For Those Who Need A Real Miracle of Forgiveness

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The song is “East to West”, by Casting Crowns

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” – Psalm 103:12

“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.” – Ephesians 2:8-10

“Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: ‘Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.'” – Romans 4:4-8

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37 Responses to For Those Who Need A Real Miracle of Forgiveness

  1. falcon says:

    The fact that we sin is expressed in those words in the Bible, “For all have sinned and fall short of the golry of God.” The seriousness of sin is attested by the fact that there is a penalty that must be paid (for sin). The penalty is separation from God and spiritual death. God provided the remedy for mankind by providing a Savior. The Savior took the penalty that we deserved, upon Himself. That’s why the Bible says “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” Having a firm understanding of who Jesus is (His nature) and what He did (atoning sacrifice) is essential in receiving this free gift of eternal life that God offers us. Does “conceptualizing” Jesus in a way other than what is taught in the Bible disqualify someone from receiving this free gift of eternal life? I would say “yes” because in order to receive the free gift, we must trust the real Savior. A counterfeit Jesus can’t provide real redemption. A counterfeit Jesus and a counterfeit gospel cannot provide real salvation.

  2. Michael P says:

    Great song, by the way, and it expressly indicates what Christ of the Bible alone does for us and something we cannot dream of doing anything for on our own. Falcon did a good job describing what “counterfeit Jesus’s” can do, which is nothing.

    The amazing part is how simple the message really is. It is not complicated, nor is it difficult to grasp. Christ loves all of us and all we need to do is to love him back, and accept what his death on the cross did for us: separate the east from the west, cleanse us of our sins.

  3. bigbear says:

    Actually I would say it isn’t simple at all. Because if it was, more people would get it. But like the olds saying goes, “sometimes the complicated thing is the simplest in design”.

  4. I guess I would have to respectfully disagree. Sometimes the Bible speaks of unbelievers and the “ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart” (Ephesians 4:18). Doesn’t it seem like that hardness and ignorance blinds the mind to simple and beautiful things, such as justification by faith apart from works?

  5. woenigma says:

    Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea we establish the law. Rom 3:31

    For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Matt. 16:27

    If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth they soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works? Prov 24:12

    And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:
    1 Peter 1:17

    And I saw the dead small and geat, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged EVERY man according to their works. Rev 20:12-13

    What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?…servants of righteousness…servants to righteousness unto holiness. Rom 6

    These are not my words, what say you?

  6. Michael P says:

    So, woenigma, are you admitting you are a legalistic faith? One based on works?

    Let me pause here a second, it seems this is a common topic for discussion. Its important, too. To me, it speaks of the nature of God, and our relationship to Him. Is God all powerful enough to grant forgiveness based on our faith, or do we have enough power to earn something in His eyes? Its about power, really. God’s power, or our own? Can we do anything to merit God’s favor, flexing our own muscles? Or do we rely completely on his mercy, like the captive on death row who can do nothing to work himself free except rely on the goodness of his captor? Does God bargain– do enough, and I might give you something in return? Or is it a simple proposition: have faith and you are free?

    These questions are terribly important, and the how you answer them defines who God is and your relationship to Him. I for one, look to His greatness and mercy to set me free. I cannot do anything beyond that to change His mind. God is all powerful, and does not bargain.

    If others wish to view this differently, so be it. But do not diminish the importance of such questions, and their answers.

  7. woenigma says:

    I just don’t understand how you pick out the grace scriptures and ignore the works scriptures.

    We are not working for rewards in the sense you all want to think we are. It’s a bigger picture. Sometimes you need to do works to get your heart ready to receive the Lord (reading the scriptures, praying, fasting, singing, searching). I can’t imagine anyone just saying I believe in Christ and that’s it, your done, SAVED. I do not believe that person could have a change of heart or even have a clue what the spirit feels like by just saying the words. It takes YOU seeking the Lord and I believe you have to work to prepare yourself.

    Some people need to do works just to get on the Lord’s path. Serving others, giving time and money to others, walking in other peoples shoes… can help a person realize the joy in serving others. Going through the motions can be a process in changing ones heart.

    Love they neighbor as thy self, if this does not require work please enlighten me!

    I want to follow Christ, he was baptized, that is a work, I am baptized.

    All these works are not for me to have a score board so I can get into heaven, but they are for me, to change my life, my heart so I can be more like Christ, which glorifies God, helps my fellow man, gives others an example so hopefully they will come to Christ.

    I cannot believe in a God that would send a good and honest man to hell just because he didn’t say “I believe in Jesus” maybe this man was never taught about Jesus. My God and religion gives this man an opportunity to be taught the gospel. My God would not send a man to heaven that commits murder and on his death says “I believe in Jesus”. This man has done no work to obtain such a testimony, the words are empty and without conviction!

    It’s not about bargaining with God, changing the rules, gaining power, it’s about the Kingdom of God, our fellow man and defeating Satan.

  8. clarity67 says:

    Michael,

    In reading your post to Woenigma an account in the scriptures came to mind. Remember a certain rich ruler who came to the Savior and asked a very telling question, “… Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?

    18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

    19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, defraud not, honour thy father and mother.

    20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.

    21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

    22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

    He asked “what shall I DO?? DO??” and the Savior goes immediately to OBEDIENCE! of the commandments. Then, (knowing the heart and mind of this young man) what does he ask him to DOOOO?? He answers essentially “give up your possessions and follow me.” Was this a test? You bet it was, to see if he would choose the Savior over himself and willingly submit to follow whatever He was asked TO DO!!!! Now, I ask you, according to YOUR version the gospel, the Lord should have responded with something that resembles the following…. “well, my young friend, haven’t you heard? Eternal life is free, why askest thou me what thou must DO, for I have overcome the world for all so that you need do nothing, but have faith. And by the way, I ‘m not concerned about what commandments you have kept or not because (Michael’s words) ‘you cannot really merit any favor in my eyes‘, by your works”. Can you possibly imagine the Savior responding like this? Yet, this is exactly the view of the Lord that you erroneously purport.

    CONTD.

  9. clarity67 says:

    Isn’t it also significant that the young man correctly assumed (common sense must have gotten the better of him, imagine that-(sarcasm intentional)) that, yes, something was required of him TO DO in order to obtain eternal life. Incidentally, in all three accounts, (Matt 19, Mark 10, and Luke 18) he stands uncorrected by the Lord in this assumption, and in fact, he is vindicated with the Lord’s admonition to ACTION. Our assertion that the Lord’s grace is effectuated in our behalf only “after all we can do” (2 Ne. 25:23) is confirmed by this instance.

    Michael, you’re right; these are extremely important questions to be pondered. I asked you before about how the Lord will judge us. I will ask again, but this way- what is it really that differentiates the “saved” from the “unsaved”?? Please don‘t respond, “he who has faith” as opposed to “he who does not have faith“, for how shall one discern one from the other?

    Aaron, still waiting for that explanation of obedience buddy……..

  10. Lautensack says:

    Clarity67,
    Mind if I jump in here, if so simply ignore my post, but I believe I can add some clarity to this discussion.
    There are two ways one can enter into the kingdom of heaven, one is by fulfilling all that is written in the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 19:17ff) This we would call works, a total dependence upon ones own meritorious actions for justification. The other way is by grace through faith apart from works of the law (Romans 3:28;4:16), or simply we could call this one Grace. Heres the kicker, the first is impossible to fulfill. Now many people will try to infuse the two “but if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” Romans 11:6 So what do we do with texts such as Romans 2:13, James 2, Ezekiel 36:26ff, Jeremiah 31:31ff? Paul says “whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” Romans 14:23 And we must remember that even James says that it is the belief that is counted as righteousness and not the works done because of the belief. James 2:23

    Mormons believe, correct me if I am wrong, that grace comes after works (2 Nephi 25:23, Moroni 10:32). Christians believe grace is the spring from which everything including works and even faith flow from. Thus Christians agree with Paul when he wrote “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.” Mormons on the other hand believe according to their scriptures it is by works, faith and then grace if need be.
    As for the difference between the saved and the unsaved it is a five letter word called Grace.
    I wish I had more room to write, I could write pages on this but for more on faith and works go to my blog and click the link “faith” read the blog from March 11 it covers faith and works in far more detail.

    Lautensack

  11. clarity67 says:

    Lautensack,

    Well, I think we’re getting closer with just a few clarifications on your last post. You quoted Paul as “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.” Mormons on the other hand believe according to their scriptures it is by works, faith and then grace if need be.”

    I couldn’t agree more with Paul and couldn’t agree less with your take. You know this is not what we believe, “then grace if need be.” I think the point has been repeated enough that we assert unequivocally that grace is absolutely the way we are saved (2 Ne. 25:23) and not “if need be”. This necessity for grace, however does not trump, eliminate, or otherwise negate the need for us to obey, act , follow, and, yes, work. Where I absolutely agree with Paul in the scripture you stated is that salvation, or grace is not of our own doing, not a result of (our)works, but rather is a result of the Lord’s sacrifice. Agreed. With that said, why is it so offensive that Mormons would wish to wear themselves out (practically) in the service of their God? Your assertion is that we believe we will work our way to salvation instead of the truth which is we believe in “working out our salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord.” (Phil 2:12, Alma 34:37)

  12. Michael P says:

    “It’s not about bargaining with God, changing the rules, gaining power, it’s about the Kingdom of God, our fellow man and defeating Satan.” Woenigma, you said this to end your post, which you never really deny that your is a legalistic faith. These direct comments come from my questions in my post. I look at your faith as absolutely bargaining with God, since you believe that if you do enough, you think you should desrve enough. Your faith has changed rules, and by becoming Gods, you seek to gain power. It is about the Kingdom of God, but we can do nothing to override his Kingdom or his will. All we can do for our fellow man is honor God toward them, meaning act charitablly, share the word, and life them up. The final point, defeating Satan: he’s already defeated!

    As to your (including Clarity’s post now) definition of works, yes, we are to work. However, we have freedom about what we do. We are not bound by your rules to get to heaven. To put this another way, we do not need to complete your checklist (I know, you hate that term, but there’s no better way to describe it) to reach heaven (or in your case, the highest heaven).

    To expand a bit, when we say we are to work, we are to work charitbally, like the good Samaritan, and we are to work to glorify God in the eyes of others (so that they can see God’s glory). We are to turn away from sin (if you want to call that work). We are to be active in our faith, in our church, in our communities. We are to confront sin and evil when we see it. But we do not have a pre-set list of requirements that we must “work” to achieve favor in God’s eyes. More than one Mormon has said straight up that if you don’t do those things, you can’t be saved.

    So, really, when you say some need to work to keep their faith, you can be right. You are also right serving our neighbor is work. But these items don’t do is include that your faith REQUIRES some works and rituals.

    contd

  13. Lautensack says:

    Clarity,
    The question is then do your works play any meritorious roll in your exaltation? Is the reason you are exalted because of your works or is it solely because of the grace of God? Perhaps if need be was too strong a phrase but would you at least agree that Mormons believe they receive grace after and not before they do works? This I do believe is the main difference between Mormon and Christian Soteriology (fancy word for Doctrine of Salvation). The Christian believes that everything, including faith comes from grace given to us by God, and it is only by His grace that we have the faith to even do anything, to walk in the works He has prepared beforehand. Now if I am correct according to Mormon Scriptures and prophets, in Mormon Soteriology the order is something like Faith, Works, then Grace after all we can do. Thus you meritoriously earn your place in heaven getting help from Jesus at the end. Christians earn nothing and God makes their dead souls alive and seats them in heaven in Christ who is at the right hand of the Father.(Ephesians 1:3-2:10) Thus Mormon Soteriology is man centered and Christian Soteriology is God centered.

    Lautensack

  14. Michael P says:

    I know you view the Bible and say it commands us to work. And you question how it is we can view the Bible without these commands. We also look at wonder how you can look at many verses and ignore the emphasis on faith, really the entire Book of Romans, for instance.

    Clarity, I answered your question in the other post, check there for the answer. If you want clarifcation, please ask. But you also do not address my questions: what are your views on the nature of God? Please do so before chaning the subject again.

    You also say this, in a post: “Your assertion is that we believe we will work our way to salvation instead of the truth which is we believe in “working out our salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord.” (Phil 2:12, Alma 34:37)” Forgive me for failing to see the difference between working your way to salvation and working our your salvation with fear? They sound pretty similar to me. Only difference I see is one adds fear.

    Actually, Clarity, I will answer the question now, as rereading it is slighly different (still expect some thoughts on the nature of God). Faith is a matter of the heart, and God knows our heart, which no one else can possibly know. It is not an outward judgment, but one based on inward attitude. Outwardly, two people can do the exact same things, when only one has faith. Outwardly, how would we tell the difference? Answer: we couldn’t. This is how God will judge us upon entrance to heaven.

  15. clarity67 says:

    Lautensack,

    Perhaps this is an easier way to put it. We believe that God expects us to be obedient to the commandments and do the best that we can do, and when that falls short (because it surely will) grace will make up the rest. But to answer, do we believe necessarily in a sequential order or procedural approach which obligates one in first “faith, then works, then grace after all we can do?:”, I suppose I could accept it worded that way. Not to start wordplay, but I don’t think I would word it like you did later, “Thus you meritoriously earn your place in heaven getting help from Jesus at the end.” Rather, if you mean that through obedience you “merit” rewards according to the demands of the law of justice in your behalf (or more easily said, if you are obedient, the Lord is bound by His own law to reward you), then, yes.)

    We believe that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, (that He is the Savior and that by Him and through Him only, salvation is possible) will lead people, true believers, to repentance. Repentance simply to mean that you acknowledge you are sinful by nature and must yield to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and not only turn away from sin, but toward God. If you have faith leading you to repentance and a desire for a remission of sins, then baptism is next. This outward expression, or symbol, of the Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection, signifies (and is accompanied by) a covenant to take upon yourself His name and take up the cross and follow Him. The Gift of the Holy Ghost follows baptism by immersion, that is the “born of the Spirit” or “baptism by fire” referenced in the scriptures. The Lord does not force anyone to obey, rather he invites all, “come unto me, come follow me, and take my yoke upon you and learn of me.” We maintain that His invitation remains in force and has not been withdrawn, but we must accept it, and with it, the obligation to reach for perfection

    CONTD.

  16. clarity67 says:

    (how ever futile that may sound, nevertheless it is His command) and to repent when we fall short in hopes of a glorious reunion through the merciful gift of the atonement. We word it differently, but it is essentially the same. If you think not, which part of what I just said would the Lord himself correct me on? Don’t worry I can take it –

    Michael,

    Sorry if I missed answering this before, so, you ask, “What are my views on the nature of God?” We believe in God, the Eternal Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us. (D&C 130:22) We believe God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent as well as Our benevolent Father in Heaven who loves us and we love Him.

    Further, you said, “Forgive me for failing to see the difference between working your way to salvation and working out your salvation with fear? They sound pretty similar to me.” Yes they do. Thank you for making my point – that was it. While we are accused of “working our way into heaven” by our critics, you correctly state it is really not that different than the scripturally based assertion I made. Therefore, we are being criticized for following the scriptures, let us be found so guilty.

    I respect your view and, yes, Paul’s epistle to the Romans is heavily laden with references pertinently made for his audience (no further explanation necessary, I expect). I appreciate very much the explanation that two people can do the same things (and not necessarily being done with faith) I agree. If you’ll permit me to extend that thought; The “WHY” we do certain things is often times much more important than the “WHAT” we may be doing.

    at my daily limit- more later.

  17. eric017 says:

    Here is how I see it. There are two ways to heaven. One could live 100% of the law (keep the commandments), everyday, all the time, from birth till death. Such a person would merit heaven. When we look in our hearts, we are convicted of this imposibility and which is heavily supported in scripture. The second path is by accept God’s attoning sacrifice, which is an unmerited gift.

    Doing works in hope of salvation before that salvation has actually happened, to me is like lowering ones head and running headlong into a brick wall, repeatedly. The effort is destined for failure. Indeed, such works are sins in God’s eyes because our motivation for doing the works is selfish and prideful (i.e. working out one’s salvation, perfecting one’s self).

    Christians do not ignore the works references and focus on the grace references. Rather, I think we understand the order of things. How? Because we cans see the sequence of events in our own lives following our acceptance of Jesus’ saving grace. Following the salvation event, the Holy Spirit begins to convict our hearts to do the works. These works are no longer sins in Gods eyes, as they were before salvation. Why? Because the motivation changes. We not longer motivated to work out our own salvation or to merit salvation. The motivation to do works is the motivation to do God’s will, as spoken to our hearts and through the Word. The approach to things is completely different. We see ourselves as vile sinners who are undeserving of salvation, who have miraculously had our hearts changed and seek to do His will and His will alone. God’s works proceed forth from grace through Christians, via the Holy Spirit. This isn’t simply supported by scripture, it is actually based on our own experiences.

  18. woenigma says:

    Michael,
    Satan is not defeated, how can you miss all the evil in the world! He is all around us tempting people to make bad choices and taking them to hell with him. He does not get bound until Christ returns. We then get to live in peace, with Christ, for 1000 years, but Satan is again released for a short time at the end of the 1000 years. Rev 20:1-3 Why does Satan get released again?

    Michael “I look at your faith as absolutely bargaining with God” then you ignored my entire post! Nothing could be further from the truth so please stop saying it!

    My faith has not changed the rules my faith has answers questions, gives us more and makes sense of why we are here on Earth. A Beautiful thing! With all that space out there do you really think this is the only Earth. What does common sense tell you?

    We want to expand the Kingdom of God to glorify our God, not to gain power for ourselves. Why did Jesus tell us to “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness: and all these things shall be added unto you”. Matt 6:33.

    Works-Good Samaritan story. Do you admit that this was a “work” to help him? Or if you say “I believe in Jesus” you can walk on by?

  19. Lautensack says:

    Clarity67,
    Perhaps you misunderstood what I meant by “you meritoriously earn your place in heaven getting help from Jesus at the end.” What is the difference between one in the celestial kingdom and the terrestrial kingdom? Did God grant one more grace than the other, or did by something intrinsically better within them merit Celestial kingdom? Perhaps it is because they were more responsive to the Holy Spirit or something but it is something within them that earns their exaltation, not simply the grace of God.
    I would say that the Lord would correct you on when the Gift of the Holy Spirit was given, because unless one is born again from above by the Spirit of God s/he cannot even see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3ff) Much less know how they have offended the King of Glory and they are not able to fall completely upon His mercy as His justice would have them punished for their rebellion.
    Every Christian maintains that the invitation is always open to come to Christ, however no one will come unless drawn by the Father and all who Come will never be cast out. (John 6:35-40:44) For all the flock of God are hidden in the hand of God and no one can snatch them from Him. (John 10:24-30)

    I guess the real question is did Christ’s blood actually cover our sins of ommision as well as our sins of commission? If He did truly our sins in His body(1 Peter 2:24), then how can God find fault in those covered in the blood of the lamb that was slain? If for all of my lawbreaking and all of my rebellion are covered in Christ’s righteousness (2 Cor 5:21), how do I receive anything less than glory if I am in Christ?(Eph 2:5-6) I am not going to be rewarded for doing what I was created to do, but I will be punished disobedience, unless another takes the punishment for me, in my place, that I might still be presented blameless before the Father. If I have no sin, because Christ took it all on the cross what reason do I lack to have for the Hope of Glory?(Col 1:27)

    Lautensack

  20. clarity67 says:

    Lautensack,

    You raise very good questions and I will attempt to clarify. You know that the divisions, degrees, or glories of the resurrection are based upon the judgment. (1 Cor. 15 39-42). And what are these resultant conditions based upon?

    REV. 20:12 “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

    13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

    Matt 16:27 “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

    ROMANS 2: 5 “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;

    6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

    Alma 41:3 “3 And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good.

    If you (and Michael P.) would really know the plain truth of exactly what we believe concerning this doctrine, it is stated ever so eloquently and simply in the 42nd chapter of Alma. I challenge you to find anything in those 31 verses that contradicts the gospel of Jesus Christ as found in the New Testament. On the contrary, it composes the most straight-forward doctrines of salvation ever written about the Savior of the world and his divine mission. If it is the same Messiah we worship, you will find this helpful. If not, I believe this is where we part ideas; either we do not worship the same being, or one of us understands not what he worships

  21. clarity67 says:

    Eric017,

    I find your last post interesting and understandable, but simply NOT scriptural. You said, ”Doing works in hope of salvation before that salvation has actually happened, to me is like lowering ones head and running headlong into a brick wall, repeatedly. The effort is destined for failure. Indeed, such works are sins in God’s eyes because our motivation for doing the works is selfish and prideful (i.e. working out one’s salvation, perfecting one’s self). Since when are righteous works counted as sins in God’s eyes? In fact, the Lord says “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine.” (John 7:17). As well, your parenthetically stated examples I used ARE SCRIPTURAL (Matt 5:48, Phil 2:12, Alma 34:37). Of course, motivation behind the action is significant, but sinful in this case? Surely not. I will qualify that with the following exception in scripture (Moroni 7:6-9) “ For behold, God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing.

    7 For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness.

    8 For behold, if a man being evil giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God.

    9 And likewise also is it counted evil unto a man, if he shall pray and not with real intent of heart; yea, and it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such.

    Your assumption that said righteous works wrought “before the salvation event” are motivated by selfishness and pride is not only presumptuous at best, but ignorant at least. Further, one (like yourself)who purports to be “SAVED” (past tense) before the judgment has even taken place is likely the last person to consult as an authoritative source on the subject of sequentiality. As in “I think we understand the order of things”.

  22. Lautensack says:

    Clarity67,
    Simply quoting scripture and other sources does not make an argument. I agree with Paul in his illustration used in 1 Corinthians 15, that we will not be raised as fish or birds or beasts but as humans. This passage never mentions judgment therefore to eisegete judgment into the passage gives no respect to the original writer nor his intentions.

    You quote Revelation 20, yet do so very selectively saying see it is according to the works we are judged, I agree and all are found as falling short accept those who have their names written in the Book of Life which was written before the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:8;17:8;20:12-15)

    As for Matthew 16:27 When a reward is promised to good works, their merit is not contrasted with the justification which is freely bestowed on us through faith; and is it not pointed out as the cause of our salvation, but is only held out to excite believers to aim at doing what is right, by assuring them that their labor will not be lost. There is a perfect agreement between these two statements, that we are justified freely, (Romans 3:24,) because we are received into God’s favor without any merit; and yet that God, of his own good pleasure, bestows on our works a reward which we did not deserve.

    As for Romans 2:5-6 it cannot be seen without the light of the rest of Paul’s argument that is Romans 1:18-3:31 including the climax that yes we will all be judged according to our works and that we will all fail (Romans 3:23)

    As for the Alma quote it says the desires of their hearts will also be accountable, If this is true when Scripture states that the desires of the hearts of men are evil continually, does this not mean we are all damned? (Genesis 6:5;8:21;Ecclesiastes 9:3; Jeremiah 17:9;Romans 3:10-19) God is a righteous judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day. (Psalm 7:11)

    Lautensack

  23. Lautensack says:

    Clarity67,
    Sorry didn’t notice that the last part of post one was to me do forgive me. So I broke out my quad, yes I do have one of those can’t always read the 1830 edition. It hit me, are you sure that Alma 42 is an accurate representation of your God? According to your religion did God atone for sin or did Jesus? (v15) Likewise according to your religion are those who drink of the living waters free from the wrath of God where as those who don’t are judged according to their evil deeds? (v24-28) I must as where does this chapter teach that men are God’s in embryo? Where does it teach that we are to become God’s not simply like God, in that we distinguish good from evil? Where does it teach the three levels of Heaven? It appears that neither of us actually take our doctrine from this passage, and while there are some similarities there are some radical differences such as the reason for the fall, and for the redemption of man. Thus I will whole heartedly agree that we do not worship the same God or the same Jesus. I must ask, is your God the God of Isaiah 44-46?

    Lautensack

  24. clarity67 says:

    Once again you have shown that this matter will never be resolved by an appeal to the Bible because anyone, you , or me, anyone can twist the scriptures to mean whatever will fit one’s agenda, whether wicked or good.

    Acts 24:15, “And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

    John 5:27-29, “And hath given him authority to execute JUDGMENT also, because he is the Son of man.

    28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,

    29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation

    Perhaps you subscribe to the theory that the good go to heaven and the evil go to hell, as if 45689345 good things matched up against the 45689346 bad things will send you to hell in a hand basket. OH wait, no I forgot, it doesn’t matter what we do because you subscribe to the theory that we are all damned anyway. Oh no, wait it’s the other one, we are all saved no matter what we do. ahhhhrrgh. what in the world? No wonder Joseph sought the truth in earnest prayer. You offer nothing but confusion and unrest.

    God be thanked for the unceasing words of Jesus Christ that flow from Book of Mormon and the altars of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

    Alma 42:23 “But God ceaseth not to be God, and mercy claimeth the penitent, and mercy cometh because of the atonement; and the atonement bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead; and the resurrection of the dead bringeth back men into the presence of God; and thus they are restored into his presence, to be judged according to their works, according to the law and justice.” The truth at long last.

  25. eric017 says:

    Clarity,
    First, I do not consider the BOM scripture. Second, your example from Moroni made my point. I would argue that the ‘real intent’ Joseph Smith plagarized from Biblical concepts and attributed to ‘Moroni’ is key. We are fallen sinners. And doing good works with the intent to perfect ourselves in God’s eyes is prideful and thus a sin. We should have only one intent when doing works: glorifying and honoring God.

    I do not consider myself saved (past tense) based on anything I have done beyond accepting God’s offering of salvation. The ‘order of things’ comment is based on my experience of 25 years of Mormon guilt and the unbelievable changes God has made on my own heart since becoming a Christian. I’ve experienced the LDS gospel…didn’t work.

    More later, I’ve got to get to work.

  26. Lautensack says:

    Clarity67,
    If I have been unclear all you needed to do was say so, not make up false allegations that I believed in some doctrine of karma, or some extreme fatism where all will be damned. Also while you have yet to respond to any of my points thus far, simply stating *nuh uh* does not refute the points I have already made. Nevertheless allow me to try to explain once again.
    God, He created the world and everything in it, including humans to serve and glorify Himself for His own good pleasure. Our first parents being very silly thought that they could find more fulfillment if they ruled themselves rather than being ruled by their creator. Thus because of our rebellion God has vowed to righteously yet lovingly judge us on an account of what we do, to which we all fail His holy standards and earn eternal death. But God being rich in mercy and love toward us, for His own good pleasure sent His Son, who emptied Himself and was made into the likeness of man that He might fulfill the perfect requirements of God’s standard. Furthermore the Son, Jesus Christ, bore the eternal judgment of God against sinners on the Cross of Calvary; thus satisfying the eternal anger of God at sinners. God treated the perfect one Jesus Christ as a sinner that He might be just in declaring sinners perfect. This wonderful exchange of our sin and His righteousness takes place when a sinner places their faith, fully trusts, the Lord Jesus as their substitute. Then God sees the sinner as an adopted son covered in the righteousness of His perfect Son, not a rebellious sinner. God showed that the sacrifice was acceptable by raising His Son Jesus from the dead. God will judge the world in righteousness and all of those who are not covered in the righteousness of Christ, depending on Him alone to be their righteousness and for forgiveness, will be forced to stand on their own to bear the eternal anger of God. Thus it is either all on Christ or all upon us. Therefore repent and believe.
    Lautensack

  27. eric017 says:

    Clarity,
    As I thought about my reply above, I realized that I what I wrote was disrespectful of you and your beliefs. I’m very sorry about this, and I hope you will accept my apology.

    But my main points still stand. I’m an imperfect sinner who is undeserving of salvation regardless of how hard I try. I guess I fell passionate because I tried to live the LDS gospel, as it was the only gospel I knew, and ended up frustrated with a lot of unanswered questions. It wasn’t until God humbled me and literally broke me down that I realized my sinful state. It isn’t as though as Christians think we have it all figured out so we think we are right. For me, I can compare my experience with Mormonism and my experience since God has changed my heart that I can see the “Good News” working in my life. There is a world of difference, and I long more than anything in the world to see my family and friends who are LDS experience the same thing.

    Again, I’m very sorry if I offended you with my previous post this morning.

  28. Michael P says:

    Clarity, and we begin the circle of chasing the the discussion. You add that little quip at the end of your last post to me about Paul’s writing only being applicable to those to whom he was writing. Using this, we cannot have further discussion if the bar is going to be moved. As you might expect, I disagree with what you say but will not continue down the path of changing definitions, terms, and rules. We are discussing using the same assumptions.

    BTW, as to the nature of God queston, I am asking the much deeper question of what is God like in all aspects. How does he treat people, and what is his relation to us? How do we reach him, is a purely loving God, or is he wrathful and full of rage? Is he all of that? Is he all poweful and all knowing? These questions and more are covered in his nature. What, truly, is God like?

    Woenigma, I very much disagree. Satan is defeated! He cannot win, and he cannot take God’s children. He can cause strife, and he can influence the world negatively, but he cannot win.

    As to you changing the rules, I guess that is for us to disagree on, because from our point of view you certainly have. You mention getting answers from it, let me ask you this: do you need all the answers to live a full life, or do you simply need Jesus?

    You also ask why God said seek ye first the kingdom of God, and these will be added? Well, I can’t help but see you emphasize the added part. This is still emphaisizig reward. So, no matter how much you say otherwise, using your current defenses I’ll stand by my claim. (BTW– do you think God could mean he will make us whole, rather than make us gods?)

    Finally, you seem to be ignoring my posts to you on works. Yes, it would be a work. But this is not ritual work, now is it?

    Good day all.

  29. woenigma says:

    Lautensack
    What is the reason for our fall? Please read Romans 5:12-21

  30. Lautensack says:

    woenigma,
    Romans 5:12-21 does not state a reason for the fall, simply that there was a fall. Now are you suggesting that our first parents could not have chosen to honor God and were forced against their will to sin? If so we can take that up as an issue. However this would go against your argument for libertarian free will therefore to hold that God forced Adam and Eve to sin and yet cannot in any way perfectly entice some to come to Him means you hold two different standards for the will. Therefore your argument lacks consistency and as such validity.
    Perhaps you meant to ask what was the reason for the Law? Yet that would prove my point would it not? If the Law was given to increase our transgression and make our sins known to us so that we might not suppress them but realize how rebellious we truly are and how much we are dependent upon the grace of God, then is the giving of the Law itself not an act of grace that enables us to realize our own depravity, and our utter dependence upon the mercy of God?
    Also it is rather humorous that you suggest this passage in the context of a discussion of grace vs. works salvation for this passage teaches salvation by grace apart from works.

    Lautensack

  31. clarity67 says:

    Lautensack, Eric, and Michael,

    I appreciate your patience with my occasional outbursts of frustration- I do not wish any harm or ill will and beg your forgiveness for some of my scathing, and, yes, sharply worded comments. Perhaps the typing in lieu of actually conversing is a bit troubling as it is, obviously, not my forte. When I first entered some of the discussions here, I was impressed with the strong feelings that each of us have toward the standards, beliefs, and doctrines we not only adhere to, but feel compelled to guard and defend with resolute ferocity. And so it should be. These are the boundaries, acceptances, and characteristics that shape our very lives. I would never want to make anyone feel badly for their belief with my comments and if I have done that, I sincerely apologize.

    Lautensack,

    A few questions prompted by your last. Obviously, God knew the choice that Adam and Eve would make, why did he put them in such a position as to not escape disobedience? Also, you said that basically we are here to glorify God as to His good pleasure. Is there anything more or is that it? Forgive me, but you make it sound like God was bored and needed something to entertain himself and therefore “created” some creatures for his amusement. Is this all or is there any deeper or additional mission, plan, or purpose that God is about?? One last question, you said, “thus it is all on Christ, or it is all on us.” I understand what you said and it is confusing in this regard. If it is all on Christ and he has taken every sin upon Him then why need we repent? If the law of justice is satisfied in Christ, and it is all on Him, not us, then what need is there for repentance? On the other hand, if it (sin and its consequences-spiritual death) is all on us then how is the law of mercy satisfied? This dichotomy between justice and mercy must be fulfilled – how is it done?

    CONTD.

  32. clarity67 says:

    To answer your last, (1) God the Father sent His Son, Jesus, to atone for the sins of the world, and yet is Jesus not God? He is. (2) Everyone will be judged whether they drink freely of the waters of life or not, whether their works be good or evil. I believe your assertion here is that everything we do is evil all the time, and yes the scriptures state such (as “continually“), but they also state that the natural man can yield to the enticing of the Holy Spirit and become righteous. (3) I didn’t say that EVERY doctrine was contained in Alma 42, but the doctrines of salvation (pertinent to our discussion of, grace, works, mercy, justice, etc.) And yes my God is the God of Isaiah.

    Eric,

    I am sensitive to your thoughts, and appreciate your willingness to disclose your history and experience. I do not know your background and wouldn’t presume to fully understand all of your encounters in the Church. I can only imagine from your comments that it is hurtful to you and I wish that were different.

    Michael,

    I feel like I answered your question even as you mentioned, but perhaps it was not detailed enough. Forgive me, but its difficult to merge such a broad inquiry into 2000 characters. Let me try again.

    As I said, I believe that God is Our Father in Heaven and that He loves us. I believe that He designed a plan by which His children could come to earth, gain a physical body, and grow and progress to be more like Him if they so choose. I believe that while he cares for all of His children, he cannot break His own law and look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.
    I believe that, in His wisdom, knowing that having guaranteed our agency from the beginning, the inevitability of sin was evident and, thus, provided a Savior in Christ Jesus that would ransom us from both death and hell.

    Contd.

  33. clarity67 says:

    I think that the questions you ask about what he is like and how would He treat people can be summarily observed in the conduct of His Only Begotten Son and His ministry. He went about doing good, He healed the sick, raised the dead, entreated each other to love and care for one another and set the example for such Himself. I view Him to be much as the loving Father portrayed in the story of the prodigal son.

    He is not a student, for there is no truth save He knows it. He is a jealous God that commands our worship, but yet He respects our agency (as he granted such to us) and will not force us to obey Him. With that said, He has, at the same time, forewarned us and longs for us to choose Him. While He is pleased when we obey, He can, will, and has destroyed evil ones in His “hot displeasure” when His wrath is kindled against the wicked. I believe He is not happy to do so, but will not cease to be who He is and is bound by His own word. I believe He wants the best for His children like any loving Father, but He more than any other knows how to succor His. (Matt 7:11)

    His work and His glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. (Moses 1:39)

    I could go on, but rather humbly ask you the same question about Him and look forward to hearing your viewpoint.

  34. Michael P says:

    Clarity, as I said, indeed such a discussion could contain books. But God is indeed an angry and wrathful God, as much as he is a loving God. He loves us all, but I do think he gets his pleasure in meating out justice. He is primarilly a just God, and as such enjoys seeing his justice given. So, he is just as satisfied in sending one to hell as he is raising one to heaven. God wants us all to make it to heaven, but wanting it and seeing justice fulfilled are not compatible. He would rather be just.

    Further, God is fully spirit, took the form of man in his Son, Jesus, to offer a final sacrifice. Sacrifice was how man was able to clean themselves in God’s eyes. We had to be clean in order to meet God’s standards and not be declared guilty. When Christ died, he took on all of our sins– yes, He died for all, repented and unrepented sin, for believers and unbelievers alike. But to be covered with Christ before God, so that we can be justly considered, we must accept the sacrifice. How we view Jesus is how we will be judged, and how we will learn of God’s justice to us.

    God also only grants us one chance, on this earth, anywhere. For those who have never heard of God, or of Jesus, I offer two thoughts:

    First our need to spread the word to the ends of the earth. Second, that each of us will somehow be given the chance in their environment to know God. He makes himself known to all. How that is always, I do not know, but I know it is.

    Free will vs. predestination? Well, we have the choice (your word is agency) to choose our actions, or to act otherwise. But God, in his all knowing and all powerful state, knows what we will choose. Further, once we accept Jesus’ sacrifice, God will not let us fall. Now, many will say they have accepted, when they have not. They will face His wrath, but those who accept the sacrifce, they are guaranteed a place next to the Father and the Son.

    Hope that helps.

  35. eric017 says:

    Clarity,

    Well, to give you a little more insight, I would say that I haven’t been hurt by the church, or even really offended. I left the church when I was 25 and called myself an agnostic for 10 years after that. When I left I felt very angry at the church (as a whole) solely because I felt increadibly duped. But I fairly quickly came to peace with this anger. I searched around for a while concluding noone had the truth, but to be honest I didn’t really give Jesus a chance. I had couched the LDS church in with the rest of Christianity, and in short thought I had Christianity figured out based on my up bringing as a Mormon. I probably would have called myself an athiest, but I couldn’t shake the sense that God exists from my heart. God then literally broke me down a few year ago, then I met some Christians and by then I was open to figuring out why their approach was different. After a lot of conversations and reading, I found myself on a plane from Memphis to Dallas. I said that little prayer asking Jesus to be my saviour and not really knowing what would happen. Since then, my life has changed in a lot of ways. In my experience, if we pretend for a moment that much of the other doctrinal problems with the church don’t exist, the grace-works approach to salvation is the ultimate problem I see. You see, in my experience one approach works (i.e. grace first) the other doesn’t (works first).

  36. Lautensack says:

    Clarity67,
    I will begin by answering your questions about my post.
    Did God know Adam and Eve were going to sin? Yes.
    Could He have made it so that they would never have sinned? Yes.
    Why didn’t He? I will answer this when I am done answering the others as it will make more sense then.
    Was God bored and needing of something to do? Not at all, God was eternally happy in the triune relationship of Father, Son, and Spirit, however out of this abundance of love He created us to love, we were just silly enough to run away. As for a deeper plan, God knowing we would be utterly foolish and flee Him from eternity past knew God the Son would enter into Creation, suffer worse than any man has ever suffered, the breaking of an eternal relationship, bearing the Holy wrath of God against all sinners who would be redeemed that the redeemed might glorify Him forever.
    Now as I try to sort out your next series of questions The place where justice meets mercy is the Cross. God’s Justice is poured out against every sin of a regenerate sinner, and His mercy comes by giving every sinner the opportunity to repent and believe. Does this mean that Christ’s work on the Cross could not be efficient for all, no, but it does mean that it is effective only for those who solely trust Christ alone for salvation/exaltation what have you. Thus it is only through the empty hand of Faith that we can clasp God’s open hand of Grace (mercy). If our hands are weighted down with all of our works and merits, which are actually demerits, and we try to hold on to them we cannot grasp the hand of Grace because we are far to encumbered with ourselves.
    The question I said I would answer later in the post, God created the world knowing of the fall so that He could redeem us at the Cross for His glory. For this reason He created the Redeemed, Isaiah 43:7.

    Continued

  37. Lautensack says:

    As for your answers, am I then to infer that the Justice satisfied and the God made just and merciful in verse 15 of Alma 42 is Jesus and not the Father? Since you refer to this passage as though it were about salvation why does it not speak of the three levels of glory, since they are part of salvation.

    You say your God is the God of Isaiah, does this include Isaiah 43:10-11; 44:6-8: 45:18-21; and 46:9 who states that He alone is the only God, there were none before Him nor shall there be any after Him. He knows no other God’s no not any. This is being declared not by Elohiem but YHWH. Thus according to your own theology this is being declared by Jesus who must have forgotten His own Father. In a Trinitarian theology this makes sense but in monolithic polytheism or henotheism such as Mormonism it does not.

    Lautensack

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