03
May
09

Amazing Grace

 

     Very few words have only one meaning.  That is apparent in any dictionary as most words have a number of meanings listed for them.  Therefore the context in which it is used is vitally important in determining its proper meaning.  Nowhere is this more important than in reading the Bible.

      Take the word grace.  When it is used in the context of salvation, it refers to an attribute of God – his unconditional love.  This is the love Jesus spoke about in John 3:16.  This is the love Paul referred to in Romans 5, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’  What is pertinent to our discussion is that the Bible says, when it comes to salvation, grace and works don’t mix.  “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 of grace; otherwise work is no more work.”  (Romans 11:6)

     Mormonism defines grace differently. The LDS manual, True to the Faith, says:  “The word grace, as used in the scriptures refers primarily to the divine help and strength we receive through the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.”  The LDS Bible Dictionary uses almost the exact same wording.  A couple of other excerpts from it:  “This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts.”  “However, grace cannot suffice without total effort on the part of the recipient.” Nowhere do either of these two sources mention the idea that grace is God’s unconditional love for mankind.

     One reason I am pointing this out is to highlight the fact that when Christians and Mormons talk about grace, most of the time they will be thinking of two different things.  If there is going to be any meaningful discussion between the two, this fact needs to be acknowledged.  Christians will need to remember that when most Mormons hear the word grace they will be thinking of an enabling power given them.  Mormons will need to remember that most Christians will be thinking of God’s love shown them in giving them salvation totally and freely on the basis of what Jesus did.

     The second reason for doing this is so that I can bear my testimony about this amazing grace.  I know that God has accepted Jesus’ payment for my sins and I don’t have to add anything to it.  I know that I am going to spend eternity in celestial glory in God’s eternal family solely on the basis of what Jesus has done.  To him be all glory!

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79 Responses to “Amazing Grace”


  1. 1 faithoffathers
    May 3, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Mark,

    Your implication that the LDS definition of grace leaves out God’s love is misleading. For the benefit of those reading this board, I will include the whole entry on “Grace” from the LDS Bible Dictionary:

    “It is through the grace of the Lord Jesus, made possible by his atoning sacrifice, that mankind will be raised in immortality, every person receiving his body from the grave in a condition of everlasting life. It is likewise through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means. This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts.
    Divine grace is needed by every soul in consequence of the fall of Adam and also because of man’s weaknesses and shortcomings. However, grace cannot suffice without total effort on the part of the recipient. Hence the explanation, “It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Ne. 25: 23). It is truly the grace of Jesus Christ that makes salvation possible.”

    Could there be another motivation besides love behind the atonement of Jesus Christ? Is this what you are suggesting we believe? I honestly do not understand how you can read that paragraph from the Bible Dictionary and say we are somehow not acknowledging God’s love.

    I find it ironic that Evangelical critics of the LDS church who have supposedly received such abundant and free grace from God are so hesitent to extend it to their LDS neighbors.

    fof

  2. 2 royaltonmd
    May 3, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    Mark,

    How about the following for a similarly fair treatment of Evangelical faith:

    Evangelicals do not care about Christ’s suffering for them. Why? Because they do not believe keeping the commandments is required. But to disobey the commandments is to sin. And Christ suffered for our sins. So the more we sin, the more He had to suffer. Therefore, since Evangelicals do not emphasize or believe in works, or obedience, they must not care about Christ’s suffering.

    Such is the type of logic employed by Evangelical critics in explaining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    fof

  3. 3 Echo
    May 3, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    faithoffathers

    Thanks for sharing your LDS quote. From reading that quote, it appears that “grace” is help (strength and assistance)from God to do good works. But then later it says: “This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation “AFTER” they have expended their own best efforts”. This portion seems to contradict the first portion because it then says that you have to expend your own best efforts “before” grace is of any help.

    What am I misunderstanding?
    Can you clarify that?

    Thanks.

  4. 4 faithoffathers
    May 4, 2009 at 12:53 am

    Echo,

    From the Bible Dictionary statement we learn:

    1. It is by grace that all will be resurrected.
    2. It is by grace that a person is enabled to do good works.
    3. It is by grace that salvation/eternal life is possible, through Jesus Christ.
    4. Because of the fall of Adam, every person is in need of grace.
    5. We cannot be saved, meaning eternal life with God, without giving our best effort.

    For some reason, it is my experience that Evangelical folks have great difficulty seeing that grace and works are not mutually exclusive. Our works are for some reason equated with the work Christ does- as if we save ourselves to some degree. Truth is, the works we do are not what saves us. The function of our works is different than the function of Christ’s atonement. But because we believe we are required to obey, repent, etc. EVs cannot see how that is not saving ourselves.

    Consider an inheritance. Consider a grandfather leaving a fortune to a honest, hard working, loyal grandson. Did the grandson EARN the fortune? No. Does the grandson DESERVE the fortune? No. But the grandfather bestowed the fortune upon the grandson because he is a good person that can be trusted, and who will appreciate the inheritance. In other words, the grandfather bestowed grace upon his grandson. If the grandson were dishonest, or proud, or lazy, or a liar- the grandfather probably would not make him an heir. Make sense?

    This is the same thing. We don’t save ourselves, but we must obey God to the best of our ability to “inherit” eternal life, or to become an “heir.”

    This is all very Biblical.

    Thanks.

    fof

  5. 5 jm
    May 4, 2009 at 5:35 am

    Consider an inheritance to my children. Two of my children are honest, hard working. Two can’t be trusted and do just enough to get by. They all will share equally in my inheritance to them. I Love them all the same.

    The Principle of Grace
    BORN BY GRACE – As a new Christian you are able to understand that you were born again on the principle of grace–the unearned, free gift of God. The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord. 8 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 boost. (Ephesians 2:8-9).

    It is by Grace before works, not after all we can do. This is all very Biblical

  6. 6 ADB
    May 4, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    I think jm’s take on the inheritance illustration is more in line with Scripture, fof, but I appreciate the clarification on your point of view (even if I can’t help but see it as contradicting itself:)–I appreciate it nonetheless).

  7. 7 faithoffathers
    May 4, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    So define what is required to be saved. To believe in Christ; to accept His free gift? What exactly does that entail from your perspectives? Is it entirely independent of what a person does- and by that I mean whether they obey God’s commandments?

    fof

  8. 8 GB
    May 4, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    8 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 boost. (Ephesians 2:8-9).

    This is exactly what FOF has been explaining to you. Did you not read where he said.

    “For some reason, it is my experience that Evangelical folks have great difficulty seeing that grace and works are not mutually exclusive. Our works are for some reason equated with the work Christ does- as if we save ourselves to some degree. Truth is, the works we do are not what saves us. The function of our works is different than the function of Christ’s atonement. But because we believe we are required to obey, repent, etc. EVs cannot see how that is not saving ourselves.”?

    As we have said many times before. It doesn’t matter how much righteous works we do, it is IMPOSSIBLE for us to save ourselves, we simply do NOT have the power to do so.

    Thus the saying.

    We believe that THROUGH THE ATONEMENT OF CHRIST, all mankind MAY be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

    What part about “THROUGH THE ATONEMENT OF CHRIST”, is so difficult to understand?

  9. 9 Brad
    May 4, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    Thus the saying.

    We believe that THROUGH THE ATONEMENT OF CHRIST, all mankind MAY be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

    Great. Let’s examine this oft-heard Mormon statement. If it were to ONLY read “we believe that through the atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved”, then that would be a completely Evangelical, Biblically-supported position, and most definitely one that I would agree with.

    Here’s the problem – it doesn’t ONLY read that! The Mormon statement continues on to say: “by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.” If the Mormon church TRULY doesn’t believe that works save, and you yourself TRULY don’t believe that works save, and that ONLY the atonement of Christ is what can save mankind (assuming, of course, that the free gift of salvation is accepted by the person) – then there is NO NEED to have this part of the Mormon statement!! This part of the statement absolutely shows that works are indeed an integral part of salvation in Mormon thought.

    What part about “THROUGH THE ATONEMENT OF CHRIST”, is so difficult to understand?

    Nothing – what is difficult is when the statement continues (as it does), and puts further qualifiers (“by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel”) on salvation. At that point, the statement has said something different.

    So, if you don’t believe that works play ANY part in obtaining salvation, when can we expect your strongly worded letter to your LDS leadership, demanding that this statement be revised, to reflect the true teachings of the Mormon church?

  10. 10 GB
    May 4, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Apparently we are retreading ground covered last week. I asked some questions last week that didn’t get answered. So I will try again.

    3 We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

    What good does the Gospel do for you if you don’t obey it?

    4 We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    Obviously these principles and ordinances do you no good, UNLESS you partake of them.

    Is “Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ” Biblical?

    Is “Repentance” Biblical?

    Is “Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins” Biblical?

    Is the “Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost” Biblical?

    Some people don’t understand the “gifts” that Jesus offers.

    Acts 5:31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, FOR TO GIVE REPENTENCE to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

    Acts 11:18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles GRANTED REPENTANCE UNTO LIFE.

    What good is the gift of repentance, if you don’t accept it? How do you show that you have accepted it except by doing it? If it wasn’t needed why was it given?

    Why did Jesus say such things as “go, and sin no more.”?

    And “Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.”?

    Does this verse mean what it says?

    Heb 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

    And what about verses like these.

    2 Pet 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
    3 According as his divine power hath GIVEN UNTO US ALL THINGS THAT PERTAIN UNTO LIFE (like Repentance) and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
    4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped (through Repentance) the corruption that is in the world through lust.
    5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue (through Repentance); and to virtue knowledge;
    6 And to knowledge temperance (through Repentance); and to temperance patience (through Repentance); and to patience godliness (through Repentance);
    7 And to godliness brotherly kindness (through Repentance); and to brotherly kindness charity.
    8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. (my comments)

    There is more to it than just sitting back and verbally accepting a gift.

  11. 11 Brad
    May 4, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    GB, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    How about, for once, instead of going on…and on…and on…and on… in response to a question, why don’t you just simply answer what was simply asked, rather than trying to quote every verse you know that you think supports your position? It’s much easier for dialogue.

  12. 12 GB
    May 4, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    Brad,

    I asked these questions last week. Why didn’t you answer them then?

    You don’t seem to be able to grasp the concept here. We can NOT save ourselves. Only through Jesus extending His grace is it possible. Jesus, according to his word, will save those that are obedient to His gospel.

    As Paul taught;
    Rom 2:6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
    7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
    8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
    9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
    10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
    11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

    So we will not be GIVEN eternal life unless we are obedient to God.

    If we keep His commandments and endure to the end, then we shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.

    It is still a gift, but it is only given to those that, according to the promise of Jesus, obey the Gospel.

    If you have a sure faith in the promise of Jesus then, in a manner of speaking, if we keep his commandments, we earn (the Lords promise of) eternal life. I am not sure why talking about it in this way gets so many panties in a bunch, but it does.

    Neither do I understand why so many neglect the rest of the apostle Paul’s teachings, but rather only focus on a few verses in Romans and a few verses in Ephesians and a few verses in Galatians.

    Now, will you answer my questions?

  13. 13 Echo
    May 5, 2009 at 2:37 am

    GB: “What good does the Gospel do for you if you don’t obey it?”

    The gospel isn’t a message of what we must do for God. It is a message of what God has done for us.

  14. 14 faithoffathers
    May 5, 2009 at 3:47 am

    Anybody willing to answer my simple questions I posted above?

    “So define what is required to be saved. To believe in Christ; to accept His free gift? What exactly does that entail from your perspectives? Is it entirely independent of what a person does- and by that I mean whether they obey God’s commandments?”

    fof

  15. 15 ADB
    May 5, 2009 at 4:29 am

    GB,

    Here’s why your response gets so many panties in a bunch: “IF you have a sure faith in the promise of Jesus then, in a manner of speaking, IF we keep his commandments, we earn (the Lords promise of) eternal life.” (caps added)

    Sorry, but that’s two “IF’s” too many. You’re attaching a condition to an unconditional gospel.

    That’s where Christians don’t get how on the one hand every Mormon can say “Jesus’ Atonement alone saves, IF we …” but then on the other hand be absolutely certain that they’ve met all the requirements of the “IF we.” You give human nature much more credit than it deserves, and you don’t realize how serious and damning even one little sin or failed attempt at fulfilling the “IF” really is. If you did understand that, then you’d get why Christians emphasize that Jesus alone can offer the 100% certainty that all things are taken care of for our eternal welfare.

    FOF,

    I believe the answer you’re looking for (which should not surprise you) is “believe.” That’s it. Go ahead and quote all the works-related passages you want (all of which, mind you, are “faith-related” but not “salvation-related”), and there are just as many that rule out any concept of works being attached to salvation.

    I think I’m starting to kind of get it (finally!) … it seems to me that Christians get frustrated by the LDS not being able to see how every time the LDS seem to agree that works can’t save, they then go and say “Jesus saves, but only those who’ve … yada yada.” Christians cannot (thank goodness) ever reconcile this.

    On the flip side, the LDS get frustrated by how Christians seem to ignore any passages that appear to tie works or effort together with salvation.

    It does seem like a lot of spinning our wheels over and over, but in my opinion, if such an ongoing dialogue keeps even one person out of the outer darkness, it’s worth it.

  16. 16 Echo
    May 5, 2009 at 4:32 am

    FOF: “So define what is required to be saved. To believe in Christ; to accept His free gift? What exactly does that entail from your perspectives? Is it entirely independent of what a person does- and by that I mean whether they obey God’s commandments?”

    The requirement to be saved is “perfection” We must BE perfect and DIE perfect, anything short of that and we are “cursed”:

    Galatians 3:10 “CURSED is everyone who does not CONTINUE to DO EVERYTHING written in the Book of the Law.”

    If we do not continue to Be perfect at ALL times and DIE perfect, we deserve the same fate as the devil and his angel’s because we are cursed:

    Mathew 25:41 “‘Depart from me, you who are “CURSED”, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

    But the truth is, we break the entire law every day:

    James 2:10 “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at JUST ONE POINT is GUILTY OF BREAKING ALL OF IT”

    Therefore it is impossible for us to gain eternal life by what we do.

    Jesus saved us even when we couldn’t save ourselves.
    Jesus has made us perfect right now, always and forever:

    Hebrews 10:14 “because by one sacrifice he HAS MADE PERFECT FOREVER those who are being made holy”

    Hebrews 12:23 “You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect”

    Collosians 1:22 “But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation”

    So what must you do to be saved?

    Believe(trust) that Jesus has made you perfect forever!

  17. 17 jm
    May 5, 2009 at 7:23 am

    Salvation: Deliverance from sin and death. Salvation is made possible by the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, everyone will overcome the effects of death. We can also be saved from the effects of sin through faith in Jesus Christ. This faith is manifested in a life of repentance and obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel and service to Christ. GB: This definition of salvation is taken from the LDS website. It say’s (Through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, everyone will overcome the effects of death) everyone will be saved. It also say’s (We can also be saved from the effects of sin through faith in Jesus Christ. This faith is manifested in a life of repentance and obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel and service to Christ.) we can also be saved. It dose not say (So we will not be GIVEN eternal life unless we are obedient to God, as you said.) unless we are obedient. So which is it.

  18. 18 Brad
    May 5, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    GB, I wasn’t on here last week, and don’t really care what happened LAST week.

    I asked you when you would be writing your letter to your leadership demanding that the statement we discussed be changed, b/c you said in post #8 that “it doesn’t matter how much righteous works we do, it is IMPOSSIBLE for us to save ourselves, we simply do NOT have the power to do so.”

    If that’s the case, then the Mormon statement makes no sense, b/c it says that obedience to the laws and ordinances is a part of salvation (“by obedience…”).

    You don’t get it both ways – either you believe they ARE necessary for salvation (in which case the Mormon statement makes sense, but contradicts what you yourself said you believe), or you believe they ARE NOT necessary for salvation (in which case the Mormon statement goes against what you say you believe). There’s no middle ground.

    You continually then like to point to how EVs “get it wrong”, how we “misunderstand”. Nothing could be further from the truth. I certainly believe works are important, and don’t diminish that. However, saying they’re not REQUIRED for salvation doesn’t diminish them. They’re still important, as Christ commanded us to do them and they are evidence to a lost and dying world OF salvation, but they are not efficacious FOR salvation. That’s a big difference, of which you seem to miss the distinction.

    You can quote all the Bible verses you want, without ever really addressing the question if you want, GB. Your choice. I say what I do more for the benefit of those “lurking”, who never respond, but who read. I don’t expect you to be converted – all will not be saved. You have the same opportunity I do, don’t get me wrong, but just b/c all have the opportunity, doesn’t mean all will take it.

    To those “lurking” and reading – if works are a part of your salvation, how can you ever be SURE that you’ve done enough, that you’ve been good enough to merit salvation? You can’t – b/c we’re sinful by nature, and the Bible says there is nobody good but God. Further, it clearly speaks in 1 Peter of the blessed hope and assurance we have that our salvation is secure – which I am thankful for, b/c despite my best efforts, I could never be good enough to merit eternity with God. That’s why I’m thankful that the gift God gave me, and everyone who is willing, is free, purchased by Jesus’ blood and offered by God’s grace alone – no strings attached.

    If you wish to make it contingent (“by obedience”) on things we must do, that is certainly your option – but it’s wrong.

  19. 19 GB
    May 5, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    jm,

    Are you saying that we can repent without being obedient (to the command to repent)?

    Matt. 4:17 ¶ From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

    Sounds like a commandment to repent to me.

    Jesus also said;
    Matt. 9:13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

    Mark 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
    15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

    Mark 6:7 ¶ And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;
    . . .
    12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent.

    Jesus said,
    Luke 13:5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

    Luke 24:46 And (Jesus) said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
    47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

    Peter said
    2 Pet. 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

    This is just a sampling of the verses available on the command to repent.

    So what is repentance? Is it a cessation of sin and a turning toward God and obedience to Him, is it not?

  20. 20 faithoffathers
    May 5, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    ADB,ECHO, others:

    As LDS, we believe that without the atonement of Christ, no amount of works or righteousness on our part would save us to any degree. Period.

    But the atonement was wrought by Jesus Christ to randsom man from sin and death. As a result, the gift of salvation is possible for all who repent and have faith in Christ. Yes- this mean keeping His commandments to the best of our ability, and when we fall short (always), repenting.

    What do you do with the statement from Christ, “the devils also believe, and tremble?” I believe He was saying a person must do more than simply believe in their mind. They must also act, which requires faith.

    Words can mean different things- we all know this. I think we have to back up and consider what is really meant when a verse may say that what is required of us is to believe in Christ. During the NT times, the apostles and others were trying to get people to see that Jesus was the promised Messiah. Much is implied in the statement that a person believed in Jesus as the Messiah.

    What about all the people who never had a chance to believe in Christ? No matter how humble, honorable, or virtuous they are, that counts for nothing?

    I must say in all honesty, that the doctrine you are conveying makes absolutely no sense in my mind when I consider the Bible and its message. What about the so often repeated plea and commandment to repent? Or to keep the commandments?

    We can look at verses in the New Testament on this topic and interpret them differently. My view makes total sense to me, and you yours.

    The view that all we have to do to be saved is believe- a mental act- is absolutley what the Book of Mormon describes as a stumbling block, a false teaching that keeps people from receiving the full gospel.

    P.S. Understand that if you are correct about your doctrine, then LDS are saved as well as you. To say otherwise is to assume the arrogant role of judge.

    fof

  21. 21 GB
    May 5, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    ADB:Sorry, but that’s two “IF’s” too many. You’re attaching a condition to an unconditional gospel.

    What? No scripture to support your claim?

    How about these conditional statements by Jesus?
    “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

    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.
    . . .
    14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

    And what about this one by John?
    1 Jn. 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
    4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

  22. 22 Echo
    May 5, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    A person must know they have eternal life(celestial kingdom) BEFORE they are even enabled to obey the commandments.

    Can a child obey it’s parents before they are conceived and born?

  23. 23 ADB
    May 5, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    GB,

    Whenever you simply list 85 passages to prove your point I am reminded of John 5:39, 40: “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”

    Sadly, you miss the forest for the trees. Yes, Jesus commands obedience, however, you somehow fail to acknowledge your inability to keep those commands of obedience, which, by the spirit and tone of your posts on this blog, I know you don’t keep. Then you quickly fall back on repentance whenever it’s convenient. Either focus on Jesus’ commands of obedience and keep them, or come to the recognition that those commands were given to show us that we can’t keep them and need ONLY Jesus who has kept them for us.

    FOF,

    “P.S. Understand that if you are correct about your doctrine, then LDS are saved as well as you. To say otherwise is to assume the arrogant role of judge.”

    With all due respect, this just shows that you aren’t quite clear on what we’re claiming the Bible says (and, incidentally, why a blog like this exists). If the LDS are saved, then I wouldn’t spend any time discussing salvation with them. On the basis of the Bible, and not as an arrogant judge, we have an obligation to state what God’s word says about salvation. Not because I want to prove that I’m right, but because I want to show what God’s Word shows (which, by the way, is really hard to do with a group that has been subscribing to a bunch of other books and equates them with God’s Word). On that basis, the Bible shows that no effort whatsoever on the part of man can so much as contribute to salvation, or even open the door to it. To say otherwise is to ignore why Jesus stated that he was the way the truth and the life (in opposition to those who thought that there were other paths, all of which were based on effort to some extent). Scripture spends so much time making the point that obedience to the law means nothing and that Christ means everything. Unfortunately, Mormons somehow twist those references to the law as applying only to the Old Testament Jews and the old covenant, when in reality the Bible is using those very examples from the past to warn against the same thing happening today (that people would somehow fall into the trap of thinking the law was given to help us get to heaven, a trap which I clearly see the LDS having fallen into).

  24. 24 faithoffathers
    May 5, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    ADB,

    Thanks for the response. We will have to agree to disagree- shocker eh!

    I have a challenge for anybody out there. Read every word ever uttered by Christ Himself during his mortal ministry or post-resurrection ministry. Step back and look at His message. From His words alone, what is His message about repentence, faith, obedience? Does He expect us to try to keep the commandments or anything more than the mental act of believing He is the Messiah?

    Also- Did Judas Iscariat not believe Jesus was the Messiah? Is Judas saved? I know plenty of people who know in their minds and would tell you they believe Jesus is the only way to salvation who also live lives of riotousness, sexual promiscuity, substance abuse, etc. Are they saved because they believe? The folks I know in that situation would disagree that they are saved.

    ADB- I am personally convinced that Christ is the only way for my salvation. I have accepted Him as my Redeemer and have taken upon me His name. I know nothing I do on my own could save me. Am I saved?

    fof

  25. 25 GB
    May 5, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    ADB,

    Then explain to me why Paul said this.

    Rom 2:6 (God) Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
    7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

    (or as the NSV has it) eternal life to those who strive for glory, honor, and immortality by patiently doing good;

    8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
    9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
    10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:

    (or as the NSV has it) But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who practices doing good, initially for Jews but also for Greeks as well,

    You seem to be saying that because we can’t be perfect on our own we shouldn’t even work on it. Whereas we say that Jesus wants us to be like Him and has given us the gift of repentance and of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands to help us overcome the natural man and become true disciple by the patient continuance is well doing.

    Why do you try to deny eternal life to those that are only striving to do what Jesus and the Apostles taught?

    John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

    How can a man know the Master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?

    Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

  26. 26 jm
    May 6, 2009 at 5:53 am

    GB, The definition for salvation came from the LDS Church Website. The GA said (Through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, everyone will overcome the effects of death). It say”s EVERYONE,Through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, everyone will overcome the effects of death. So does everyone in this world repent and is obedient to the gospel of Jesus. No they don’t. Are you saying that we can repent without being obedient (to the command to repent)? No the LDS Church say’s that you don’t even have to repent.

  27. 27 faithoffathers
    May 6, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    jm,

    You are exactly right- resurrection is a free gift to all who have lived on earth. It requires NO repentence- it is independent of behavior, belief, or faith. This is the LDS church doctrine- no question or debate about it. It is salvation from physical death.

    Salvation from spiritual death is another matter. To be saved in this way, one must exercize faith in Jesus Christ, repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost and endure to the end. In other words, be born again. This type of salvation is very much dependent on a person’s behavior and actions.

    All people will be resurrected and receive an immortal physical body. But only those who are spiritually born again and follow Christ will live in the Presence of the Father and Son.

    fof

  28. 28 ADB
    May 6, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    FOF,

    To your question about being saved in post #24, what you say there at the end sounds good, but your most recent post (#27) doesn’t fall in line with that (“This type of salvation is very much dependent on a person’s behavior and actions”). Sounds like you’re saying two different things: Post #24 – “I can’t do anything”; Post #27 – “I have to do something” (though I know you don’t see any discrepancy).

  29. 29 ADB
    May 6, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    GB,

    Regarding post #21: If those passages are heard by a believer, he delights in them. Knowing that God has freely paid for his sin, he will strive to keep every command of Jesus out of love and thanks, as believers can’t help but do.

    If an unbeliever hears those passages, as he digs deeper into the commands Jesus gave (summed up by saying love your God perfectly and love your neighbor as yourself), he will quickly come to the realization that these commands are impossible to keep perfectly (as you and any Christian will admit). When that unbeliever comes to that conclusion, or point of desperation, in realizing that he can’t perfectly keep any of Jesus’ commands, that is when he is ready to here the good news of the gospel – that Jesus kept the commands perfectly in his place and Jesus’ perfect righteousness is credited to him freely without any strings attached. All he has to do is believe it (and as he does, he will then also strive to keep those commands, because now he falls into the category of a believer). He now knows he is not under the law of Moses, but the law of Christ (he keeps them not because he HAS to, but because he WANTS to).

    For future reference, any time you are inclined to post 492 passages that quote Jesus commanding good works, please refer back to this post for my response.

  30. 30 GB
    May 6, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    ADB: Regarding post #21: If those passages are heard by a believer, he delights in them. Knowing that God has freely paid for his sin, he will strive to keep every command of Jesus out of love and thanks, as believers can’t help but do.
    If an unbeliever hears those passages, as he digs deeper into the commands Jesus gave (summed up by saying love your God perfectly and love your neighbor as yourself), he will quickly come to the realization that these commands are impossible to keep perfectly (as you and any Christian will admit). When that unbeliever comes to that conclusion, or point of desperation, in realizing that he can’t perfectly keep any of Jesus’ commands, that is when he is ready to here the good news of the gospel – that Jesus kept the commands perfectly in his place and Jesus’ perfect righteousness is credited to him freely without any strings attached. All he has to do is believe it (and as he does, he will then also strive to keep those commands, because now he falls into the category of a believer). He now knows he is not under the law of Moses, but the law of Christ (he keeps them not because he HAS to, but because he WANTS to).

    GB: All of that and not a single Bible verse to support it. WOW what a surprise. And none of that actually addresses the verses I asked you to address.

    You seem to think that God likes to tell us to do things that we are not capable of.

    So a true believer in God actually doesn’t believe God expects us to do what God has commanded us to do and thereby is exempted from obedience to God’s commands? So what you are saying is that an unbeliever in obedience to God’s commands is actually a true believer in God. What kind of contorted logic is that?

    So Jesus was actually lying when he said (Matt 7:21)”¶ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven”?

    So was Jesus also lying when he said (John 7:17)”If any man will DO his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself”?

    So a “true” believer in Jesus doesn’t actually believe what Jesus said? Again, what kind of contorted logic it that?

    ADB: . . .he will quickly come to the realization that these commands are impossible to keep perfectly. . .

    GB: So you’re saying that it is impossible for a true believer to NOT commit adultery? It is impossible to love God? It is impossible to love your neighbor as yourself?

    And God just told us to do these things because He really wants us to know that we can’t really do them? And He gave us the gift of repentance because He doesn’t really expect us to use it?

    One more time, what kind of contorted logic is that?

    PS
    Still waiting for you to explain to me why Paul said this.

    Rom 2:6 (God) Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
    7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

    (or as the NSV has it) eternal life to those who strive for glory, honor, and immortality by patiently doing good;

    8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
    9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
    10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:

    (or as the NSV has it) But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who practices doing good, initially for Jews but also for Greeks as well,

  31. 31 ADB
    May 6, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    GB,

    I think I’ll have to reread your post a number of times to figure out how on earth you came to the conclusions you did. Did you even read my post?

    Here’s a quick response to why Paul said what he said: Jesus makes us his disciples through his words, and we show ourselves to be his disciples by his works.

    That’s why he encourages good works.

    As to quoting passages, I am more than happy to do it, but I think what’s more important is trying to explain what they’re actually saying, instead of quoting 95 of them and missing the point …

  32. 32 jm
    May 6, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    fof, All people will be resurrected and receive an immortal physical body. But only those who are spiritually born again and follow Christ will live in the Presence of the Father and Son.

    Not much of a heaven you are describing here. It sounds more like life here on earth. Where this kind of system causes many wars and prisons around the world to be full of people. Do you know that the Unification Church (moonies) believe in this same kind of system.

    We can also be saved from the effects of sin through faith in Jesus Christ. This faith is manifested in a life of repentance and obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel (of the LDS Church) and service to Christ. So you are saying that only mormons will live in the Presence of the Father and Son. Not my kind of father that plays favorite’s.

  33. 33 GB
    May 6, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    ADB: we show ourselves to be his disciples by his works.

    GB: Just how do you show YOUR discipleship by the works of some else?

    How does that fit with;

    Matt. 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
    17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a ccorrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
    18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
    19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
    20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

    And,
    Matt. 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

    ?????

  34. 34 ADB
    May 6, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Sorry–post #31 should have read “through OUR works.”

  35. 35 ADB
    May 6, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Sorry again … “Jesus makes us his disciples through his words, and we show ourselves to be his disciples by his works” should read, “Jesus makes us his disciples through his words, and we show ourselves to be his disciples by our works.” Sorry for the confusion.

  36. 36 ADB
    May 6, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    GB: “You seem to think that God likes to tell us to do things that we are not capable of.”

    There are many things that God expects which the believer is capable of doing, but an unbeliever can do none of them. Even a believer fails to do all of them perfectly. I don’t. I know you don’t. So how do you explain why he tells us to do things that you yourself will have to admit you can’t do perfectly all the time?

    Furthermore, compare the covenant God established with Israel in the Old Testament (read through Deuteronomy and Leviticus). Was Israel capable of keeping that covenant perfectly? Seems odd that God would establish so many different sacrificial offerings (burnt offerings, sin offerings, etc.) to pay for sins if Israel was capable of keeping his covenant perfectly.

    God expected our first perfect parents (Adam & Eve) to keep his commands perfectly. He expects that of us as well. The only problem is that we aren’t perfect the way they were. We can’t do it. Why then does God still expect it? Because we can keep them perfectly? No. To show us we can’t and that we need someone who did. Enter Jesus.

    If God were only interested in us doing our best, then why don’t we find any passages to that effect?

  37. 37 faithoffathers
    May 6, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    jm,

    Thanks for the response. But I think we are not completely understanding each other here.

    You said “Not much of a heaven you are describing here. It sounds more like life here on earth.” I really didn’t intend to define “heaven.” And I don’t think I did.

    Let me try to clarify and answer your questions.

    Not everybody who is resurrected will enter “heaven.” I define heaven as the Celestital Kingdon, where God and Christ dwell. In order to enter this kingdom- Heaven- one must have faith in Christ, repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost and endure to the end.

    All people will be resurrected- the Bible is quite clear on this. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” I am pretty sure Evangelicals believe the resurrection is universal as LDS do. This does not mean all people will all live with God. Only those who have accepted Christ and done the things I described above (faith, repentence, etc.). All others will live in a different place and kingdom- not “heaven.” In other words, being resurrected does not equate to living in heaven.

    Is this making sense. I am not sure where your comments about heaven being like earth with wars, etc. is coming from. Help me out!

    Also, you said “Not my kind of father that plays favorite’s.” I would agree with you that God is no respector of persons. And I do not claim that only “mormons” will go to heaven. I do claim that there are real requirement to enter God’s Kingdom. The LDS doctrine that the gospel will be taught to all people who did not have the chance while in this life is from God and demonstrates how truly fair and just He is. Under this plan, all people will hear the truth at some point and will have a chance to accept it. But, they must accept it in order to enter heaven. My claim, our claim is that the truth that everybody must accept before entering heaven is the gospel taught in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If not in this life, then in the spirit world- before the resurrection and judgement.

    If anything, I would think a God who does not give everybody a chance to know and accept the gospel of Christ is the one playing favorites!

    Thanks,

    fof

  38. 38 GB
    May 6, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Practice makes perfect.

    “Jesus makes us his disciples through his words”

    How does that fit with;
    John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in (OBEY) my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
    32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

    Oh look, another one of those conditional statements.

  39. 39 ADB
    May 6, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    GB,

    Please see post 29 to explain how I understand the passages you yet again quote. Note that Jesus is speaking “TO THOSE JEWS WHICH BELIEVED ON HIM.” Believers do strive to continue to obey his word.

    I only make the point that it doesn’t have anything to do with salvation, which it doesn’t (again, see post 29).

  40. 40 GB
    May 6, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    ADB: I only make the point that it doesn’t have anything to do with salvation, which it doesn’t

    GB: Well, let’s compare that statement to what JESUS said.

    Matt 19:16 ¶ And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
    17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

    “IF thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”

    Besides being another conditional statement, it contradicts your statement. Sorry but I will take the words of JESUS over yours.

    Matt 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

    From the context, actions have EVERYTHING to do with salvation.

    John 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to DO THE WILL of him that sent me, and to FINISH HIS WORK.
    35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
    36 And he that REAPETH RECEIVETH WAGES, and GATHERETH FRUIT UNTO LIFE ETERNAL: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.

    John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they FOLLOW ME:
    28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

    So following Jesus in both word and deed doesn’t have anything to do with salvation?

    Rom. 2:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

    1 Tim 6:18 That they DO GOOD, that they be RICH IN GOOD WORKS, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
    19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

    Ah, maybe your are right. What did Jesus and Paul know about it anyway?

  41. 41 Echo
    May 6, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    Believers will do good works. Just as James said, faith without works is dead. But this discussion is about HOW a person gains eternal life in the celestial kingdom. The LDS believes they have to meet conditions and NON LDS believe that Jesus has met all those conditions for us.

    So the discussion isn’t about whether or not we will do good works. All true believers will do good works. The discussion is about where good works fit into the big picture.

  42. 42 GB
    May 6, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    Echo:NON LDS believe that Jesus has met all those conditions for us.

    GB: So your the spokesperson for “NON LDS”! I was wondering who it was. Are the Catholics, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. aware that you are their spokesperson?

  43. 43 GB
    May 6, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    Echo: But this discussion is about HOW a person gains eternal life in the celestial kingdom.

    GB: OK, let’s assume that Jesus knew the truth about it. What did He say?

    Matt 19:16 ¶ And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
    17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

    “IF thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”

    Besides being another conditional statement, it contradicts your statement. Sorry but I will take the words of JESUS over yours.

    Matt 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

    From the context, actions have EVERYTHING to do with salvation.

    John 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to DO THE WILL of him that sent me, and to FINISH HIS WORK.
    35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
    36 And he that REAPETH RECEIVETH WAGES, and GATHERETH FRUIT UNTO LIFE ETERNAL: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.

    John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they FOLLOW ME:
    28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

    So following Jesus in both word and deed doesn’t have anything to do with salvation?

  44. 44 Echo
    May 6, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    GB “Echo:NON LDS believe that Jesus has met all those conditions for us.

    GB: So your the spokesperson for “NON LDS”! I was wondering who it was. Are the Catholics, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. aware that you are their spokesperson?”

    My apologies. Your right. I was speaking as a NON LDS lutheran in behalf of Lutherans.

  45. 45 Echo
    May 6, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    GB “So following Jesus in both word and deed doesn’t have anything to do with salvation?”

    ***That’s correct. Following Jesus in both word and deed comes AFTER salvation.

    GB: “Matt 19:16 ¶ And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
    17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
    “IF thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”

    *** In this verse you quoted, who does Jesus say is “good”?

  46. 46 ADB
    May 6, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    GB,

    Did you seriously quote Mt. 19:16ff, which show exactly the point I’ve been trying to make about keeping God’s commands??? How about verse 22: “When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.”

    Jesus was hammering him with the law over and over, and like most LDS, the rich young man thought he was doing a pretty good job of keeping it. But look what happens when the law achieves the purpose for which God gave it–he goes away sad because the law accused him of guilt. That is where the good news of the gospel comes in, but the rich man didn’t care to hear it because he preferred to rely on his own works. The law accuses and shows us our sin. It does NOT show us how to earn anything before God. This account shows that wonderfully.

    I won’t say anymore about it, as I’ve already directed you to the purpose of the law when an unbeliever or when a believer hears it in post 29. The majority of the passages in which you quote Jesus speaking are addressing believers(in which case we agree that believers want to keep his commands), and when addressing unbelievers, the purpose is the same purpose he had in his dialogue with the rich young man–he wants to lead him to despair, repentance, and the good news that Jesus alone–NOT obedience to his commands– was the way to salvation.

  47. 47 GB
    May 6, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    So BOTH of you ignore the words of Jesus when He said “IF thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”

    Which sounds a lot like “If we keep His commandments and endure to the end, then we shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.”

    And Both of you ignored “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”

    And Both of you ignored “My meat is to DO THE WILL of him that sent me, and to FINISH HIS WORK.
    . . .
    36 And he that REAPETH RECEIVETH WAGES, and GATHERETH FRUIT UNTO LIFE ETERNAL: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.”

    And BOTH of you ignored “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they FOLLOW ME:
    28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”

    The problem with your theology is its foundation is the (misunderstood) words of Paul, not the clear and plain words of Jesus. Rather than letting the (misunderstood) words of Paul determine the understanding of the words of Jesus you should let the clear and plain words of Jesus determine the understanding of the words of Paul.

    Do that and then get back to me.

  48. 48 Brad
    May 6, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    ADB/Echo,

    I agree with what both of you are saying, and you have spoken well and tried your best. You won’t convince GB, who is too steeped in Mormonism to listen, but my prayer is that others who read and lurk, without ever commenting, will read what you wrote and take heed.

    Job well done.

  49. 49 ADB
    May 6, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    Thanks, Brad.

    GB,

    Actually, if you want to accuse anyone of ignoring, I fear there may be a little case of the pot calling the kettle black. You hardly even bother to respond to a post; you simply see a response as another excuse to rehash your same old point, without addressing anything new. We have both responded REPEATEDlY to your tired use of Jesus quoting obedience passages. We have explained how we interpret them, so please move on.

    By the way, if you’ve read John’s Gospel, you’ll note that Jesus speaks quite a bit there, and the very dialogue which we just responded to (the rich man and Jesus) was not Paul speaking. Neither was Paul speaking when we read the words “apart from me you can do nothing.” That was Jesus. Yes, I too will take Jesus’ words over yours. I’m simply thankful that the Holy Spirit has led me to see in Jesus’ words a proper understanding of God’s law–not as a means of meriting anything before God, but as a means of showing me how much I need Jesus. I pray that eventually you come to see Jesus as your Savior, and not just another Moses.

  50. 50 GB
    May 6, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    JESUS said plainly and clearly “but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”

    So what condition did JESUS say you need to meet if you want eternal life?

  51. 51 Echo
    May 6, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    GB:

    GB: “JESUS said plainly and clearly “but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”

    So what condition did JESUS say you need to meet if you want eternal life?”

    Yes. Jesus clearly said that. But it is equally clear that YOU and I and everyone that has ever lived cannot keep the commandments, it is impossible. This is what Jesus was trying to teach.

    In context of the passage you quoted, Jesus said:

    Mathew 19:25-26 “When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, WHO THEN CAN BE SAVED? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, WITH MEN THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE…”

  52. 52 Echo
    May 6, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    Thanks Brad

  53. 53 Echo
    May 7, 2009 at 12:07 am

    GB:

    I think you missed my question:

    GB “So following Jesus in both word and deed doesn’t have anything to do with salvation?”

    ***That’s correct. Following Jesus in both word and deed comes AFTER salvation.

    GB: “Matt 19:16 ¶ And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
    17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
    “IF thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”

    *** In this verse you quoted, who does Jesus say is “good”?

  54. 54 faithoffathers
    May 7, 2009 at 4:50 am

    Echo,

    Some crazy theology. But I love your passion.

    Question. On what basis do you conclude that when Christ said “it is finished” it was the end of all work relating to salvation? It seems an arbitrary thing picked from the sky. I could just as logically say that His statement meant that no more prayers would ever need to be offered. Or that the world was at an end. Or that no more monkeys would be born. Get my drift? I think your reading of His statement is a huge stretch made to fit evangelical theology.

    How about- when Christ said “it is finished” it meant that He had finished what God had commissioned Him to do? I know it is not mysterious or abstract or complex, but it makes a lot of sense. And there is as much evidence for this interpretation as there is for any other. Sometimes I think we make things a little too difficult.

    Peace.

    fof

  55. 55 GB
    May 7, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    So, like I said before, the problem with your theology is its foundation is the (misunderstood) words of Paul, not the clear and plain words of Jesus. Rather than letting the (misunderstood) words of Paul determine the understanding of the words of Jesus you should let the clear and plain words of Jesus be the foundation and determine the understanding of the words of Paul.

    You are free to ignore the clear and plain words of Jesus if you want but you should refrain from condemning those that accept and believe the clear and plain words of Jesus.

    Jesus said, “but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”

    What are the conditions that Jesus placed on eternal life?

    Matt 19:25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?

    This is the same basic question you are asking of me.

    26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; BUT WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.

    Something that you claim is impossible, Jesus says that “WITH God” it IS possible.

    Again, you don’t have to believe Jesus if you don’t want to, but you should refrain from condemning those that actually DO believe Jesus.

    Feel free to refute the words of Jesus or concede that He placed the condition of obedience upon the reception of eternal life.

  56. 56 Echo
    May 7, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    faithoffaithers

    FOF: “How about- when Christ said “it is finished” it meant that He had finished what God had commissioned Him to do? I know it is not mysterious or abstract or complex, but it makes a lot of sense. And there is as much evidence for this interpretation as there is for any other. Sometimes I think we make things a little too difficult.”

    What has God commissioned him to do? He commissioned him to reconcile the whole world to himself. When Jesus said: “It is finished” the whole world was declared “righteous” in Christ and therefore reconciled to God. That is an objective reality and that is objective justification. This righteousness, complete or “finished” as an objective reality is recieved by faith (subjective justification)

  57. 57 Echo
    May 7, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    GB

    In context of the verses that you quoted Jesus said: “no one is good but God alone” and that is why Jesus said: “with men this is impossible”

  58. 58 Echo
    May 7, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    GB

    In context of the verses you gave, Jesus said: “no one is good but God alone” and that is also why he said: “with men this is impossible”

  59. May 7, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    This righteousness, complete or “finished” as an objective reality is recieved by faith (subjective justification)

    pardon me for being a “one note Ned” …….I like this summary….and you’re saying this happens (RECEIVING BY FAITH) without the receiver DOING anything or choosing anything ?? Not trying to trap you here, but aren’t the “receivers” involved on some way ??

    thanks,
    GERMIT

  60. 60 GB
    May 7, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    Echo,

    In context of the verses you gave, Jesus said, “BUT WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.”

    Something that you claim is impossible, Jesus says that “WITH God” it IS possible.

    Feel free to refute the words of Jesus or concede that He placed the condition of obedience upon the reception of eternal life.

  61. 61 GB
    May 7, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    When, upon the cross, Jesus said “It is finished”, he was referring to the portion of his atonement that needed to be done while in mortality (the suffering for sin). He had not yet been resurrected, so he was not yet finished with all aspects of his atonement and the reconciliation of the world to God.

  62. 62 faithoffathers
    May 7, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Echo,

    My point was that Christ finished HIS part in the savlation of man. Man still has his agency and the responsibility of accepting Christ and following Him. I completely agree that Christ has finished His side. I just have to continue in faith to complete my side of the deal.

    fof

  63. 63 Echo
    May 7, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    GB “In context of the verses you gave, Jesus said, “BUT WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.”
    Something that you claim is impossible, Jesus says that “WITH God” it IS possible.
    Feel free to refute the words of Jesus or concede that He placed the condition of obedience upon the reception of eternal life”

    GB, I love the words of Jesus and would never refute them.

    GB, do you sin? If you say “yes” then you fail to do what Jesus said, Jesus said: “but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”

  64. 64 Echo
    May 7, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Germit: “This righteousness, complete or “finished” as an objective reality is recieved by faith (subjective justification)

    pardon me for being a “one note Ned” …….I like this summary….and you’re saying this happens (RECEIVING BY FAITH) without the receiver DOING anything or choosing anything ?? Not trying to trap you here, but aren’t the “receivers” involved on some way ??”

    What is there to choose? Objective justification is finished. Believe it.

  65. 65 GB
    May 7, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    Echo: I love the words of Jesus and would never refute them.

    GB: Thanks for conceding that Jesus placed the condition of obedience upon the reception of eternal life.

  66. 66 Echo
    May 7, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    GB

    Yes. Jesus placed conditions of obedience upon the reception of eternal life. You and I cannot meet those conditions. Jesus had met those conditions for us and in our behalf.

    Therefore I am sinless. Are you?

  67. 67 GB
    May 7, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    Echo: Jesus had met those conditions for us and in our behalf.

    GB: So Jesus obeyed the Commandments for you? Where does JESUS say He did that?

    Did Jesus repent for you too?

  68. 68 Echo
    May 7, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    GB: Are you sinless?

  69. 69 GB
    May 8, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Echo: GB: Are you sinless?

    GB: Nice red herring.

  70. 70 ADB
    May 8, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    GB: Nice red herring.

    ADB: Way to skirt the foundational issue (for the umpteenth time) behind everything that is discussed on this blog.

  71. 71 gloria
    May 9, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Great post, Mark. Thank you for pointing out the differences between what the Bible says Grace means and what the LDS beleive grace to mean. Same word different definition.

    I think it’s important to take note that the LDS beleive that ALL mankind will be ‘saved’ in the sense that all will receive a resurrected body and go to one of the 3 kingdoms. Jesus did not teach that ALL will be saved — He made it very clear that one needs to be born again and to believe in Him to receive salvation. There is no such thing as a general salvation, or that all people on earth today will be assigend to one of 3 supposed kingdoms. There is but one kingdom – the Kingdom of God, and one must be born again to enter that kingdom.Those whose names are not written in the book of the Lamb will be cast into the lake of fire. I know that may sound very harsh to LDS readers, but it is what the Bible teaches.

    There is no such thing as “general salvation” for mankind.

    Jesus came to save the world but the world must accept Him as Lord and King.

    We must be born again. John 3:3

    If a person is not born again, He *can not enter* into God’s kindom.

    His grace is amazing and it is a gift — and it is thru HIS grace, we are “saved” ( that is enter into God’s kingdom) . That is the reason why it is so “amazing”… because it is unmerited.We can do nothing to be “worthy” of that grace. It is truly a gift of God.

    For that gift alone I praise His holy name!

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  72. 72 faithoffathers
    May 9, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    Gloria,

    Do you believe all people will be resurrected?

    fof

  73. 73 germit
    May 10, 2009 at 1:26 am

    Echo: happy mother’s day (to your Mom, and if you have kids, to your wife…)

    you wrote

    What is there to choose? Objective justification is finished. Believe it.

    We seem to be using language in two very different ways….I can’t conceive of believing in something irrespective of any kind of choice…so to say that someone believes something is also to say that they DON”T believe the opposites, that some choices have been made; at least that’s how I see this.

    My drain project is going slow but sure….thanks for any prayers (they’ve been answered and then some…THANKS)

    Peace to all who bless the Name of the Lamb
    GERMIT

  74. 74 Echo
    May 10, 2009 at 2:02 am

    Germit

    Glad to hear your drain project is going in the right direction.

    If we do use language in different ways at times, I suppose that’s why it’s important for discussions to continue and for all of us to keep that in mind about one another as we try explaining things to each other. Easier said than done sometimes. It’s like your drain project, it will go slow but sure if we keep discussing.

    Let me try to give an example of what I mean when I say: “What is there to choose? Objective justification is finished. Believe it.”

    Let’s suppose you run into Jesus today and he says to you: “Germit, all your sins are forgiven, believe it”

    Is there anything to choose?

  75. May 11, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Echo: well, there aren’t multiple (successful) plans of salvation, so in that respect NO; but what about saying NO to the ONE plan (JESUS HIMSELF) even though this flies in the face of everything sane and healthy…. don’t people do this every day of every week… and you seem to allow for THIS kind of choice, but then deny that choosing JESUS offering HIMSELF to us is in any way a choice… this is what I find weird and without support…well almost: there ARE some verses (Romans comes to mind) that seem to lean this way, but when viewed by the NT as a whole, I don’ t think Romans, or Hebrews 11 for that matter, can mean what you think they mean.

    I won’t pick at your argument needlessly, but will comment that from where I sit, menaningful evangelism will take a ‘hit’ if someone believes as you do, even if that ‘hit’ is unintentional.

    thanks again for your thoughts and prayers
    I’m sore but thankful

    GERMIT

  76. 76 GB
    May 11, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    ADB,

    My personal standing with God is NOT a foundational issue, it IS irrelevant to the truth that the Bible teaches, it IS irrelevant to the strength of my argument and weakness of your own, therefore your asking about it is a red herring.

    Why don’t you support your position by quoting the words of Jesus?

  77. 77 ADB
    May 11, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    GB,

    In fact it is your personal standing with God, and that of any LDS that I’m concerned about, so I see it as foundational as to why I post.

    At any rate, refresh my memory again … What position would you like me to support by quoting Jesus?

  78. 78 Echo
    May 12, 2009 at 12:04 am

    Germit: “Echo: well, there aren’t multiple (successful) plans of salvation, so in that respect NO; but what about saying NO to the ONE plan (JESUS HIMSELF) even though this flies in the face of everything sane and healthy…. don’t people do this every day of every week… and you seem to allow for THIS kind of choice, but then deny that choosing JESUS offering HIMSELF to us is in any way a choice… this is what I find weird and without support…well almost: there ARE some verses (Romans comes to mind) that seem to lean this way, but when viewed by the NT as a whole, I don’ t think Romans, or Hebrews 11 for that matter, can mean what you think they mean.”

    Echo:

    If you run into Jesus today and he says to you: “Germit, all your sins are forgiven, believe it” There is no choice to make. You can reject his words and believe your not forgiven even though you are forgiven. Whether you believe it or not, the fact is that all your sins are forgiven. That is an objective reality.

    Some more passages:

    1 Cor 12:3 “No man can say Jesus is Lord except by the holy spirit.”

    1 Corinthians 2:14 “THE MAN WITHOUT THE SPIRIT DOES NOT ACCEPT the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

    John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; APART FROM ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING.”

    Romans 8:7 “the sinful mind is HOSTILE TO GOD. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.”

    Phil 1:29 “For it has been GRANTED TO YOU on behalf of Christ not only TO BELIEVE ON HIM, but also to suffer for him,”

    Mathew 16:17 ” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not REVEALED TO YOU by man, but BY MY FATHER IN HEAVEN.”

    John 1:13 “children born not of natural descent, NOR OF HUMAND DECISION or a husband’s will, BUT BORN OF GOD”

    John 15:16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you …”

    John 3:6 “…but the SPIRIT gives BIRTH to SPIRIT” (This goes well with John 1:13 above wherein we are born of God rather than our decision or choice)

    Romans 9:16 ““It DOES NOT, therefore, DEPEND ON MAN”S DESIRE OR EFFORT, but on God’s mercy”

    An OT example would be circumcision. Babies became part of the OT covenant without choosing or making a decision to become part of the covenant. When they grew up, they were free to leave their beliefs behind.

  79. October 24, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    So what does it mean to say that the source of existence (i.e., God) is love? I would argue the question points to the metaphysics of love rather than simply saying that God creates existence (or, the world) because God loves it. If you want to check out my post, pls see: http://deligentia.wordpress.com/2009/10/24/deciphering-god-is-love/


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