A short exchange with a Mormon
A while back, I had a short conversation on Facebook with a high school friend. I just happened to notice him posting some pics of him and his family wearing the flagship white shirts and black pants, and I proceeded to ask him:
Are you guys Mormons?
Yes we are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints…known as the Mormons! Why do you ask?
Attempting to engage in conversation about their beliefs, I replied:
I was just curious as to what you believe about salvation.
And he responded:
Thanks Jeff, I always welcome the chance to talk about Jesus Christ and His role in each and everyone of our eternal paths. I am assuming that you are Christian by the way that you phrased your question about “salvation,” as the term salvation is used in conjuction with being redeemed from sin by way of Christ.
The Mormons view on salvation is that it comes through and only through our Savior Jesus Christ. Christ paid the price for sin for all. Those who follow Him and keep His commandments can return to live with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. A good way to learn about some of the Mormons beliefs is on a site called mormon.org
I would like to hear your beliefs as well concerning salvation, as I am sure we have a lot in common!
Knowing that he incorrectly perceived our beliefs being similar, and that our faiths having something in common, I correctly predicted that after my explanation of the differences between our belief systems on soteriology the conversation would probably not last very long, I tried to be as concise as possible with one response, in which the conversation, unfortunately, ended:
(Name Removed), my friend,
I can honestly say, based on your explanation of salvation, it sounds exactly the opposite of what we, as Biblical Christians believe. You said that those who follow him and obey his commandments can to “return” to live with our Heavenly father and Jesus. I’m a little confused by what you mean by “return.” But that is besides the point. The point is that we believe that in no way, shape, or form, does following the law (i.e. obeying the commandments, doing good works, or participating in any sacrament, rite, or ordinance, such as baptism) play any role in our salvation.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV) – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
We believe that the only thing the law can do is condemn. We have all sinned, and we all fall short of the Glory of God. We have all broken the commandments. We all have at some point lied, stolen, committed adultery (looking with lust is adultery of the heart according to Jesus), committed murder (according to Jesus, hating someone is murder of the heart), etc. We are all liars, thieves, murderers, alduterers, blasphemers, the fact of the matter is, we look infinitely disgusting before a pure, holy, and infinitely righteous God. And a perfect and righteous God cannot allow this into his eternal kingdom, there must be a punishment.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 6:23 (KJV)
(See also: Psalm 7:11, 9:17; Romans 6:23, Revelation 20:11-15, 21:8; James 2:10; Jude 1:7; 2nd Thessalonians 1:8,9)
As I am sure you know, Jesus Christ took that punishment for us, but it doesn’t stop there. I have heard many people say that Christ’s punishment wasn’t quite enough, and that it only picks up what we are unable to do, but Romans 4:5 says “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” (Name Removed), there is no amount of obedience to the law that could ever save us from eternal separation from God is the sacrifical blood of Jesus Christ at Calvary. (See Also: Ephesians 1:7, 2:13; Colossians 1:14,20; Hebrews 9:22, 10:19; 1 Peter 1:18&19; 1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5)
Why is Jesus’s sacrifice sufficient? Because Jesus Christ was infinitely perfect, infinitely holy and completely and totally sinless, deserving absolutely no wrath of the Father, but became sin (bore all of our sin) and took it upon himself, and took all of the wrath of God, for our sin, so that in Him, we can stand righteous before our Heavenly Father.
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” – 2 Cor 5:21 (KJV)
Jesus Christ was only able to accomplish this perfectly sinless life, and total fulfillment of the law because he is God. He is God Almighty, YHWH, incarnate. He took on our human nature, and became man for us, because he loved us so much, and knew that it was the only way to redeem us without compromising his just nature. (Please see: John 1:1-3,14; John 10:33; Revelation 1:8, 19:13―The GODHEAD incarnate (Colossians 2:9; 1st Timothy 3:16)
So how do we partake in his righteousness, in order to receive this grace? You must put aside your works, for our works are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), repent and totally put your faith in Jesus Christ for your salvation. You must forsake any other way, for Jesus Christ is the only way (John 14:6), not just part of the way, but the whole way. He didn’t just open the door for us, he is the door. (John 10:9)
(Name Removed), my friend, I am genuinely concerned for your eternal soul because of what you have told me. You cannot trust in yourself to live a righteous life, in order to earn merit with God. We cannot earn any merit at all, not one iota. One day, we will stand before a righteous and holy God, and he will ask why he should allow us in. The only correct answer to that question will be to have been made completely holy and righteous in Christ, washed thoroughly in his blood. Please forsake all other ways, and trust only in Jesus Christ for your soul.
My friend, I will be praying ceaselessly for you.
I would like to ask you, any of you that may know someone who is a Mormon, DO NOT let them lead you to believe that their beliefs are the same. They use a lot of the same terminology, but it has been redefined. If you would like to learn more about Mormonism, I would invite you to visit ex-Mormon Ed Decker’s web site, Saints Alive. He has a vast wealth of information about Mormonism, their beliefs, and tools for witnessing to them.