I like to tell the story of little orphan Andy. Andy lived in an orphanage. His greatest desire was to be adopted and become part of a family. This is what he thought about every night before he went to sleep.
One day a couple came to the orphanage and told Andy that they were thinking of adopting him but. . . But they wanted to take him home for a month to see how it would work out. After the month was up they would decide if they would adopt him.
Andy went home with them and tried to be on his best behavior. But every night he couldn’t help but wonder if he was good enough. Talk about a stress-filled month!
Let’s say, however, that this couple, instead of waiting for a month to make a decision, had come to the orphanage and told Andy that they had already adopted him. The papers were signed. He was their son.
Imagine the joy Andy felt. Imagine how he would show his gratitude by trying to be the best he could be. He would act even better than in the first scenario because he wouldn’t have the pressure of having to work to be accepted.
By bringing obedience into the discussion of salvation, Mormonism puts people into the position of Andy in the first scenario. Many Mormons feel tremendous stress as they work at becoming acceptable to God. For example, The September 2009 Ensign says: “An upcoming Q&A feature will focus on the following topic: I often feel overwhelmed because I don’t feel I measure up to all that’s expected of me in living the gospel. How can I learn to rejoice in the gospel when I feel like I may never be able to become or do all that the Lord requires of me?”
The biblical gospel doesn’t put pressure on people, it takes it off. It takes it off. It does that because it is all about what Jesus did for us, not about what we have to do. He paid for all our sins. He fulfilled all righteousness for us. Because of that we now can be like Andy in the second scenario. We too try to please God – not however to become accepted, but because God has already accepted us through Jesus. That difference in motivation makes all the difference in the world.