16
Feb
11

Feeling Overwhelmed

 

The Ensign (official LDS monthly magazine) has a regular column entitled “Questions and Answers”.  Each month a different question is posed with answers supplied by LDS members.  The February issue poses this question:  “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 by able to become or do all the Lord requires of me?”  This question is followed by the answers of eight different individuals.  (To see the whole article, go to www.lds.org/ensign)

What struck me was how all the answers acknowledged the struggle but put the burden back on the person.  The advice was to take it one step at a time; to keep priorities straight; obey the commandments; remember that the Lord is encouraging us, etc.  Not once was the Lord’s forgiveness mentioned. I wonder how these answers give true lasting relief.

Here’s my answer.

I can understand why you feel you aren’t measuring up.  You feel that way because you, or nobody else for that matter, can’t!  Sin has so devastated us that no matter how focused we are or how much effort we exert, we will fail.  Even the apostle Paul had to confess:  “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” (Romans 7:19)  Nothing is more sobering and overwhelming than taking a honest inventory of ourselves and seeing how often we don’t measure up to God’s commandments.

That is why God, in the Scriptures, tells us the wonderful news that Jesus has already done everything required – and he did all this, not just as our example, but mainly, as our substitute.  “by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous”. (Romans 5:19)

Seeing that is the secret to joy.  Seeing that God counts me as already perfect because Jesus was perfect for me instills a joy that is truly indescribable.  The key to joy is not focusing on your efforts, but on Christ’s efforts and the fact that he has already done all that is required for you.  That gives me joy each and every day.  I pray that you can have that same joy.

 

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88 Responses to “Feeling Overwhelmed”


  1. 1 Paula
    February 16, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I am finding this very same thing is going on in protestant evangelicalism lately too. It’s no wonder people can’t see the difference these days between Christianity and the LDS church. It’s essentially the same. Work work work to prove yourself worthy.

  2. 2 Ralph Peterson
    February 16, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    Well, thank goodness it isn’t as bad a you make it out to be.

    ‘Like many, I have had a difficult time combining spiritual priorities with the other demands of life. Being the mother of six children keeps me very busy, and it can be difficult to accomplish all the things I am supposed to do. One day, I finally took the matter to the Lord in prayer.

    ‘A few days later I was reading the story in Luke 10 about when the Savior came to visit Mary and Martha. Mary sat at the feet of the Savior listening to His words while Martha was busy getting the house ready for visitors. Martha asked the Savior to “bid [Mary] therefore that she help me” (verse 40). I imagine that she also wanted to hear what the Savior was teaching and thought that with Mary’s help, she might be able to sit down at the Savior’s feet more quickly. In verse 41 and 42, Jesus said, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

    ‘“But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

    ‘I felt the Spirit whisper to me that like Martha, I was careful and troubled about many things, and because of that, I was not doing the needful things.

    ‘I have since adjusted my priorities. Instead of saying, “If I have time I will read my scriptures,” I now say, “I will read my scriptures and then accomplish what I can.” In time, peace returned to my life because I knew I was doing the things that Heavenly Father wanted me to do first.

    ‘It is easy to be like Martha when there are many things—often good things—that need our time, but I now find I am able to accomplish so much more because my mind is focused on Heavenly Father’s will and His purposes for me. I know that if I continue to put the Lord first, He will bless me with strength, peace, and joy.’

    Kristine Nelson, Arizona, USA
    http://lds.org/ensign/2011/02/questions-and-answers?lang=eng

    The rest are similar.

    As Paul said,
    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:
    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:

  3. 3 jcroz1
    February 16, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    If deeds/works are what are required to bring about our salvation, why then would Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (2:8) state: “For it is by grace you have been saved,through faith, AND THIS NOT OF YOURSELVES [emphasis added] so that no one can boast”?

    It’s the difference between living a life that is infused with the blessed gift of God’s Own Grace and living a life where we can NEVER be sure of what we’ve earned, regardless of how many hours we spend reading scripture, praying, volunteering or “resetting our priorities.”

    Being alive in God’s Grace means that I (along with all believers in Christ) am God’s priority, one that He will never “reset” or “reorganize.” How can I be so sure of this? Because I have God’s promise. And according to Hebrews 6:18 we are assured that it is impossible for God to lie. His promises are true and forever.

  4. 4 Ralph Peterson
    February 16, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    That is easy!

    Salvation is GIVEN to the obedient. Obedience doesn’t save us, Jesus does, but He only saves the obedient. No matter how obedient we are, we can NOT save ourselves.

    So there you have it. It is by grace (a gift) that we are saved through faith (the Gospel of Jesus Christ), and it is not of yourselves (because we can never do it on our own) so that no one can boast.

    Similar to what this web site says;
    http://www.evangelicaloutreach.org/believing.htm

    Notice that this is an Evangelical site, not an LDS site.

  5. 5 jcroz1
    February 16, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    But 2 Corinthians 5:14 tells us that Christ died for ALL [emphasis added.] It does not indicate that He did only for the obedient (that’s kind of a big detail, you’d think God would have inspired the epistle writer to pen “Christ died for all the obedient” if such were the case.)
    We are also reminded in the previously mentioned Ephesians passage that our salvtion is a GIFT.I have gotten lots of gifts in my life; I’ve also been on the giving end of a good many of them. We give gifts to people we love and cherish for a multitude of reasons—holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and sometimes for no specific reason at all. Of all the gifts I’ve given and received, I don’t recall a single one of them being given or received because somebody was obedient enough to have received it. Sometimes money or goods are given to someone for a job they’ve done well–mowing the grass, washing the car, house-sitting while my family is on vacation—those aren’t considered gifts. those are considered rewards or even wages, materials bartered in exchange for a service rendered.
    God has no real use for our pitiful attempts at being perfect enough to keep His Law perfectly. That is why Isaiah wrote in Chapter 64: 16 “..ALL [emphasis added] our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind, our sins sweep us away.” They cannot save us. Only His love made perfect in the sacrifice of Christ can do that.

  6. 6 Ralph Peterson
    February 16, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    He did die for all. And because He was resurrected, ALL shall be resurrected as well.

    In this sense, all are partakers of a form of salvation, all are saved from physical death.
    1 Cor. 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive.

    John 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which ALL that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
    29 And shall come forth; THEY THAT HAVE DONE GOOD, unto the RESURRECTION OF LIFE; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

    “Resurrection of life” meaning Eternal life with God, the Father.

    ‘That is why Isaiah wrote in Chapter 64: 16 “..ALL [emphasis added] our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind, our sins sweep us away.” They cannot save us. Only His love made perfect in the sacrifice of Christ can do that.’

    Isa 64:7 And there is NONE that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and HAST CONSUMMED US, BECAUSE OF OUR INIQUITIES.

    Isaiah is referring to the wicked and impenitent in that verse, and of course their “righteous acts are like filthy rags”, because they aren’t righteous but are wicked.

    I think you need to re-read my last post. Doing good doesn’t save us, Jesus does, but He only saves those that have done good.

  7. 7 jcroz1
    February 17, 2011 at 12:08 am

    If Jesus only saves “those that have done good,” then why would He bother to save the thief who was crucified next to Him? The Roman Empire reserved crucifixion not for the pick-pocket or slanderer, but for those who had performed horribly egregious acts. How could a life of depravity lived by a man who was sentenced to the ultimate in capital punishment be considered “obedient” and worthy of salvation? If your argument holds,then Jesus, by right, should have said to the thief, “Thanks for the support here. But you know, your life was a terrible example of disobedience and sin, so I can’t offer you eternal life with me. Sorry.”

    Also by right, He should have gone around Palestine praising the Pharisees for their stunning acts of sacrifice in keeping the Law and living lives of strict obedience.

    The law condemns. God’s Grace saves. Romans 6:23 tells us that “The wages of sin are death. But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” And, as I said before, gifts aren’t given to people who “earn them.” If you have to DO something to “earn” salvation, then it’s counted as a wage, and it’s no longer a gift.

  8. 8 markcares
    February 17, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Ralph:
    You are proving my point. Mormonism and Mormons focus on their efforts to improve – even when they are overwhelmed. Even the section of the article you quoted was talking about what she had to do- change her priorities. Let me make my point again. The silence about the Lord’s forgiveness in the article and also in your responses speak volumes.

  9. 9 Ralph Peterson
    February 17, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Ever notice that the thief didn’t get to heaven but rather paradise? Three days later, Jesus still hadn’t been to heaven.

    ‘The Roman Empire reserved crucifixion not for the pick-pocket or slanderer, but for those who had performed horribly egregious acts.’

    Like those committed by Jesus, right?

    ‘Also by right, He should have gone around Palestine praising the Pharisees for their stunning acts of sacrifice in keeping the Law and living lives of strict obedience.’

    They weren’t obeying the commandments of God but rather the commandments of men.
    Matt. 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye TO HAVE DONE, and not to leave the other undone.

    You still aren’t getting it. You are wanting to insert the word “earn” into the conversation where it doesn’t belong. We do not “earn” salvation. We CANNOT “earn” salvation. It is BEYOND our ability to “earn”. It is a gift that God gives to the obedient.

    Also, I would recommend that you reread that link I provided.

  10. 10 Ralph Peterson
    February 17, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Similar to Peter.

    2 Peter 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
    5 And beside this, GIVING ALL DILIGENCE, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
    6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
    7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; 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.

    And Paul.
    1 Cor 9: 24 Know ye not that they which run in a race RUN ALL, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
    25 And every man that STRIVETH FOR THE MASTERY is temperate in ALL things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

    Humm, we DO it to obtain an incorruptible crown!

    And repentance (turning from sin to obedience) brings forgiveness.

    Luke 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

    Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    Acts 3:19 ¶ Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

    Acts 8:22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.

  11. 11 jcroz1
    February 17, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Ralph:

    The sacrifice of the perfecly innocent Jesus sharing the same sentence as the hideously perverse is what offers us our salvation, not our “obeidence” to a set of principles. It was Jesus’ obedience to the Law that gained our incorruptible crowns, not anything we had, have or could do ourselves.
    Romans 5:18-19 tells us “Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for ALL [emphasis added] people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for ALL [emphasis added] people. For just as through the disobedience of ONE MAN [emphasis added]the many were made sinners, so through the obedience of THE ONE MAN [emphasis added]the many will be made righteous.”
    Christ became the obedient one we can never hope to be, and satisfied the requirement of the Law in our stead. Because, as God told Noah after the flood waters had receded, “every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood”(Gen. 8: 21), we are in no position to achieve obedience on our own. Only Christ’s perfect life and innocent death can do that.

  12. February 17, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    Pr. Mark, I don’t know why you open up the comment section on your blog so Mormons can make idiots out of themselves, like Ralph.

  13. 13 RLO
    February 17, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Joseph S;

    Go to the top of this page, just under where it says Markcares’s Weblog. See that little word, “about”? Click on it. It will tell you a little about Mark Cares, and why he does what he does. Also, you should consider picking up and reading his book, “Speaking The Truth In Love To Mormons.” Perhaps you would learn something. As for your inflammatory post, it accomplishes nothing. No fellow Christian I know who is acting in love calls another person an idiot. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    RLO

  14. 14 Echo
    February 17, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Joseph,

    Your comment calling Ralph an “idiot” is totally unacceptable, your not acting in love.
    Ralph is not an idiot.

    If you don’t genuinely love Mormons, please stop posting on this blog.

  15. 15 Ralph Peterson
    February 17, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    jcroz1,

    That is a nice scripture and it doesn’t preclude anything I have said or believe.

    We are made righteous when we obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ by exercising faith in Him, repenting of our sins (thus bringing forgiveness), being baptized, etc.

    When we repent of our sins, we are forgiven of them, in this way, we become righteous. It is through the atonement of Christ that repentance and forgiveness are made available to us and effectual for us.

    Acts 5:31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, FOR TO GIVE REPENTANCE TO ISRAEL, AND FORGIVENESS OF SINS.

    Without this gift of repentance and forgiveness we could never be cleansed from our sins. We would be doomed forever under the power of the evil one.

    Just as Christ was righteous because He was perfectly obedient, we become righteous when we repent and become obedient, just like these individuals did;

    Matt 23:35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of RIGHTEOUS Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.

    Matt. 21:32 For John came unto you in the way of RIGHTEOUSNESS, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

    Luke 1:5 ¶ THERE was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.
    6 And they were both RIGHTEOUS BEFORE GOD, walking in ALL the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

    And there is this to consider.
    Acts 10:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and WORKETH RIGHTEOUSNESS, is accepted with him.

  16. 18 jcroz1
    February 17, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Ralph,

    You are going to have to explain what it is you mean by “obedience” and how this leads to our salvation. I am confused at what is seemingly your premise, that “We cannot save ourselves,” yet we cannot be saved unless we are “obedient.” How are you able to reconcile these two diametrically opposed statements?

  17. 19 Echo
    February 17, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Joseph, You misunderstand the definition of polemics.

    Calling someone an “idiot” is showing contempt for your neighbor. This is a sin.

    We always want to refute false doctrine, we may even aggressively refute false doctrine at times, however we will always do it with the welfare of our hearers in mind, and all the while treating people themselves at all times with the utmost love and respect.

    Aggression against false doctrine…yes
    Aggression against those who believe in false doctrine…no

    You need to make a distinction between “doctrine” and “people”

    False doctrine can potentially harm or destroy people. We want to rescue people from the harm or destruction caused by false doctrine therefore we will refute false doctrine sometimes aggressively but we do it out of love and respect for those people who are caught up in believing the false teaching.

    See the difference?

  18. 20 Ralph Peterson
    February 17, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    “How are you able to reconcile these two diametrically opposed statements?”

    They are not diametrically opposed.

    Consider this parable.

    You are walking along and fall into a hole. The hole (sin and death) is too deep for you to get out on your own. Jesus comes along and provides you a ladder (repentance and obedience). You use the ladder and climb as high as you can. BUT you are still short of getting out. It is still beyond your reach. Jesus, seeing that you have used His ladder, now reaches down and grabs you by the hand and lifts (saves/forgives) you out.

    Who saved you? Jesus!

    Who provide the vehicle to get within His reach? Jesus!

    Did climbing the ladder as high as you could save you? No!

    Did you “earn” your salvation? No!

  19. 21 jbr
    February 18, 2011 at 1:19 am

    Ralph….

    That wasn’t what one calls a parable … if you’re going to use imagination, this is more accurate:

    You are walking along and fall into a hole. The hole (sin and death) is too deep for you to get out on your own.

    You have one of two options:

    1) You get out the hole pefectly on your own

    2) Believe Jesus does it for you perfectly


    If you try …you will fall short and be ressurected and condemned as a total failure

    or

    Believe Jesus did it for you.. heavenly father declares you perfect and live with him forever

    Sorry….”do all you can do and God does the rest” isn’t the gospel Jesus revealed

  20. 22 jcroz1
    February 18, 2011 at 1:56 am

    Ralph,

    I see where you’re going with your “parable,” but it lacks the definition of what you declare “obedience” to be. I have to agree with jbr’s last line in that “‘do all you can do and God does the rest’ isn’t the Gospel Jesus revealed.”

    What is obedience, exactly?

  21. 23 Kent
    February 18, 2011 at 4:37 am

    Do be obedient we need to believe in Jesus and good works will follow. It is finished, end of story as he already did everything for us on the cross!

    John 6:28-29
    28Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
    29Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

    John 19:28-30
    28After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

    29Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.

    30When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

  22. 24 Echo
    February 18, 2011 at 6:47 am

    Ralph,

    What can truly save you? Satan’s ladder or Jesus’ blood?

    The thing you don’t understand is that being obedient means being perfect.

    If a criminal no longer murders but still steals, he is NOT obedient to the law. He must obey the whole law perfectly in order to be considered obedient. There is no ladder to heaven.

    Jesus’ blood is the only way!

  23. 25 Ralph Peterson
    February 18, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Well, let’s look at a sampling of New Testament verses that mention obedience/obey/do.

    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.
    . . .
    24 ¶ Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

    Luke 11:28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

    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.

    Acts 5:29 ¶ Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

    Rom. 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

    Rom. 15:18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,

    2 Cor. 2:9 For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.

    2 Cor. 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
    6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

    Philip. 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

    Heb. 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

    1 Pet. 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

    Now let’s look at some New Testament verse that mention keeping the commandments.

    Matt. 19:17 . . . but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

    John 14:15 ¶ 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.

    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.
    5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

    1 Jn. 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

    1 Jn. 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
    3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

    1 Cor. 7:19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

    Rev. 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

    Rev. 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

    Does this help?

  24. 26 jacroz1
    February 18, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    So by “obedience,” you are refering to the 10 Commandments as given to Moses on Mt. Sinai by God?

  25. February 18, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Yep, you guys have never read Galatians have you?

    Boy I tell you, that Apostle Paul was sure unloving when he wished the false teachers would emasculate themselves.

    “I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!” – Galatians 5:12 (ESV)

    emas·cu·late
    verb \i-ˈmas-kyə-ˌlāt\
    emas·cu·lat·edemas·cu·lat·ing
    Definition of EMASCULATE
    transitive verb
    1
    : to deprive of strength, vigor, or spirit : weaken
    2
    : to deprive of virility or procreative power : castrate

  26. 28 Ralph Peterson
    February 18, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Echo,

    If you want to provide a parable or an analogy to describe YOUR theology, then go ahead.

    But it is rude to attempt to tell me what I believe, or attempt to misrepresent my parable/analogy.

    Jesus provides the ladder. He did so by His perfect life, His suffering for sin, His death and His resurrection.

  27. 29 jacroz1
    February 18, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    If you are refering to the 10 Commandments of God’s Law, then you must recognize that even though Scripture demands our perfect adherence to them, it also tells us that we cannot hope to fulfill them. At all.

    Romans 3:20 tells us that “…no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the Law; rather, through the Law, we become conscious of sin.”

    What does our Consciouness of sin lead us to understand? That we are weak and helpless creatures, who have hope ONLY through the Blood of Christ’s perfect life & innocent death. To say that “Jesus died to only to save “part” of me (the part that “keeps the commandments”) cheapens His entire sacrifice. It’s like saying, “Well, thanks Jesus. You got me halfway there. Now I guess the rest is up to me. Too bad your sacrifice was so incomplete and imperfect. I really don’t have much hope in pulling this off myself. Nice try though.”

    2 Cor. 5:21 continues the explanation of Christ’s work as our substitute by telling us that “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in HIM we might become the righteousness of God.” It doesn’t specify that Jesus was sacrificed for only a partial lifetime of our sins, but actually took on ALL our sins so that we can freely stand in God’s presence.

    And what of Isaiah 53:6? “The Lord laid on Him the inquity of us all”? It does not indicate only a partial inquity-laying, nor does it reference a specific group of the semi-sinless who have been “given a ladder” to climb out of the depth of their sin. The reference is specifically to “iniquity” and is offered for ALL.

  28. 30 Echo
    February 18, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    James 2:10 “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking ALL OF IT.”

    NO ladder! One sin and the ladder falls down!

  29. 31 Kent
    February 18, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Mormons, it is finished just accept the free gift Jesus gave all of us on the cross to everyone who believes on His name!

    It isn’t about what we do as we can never live up to the perfection Heavenly Father demands even if did have 10,000 lifetimes in which to do it as sin can not be in His presence ever and, as Echo pointed out, even one sin and it all comes tumbling down.

    But He already did it for us 2000 years ago and it is all about Him and what He did for all of us!

    Sounds simple but yes, it is that simple and we are to have a child like faith so the children understand it, so can believe it too.

  30. 32 Kent
    February 18, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Ralph said,

    “Jesus provides the ladder. He did so by His perfect life, His suffering for sin, His death and His resurrection.”

    Ralph, He doesn’t provide a ladder but His loving arms to hold us and take us up with Him as if it is just a ladder, then we can fall off of it, but we can never fall out of his arms!

    Matthew 11:28-30

    28 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

    29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

    30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

    His yoke and burden is believing in Him as He did all the work for all of us!

  31. 33 Ralph Peterson
    February 18, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    1 Cor. 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

    That verse is very explicit that we ARE able to avoid sin. The problem is we choose to sin.

    The 10 commandments are the letter of the law. Jesus clarified some of them with explanations of the spirit of the law.

    Matt 5:17 ¶ Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
    18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
    19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but WHOSOEVER SHALL DO AND TEACH THEM, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
    20 For I say unto you, That EXCEPT YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS SHALL EXCEED THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
    21 ¶ Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
    22 BUT I SAY UNTO YOU, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
    23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
    24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
    25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.
    26 Verily I SAY UNTO YOU, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.
    27 ¶ Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
    28 BUT I SAY UNTO YOU, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
    29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
    30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
    31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
    32 BUT I SAY UNTO YOU, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
    33 ¶ Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
    34 BUT I SAY UNTO YOU, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:
    35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
    36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
    37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
    38 ¶ Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
    39 BUT I SAY UNTO YOU, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
    40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.
    41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
    42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
    43 ¶ Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
    44 BUT I SAY UNTO YOU, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

    These are the teachings of Jesus. He forces no one to accept them.

    If you aren’t obeying these commandments may I suggest that you obey this commandment; (Acts 3:19) ¶ Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

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

    Luke 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

  32. 34 Echo
    February 18, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Try reading those verses again and putting the best construction on them.

  33. February 20, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    It must be overwhelming to constantly know that you’ll have a ladder to climb…it never ends. Always “the ladder” in the after life, just when are there no more ladders, Ralph?

    When that time comes…then what? Are you then god?

  34. February 20, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Ralph said,“Jesus provides the ladder. He did so by His perfect life, His suffering for sin, His death and His resurrection.”

    and Kent replied, “Ralph, He doesn’t provide a ladder but His loving arms to hold us and take us up with Him”

    It is hard to think that Christ does all the work for us because we love God so much that we want to DO something to demonstrate that love. And we ARE asked to “do works” in order to perfect our faith.

    Is it possible for us to do both? Can we 1) believe fully in Christ’s work as the complete work required to ensure our eternal position with God, and 2) live in such a way, through our words and actions, that we demonstrate our trust in Christ, and Him alone? For example, He might illuminate a situation in which I am acting fearfully by being more concerned with the response of a person rather than God, or He might ask me to express the depth of love I am feeling for someone even if it is outside what norm of what is socially acceptable. Wouldn’t I be “doing good works” by trusting in Christ rather than others in these situations?

  35. February 21, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    ckuhrasch:……….”And we ARE asked to “do works” in order to perfect our faith.”

    If I’m reading correctly no, we are not. Your focus of Hebrews 10:14 is incorrect.

    God declares those perfect “by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever” by faith. Our works do not perfect our faith when a person believes Jesus is the subsitute. There is nothing “we” are asked to do to in addition to “perfect” what Jesus has made.

  36. 38 cindy
    February 21, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    Hi jbr, I’m sorry if I was unclear, but please don’t misinterpret what I said. I am not saying that we should to do ANYTHING to add to the work of Christ for our eternal life with God. But James does say that is it our works that demonstrate the reality of our faith in Christ…so faith without works really just demonstrates that we don’t have faith in Christ at all.

    What I am suggesting is that perhaps the works we do as a result of having faith in Christ; in trusting Christ’s love for us more than anyone or anything else in this world; would be different from the works that we do if we are trying to help gain our exaltation. If we believe that we are already perfect in the sight of God, we won’t need to do worry about how we should be cooperating with Christ to earn the best level of heaven for ourselves.

    But because it is hard for us to accept the idea that God sees us as perfect, we will constantly (at least I do this) be tempted to try to do things that would appease Him-brown-noser that I am. Instead, I want to be open to His refining of my faith in which He challenges me to do things that are only possible if I DO rely completely on Him…you know, those times when you someone gives you a compliment and you know that it was your weakness in Christ that enabled you to rely on Him…you should witness Him, but it sure feels good to take the compliment…plus, at least for me…I might cry. Or those other times when your boss makes a strong statement that demeans someone of faith and you know you should witness yours…basically anytime when we know that the responses we want from others and the truth we know about Christ come into conflict. Maybe this is just me, but I sure feel the truth of these kinds of opportunities lately..I guess I must need practice!

  37. 39 Ralph Peterson
    February 22, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    So, it was finished BEFORE He died and was resurrected?. Then why did He do those things if they were unnecessary?

  38. 40 Ralph Peterson
    February 24, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Now I am even more confused by this “it is finished” thing.

    In Mark’s new post he says;
    “The only thing that qualifies people is the vicarious work of Jesus . . . his sacrificial death which satisfied divine justice by paying the debt of sin. In other words, Jesus not only supplied the payment for all sin with his death;”

    So again, how could it be “finished” PRIOR to His death?

    Anyone?

  39. 41 Echo
    February 24, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    John 19:30 “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” WITH THAT, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

    Death was immediately imminent, no turning back.

    Romans 4:25 ” He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”

  40. 42 Ralph Peterson
    February 25, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    “Death was immediately imminent, no turning back”?

    What a bunch of drivel.

    John 10:18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

    Jesus had the power to stop it AT ANY TIME!!!!!

    You have absolutely NO BASIS to claim “it is finished” applies to ALL that needed to be done. It can ONLY be applied to the suffering portion of HIS overall mission. It has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with what we need to do.

  41. 43 Echo
    February 25, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Ralph said: “Jesus had the power to stop it AT ANY TIME!!!!!”

    Who said that he didn’t?

    Ralph said: “You have absolutely NO BASIS to claim “it is finished” applies to ALL that needed to be done. It can ONLY be applied to the suffering portion of HIS overall mission. It has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with what we need to do.”

    Jesus himself claimed it was finished. The apostle Paul believed it was finished also…

    1 Cor. 2:2 “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

  42. 44 Ralph Peterson
    February 25, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    “Jesus himself claimed it was finished.”

    And OBVIOUSLY what He meant is different from what you want it to mean.

    . . .
    “The apostle Paul believed it was finished also…”

    Something that he did NOT say, but what you are trying to force into it. Notice also that Paul said, “and him crucified”. The act of being “crucified” wasn’t finished until AFTER the “it is finished” statement.

    Also notice that Paul also says, (Acts 26:23) That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.

    Christ wasn’t the raised “from the dead” UNTIL three days AFTER “it is finished”.

    And the “light unto the . . . Gentiles” didn’t occur until some time later. (Likely months, possibly years later.)

  43. 45 Echo
    February 25, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Ralph said: “And OBVIOUSLY what He meant is different from what you want it to mean.”

    I get my meaning from scripture ALONE, you are the one who relies on sources outside of the Bible to dictate to you what is means. That’s idolatry. Idolatry ends with fatal consequences.

    Ralph said: “Also notice that Paul also says, (Acts 26:23) That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles. Christ wasn’t the raised “from the dead” UNTIL three days AFTER “it is finished”. And the “light unto the . . . Gentiles” didn’t occur until some time later. (Likely months, possibly years later.)”

    The light being spoken of is the realization of the finished work of Jesus Christ crucified.

    The apostle Paul believed it was finished also for the light that he spoke about was this…

    1 Cor. 2:2 “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

  44. 46 Ralph Peterson
    February 25, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    “I get my meaning from scripture ALONE, you are the one who relies on sources outside of the Bible to dictate to you what is means.”

    Excuse me while I laugh at that one.

    Your whole argument is ridiculously laughable. You have no basis, scriptural or otherwise to support your position.

    “It is finished” doesn’t apply to all of Christ’s work and it certainly doesn’t apply to what he requires from us.

    “The apostle Paul believed it was finished also for the light that he spoke about was this…”

    Something that he did NOT say, but what you are trying to force into it. Notice also that Paul said, “and him crucified”. The act of being “crucified” wasn’t finished until AFTER the “it is finished” statement.

    Also notice that IN THE SAME EPISTLE, Paul says this, (1 Cor 15:)1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel WHICH I PREACHED UNTO YOU, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
    2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
    3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
    4 AND THAT HE WAS BURIED, AND THAT HE ROSE AGAIN THE THIRD DAY ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES:

    So, there you have it. Paul, in the SAME EPISTLE contradicts what you are claiming he meant.

  45. 47 Ralph Peterson
    February 25, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Oh and let’s not forget these gems. From the SAME EPISTLE, (1 Cor 15)12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
    13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
    14 And IF CHRIST BE NOT RISEN, then is our preaching vain, and YOUR FAITH IS ALSO VAIN.

  46. 48 Echo
    February 25, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    Ralph said: “Excuse me while I laugh at that one.”

    See how arrogant and pride filled you are? You only prove that Christians are right when they say that Mormons boast. Boasting comes from pride. Faith without works is dead Ralph.

    Ralph: “AND THAT HE WAS BURIED, AND THAT HE ROSE AGAIN THE THIRD DAY ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES: So, there you have it. Paul, in the SAME EPISTLE contradicts what you are claiming he meant.”

    He doesn’t contradict what I said at all. Your just too busy trying to attack rather than listening to and trying to understand what I say.

  47. 49 Ralph Peterson
    February 25, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Talking about attacks!!!!!!

    “See how arrogant and pride filled you are?”

    Why is it Echo, that you seem to always resort to personal attacks when you are losing an argument?

    Further “discussion” with you is a waste of time.

  48. 50 Echo
    February 25, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Ralph. You attacked, I simply pointed out your sin.

    Sinning is condemned in scripture, pointing out sins is supported in scripture.

  49. 51 Echo
    February 25, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Ralph, how long are you going to fight against the truth about yourself? Do you think you can stand in the judgment when God points out your sins and say to him: “your personally attacking me!…” ?

    NOW is the time to admit the truth about yourself! Give up on yourself! There is NO WAY you will be able to get on the ladder to heaven! Admit it! God wants truth from you! Tell him the truth! Stop fighting against the truth! It’s ONLY when you admit the truth about yourself, that you will then be ready to meet the true Jesus of the Bible. But now you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of judgment. Outer darkness awaits!

  50. 52 Ralph Peterson
    February 25, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    I attacked your argument. Where have I attacked you personally?

    Ad hominem or personal attacks are use do deflect from the fact that you are losing the argument.

  51. 53 Ralph Peterson
    February 25, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    Thank God that He is my judge not you.

  52. 54 Echo
    February 25, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    I am not your judge, he is. And he has judged you already “through” me. For I am not judging you by my word, but it is God’s very own word that is judging you through me.

  53. 55 Kent
    February 28, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Romans 4:4-5:

    “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

    But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

    So regarding whether Jesus merely provided the ladder for us to climb to heaven by our own works as compared to trusting in what Jesus did in our place on the cross, the above passage clearly says that if we choose to try to get there by our own works, we will always be in debt but if we believe in Him (Jesus) our faith in Him is counted for righteusness.

    So Mormons, choose the loving arms of Jesus who will never leave you or foresake you and He will take you to heaven instead of always trying to climb the ladder that at any time you can fall off of.

  54. 56 Ralph Peterson
    February 28, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Romans 4:4-5:
    “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

    But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

    These verses are consistent with my analogy/parable, because, climbing the ladder isn’t what saves you. Jesus is what saves you.

    And remember,
    James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
    • • •
    20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
    • • •
    26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

    1 Thes. 1:3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

  55. March 1, 2011 at 12:16 am

    I understand that you are saying that the ladder as the gift from Christ that allows us to work without the works being apart from faith, but given that, I don’t understand why Joseph Smith thought it was necessary to rewrite those verses in Romans to read as follows:

    “Now to him who is justified by the law of works, is the reward reckoned, not of grace, but of debt.

    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.”

    It seems as though Joseph thought that the works were the thing that earned the reward. And I watch my dear Mormon friends trying to live up to that lifestyle because they love God so much…

  56. 58 Echo
    March 1, 2011 at 12:40 am

    Ralph said: ” “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
    But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” These verses are consistent with my analogy/parable, because, climbing the ladder isn’t what saves you. Jesus is what saves you.”

    Ralph, the moment you attempt to put one foot on the first rung of the ladder, you’re working. “To him that worketh is the reward NOT reckoned of grace”

    “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

    Ralph said: “James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works:”

    Works have no place when discussing how a person gets saved. Works come into the picture AFTER a person is saved.

  57. 59 Ralph Peterson
    March 1, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    The problem is that Paul’s writings are easy to misunderstand.

    In these verses “the law of works” is referring to the law of Moses. Paul is making a distinction between the law of Moses and the law of Christ/the gospel of Christ or “faith”.

    The works of the law of Moses were done away with, but the Jewish converts were having a very hard time giving them up.

    Abraham didn’t have the law of Moses but did have the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Works of righteousness ARE part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Works of the law of Moses are NOT part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Abraham was justified by works of righteousness/obedience.
    James 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
    22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

    Abraham was not justified by works of the law of Moses.
    Rom. 4:2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

    Gal. 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

    “It seems as though Joseph thought that the works were the thing that earned the reward.”
    You obviously have not read much of his works.

    Moro. 10:32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
    33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.

  58. March 1, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Ralph,

    Does it matter what works we use to try to gain righteousness? No matter who determines the works, won’t they still result in our belief that we have a part in our salvation?

    I think that is why, although Abraham’s faith was made perfect through works, it was his faith that initiated them and for which he was counted righteous…

    “For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. Romans 4:3 For what saith the scripture ? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. ”

    But isn’t Joseph saying the exact opposite?

    “Now to him who is justified by the law of works, is the reward reckoned”

    And doesn’t he ask for works, even though he describes it as denying all ungodliness? I mean, isn’t don’t we deny ourselves of all ungodliness by obeying all the commandments? Isn’t that still all about us and not Christ?

  59. 61 Ralph Peterson
    March 1, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    “Does it matter what works we use to try to gain righteousness?”

    Righteous is “gained” by obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The first three principles are;

    1) Exercising Faith in Christ.
    2) Repenting of your sins.
    3) being Baptized for the remission of sins.

    With these “works”, your sins are forgiven/remitted. At that point you are declared “righteous”/free from sin. At this point you are at the top of the ladder.

    From then on it is a matter of retaining this righteousness by being obedient to the commandments and when/if you fail to repent to maintain this righteousness.

    That is why God then gives us another grace,
    4) the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

    This gift/grace helps us in the maintenance/sanctification process.

    Rom. 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
    2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
    • • •
    4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
    5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
    • • •
    9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
    10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
    11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

    “No matter who determines the works, won’t they still result in our belief that we have a part in our salvation?”
    We ARE part of our salvation. We choose to have faith, we choose to repent, we choose to be baptized, we choose to obey. People who think that they are not a part of their salvation don’t study the New Testament as a whole, but rather limit themselves to a few verses out of context.

    “I think that is why, although Abraham’s faith was made perfect through works, it was his faith that initiated them and for which he was counted righteous…”
    Agreed. If he didn’t have faith he wouldn’t have done them. If he wouldn’t have done them he didn’t have faith. Faith and obedience/works of righteousness are two sides of the same coin. Abraham obeyed God and it was imputed to him for righteousness (meaning that his sins were forgiven).

    “For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. Romans 4:3 For what saith the scripture ? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. ”

    When it says Abraham believed God, it clearly means that he OBEYED God. True belief requires obedience.

    “But isn’t Joseph saying the exact opposite?”
    No.

    “Now to him who is justified by the law of works (OF THE LAW,OF MOSES) is the reward reckoned”

    “And doesn’t he ask for works, even though he describes it as denying all ungodliness?”
    He is asking for obedience to God, which is nothing more than what God asks for.

    “I mean, isn’t don’t we deny ourselves of all ungodliness by obeying all the commandments?”
    Yes.

    You seem to be “teaching” that we don’t need to keep the commandments. You seem to be complaining that Joseph Smith taught that we need to keep the commandments. Yet what did JESUS teach about this topic?
    Matt 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    Jesus also taught that, (Matt. 4:4) But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

    And,
    Matt. 28:20 Teaching them to observe ALL things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

    “Isn’t that still all about us and not Christ?”
    No. You are presenting a false dichotomy. It isn’t all or nothing. Christ has His part in our salvation and we have our part.

  60. 62 Echo
    March 1, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Ralph, the Joseph Smith translation of the bible states this: “but believeth on him who justifieth not the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

    The claim that YOU believe is that God doesn’t justify the ungodly. (whereas the Bible states the opposite…”God justifies the UNGODLY” (Romans 4:5)

    Now you have proven time and again that you are ungodly here in this blog by your sins, which I have lost count of because they are many. (I am not pointing out your sins to harm you but to help you, so there is no need for you to sin further by attacking me for what you yourself have chosen to do. Be a man, take the sole responsibility for your sins! Or be a coward and sin further by attempting to drag me down with you because I in obedience to God point them out to you! It won’t work, you alone are guilty! You alone are stubborn, you alone are unrepentant. You alone will reap God’s wrath and anger…

    Romans 2:5-8 applies to YOU: ” Romans 5:8 “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God “will give to each person according to what he has done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger”

    The fact of the matter is you have sinned without restraint on this blog and I am NOT responsible for your sins! YOU ARE! But since you have chosen to sin so freely and without any restraint, I am going to use your sins to your benefit. That is if you are willing to take your thumbs out of your stubborn and rebellious ears and be a man and admit your guilt.

    The fact of the matter is that you believe God doesn’t justify the ungodly. The other fact of the matter is that you are ungodly.

    Joseph Smith = God’s wrath and anger for YOU!

    You Ralph are CURSED…

    Galatians 3:10 “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do EVERYTHING written in the Book of the Law.”

    This is why you attack me when I point out your sins. It’s not my pointing out your sins that angers you. It’s the curse your living under that causes you to sinfully attack me when I point out your sins. You’re reacting to the curse that is in you.

    I can help you and set you FREE, but you need to lay down your guns and speak the truth to me.

    If you want to talk to me in an email, feel free. You can contact me through this website:

    http://www.truthinlovetomormons.com/feedback/feedback.htm

  61. 63 Echo
    March 1, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Ralph said: “From then on it is a matter of retaining this righteousness by being obedient to the commandments and when/if you fail to repent to maintain this righteousness.”

    You’re failing!

  62. 64 Echo
    March 1, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Galatians 3:10 “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do EVERYTHING written in the Book of the Law.”

  63. 65 Echo
    March 1, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Romans 2:23 ” You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

  64. 66 Ralph Peterson
    March 1, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Matt. 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
    • • •
    10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    Acts 10:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

  65. 67 Echo
    March 1, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Why have you not been filled? Why then do you persecute others through your sins? Why then do you not worketh righteousness?

    Mathew 23:37 ““O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.”

  66. 68 Echo
    March 1, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    Mark worketh righteousness as well as others here and yet how often you have persecuted him/them with and by your sins? Where are the sins of those whom you persecute?

  67. 69 Echo
    March 1, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    Yes, yes, yes….Matt. 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
    • • •
    10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    Acts 10:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

    Yes, yes, yes Ralph, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are filled and do get persecuted for it! But their unrepentant persecutors will be thrown into the lake of fire!

  68. 70 Cindy
    March 1, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    Dear Ralph,

    I’m sorry but i respectfully disagree. I believe that it IS all about Christ and only about me as much as i believe in Him. I love the promise that once i believe in Him that He will live in me so that my works will glorify my Father and not me.

    4. “… And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; He who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:11)
     
    15. “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:14)

  69. 71 Ralph Peterson
    March 1, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    You are obviously free to believe what ever you want.

    You folks continually seem to think that it is an all or nothing deal. Either it is all Jesus or it is zero Jesus. This is a false dichotomy and a falsehood.

    So why do you think that verses that clearly show that Christ is an essential part of our salvation think that we don’t have any part? Do you somehow believe that I don’t accept those verses? IF you do, THEN you aren’t paying attention to what I am saying.

    These verses clearly indicate that you do have a part in your salvation.

    1 Pet. 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

    And why did Jesus teach this?
    Matt. 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
    15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

    Obviously, God requires us to DO something BEFORE He forgives us of our sins.

    Philip. 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

    Why would Paul say THAT, if their salvation was,
    1) Totally Jesus and no part the individual?
    2) already totally assured?

  70. 72 Echo
    March 1, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    Ralph said: “So why do you think that verses that clearly show that Christ is an essential part of our salvation think that we don’t have any part? Do you somehow believe that I don’t accept those verses? IF you do, THEN you aren’t paying attention to what I am saying.”

    How can you accept those verses? You dont accept those verses Ralph…

    “4. “… And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; He who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:11)”

    For what does this verse say?…It says God HAS given us eternal life. But you Ralph say: “no he hasn’t” we have to first climb the ladder and THEN God will give us eternal life, he HAS NOT given us eternal life!”

    The verse says this life is in his son, but you Ralph say: “No it isn’t! This life is in Jesus AND in us climbing the ladder!”

    The other verse says: “15. “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:14)”

    But you don’t believe that Ralph, you say that: “whoever confesses that Jesus is the son of God and obeys all the commandments will then have God abiding in him”

    Ralph said: “Philip. 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Why would Paul say THAT, if their salvation was,
    1) Totally Jesus and no part the individual?
    2) already totally assured?”

    Because you forgot the rest of the context where it states that it is God who works IN YOU to will and to act according to his purposes. God has finished your salvation, given it to you, now work out your salvation. In other words salvation in Jesus alone THEN leads to good works!

  71. 73 Echo
    March 1, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    Ralph said: “And why did Jesus teach this?
    Matt. 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
    15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

    Obviously, God requires us to DO something BEFORE He forgives us of our sins”

    Listen carefully….

    God doesn’t require us to DO something BEFORE he forgives us. Jesus already forgave all our sins.

    Listen to this, God forgives sins apart from works contrary to LDS doctrine….

    Romans 4:6-8 “David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

    7 “Blessed are they
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
    8 Blessed is the man
    whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”

    NOW comes this…..

    “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
    15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

    In other words, we have already been forgiven and so we NOW should forgive others in the same way that we have already been forgiven. Those who HAVE been forgiven will forgive others. If they themselves have been forgiven and won’t forgive others, THEN they won’t be forgiven.

    The parable confirms this…

    Mathew 18:21-35 “21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”
    22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

    23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

    26 “The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

    28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

    29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’

    30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.

    32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

    35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”

    ___________________________________________________________________________________________

    Biblically speaking….

    God forgives us apart from our works, then we forgive others in the same way that God forgives us. If we fail to forgive in the same way that we were already forgiven, we are not forgiven.

    LDS speaking…

    God forgives us BECAUSE of our works and one of those works is to forgive others first!

    The LDS doctrine is the doctrine of the devil!

  72. 74 Cindy
    March 2, 2011 at 4:59 am

    Ralph, we can share our interpretations of scripture back and forth to prove our own perspectives, but believe it or not I am trying to understand your perspective so that I can see where we might find unity. I believe that the bottom line for both of us is that we love God and want to respresent that love to others as well. But it sure is easy to fall into a pattern of proving my point without hearing that of another. For that I am sorry. I do think that one thing that can be helpful as we share scripture is to consider the audience to whom the writers were speaking in each case. Is the author speaking to believers or to unbelievers? Confessed sinners or publicans? That has helped me in the past and I will try to do more of that as I continue to read your posts.

  73. 75 Ralph Peterson
    March 2, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Cindy,

    Thanks for your thoughtful and civil reply.

    I appreciate your efforts in understanding. Coming to a true and accurate understanding of Mormon theology won’t cause you to convert, so there is no reason to fear it. I have a very good understanding of Evangelical theology and it doesn’t cause me to accept it. The problem is that there are very many sources of false information about Mormon theology. Unfortunately, too many of those sources are trusted when they are, in reality, untrustworthy.

    And unfortunately there are too many who want to tell me what it is I really believe. They are often wrong and too often rude in doing so.

    I agree that context is extremely important in understanding scripture. The problem we have in understanding the Bible is that we have a different language, culture, level of scientific knowledge, and historical understanding from the authors.

  74. 76 jm
    March 7, 2011 at 7:01 am

    I have on occassion tried to keep up with the discourse between those who are bloging on this site. But it is too contentious and mean spirited at times. To Ralph Peterson I wish to say that no matter what scriptures you bring up to validate your position if it is not what the other want to see or hear you can never win the day. This website wants to discredit your church and your beliefs and that is their sole purpose. I wish you luck in your quest to bring the truth to light, but as we have been advised or encouraged not to be contentious try to keep it spirit centered.

  75. 77 Echo
    March 7, 2011 at 9:09 am

    jm said: “This website wants to discredit your church and your beliefs and that is their sole purpose.”

    Allow me to make a correction if I may. We genuinely love Mormons. Our sole purpose is to speak the truth in love to Mormons so that they too may share in the free gift of eternal life.
    We are passionate about Mormons.

  76. 78 Ralph Peterson
    March 7, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    “To Ralph Peterson I wish to say that no matter what scriptures you bring up to validate your position if it is not what the other want to see or hear you can never win the day.”

    You are correct. I am simply providing a defense.

    “This website wants to discredit your church and your beliefs and that is their sole purpose.”

    Also correct. Tis sad that some must spend so much time and effort tearing down the faith of others.

    As has been said,
    “I think we may accept it as a rule that whenever a person’s religious conversation dwells chiefly, or even frequently, on the faults of other people’s religions, he is in a bad condition.” – C.S. Lewis, The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Vol. 3: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy (HarperOne, 2007), 209.

    “I wish you luck in your quest to bring the truth to light, but as we have been advised or encouraged not to be contentious try to keep it spirit centered.”

    I don’t expect to change the minds of the closed minded.

    Thanks for your kind words.

  77. 79 Echo
    March 7, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Jesus spent considerable time “tearing down the faith of others” such as the faith of the pharisees, for the eternal benefit of those who would listen and not close their ears. Jesus was attempting to rescue people from false doctrine that would ultimately destroy their souls. It was the most loving thing to do.

  78. 80 jm
    March 8, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Echo please continue to reach out to all the people who follow false doctrine, and faulty interpretation of God’s word.

    God Bless you always

  79. 81 jm
    March 8, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    As you can see their are two of us in this email address. My initials are jma and this is my email address. I have rarely felt love eminating from the responses of those who are evangelical on this blog. I allow you to believe as you do with no criticism or desire to change your beliefs unless you seek me out and show an interest in learning more. I would wish that you would allow me the same courtesy. To Ralph: So how is providing a defense working out for you? Have you tired of the same old rhetoric coming back at you. I again wish you luck but I see a never ending road to nowhere with this.

  80. 82 Echo
    March 8, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    jma said: “I have rarely felt love eminating from the responses of those who are evangelical on this blog.”

    Thank you for pointing this out to us all. May we all try ever harder to speak the truth in love so that the love that we already do have for Mormons, shines through in our written words.

    jma said: “I allow you to believe as you do with no criticism or desire to change your beliefs unless you seek me out and show an interest in learning more. I would wish that you would allow me the same courtesy”

    Would you want to change my beliefs if you knew they were wrong and were going to harm me or destroy my soul?

  81. 83 Ralph Peterson
    March 8, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    “So how is providing a defense working out for you?”
    Quite well most of the time. It encourages me to study the scriptures more.

    There are, however, times when it gets frustrating.

    “Have you tired of the same old rhetoric coming back at you.”
    Ooohhhh yeah. But when that is all they have, what can I expect?

    “I again wish you luck but I see a never ending road to nowhere with this.”
    Well, it has been a little beneficial. But it is looking like the topics are starting to be recycled.

  82. 84 Ralph Peterson
    March 8, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    “I have rarely felt love eminating from the responses of those who are evangelical on this blog.”
    LOL!

    Yeah, EVERYBODY who wants to do what is right is declared to be evil or something.

    Nothing says “love” like “your going to hell unless you believe what I believe”!

  83. 85 Echo
    March 8, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    Ralph said: ““I have rarely felt love eminating from the responses of those who are evangelical on this blog.”
    LOL!

    Yeah, EVERYBODY who wants to do what is right is declared to be evil or something.

    Nothing says “love” like “your going to hell unless you believe what I believe”!”

    Ralph, if you see a blind man walking down the road headed towards a cliff that no doubt will take his life, you mean you would’nt say anything because “nothing says love” like warning the blind guy of his certain death?

  84. 86 Echo
    March 8, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    Ralph said: “Yeah, EVERYBODY who wants to do what is right is declared to be evil or something.”

    Ralph, sinning isn’t “doing right” it is hatred towards God and yes, it is evil.

  85. 87 Echo
    March 9, 2011 at 4:00 am

    Ralph, you yourself said: “If you are unwilling to repent in this life, you will have the same unwillingness when you are dead.”

    Why are you unwilling to repent?

    And what does Alma 34:35 from the BOM say: “34:35 For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his;”

    These are your words and your religion speaking here, not mine.

  86. 88 Kent
    March 9, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Echo said to Ralph:

    “And what does Alma 34:35 from the BOM say: “34:35 For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth seal you his;”

    These are your words and your religion speaking here, not mine.”

    My question is, Mormon missionaries have told me that people have a chance to repent and progress after their lives here on Earth so if that is the case, then why does the Book of Mormon, which by the way in some places, agrees with and/or borrows from the Bible, teach that we only have this lifetime?

    And that isn’t the only inconsistancy in the Mormon Church’s current teachings as compared with the Book of Mormon so, again, if it is the most correct book there is, then why don’t they still follow everything in it?


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