The lifeguard races out to the drowning man.  As he reaches the man, he tells him to quit thrashing around – quit trying to save himself.   The worse thing the drowning man can do is try and help in his rescue.  He needs to rely totally on the lifeguard.  There have even been some cases where the lifeguard had to physically subdue the person in order to save him.

     Another man is caught under the rubble of a collapsed building.  As the firemen approach, they see that the slightest movement can cause a beam to fall right on the man.  They frantically tell the man to remain absolutely still.  “Whatever you do, don’t move.  Don’t try to save yourself.  Let us do all the work!” 

     The Bible tells us that we are saved by Jesus.  “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14).  It further tells us that our works don’t contribute to our salvation.  “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.”  (Ephesians 2:8-9)  Romans chapter 4 cites both the example of Abraham and David who had a righteousness not of works.

     But then the Bible goes one step further.  It is like the rescue workers mentioned above.  It warns us not to try and save ourselves because that will ruin our salvation.  “And if by grace, then it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace.  But if it be of works, then it is no more grace; otherwise work is no more work.”  (Romans  11:6)  “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”  (Galatians 5:4)

      When is it wrong to try and be good?  When we are trying to be good in order to be saved.  Salvation means trusting solely in what Jesus has done for me.  



  1. 1 Todd Wood
    August 5, 2008 at 3:46 am

    So deeply thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ over here in Southeast Idaho . . .


  2. August 5, 2008 at 7:26 am

    Um Mark, you have to read the surrounding chapters and verses too; there’s more to the story. Both Romans and Galatians are full of Paul’s admonitions to avoid sin and obey God. Are we to believe some verses but not the others?

    For example Galatians 5:14, just a few verses after the one you cited reads:

    “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

    That reads as a commandment to me; something that we must specifically do. How do you interpret it and the rest of the chapter which discusses things to do and sins to avoid?

    Here’s a few verses from Romans 12, the chapter following the one you cited:

    1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
    9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
    10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
    21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

    All specific instructions on how followers of Christ should live their lives. Was Paul just joking around? Did he just fulfill a word quota with useless information? No of course not. He taught about Christ’s great sacrifice and he also taught what we should with our lives because of it.

    When taken as a whole there is no contradiction in Paul’s teaching. Without Christ’s sacrifice there was no way to become purified before God. That is what Paul is talking about in the verses you cited; without Him it doesn’t matter what you do. Gratefully Christ did pay our debt of sin and thus we have agency, the power to choose to repent of our sins and obey the commandments or not. With Christ’s Atonement our choices matter a great deal, without it none of us could ever fulfill the measure of the law and so we would be in a hopeless state no matter how hard we might try. It is only “reasonable service” that we use all of our God given strength and intelligence to implement Christ’s teaching deep into our hearts, thoughts, and actions; in order to “overcome evil with good”.

  3. August 5, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    A thrashing man in the water is not doing good. He is not helping his fellow man do good. he is getting in the way. much the same as you are for supporting people to do what they know to be wrong, and discuraging people who are doing the right.

  4. 4 Texas
    August 6, 2008 at 2:16 am

    I agree with your illustration of the drowning person as related to what Christ does for us.
    He does it all for us. There is nothing that we can do on our own for our salvation. John wrote in 1 John 5:11-13 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life;(and) he that hath not the son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the bname of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
    God give us eternal life. We can’t earn it.

  5. 5 hOLLIANN
    August 6, 2008 at 3:26 am

    I stumbled across this interesting blog, and it is so funny to me that people are caught up in drugs, violence, and whatever else, and you feel it so useful to worry about the Mormons. Meanwhile this is what I read about the Mormons. http://barlowsinthedrcongo.blogspot.com/ It is also a blog I stumbled on…I love this blog. It is inspiring. The things they do for simple mankind amaze me. I hope you can see past your ideas and be inspired the way I am inspired every time I read it! Best wishes to you in your endeavors. I hope one day you will be able to see the real needs that are out there. There are so many. All Christianity does good when they work together, and when they try and fight against each other…the non fighting party will roll forward.

  6. 6 sfb83301
    August 7, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    Jesus wasn’t concerned about getting along with everyone even those that claimed to be religious, for example those that were misusing the house of worship; he got mad, turned over tables and whipped the people out of there.

    Jesus asks, us as his followers, to spread the good news about him and his saving work and we are to teach all that the Word of God says. Jesus did not leave the lost and hurting in their condition and we are to follow that lead and do our best to do the same to the lost and hurting of these days. Including the Mormons – I love all my Mormon friends and neighbors and hate the thought of them having to spend eternity in outer darkness. So I will be ready to disciple them when the time comes when the One True God opens their eyes to the truth.

    Also, Christian churches all over the world have thousand upon thousands of full and part-time missionaries and servants and give millions of dollars to be Jesus’ hands and feet and feeding and caring for the sick and hungry. So please don’t think for a minute that Christians aren’t active in humanitarian needs as well as spiritual evangelism.

    We are instructed to share the truth in love and that is what Mark Cares does so wonderfully. I am confident that the ex-mormons who have found freedom through the Biblical Gospel are most thankful. I encourage some of them to join this blog if you find it on the internet…

  7. August 7, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    I do not see how you call this love? there is nothing in Marks message but discouragement for those who wish to do good. How is this discouragement in any way associated in the way Christ taught in his ministry? Did Christ ever say “Don’t read the scriptures.” “Don’t follow the Commandments.” or “Do what you want unto your fellow man.” ???
    No, he supported others who wanted to know more about God and read his word. He instructed that we are under a stricter Law that that of Moses, he made it impirotive that we follow the Commandments, As he told us to love eachother as he loved us. There is not love in the discouragement spread by Mark on this Blog, and I think you are the misguided one if you think you have a closer connection to God and the truth than anyone else. How could you judge someone like that and follow the same line of thinking that we cannot tell who is christian. Or is there a way to tell? Like the fruit of their works, and in that case I would go as far as to say there is a lot of good fruits that I have seen from “Mormon’s.”


  8. 8 Stephanie
    August 9, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    There is no discouragement for those who wish to do good.

    My greatest joy comes from the fact that Christ and Heavenly Father love me JUST THE WAY I AM! I don’t have to do ANYTHING to make Heavenly Father love me more than He already does.

    What an amazing gift to me and all true Christians! What a freedom we have in Christ’s love! We don’t have to strive in vain through good works to earn God’s approval.

    Instead, we are filled with love for God and we long to return His love by obedience, helping others, and most importantly, by shouting the good news of God’s love and Christ’s ALL-SUFFICIENT sacrifice. It’s like the old-time hymn says, “JUST AS I AM, WITHOUT ONE PLEA, BUT THAT MY SAVIOR DIED FOR ME.” This is what Mark is doing, shouting God’s GIFT of forgiveness for the LDS to hear. This is what God calls all Christians to do, and I commend him for it.

    May God open your eyes to His truth, and to His free gift of salvation. Remember, Heavenly Father loves you JUST THE WAY YOU ARE. You don’t have to do one more thing to make him love you any more than he already does. That is the truth, and that is the “good news” that needs to be shouted. How could that message possibly be considered discouraging?

    May God Bless you!

  9. August 11, 2008 at 5:13 am

    you get my meaning all wrong.

    First let me clarify that the discouragement to do good does not come from the Gospel but Mark here has made it clear thet doing good is “Wrong.”

    Then Let me help to show that many have mistaken the idea of doing good as a means of “Winning” God’s love or approval. That is not what we “Mormons” are doing nor what we think about following the commandments. We do not win any favor with God, it is not that we want him to love us more (How could He love us more than He already does as you have stated) but it is us seeking to love him more. We do good because the Holy spirit shows us what it true and right and we do right out of love for our God. For Jesus Christ said as was writen in John 14:15 “If ye love me, keep my ccommandments.”
    Is it wrong to follow the commandments of God? Is it wrong to love Him and do his will?

    1 Sam. 12: 14 “If ye will fear the Lord, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the Lord your God”

    Does God love each of us? Yes! Can we gain favor or more love from Him by any action, word, work, thought or deed? irfutiblely No! There is nothing we can do to secure more love from our Heavenly Father, for He freely gives us of all the love he has, this is what the gospel of Christ tell us. So why do we do right? 1. To better ourselves 2. To show our love for our Father in Heaven. 3. To help our brothers and sisters here on the earth to do good and know the love our Father in Heaven has for each of us.

    John 15:10 “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.”

    God Bless you and keep you, and may you see how keeping the commandments of God is out of our willingness to love him back,


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