Keeping the Commandments

This is a phrase that is commonly heard in Mormonism.  Many people in Provo countered with it as I talked about already being perfect in Christ.  They could not conceive of perfection in Christ without our doing something also -without our also keeping the commandments.

This phrase also appears repeatedly in Chapter 15 of the Teachings of George Albert Smith, the manual currently being studied in the LDS Church.  The chapter continues the discussion of mission work and is entitled, “Advancing the Work of the Lord”.  The following quote from that chapter is especially telling.

“Zion will be redeemed and the world, which now misunderstands the work of ‘Mormonism’, will live to know that it is the power of God unto salvation to those who will keep the commandments of our Father.” (p.165)

Compare that to Romans 1:16.  “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”  “It is the power of God unto salvation to” are identical in each quote.  But then what a difference! Mormonism points to a person’s keeping of the commandments while the Bible points to a person’s belief.

This illustrates what I heard repeatedly on the streets of Provo.  And not just there. This also illustrates what I have heard repeatedly from the LDS Church and its members over the years. The emphasis of Mormonism, even when the topic is salvation, is not on trusting and believing in what Jesus has done for us but rather on keeping the commandments.

Yes, it is the desire of every believer to try and keep God’s commandments.  LDS members grossly misunderstand Christians when they think that we believe that we can run amuck in sin because we believe that we are saved freely.  Nothing is further from the truth than that.  The key difference, however, is our motivation. Believers try and keep the commandments not as something we need to do to be saved, but rather out of gratitude for already being saved through Jesus’ perfect life and sacrificial death.

That difference in motivation makes all the difference in the world.  For any reliance on our works in the matter of salvation does nothing less than ruin that salvation.  You can’t mix God’s grace and our works.  “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” (Romans 11:6)

3 Responses to “Keeping the Commandments”

  1. 1 RLO
    August 17, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    “It is a thousand times more important to believe piously in absolution than to be worthy of it and make atonement. Faith renders you worthy, and constitutes the true atonement.” ~ Martin Luther ~

    from his Sermon on Justification preached at Leipzig in 1519
    quoted in The Life of Martin Luther Gathered From His Own Writings
    by M. Michelet, translated by G. H. Smith, F.G.S.
    A. A. Kelley, Publisher, 1858.

  2. 2 wyomingwilly
    August 18, 2012 at 1:56 am

    Talk about a contrast . New Testament apostles preached the gospel that saves unto eternal life with God
    in heaven—Rom 1:16 . But according to Mormon apostles what this verse really means is that ” Mormonism”
    is the power of God unto salvation ? No thanks . I’m stickin with the gospel Jesus’ apostles taught in the
    New Testament. May the Mormon people ask God for the strength to exchange their apostles for the ones
    that faithfully preached the gospel of salvation , that message can be found in the New Testament and It is
    sufficient because it’s author is able to save to the uttermost those who hear it and then turn to Him—-
    Heb 7:25

  3. 3 JBR
    August 18, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    One would have walked the streets of Capernaum and would have heard the same thing:
    “work the works” John 6:28.

    That is Mormonism’s focus … “work the works”

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August 2012

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