Home > Mormonism, Salvation, Words > Words I did not understand – Salvation

Words I did not understand – Salvation

I touched on this one briefly in my last post about “Grace” so I thought I would go ahead and give a full explanation.  This post may be a bit longer than usual because of the subject matter but if you are not familiar with LDS doctrine you will find it interesting and eye-opening.  I have taken some quotes from LDS.org to show clearly what their doctrine on this topic is.

Let’s start with what I touched on last time.  When talking to LDS about salvation you are unknowing talking to them about something very different than what a typical Christian would think.  To a Christian salvation means being cleansed from sin and ultimately living with God in Heaven when we die, based on His righteousness and not our own.  Not so for the Mormon.  When they talk about salvation and it being a free gift what they are really referring to is the resurrection.

“All people eventually die. But through the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, all people will be resurrected—saved from physical death.  In this sense, everyone is saved, regardless of choices made during this life. This is a free gift from the Savior to all human beings.”

Christians would share the belief that the resurrection is for everyone but the next paragraph on the LDS website is where our paths quickly part.

“To be cleansed from sin through the Savior’s Atonement, an individual must exercise faith in Jesus Christ, repent, be baptized, and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (see Acts 2:37-38). Those who have been baptized and have received the Holy Ghost through the proper priesthood authority have been conditionally saved from sin. In this sense, salvation is conditional, depending on an individual’s continuing in faithfulness, or enduring to the end in keeping the commandments of God”

A few things are worthy of note here.  First, LDS doctrine states that you must be baptized by someone having “proper priesthood authority” in order to have a chance at living with God again.  When they state this, what they are actually saying is that in order to go to heaven, you must be baptized into the LDS church because they are the only ones who have this “priesthood authority”.  This view point however does not explain the thief on the cross that was told by the Savior that he would be with Him in paradise that day.  There was obviously no time for baptism yet he was granted a place in heaven.

The second thing to notice is that even after a confession of faith and being baptized into their church, that is still not enough.  Salvation for a Mormon continues to be “conditional” on them doing all the things the church leaders tell them to do.  This next quote punctuates that very point.

“Individuals cannot be saved in their sins; they cannot receive unconditional salvation simply by declaring a belief in Christ with the understanding that they will inevitably commit sins throughout the rest of their lives”

Unfortunately for Mormons, this teaching is not from God.  The book of Romans tells us that “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  In chapter 4 it also says that “to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.”

Romans 10: 9-10 – That 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.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

I was brought up believing that Christ’s sacrifice for sin was only powerful enough to pay for my past sins but it does not pay for future sins.  In addition to that, if I had repented of a sin and years later repeated that sin, the past sin would be added to the new one and the initial act of repentance would be made void.  In essence that is what they are saying.  Salvation is contingent on me being able to stop sinning throughout the rest of my “post-baptism” life.  That, as we all know, is impossible so Mormons go through life with absolutely no assurance of salvation.  They can never say for certain that they have done enough to make it to heaven.  They miss that God justifies the wicked (ungodly) and they diminish the power of Christ’s blood to wash away our sin.

What a Christian would call “salvation, a Mormon refers to as “Exaltation”.  This is their word for living with God for eternity.  According to LDS.org the only people who qualify for this are faithful LDS who complete a number of requirements.  Here is how they explain it:

Eternal life is to know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and dwell with Them forever—to inherit a place in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom.  This exaltation requires that men receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, and that all Church members make and keep sacred covenants in the temple, including the covenant of eternal marriage. If the word salvation is used in this sense, no one is saved in mortality. That glorious gift comes only after the Final Judgment.”

There are so many things to address in that statement that I might have to take care of some of it in a following post.  Let me just say this…the Cross and the Blood have such limited power in this system that they have to add their own works, covenants and requirements to even have a chance of getting there.  They even go so far as to reinstate a version of Old Testament law and temple worship (in their own way and without animal sacrifice).  Unfortunately, even with all of that…they lack any type of guarantee.  As the last sentence points out, salvation is not even possible until we die.

When I was a Mormon all of this toil and work, with no actual hope attached to it, was exhausting.  Every General Conference (when you hear the prophet and apostles speak) you are told that what you are doing is good…but not good enough.  Work harder, sacrifice more, do more, re-double your efforts.  There is no rest for the weary.  Why?  Because it is up to each individual to do everything they can to work their way into heaven, never knowing if they have done enough.

My heart breaks when I think about it.  Most of my family is still LDS and running on their individual hamster wheel, going as hard and fast as they can but never moving.  They miss the peace that could be theirs if they would just recognize and understand that Jesus is the “author and finisher of our faith”.  When He said “It is finished” He left no room for doubt.

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.  My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.  Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. (Psalm 62: 5-8)

Hebrews 7:28 – The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19(for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. 20And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, 21but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him: “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever.’ “22Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant. 23Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. 28For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.

Romans 3: 20-28 – 20Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. 21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. 27Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. 28For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.

This is the doctrine of Biblical Christianity.  These are the teachings of Christ and His Apostles.  As Paul says:

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! (Gal 1:6-8)

The LDS gospel of “works based salvation” is no gospel (good news) at all.  I pray that those Mormons who are weary and burdened will see the hope that is in Christ.  That they will see the futility of trying to be justified by the law and that they will surrender their lives to Jesus and ask for His forgiving grace.

Categories: Mormonism, Salvation, Words
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