forgiveness and salvation. What the world needs is more preaching of the necessity of abstaining from sin and living useful and righteous lives and less preaching of forgiveness of sin. This would then be a different world. The truth is that men must repent of their sins and forsake them before they can expect forgiveness. Even when our sins are forgiven, God cannot reward us for the good we have not done.”

    Most of this quote would probably fly right under most Evangelicals’ radar. But I would say a good percentage of them would, at least formally, find problems with the idea that we need less preaching of the forgiveness of sin. HOWEVER — by preaching law and moralism constantly from the pulpit and only occasionally talking about free forgiveness, they are actually DOING what Legrand Richards instructs. It is no wonder they can’t tell the difference between the LDS message and the Christian message of which you so wonderfully remind us in this post.

  2. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    October 11, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Paula,

    What so many people don’t understand is the concept of doing things for God simply because you love Him. Jesus is the love of my life and every breath I breathe is for Him! He did for me what I could never do for myself–obtain the forgiveness of all my sins. How could I not live my life for Him?

    After I left the LDS church, I attended many different Christian churches before I actually joined the church that I am a member of. I noticed a difference in the way some Church leaders motivate their members in a few of the other Christian churches, and definately in the LDS church. These churches use guilt, morality and law to try and motivate its members to do good.

    But, the New Testament mostly focuses on what God has done for us as our motivation to serve and love Him: We love others because He first loved us; we can forgive all who have wronged us because God has first completly forgiven us through Christ. Because of all that God has done for us, how can we not try to follow all of His commands? We are so sinful, so we often fail; but that does not make any difference in the fact that Jesus has already obtained the forgiveness for those sins. Our thankfulness in knowing that just draws us back to God; like a moth to a flame–to show Him how much we appreciate and love Him for what He has done for us. And, because God unconditionally shows us love and mercy; how can we not follow His example and treat others the same way God treats us?

    The false God of Mormonism withholds all blessings, including forgiveness, dependent upon a persons obedience. The false Christ of Mormonism demands to be paid back for what he did through his atonemnent. Mormons can only follow the example of their god and savior.

  3. Fred Park said,

    November 6, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Dear “latterdaysaintwoman said”

    I notice that you mix apples and oranges when you try to make sauerkraut.

    You give lip service to the differences of how we get to heaven and what out rewards will be when we get there, then you mess up what we really teach. It is as if you get your understanding of LDS teachings from those who mislead folks about what we really teach.

    Everything you say you receive; by your understanding of God’s Word; comes to you through the Atonement of Christ. You do not have to believe what we believe, but please, get our belief and teaching correct when you compare them to your beliefs.

    fred

  4. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    November 7, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Hi Fred,

    You wrote, “You give lip service to the differences of how we get to heaven and what out rewards will be when we get there, then you mess up what we really teach. It is as if you get your understanding of LDS teachings from those who mislead folks about what we really teach. Everything you say you receive; by your understanding of God’s Word; comes to you through the Atonement of Christ. You do not have to believe what we believe, but please, get our belief and teaching correct when you compare them to your beliefs.”

    I am not sure which LDS doctrine you think I am stating incorrectly. Could you please let me know specifically what LDS teaching I have misrepresented; and, how I have stated it incorrectly? Then please let us know what the correct LDS teaching is by providing us with a quote from one of your General Authorities; with a link to lds.org where that quote is given. If I have misrepresented official LDS doctrine in any way, I promise I will make the appropriate changes and apologize for what I have done.

    Thanks, Becki

  5. Fred Park said,

    November 24, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    [I am not sure which LDS doctrine you think I am stating incorrectly.]

    AntiMormons do not care if they teach untruths about my Church, do you?

    I think a good place to start would be for you to tell us what you think Eternal Life is and compare it to what you think The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches.
    You did a poor job of describing our beliefs in your blog.

    All of the “works” you claim to be requirements to receive the gift of life after we die are really just your responsibility after you receive His Gift.

    fred

  6. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    November 25, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Hi Fred,

    I’m sorry if I did a poor job of describing LDS beliefs. I am not the best writer, so please forgive my inabilities. I do promise you however, that I care tremendously that I accurately portray LDS teachings. Doing so is a high priority and I have spent hundreds of hours in study, making sure I understand and state correct LDS beliefs. As well, I spent nearly 30 years as a Mormon myself, and was married in the Salt Lake Temple.

    I believe that Eternal Life is spending eternity in the presence of Heavenly Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Eternal life is an unconditional gift won for us by our Savior Jesus; and personally bestowed to every believer the very moment the Holy Spirit brings them to faith in Christ: “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) All who have this living faith in Christ will spend their lives in gratitude for what He has already done for them–serving God with all they do.

    LDS also believe that Eternal life means spending eternity in the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus. While they claim that it is a gift from God, this “gift” has many requirements attached to it. These requirements must be met before the “gift” of eternal life is granted. LDS Church leaders also claim that one of the blessings of Eternal Life includes spending eternity as a god.

    This years Priesthood and Relief Society course of study is Gospel Principles. Chapter 47 teaches LDS beliefs about Eternal life. Here are excerpts from it:

    Exaltation is eternal life, the kind of life God lives. He lives in great glory. He is perfect. He possesses all knowledge and all wisdom. He is the Father of spirit children. He is a creator. We can become like our Heavenly Father. This is exaltation. If we prove faithful to the Lord, we will live in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom of heaven. We will become exalted, to live with our Heavenly Father in eternal families. Exaltation is the greatest gift that Heavenly Father can give His children (see D&C 14:7)….

    Those who receive exaltation in the celestial kingdom through faith in Jesus Christ will receive special blessings. The Lord has promised, “All things are theirs” (D&C 76:59). These are some of the blessings given to exalted people:
    1.They will live eternally in the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ (see D&C 76:62).
    2. They will become gods (see D&C 132:20–23).
    3. They will be united eternally with their righteous family members and will be able to have eternal increase.
    4. They will receive a fulness of joy.
    5. They will have everything that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have—all power, glory, dominion, and knowledge (see D&C 132:19–20). President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote: “The Father has promised through the Son that all that he has shall be given to those who are obedient to His commandments. They shall increase in knowledge, wisdom, and power, going from grace to grace, until the fulness of the perfect day shall burst upon them” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 2:36; italics in original)….

    Requirements for Exaltation
    In addition to receiving the required ordinances, the Lord commands all of us to:
    1. Love God and our neighbors.
    2. Keep the commandments.
    3. Repent of our wrongdoings.
    4. Search out our kindred dead and receive the saving ordinances of the gospel for them.
    5. Attend our Church meetings as regularly as possible so we can renew our baptismal covenants by partaking of the sacrament.
    6. Love our family members and strengthen them in the ways of the Lord.
    7. Have family and individual prayers every day.
    8. Teach the gospel to others by word and example.
    9. Study the scriptures.
    10. Listen to and obey the inspired words of the prophets of the Lord….

    The Lord has said, “If you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God” (D&C 14:7). President Joseph Fielding Smith said, “If we will continue in God; that is, keep his commandments, worship him and live his truth; then the time will come when we shall be bathed in the fulness of truth, which shall grow brighter and brighter until the perfect day” (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:36). The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the gospel—you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil [died] before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 268).”

    Fred, you stated that “All of the “works” you claim to be requirements to receive the gift of life after we die are really just your responsibility after you receive His Gift.”

    The “gift” of eternal life according to the LDS is not granted before the requirements are met. Please note the reference to LDS scripture stated above: “The Lord has said, “If you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God” (D&C 14:7)”

    We can see by these words (and many other LDS quotes) that the gift of eternal life is not granted until after the requirements are met.

    If you still believe that I am not stating LDS teachings correctly, then please provide us with a quote from one of your Prophets with a link to LDS.org, showing us that I have it wrong and that what you claim is correct LDS doctrine.

    Thanks for your comments,
    Becki

  7. Fred Park said,

    November 25, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    I see that you have bought into what the antiMormons say we teach. One day they complain that we do not mean the same thing you do when we use a word, and the next day they “forget” to tell you that the word means something else then what they want you to think.

    Trinitarian Christians only teach of getting to Heaven as eternal life, as if that is the end. They then do a good job of messing up what the Day of Judgment is all about.

    You can do nothing to help get yourself to Heaven, but you are in charge as to what your job will be when you get there.

    notice the words “quality of life”
    +++
    Eternal Life

    Eternal life is the phrase used in scripture to define the quality of life that our Eternal Father lives. The Lord declared, “This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). Immortality is to live forever as a resurrected being. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, everyone will receive this gift. Eternal life, or exaltation, is to live in God’s presence and to continue as families (see D&C 131:1–4). Like immortality, this gift is made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. However, to inherit eternal life requires our “obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” (Articles of Faith 1:3).

    Atonement of Jesus Christ

    As used in the scriptures, to atone is to suffer the penalty for sins, thereby removing the effects of sin from the repentant sinner and allowing him or her to be reconciled to God. Jesus Christ was the only one capable of carrying out the Atonement for all mankind. Because of His Atonement, all people will be resurrected, and those who obey His gospel will receive the gift of eternal life with God.

    http://lds.org/study/topics?lang=eng
    +++++

    To repeat, “Because of His Atonement, all people will be resurrected, and those who obey His gospel will receive the gift of eternal life with God.”

    SO PLEASE REMEMBER, WHAT YOU CALL ETERNAL LIFE (LIVING FOREVER) IS WHAT WE CALL BEING RESURRECTED (LIVING FOREVER). What we call Eternal life is what happens after the resurrection;; the thing that you call eternal life.

    I know it gets confusing, and it is easy for even members of the Church to be lead astray by the antiMormons.

    fred

  8. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    November 27, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Fred,

    I’m not sure who you are replying to, certainly not to what I wrote in my comment. Are you just cutting and pasting from things you have used in discussions with others? Did you even read what I wrote?

    Specifially, how have I “bought into” what you claim antiMormons teach?

    I never once used the word “Heaven” as I am well aware that Mormons and Christians have different meanings for these words. I clearly explained that my definition of eternal life means living forever in the presence of God. Here is what I wrote: “I believe that Eternal Life is spending eternity in the presence of Heavenly Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.” As well, I explained that this is what the LDS believe: “LDS also believe that Eternal life means spending eternity in the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus.”

    What the LDS teach about immortality was not even mentioned in our discussion. In my original Post I had already mentioned the LDS teaching that immortality (resurrection) is a free gift, so I did not bring it up in our discussion. In our discussiion we were speaking specifically aobut the meaning of eternal life and both LDS and Christians believe that eternal life begins after Judgment Day.

    Fred, you wrote:

    Because of His Atonement, all people will be resurrected, and those who obey His gospel will receive the gift of eternal life with God.”

    What parts of Christ’s gospel do you believe you need to obey in order to receive Christ’s gift of eternal life with God?

    Becki


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