21
Jan
10

Going On to Perfection

    Remember the story of the rich young man who came to Jesus claiming to have kept all the commands?  In response Jesus said, “Sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.”  (Luke 18:22) We then read that the young man left Jesus sorrowing because he had many possessions.

    When I read that story, and then examine my life, I don’t come off very well.  Compared to the rest of the world, the average American like me fits into that category of rich.  Compared to the majority of the world’s population, I have great possessions.  I have grown accustomed to them also.  Therefore it is difficult for me to sincerely say that I would be willing to sell everything and give it to the poor.  But Jesus didn’t just ask the young man if he would be willing to do that, he told them to do that.  It is difficult for me to even contemplate doing that, much less actually doing it.  Once again this verse reveals how deeply ingrained my sinful nature is – how far I am from perfection.  And how impossible it will be for me to ever achieve perfection.

     That is why I treasure the many Bible passages that tell me that I don’t have to achieve perfection – that Jesus was perfect for me.  “By one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”  (Hebrews 10:14) What a relief to realize that perfection is not a goal to be obtained, but a gift that has been bestowed.

     That, however, is not what Mormonism teaches.  Here is its comment on this Bible story under the title, “Going On to Perfection”.  “The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16), but that power can be fully released only for the perfection of the individual as he is willing to sacrifice all earthly things in the service of the Master.  Elder Bruce R. McConkie concludes:

      “It is our privilege to consecrate our time, talents, and means to build up his kingdom.  We are called upon to sacrifice, in one degree or another, for the furtherance of his work.  Obedience is essential to salvation; so also is service; and so also, are consecration and sacrifice.”  (Life and Teachings, p.133)

      Notice how that only talks about the willingness to sacrifice.  But Jesus talked about actually giving up everything.  Therefore it seems to me that should be something every Mormon should be doing as part of “after all we can do”.

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34 Responses to “Going On to Perfection”


  1. 1 Echo
    January 22, 2010 at 4:03 am

    Doesn’t the LDS believe that a man can achieve perfection in this life?

  2. 2 faithoffathers
    January 22, 2010 at 5:48 am

    Mark,

    It seems obvious that while you acknowledge what Christ tells the rich young man (“Sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me”), you turn around in the same breath and give thanks that we don’t have to do what Jesus said.

    I know many people from the evangelical community think they have figured out the formula for salvation that actually skirts around obedience and works. They think Christ didn’t actually mean what He said. But it seems such a twist of what is really very clear.

    Yes- we cannot save ourselves- only Christ can. But we must obey Him.

    fof

  3. 3 Echo
    January 22, 2010 at 7:27 am

    _______________________________________________________________________________________________

    FOF said: “you turn around in the same breath and give thanks that we don’t have to what Jesus said”

    _______________________________________________________________________________________________

    Where did Mark give thanks that we don’t have to do what Jesus said?

  4. 4 RLO
    January 22, 2010 at 9:23 am

    FoF:

    You said, “Yes- we cannot save ourselves- only Christ can. But we must obey Him.”

    I think one of the things that distinguishes mormon beliefs from Christian beliefs is that word “must.” It seems to me, mormons strive to be obedient out of obligation, making obedience a requirement in order to “qualify” for God’s grace. Christians strive to be obedient too. Though their obedience springs from a sense of gratitude for having already received God’s grace. The difference between the two is in the motive.

    It is not Christian obedience that leads to salvation. Rather, it is salvation that leads to Christian obedience.

  5. 5 markcares
    January 22, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    FOF:
    “We must obey him.” Have you sold everything and given it to the poor?

  6. January 22, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Man is perfected in the moment of repentance Echo.

  7. January 22, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Mark, it’s a rather pharasiac reading of this scripture to think that it specifies a mode that all of us must legalistically emulate in order to “give everything” to God.

    Selling everything to the poor was simply the appropriate remedy for THIS particular man’s case. Jesus was inviting him to become one of his disciples and join him in his ministry. For that, it was necessary for the young man to cut his ties in this particular way.

    But does that make the remedy for the young rich man the same for, say… Joseph of Arimathea – who used his own wealth and influence to great benefit for the cause of Christ? I don’t think it does.

    To view consecration as simply “chucking all my stuff” is a rather shortsighted way of viewing an eternal and spiritual principle. There are plenty of rich people who are closer to the ideal of consecration than many of us. And there are plenty of poor people who are nowhere even close to this ideal – who in fact, openly reject it.

    Substance is not the problem. What you are doing with it, and how you view it is. A man can have millions in investments and still be living the law of consecration far better than any of us here. He can be a blessing to hundreds of employees, charities, his own family, government, and many, many others if he so chooses. It is difficult, but very possible. And I would submit that it has been done, and the blind prejudice of poor people is no more seemly or attractive than the prejudices of the rich.

    Each of us is called to implement the principle of consecration in their own personal way before God. The key is listening to what God wants of us. It may be he desires that we, as the rich young man, sell off everything. Or it may be that he wants something else of us.

    Merely selling everything is not an automatic pass. It could be that you merely sold off all your stuff, not out of any concern or love for your fellow man, or for God, but merely to assuage your own sense of guilt, or out of a personal vanity project. Such offerings – like Cain’s offerings – are not acceptable to God, and profit us nothing.

    What McConkie was calling for here, was proper consecration, under God’s own will and guidance. And through Christ’s Atonement, we can be enabled to achieve this.

  8. January 22, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    Obedience is essential to salvation???

    When did Jesus say that?

    I do remember Him saying ” if you love me , obey me……or keep his commandments…. ”

    Salvation comes by one method only …. the blood of Jesus.

    Gloria

  9. January 22, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    Jesus also said it would be very difficult for a rich/wealthy person to enter the Kingdom of God. He made that very clear.

  10. January 22, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    Seth you said ” Man is perfected in the moment of repentence”….. please tell me where jesus said that? I do think repentence is very important, but am I perfected at that moment? I don’t think so.

    Thanks,
    gloria

  11. January 22, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    Mark,

    I recently finished a study on the book of Luke, and read that particular passage you are sharing here. I wresteled with it, and honestly felt deeply uncomfortable, because I could relate to the rich young man. Am I willing to sell everything and give to the pooor of Haiti? Am I willing to sell my home and belongings and share them with the people in my children’s homeland of Guatemala? Why am I content to think that supporting over seas ministries is enough when there are poor in my own home town? Ouch…….

    Jesus said it well when He said, that few rich men would enter the kingdom of God.

    We love our “things” way too much.

    Gloria

  12. January 22, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    FOF:

    I agree we should and hopefully “want to ” obey Christ. Our obedience comes from our heart. We obey because we love Him. Not because we wish to receive something.
    Honestly, I don’t know many Christians or Mormons who fulfill all that Christ asked of us. In all honesty precious few have the courage to be able to sell all they have and go and give to the poor. Have you? I sure have not. Shame on me. I am being dead serious.

    Thank goodness God is still working on this old heart of mine,

    gloria

    p.s. I want to share a blog of a young christian woman who has given up home, family, loved ones, a possible marriage, etc. for serving the poor in Uganda. Her blog has touched me profoundly. You may all wish to drop by and read:

    http://www.kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com

  13. 13 RLO
    January 22, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    Seth;

    You said, “Selling everything to the poor was simply the appropriate remedy for THIS particular man’s case.”

    I think I would agree with you, though with a slightly different reasoning.

    This man came to Jesus with a spiritual problem. He believed he had inherited eternal life by obedience to the law (evidenced by the man’s response, “All these I have kept since I was a boy”). Jesus’ command to the man, to sell all he had, is not necessarily a command for all Christians of all times, but rather for anyone with the same spiritual problem as the man in this account – a belief that eternal life is inherited by obedience to the law.

    When we come to Jesus thinking we’ve earned his grace, he has ways of showing us otherwise.

    Here are a few thoughts that come to mind:

    Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. (Romans 5:4-5) Notice it doesn’t say that God justifies the “perfect,” but says that God justifies the “wicked.”

    Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather through the law we become conscious of sin. (Romans 3:20) The Law was never meant to be a roadmap of the path to salvation; it was meant to be a roadmap showing all the dead ends along the true path to salvation. The true path to salvation is through the Gospel.

    for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:23-24) For the faithful, “…justified freely by his grace…” means just that. It’s “free,” and it’s “grace.” We don’t have to “earn” grace. We don’t have to “qualify” for grace. We don’t have to somehow make ourselves “worthy” of grace. Indeed, no one is even capable of doing any of these things. “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.” (Romans 3:28)

    For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:17) “…by faith from first to last…” No mention of “must obey” there, as was suggested earlier by FoF.

    Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace (Romans 4:16)

    and,

    It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. (Romans 9:16)

    and,

    What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith, but as if it were by works. (Romans 9:30-32)

    and,

    And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. (Romans 11:6)

    Grace has been defined as “undeserved merit,” or “receiving what you don’t deserve.”

    If someone could somehow make themselves “worthy” of grace through works and obedience, then that very grace simply ceases to be grace. It would become, rather, the wages paid for a man’s work.

    But back to the subject of “perfection.”

    God does demand perfection of us all. The difference (I believe) between mormons and Christians is that mormons actually go out and “try” to attain that perfection that is demanded of us all. Christians, on the other hand, recognize that they cannot possibly attain the perfection that is demanded of us all. God, in his word, tell us as much. So by faith and trust in the promise, the Christian recognizes that God himself provides to us, and for us, the very perfection he demands of us.

  14. 14 Echo
    January 22, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    Seth said: “Man is perfected in the moment of repentance Echo.”

    For each sin man overcomes he is perfected in that sin only, right? No unclean thing can enter the kingdom of heaven. What is man going to do with all the sin he has yet to overcome?

  15. 15 faithoffathers
    January 23, 2010 at 8:40 am

    I love the question from EVs when they ask a mormon “are you perfect?” It is such a convenient escape button. As if an inability to be perfect excuses a person from trying and striving. Seems superficial and cheap to me, but I suppose it works on some level for some folks.

    Echo: Mark implied we don’t have to do what Jesus said when he followed his recitation of the interaction between the rich young man and Jesus with the statement “I treasure the many Bible passages that tell me that I don’t have to achieve perfection.” This was followed by his question to me “Have you sold everything and given it to the poor?” It certainly seems to have been Marks point that at some level we don’t have to do what Christ said.

    Gloria- In my experience, the evangelical who denies the requirement for obedience finds a way of dismissing every verse in the Bible that suggests otherwise. The simple statement from Christ that you quoted (If ye love me, keep my commandments) could not be more simple and clear. Yet, EVs find a way to explain it away. Do you think Christ will live in heaven with people who don’t love Him? Is it possible to love Him without obeying Him?

    RLO- do you have the capacity to see into the motives of others? Can you judge the heart? Seems a remarkable thing to claim to know what motivates others to serve and obey.

    fof

  16. 16 Echo
    January 23, 2010 at 9:02 am

    FOF said: “Echo: Mark implied we don’t have to do what Jesus said when he followed his recitation of the interaction between the rich young man and Jesus with the statement “I treasure the many Bible passages that tell me that I don’t have to achieve perfection.” This was followed by his question to me “Have you sold everything and given it to the poor?” It certainly seems to have been Marks point that at some level we don’t have to do what Christ said.”

    He implied that we don’t have to be perfect. Jesus has already made us perfect.

    FOF said: “RLO- do you have the capacity to see into the motives of others? Can you judge the heart? Seems a remarkable thing to claim to know what motivates others to serve and obey.”

    The Bible reveals to us what motivates those who believe in salvation by faith and works.
    RLO is simply passing along God’s own words on the matter.

  17. 17 ADB
    January 23, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    FOF,

    “In my experience, the evangelical who denies the requirement for obedience finds a way of dismissing every verse in the Bible that suggests otherwise. The simple statement from Christ that you quoted (If ye love me, keep my commandments) could not be more simple and clear. Yet, EVs find a way to explain it away.”

    Of course from the Christian point of view, the LDS do the very same thing when it comes to dismissing every verse in the Bible that not only suggests, but clearly states that salvation is a free gift from God that no attempt at perfection can ever claim.

    So how does one harmonize the supposed contradiction?

    I prefer the EV take (and, as Scripture proclaims, the only correct take): I won’t pretend my failed efforts at perfection (and it might surprise you to hear that I do try daily, but, as you know, compelled by a completely different motivation than the LDS) can make me worthy of Christ’s Atonement. I refuse to water down Christ’s demand for perfection like the LDS and make it into some sort of “best shot” at perfection. In that light, Christ’s demand for perfection can only be taken as his pointing out our complete and utter inability to comply, and thus lead us to complete and utter reliance on him, his cross and empty tomb alone. Welcome to grace.

  18. 18 RLO
    January 23, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    FoF: “RLO- do you have the capacity to see into the motives of others?”

    Only to the extent of what they tell me they believe, and by what they say, and by what they do.

    FoF: “Can you judge the heart?”

    1 Samuel 16:7

    Fof: “Seems a remarkable thing to claim to know what motivates others to serve and obey.”

    Again, I can only consider what a persons tells me they believe, teach, confess, what they say, what they do, and to some extent by what the church they belong to professes.

    I have expressed what I perceive to be a difference between mormon belief and Christian belief. Perhaps you should try addressing that perception, rather than waging an ad hominem attack, falsely accusing me of judging the heart.

    Tell me why you feel my perception is inaccurate. Tell me, what you perceive to be the difference between mormon belief and Christian belief on the issue of works.

  19. 19 Echo
    January 23, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    FOF said: “In my experience, the evangelical who denies the requirement for obedience finds a way of dismissing every verse in the Bible that suggests otherwise. The simple statement from Christ that you quoted (If ye love me, keep my commandments) could not be more simple and clear. Yet, EVs find a way to explain it away. Do you think Christ will live in heaven with people who don’t love Him? Is it possible to love Him without obeying Him?”

    We do love him and want to obey him. Something you keep overlooking. Are you doing that intentionally? It certainly is something we have said over and over and over.

    Do you keep all of his commandments?

  20. 20 faithoffathers
    January 25, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    RLO,

    You said “mormons strive to be obedient out of obligation, making obedience a requirement in order to “qualify” for God’s grace. Christians strive to be obedient too. Though their obedience springs from a sense of gratitude for having already received God’s grace. The difference between the two is in the MOTIVE.” (EMPHASIS MINE)

    Hence my question for you about knowing the motives and hearts of others. As if you have any ability or grounds to say mormons do not obey God out of gratitude.

    Echo: You said “We do love him and want to obey him. Something you keep overlooking. Are you doing that intentionally? It certainly is something we have said over and over and over.”

    Notice my language- I referred to “the evangelical who denies the requirement for obedience.” I referred to those who do not believe obedience is REQUIRED. I didn’t say you didn’t “love him” or didn’t “want to obey him.”

    Do you believe you are required to obey Christ to be saved?

    fof

  21. 21 Echo
    January 25, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    FOF said: “Hence my question for you about knowing the motives and hearts of others. As if you have any ability or grounds to say mormons do not obey God out of gratitude.”

    Mormons don’t obey God out of gratitude for having already recieved God’s Grace. Hence the different motive.

    FOF said: “Notice my language- I referred to “the evangelical who denies the requirement for obedience.” I referred to those who do not believe obedience is REQUIRED. I didn’t say you didn’t “love him” or didn’t “want to obey him.” Do you believe you are required to obey Christ to be saved?”

    We deny that obedience is a requirement to be saved. Faith in Jesus is all that is required to be saved. And BECAUSE of that, we love him and want to obey him.

  22. 22 RLO
    January 26, 2010 at 3:04 am

    FoF:

    From my post #4 I said:

    “I think one of the things that distinguishes mormon beliefs from Christian beliefs is that word “must.” It seems to me, mormons strive to be obedient out of obligation, making obedience a requirement in order to “qualify” for God’s grace. Christians strive to be obedient too. Though their obedience springs from a sense of gratitude for having already received God’s grace. The difference between the two is in the motive.”

    From your post #20 you stated:

    “You said ‘mormons strive to be obedient out of obligation, making obedience a requirement in order to “qualify” for God’s grace. Christians strive to be obedient too. Though their obedience springs from a sense of gratitude for having already received God’s grace. The difference between the two is in the MOTIVE.'” (EMPHASIS MINE)

    That you intentionally left out my “I think…” sentence altogether, as well as leaving out the words, “It seems to me,…” from the sentence you did quote (or rather, misquoted), was disingenuous. It certainly suggests that you are attempting to give readers the false impression that I was judging the heart, while in fact, I was expressing a perception. Please, if you wish to quote me, I would appreciate you doing so in a manner that does not misrepresent what I have said.

    I will restate my original post, trying to be a little bit more emphatic and redundant in my expressions of perception, for your benefit:

    I THINK one of the things that distinguishes mormon beliefs from Christian beliefs is that word “must.” IT SEEMS TO ME, mormons strive to be obedient out of obligation. IT SEEMS TO ME mormons make obedience a requirement in order to “qualify” for God’s grace. Christians strive to be obedient too. Though their obedience springs from a sense of gratitude for having already received God’s grace. I PERCEIVE the difference between these two, the christian striving to be obedient, and the mormon striving to be obedient, to be one of motive.

    Now with this said, I would like to ask you again:

    Are you willing to tell me why you feel my perception is inaccurate? And are you willing to tell me what you perceive to be the difference between mormon belief and Christian belief on the issue of works?

    I’m interested in a meaningful, respectful, dialog of the issues. I’m interested in knowing what you believe and why you believe it. But I’m not at all interested in haggling over the way every little thing is worded. Nor am I interested in misrepresenting you, or in being misrepresented by you. And I am not interested in either launching, or being the recipient of, ad hominem attacks. I hope you are interested in the same.

  23. 23 RLO
    January 26, 2010 at 3:22 am

    FoF asked: “Do you believe you are required to obey Christ to be saved?”

    In a word, no.

    Christians don’t obey Christ to be saved;
    Christians obey Christ because they ARE saved.

    Or as I mentioned earlier:

    “It is not Christian obedience that leads to salvation. Rather, it is salvation that leads to Christian obedience.”

    FoF, do you understand the difference between these two statements? I’m not asking you to agree or disagree, I’m simply asking you if you understand the difference between these two statements.

    I’m sure that either Mark, or Echo, or I can and will provide biblical support for this, if you desire.

    FoF, do YOU believe you are “required” to obey Christ IN ORDER TO BE SAVED?

  24. 24 RLO
    January 26, 2010 at 3:26 am

    And,

    Do you believe you even HAVE THE ABILITY TO OBEY CHRIST before you are saved?

  25. 25 faithoffathers
    January 26, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Echo and RLO,

    To suggest that obedience is not required by Christ is a major misreading of the scriptures. We disagree on that- I cannot convince you, and you will not convince me.

    You ask if your perception of our belief is correct. I would say no. People are not that simple and easy to place into convenient categories.

    I think every Christian has elements of both guilt and gratitude built into their motivation for obedience. You are essentially saying that mormons only obey due to the guilt element, or the duty to obey and not out of gratitude. I simply think this is extremely naive and short-sighted.

    To look at my own life and ask what motivates me to obey God, a great deal of it comes from gratitude for what He has done for me. But at times, yes, I obey because I know it is the right thing to do and it is a requirement.

    Do you suggest that the Christian life- the life of discipleship- is one filled with constant gratitude that overflows and wipes away all of the barbs and difficulties inherent in “crossing” one’s self and overcoming the flesh? Is there no role for duty- the sober squaring of one’s shoulders and enduring those times when one doesn’t feel like being obedient? Or do you never experience those times?

    By saying your only motivation for obedience is gratitude, are you suggesting you always feel grateful? Or do you only obey commandments when you feel gratitude.

    Do you think it is possible to intellectually understanding that one has much to be grateful for, yet not feel overwhelming thankfulness at times? And would you downgrade a person’s efforts to obey when that feeling is not there, but when he has to rely on their mental remembrance of their indebtedness?

    Do I have the ability to obey Christ? Absolutely. Is man free? Absolutely. I can choose to not commit adultery? If that is not my choice, then God is the author of sin if I do not obey that law.

    fof

  26. 26 Echo
    January 26, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    FOF said: “I think every Christian has elements of both guilt and gratitude built into their motivation for obedience.”

    We have no guilt built into our motivation for obedience. Jesus took away all our guilt. Therefore everything we do is out of gratitude.

    FOF said: “You are essentially saying that mormons only obey due to the guilt element, or the duty to obey and not out of gratitude. I simply think this is extremely naive and short-sighted.”

    I think you should stop putting words in people’s mouth that they didn’t say. People don’t essentially say what you seem to think they say. Go with what they say, not with what you “think” they say because for the most part, what you “think” they are saying is wrong.

    What we are saying is that Mormons do NOT obey out of gratitude for the grace we have already recieved.

    FOF said: “I know many people from the evangelical community think they have figured out the formula for salvation that actually skirts around obedience and works. They think Christ didn’t actually mean what He said. But it seems such a twist of what is really very clear. Yes- we cannot save ourselves- only Christ can. But we must obey Him.”

    Christ said: “If you love me, keep my commandments”

    Do you keep his commandments? do you obey him?

  27. 27 RLO
    January 26, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    FoF stated:

    “To suggest that obedience is not required by Christ is a major misreading of the scriptures.”

    Then can you tell me FoF, what is your “read” on each of these passages that I provided earlier in this thread:

    “Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.” (Romans 5:4-5)

    “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather through the law we become conscious of sin.” (Romans 3:20)

    “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24)

    “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.” (Romans 3:28)

    “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)

    “Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace. (Romans 4:16)

    “It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” (Romans 9:16)

    “What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith, but as if it were by works.” (Romans 9:30-32)

    “And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” (Romans 11:6)

    No, FoF, what is a major misreading of scripture is the suggestion, YOUR SUGGESTION, that obedience IS REQUIRED by Christ for salvation. Such a suggestion crumbles in the light of these passages.

    For me, no further amount of scriptural evidence for this biblical truth is necessary.
    For you, it seems, no further amount of scriptural evidence for this biblical truth would be sufficient.

    Will you never see? Works and obedience are not NECESSARY FOR salvation; they are the EVIDENCE OF salvation.

    “For it is by grace you have been saved,through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)

    FoF asked: “Is there no role for duty- the sober squaring of one’s shoulders and enduring those times when one doesn’t feel like being obedient? Or do you never experience those times?”

    Do I ever experience those moments when I don’t feel like being obedient? Certainly. Even daily I dare say. And the reason is because the “new me” who is in Christ is still dragging that “old man” of flesh around with him. And will continue to do so until the day they are separated.

    FoF asked: “By saying your only motivation for obedience is gratitude, are you suggesting you always feel grateful?”

    What I do and what I feel often changes. All the more reason not to place the fate of my salvation upon what I DO, or upon what I FEEL. My salvation rests solely on what Christ has done for me.

    FoF said:

    “Do I have the ability to obey Christ? Absolutely. Is man free? Absolutely.”

    But the full question was, Do you believe you even have the ability to obey Christ before you are saved?

  28. January 26, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    FOF,

    I believe we should be obedient to the Lord. No doubt about it. Our obedience to Christ clearly shows our love for Him, and hopefully our desire to submitt our will to His. Obedience is important. I have never met a Christian yet, who would disagree. Our obedience stems from our new life in Christ Jesus, it is the “fruit” of our lives. Our obedience is as a “result” of Christ living within us, and the object of our obedience is to glorify HIM.

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  29. January 26, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    ” Christians don’t obey Christ to be saved; Christians obey Christ because they ARE saved”.

    AMen, and Amen.

  30. 30 Echo
    January 29, 2010 at 4:41 am

    Correction: I said: “Faith in Jesus is all that is required to be saved”
    I better clarify because it is subject to be misunderstood by some because of my poor choice of words. Faith is a gift from God. Grace is all that is required to be saved. That grace is appropriated “through” faith, not “because” of faith.

  31. 31 Echo
    January 29, 2010 at 4:45 am

    After re-reading my post, I am unhappy with how the paragraph beggining: “I think you should…” sounds. Please take it as a freindly suggestion. It sounds rather harsh to me now that I have re-read it and that was not my intent. My apologies for that.

  32. January 30, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    “Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.” (Romans 5:4-5)

    RLO,

    Not to sidetrack this post, but have you ever looked at what JS did to this verse (BTW, you made a typo. It is actually Chapter 4 not 5)? In his New Translation of The Bible Smith reworded verse 5 as follows.

    “But to him that seeketh not to be justified by the law of works, but believeth on him who justifieth not the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

    What is hilarious about this is how pitiful Smith’s understanding of the scripture was. Paul’s whole point was that we all are ungodly and need to be justified apart from our works (see Chapter 3:1-18), yet Smith changed it around to say that God will NOT justify the ungodly.

    How sad.

    Darrell

  33. 33 Echo
    January 30, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    Darrell,

    J.S. did turn that verse into a completely opposite message of God’s own scripture, God’s own word.

    And if God will not justify the ungodly as JS says, I don’t know one single LDS or Christian that will be justified because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

    It is only when we are perfect at all times and in all ways, that we are Godly.

  34. 34 RLO
    January 31, 2010 at 12:28 am

    Thanks for correcting the typing error, and yes, I was vaguely familiar with the JS translation of this passage. Perhaps one of the mormon readers here might be able to explain JS’s rational for changing the wording of this passage?


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