Mormons Rock

October 23, 2007

This Mormon Chic’s View On Salvation (and what I have learned!)

Is Salvation a gift or can it be earned?  This seems to be the question many Christians ask us Mormons.  I’m not sure really why this is a question because it has been answered a billion times.  So I’m going to give my view on Salvation, and what I have learned recently.  

I have been reading Romans, because a fellow blogger has asked me to do so.  I have been reading slowly,  just a few chapters at a time, and trying to soak it all in.  I have also been studying Romans with a study guide called;

“The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles” (course manual 211-212)

It begins with a little bit of history so we know where Paul is coming from

INTRODUCTION

It had been more than twenty years since Paul had started on the road to what he thought would lead him only to Damascus but which, instead, began a far longer and more glorious journey. He had left Jerusalem that day seeing but blind; he had come to Damascus blind but seeing. When he had set out, he had in his hand the edict of the high priest: bind the followers of the way and bring them to the prisons of Jerusalem. When he had arrived, he had in his heart the edict of Christ: unbind the gentiles and bring them to the mansions of the heavenly Jerusalem. For more than seven thousand days now, the man from Tarsus had labored to fulfill that edict. He had crossed and recrossed eight or more provinces of the Roman empire. He had personally established a number of branches of the church. His converts must have numbered well into the thousands. He had been beaten, stoned, scourged, jailed, and shipwrecked and had endured hunger, thirst, cold, fatigue, rejection, insults, scorn, and desertion—and all this while afflicted with his own “thorn in the flesh.” Surely now he had done enough? Surely now he could return to Jerusalem and pass the baton on to younger hands?

But of course such would be unthinkable to Paul. With characteristic simplicity Luke reports, “After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit . . . to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.” (Acts 19:21.) And so he had come to Corinth to spend the winter, waiting for safe sailing weather. It must have been a time of reflection and planning and concern. It was evidently during these months that reports arrived saying that Galatia was being ravaged by the onslaughts of the Judaizers. “True righteousness is based in the law of Moses,” they were saying, “Believing in Christ is all well and good, but you must not leave the foundation principles of circumcision, dietary law, and Levitical ritual.” They maligned Paul and his office, wooing many away from the teachings of the great apostle.

Paul had written to the churches in Galatia and sharply condemned the false teachings. “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you?” he asked in sorrow. (Galatians 3:1.) It was shortly after this that the apostle wrote his letter to Rome, alerting the saints there of his intent to visit them. The reports from Rome were positive. The saints were believing, growing, testifying. But the concern for the growing threat of the false teachers must still have weighed heavily on his mind, for the book of Romans contains Paul’s powerful defense of true righteousness and his rejection of any system of salvation that is not based on faith in Jesus Christ.

How ironic that the letters to Rome and Galatia should be used in later centuries as the basis for the doctrine that works are unessential for salvation. Can you imagine the retort of the man who had been five times scourged of the Jews to those who would say that all you must do to be saved is confess with your mouth that Jesus is the Christ? Can you picture the response of the man who for two decades had devoted his life to good works to those who say that good works are not a requirement for salvation? But on the other hand, you must also recognize that Paul rejected the idea fostered by the Judaizers, namely, that man can achieve righteousness by his own efforts. The ideas are opposite ends of the grace and works continuum, but both are false. In order to find the true middle ground, let us now turn to a careful study of what Paul wrote to the saints in Rome. What is the proper relationship between our own works and the grace of God? If a man is justified by faith, just what does that mean? As you study this lesson and ponder such questions, remember Paul the man. Remember the experiences that had molded and shaped him as he sat in Corinth and wrote his letter to the saints in Rome.

Now we will look at what Paul is speaking of when he writes about works and grace,

(39-7) Romans 3:1–31. Man Must Be Justified by Grace

Since, as Paul says, all men sin, then no man can be justified (or restored to a proper relationship with God) by works alone. Some intervening power must bridge the gap. That power was provided by Jesus Christ. He lived the law perfectly, had no sin, and therefore never estranged himself from God. In addition, he sacrificed himself so that he could pay the debt of sin with his own holiness for all men who would come unto him. His grace becomes the source of their justification with God.

President Joseph Fielding Smith clearly pointed out the role of both grace and works in our salvation.

“There is a difference between the Lord Jesus Christ and the rest of mankind. We have no life in ourselves, for no power has been given unto us, to lay down our lives and take them again. That is beyond our power, and so, being subject to death, and being sinners—for we are all transgressors of the law to some extent, no matter how good we have tried to be—we are therefore unable in and of ourselves to receive redemption from our sins by any act of our own.

“This is the grace that Paul was teaching. Therefore, it is by the grace of Jesus Christ that we are saved. And had he not come into the world, and laid down his life that he might take it again, or as he said in another place, to give us life that we may have it more abundantly we would still be subject to death and be in our sins. . . .

“So it is easy to understand that we must accept the mission of Jesus Christ. We must believe that it is through his grace that we are saved, that he performed for us that labor which we were unable to perform for ourselves, and did for us those things which were essential to our salvation, which were beyond our power; and also that we are under the commandment and the necessity of performing the labors that are required of us as set forth in the commandments known as the gospel of Jesus Christ:” (Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 2:309–11.)

Here is the link so you can read the entire thing if you wish!

http://www.ldsces.org/inst_manuals/nt-in/manualindex.asp

So in conclusion, Mormons DO NOT believe you can earn Salvation.  It is a gift, it is by grace we are saved . 

Jesus Christ did not come to this earth only to die.  He came here to live and to teach us HOW to live and how to return to our Father in Heaven. 

If you think all you need to do to be saved is believe in Him then you are saying His life and teachings are pointless and mean nothing. 

He is our perfect example and we should do our best to follow Him!

We are saved by grace, after all we can do!

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9 Comments »

  1. Well said! I have noticed living here in the south that people here believe that all you need to do is believe and you are saved. But, faith without works is dead so the scriptures say. So, we must have faith AND DO THE WORK necessary to gain eternal salvation. One without the other is lost.

    Comment by Sandy — October 23, 2007 @ 2:28 pm |Reply

  2. Sandy!!!!!!!!!! I love you 🙂

    Thanks for your awesome comment

    Comment by steffielynn — October 23, 2007 @ 2:30 pm |Reply

  3. Sandy and Steffie

    What works in particular do you mean ?

    Are you reffering to temple work etc ?

    And which is more important redeeming the dead or helping the ones struggling to survive ?

    Have either of you both read Spencer Kimballs book ‘Miracle Of Forgiveness’ and is it applicable still now for us today ?

    And when you say ‘eternal salvation ‘ what do you really mean ‘ Exhaltation to Godhood and ruling over your own worlds ‘?

    Please be more specific …..

    Comment by elder joseph — October 23, 2007 @ 4:40 pm |Reply

  4. “Jesus Christ did not come to this earth only to die. He came here to live and to teach us HOW to live and how to return to him.

    If you think all you need to do to be saved is believe in Him then you are saying His life and teachings are pointless and mean nothing.”

    I would have to politely disagree. Feel free to count me among the faith and faith alone crown. Oddly enough, I have had this disagreement with my own pastor at times. I think that the addition of any requirements to faith by necessity equal works. Yes we expect to see changes in people, but who is to judge that change but God? Hence my disagreement with my own pastor, I do believe there are carnal Christians- people who accept Christ but don’t leave a significant part of their life behind.

    I also find the basis behind the idea of adding expectations of outward confirmation of this belief through action (baptism aside) as rooted in our own sinfulness. It is only natural to be jealous of those late workers who we don’t think are entitled to the same pay for what we consider less work. I am not saying this is how you approach it, but as a Christian I have seen far too many of my brothers and sisters (myself included at times) that harbor jealousy toward those who embrace Christ as savior but still engage in sinful action x (listen to worldly music, engage in sex outside of marriage, etc.). But this comes from a flawed belief that they are engaging in something that we are “missing out on.” But when one has a firm grounding that allows the realization that God has saved us from those things- instead of him being a cosmic kill joy- this jealousy makes no sense.

    I agree with Paul who says “if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9.

    Now back to my 15 page paper. I did enjoy your post despite our disagreement.

    Comment by totaltransformation — October 23, 2007 @ 9:11 pm |Reply

  5. Thank you for being polite 🙂

    Comment by steffielynn — October 23, 2007 @ 9:26 pm |Reply

  6. Madame I am incapable of being impolite to a lady. Well, does Hillary Clinton count? If she doesn’t than my previous statement stands.

    Comment by totaltransformation — October 23, 2007 @ 9:49 pm |Reply

  7. Maybe “earn” isn’t the right word to use, but as an LDS I was told that we are here to “work out our own salvation”. Some could argue that to have to “work out” our own salvation we are in effect having to do something to “earn” it. I don’t know, you be the judge.

    President Heber C. Kimball said in a sermon; ” We are required to manifest our faith by our works, and to work out our salvation with fear and trembling: for it is the Lord that worketh in us to will and to do his pleasure” January 6. 1861.

    President Ezra Taft Benson – “You cannot reach the celestial kingdom on the record of your progenitors. We must each work out our salvation individually”. Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson

    Bruce R.McConkie -“The Church, which administers the gospel, and the Saints who have received the gospel, must be independent of all the powers of earth, as they work out their salvation—temporally and spiritually—with fear and trembling before the Lord! No one else can work out our salvation for us, either temporally or spiritually.” Ensign May 1979.

    To me it sounds like Mr. McConkie didn’t believe that Jesus died for us, so we could be saved. That though him and only him can we have salvation and everlasting life.

    Comment by Misty — October 25, 2007 @ 2:57 am |Reply

  8. Misty,

    I looked up the quote on Bruce R. McConkie, and I do not know where you found this quote but there was a little splicing done to it, here is the link so you can read the entire talk. Which is entitled
    “Stand Independent above All Other Creatures”

    And from what I have read he is not speaking about salvation, he is speaking on being prepared, working hard, and being independent and self reliant.
    http://www.lds.org/portal/site/LDSOrg/menuitem.b12f9d18fae655bb69095bd3e44916a0/?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=9b3a615b01a6b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1

    When Bruce R McConkie spoke of salvation he said this

    “Thus salvation is in Christ; it comes through his goodness and grace and because of his atoning sacrifice; he came “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).

    He is our Savior and Redeemer. His was a ministry of mediation and of reconciliation; he brought to pass the great and eternal plan of redemption. Because of him we can be justified; we can be sanctified; we can be saved with an eternal salvation. He is our God and we are his people, and we sing praises to his holy name forever!

    On our part, to give full efficacy to his atonement and to claim for ourselves the cleansing power of his blood, we must believe in him and in his Father, repent of our sins, covenant in the waters of baptism to love and serve them all our days, and then receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    Thereafter, guided by that holy monitor, we must walk in the light, keep the commandments, and overcome the world. Such is the plan of salvation for all men in all ages. Such is the plan that has been revealed from age to age so that fallen man might work out his salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord (see Philip. 2:12).”
    you can read the entire thing here.
    http://www.lds.org/portal/site/LDSOrg/menuitem.b12f9d18fae655bb69095bd3e44916a0/?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=fdef615b01a6b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1

    *******Also you might want to look up Philippians 2:12
    (it states this very thing IN the bible!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

    Comment by steffielynn — October 25, 2007 @ 5:16 am |Reply

  9. I think there is some confusion where people are equating being saved with salvation. They are 2 totally separate things.

    According to scripture, we are saved (from the bonds of death) by the grace of God thru the atonement of Jesus Christ. This is a gift to all mankind. You do not need to do anything to receive this gift.

    Salvation is something altogether different. It relates to your rewards in heaven. LDS refer to this as degrees of glory. The type of reward you receive is directly tied to works. He who sins much in this world, gains little in the world to come, and vice versa.

    You are not saved by grace, after all you can do. You are saved by grace, period. Then your salvation is determined by your works.

    So those that think being saved is enough are wrong. It is only the beginning.

    Comment by Bishop Rick — October 25, 2007 @ 6:34 am |Reply


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