Saved by ____?

A friend’s Facebook status about refuting the false doctrine of purgatory reminded me of this post.  Key line from below: If anyone teaches a method of salvation based on Jesus Plus (i.e., his sacrifice plus your good deeds, or purgatory or whatever else) or Jesus Minus (i.e., “Jesus is one way, but other religions are just as good”) then you have a heresy on your hands.

Let’s just keep it all Jesus, all the time, OK people?

—–

book-of-mormon.jpgOne of the errors of Mormonism is in 2 Nephi 25:23, which reads, “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” [emphasis added]

That sounds humble enough.  It makes it appear that we are saved by grace and the sacrifice of Jesus.  It sounds like the Bible, but there is a big difference.  Look more carefully and see what really saves you:

  1. You do all you can, and you are saved by grace.
  2. You don’t do all you can, so you are not saved.

So what is the difference between the two?  It is ultimately about what you do, not about what Jesus did.  In that case, it isn’t grace that saves you, it is your works.

The key word is “after,” and the phrasing is clear.  And after all, Joseph Smith said the Book of Mormon is the “most perfect book in the world,” so that wording must be accurate, right?  And every Mormon I have talked to acknowledges that the works are required for salvation.

If anyone teaches a method of salvation based on Jesus Plus (i.e., his sacrifice plus your good deeds, or purgatory or whatever else) or Jesus Minus (i.e., “Jesus is one way, but other religions are just as good”) then you have a heresy on your hands.

And while this isn’t the reason that being saved by grace through faith is true, consider which is better news:

  1. Having to rely on your efforts with no assurance of salvation (Mormonism and other works-based religions)
  2. Knowing that Jesus did it all for you and you just need to repent and believe in him (Christianity alone)

This is the truly good news.  Take it from someone who has not “done all he can!”

Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Yes, I’m familiar with James 2:20 (You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?).  Of course real faith will produce real deeds.  But as the Ephesians passage makes clear, it goes like this:

  • Real faith in the real Jesus = real salvation followed by real works
  • Faith in the wrong Jesus + lots of good deeds done out of pride = still spiritually dead
  • False faith + works = still spiritually dead

Courtesy of Ms. Green, here is a list of requirements to be saved in the LDS view:

Step #1:Have faith in Christ
Step #2:Be repentant
Step #3: Be baptized by the LDS Church
Step #4: Receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands from a member of the Melchizedek priesthood
Step #5: Males are ordained into the Melchizedek Priesthood
Step #6: Receive temple endowments
Step #7: Participate in celestial marriage
Step #8: Observe the word of wisdom
Step #9: Sustain the prophet
Step #10: Tithe
Step #11: Attend sacrament meetings
Step #12: Obey the church

Oddly enough, while the LDS church and Christianity preach a different Jesus and a different Gospel, on paper orthodox Christians have more in common with Mormons than with theologically liberal Christians – a high view of scripture, pro-life, pro-family, pro-Jesus is the only way, and more.

But they teach a false, works-based gospel.  I know that many will not escape from there, but I pray that few new people join.

Also see But they are so nice! and Are Mormons really Christians?  Are Christians really Christians?

 

13 thoughts on “Saved by ____?

      • I hope you don’t continue to hate Mormons. They are lost souls. We should share the truth with them. If they reject it, that is their problem.

      • Honestly, I am just not interested in Mormons, I am not a Racist but I don’t need them. Who Hell is Joseph Smith? I had no idea what he teaches. I don’t need to hear anything from Mormons, it is a waste of time bothering about them, I am also fed up with the Catholics and Muslims, I better off to focus on Jesus.

  1. Interesting. Neil for me the question comes into “real faith”. What is real faith?

    Maybe an analogy will work.

    Someone could ask you: “Do you believe that this 1976 Ford Pinto will get you to Florida and back?” (I live in Michigan to put relevance into this analogy.) Saying “Yes I believe it will.” takes simple belief. Real faith that it will involves actually climbing into it and driving to Florida!

    Many in the Christian “faith” today have been deluded into just having to say they believe that Jesus is the Son of God. That is simple belief. Real faith in that fact will cause someone to study the Word(2 Tim. 3:16) to find out what God requires of us.

    Ephesians 2 is extremely valid and right. I would never argue against Ephesians 2. And for purposes of this discussion I won’t even bring up James 2 (even though the principles taught there were the basis of my analogy above). However, Ephesians 2 is used too often by those that don’t want to work. Really Ephesians 2 should be framed within the teaching of Luke 17:10 “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.”

    So is the real point of Ephesians 2 that we have no doing in our salvation? Or is the point of Ephesians 2 that no matter how much we do we never EARN salvation, it is still a gift of God through the sacrificing of His Son?

    Too many look to Ephesians 2 as an excuse to do nothing, instead of looking to it and realizing that only through faithful obedience do we receive the gift of Salvation. However, having received that gift through faithful obedience we still are not entitled to it.

  2. Happy New Year, Neil. Good post. Jesus plus nothing for salvation. Amen! It isn’t just enough to know Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, one must personally invite Him to be Lord and accept His leading through the Spirit imparted to us. This means to be ‘born again’, as He describes to Nicodemus in scripture. A spiritual rebirth. This means dying to self and letting Him live through us. Good works will naturally follow anyone who truly has the Son as Lord.

    And the world will know us by our love, one for another.

  3. The Mormon church has always left me somewhat perplexed. Martin Luther in 1521 threw out the false books that the Catholics were using. He got rid of the priesthood (pointing out that Hebrews references Jesus as the only High Priest we need), the sacraments, the holy water, the rosaries, the five-our-fathers stuff, the Purgatory, and all the other nonsensical things that Catholics do which isn’t mentioned in Scripture.

    Only…to have Joseph Smith bring back most of it 300 years later – the priesthood, the rituals, false books, and all the other things that Luther got rid of.

    My question…..WHY?? The Catholic Church was still around….why didn’t Smith just go join them if he was pining for all that? Why did he have to go an invent an entirely new one?

  4. I learn that Mormon Church is a Cult like other Cults. Cults makes me laugh, it is the dumbest things I had ever heard. All that Joseph smith nonsense, what do that have to do with my life? Stupid Smithy Josesee, it makes laugh even to death.

  5. Joseph Smith makes me Laugh. Marshall Applewhite makes me Laugh. Jim Jones makes me Laugh. And Fundamental Christians makes me Laugh too. What all this fuss? And Jesus play games with me to get me to bother about him all along, Jesus wants me to Love just Jesus and to destroy my life isn’t it?

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