Righteous Living in Perilous Times: Christ Paid the Price for Peace With His Righteousness!

Have you managed to pay the price for peace and happiness with your righteousness? That’s what President Smith claims the Lord requires in this months Relief Society Lesson:

“When the gospel was restored to earth in this dispensation, the Lord repeated what he has said so many times in the Old and New Testaments, that the price of peace and happiness is righteousness.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, Chapter 24: Righteous Living in Perilous Times, p. 259)

Even though LDS prophets testify that a person can attain righteousness through their own effort, “the Old and New Testaments” reveal differently:

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10-12 quoting Psalm 14:2-3)

Jesus declared His testimony of this truth revealed by the Psalmist: “…there is none good but one, that is, God…”. (Matthew 19:16-17)

You can never pay the price God demands for peace and happiness because that price is too high. No one can meet God’s demands for righteousness—even though LDS prophets claim you can:

The Lord has not required something that is impossible. On the contrary, he has given us commandments and advice and counsel that it is possible for all of us to follow in this day and age in which we live. … … All that we need is to repent of our sins, turn from the error of our ways, cleanse our lives of impurity, and then to go about doing good.” (p. 263)

Only someone who doesn’t know Christ as Lord would claim that it is possible to “cleanse our lives of impurity” by keeping God’s commandments. God has required us to be as perfect as He is (Matthew 5:48)—something that is truly impossible. You can search the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find one passage that backs up the false teaching that God will accept anything less. The Apostle Paul revealed that no unclean person can dwell in God’s presence (Ephesians 5:5). The sobering truth is that there is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right (Ecclesiastes 7:20).

This is why Jesus had to come to save us! He kept God’s commandments for us because we were doomed to failure without Him. Jesus perfectly obeyed God’s laws for us—in our place. He came to be our substitute for the righteousness demanded by Heavenly Father. It is through faith in Him that we are made righteous.

The day I found the peace of God was when the Holy Spirit opened my heart to faith. I learned that the only path to peace through righteousness is the one that trusts solely in the Savior for righteousness. Christ is our righteousness—as the Prophet Jeremiah revealed: “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS”! (23:6) It was His righteousness that paid the price of peace; and Christ’s blood that makes us holy:

“And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel” (Colossians 1:19-23)

The Prophet Isaiah knew that our own righteousness is nothing in God’s eyes:

“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)

That’s why Isaiah revealed that our righteousness comes from the Lord:

“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)

Believing that you must pay for your peace and happiness with your own righteousness shows you don’t know “the God of hope” who “fill[s] you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 15:13)

The Prophet Abraham had faith in God’s promise of righteousness:

“For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” (Romans 4:2-8)

President Smith reveals to you why he thinks you should do good works:

“I want to plead with you, … be as anchors in the community in which you live that others may be drawn to you and feel secure. Let your light so shine that others seeing your good works will have a desire in their hearts to be like you.” (p. 263)

Today, I bear testimony that nothing brings more peace and happiness than following the Words of my Lord Jesus:

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) 61:10

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2 Comments

  1. December 29, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Hi Dear Sister in Christ. I was just about to head off to cook dinner but thought I’d do one more search on the lesson I teach tomorrow in our ward before doing so. I have my little one yanking on the cord of my laptop yet I feel compelled to write you a quick message. I am so glad you have a strong testimony of Christ! He is the Author and Finisher of our Faith! I have been a member of The Church for 11 years. I grew up in an Evangelical home and was Anti-Mormon for years. I earnestly and sincerely prayed to be led to a Church that he would have me in when I headed to college. I was led by Him to His Church. With that said, dear woman, I know your intentions are SO good. I think it is wonderful that you are standing for something you feel strong about but I know you are misled. Grace and works can be misunderstood. That is why we have Latter Day Prophets to guide us in these last days to provide guidance and encouragement to make righteous decisions. Coming from the protestant churches I grew up in it is easy to see what choices people make when they know they will be forgiven anyway. Why strive? We need a strong message of encouragement because sin is so damaging and can have terrible consequences. We are forgiven. Jesus paid the price but we play a role also. That is why we have a “relationship” with him. Please read His Grace is Sufficient by Brad Wilcox. Or watch the Youtube speach. I think it will give some reconcilliation. Trying to keep the commandments and repenting when we don’t is essential. Simple but essential.
    Met with much opposition from my lovely family, I remember praying and having the clear answer that the Church was true and that if I was to raise children this Church would be the place to do it. All of our programs are so successful, and that is because they are inspired.
    All of the verses you cited are so beautiful and true. We are nothing without our Saviour. But with our Saviour we are capable of so much. And I do think you know that when President G.A. Smith said,” that others seeing your good works will have a desire in their hearts to be like you,” he was referring to the desire to share their faith. Consider the contrast of wickedness being happiness, to righteousness bringing happiness. “Wickedness never was happiness.” I know you know that is true. Righteousness is happiness! How do we get there? With our Saviour! That is what he does to us and for us as we strive to believe him and be like him. Of course we can’t do that on our own. Us Latter-Day Saints know that.
    Okay so that wasn’t a quick message. Thanks for having an open forum.

  2. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    January 29, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Hello Carolyn Losey Conover,

    I apologize for the length of time it has taken me to respond to your heartfelt comment. I do have an open forum but I also have a rare, debilitating disease and last month my doctor changed my pain meds. Overall the new meds are a blessing, but the past month and a half have been almost unbearable as I taper off narcotics.

    Because it is important to me to write a thorough reply to every comment, it took me much longer than normal to reply. I find it interesting that you grew up in an Evangelical home and were Anti-Mormon: I grew up LDS and was anti-Evangelical! At the time, I called them “Gracers”.

    There are a few things you wrote which I will highlight and reply to. I pray that doing so will give you a better understanding as to the differences between Mormonism and Christianity.

    1) You wrote: “Trying to keep the commandments and repenting when we don’t” “is essential. Simple but essential.”

    I believe that it is essential to keep the commandments! But do you really believe that it is—because that isn’t what you wrote!? Here again, is what you wrote:

    Trying to keep the commandments and repenting when we don’t is essential.”

    To be eligible for eternal life, do you believe that Jesus will accept your efforts at “Trying to keep the commandments”? Will your effort of “Trying to keep the commandments” be enough to dwell in Heavenly Father’s presence? I point this out because every Mormon I speak with believes the same as you do. Basically, what I am asking you is this: “Do you believe that it is the effort that God looks at—or the result?

    The Holy Spirit of truth has revealed what Heavenly Father expects of us. He did this when God gave us His commands, and He expects us to obey Him. Through Moses, God told the Israelites:

    Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” (Deut. 27:26, as explained by the Apostle Paul in Galatians 3:10)

    “Trying” to keep the commandments does not, and will never meet God’s requirement for perfect righteousness. For those of us under New Testament law, Jesus revealed that Heavenly Father is our standard for righteousness:

    “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

    James added his testimony to this consequence for merely trying:

    “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10)

    God’s entire Word from Genesis to Revelation attests to this important truth: It is essential to keep the commandments—all of them! The only degree of righteousness allowed to dwell eternally with God will be one hundred percent perfect righteousness, one hundred percent holiness and one hundred percent worthiness.

    At the Final Judgment we will not be graded upon a curve—our life will be held up to the holy standard of God Himself!

    2) You wrote: “We need a strong message of encouragement because sin is so damaging and can have terrible consequences.”

    Do you really know and believe in the “terrible consequences” of sin? The true consequence of sin—any sin is death; both physical and spiritual. The Apostle Paul declared: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

    The Prophet Ezekiel revealed what “the Lord God” said about the seriousness of sin: “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:3-4)

    LDS prophets deny these truths regarding the eternal consequences of sin. They have created a fable which claims that almost all humans will dwell in a Kingdom of Heaven.

    3) You wrote: “Righteousness is happiness! How do we get there? With our Saviour! That is what he does to us and for us as we strive to believe him and be like him. Of course we can’t do that on our own. Us Latter-Day Saints know that.”

    Righteousness is happiness! I know that because I am already there! In God’s sight I am one hundred percent perfect and righteous. That’s what my Savior did for me—through faith I have been credited with Christ’s perfect works. That is why I live such a joy filled and happy life! The very moment the Holy Spirit brought me to faith in Jesus I was credited with Christ’s righteousness. He alone is my righteousness!

    But you ask “How do we get there?” You ask that because that’s what your prophets have taught you—what Mormonism has missed! The true Christ has already taken us there with His righteous works. He came to meet God’s demand for righteousness for us—in our place! But; the “Latter-Day Saints don’t know that.”

    “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)

    It is through faith alone that a person attains the perfection required to dwell in God’s presence. Abraham knew this, and according to the Apostle Paul–so can you:

    “Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” (Galatians 3:8-9)

    Do you rely on faith–as faithful Abraham did? Because if you do, then you can’t also rely on anything that you have done. We can’t help Jesus! Adding imperfect works to Christ’s perfect righteousness ruins it: “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21)

    “For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” (Romans 4:2-8)

    4) You wrote this about what motivates us:

    “Coming from the protestant churches I grew up in it is easy to see what choices people make when they know they will be forgiven anyway. Why strive? We need a strong message of encouragement because sin is so damaging and can have terrible consequences.”

    Woa, stop! You don’t know me or any true Christians at all. I know that I have been “forgiven anyway” and I make the choice every minute of my life to strive to keep God’s commands. I love my Lord and Savior, how could I ever treat my God like that? His Words–that’s what motivates me!!! I love the words of this Psalm, it describes my passion for serving my Lord:

    “Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.” (Psalm 119:34-35)

    So I guess I’m not sure what church background you are from, but the Christians who surround me are not as you suggest. Every true Christian I know lives their life as I do—in humble thankfulness serving their Lord and Savior with everything they do. Our motivation to keep the commandments comes from knowing that Christ has already forgiven us–that God has been so good to us.

    You said that “We need a strong message of encouragement because sin is so damaging and can have terrible consequences.”

    Like you, I “try to keep the commandments”. But I know that I can do nothing to add to the righteousness that Christ has already obtained for me. I am free to serve my Lord simply because I love Him. That’s what Christ did for us–He set us free from slavery to God’s law; we are not bound by law but by love. This message was one of God’s truths that I was delighted to discover.

    God uses a different method to motivate His children than what Mormonism uses. It is the knowledge of all He has done for us that motivates us to repentance–His goodness:

    “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? (Romans 2:4)

    Your words show the LDS motivator for keeping God’s commands: “We need a strong message of encouragement because sin is so damaging and can have terrible consequences.”

    The gospel of Mormonism uses God’s commands (His laws) as His “message of encouragement”. Because in the end, your eternal life (and every LDS members’ eternal life) depends upon whether or not you have done what you say “is essential. Simple but essential.”

    5) You wrote: “We are forgiven. Jesus paid the price but we play a role also. That is why we have a “relationship” with him.”

    I believe that we are forgiven because the Holy Spirit has revealed this truth to me through God’s Word. And the knowledge of this forgiveness is at the very root of my relationship with Jesus–it’s why I love Him more than my life.

    However, Mormonism does not teach that a person is already forgiven. Forgiveness hangs in the balance of each member successfully working out the LDS process of Repentance. You say that Mormonism teaches we are forgiven. Could you please provide a quote from an apostle/prophet which proves this to be a current LDS teaching? Also, please give us a link to lds.org so I can read the article.

    (Click here to go to my Post giving numerous quotes about repentance from LDS leaders)

    Thanks again for your comment,
    Becki


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