Are You 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)

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No One is Good but God!

Mormon prophets testify that to gain eternal life we must obey the commandments. Recently I received a comment pointing me to the story of the rich young ruler in Matthew 19 as proof that LDS prophets speak God’s truth. The commenter writes: “Christ is asked point blank: What must I do to gain eternal life? And Christ’s response? Keep the commandments.”

I absolutely love this story because when you read it carefully it actually shows that a person can’t gain eternal life with their works! This story gives Christians a great example of how we should share the gospel with someone who thinks they can be “good” enough at obeying God’s commands. This story shows that Jesus understood God’s intended purpose of His law. (Read my recent Post from February 11th titled: “Why did Heavenly Father Give Us Commandments?” for more information.)

This young man was someone who thought he didn’t sin very often. Here we read about an arrogant man who truly believed that he was “good”. We can see his arrogance in his response to what Jesus says to him. His first words to Jesus were “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Before he even begins his conversation with Jesus, he already believes that he must “do something good” to gain eternal life. Notice that he doesn’t ask Jesus how to gain eternal life, he already thinks he knows. Jesus responds to this by saying “Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God” Jesus tells the rich man that only God is good! This gives the young man the opportunity to come to the realization that he (the rich man) is not good.

In response to his question Jesus tells the rich man “but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” He does this because Jesus knows the purpose of God’s law!! Jesus understands that this man has to recognize how sinful he is, before he will seek a Savior! Jesus gives this man God’s laws, and He comes down very hard on him. He first gives him the do not commandments:
1) Do not murder 2) Do not commit adultery 3) Do not steal 4) Do not bear false witness.
And then Jesus tells him the do commands:
5) Honour your Father and Mother 6) Love your neighbor as yourself.

And how does the rich man respond? He tells Jesus that he has kept all these commandments from his youth up. This man believed that he wasgood and possibly only lacked “one good thing”. But, do you think that Jesus believed him? In His Sermon on the Mount Jesus had already taught that we must be as perfect as our Heavenly Father! Jesus taught that looking on a woman and lusting after her is the same as committing adultery. Do you think Jesus believed the rich man’s claim that he had always loved his neighbor as himself?

At this point in his life this man sees no need for a Savior. Why would he? He truly believes that he is good enough to gain eternal life with his own works. He had already rejected the message Jesus first gave him—that “only God is good”, and boldly claimed that he was good. So, in response: “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.”

Think about the commandment that Jesus gave to the young man. This would be a very hard thing to do, to sell all you have and follow Jesus. But, Jesus lovingly told him the one thing that would cause this man to look into his heart and see that he was sinful–that he was not good. This is the purpose of the law. God’s law is a mirror for us to look into God’s Word and see that we are sinful and that only God is good! We do not hear anything more about this rich man, but possibly he came to faith later as a direct result of Jesus’ pointing out his sin to him.

God’s Law was given to you as a way to cause you to despair of saving yourself through you’re own works–and then to cling to the perfect works of Jesus! Through faith in Jesus you will be credited with His righteousness! All praise and glory to our Savior Jesus!