Is Seeing Jesus As Our Creditor No Big Deal?


One of the LDS basic manuals is a book entitled “Gospel Principles”.  Starting on p. 75 it quotes a parable given by Elder Boyd K . Packer, an LDS apostle.   It’s quite lengthy so I will summarize much of it here.  Heavenly Father is the creditor.  We are the debtors.  After awhile we realize that we can’t pay back the debt. After a discussion about justice and mercy, Jesus, the mediator, steps in. He asks the creditor if he will free the debtor from the contract, if he, the mediator, pays the entire debt. The creditor agrees. Let me pick it up there by quoting a few sentences:

“The mediator turned then to the debtor. ‘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 posssible. I will provide a way. You need not go to prison.’”

For many Christians, this illustrates quite sharply the difference between the teachings of Mormonism and biblical Christianity.  Many Christians are genuinely horrified to hear Jesus being described as a creditor.  This goes against every grain of their being.

This horror on the part of Christians is mystifying to many Mormons.  They don’t see the problem.  They wonder what the big deal is.  To them seeing Jesus as their creditor is no big deal – it’s even natural.

For me, not only the parable itself, but then also the two differing and drastic reactions to it clearly illustrate the differences between Mormonism and Christianity.  The parable illustrates the different teaching; the differing reacttions illustrate the different mindsets. As Christians talk with their LDS friends, they need to not only remember that many times words will be defined differently between the two, but also that their mindsets will be different from that of their LDS friends. 

6 Responses to “Is Seeing Jesus As Our Creditor No Big Deal?”

  1. August 11, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    You may choose to not view Christ as our creditor, but that’s the only way to describe what happened. You can also choose to not believe that 2 plus 2 equals 4, but if you want to send a rocket the moon you’d better use correct math.

    Christ paid the debt in our behalf, we are now indebted to Him. We won’t be able to pay Him back, but He taught us that if we love Him we are to follow Him and keep His commandments. That’s what He asks of us. Of course following those commandments only changes us into better people and gives us opportunities to receive blessings such as peace, hope, charity, and understanding.

  2. 2 Texas
    August 12, 2008 at 1:43 am

    Let’s suppose for a moment that you owe a huge debt, say $1,000,000. You work
    hard day after day trying to pay that debt, but you know that there is no way that
    you could pay that debt off. Then, one day your creditor comes to you and hands
    you a document stating that your debt has been PAID IN FULL. How do you feel? If
    you are like the rest of us, you can’t wait to tell everyone. You are so relieved.
    Tell me, are you still indebted to your creditor? Of course not. Are you going to
    pay him anymore? Of course not. You can’t, you don’t continue to pay when the debt
    has been completely paid, cancelled.
    That’s exactly what Jesus did. He tells us that in Col. 1:13,14 Who hath delivered
    us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son:
    In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins:
    He rescued us and forgave us completely. In Colosians 2:13,14 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
    He took us as sinful as we are (dead), forgave us ALL our sins, cancelled the debt paying
    for it with his blood on the cross.
    Now we are FREE to follow Him, because He did it ALL. What Joy!!!

  3. 3 markcares
    August 12, 2008 at 4:54 pm


    There is another way to describe it. The way the Bible does. Hebrews 10:17-18. “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.” Not only don’t we have to pay back the debt – the Bible says there is no more offering for it. Once a debt has been forgiven, canceled, it no longer exists.

  4. 4 Jesse
    August 13, 2008 at 8:50 am

    Let us read the parable given by the Savior concerning this doctrine:

    “Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

    “And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

    “But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

    “The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

    “Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

    “But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

    “And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

    “And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

    “So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

    “Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

    “Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

    “And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

    “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” Matthew 18:23-35

    It can’t get much more clear than that. The lord had paid the debt of the servant, and set him free. This we all agree on that the Savior truly does. Then, when the servant failed to act correctly, and did not follow a commandment given by the Lord (Matthew 18:21-22), that servant was then stripped of his forgiveness that the lord had so graciously given to him. This is where we disagree. However, this analogy given by the Master teaches us of the truth. Works are in fact required. The Bible testifies of this; the Book of Mormon Testifies of this; the Lord’s living prophets testify of this. I, too, add my testimony to this.

    God bless.

  5. 5 Jesse
    August 14, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    Did the scriptures stump all of you? :P

  6. 6 markcares
    August 16, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    The parable you quote proves the point that “works” are the effect of salvation and not the root of them. As Ephesians 2:10 brings out, we are to do good works – after we are saved not by works. Works are the visible evidences that someone has become spiritually alive thorugh faith. It is a lot like seeing Lazarus walk after Jesus raised him from the dead. His walking was proof that he was alive – his walking did not make him alive.

    Before the man did anything the king forgave him. Jesus goes on to explain that having a forgiving spirit is a result and thus a sign of faith. Note that Jesus spoke this parable in response to Peter’s question of how often should he forgive. Jesus was teaching him it is not a matter of keeping count.

    Also notice that in this parable there is no grace after all we can do. Rather: And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. If you want to say that this is the way to be saved, then see that we have to pay back everything and until then we will be tormented.

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