“He Is Risen”— a Prophet’s Testimony: Is Jesus Your Substitute or Your Exemplar?

Today we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! It is my hearts desire to share our Savior’s true mission with you. When I was LDS I thought I understood Christ’s true mission. I had been taught that through the Resurrection Jesus conquered physical death. In doing so, I believed He gained immortality for us (bodily resurrection)–the only free gift of the Atonement:

“President Monson shares his testimony of …the Savior’s Resurrection and declares that because the Son conquered death, all of the Father’s children who come to earth will live again.” (First Presidency Message, “He Is Risen”—a Prophet’s Testimony, Ensign, Apr. 2012)

Because Heavenly Father sent us to earth to be tested, we needed someone to show us how to be perfect. In His role as our Exemplar, Christ showed us that we could gain eternal life by obedience to God’s commands. We just had to follow His example. When I was LDS I didn’t realize that His Role as Exemplar was unique to Mormonism:

“Christ came not only into the world to make an atonement for the sins of mankind but to set an example before the world of the standard of perfection of God’s law and of obedience to the Father. In his Sermon on the Mount the Master has given us somewhat of a revelation of his own character, which was perfect… and in so doing has given us a blueprint for our own lives.”

I was amazed when I learned Christ’s true mission: Christ is our Substitute! For thirty six years I never once heard the word “Substitute” in connection to Christ or His Atonement. When I first heard it—I rejoiced because of what it meant. I knew how sinful I was and how much I needed a Substitute. I knew that if my eternal life depended upon how well I followed Christ’s example, I was doomed.

I learned that I was not the only person who was unworthy. I discovered that the very reason Christ came to this earth was because every person is unworthy and sinful (Romans 3:10-12). None of us has the ability to meet Heavenly Father’s demands. By nature we are children of wrath! (Ephesians 2:3) No one is righteous; in fact Jesus claimed that we’re not even good (Matthew 19:17). The Prophet Isaiah testified that even our righteous works are like filthy rags in God’s sight (Isaiah 64:6). Since our eternal destination hangs in the balance of meeting God’s demands, we need a Substitute–not an Exemplar.

The idea of a substitute is not foreign to God’s people. Heavenly Father had actually instituted Christ’s role of substitution through animal sacrifices. He declared that anyone who did not obey His commands must pay for their sin through eternal death. But since every person is sinful no one could be saved without an alternative plan. We see that plan demonstrated in the Old Testament sacrifices. A man’s sin could be atoned for by the shedding of the lifeblood of a substitute sacrifice.

When an Israelite sinned, he went to the Temple! He brought a perfect animal and the Priest sacrificed it as an atonement for his sin. If the sacrifice wasn’t perfect it was declared unfit to atone for someone’s sin. All these animal substitutes merely pointed ahead in similitude to the perfect Substitute sacrifice—Jesus Christ! And, His perfect sacrifice was the final sacrifice—once, for all (Hebrews 10:10).

Before Christ could sacrifice Himself and become our Substitute, He first had to do what we could not do–live a perfectly obedient life. He successfully obeyed all the commands that God required, like visiting the sick, loving our enemies and forgiving those who despitefully used Him. He did all of these things for us, in our place, as our substitute! (Romans 5:19) He did this because we could not meet God’s demands to be obedient for ourselves!

In a similar way that a substitute teacher takes over and accomplishes the work the teacher was supposed to do, Jesus lived His entire life doing the works we were supposed to do. When you read in scripture that Jesus prayed for His enemies, rest assured that this obedient act has been credited to your account. Jesus took your sins as if they were His own; and in exchange, gave you His perfect works, as if you yourself had accomplished them (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be our Substitute and not our Exemplar (53:4-12). He testified that Jesus would suffer the penalty for our iniquity. We all have gone astray, just like sheep! Even though we deserved punishment, God laid all our iniquity on Jesus. As our substitute He was wounded, bruised and stricken. Our eternal consequence for sin was to be cursed to eternal life with Satan because we failed to continue doing everything God commanded. As our substitute, Jesus became a curse for us! (Galatians 3:10-13). We were all unclean and not able to enter God’s presence; (Ephesians 5:5) but Jesus washed our sins away with His own blood and became sin for us.

In Hebrews we read that Christ offered His body as a perfect sacrifice and in exchange, we have been perfected forever! (10:10-14) For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” We who were sinful and imperfect, are found perfect in God’s sight. This is because Christ was punished for our sins, and covered us with His righteousness: Isaiah 61: 10 “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,”

Heavenly Father loves you so much He sent His Son on a Mission to be your Substitute! Believe it, and then live your life in thanksgiving — following Christ’s example. Not to be worthy enough to gain eternal life; but to thank your Savior who was worthy for you — as your Substitute!

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The Empty Tomb Is Proof That The Mormon Jesus Is A False Christ!!

After the Holy Spirit brought me to faith, it took a few months before I understood the differences between Christianity and Mormonism. For a short time, I didn’t realize that the Mormon Church was not Christian. The Jesus I had been taught about while I was Mormon seemed to be the same Jesus as what the Bible taught. It wasn’t until I did a thorough Bible study on Christ’s Atonement, that I discovered the truth. The Jesus taught by Mormonism is a false Christ! He is not the “Christ” who saved us “in our sins”.

While Mormonism teaches similar aspects about the “person” of Jesus as that found in the Bible, the falseness of the LDS Christ becomes apparent when one looks at his stated purpose and mission. I have found numerous ways in which the LDS Jesus falls short of the true Jesus, as revealed on the pages of the Bible. I have already written a post comparing the LDS Jesus as Creditor with the Biblical Jesus as Savior; and, a post comparing the LDS Jesus as Exemplar with the Biblical Jesus who was our Substitute. Today, I focus on comparing the LDS Jesus who cannot save his people in their sins, with the true Christ who took away the sins of the world!

The Christ of Mormonism is a false Christ. We know this because LDS prophets testify that Christ cannot save his people “in their sins”! They make this claim because they believe the words of a false prophet, found on the pages of LDS scripture. This prophet, Amulek, taught of a false Christ who did not have the authority to save his people “in their sins“. Amulek claims that the reason, is because “no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.

How can we know that this Christ is not the true Christ, the very Son of God? By testing his mission and purpose, as revealed by Mormonism; with Christ’s mission and purpose, already revealed within the pages of the Bible.

The true Christ’s mission was to take away ALL our sins, leaving us “no longer in our sins”! The Apostle Paul claimed that if Christ had not been raised from the dead, then their faith was in vain because they would still be in their sins. (1 Corinthians 15:17) The fact that Christ was raised from the dead meant that they were no longer in their sins!

John the Baptist testified that Christ’s mission was to take away the sins of the world! (John 1:29). Did Jesus fulfill His mission and return to His Father with honor? Did He take away the sins of the world? Yes!! The empty tomb, the fact that God the Father raised Him from the dead, proves that Christ’s body was accepted as full payment for taking away the sins of the world.

Because the tomb was empty on that first Easter morn, we can trust that we are no longer in our sins! Through the offering of Christ’s body, every sin was taken away from you. All who believe in Jesus can boldly enter into God’s presence, because they are no longer in their sins! When Jesus took away the sins of the world, He reconciled man to God! You are no longer unclean, because Christ’s blood has washed you clean!!!

No longer “in our sins” we are perfect, righteous, and pure. Through the offering of Christ’s body, “He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:10-14). Those whose hope is in the true Christ are as pure as Jesus himself (1 John 3). Just like Abraham, you are declared righteous through faith (Romans 4:20-5:2).

Many of the Jewish leaders didn’t believe that Jesus was the Christ. They thought that Christ’s mission was to overthrow the Romans and set up an earthly kingdom. But this was a vision of a false Christ! Jesus warned the Jews who did not believe in Him: “ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins (John 8:24). The logic here is that if the Jews would just believe in the true Christ they would not die in their sins.

Similarly, if you trust in the words of your LDS prophets, you also believe in the vision of a false Christ. One who cannot, will not, save you in your sins. Just as Jesus warned the Jews, He gives you the same warning: “if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins”. Dying in your sins means Eternal Death. Do you love your children and wish to live with them eternally? Reject the false Christ of Mormonism and in faith, turn to the true Jesus who has already saved you. Then, teach your children about the true Christ, who has already saved them in their sins!

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