21
Jul
08

How a Christian can say “I’m Perfect!” to a Mormon

 

“Are you perfect?” I hope you can answer that question with a resounding “YES”! Claiming you are perfect is not being arrogant – it’s called having faith. It’s a statement of faith which reflects the truth that God considers as perfect all people who trusting in Jesus Christ for their salvation.

 

Stating that you are already perfect in Christ is one effective way to bring into sharp contrast the difference between Mormonism and Christianity. And that’s very important. But it is also very difficult. Showing the difference between Christianity and Mormonism is something many Christians struggle with in conversations with their Mormon friends. The reason why they struggle so much is because Mormonism sounds so Christian.

 

I don’t believe any professing Mormon would ever claim to be perfect. Their whole focus is on progressing towards perfection. Years ago, one Mormon man told me that it would take him ten thousand eternities to reach perfection! Wow! Talk about a depressing thought! This reveals to me just how desperately Mormons need to hear the good news of perfection in Jesus Christ.

 

Before we can tell Mormons that we can be perfect in Christ, we ourselves have to be confident of this important truth. The Bible is what gives us that confidence. It does so by describing believers as saints. The Bible tells us how Jesus’ righteousness, his perfection, becomes ours through faith. It points us to Jesus’ death and how, by that one offering, we, through faith, are perfected forever.

 

“So, Are you perfect?” Because of Jesus you can answer that with a resounding “YES!” Confidently tell your Mormon friend about your perfection in Jesus.

 

My name is Mark Cares, encouraging you to speak the truth in love to Mormons.

 

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14 Responses to “How a Christian can say “I’m Perfect!” to a Mormon”


  1. 1 reggieg
    July 21, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    May I suggest learning a tad bit more about the “Mormons” before offering tips on how to speak to us? I just read through a couple of your posts and it’s clear you don’t have a grasp on what we believe. A great place to start is with the Articles of Faith (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/a_of_f/1) and the site http://mormon.org.

    Jesse left a great comment on the previous post about being completely worthy, that provides a good LDS point of view. My question is that if you’re perfect today, what does that mean? Does that mean you no longer have need to worship God by word and deed? Does it mean you stop praying, studying the scriptures, preaching the gospel, or visiting the widows? One of my favorite Book of Mormon scriptures is in Alma 34:32 (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/alma/34) which reads:

    “For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors”

    The point is that yes at the final judgment bar the great Atonement of Christ will make up for our sins and shortcomings; but while we remain in mortality we are to perform our labors. This is why James instructed us to be “doers” of the word (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/james/1/22-23,25#22). And of course by actually doing or following the Word of Christ, we learn to become more like Him and the Father, thus becoming more “perfect” along the way.

  2. July 21, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    Following up the nice response of reggieg, let me add a few scriptures where LDS members get their doctrine of not being perfect in this world but progressing towards perfection…

    Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”

    Ephesians 5:5 – “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God.”

    1 Nephi 1:10 – “Wherefore, if ye have sought to do wickedly in the days of your probation, then ye are found unclean before the judgment-seat of God; and no unclean thing can dwell with God; wherefore, ye must be cast off forever.”

    Thanks again Mark for your level opinions :)

  3. 3 PaulW
    July 21, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    I’m a Mormon. We’re all Christians and Mormons alike are just playing word games here. Truth is that under all these word games we really believe the same thing (mostly).

    Mormons believe that we are “perfected in Christ” and are saved through his grace. We are able to claim that Grace through our Faith in Him. Someone who has faith in Christ will have a mighty change of heart and will hunger and thirst after righteousness (though we will not reach it through our own merits). This faith, hunger, and thirsting will result in an effort to live in a manner that Christ taught. . .a “Christian Life”.

    Most Mormons prefer not to say we have “reached perfection” because on our own we haven’t and neither have you. Now if you want to say that I have reached “perfection” or a state of “completeness” through my faith in Christ and his Atonement, then I will agree with you, that is the case. Christ has all power to cleans and complete us, to Atone.

  4. 4 markcares
    July 22, 2008 at 1:32 am

    In John 5:24 Jesus says: “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not comeinto condemnation; but is passed rom death unto life.” Note the tenses. They are not futures. Hath is a present tense. Is passed is in the past tense. Reggieg asks what it means to be perfect. It means the present possession of everlasting life – it is the passing from death to life.
    I believe that I have passed from death to life – I was dead in transgressions and sins but was made alive by God – Ephesians 2:5. PaulW says Mormons prefer not to talk about reaching perfection because they haven’t reached it on our own. The difference is that I love to talk about being perfect because that turns the attention away from me and puts it all on Jesus. Because of him, I have everlasting life, because of him I have passed from death to life. I don’t want to talk about anything I do – I want to talk about what Jesus did for me.
    I do not believe this is just a problem with words. The bottom line is do you have to do anything to live eternally with Heavenly Father? My answer to that question is a resounding no! Jesus did absolutely everything for me. “by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Hebrews 10:14 You can’t add to perfection!

  5. July 22, 2008 at 6:23 am

    Let me re-ask your first question this way: Are you complete? If not then you have yet to achieve Perfection.

    I have not reached this Perfected State yet but in Faith I will.

    God Bless,
    -D

  6. July 22, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    So many word games indeed. Personally I can’t understand how you can dissect a passage like John 5:24 and take every single word literally, and then dismiss a good part of the rest of the Bible. Certainly passages like those in John 5:24 teach us about Christ and His Atonement. He built the bridge that no mortal man could build. He did for us that which we could not do for ourselves. However, as I understand it most of the Bible contains commandments and examples of those that followed those commandments.

    What is the purpose of those commandments and examples if it matters not whether we follow them?

    Christ Himself followed the commandments of God that He might “fulfill all righteousness” as recorded in Matt 3:15 (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/matt/3/15#15). The same verse includes the words “for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness”. Nearly all of Christ’s teachings included things we should do, think, and feel. Just a few of these are the first and second great commandments, the sermon on the mount, and the instruction to become as little children. All of these things require us to do something. How do you personally reconcile these teachings with the idea that we don’t need to do anything because Christ did everything for us?

    One of our sacred rights is that of agency. Christ created the path we can follow to heaven, but he won’t force anyone to follow it. I think we both agree that we need to “believe” Christ in order to reach heaven. But does that mean we just accept the fact that He Atoned for our sins, or do we actually believe His teachings and strive to follow them?

    My question for you is do our choices matter? Does it matter if you chose to accept Christ, and then also chose to commit murder or adultery? Is a person who does those things any different from someone who chooses to follow the Savior’s example and strive each day to live as He did? Following Christ’s teachings by definition mean we are “doing” something. Things like praying, preaching, being baptized, repenting of our sins, visiting the sick, humbling ourselves, or short following His own example. Do you really believe that we shouldn’t do those things?

  7. 7 markcares
    July 23, 2008 at 12:29 am

    Ditchu asks about being completed. I assume you ask that because the Greek word translated “perfect” in Matthew 5:48 is telios, which can also mean reach the end point, reach the goal, be completed. That same Greek word is used in Hebrews 10:14. Therefore if you translate it as be complete in Matthew 5:48, to be consistent you would translate it that way in Hebrews 10:14. “By one offering he hath completed for ever them that are sanctified.” The Bible says that the offering of Christ perfected or completed us. Therefore, yes, in Christ, I am complete. I now have the status of a saint before God.

  8. 8 markcares
    July 23, 2008 at 12:45 am

    An important point in this whole discussion is what role do works play. Are they part of the root system from which the tree (ie.salvation) grows? In other words, are they one of the causes of salvation? Or are they the fruit on the tree, are they the result of salvation? I believe that keeping works in their proper place is not a trivial matter but a matter of eternal life and death.

    According to the Bible, works are a result of salvation. They spring out after a person is brought to saving faith. They are expressions of gratitude for what God has done. I do good works not because I think they are a requirement that I need to do in order to be accepted by God, but freely and joyfully because God has already accepted me in Jesus. I like the following illustration. In ancient times a man was passing by a slave market when a girl was up for sale. He stopped and after spirited bidding, bought her. As she was brought to him, he told her: “I hate slavery. I bought you in order to release you. You are free.” In gratitude, she fell to her knees and said, “I will now use my freedome to serve you for the rest of your life.” In the same way I want to serve Jesus.

  9. July 23, 2008 at 5:41 am

    After Christ’s ascension the apostles went forth to preach His gospel throughout the world. Did any of them claim to be perfect? Did any of them teach anything other than repentance, obedience, and enduring to the end? As I understand it they all did their best and rejoiced in those that kept the faith until the end.

    So even if you’re right and our choices have no affect on our salvation (other than the one choice to accept Christ), what is the point in talking about it when all the scriptures teach us to continually go about doing good?

    It seems to me the only reason this concept has been introduced is because Satan would like very much for all of us to stop striving to be like our Savior and if he can convince enough people it’s not necessary, because all works are dead, then he scores a major victory.

  10. July 23, 2008 at 6:43 am

    Mark,
    I asked the question in light of completeness for the reason that I think we have not achieved this state, else why do we still have decay in out bodies? I think we all will reach this state in body and spirit but it is a long journey to get there. I see the “Prefection in Christ” not as a end point but as a progression. This moment is just a milepost to that perfection. I am using the English termonology of Perfect and in all meaning of the word we are not there yet.
    Also in regard to the english language, we must keep our tenths in mind. For we are not currentlly outside of time we cannot claim what will be as a current phenomon. We must continue to strive toward our goal of perfection.
    -D

  11. 11 markcares
    July 23, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    Thanks for clarifying why you asked the question. I am using perfect in regard to my status before God. My status before God is perfect and complete. Nothing needs to be added to it. I do not have to do anything else before I am qualified to live with Heavenly Father. As Jesus said when he died, “It is finished!”

  12. July 24, 2008 at 6:13 am

    Point in fact: your status before God will not be complete until you have stood before him and entered his presance. But we both can agree that that is the goal. Just to let you know that this is not ment to contend with your views or prior statment. I do understand how you see your status and I just want to remind us all that there are better things to look forword to than the present.

    God Bless,
    -D

  13. 13 markcares
    July 26, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Just curious. On what do you base your statement that our statuse before God is not complete?

  14. July 27, 2008 at 4:21 am

    We are continuing to grow and develop. Our progression has not been damed but moves on as we seek out God and spiritual understanding. To be complete we would have no progression, no change and no choice anymore.
    -D


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