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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I’ve Been Washed Clean!

I never realized what a blessing it is to be able to take a shower. Today I thank my Lord for giving me enough strength to drag this broken body into the shower and wash my body. The hot water felt wonderful and it was great to feel clean again! I would like to have washed my hair, but my arms just didn’t have the strength to do that as well. I don’t think we realize what a blessing some things are until they are taken away from us.

Thinking of how good it felt to take a shower reminded me of my most treasured possession—being washed clean from all of my sins. I was thirty six years old before I learned that Jesus had already obtained this blessing for me with His blood—over 2,000 years ago at the cross. I was denied this truth because I trusted in the false prophets of Mormonism. They claim that the only way to gain forgiveness for your individual sins is through your works. (Go to this Page on my Blog to read their words) Because I believed their words, I spent many years trying to obtain something that is not obtainable through works. The forgiveness of sins can only be obtained through the shed blood of a perfect sacrifice.

I feel so blessed that the Holy Spirit opened my eyes and heart to the truth. Now, whenever I read the Bible God’s Words are so clear to me. I think that for the Israelites it would have been much easier to understand that the forgiveness of their sins was won by Christ’s sacrifice. Whenever they committed a sin they were instructed to shed the blood of a sacrificial animal. They were told to do this because God declared that the only way to have their sins washed away was through the shed blood of a perfect sacrifice.

The writer of Hebrews explains this truth: “and without shedding of blood is no remission” (9:22b)

He goes on in the next chapter to declare that these sacrifices done during the Old Testament times didn’t really take away sins. They were simply pointing to a Savior, who would offer His body as the final sacrifice for sin. It was His blood that would wash away all our sins, as the Apostle John declared has already happened: “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Revelation 1:5)

I will finish with these beautiful words from Hebrews chapter ten, which interestingly end with how wonderful it is to have our bodies washed with water:

“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

14For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 15Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, 16This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;

17And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 18Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. 19Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21And having an high priest over the house of God; 22Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”

If you would like to listen to my testimony, you can do so by clicking on this link. It will take you to the audio story: “I’ve Been Washed Clean”.

Link:

Did God Allow “Same-Sex” Marriages in the Temple?

I grew up dreaming about the day I would be married in the Temple. I think that dream is something instilled in the heart of every LDS girl. From a very young age we were taught that the only place to be married was in the Temple—for time and all eternity.

The Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Manual explains:

Why is it important that we marry in the covenant? (If necessary, explain that in our day, the phrases marriage in the covenant, eternal marriage, and temple marriage are often used interchangeably. How long has marriage in the covenant been a commandment of God? (It is an eternal ordinance that has been the Lord’s order in all ages when the fulness of the gospel has been on the earth. Adam and Eve were the first on this earth to enter into this ordinance.)” (page 41)

But if the eternal covenant of marriage were truly the Lord’s order in all ages since Adam and Eve, then wouldn’t Temple marriages have been practiced in Jewish Temples? Was the “fulness of the gospel” on the earth when Jesus and His Apostles lived? Were Temple marriages performed during Christ’s time?

The truth is, the only people allowed inside God’s Temples were men! Women were not even allowed inside! The Temple consisted of an outer Court for Gentiles, one for women, and one for men. Only the Priests were allowed to enter the Temple. The Holy of Holies, which is where God’s presence dwelt, could only be entered by the High Priest one day each year. He did this on the Day of Atonement, only after he purified himself with the shed blood of a perfect sacrifice.

If there were marriages taking place in God’s Holy Temple, then every single one would have been a “same-sex” marriage—men marrying men!! Since this is forbidden by God, we can be certain that there were no marriages taking place in God’s Temples!

When Jesus shed His blood on the Cross, His body was the ultimate sacrifice–paying the entire debt for the sins of the world! The very moment Jesus died, the veil in the Temple was torn from top to bottom. God does not dwell in Temples built by men anymore. Literally, He dwells inside of the hearts of men and women themselves. Every person with faith in Jesus is a Temple of God. This can only happen because believers have been “perfected forever” and are as pure as Jesus Himself!

My dream of a Temple marriage has been replaced with joy from the most intimate relationship I have ever known—one with my Lord and Savior Jesus!! He actually lives inside of me, and the life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

I so want to share with you this amazing love. Even though I don’t know you, I pray for you as the Apostle Paul prayed:

That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:17-21)

Is the LDS Process of Repentance a Blessing?

About a month ago the 12 and 13 year old’s were taught that “Repentance is a Blessing.” The Lesson Manual tells the teacher to explain the reason why repentance is such a blessing:

“Explain that repentance is the process Heavenly Father has given us for ‘erasing’ our sins. Heavenly Father wants us to return to live with him after this life, but no unclean, or sinful, person can live with him (see Moses 6:57). Heavenly Father knows that everyone will make mistakes and commit sins while on the earth, so he has given us a way to become clean again after we have sinned. This is repentance.” (Preparing for Exaltation, Lesson 12: Repentance Is a Blessing)

The Lesson teaches these children the many requirements to be met before they can gain forgiveness of a sin. This “process” has several aspects to it, but today I wish to discuss Joseph Smith’s revelation that a person gains forgiveness by keeping the commandments. D&C 1:32: “Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven.”

Testing the words of this LDS prophet with those of our Savior reveals the truth. Jesus revealed that doing all things which are commanded of you is simply what God requires of you, and is your duty! (Luke 17:9-10) When you sin (fail to keep God’s commands) you incur a debt, and need Heavenly Father’s forgiveness. Doing what is expected of you (keeping the commandments) cannot gain forgiveness for a debt. This merely prevents you from piling on more debt.

Here’s an illustration to explain what I mean:

It’s expected that you will pay your monthly bills. Last month you used part of your bill money to go on vacation and so you couldn’t pay all your bills. You used your credit card to pay for these bills and so incurred a debt on your credit card. This month you paid all your bills. You call up your credit card company and say “I paid all my bills this month so please forgive my debt from last month”. Do you think your credit card company will accept this offer as payment for your debt? Heavenly Father also, will not accept as payment for your sin debt, the works He already requires of you.

So how does a sin debt get paid? The writer of Hebrews testifies that without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22). In the Old Testament we read that God’s people were required to offer animal sacrifices as payment for their sin. These animal sacrifices had to be perfect, without blemish.

But even if you gave your life’s blood as an offering to pay for your sins, your offering would be rejected by Heavenly Father. Why? Because you are not a perfect sacrifice! You are not without blemish. You are not without sin. Instead, you are in debt to God for all your sins. On Judgment Day, every single sin you’ve ever committed will be judged by Jesus, for all to see (Ecclesiastes 12:14). Anyone found unclean (without blemish) will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

But take heart, you are not without hope! Jesus shed His blood and paid the price for the sins of the entire world. “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God” (Hebrews 10:12). Jesus was a perfect sacrifice—without any sin debt. Heavenly Father accepted Jesus’ payment for the sins of the world and forgave every person’s sin debt. In your place, Jesus offered His life as a perfect sacrifice and paid your debt.

There is only one way to “receive” the complete forgiveness that has already been won for you, and guess what? It isn’t through your efforts at trying to keep God’s commands. You can only receive forgiveness by believing that Jesus’ blood covers your sin debt. The moment you have faith in this, you will receive complete forgiveness of all your sins (past, present and future)! Jesus loves us and washed us from our sins in his own blood. (Revelation 1:5) Believe it and receive it! The Apostle Peter testified: “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43).

Once you know just how much you have been forgiven, you can freely live a life of thanksgiving! You can keep Heavenly Fathers commandments out of gratitude and love, not out of obligation or trying to gain forgiveness and eternal life!

Click here to go to my Page titled “The LDS Process of Repentance”:

Link to LDS Lesson: https://www.lds.org/manual/preparing-for-exaltation-teachers-manual/lesson-12-repentance-is-a-blessing?lang=eng

Additional Testimony of the Bold Truth:

Debt to God
Jesus:
– Matthew 6:12
Sacrifice for Sin
Heavenly Father:
– Leviticus 4:1-5
Works Judged
Jesus:
– Matthew 12:36
Forgiveness Through Blood
The Apostle Paul:
– Colossians 1:14
– Ephesians 1:7
– Romans 3:24-25
– Romans 5:18-19
John the Beloved:
– Revelation 7:14
– Hebrews 9:12-15
The Apostle Peter:
– 1 Peter 1:18-19
Substitute Payment
The Prophet Isaiah:
– Isaiah 53:4-12
The Apostle Paul:
– Galatians 3:10-13
The Apostle Peter:
– 1 Peter 3:18
World’s Sin Paid
John the Baptist:
– John 1:29
John the Beloved:
– 1 John 2:2
Thankful Obedience
The Apostle Paul:
– 1 Corinthians 15:56-58

Are Fathers Evil?

The first time I attended a non-Mormon Church service was when I lived in Arkansas. A neighbor invited me to attend church with her and out of curiosity I decided to check it out. Talk about culture shock!!! This was my first experience of hearing a Preacher give a Sermon, and his preaching was that of a “fire and brimstone” Southern Baptist.

My neighbor must have warned him that a Mormon would be attending because he spent about five minutes attacking the Mormon Church and all who follow its teachings. From my Mormon ears, all I heard was that I was a horrible sinner and I had better repent or else I was going to hell. By the time the service was finished I had a horrible headache. I ran away from there as fast as I could, never to return.

Sermons are one thing many Mormons aren’t familiar with. Sacrament Meetings entail a few people who have been asked to give talks for that Sunday. These talks are nothing like a Sermon given by a Pastor. During my fifteen years as a Christian, thankfully I have heard many wonderful Sermons from many different Pastors. Each Pastor tends to have his own style of preaching, but I have discovered that his message testifies of a few simple truths:

1) Every human is evil and can never come even close to meeting God’s demands
2) Heavenly Father gives the gift of eternal life to those who believe that Jesus met God’s demands for them.

It took me awhile before I realized that these basic truths were being taught by every Preacher I heard. The first time I recognized this was when a Preacher I know was giving a Sermon about prayer. He boldly stated that all the fathers listening to Him were “evil”! When I heard that, I was a little uncomfortable. I know that our earthly fathers aren’t perfect, but calling them “evil” seemed to be a bit harsh. I wondered why the Preacher hadn’t chosen to use a softer word like “weak” or maybe even “sinful”. Then, I noticed a little later in His Sermon where He even commanded us to be as perfect as our Heavenly Father!

In reality, this Preacher was Jesus giving His Sermon on the Mount. His actual words were: “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” Talk about being blunt!! When I read His Sermon in context there was no indication that those listening to His Sermon were particularly evil. I remembered that Jesus had told the rich young ruler “there is none good but one, that is, God”. But saying Fathers are “evil” seems so much worse than saying someone is “not good”.

I soon discovered that Jesus talked about man’s evil deeds several other times during His Ministry. In the book of Mark, Jesus tells us where evil comes from: “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts”. In the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, Jesus asked a question of those who thought that God wasn’t being fair: “Is thine eye evil, because I am good?”

Jesus proclaimed God’s eternal consequences for all who do evil: “for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (John 5).

Reading Jesus’ words enticed me to dig deeper into scripture. By the time I finished my study there was no doubt in my mind: all humans are evil. I discovered that the reason it’s difficult for us to see ourselves as evil is because our definition of what “evil” is differs from God’s definition. We like to categorize our sins, claiming that some are worse than others. We certainly don’t think that anything we do ourselves is actually “evil”.

I wasn’t surprised when I read that God considered murder and adultery evil; but the prophet Nehemiah preached that not keeping the Sabbath day holy was evil. He also testified that Israelites who married outside the faith committed a “great evil” (13:27). The writer of the book of Hebrews testified that “unbelief” is evil. Moses wrote in Deuteronomy that it is evil to not give money to a poor man in need. In Genesis, he taught the same message about man as what Jesus had taught:
for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth”.

Everything I’ve mentioned so far is only part of what Biblical Preachers name as “evil”. (The word “evil” appears 624 times in the Bible.) The Apostle Paul understood that God sees all sin as evil when he lamented “but the evil which I would not, that I do” and “when I would do good, evil is present with me.” (Romans 7) In Timothy he wrote that the love of money is the root of all evil.

To the Galatians, he wrote God’s consequence for not following every single command: “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” James solidified Paul’s curse when he proclaimed: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” He then gave examples of evil:

“the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” and: “where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work”.

Studying God’s Words leaves no doubt that our holy God considers any sin as evil. The writer of Proverbs tells us that “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” On Judgment Day “God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:14)

The inescapable conclusion is that everyone who sins is evil! I am so amazed every time I read words from these same Preachers saying that God loves us in spite of our evil! It’s hard to believe, but His mercy is shown to evil sinners! In Galatians, Paul gives us the only reason why:

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

To the Ephesians Paul wrote: “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.” It’s through Christ’s Atonement that our evil hearts are “sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10)

The very same Jesus that proclaimed the dire consequences of evil, shares our only means of escape—it’s through faith alone that we are saved and gain eternal life:

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:14-16)

Till We Meet Again… At Jesus’ Feet!

I met Linda at church about thirteen years ago. Her deep love for God showed in both her words and her actions. The Holy Spirit gave Linda some amazing spiritual gifts and through these gifts she glorified her Lord with many works of love. I was drawn to Linda not only as my mentor, but also as my dear sister in Christ. Over the years she was there for me during times of trial as well as times of joy. Last May when she called to tell me she had terminal cancer, I knew I was going to miss her terribly. But both of us knew our parting would only be for a short time.

Throughout Linda’s illness her husband Rennie took wonderful care of her, showing his great faith and courage. Linda found out she had cancer the first week in May. From that time until she died, Rennie sent a weekly email giving a daily synopsis of Linda’s week. I’m so thankful that he kept all of us who loved her up to date with what she was going through.

Linda left this earth to be with the Lord on August 19th. As much as I miss her already, I can’t even begin to fathom how Rennie feels. Rennie and Linda were not only husband and wife, they were also best friends. They were married “till death do us part” (Matthew 22:27-30) but through faith in Christ, they will be together for eternity. I remember how surprised I was to discover that Christians believe they will spend eternity with loved ones who also have faith in Christ.

Three days before Linda died Rennie knew his time with her on this earth was coming to an end. In his weekly email update he included this little poem he had written, describing the emotions he was going through:

At times it is as if a heavy stone were sitting upon my chest.
At times I am as liberated as an eagle in flight.
I move from the darkest depths of an abyss to standing on a mountain top in the span of a heartbeat.
I am at once surrounded with warmth and love and alone in the universe.
We stand together at the threshold of forever knowing only one may cross it, for now.
For one, time will stop and it will be as an instant when the other joins.
There is only time, and there is time only for us.
Only the Lord knows when, and it will be the time that is best.

I could barely read his words to my husband Keith because I was crying so hard. Both of us were teary-eyed for quite a while, knowing how hard life would be for Rennie without Linda at his side. But we are also thankful that he has placed his trust in God’s will. We pray that he will find comfort in God’s amazing love and promises.

At church a few Sundays ago, we sang “God Be With You Till We Meet Again”. I had always thought this was a Mormon hymn, but years ago when we first sang it at my church, I did some research on it. I learned that it was written as a Christian good-bye in the 1880’s and was first sung in a First Congregational Church in Washington.

I love these words from the song, because I can’t wait:

Till we meet, till we meet,
Till we meet at Jesus’ feet.

Are You Tired?

My grandson Bryson recently started first grade. I’ve been a little worried about how well he would adjust; going from a half-day kindergarten to a full-day schedule. His Mom works late nights and so he isn’t used to getting up early in the morning. After his first day of school I called him to find out how it went. Boy did I get an ear-full. He didn’t like how long the day was nor did he like all the work he had to do. He complained for several minutes and finally I asked him “Wasn’t there anything you liked about school?” He replied “Well, there were four recesses”.

Sometimes I wish I had four recesses a day, especially at this time of year. I love gardening, but by the first of October I am usually plumb tuckered out. I have almost twenty fruit trees, grow vegetables and sell berries of all kinds. With all the picking, canning and weeding I’ve seldom had time to even cook dinner. Plus with all the health issues I’ve been having, this year has been extremely difficult. I have learned a new definition for the word courage. It takes courage to pull myself out of bed in the morning and courage to do even minimal tasks. Some days, I find it takes even more courage to just stay in bed all day. I grew up in a family with a strong work ethic and it’s difficult for me to admit that I simply can’t do everything that needs to be done. It isn’t that I don’t love everything I do, it’s just that I am physically exhausted and in pain most of the time. I would love to have someone tell me “Becki, it’s time for recess”.

Today, in a way, God did tell me it was time for recess. He speaks to me through His Word and I read in Psalm 23: “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Reading these passages restored my soul and slowed me down. It also reminded me of my life before I met my Savior. For almost three decades I was absolutely miserable because I could not find any rest for my soul. Year after year was spent pleading with Heavenly Father to forgive my many sins. I believed and trusted the words of my prophet Spencer Kimball. He claimed that gaining forgiveness depended upon my works and my ability to do everything required of me. But despite years and years of working for it, I did not receive the “positive assurance that the Lord had forgiven me”. My burden became too heavy to bear and I lost hope.

After that, it was another nine miserable years before I heard the wonderful message that God had already forgiven me through my Savior. Jesus had carried my burdens and in my place, had done all the works required of me to gain eternal life. I was dumbfounded when I learned that no one can gain forgiveness through their works of obedience! And, I learned that forgiveness is only obtained as a gift from Heavenly Father, given freely to the unworthy. All those years of pain and misery were unnecessary! But I didn’t know it, because I had believed the words of a false prophet; words that contradicted God’s Word. The Apostle Peter testifies that a person receives forgiveness through belief in Jesus. He also claims that all of God’s prophets bear witness to this truth! (Acts 10:43)

I now understand what my Savior meant when He said: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” All sins were forgiven when our Savior shed His blood and paid for our sins. When I learned this truth, my burden truly was light. I found rest for my soul through faith that what Jesus had done for me was sufficient! Now, instead of doing works to try and qualify for forgiveness, I am free to joyfully serve my Lord, simply because I love Him.

I can’t wait to enter God’s eternal rest and be with my Savior for all eternity. My dearest friend Linda died about a month ago. She is now in the arms of our dear Savior, resting from her life of service to God. John the Beloved wrote about how blessed she is: “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” (Revelation 14:13)

All who trust solely in Jesus will spend eternity in the very presence of God Almighty, in constant wonder and awe. I am looking forward to it, because “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

Is the LDS Gospel false?

Mormons speak the same vocabulary as Christians; but for many words, they use a different dictionary. One of those words is “Gospel” (as in “the Gospel of Christ”). It wasn’t until after I became a Christian that I realized that the word “gospel” has a different meaning in Christianity. This enticed me to dig into God’s Word so I could learn the true meaning.

To begin learning God’s truths, I did many intensive Bible studies by starting with what I was familiar with: my LDS KJV Dictionary and Topical Guide. Then I compared my findings with a Christian Dictionary and Topical guide. I was surprised to find that the definition of “Gospel” in both the LDS and Christian dictionaries means “the good news”. But the stark difference was found when I compared what the “good news” was according to each gospel!

What is the “good news” of the Gospel of Christ according to Mormonism? The LDS dictionary states: “The word gospel means good news. The good news is that Jesus Christ has made a perfect atonement for mankind that will redeem all mankind from the grave and reward each individual according to his/her works.” This definition is explained further in the Book of Mormon, which, according to Mormonism, contains the fulness of the Gospel:

“Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me. And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil” (3 Nephi 27)

According to the Christ found in the Book of Mormon, he came into the world to be lifted up on the cross; so that every person could be judged by their works! The “good news” of the LDS gospel is that once every person receives the free gift of resurrection, they will have the privilege of standing before God on Judgment Day. The “good news” of the LDS gospel is that the outcome of this judgment determines each person’s eternal destination. The Third Article of faith reads:

“We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.” The “good news” of the LDS Gospel is that each individual person can be saved by obedience to its laws and ordinances.

Many Christians are flabbergasted to hear this definition. They can’t understand how anyone could possibly think that this would be good news. On the contrary, they see the doctrine of man being judged as he deserves as “horrible” news! Christians know that no one will be found worthy enough to live eternally with Heavenly Father. They see clearly in God’s Word that every person falls short of doing all that God commands.

But the reason Mormons aren’t concerned, is because LDS prophets have changed God’s Word! They have lowered God’s demands and changed His stated consequences for disobedience!!! They claim that the obedience required does not have to be perfect—even though Christ declared differently (Matthew 5:48). They claim that all that is necessary to gain eternal life is our best effort, even though there is not one single Bible passage that supports this! They claim that on Judgment Day each person will be graded upon a curve, even though Christ taught that each and every any sin is reprehensible to God; each and every sin receives the exact same consequence.

LDS leaders falsely claim that only a handful of people will spend eternity in the same domain as Satan. They teach that even those who never come to faith in Jesus will spend eternity in a glorious Kingdom of Heaven, but the Bible claims they “shall be punished with everlasting destruction” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10).

What is the “good news” of the Gospel of Christ according to Christianity and the Bible? Ungers—a Christian Bible dictionary gives this definition for the word “gospel”:

“The good news of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ as provided by our Lord and preached by His disciples (1 Cor. 15:1-4). The gospel then is full and free deliverance from sin on the basis of simple faith in Jesus Christ, the vicarious sin-Bearer (Eph. 2:8-10).”

1 Corinthians 15:1-4 testifies: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”

How does this definition differ from the one found in Mormonism? The difference is seen in what Christ’s gospel accomplished for us and why. The Bible claims that the gospel “is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16). Christ’s Gospel saves all who believe in it! The reason we are saved is because Christ’s blood forgave all of our sins, which reconciled us to our Heavenly Father. In fact, as long as we do not move away from the hope of the gospel, we are “holy and unblameable” in God’s sight!! (Colossians 1:20-23.) We are declared perfect in God’s sight because Jesus was perfectly obedient for us, in our place! We obey Christ’s gospel simply by believing in it (Romans 10: 16-17).

“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8-9)

Through Christ’s Atonement You Have Been Reconciled To God!

The LDS Bible Dictionary gives the definition of Atonement as: “…the setting ‘at one’ of those who have been estranged, and denotes the reconciliation of man to God. Sin is the cause of the estrangement, and therefore the purpose of atonement is to correct or overcome the consequences of sin. From the time of Adam to the death of Jesus Christ, true believers were instructed to offer animal sacrifices to the Lord. These sacrifices were symbolic of the forthcoming death of Jesus Christ, and were done by faith in him.

Even though this definition claims that the Atonement “denotes the reconciliation of man to God” it goes on to explain that Christ’s Atonement doesn’t apply to each person’s individual sins:All are covered unconditionally as pertaining to the fall of Adam. …The atonement is conditional, however, so far as each person’s individual sins are concerned, and touches every one to the degree that he has faith in Jesus Christ, repents of his sins, and obeys the gospel.

But, if the Atonement does not cover every single sin you have ever committed, then you are not reconciled to God! Your sins remain and you cannot come into God’s presence! Growing up LDS I was very familiar with the word “Atonement”. I understood the differences between the unconditional and conditional “gifts” of Christ’s Atonement. I believed that Christ’s Atonement gave me the opportunity to overcome the consequences of my many sins. I knew I was unclean and could never enter God’s presence until I washed myself clean through my own works; doing the process of repentance. I desperately clung to the hope that one day I could gain forgiveness.

Years after I left the Church I was surprised to find that the word Atonement wasn’t commonly used by Christians. This got my curiosity up so I started asking questions and searching the Bible for answers. What I found surprised me. The word Atonement appears to have come about in the sixteenth century during the translation of the Bible into the English King James Version. It was created because of the lack of an English word which could explain the Hebrew term which fully encompassed what Christ’s sacrifice accomplished: 1) through the sacrifice of Christ’s body, an atonement (appeasement) was made for all sins, which 2) caused God to forgive all sins, and 3) accomplished the reconciliation of man to God. In essence, “atonement” defines the work that Jesus did when He took care of the problem posed by the sin of man.

The most important truth I learned about the Atonement is what thrilled me!! I discovered that Christ’s Atonement is an accomplished fact! Christ atoned for our sins (paid the penalty due us) over two millennia ago. Through it, we have been given so much more than bodily resurrection and the opportunity to prove our worthiness. Christ’s blood covered over all of our sins and we are forgiven! Because of that accomplished fact—we have been reconciled to God. We can now boldly enter into His presence because through Christ’s sacrifice, He has made us holy and perfect! We read many times in the New Testament that Jesus’ followers knew their sins were forgiven and that they had been reconciled to God. They understood that to qualify for this gift one merely had to be a sinner and thereby be in need of it. They knew that Christ’s blood covered ALL sins, not just Adam’s!

The Apostle Paul testified to the Romans: “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (5:10). To the Corinthians he declared: “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5). In these words we see the fact that reconciliation was an accomplished fact through Christ’s Atonement!

The LDS teaching that the atonement is conditional “so far as each person’s individual sins are concerned” is a false teaching! But, thank God that His faithful Prophets and Apostles have faithfully proclaimed His truth! Their testimony can be found on the pages of the Bible! They proclaim that Christ’s Atonement covered over all of your sins! Your sins have been forgiven and you have been reconciled to God. Through faith in Christ’s Atonement, you will have eternal life! All of these gifts are accomplished facts granted through Christ’s Atonement! Please don’t reject these amazing gifts from your Savior. I implore you “be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Link to LDS Bible Dictionary:

Is Jesus Your Substitute or Your Exemplar?

As a Mormon I thought I knew what Christ did for us in His Atonement. I knew He was my Savior and Redeemer. What I didn’t know is that His Role as the Exemplar is unique to Mormonism. LDS Prophets claim that Christ paid for our sins and became our Creditor through the Atonement. He gained immortality for us (bodily resurrection) but we have to qualify for eternal life through our obedience. Heavenly Father sent us to earth to be tested and we needed someone to show us how to be perfect through obedience.

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 that Christ is our Substitute–not our Exemplar! 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 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 brought a perfect animal to the Temple and the Priest sacrificed it as an atonement for his sin. If the sacrifice wasn’t perfect it was declared unfit to atone for another’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 of us, 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 couldn’t 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 it through a life of joy and thanksgiving by committing your life to him as a gift of love.

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