Salvation by Grace Alone is another main tenet of Christianity. I had this as Reason 40 since LDS feel so strongly about good works. However, it goes with Reasons 3-5, so I felt I should go ahead and write about it. LDS believe with their entire being that Christ will only fill in the rest after they have done "all they can do" and we must be held accountable for every sin. They feel the opposite of Christianity in that they must be obedient and do good works to earn their way to God in the celestial kingdom.
From carm.org on Salvation according to Christianity:
Salvation, or the forgiveness of sins, is something that is given to you by God. It is a free gift (Rom. 6:23). The sinner is made righteous in God's eyes solely by the faith that the believer has in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Justification, or being declared righteous, is accomplished by faith (Rom. 5:1). Our works play no part in salvation. If our works could play any part at all, then Jesus died needlessly (Gal. 2:21).
There are over 100 scriptures about Grace in the Bible. I will not include them all; just my favorites. It is intriguing to me how many times Grace is mentioned in the Bible. over and over and over... I think it's important!
Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Mr, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men-extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.' And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
John 1:17; 3:16-17; 6:28-29; 14:6
For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
- Notice that Jesus says, "I AM the way," not, "I'll show you the way."
Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they."
Romans 3:20-25; 3:28; 4:4-6; 5:1; 5:8-10
Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God has passed over the sins that were previously committed,
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.
Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
Romans 10:4; 10:9; 10:13; 11:6
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."
And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain-if indeed it was in vain? Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?-
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them." But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for "the just shall live by faith."... Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree")
But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Galatians 5:1; 5:4; 5:14
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law, you have fallen from grace.
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
...made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), ...that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift.
and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;
2 Timothy 1:9
who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,
Titus 1:16; 3:4-6
They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.
But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them. We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.
1 Peter 1:13; 5:5
rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
"God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble."
Works Follow Salvation; NOT salvation follows works. LDS have it completely backwards.
"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing."
knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. "But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain."
So according to the Bible, I am saved by Grace Alone and not by my works. And not everyone will receive salvation.
From carm.org on Salvation according to LDS:
The doctrine of the forgiveness of sins in Mormonism is that you are saved by grace after all you can do. They add to the finished work of Christ on the cross and say that Jesus made it possible for us to be forgiven. Our works must be mixed with the finished work of Christ and then our forgiveness of sins is merited before God.
This error is that works play a part in our salvation, our forgiveness of sins. They do not. In Galatians chapters 3 and 5, Paul addressed the issue and condemned the thought of keeping even one part of the Law in order to be righteous with God. Salvation is a free gift, paid for by the blood of Christ.
3rd Article of Faith
you are "saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel."
2 Nephi 25:23
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.
I never understood why this one "scripture" overpowers the 100+ scriptures in the Bible. I never understood what makes it more important than the Words and Blood of Christ. Anything that contradicts God's words is not from God.
Nevertheless, thine enemy is in thine hands; and if thou rewardest him according to his works thou art justified; if he has sought thy life, and thy life is endangered by him, thine enemy is in thine hands and thou art justified.
Mormon Doctrine, by Bruce R. McConkie, pp. 669-671
...the mere fact of resurrection is called salvation by grace alone...Salvation in the celestial kingdom of God, however, is not salvation by grace alone. Rather, it is salvation by grace coupled with obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel."
But this is not the salvation of righteousness, the salvation which the saints seek. Those who gain only this general or unconditional salvation will still be judged according to their works and receive their places in a terrestrial or a telestial kingdom. They will, therefore, be damned; their eternal progression will be cut short; they will not fill the full measure of their creation, but in eternity will be ministering servants to more worthy persons.
Full salvation is attained by virtue of knowledge, truth, righteousness, and all true principles. Many conditions must exist in order to make such salvation available to men. Without the atonement, the gospel, the priesthood, and the sealing power, there would be no salvation. Without continuous revelation, the ministering of angels, the working of miracles, the prevalence of gifts of the spirit, there would be no salvation. If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no salvation. There is no salvation outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints...
"...one of the untrue doctrines found in modern Christendom is the concept that man can gain salvation by grace alone and without obedience. This soul-destroying doctrine has the obvious effect of lessening the determination of an individual to conform to all of the laws and ordinances of the gospel, such conformity being essential if the sought reward is in reality to be gained."
Doctrines of Salvation, v1, pp. 117-193, Joseph Fielding Smith
There is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith. No man can reject that testimony without incurring the most dreadful consequences, for he cannot enter the kingdom of god.
All man-made creeds and doctrines shall perish when the fulness of truth is come, when Christ reigns in power upon the earth, and when those who abide the day of his coming have all been converted to the one true Church.
The souls of members of the Church are just as precious in the sight of the Lord as are the souls of the people in the world unto whom our missionaries go with the plan of salvation. In fact, if a choice is to be made, a soul already in the Church -- one who is in the covenant -- is just a little dearer to the Father, if possible, than is one who is on the outside.
Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 83 and 92
"There are some who have striven to obey all the divine commandments, who have accepted the testimony of Christ, obeyed 'the laws and ordinances of the Gospel,' and received the Holy Spirit; these are they who have overcome evil by godly works and who are therefore entitled to the highest glory."
Good works are necessary for salvation.
I disagree 999% with the LDS teaching of "after all we can do," "laws and ordinances," "obedience," etc. Because the Bible clearly says...
But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.
*How do you "know" you've "done all you can do"? If you fall short of "all you can do" does that mean you can't qualify for grace? ~Connie Cullum Raddon
* How does one "know" that they have done "all they can do"? I mean when exactly does grace kick in? ~Gloria Pickering
LDS salvation vs. Christian Salvation:
Salvation is like a rushing river that you have to cross. You have to jump in.
For the LDS, Christ is waiting on the other side, tosses you a rope, and says, "Kick!" You are saved from drowning by both your effort and his help. For the Christian, you are drowning because there's no way you can cross the river on your own effort, so He dives in and save you, takes you to the other side Himself, and revives you. Nothing you could have done would have saved you from drowning, but you knew when you jumped in that He would come in after you. ~Lee, Mormon & LDS Facts Facebook page
I'll take Christian Salvation over LDS salvation in a heartbeat!!! I'm exhausted just reading about everything I have to do to earn salvation in the LDS church.
LDS focus so much on exaltation instead of salvation. I would much rather have salvation, and I am certain I will receive it. I never had that comfort as a Mormon. I do not need nor do I want exaltation, because I am not worthier than any other person and I don't even want to be worthier. We are all equal and will remain that way in Heaven with each other. I certainly will not be a "ministering servant to more worthy persons." That's pure nonsense.
What saddens me beyond words is that the LDS church truly believes that Christ does not love us enough to accept us into heaven by Grace alone. Believing that we must earn our way into His home is believing that He does not accept us for who we are and the person He made us to be. This is certainly not giving Him the Praise and Glory He deserves.
Christ does want us to serve and do good works, but it should be at our desire and not at the direction of church leadership. Good works should be done out of a love for Christ. While I was a member, I oftentimes did good works because that's what would get me to the celestial kingdom. Very seldom did I do it to strengthen my Faith in Christ. I also compared my good works to others' good works to make sure I was doing as much or more than they were. How judgmental was I! It took me leaving the church to realize all this and that is extremely frustrating to me. I felt the bishop, prophet, or even Joseph Smith were my judges during my membership in the church. Even my friends were my judges by saying things like, "You're so good" or "your spirit is so strong" or "I want to have a testimony like you someday" or "I hope I can be like you when I grow up." Now I don't have anyone to please except Christ and it is SO freeing!
Without Grace, all we can do is pointless! They do not work together. It's either one or the other; not both. Good works are a result of salvation. Once we have been saved, good works come naturally with no other intentions in mind. LDS receive salvation because they have been obedient and done good works. That teaching is backwards. The correct order of those two teachings is one of the most important tenets I can teach my children. I cannot remain in the LDS church and teach them the correct order of this. My Jesus will get all the credit and glory for what He did for me. I do not want any credit and I certainly do want Him to have died in vain for me!
And what happens if we do not accept Christ's free gift of grace?
You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
1 John 5:10-13
He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
My unanswered questions were:
Will I ever be certain that I have been obedient enough or done enough good works in order to make it to the celestial kingdom? Why is Christ not enough to be saved by His Grace Alone?
I was initially devastated when I received these answers that I can never be sure I've done enough, yet overjoyed to find the truth that by believing HE died for me, I have done enough and I will be in heaven with HIM. I am overjoyed that HE loves me and accepts me without all of that rubbish! His Grace is all I need! Thank you Christ for dying on the Cross to save me from all of my sins because no matter how "perfect" I am, I'm still a sinner! I Love You!
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Romans 16:20; 16:24; 1 Corinthians 16:23; Galatians 6:18; Ephesians 6:24; Philippians 4:23; 1 Thessalonians 5:28; 2 Thessalonians 3:18; Philemon 1:25; Revelation 22:21