Has Jesus Merely “Re-financed” Your Debt of Sin?

My second year at college I made the mistake of trying to do too much. As a foolish 19 year old, I didn’t want to give anything up, so I didn’t get much sleep. By mid Semester I got strep throat and then mononucleosis. It was severe enough that I had to quit school and go home. This meant I had to pay back a grant I had received for $500.00. Since I didn’t have the money to pay this debt, my parents came to my rescue and paid it for me. This rescue came with conditions though, since I had to pay them back. Basically they re-financed my debt and gave me their “terms” for payment: which meant that I had to paint the house. I was very grateful for what they did because I wouldn’t have been able to pay my debt to the college.

Last week’s Gospel Principles lesson teaches what one gains through Christ’s Atonement. Reading Boyd K. Packer’s parable of the Creditor and the Debtor (pages 63-65) reminded me of what my parents had done for me. Several years ago Packer gave a General Conference talk where he introduced his Parable which is used in several official Church manuals today. He teaches that through the Atonement, Jesus becomes our creditor. Similar to what my parents did for me in college, Jesus comes to our rescue and pays our debt of sin to Heavenly Father—but through this rescue our debt merely gets refinanced! We now have to pay our debt to Jesus!

The Parable tells the story of a foolish man who incurred a great debt. This debt is symbolic of the spiritual debt we owe to Heavenly Father for our sins. The foolish man couldn’t pay his debt so Jesus comes to his rescue and pays his debt for him. After Heavenly Father accepts His payment, Jesus turns to the man and says: “If I pay your debt, will you accept me as your creditor? ‘Oh yes, yes,’ cried the debtor. ‘You saved me from prison and show mercy to me.’ “Then, said the benefactor, ‘you will pay the debt to me and I will set the terms. It will not be easy, but it will be possible.”

Gospel Principles explains the meaning of this parable: “Our sins are our spiritual debts. Without Jesus Christ, who is our Savior and Mediator, we would all pay for our sins by suffering spiritual death. But because of him, if we will keep his terms, which are to repent and keep his commandments, we may return to live with our Heavenly Father.”

I have such a passion to share the truth with you! I am Christ’s Ambassador and He has committed to me His “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18-21). In one way I am a “debt consolidation counselor”. My counsel to you is that your debt to sin has been canceled, not merely refinanced! When Jesus shed His blood on the cross he paid for every sin for the entire world! No more debt is left to be paid. Jesus doesn’t demand a “second payment” for sin, nor does He give you additional “terms” to be paid. Every single sin has already been paid for with the precious blood of Christ. Through His Atonement you are debt free!

On the cross Jesus cried out 'It is Finished!', in the Greek literally 'Paid in Full!'

On the cross Jesus cried out 'It is Finished!', in the Greek literally 'Paid in Full!'

In the book of John we read that just before Jesus died on the cross he exclaimed “It is finished!” In Greek this meant: “Paid in full”! This was also written on business documents or receipts during New Testament times to show that a bill had been paid in full. The connection between receipts and what Jesus had accomplished would have been very clear to John’s Greek speaking readers. It would be unmistakable to them that Jesus had paid the full price for their sins. You also can know that your bill listing your sin debt has been stamped “Paid in full”! Please, don’t reject this amazing gift through unbelief.

Believe these beautiful words: “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. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, 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.” (2 Corinthians 5: 18-21)

Links to Packer’s Parable Found at LDS.org:

Original Parable given by Boyd K. Packer:
https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1977/04/the-mediator?lang=eng

Gospel Principles:
https://www.lds.org/manual/gospel-principles/chapter-12-the-atonement?lang=eng

Preparing for Exaltation: Teacher’s Manual for 12 & 13 year olds:
https://www.lds.org/manual/preparing-for-exaltation-teachers-manual?lang=eng

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3:
https://www.lds.org/manual/print/aaronic-priesthood-manual-3/lesson-9-justice-and-mercy?lang=eng

Friend, Mar 2004:
https://www.lds.org/friend/2004/03/repentance-and-the-atonement?lang=eng

New Testament Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, Lesson 25: “Not My Will, But Thine, Be Done”:
https://www.lds.org/manual/new-testament-gospel-doctrine-teachers-manual/lesson-25-not-my-will-but-thine-be-done?lang=eng

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Gospel Doctrine Lesson 38: Why do Mormons need the Atonement of Jesus Christ to be perfected?

LDS Belief:

To qualify for the grace of God and be perfected in Christ through the Atonement, you must first deny yourself of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength. If you do this, you may be perfected in Christ

LDS Words

Found in lesson 38, page 171:
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 Preparing for Exaltation, page 123:
“Have class members find and read Moroni 10:32. According to this verse, what must we do to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him”? (“Deny [ourselves] of all ungodliness, and love God with all [our] might, mind and strength.”) Explain that “deny yourselves of all ungodliness” means “give up your sins.”

Found in Ensign, May 1995, page 66:
Neal A. Maxwell, April 1995 General Conference: “Moroni declared the need for us to deny ourselves “all ungodliness” (Moro. 10:32), thus including both large and small sins.”

Link to Lesson:

Gospel Doctrine Lesson 38

The Bold Truth:

The grace of God is an undeserved blessing given to all people. You are not capable of denying yourself of all ungodliness—in fact no one could even do this for one day! Instead, simply trust that your Savior did this for you, in your place and “hath perfected you forever”

Earlier I discussed Joseph Smith’s revelation that all blessings are predicated upon obedience to the laws of the gospel. Before moving to another Lesson, it’s important to look at how this principle affects qualifying for the grace of God so Mormons can be perfected in Christ.

First, a simple illustration of earning a blessing through obedience:

(Condition): If she cleans her room. . . (Blessing): then, she can go outside and play with her friends.

In the Teachers Manual the question is asked: “Why do we need the Atonement of Jesus Christ in order to be perfected?” You are told to see Moroni 10:32–33 teaching us the condition for qualifying for God’s grace so as to be perfected in Christ:

(Condition): If you deny yourself of all ungodliness, and if you love God with all your might, mind and strength… (Blessing): then, you can qualify for God’s grace and be perfected in Christ.

But what does “deny yourself of all ungodliness” mean, according to Mormon doctrine? Since I prefer to let LDS Prophets explain their own scripture, I went searching and found the LDS definition in the Sunday School Teachers Manual for 12 & 13 year olds. In referencing this passage, it explains: “to deny yourselves of all ungodliness” means “give up your sins.” I also learned from the LDS Apostle Neal Maxwell that this includes “both large and small sins”. Can any Mormon actually do this? Can you “give up” all of your sins? What about all the sins of omission: visiting those in prison, praying constantly or not worrying? Could you stop sinning for even one day? If you truly could give up all of your sins wouldn’t that mean you were already perfect in yourself?

The sobering truth is that no one can meet these requirements! No one can deny themselves of all ungodliness and love God with all their might, mind and strength! Not even for one hour. Jesus testified to the rich young ruler that no one is good but God (Luke 18:18). Similarly, no one is Godly but God. Even one little white lie makes a person “ungodly”. No one, except Jesus, even comes close to denying themselves of all ungodliness.

So how does a person qualify for God’s grace? Instead of qualifying for it, like you would a scholarship, it’s more similar to a need-based grant. You have to be poor and needy—you have to be sinful. A righteous person doesn’t need Christ’s Atonement. But guess what—the truth is that no one is righteous. We all need Christ! Jesus said: “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth…” (Matthew 9: 12-13). It means that all of us are sick (ungodly) and need the Great Physician who came to heal us!

Christ’s mission for coming to earth was to die for the ungodly. “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6). If you simply believe this and know that you are among the ungodly—a miracle will happen! In an instant, through belief, you will be made godly through faith in Jesus! You will be perfected in God’s sight forever!

Eternal Consequences

Don’t place your faith in the words of LDS prophets who claim that you must deny yourself of all ungodliness to be found perfect. If you do, you will die in your sins and you will not stand on Judgment Day. Why? Because you rejected the Savior who denied Himself of all ungodliness in your place. All who reject this gift from the Savior are ungodly.

Additional Testimony of the Bold Truth:
Believe in the God that justifies the ungodly:
– Romans 4: 4-8
Jesus is the Deliverer:
– Romans 11: 26-27
Christ died for sinners – the ungodly:
– Romans 5: 6-8
– Matthew 9: 12-13
– Luke 19:10
– 1 Timothy 1:15
Godly blessed / Ungodly shall perish
– Psalm 1: 1-6
Wrath of God against ungodly:
– Romans 1: 18
– 2 Peter 2:6
– 2 Peter 3:7
God’s law is not for righteous, but for ungodly:
– 1 Timothy 1: 8-9
Links to Additional LDS Words:
LDS Definition of “Denying ourselves of all ungodliness”
– May 1995 Ensign
– Preparing for Exaltation
– Preparing for Exaltation
– JST Mathew 16:25-26
Mormons believe in a god who “justifieth NOT the ungodly”
– JST Romans 4:2-5