The Good News of Repentance?

In the December 2013 Ensign, Brian D. Garner of the Church Correlation Department wrote a five-page article titled “The Good News of Repentance” (pp. 40-44). As I was reading this piece—subtitled “There is great joy in heaven whenever we repent in sincerity of heart”—I was struck by what I believe is really the bad news of repentance, at least when referred to in the context of Mormonism.

Garner talks about how the word “gospel” means “good news.” Saying repentance “is among our greatest blessings,” he asks, “What can compare to the freedom, confidence, peace, and joy that come from complete repentance and forgiveness?” (p. 41) On the next page, he writes, “The importance of repentance is better understood when we realize that it is a key that unlocks the blessings of the Savior’s atoning sacrifice.”

key_and_lock_banner3It sounds well and good. After all, Christianity certainly talks about the importance of repentance. But the author’s Mormonism comes into play in the next two columns, which are filled with LDS passages talking about what is required in addition to repentance. Although he says this “principle with a promise is certain,” the verses he provides don’t appear to support this notion (all italics are his):

  • “I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance; Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven” (D&C 1:31-32).
  • “Whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child” (3 Nephi 9:22).
  • “If ye will repent and return until me with full purpose of heart” (3 Nephi 10:6).
  • “If they will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts” (3 Nephi 21:22).
  • “Turn unto me and hearken unto my voice and believe and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized” (Moses 6:52)
  • For good measure, D&C 1:32 is again quoted, with an emphasized “and”: “He that repents and does the commandments of the Lord”
  • “Repent and walk more uprightly before me” (D&C 5:21).
  • “By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them” (D&C 58:43).

Based on these verses, Garner writes,

“Forsaking or discontinuing a sin is more difficult when that sin is a part of our natural inclination or has become an addictive habit. However, the Savior’s repeated instruction is clear: ‘Go, and sin no more’ (John 8:11; see also D&C 6:35). The difficulty of forsaking sin is magnified by the possibility of facing that temptation every day for the rest of our lives.”

Notice, the principle to “go, and sin no more” is “clear.” And then he adds this:

“To those who struggle with confession and forsaking sin, consider the Lord’s counsel as you seek added strength: ‘Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting’ (Matthew 17:21; see also Isaiah 58:6). Fasting can lead to increased spiritual power and self-control, especially when combined with prayer and scripture study.”

I struggle with sin! In fact, so did Paul. He wrote in Romans 7:18-25:

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature[d] a slave to the law of sin.

According to the article, the secret for those struggling with “forsaking sin” involves prayer, fasting, and scripture study. Then, on page 43, Garner writes,

“After doing all they can to repent, some worry whether they have been forgiven. The Lord has said that when we refuse to repent, He ‘will withdraw [His] Spirit’ (Helaman 13:8) and that as we repent, He will ‘pour out [His] Spirit’ upon us (Proverbs 1:23). Therefore, when we regularly feel the influence of the Holy Ghost in our lives, we can be assured that the Lord has forgiven us (see Mosiah 4:1-3).”

I am bewildered about how we, as sinners, are supposed to “feel” God’s presence in our lives. Does this mean when I don’t “feel” forgiven, I’m not, and if I feel pretty good about myself, then somehow I am? Is God’s forgiveness based on my success in squelching sin from my life? Indeed, the words of twelfth President Spencer W. Kimball are just plain scary:

“Each command we obey sends us another rung up the ladder to perfected manhood and toward godhood; and every law disobeyed is a sliding toward the bottom where man merges into the brute world. Only he who obeys law is free. Serfdom comes to him who defies law. ‘The truth shall make you free’ (John 8:32) was another of the incontrovertible truths authored by the Master. He truly is free who is master of situations, habits, passions, urges, and desires. If one must yield to appetite or passion and follow its demands, he is truly the servant of a dictator” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 153).

As I wrote above, even Paul admitted to combatting sin in his life and I’m sure he wasn’t always successful. Then, referring to the “repentance which merits forgiveness,” Kimball said the “former transgressor must have reached a ‘point of no return’ to sin wherein there is not merely a renunciation but also a deep abhorrence of the sin—where the sin becomes most distasteful to him and where the desire or urge to sin is cleared out of his life.” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 355).

“Feeling” that we are forgiven—based on emotions that change day to day—and “knowing” that we are forgiven are two separate things. First John 5:13 says, I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of Godso that you may know that you have eternal life.” Knowing here refers to “certainty” and not just a “feeling” that fleets with life’s trials and tribulations. While it is possible to feel pretty good about successfully claiming victory over individual sin, the chances are those temptations will creep back in sooner than later. As Kimball suggests, giving in to sin slides a person toward the bottom once more. What a hopeless and vicious circle.

There is no good news in Mormonism’s view of repentance. If true, if just means each of us have not yet arrived. However, Jesus came to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21) based on His work, not ours. According to the plethora of verses supplied by Garner, repentance is powerless unless the second clause (ceasing sin) in each verse is fulfilled as well. Therefore, it’s impossible to know whether or not one is forgiven. I would hope this Ensign article stirs more angst than peace in the honest Latter-day Saint’s heart.

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34 Responses to The Good News of Repentance?

  1. falcon says:

    I’ve recounted several times on this blog that when visiting Mormon historical sites it’s obvious to me that the job of the guide is to gin up feelings/emotions in those on the tour. Mormons really do believe that they are having spiritual experiences when they are emoting. On one horse drawn tour in Nauvoo, the guide stopped the horses in the woods and tried to create a “Joseph Smith in the grove” experience. It didn’t do much for my wife and me but I suppose that’s because we were the only non-LDS folks on the tour.
    My friend Andy Watson told me once that he’d never been to an LDS church service that didn’t resemble a funeral. I would think that the LDS church, with it’s emphasis on “positive feelings=spiritual experience”, would do everything they could to excite the crowd in their services.

    So then all a Mormon would have to do is tune in some of the more overt worship services on Christian TV and conclude that it’s all true based on the emotions of the crowd. That should be enough to flip the average Mormon believing emotions reflect the presence of the Holy Spirit and truth. Similarly if the LDS service is dull and boring it would mean that the Holy Spirit is not present nor is the truth, right?
    We are made-up of body, soul and spirit. I’m afraid what too many people interpret as “spirit” is really the “soul” manifesting itself.
    I’m saved whether I feel something or not. If our emotions are a spiritual gauge to reality, I think we’d all be set-up to be manipulated. And that’s what happens to people who believe their emotions indicate the truth of something.

  2. falcon says:

    We have to keep reminding ourselves that when these LDS types tell us about “repentance” that it’s from the perspective of their religious system. It has nothing to do with Christianity and what is revealed in the Bible.
    Back to basics! The LDS religion teaches that there are many gods in the universe. Each of these gods went through the “system” on other planets and having fulfilled all of the requirements (of the system) became gods. The LDS church even claims that what they practice is what the first century church believed and practiced but was lost.
    So what is taught by this particular Mormon sect is in the context of a religious system that in reality didn’t show-up until sometime in the early to mid 19th century. The system has under gone significant changes over the years but the practitioners still claim that it’s the original and not the crispy.

  3. Mike R says:

    Sinners striving to be forgiven and clean enough to make it to God’s home in heaven ? Does
    Mormonism have the “way” to how this can be done ? The following is by Mike Ghiglia :

    ” Eternal life in the presence of God requires that we be perfectly clean and thus forgiven of all
    our sins— on this the LDS Church and biblical revelation agree. The irreconcilable difference
    between the LDS and biblical gospels , however , is on whose ‘ work ‘ we ultimately depend to
    render us perfectly clean : The LDS gospel depends on Christ’s work to make forgiveness
    possible and OUR WORK to make forgiveness actual ; the biblical gospel depends on Christ’s
    work to make forgiveness possible and OUR FAITH in His work to make forgiveness actual . ”

    Receiving the gift of eternal life ? The Mormon way is by compliance to all the rules , laws , regulations , that is the Mormon ” restored ” gospel .

    The New Testament way is by grace alone , through faith alone , in CHRIST’s WORK ALONE .

    May the Mormon people let Jesus lift the heavy load of rules that their leaders have saddled
    them with , and ask Him for the spiritual freedom that He stands ready to give .

  4. Clyde6070 says:

    There is something that bothers me. When I was around Christians more than I am now I seem to remember being told that people who went back to their old ways after saying the sinners’ prayer weren’t saved in the first place. Is that still said about people today?

  5. Mike R says:

    Clyde, why do you let that bother you ? What should bother you is following a latter days
    false prophet since you’ve seen the evidence about the Mormon ” restored” gospel being a
    imitation gospel — Gal 1:8 , so do the right thing and exchange it for the true one .
    Make that exchange today please .
    We’re praying for you .

  6. Rick B says:

    Why does it bother you if a christian says a prayer, and then people question if he/she is saved? When first off, your Not a Christian, and Second, Your Church has a track record of getting everything Wrong and lying about everything. Why does that not bother you? But some idea about Christians does bother you?

  7. Clyde6070 says:

    I don’t think you realize that with some people repenting , for want of a better word, is a longer process or takes a stronger effort. With some people it is a quick turn about but others have problems. They are the ones that need help in realizing that they can overcome their problems. I mention this because a friend of mine came from a family of alcoholics. She has been sober for years but had a crisis in her life last week. She mention to me that she did not once think of turning to alcohol. To me that is an answer you get when you have overcome a very bad habit.

  8. fifth monarchy man says:


    No christian I know would equate saying the “sinners prayer” with repentance.

    Repentance simply means to change your mind. You can say a prayer without ever changing your mind.
    By the same token you can go through a long process and exert a strong effort with out ever changing you mind.

    you say:

    With some people it is a quick turn about but others have problems.

    I say,

    When you truly understand the Gospel you will change your mind about sin (repent) it’s just that simple. That does not mean you won’t struggle it just means that you won’t love your sin you will love Christ instead.


  9. Rick B says:

    Clyde said

    I don’t think you realize that with some people repenting , for want of a better word, is a longer process or takes a stronger effort. With some people it is a quick turn about but others have problems.

    If what you say is true, then people have not read all of the Bible or dont really believe what they have read. What you said to Mike Fits Mormonism, You cannot simply repent and be forgiven, you must jump through all sorts of hoops and beat your self up.

    But the Good news of the Gospel says this

    1 John 9 : If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    Thats seems pretty simple to me.

  10. falcon says:

    Yea clyde,
    I’d have to agree with the other Christian posters here wondering why you are getting into the saying of the sinner’s prayer as a means of being saved. Here’s a news flash. You don’t have to go forward in a meeting. You don’t have to say the sinners prayer.
    What the Bible tells us is required for salvation is believing in, having faith in, trusting in Jesus for our salvation. It’s the blood of the cross, shed by Jesus that covers our sin. Nothing can be added to that. It’s sufficient.
    You LDS folks have a system of religion that bears no resemblance to what is revealed in the Bible. So therefore, you can’t relate to what we are talking about in terms of repentance.

    clyde I was in a religious system that required me to go to the priest and confess my sins, receive absolution and then do some kind of penance. And then I’d do the whole thing over and over and over again. I never had any peace with God or assurance that I would go to heaven when I died. It was all about being in a state of grace and hopefully I was doing the system right.
    But now I have been set free from the law of sin and death because what the law could not do weak as it were in the flesh, Christ did. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. Blessed be to my Lord and Savior for providing for me what I could never do for myself.
    I got off the merry-go-round of sin, spiritual death and repentance a long time ago. Now I trust in Christ and I have peace with God.

  11. Mike R says:

    Clyde, re read what said in my first post . I’m not talking about overcoming some problem /sin
    like alcoholism , I was talking about being clean enough for God to allow you into His heavenly
    home . In that context repentance is not some long drawn out process . In Mormonism a person
    is only a candidate who must try and qualify for eternal life by climbing the many steps ( works)
    of their ” restored” gospel ladder . That’s not the truth revealed in the preaching of Jesus’ apostles
    like Paul . Two different gospels 1700 years apart .
    I urge you to return to the original authentic gospel of salvation — it’s in the New Testament .
    You literally don’t need your latter days prophets and their innovations .

  12. MistakenTestimony says:


    You said, “When I was around Christians more than I am now…” Thank you for acknowledging that Mormons are not Christians. That is refreshing.

  13. MistakenTestimony says:


    You said, “What the Bible tells us is required for salvation is believing in, having faith in, trusting in Jesus for our salvation.” What’s funny is that the BoM says the same thing! It even says that adding more than that is damnable. So Clyde, even if the BoM is true Joseph Smith was a false prophet for adding more to salvation than faith in Christ alone. Mormonism is in apostasy according to the BoM.

  14. grindael says:


    You hit the nail on the head. What I find a lot of Mormons who post here do, is find some item of gossip, or rumor that they heard, and make it into something all Christians believe and do. C.S. Lewis used the term “a great cataract of nonsense” to describe how people misconstrue Biblical theology. A good example of this is the “free grace” nonsense that keeps getting passed around and brought up here by countless Mormons. If repenting was that simple and easy then these words of Paul are useless:

    14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

    21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

    1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

    5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

    9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

    12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

    14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 7 & 8)

  15. falcon says:

    Mormonism as practiced by the LDS sect is the home of “free” grace!
    What do I mean by that? Well this sect teaches that everyone is saved with the first level of LDS salvation. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. You don’t have to repent! There is no repentance required in the LDS first level of salvation. It is absolutely free. A person can be a pedophile, a mass murderer, the absolute scum of the earth and brag about it. Shake your fist at God. Deify Him and you will be saved. Now how “cheap” is that?

    But here’s the second part of LDS salvation. If you want to become a “god”, well that’s an entirely different program. In this program you have to do, and do a lot. There is the LDS escape clause here in that if you fall short in your doing, Jesus will save you to become a god. Now what “after all you can do” means is pretty foggy in the LDS system. Some LDS folks are declared having done enough and receive a sort of second blessing ceremony where in essence they are declared gods. These folks did it on their own and don’t need Jesus to close the gap in their performance. They are declared gods in waiting based on their works.
    So all are saved by grace regardless if they repent. Some are declared gods without grace but based on their own works. And still some others have to work like dogs and hope that they have done enough to receive the grace necessary to become a god.
    What a great religious system don’t you think?

  16. cattyjane says:

    I love that answer about repentance! I completely agree. Its a change of mind. I have never heard that about how we wont stop struggling with sin but our love for Messiah will be stronger than our love for sin. Thank you for saying that. When I struggle I often wonder where my loyalty lies but that puts things in perspective. Its not about if we struggle or not but our ability to overcome and endure until our Messiah comes and reigns as King.
    I dont think that being in Messiah is a feeling or a knowing but more of a hope. We have a hope in the fact that the Almighty must keep his covenant with his people. We have a hope that Messiah paid the debt by his sacrifice that the blood of animals could not pay. We have a hope that when He returns to destroy this earth that our robes will be made white because of His mercy in redeeming us.
    I did not get a chance to respond to you on the last topic but this topic kinda ties in. consider this. Why would Paul condemn people for returning to keep the commandments; Do not make graven images, Do not bear My name falsely, Have no other Gods before me, Honor the Sabbath, honor your mother and father, do not kill, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, and do not covet.
    It woldnt make sense to tell people not to return to this but it would make sense to tell them not to return to covering sin with the blood of animals when the blood of Messiah is the only thing that can do that.

  17. grindael says:


    I didn’t say that Paul “condemned” people for keeping the commandments, but for living under the Law. (The FORCED Law, which included the 10C). The 10C become obsolete, if you will, because we now do THOSE SAME THINGS out of love, by the Spirit, not by way of forced commandments.

    So, we do “uphold the law”, (as Paul says) but we do not force the law. It may not sound like a big difference, but it is. This is where Mormonism goes off the tracks. If you break one regulation, you break them all. The letter kills but the Spirit gives life. That is why we do not need a “spokesman” for God, He speaks to us directly through the Spirit by way of Jesus.

    Under the Spirit, we have the Grace of Christ, the “blood of the Messiah”, which applies to those who are sinners, not the blood of animals (sprinkled on the mercy seat to remind us of our sins) PLUS the regulations and commandments. (The sin offering could never take away sins anyway, See Hebrews 10:11)

    1 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2 Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. 4 It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. (Hebrews 10)

    Therefore, we are not condemned, as we would be under the Law for sin. (Which can never be kept in its entirety). As Paul says, that does not give us an excuse to sin though, but we can never get away from it in our mortal bodies. This is why he said that “I keep on sinning”, but thanks be to God for Jesus.

    That is also why there is no “doing” where faith in Christ is concerned (only believing), but there is “doing”, as we fulfill the obligations that the Spirit gives us. (To Love one another). To each is given different “gifts”. If Faith was a “work” then why say “Faith WITHOUT Works is dead? You would already be doing the “works”.

  18. falcon says:

    Paul nails all of this down very well in Romans. He goes through the whole issue of law and grace, condemnation and freedom.
    I’m not interested in trying to keep the law in the flesh. It’s a fool’s bargain. That’s how legalistic religious sects try to control people. For some reason they don’t seem to be able to grasp the idea of walking in the spirit and not carrying out the deeds of the flesh.
    A good book is “The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse”. It’s probably twenty or so years old but I’d recommend it to anyone who has/is coming out of a legalistic or controlling religious sect. The author talks about how the church that he belonged to made a decision to remove anything from their congregation that even had a wiff of legalism. He said it was painful to watch as many people went “merrily into sin”. But, he said, then they knew who was saved and who wasn’t. I thought it was an interesting perspective.
    In the New Covenant, God writes His Law on our hearts. I’m someone who struggles everyday with gray area issues. Because of my sensitive conscious due to my Catholic up bringing, I’ve got to cut myself some slack or I’d go nuts. That’s why I get a tinge of pain reading your posts. Maybe you don’t intend to, but you’re coming across as somewhat hardcore on Law, behavior/morality. It sounds a little like shaking the bony finger if you get my drift.

  19. cattyjane says:

    Im not trying to come across aas condeming at all. I understand the struggle of staying on the path. I am very strict with myself but I believe that is how it has to be because of the scripture about “a little leven”. I am not perfect and I never will be but im also not allowed to bend the rules where I want to.
    I know the work spoken about in the NT is the work of sacrificial offering. The verse you posted is speaking strictly about animal sacrifice, but maybe you knew that. The law being spoken of is the law of sin aand death; we sin, something must die. Now we are in Messiah so he paid that debt.
    The things that we are expected to obey are not found in the lds church. They are the things that God revealed to us on Mt Sinai. The very same things taught in the NT. These are the instructions given about how we are to live our lives. Im not saying that we work our way to perfection, or to being a God but I am saying that we have a responsibilty to obey and endure because of the mercy that we were shown.

  20. grindael says:


    I think you are talking past me, but that is ok.

  21. fifth monarchy man says:


    If you don’t mind I’d like offer a suggestion.

    I suggest you study the relationship of the Law of Christ to the Law of Moses. I think you’ll find a strange paradoxical tension. In the Bible it is some times referred to as the difference between the Letter and the Spirit.

    It’s not that God’s law in diminished in the New Covenant it’s just the the focus has changed from one of law keeping to one of love.

    When you love the Messiah the life you lead will naturally correspond to his wishes but your focus will not be on the commands but on the person.

    I hope that makes sense


  22. cattyjane says:

    Maybe we agree. I reread your last post and I think we are saying the same thing. You believe that the Messiah took the place of animal sacrifice. You believe we still must follow the commandments but you say we follow out of love for the creator rather than obligation. I say its both.
    As far as repentance goes, since Clyde brought this up, I dont think that we can just say a prayer and then do whatever we want. Repentance means to turn and go the opposite direction. So their is a life change involved. We do pray and for mercy and forgiveness and we seek to make right those we have wronged by our actions. Our intentions should be to not return to our old ways, but to walk in obedience. We will mess up but the spirit corrects us and brings us back on the right track. Its very uncomfortable to be living outside of the will of God but claim to know the Messiah. If someone is able to live however they want and not have a conviction about what they are doing they are in a very dangerous place. Our hearts can be hardened just like pharoahs until we can stand right in the midst of the miracles of God and still reject him for our own will.

  23. falcon says:

    I guess people have to approach their walk with the Lord in their own apparent comfort zone. I don’t want to spend my time in a cycle of sin and repentance. The problem is that I sin all of the time.
    If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is in you, then, though your body is dead because of sin, your spirit is alive because of righteousness.
    I like being declared righteous base on my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It really takes the pressure off of me. I know sin. I know it inside and out. However I don’t want my orientation to God and my relationship with Him, focused on my deprived condition. For an obsessive-compulsive person, orientation to a shame based, sin oriented mind-set is a nightmare.
    However if you’ve found something that works for you, I certainly wouldn’t be critical.
    The Law was our tutor until Christ. I don’t want to be tutored any more.

  24. grindael says:


    Thanks for the reply. What my original problem was with, was the Jewish interpretation of faith. With the coming of Jesus we more fully understand what the meaning is. This is fully defined in the writings of Paul, inspired by Jesus. We must leave the Law and all obligations to it behind, and focus on what the Spirit dictates, which can be different for different people. You cannot judge what is in a person’s heart, simply because they follow obligations. Also, you can’t be a follower of Jesus, unless your changed heart manifests itself in loving acts towards your fellow man, which springs from our first love – for God (based on Faith, or belief in Him). As James said, true religion approved by the Father is taking care of widows and orphans and keeping oneself unspotted from the world. What a broad definition of his faith and works discourse!

    Jesus once said, if you don’t believe me, believe the WORKS I do, which came from the Father. Jesus was sent to reward faith right then and there. Still, some would not see it. Pharaoh was evil from the beginning. He would neither believe nor accept God. God knew his heart would be hardened by the actions of Moses. Therefore the miracles had no special meaning for Pharaoh, because he was convinced they were contrived. (But this is not a basis for saying that everyone that asks for proof is a “sign-seeker”, as the Mormons do).

    This is because, like the Pharisees, he (Pharaoh) had no faith. Not an action, but a hope in the One TRUE God that would lead to belief in His existence and THEN right action (works). It may seem like I’m nitpicking, but it is a very important point, because of the danger of following what men call obligations and regulations.

    For example, if someone told you that you had wronged them, because you did not pay your “fair share” of tithing would they be correct? Why didn’t Paul just let it go when men claimed that they must continue to be circumcised as an obligation to God? Paul said after speaking of circumcision,

    13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

    16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

    19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.(Galatians 5:13-26).

    What is the “opposite” direction? In relation to what? Certainly the “acts of the flesh” as defined by Paul. But there are also many other things that men claim we must do or not do. We are not to judge people by our own standards, or the standards of those who would burden us with regulations, obligations, and laws. For example, the Word of Wisdom as a regulation is evil. Why? Because the Spirit already dictates to us what our “self control” should be. Forcing anything, is simply wrong. But that is not an excuse for people to indulge in things that are clearly wrong.

    I know you know this. I just felt it important to make a distinction regarding Faith. I think it is very important to make, and hope you understand why I feel that way.

  25. Mike R says:

    grindael, well said .

    How do we become “worthy” to be accepted by God and live with Him in His home above ?
    Paul in Rom 3: 24-25 ; Phil 3:9 reveals the answer . We are declared righteous , justified ,
    to be worthy to live with Him in His home by faith in Jesus . No amount of religious type
    activities , obligations, associations, rules , performances etc can justify a sinner to allow
    God to declare them righteous enough to live with Him in heaven .

    By coming to Jesus ( Matt 11:28 ) surrendering the will , acknowledging guilty of sin’s penalty
    ( eternal separation from God ) and thus the need for a personal Savior , and then asking for
    pardon is how a person does business with God / Jesus . The result of this personal interaction
    with our Creator is how a person is born again and instantly given the Holy Spirit to then begin
    a new life as a christian , a worshiper of Jesus .

    Declared righteous , justified by faith in Jesus .
    But Mormons have been detoured by men who have a Old Testament type mentality . These
    so called modern day apostles have succumbed to a similar behavior as some Jewish leaders ,
    one example : Jewish leaders made unnecessary rules about the Sabbath they decided how
    far a person come walk on the Sabbath , as well as and other additions to God’s truth , so they
    resorted to criticizing Jesus for healing sick people on the Sabbath .
    This so mirrors what Mormon leaders have done to the true gospel of salvation that Jesus’
    apostles like Paul taught , they have mixed in their own ideas to what Paul taught and have
    convinced the Mormon people that this is the same gospel — now ” restored ” . However , this
    is a clever ruse because the resulting amalgamation by Mormon leaders has only produced
    another gospel — Gal 1:8 , the very danger Paul warned would happen .

    But this is what prophets in the latter days usually resort to , namely, they just can’t let the
    New Testament salvation preaching record of Jesus’ apostles alone . They have to alter it
    somehow to squeeze in their latter day doctrinal innovations — 2Tim 4: 3,4 .

    The Mormon people have been detoured by men who have not heard from God to teach
    the salvation message . These men have ” looked beyond the mark ” ( Jacob 4:14) and
    introduced man made rules, regulations , onto the true gospel of salvation —Col 1:23 .

    The Mormon people can be free from following latter day religious leaders who have exhibited
    a pattern of ” teaching for doctrine the commandments of men ” ( Mk 7:7 ) . Freedom comes
    by way of a person . Jesus ! No secret temple rituals , a prophet , or attempting to qualify to
    live with God in His home in heaven by climbing up the ladder steps of rules , laws, obligations
    that is the Mormon gospel .

  26. falcon says:

    I don’t know but maybe I just have more of an understanding or sensitivity to sin then the average person. I rejoice that God has declared me righteous based on my faith in His Son Jesus Christ.
    Do people understand what it means to have a sin nature? We sin in thought, word and deed. Our fallen nature produces in us sin of every kind. We can’t escape it! That’s why Paul goes on this long lament in the Book of Romans. He finally concludes that it is the sin in him that is the problem.

  27. cattyjane says:

    I dont think that the Hebrew definition of faith can change. That wouldnt make sense when the culture of the people was the same from OT to NT.
    I do understand the struggle with sin, and yes sometimes staying on the path of righteousness seems impossible at times. Willful sin is the absolute worst. I honestly dont even know how forgiveness works with that one. To know before you do something or say something and know its wrong but choose to do it anyway. Do we even have the right to ask forgiveness for that? I honestly dont know how that works. I try really hard to do everything im sopposed to but I do screw up. When I do it does bother me a lot and their are times I want to just throw in the towel and do what I want. However I know that isnt an option because this life is short but eternity is forever so the pay off for doing what I want would be a bad trade.

  28. falcon says:

    Do you think you could lose your salvation? The gifts of God and His promises are irrevocable, at least that’s what the Bible says. (Romans 11:29)
    Here’s some sage advice from an old sage. Stop trying really hard to do everything you think you’re suppose to because you’re going to screw-up regardless of how hard you try. Keep your eye on the prize which is the upward call in Christ Jesus Our Lord.
    I’m not into willful sin however I gave up trying not to sin a long time ago. Sin is not an issue with me because I’ve been declared righteous. I sound like a broken record, I know.
    I couldn’t enjoy my relationship with God if I was focused on trying not to sin. I take what the apostle John said seriously. You know that part about if we walk in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship with one and other and the blood of Jesus continually cleanses us from all unrighteousness. There’s no greater antidote to sin than the blood of Jesus.

  29. grindael says:


    I didn’t say Hebrew, I said Jewish. I do not trust the modern interpretation of it’s meaning, (not necessarily by Jews) especially when we have the ultimate Hebrew, Paul describing it as belief, not action. I will believe Paul.

    6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

    Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.

    It is instructive, to revisit Romans 10:

    5 Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: “The person who does these things will live by them.” 6 But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

    14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

    The LAW is ACTION. FAITH is BELIEF. He could not be more clear here. He keeps repeating the word belief/believe numerous times to make his point.

  30. cattyjane says:

    I believe Paul is referencing Deut 30:11-14. The word being spoken of is the instructions that God gave the people to abide by. I guess if you want to you can say the word is Christ because he was the living word. He came and explained all that we had been taught by Moses and the prophets. Deut 30:1-10 talks about how we are to abide by all the instructions given to us and Deut 30: 11-14 is essentialy saying how it isnt impossible because its written on our hearts. This is interesting because its OT. But this is what Paul is referencing I believe.

  31. MJP says:

    Interesting discussion here. I refer catty to John 1:1. I am curious her take on that verse in light of her most recent post.

  32. cattyjane says:

    I know that when the commandments were given at Mt Sinai it is said that God revealed his character and nature to the people on that day. He told them that he would be their God and they would be Hs people. By giving them the 10C he expressed how the people were to come before him and How they were to treat eachother. So I believe that the commandments and the scriptures are a reflection of the character and nature of God Himself. So the word would be God in that sense I guess. Its an expression of his character and nature and what is important to Him.

  33. MJP says:


    No response to what John 1 meant? I don’t see how you have connected John 1 with Moses and God’s giving the 10 commandments. In John 1 we read how the Word was God. John 1:14 tells us that the Word became flesh.

    These first several verses in John is instructive. I’ll post them:

    “1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life,[a] and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

    6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

    9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own,[b] and his own people[c] did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

    14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.[d] 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God,[e] who is at the Father’s side,[f] he has made him known.”

    There are several lines I think are very useful here, but one that stands out is when John writes that the light was in the world already but the world did not know him.

  34. grindael says:


    I’m not sure you are reading this in the context that Paul is giving it. (Romans 10). Most assuredly, he is referencing Deut. 30 at the beginning of his exegesis, but that is to CONTRAST it, with what the Spirit is, compared to the Law. There are numerous instances where Paul states that the letter kills. It is not “impossible” now, to come to God, not because the Law is simply written on our hearts, but because of JESUS sacrifice, (Grace) and the Holy Spirit. Paul says in Romans 11 (about the Law referenced in Deut.),

    11 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”? 4 And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

    There you have your answer. Romans 2, is about obedience to the LAW and how futile it is, because if you break one law, it is as if you never obeyed any of it. (Therefore no one can be declared righteous by way of the Law) And then we come (in Chapter 3) full circle to what I posted far up in the thread,

    19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. 21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. 27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

    (See my comment above where I quoted this) I advise carefully reading the entire Book of Romans. It is a beautiful revelation about Grace and Works and the Sacrifice of Jesus.

    We do NOT have to obey the Law. Any of it. We do not need to, because the works of the flesh are OBVIOUS. (See my quotes above). When we obey the Holy Spirit, we EMBRACE the Law, because the Law (as the Holy Spirit does) makes us conscious of our sins.

    18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. (Galatians 5)

    It does not get any more plain than that. As Paul states,

    14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5)

    Do you know what he means here? The ENTIRE LAW, is the ENTIRE LAW. As Paul states in Corinthians:

    7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9 If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!

    12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:7-18)

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