January 8, 2010 at 1:16 pm (Commandments, Consequence of, Faith and works, False Christ's, God is standard of, Gospel Principles Lsn, Heaven, Hell, LDS Prophets, Lessened Consequences, Lowered Standards, Obedience, Perfection, Role as Substitute, Sins)
Tags: Eternal consequnces, Gospel Principles, Hell, Keeping the commandments, Latter-day Saints, LDS, LDS Singles, LDS Young Women, Relief Society Lesson 1: Our Heavenly Father, Relief Society Lessons, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Works are necessary
An LDS member recently commented “I think it is always interesting that people focus so much on the quotes concerning faith, but then ignore those that testify to the need for works.”
After thinking about this comment and looking at the Bible passages referenced, I realized that Mormons are much more likely than Christians to ignore passages testifying of our need for works. This happens because LDS prophets have lowered God’s standards and removed the eternal consequences for failing to meet His standards. As I have written many times, Jesus commands us to be as perfect as Heavenly Father (Mt 5:48). Search the entire Bible and nowhere will you find a passage that lessens this standard of works set for us by God’s own Son.
Current Mormon teaching ignores God as the standard for works and claims that as long as you are giving your best effort, you can be found worthy on Judgment Day. This week’s Gospel Principles Lesson claims: “Obey all His commandments as best we can (see John 14:21-23). As we do these things, we will come to know God and eventually have eternal life.” Read the passages listed and you will discover the LDS teaching “as best we can” has been added to what Jesus really said about obedience.
Many passages which testify to the seriousness of each and every sin are virtually ignored in Mormonism. We see one example from the second chapter of James: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” A second example is the Apostle Paul in Galatians 3. When quoting the Old Testament he writes of God’s consequence for less than perfect works: “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” (Galatians 3:10) Other quotes ignored in Mormonism are ones showing horrendous consequences for the “cursed” whose works are lacking (Matthew 25). In particular, LDS prophets ignore the words of Christ which equate ‘minor‘ sins (like lust and anger) with ‘major‘ sins (Matthew 5-7).
The consequence for not meeting God’s standard for perfect works can be seen in every Judgment Day scenario found in the Bible. These quotes testify that our works will be judged and we will not be graded on a curve. Each and every sin carries the same eternal consequence—living forever in the same domain as Satan. Unbelievers, idolaters and all liars will be sent to the very same place as murderers and whoremongers (Revelation 21:8). Mormons aren’t too worried about spending eternity with Satan because LDS prophets ignore these passages. They teach that the worst place you could go to is a kingdom more glorious than earth. They claim that only a handful of people will spend eternity in outer darkness.
There is nothing more dangerous than not taking God seriously. The writer of Hebrews testified “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” There is grave danger in ignoring the passages that testify of your need for perfect works. God sets the standard so high to ‘scare the Hell’ out of us! That is, turn us to give up on self and rely on Christ. Yet, millions of people will spend eternity in Hell with Satan because they believed the words of LDS prophets, which ignore God’s Words. Your leaders tell you that it is possible to do all that is required of you. If you continue to believe in this, then you will keep on trying. But in doing so, you won’t despair and give up on yourself. You won’t recognize that you are hopelessly lost. You won’t see your need for the Savior who came to meet God’s demands for perfection—in your place. Instead, you will continue to turn to a false Christ—one whose “conditional” Atonement requires that you erase your sins with your own works. Trusting in this Christ means you reject the Savior whose blood covered all your sins.
I was tormented for many years because I knew how unworthy I was. There are many thousands of Mormons who know they are unworthy. But the true Savior is hidden from them as they keep trying to do what has already been done for them—by that very Savior. The gospel is the good news that Christ came to be our substitute. LDS prophets do not preach the true Gospel message. They twist the gospel passages that claim it is only through faith we can be declared righteous—just like Abraham was (Romans 4:20-24). They ignore the passage that testifies “For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:10-14). As our substitute, not only did Christ take the punishment that we deserved for our sins, He also obeyed perfectly every command that God required of us. Through faith in Him we are credited with His righteousness.
Every person with faith in Christ has had every single sin washed away with His blood. They have no sins left to be judged! These believers don’t do works to gain forgiveness of their sins—they trust in the Savior whose blood has already done that. This trust, tied with the knowledge of the magnitude of the suffering Jesus endured, literally transforms these people. Now, they freely serve God out of love and gratitude for all that God has done for them. On Judgment Day, these works of love will be shown in sharp contrast to the works of unbelievers—works done to gain something for themselves. These works of love will be evidence of a living faith in the works of Christ, as contrasted with a dead faith of trusting that one’s own imperfect works are “good enough”.
“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21)
December 11, 2009 at 1:35 am (Because love God, Chooses unworthy, Commandments, Credited by faith, God, God is standard of, Guilt, Know unworthy, Lowered Standards, Perfection, Prove worthy?, Righteousness, Robe of, Unworthiness, Why God gave, Worthy)
Tags: Be Perfect, Latter-day Saints, LDS, LDS Singles, LDS Standards, LDS Young Women, List of Sins, Mormonism, Mormons, Relief Society, Relief Society Lessons, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The Purpose of God's Law, Unworthy, Worthy
I volunteer with Truth in Love Ministry, a Christian group that reaches out to the Latter-day Saints. Through a media campaign, billboards ask the question “Feeling Worthy?” and point readers to our new website: HisHealingNow.com. Here we share with you the peace and joy we have found through our Savior. We want you to know that feeling unworthy is actually a blessing. The answer to your feelings of unworthiness is the sweet message of a Savior who loves you and came to save you—because you are unworthy! “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” (Matthew 18:11)
The reason we are focusing on LDS who feel unworthy is because your church leaders have told you the wrong way to be worthy. They claim that a person can be worthy through obedience and have created a set of standards for each member to follow. But no one can be found worthy through obedience. Jesus testified the truth of every human’s worthiness when He claimed “none is good, save one, that is, God.” (Luke 18:19). The prophet Isaiah declared “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).
LDS leaders claim that God gave us His laws as the way to prove ourselves worthy. But this is not true. God gave us His commands for exactly the opposite reason—to prove to us just how unworthy we are! His laws were given so “that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3) God intended for us to use the demands of His law as a mirror. When we look at ourselves in it, we realize just how sinful we are. The main reason God gave His law was to convict us of our unworthiness. The apostle Paul explains no one can be worthy by following any law of God: “for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.” (Galatians 3) Instead, “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” God’s law brings us to place our trust in Christ when we realize that without a Savior, we are doomed to hell. This is the blessing of recognizing our unworthiness. We come to rely on what Christ did for us—led a perfect life and atoned for our sins.
So what can be so bad about Mormons trying to be worthy through obedience? The problem isn’t that you are trying to be worthy; it’s that you are using the wrong standard to judge yourself by. The LDS standard for worthiness was created by men and not by God. LDS prophets have lowered God’s standard and use a standard that isn’t high enough. All question as to what standard man should be held to were thrown aside when Jesus commanded: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Mt 5:48) By lowering God’s standard they create the illusion of worthiness through ones own efforts.
LDS leaders use their own system of grading sins. When determining worthiness some sins are overlooked and others are judged as making a person unworthy. Simply reading the Sermon on the Mount verifies that this practice of grading sins didn’t come from God. Jesus testified that in God’s sight, murderers are as sinful as those who loose their temper; and looking at a woman in lust is committing the very same sin as adultery (Matthew 5-7) In God’s eyes, each and every sin is rebellion against Him and receives the same eternal consequence—Hell.
Instead of looking at Heavenly Father’s perfection to determine if you are worthy, Mormons judge whether you are worthy by looking at each other. Lowering God’s standard by grading sins only gives members a false impression that they are worthy. This actually leads you away from your Savior! Instead of reaching out for a Savior who did everything for you, you place your trust in a Savior who merely gives you the opportunity to be judged by your works. Doing so means that your eternal life hangs in the balance of whether you are worthy enough! Can you now see how deadly this doctrine of worthiness is?
There is only one way to be found worthy in God’s sight and it has nothing to do with your obedience to God’s law. Paul testified: “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21) Worthiness comes through faith that Jesus came to earth to be worthy for you—in your place! He is your substitute for the perfection required by God. Through the offering of Christ’s body you have been perfected forever! (Hebrews 10:10-14). Abraham was credited with righteous through faith: “And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6)
And please, don’t fall for the cheap trick of those who ask “Then why would you ever try to do what is right?” Everyone who trusts that Jesus has gained their worthiness for them are so grateful that for the rest of their lives they strive to please God. Not because they have to—but because their love for their Savior compels them.
Your Savior came to cover you with His righteousness. Believe it and you will rejoice with the prophet Isaiah:
“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)
December 18, 2008 at 12:57 pm (After all we do?, Boasting, Christ, Faith alone saves, God is standard of, LDS Prophets, Lowered Standards, Perfection, Role as Substitute, Salvation)
Tags: 2 Nephi 25:23, After all we can do, Faith without works is dead, Forgiveness, Gospel Doctrine, It is by grace that we are saved, Latter-day Saints, LDS, LDS Prophets, LDS Singles, Melchizedek Priesthood, Mormonism, Relief Society, Relief Society Lessons
As a Mormon, I could never understand how anyone thought they could be “saved by faith” in Jesus alone. It seemed clear enough from the words of James that we had to have works as well as faith. Also it was plain to see the many Bible passages listing all the commands Heavenly Father had given us to follow. Looking back, I see I was lacking one very important detail that I didn’t realize at the time. Mormon Prophets actually lowered God’s stated entrance requirements for eternal life! They changed God’s Words and lessened His demands. In reality, they had to do this in order to support their false teaching that a person can gain eternal life by adding their own works to their faith.
From what I can tell it started with Nephi. We read “For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do”. Here we see the LDS teaching that what is required is our ‘best effort’. The determining factor to being “saved” is not the final product, it’s the effort expended. If you just try as hard as you can then Jesus will step in and His Atonement makes up the difference.
While this sounds comforting, it is false! You can search the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find one passage that backs up this false teaching. Not one single verse claims that eternal life can be gained by simply trying to follow God’s commands. Just look at every Judgment Day picture mentioned in the Bible and you will discover that any sin ends with the same exact outcome—living eternally in Outer Darkness with Satan and his demons. The Bible clearly states that God demands 100 percent compliance with his laws and commands. In fact it was James who testified that if you fail at even one point you are guilty of breaking all of God’s laws (2:10). James testimony is reinforced in the letter to the Galatians which clearly says that you are cursed if you don’t continue to do everything written in God’s law (3:10).
Jesus Himself told us the standard we must meet. The perfection required from us is to be as perfect as our Heavenly Father (Matthew 5:48). On Judgment Day we will not be graded on a curve or compared to our neighbor! The standard for perfection is God Himself!
But how can it possibly be bad to try and keep God’s commands? Let me explain the danger using an illustration. Imagine that you are at the Olympics swim meet with Michael Phelps. You know that he is the closest thing to a perfect swimmer in the history of the world. But, you want to help him win his gold medal so you offer to swim the first lap for him, or even just five feet. What do you think will be the outcome? Would your effort help or hurt Phelps’ performance?
The same is true with the perfection Jesus accomplished. On your behalf, Jesus spent His entire life living for you. In your place he kept every command perfectly. He is your substitute for the perfection demanded by God. Jesus alone meets the requirement to be as perfect as Heavenly Father. Adding your “best effort” to His perfect score only makes your score imperfect! This is why we can only be saved through faith alone. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
I know you are trying to do what you think is right. But believing that you can somehow add to the perfect works that Jesus did on your behalf actually angers God! Adding your works to His Son’s work and believing such works are mandatory only testifies one thing. It declares you do not believe that His Son’s immeasurable sacrifice was sufficient to gain you eternal life! God sees such works as an attempt to bring glory on yourself—to actually boast in yourself! When you have faith that His Son’s sacrifice has gained you eternal life this gives all the glory to His Son–where it belongs! Only then are you free to live a life of voluntary works, which brings even more glory to God.
October 30, 2008 at 10:32 am ("Be" means now, Christ, Commandments, Consequence of, Credited by faith, God is standard of, God's Law, Perfection, Righteousness, Role as Substitute, Sins)
Tags: Be Perfect, Gospel Doctrine Lesson, LDS, Lesson 38, Mormonism, Mormons, Nephi, Old Things Are Done Away, Priesthood lesson, Relief Society Lesson, Sunday School
Perfection comes by complying with the formula Jesus gave us—keeping all the commandments and triumphing over sin. This command to be as perfect as Heavenly Father is an achievable goal.
Found in lesson 38, page 168:
After teaching the Nephites that they should love their enemies, Jesus said, “Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect” (3 Nephi 12:48). Why do we need the Atonement of Jesus Christ in order to be perfected? (See… Moroni 10:32–33—“Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.”
Found in: The Miracle of Forgiveness, President Spencer W. Kimball, pages 208-209: “This progress toward eternal life is a matter of achieving perfection. Living all the commandments guarantees total forgiveness of sins and assures one of exaltation through that perfection which comes by complying with the formula the Lord gave us. In his Sermon on the Mount he made the command to all men: ‘Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.’ (Matt. 5:48.) Being perfect means to triumph over sin. This is a mandate from the Lord. He is just and wise and kind. He would never require anything from his children which was not for their benefit and which was not attainable. Perfection therefore is an achievable goal.”
Link to Lesson:
Gospel Doctrine Lesson 38
The Bold Truth:
Only Jesus kept all of Heavenly Father’s commands perfectly. He acted as our proxy and accomplished what we were unable to do—be as perfect as our Father in Heaven. Perfection comes by trusting that Jesus was perfect for us, in our place. Through the offering of Christ’s body as payment for your sin, you have been perfected forever!
My focus today is on one of the commands given to the Nephites. This command is also found in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:48: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Have you ever noticed that Jesus has set Heavenly Father as our standard for perfection? I often wondered why Jesus didn’t command us to be as perfect as one of God’s Prophets, like Abraham. Did Jesus truly mean we couldn’t commit even one sin? James agrees with Jesus: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (2:10). This shows that even if we were able to keep 99.99% of God’s commands we would still fail. Perfection is an all or nothing thing—you either are or you aren’t!
The sobering truth is that God doesn’t overlook any imperfection. His penalty for even one sin is being cursed! “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Galatians 3:10). As James says, the reason is because this law breaker is guilty of breaking the whole law! All who do not continue to keep every single command are cursed. Jesus will say to them, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).
I’m often told that what Jesus must have meant is to “become” perfect someday. But notice the command doesn’t say to “become” perfect; it says to “be” perfect! Even Joseph Smith translated: “Ye are therefore commanded to be perfect.” The verb is “be” and not “become”. “Be” describes a present state and “become” describes a progression. For instance if your Bishop tells you to “be” morally clean, certainly he doesn’t mean for you to eventually progress towards becoming morally clean someday. He expects you to be morally clean right now.
Nephi testified “that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” President Kimball agrees: “Being perfect means to triumph over sin. This is a mandate from the Lord. He is just and wise and kind. He would never require anything from his children which was not for their benefit and which was not attainable. Perfection therefore is an achievable goal.”
There is a way to be perfect, but it is not through your own obedience as Mormon Prophets claim. The only way is to believe that God sent a proxy in your place to do what you were unable to do for yourself. His Son did not come to show you how to be perfect, but to be perfect for you. “For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14). You are sanctified by the offering of his body (verse 10). Because Jesus kept all of God’s laws perfectly in your place, Heavenly Father accepts you as perfect right now. This wonderful gift from God comes not because of anything you have every done or could ever do, but because of what Jesus already did for you!
If you believe your righteousness is achieved by keeping the commandments and triumphing over sin—you are in big trouble! Since Jesus is the only person who could achieve perfection with His own efforts, anyone else who tries will fail and is under God’s curse. For rejecting Christ’s efforts on your behalf He will send you to live eternally with Satan.
Additional Testimony of the Bold Truth:
|No one does good:
– Psalm 14:2-3
– Ecclesiastes 7:20
– Proverbs 7:20
– Romans 3:10-12
– Romans 3:23
– Genesis 8:21
|Our own Righteousness is like filthy rags in God’s eyes:
– Isaiah 64:6
|Righteousness comes by Faith in Jesus not by works:
– 1 Corinthians 1:30
– Romans 1:17
– Romans 3:22
– Romans 9:30-32
– Romans 10:1-10
– Galatians 2:16, 21
– Philippians 3:9
– 2 Timothy 1:9
|Own works will not profit us, trust in God:
– Isaiah 57:12-13
|Christ has covered us with His robe of Righteousness:
– Isaiah 61:10
|Through Christ’s sacrifice we have been perfected forever:
– Hebrews 10:10-14
|Those whose hope is in Jesus are as pure as He is:
– 1 John 3:2-3
|We are holy and blameless in his love:
– Ephesians 1:3-5
Links to Additional LDS words:
TofP=Teachings of Presidents of the Church
Christ came to establish the standard of God’s perfection
TofP-Harold B. Lee
TofP-Joseph F. SmithGod will not give us a commandment we can’t obey
Book of Mormon-Prophet Nephi
Gospel Principles-Basic LDS Doctrine
October 25, 2008 at 7:53 pm (Blessings predicated?, Christ, Eternal life, Gaining, Gift, God is standard of, Obedience, Perfection, Role as Exemplar?, Role as Substitute, Saved by?)
Tags: Gospel Doctrine, Law of Moses, LDS, Lesson 38, Mormonism, Mormons, Old Things Are Done Away, Priesthood lesson, Relief Society Lesson, Sunday School
Jesus’ Atonement fulfilled the law of Moses. He gave us a Higher Law to follow. Our eternal destination is predicated upon our obedience to this Higher Law.
Found in lesson 38, page 168:
“In His Sermon on the Mount the Master has given us somewhat of a revelation of His own character, which was perfect, or what might be said to be ‘an autobiography, every syllable of which He had written down in deeds,’ and in so doing has given us a blueprint for our own lives” (Stand Ye in Holy Places , 342).
3 Nephi 14: 21 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
Why must we do the will of Heavenly Father to be able to enter the kingdom of heaven? See D&C 130:20–21: “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated— 21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.”
Have a class member read 3 Nephi 15:1 aloud. “And now it came to pass that when Jesus had ended these sayings he cast his eyes round about on the multitude, and said unto them: Behold, ye have heard the things which I taught before I ascended to my Father; therefore, whoso remembereth these sayings of mine and doeth them, him will I raise up at the last day.”
The Bold Truth:
Jesus came to do God’s will and perfectly fulfilled His Law as our substitute. Our eternal destination depends upon what we believe: “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
For most of my childhood my father held callings within the Church, including Bishop, Stake President and Stake Patriarch. The sentence I most remember my father saying was “All blessings are predicated upon obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.” I am sure he taught this to me over and over because he loved me and he wanted me to learn what he believed was the only way to gain eternal life. These words are actually from a revelation given to Joseph Smith in D&C 130. In this week’s Gospel Doctrine Lesson we are referred to this revelation after the question is asked: “Why must we do the will of Heavenly Father to be able to enter the kingdom of heaven?” The answer, found in this section, is “when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.”
God has given to us many laws that must be obeyed before we can dwell in His presence. By far the most daunting command given was when Jesus said we must be as perfect as Heavenly Father Himself! (Matthew 5:48 ) The Apostle Paul revealed that no unclean person can dwell with God (Ephesians 5:5). The sobering truth is that there is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins (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 will in our place. He came to be our substitute for the righteousness demanded by Heavenly Father. The very purpose of His Atonement was to do what we were unable to do for ourselves—fulfill God’s law. “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second” (Hebrews 10:9). He is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes (Romans 10:4).
From this week’s Gospel Doctrine lesson we see the Mormon belief that Jesus merely came to be our Example—to show us how to gain eternal life through our own obedience. LDS Prophet Harold B. Lee claimed that Jesus lived a perfect life “and in so doing has given us a blueprint for our own lives”. What do you believe Jesus did for you? Did He fulfill God’s law for you? Or did he give you a blueprint showing you how to fulfill the law yourself?
The blessing of eternal life can only be gained as a gift. That’s what blessings are—unconditional gifts given by our loving Father in Heaven! Jesus testified that this unconditional blessing is actually God’s will for all who believe in Him: “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Please don’t make the mistake that my father did and teach your children that eternal life is predicated upon their obedience to God’s laws. Instead, teach them the glorious message that, in love, Jesus kept those laws perfectly for them!
If you believe gaining eternal life is predicated upon your obedience to God’s law you will not attain it. On Judgment Day you will be found unclean because you rejected Christ as your substitute for Righteousness. Consequently Heavenly Father will reject you and deny you eternal life.
Additional Testimony of the Bold Truth:
|Jesus came to do the will of Heavenly Father:
– Hebrews 10:5-9
– Psalm 40: 6-8
|Jesus submitted to God’s will:
– John 4: 33
– Luke 22: 42
|God’s will is to give eternal life to believers:
– John 4: 38-40
|Jesus came to fulfill God’s law:
– Matthew 5:17
|Christ’s Atonement is the end of God’s law for believers:
The Apostle Paul:
– Romans 10:4