One of the many differences that come out in discussions between Mormons and Christians is what is all involved in faith. Christians limit faith itself to trusting in Jesus’ work rather than in their own works to be saved. We do see good works as resulting from faith and closely connected to faith but not part of faith itself. We do that because the Bible not only says works are not part of faith – Ephesians 2:8-9 and other passages but also refers to them as fruits of faith – John 15:5 and other passages
Another thing many Mormons include in the definition of faith is staying in the faith. But is that true? Say that I was sleeping in my house when it caught fire. The smoke made me unconscious. A fireman rescues me without any help on my part. After I’m rescued, I’m sitting on the sidewalk watching my house burn. But then I remember a prized possession that is still in the house so I rush back into my burning house to try and get it. This time I die. If, however, I didn’t do that and stayed on the sidewalk could I then say that I had to do something to be saved? I don’t think so.
The Bible talks about believers having been saved with no works on their part – past tense. It talks about believers possessing eternal life – present tense. Both are accomplished facts. Yes, we need to remain in the faith – an encouragement we often hear in the Bible. But does that mean that my staying in the faith contributes to my salvation? No more than my staying out of my burning house contributed to my rescue in the analogy above. In fact, it would be an affront to the fireman who rescued me to claim any credit for my rescue. So also it is an affront to Jesus to say that I did or have to do anything to be saved. But that is exactly what Mormonism teaches. As Robert L. Millet, a BYU professor wrote, “Therefore acting alone, the grace of Christ is not sufficient for salvation. The works of man – the ordinances of salvation, the deeds of service and acts of charity and mercy – are necessary for salvation.” It’s teachings like these that cause us to say that Mormonism is a very dangerous religion.