Enduring until the End

Mormons often respond to a Christian’s insistence that a person’s works do not contribute anything to salvation by pointing to those passages in the Bible (i.e. Matthew 10:22) that tell us to endure until the end.  They then claim that those passages are saying that the Bible says we have to do something to be saved; namely, endure.

At first blush, that appears to be a legitimate argument.  But that is only how it appears to be.  There are two things that show the fallacy of this defense.  First, there are the numerous Bible passages that state that salvation and eternal life are God’s gift to us received only through faith – passages like Ephesians 2:8-9.  One of my favorite passages in this regard is John 3:15-18.  There Jesus talks about salvation and everlasting life.  Five times in that brief section he talks about believing. There is not even one sniff of talk about our work.  Or we could look at a passage like Romans 11:6 (“And if by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace.”) which show that God’s grace and human work don’t mix.  In other words, God makes it plain through such passages that he doesn’t consider enduring to the end a work that contributes to our salvation.  If he considered it as such a work, passages such as the ones listed would be false and deceptive.

The second point deals with the question of when we are saved or when we receive eternal life.  It is true that sometimes the Bible talks about this happening in the future referring to when we fully experience that in heaven.  But it is just as true that the Bible often talks about believers having salvation and eternal life right now.  “For by grace are ye saved through faith.” (Ephesians 2:8) “Are ye saved” is a present tense describing a present reality, not a future happening. Or look at Jesus’ words:  “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24)   Again “hath” is a present tense.  Note also “is passed” not “will be passed”.  Salvation and eternal life, according to Scripture, does not lie only in the future for believers.  It is their present possession with the full experience of it awaiting them in heaven.

My point in all this is that “enduring” is something believers do only after they have already been saved!  It is not part of their being saved – it doesn’t contribute to their salvation.  Think of a man lying unconscious in his burning house.  A firefighter heroically rescues him and carries him to safety.  There he is attended to by paramedics and regains consciousness.  Although it is probably unnecessary, they warn him not to return to his burning house.  So he stays a safe distance away.  Think of how ridiculous he would sound if he would begin telling people that he contributed to his rescue by staying that safe distance away.  Or think of how the firefighter who rescued him would react to such statements.  Although there is no such thing as a perfect illustration, this is similar to anybody claiming that they contributed to their salvation by enduring to the end. Such statements don’t please our Savior who rescued us by giving everything for us, including his very life.

No, what pleases Jesus is when we give him complete credit for our salvation.  He so richly deserves that because salvation is all about what he did for us.  His blood washed away all our sins.  His perfect righteousness is credited to our account.  He saved us when we could do nothing – when we were dead in sins.  To him be every bit of praise and glory!

9 Responses to “Enduring until the End”

  1. 1 joshtried
    July 24, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    You are so right, Mark. Salvation is not something that continually happens…

    If anyone here cares to get this right, feel free to write me.

  2. July 24, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Mark, great post. I love that song that talks about “Redeemed by the blood of the lamb…” Being redeemed, saved from the penalty of my sin by God’s grace through faith in Jesus, upon my surrender to Him .Not
    by working hard , striving my entire life to endure in order to merit the fullest blessings of salvation /eternal life,
    as some Mormon authorities have taught . In her testimony of coming to Jesus and receiving complete
    redemption former Mormon Carolyn Sexauer , for over 30 years a faithful follower of Mormon prophets
    described her being asked by her Relief Society President to teach, she was reluctant at first because
    she knew by then that she could never be able to do enough good works to merit eternal life . She quotes
    Mormon authorities : ” As stated in ‘ A Compendium ‘ by apostle F.D. Richards, ” Redemption from
    personal sins can only be obtained through obedience to the requirements of the gospel and a life of good
    works. ” She states ” What chance had I ? ….Believe me I was very humble , I resolved that from that time
    on the most important thing in my life would be to justify these women’s faith in me. I prayed constantly
    for guidance, I studied the church books diligently , and began for the first time reading and studying the
    Bible . Then began the awful confusion. In looking up the few Bible references given in the lesson outline in
    the Relief Society Journal , I found myself reading more than just the verses referred to. I read chapters
    preceding these verses and chapters following. I found that the meaning was often entirely different than
    the isolated verse would indicate . Also in my reading of this precious Word of God, I discovered many things
    that did’nt agree at all with Mormon teachings. It was a shock to me.” This sincere Mormon woman received
    eternal life by trusting in Jesus’ sacrafice as her substitute , she experienced redemption by the blood of
    Jesus , not by meriting eternal life [exaltation] thru a life long effort of working for it by an ” enduring to the
    end”. Rom 3:24-25; Eph 1:7 . May the Mormon people come to experience the difference between what
    the N.T. apostles taught about redemption from sins and gaining God’s presence from what Mormon
    apostles have taught on this vital issue . WW

  3. 3 Robert Timmerman
    July 24, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Well said.


  4. 4 markcares
    July 24, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Wyoming Willy:
    Your story reminds me of something a man wrote me just last week. “I was raised in the LDS Church for 50+ years, served a mission, married in the temple, served in many callings, even a temple worker for 30 years, but it wasn’t until I saw everything that Christ did for me, and compared it to all the things I was trying to do to make up for what He supposedly didn’t cover. I called it checklist salvation. I had to pay tithing, go to the temple, serve in all these callings, read scriptures every day, have Family Home Evening, get a years supply, make sure my neighbors heard about The Gospel (LDS version), prepare for the Second Coming, get ready to march to Missouri, etc. I started to think, ‘what DID Christ do for me, if I have to do all this?” I started to feel over-whelmed, out of balance, and out of time. My mother was raised Presbyterian, so I decided to see what she left when she converted to Mormonism. Over several years I was washed in Grace. The contrast of Law vs. Grace was striking. I feel like I’ve come full circle, to come back to my mother’s religion and I am filled with grace. I feel complete, at peace, and whole. Perfected in Christ.”

  5. 5 RLO
    July 25, 2012 at 12:13 am

    Actually, if anyone here cares to get this right, should they desire to accurately understand this most comforting of all fundamental Christian doctrines, the revealed truth that salvation is by grace, completely apart from anything you do, then you need go no further. You are already in the right place. Mark’s initial post above, supported by several biblical references, clearly explains it.

    However, if you are at all interested in the Mormon perspective of salvation, a perspective that relies on a multitude of “extra-biblical references” as well as the “continuing revelations” of a proclaimed living prophet, all of which frequently contradict the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God revealed to us in the Bible, then I imagine Josh is but one of many to whom you may go.

  6. July 25, 2012 at 12:18 am

    Mark, praise God for another Mormon who is free . Despite all the rhetoric coming from Mormon apologists
    on how they are using terms like” grace “and ” faith not works ” etc etc the fact that it takes a lot of working
    to gain God’s approval in hopes of receiving eternal life , is not lost on many faithful Mormons today as
    is evident by the gentleman’s testimony above. Mormons know , and many have been leaving in recent
    years [ Salt Lake Tribune 2-3-2012 and UK -Reuters 1-30-2012] .
    This gentleman you cited mentioned a ” checklist salvation ” . That sounds similar to Apostle George
    Cannon’s ” Gospel ladder “, the rungs of which constitute the rules, rites, rituals, doctrines, deemed
    as necessary to climb to gain God’s approval for this life and eternal life . This is a long ladder as such
    it takes a lot of time consuming work climbing up it . Thankfully many Mormons are realizing that this
    ladder was’nt build by Jesus’ original apostles because what they preached as the WAY to gain access to
    God’s presence in heaven was a person —Jesus Jn.14:6 ; 3:15-18— who came down , not a ladder that
    reaches up .

  7. July 25, 2012 at 1:10 am

    I heard of a testimony today from a former Mormon:

    ~”… I went away to BYU, where I was gloriously happy… I studied, believed and lived Mormonism … I honored the prophet and my leaders as personal heroes. I worked hard … earned good grades and loved, just loved, being a Mormon.”~

    That former Mormon left all of that for something far, far greater…

    ~”Truth is worth…any price… because truth alone can bring peace.”~

    Peace can’t be found in a salvation that is built upon meeting the conditions in a life long effort of proving ourselves to be worthy enough. Peace is found in believing that Jesus loves the unworthy…

    ~”Jesus loves the unworthy, the dirty, the broken, the failures. Jesus didn’t “fall” in love with us. He chose to love us. His love is unconditional, universal, and free. His love is not a reward for our worth. His love gives us worth. “~ Pastor Mark Jeske

  8. 8 Kent
    July 25, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Enduring to end means not denying our faith in Jesus no matter what, even to the point of death, because by denying our faith we take a big chance of Jesus denying us before the Father. Enduring to the end does not mean doing works until the end.

    Denying our faith is not having faith in Jesus (the fireman) and it is like going back into the burning building after our fireman saved us. We have to have faith that we are His no matter what and if it means even dying because of our faith and going to heaven sooner than later, then so be it.

    I also believe that not having complete faith that Jesus did it all for me by dying on the cross and rising again on the third day and thinking that I can contribute anything to His finished work is denying my faith because then it would have something to do with me and not completely about Him.

    Mark 13:9-13

    9 “But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

    Matthew 10:33

    33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

    Mormons, instead of debating me on this topic, can you at least read the Bible passages I just qouted and see why I believe enduring to the end means never denying my faith no matter what on the basis of these passages?




  9. 9 wyomingwilly
    August 2, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    Mark , I really appreciate your ministry to reach out to the Mormon people with the true saving gospel
    of salvation, you also provide a much needed voice in helping especially investigators with knowing exactly
    what Mormonism is all about so they can make a informed decision etc. Thank you for your time and effort.
    When I think about how Mormonism uses that phrase “endure to the end” I think about the huge work load
    that sincere Mormons carry as they climb the Mormon gospel ladder the rungs of which have been built
    by Mormon apostles ever since their alleged appointment by Jesus to preach His “restored” gospel .
    It seems that false apostles are not content with the abundant spiritual food the New Testament reveals
    on how a person can enter a right relationship with God and receive eternal life . These type of apostles
    feel the need to revise Paul’s gospel of salvation to include new light , perceived from Jesus , declared
    to be important gospel truths . Yet what they often promote as new “gospel principles” is in reality only their
    innovations .Paul understood this problem hence his warning in Gal.1:8. An example of Mormonism “enduring
    to the end” can be seen in the lives of the many Mormon women who submitted to plural marriage because
    their prophet declared it to a new gospel principle, in fact to many men it became a saving ordinance .
    This episode in Mormonism is a good example of why Paul’s warning in Gal.1:8 is especially pertinent
    for those who witnessed the birth of Mormonism on up to us today . The New Testament reveals that Jesus established His church , appointed apostles to spread the gospel of salvation . What these men preached
    was long hoped for —Col. 1:25-29 — the Savior had now come . Those those embraced the salvation
    message received complete forgiven, reconciled to God by the blood of Jesus , and a full salvation —
    Eph 2:8-9.
    May the Mormon people pursue the difference between what the New Testament reveals is a relationship
    with the Father and Jesus compared to the huge gospel ladder erected by their apostles

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July 2012

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