Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Accusation: Mormons Don't Understand Grace or the Unnecessary Pursuit of Good Works (Part 2)


Accusation (Part 3):
“Good works, keeping the commandments, or being a good person do not get me into heaven. Salvation requires of me to believe in Jesus' sacrifice for me and if I truly believe that, one will see it in the way I live my life.”

We’ve already established, and you have mentioned again, that belief is essential for salvation.
Here is where I see a “disconnect.” Many “Christians” think of their belief in Christ as a noun and treat it almost as a possession. Christ did not say that those who have “a belief” in Him and don’t act on it gain everlasting life, but those that “believe,” (remember it’s an action word).
How does Jesus Christ define believing in Him?

“12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
-John 14:12-15

What do we learn here? If we truly “believe” in Christ, we will do the works he did (good works) and if we love him we will keep his commandments. So, if believing is a requirement for salvation, that includes doing good works and if we believe loving Christ is essential (which I do - “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God will all thy heart” -Deut. 6:5, Matt 22:37-39) then we know that keeping the commandments is essential for salvation.

You are right: “if I truly believe that, one will see it in the way I live my life.” They will see it because you will keep the commandments and do good works.

17. Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?”
-James 2:17-20

Accusation (Part 4):
“But the way I live my life after that salvation moment is not what brings me salvation. Only Christ can give salvation. Nothing I do can make me deserve more than another.”

Somehow, somewhere people started to think that because Christ saves us, it does not matter what we do after we accept him. My response to that, is why on earth did Christ give all those commandments then? I’m not referring to the Old Testament commandments. Christ didn’t say “It’s written thou shalt not kill, but I say that you can kill, as long as you accepted me, and you will still be saved even if you don’t repent.” Nope. This is what he said:

21. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
22. But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Matt 6:21-22

These verses are found in the Sermon on the Mount. He was addressing his followers (I imagine there were just curios bystanders as well), but he was giving his followers these commandments. He didn’t make the commandment easier, he made it harder. He also said if you call someone a fool, you’re in danger of hell fire. So, yes, what we do after we accept Christ does not bring us salvation, but it can disqualify us from salvation. Here’s what Paul said about it:

4. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
5. And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
6. If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
-Heb. 6:4-6

Two times, Jesus made an authoritative (obviously) statement on this subject:

“And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” -Matt 10:22

“13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” -Matt 24:13

If ye endure to the end, you will be saved. Which means if we don’t endure to the end, we will not be saved.

So what does endure mean? When we study the context of both of these statements we see that it means to endure the hardships associated with being a follower of Christ. What does being a follower/believer in Christ entail? We discussed that earlier. Now, when is “the end” that we have to endure until? The end of the day or week that we accepted Christ? Nope. Until the end of our lives.

“Nothing I do can make me deserve more than another.”
We know that only Christ ultimately saves us, but why is it so hard to believe that he expects us to keep His commandments and that he rewards those who do? The ancient prophets and patriarchs (as well as the modern) were blessed because of their righteousness and obedience to God’s commandments.

Another passage from James-
21. Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22. Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23. And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
-James 2:21-23

We believe that we are saved by grace through faith and belief in Jesus Christ (and all that entails —obedience to commandments) and that it is necessary to live how Christ asks us to live after we have accepted him.

Best Wishes,


Anonymous said...

You've made some good points, but that doesn't make Mormonism Christian. Would you like to know the most important reason to me why Mormonism can't be Christian?
It's because a goal of Mormonism is to become gods. This goes against Biblical Christianity. An important part of Christianity is acknowledging that you'll never be God. You Mormons are buying into the same lie that was told in the Garden of Eden: "Ye shall be as gods." Christians are called to go to God to KNOW Him forever, not do do a basic equivalent of usurping His place and getting their own godhood. If you believe your church's doctrine of achieving godhood, then you are not saved and need to wake up.

Rusty Curtis said...

I appreciate your comments. Fortunately, I've already answered your questions:

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