Only Jesus did his best

What do people mean when they say, “their best”?

“I did my best to make it on time.”

“I did my best to get good grades.”

“I do my best to be a good person.”

Normally, this functions as hyperbole or socially acceptable exaggeration. It is often feel-good language for moral failure. When pressed, people usually admit that they could have done better. But if one could have done better, then they didn’t do their actual best. “Best” often functions as a catchphrase for, “I could have done better, but I, uh, at least tried.”

This kind of ambiguity or “semantic range” or exaggeration or hyperbole has no place in a clear discussion on grace, faith, works, and forgiveness. It is arrogant to stand before a holy God and tell him, “I did my best.” No, you didn’t, you cosmic criminal. Stop lying to yourself, and stop lying to God.

If doing our real best is the precondition for forgiveness or eternal life, then we’re all doomed.

The only one who morally did his real best was Jesus.

Stop trusting the false god who justifies those who do their “best” and start trusting the God who justifies the ungodly by faith (Romans 4:4-8).

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

85 Responses to Only Jesus did his best

  1. MJP says:

    Our best is not good enough. We will inevitably fail in some way. As depressing as that sounds, we don’t need to worry about it because Christ makes us perfect and we don’t need to try to be something we cannot be. We ought not sin and we need to live our lives in Christ, but we can be comfortable in who we are without worrying about trying to be perfect, or someone we are not.

  2. cattyjane says:

    I get that we will mess up, and in no way am I saying that we have to try our best by LDS standards, even tho there is some good teachings mixed in. I know the church is a huge lie and I know JS was a false prophet. Ive moved on from that.
    However I dont agree that we are not expected to be holy as the Father in heaven is holy, to keep the commandments given by a true prophet of God, and to endure to the end in the same way as the students of Jesus did. Im not trying to be prideful or arragant. I dont see how lukewarm is ok.

  3. MJP says:

    “However I dont agree that we are not expected to be holy as the Father in heaven is holy, to keep the commandments given by a true prophet of God, and to endure to the end in the same way as the students of Jesus did.”

    Can we ever be perfect?

    If not, why try to be something we cannot ever be? Does this mean we don’t try to be good? No! It is merely a change in focus from striving to be something we can never be to relying on the grace of Jesus Christ, who makes us perfect. (See Romans 6).

    Catty, have you ever read and really considered the book of Romans? What is your take on it?

  4. cattyjane says:

    I have not read all of Romans. But chap 2 is all about our obediance being judged during that last day. It talks about those who teach obediance but do not obey. To me it appears necessary to strive for obedience. I think that the point of this where it speaks of physical circumcision vs a heart circumcision has to do with an outward “appearance” of righteousness in order to receive approval by man while still practicing lawlessness in secret vs a circumcision of tje heart where obedience in done in order to receive approval from God alone.

  5. johnsepistle says:

    I don’t see anywhere that Aaron encouraged an attitude of embracing “lukewarmness”, or of eschewing a quest for personal holiness.

    Rather, the foundation of holiness must be a full acknowledgment of our own insufficiency. If we don’t admit that our own powers, resources, capacities, etc., are insufficient to merit anything, then we tie ourselves to doom, because we tie ourselves to our innate inabilities, which are bound up in sinfulness.

    Pleading (falsely), “I did my best”, with the implication that our best (even if we actually did it, which we invariably don’t) should count for something in the sight of God, is a rejection of God’s call for us to acknowledge our own insufficiency. But acknowledging our own insufficiency is essential to acknowledging God’s sole-sufficiency, and therefore God’s rightful claim to cosmic dominion as personally applied. And that acknowledgment is a keystone of what it means to have faith – and the life that isn’t characterized by faith, is a life that is inevitably characterized as sin.

    However, when we acknowledge God’s sole-sufficiency (as contrasted with our own insufficiency), then is when our old self – which, bound up with sin, is deserving of death – dies in Christ’s death, and a new identity is born through Christ’s resurrection, and lives in union with him, relying continually upon his divine sole-sufficiency and joyfully questing after holiness in loving gratitude – but this not from our own power, but from the power of the Spirit working in our nascent new-creation selves.

  6. MJP says:

    Romans is a vital book to understand Christianity. I do suggest you read it all. I know I posted a good chunk of it awhile back, and others have quoted it extensively, too.

    I am not sure what you mean by this: “I think that the point of this where it speaks of physical circumcision vs a heart circumcision has to do with an outward “appearance” of righteousness in order to receive approval by man while still practicing lawlessness in secret vs a circumcision of tje heart where obedience in done in order to receive approval from God alone.”

    I read the portion on circumcision in Romans 2 to talk about how God circumcises, not man. Here is the relevant passage, using the ESV.

    “For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.”

    “…circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. ” In other words, the spirit circumcises, not man, and further, its not by the law that one is truly circumcised.

  7. cattyjane says:

    What I mean by that is that during Pauls time many people were following works that the Pharisees had added to the laws of Moses; ritual handwashings, number of steps on the Sabbath etc. These were things done in public in order to boast before man. But these same men who appeared righteous were not because of the things they did in secret that were unrighteous. These things God says he will judge in the end. Their hearts were not circumcised. They sought out the praise from man. A person whos heart is circumcised does what is right in public and in secret. They also dont seek credit for the good they do. They do it because God commands it and also because it is the right thing to do. That is the difference in physical circumcision and spiritual circumcision.
    So than what do you do with the scripture that talks about storing up treasures in heaven and not on this earth? Paul speaks numerous times about the law being good and continuing to do what is right. David speaks of the law being good, in fact that is the longest Psalm in scripture. Was he a lier? God himself speaks about the goodness of his laws and that the life is given to those who obey its instruction. Can God lie? Why would God bring a curse on the people after delivering them out of Egypt? That doesnt make any sense. We do not stack up good works in order that we will be forgiven. Thats not what I mean. We obey because that is what a servant to a King does. If we continually rebel against the King what hope do we have of receiving mercy? Yes the sacrifice was given but by receiving that sacrifice we still enter into an agreement of serving and obeying.
    I hear christians quoting Paul all the time and using his words to say we no llonger have to obey the law, but he only applies that to sacrifice, not the commandments.

  8. MJP says:

    You completely miss the key in the verse I quoted. You did not even touch it: the Spirit circumcises. This means physical circumcision is irrelevant.

    Now, no one here is suggesting we don’t work and strive for godliness. We must indeed try to avoid sin and to do good works. That is a truth we cannot avoid. We all agree on that point. However, the focus is not on those works.

    By receiving that sacrifice our lives are fundamentally changed: we are not under contract to obey but free from the constraints of the law because Christ fulfills our obligations on our behalf! This does not give us freedom to do what we want, but it does free us from the obligations of the law. When we are in Christ, we will fulfill those.

    Read all of Romans. Paul does a much better job of explaining than I can do here.

  9. Mike R says:

    It is evident that Mormonism is still influencing your thinking . That is understandable given
    you were once a Mormon , so we are aware that residues of Mormon doctrine take some time
    to dissolve . The sooner you can concentrate your attention in the New Testament about
    how salvation is received , and where works come in to play in the life of a born again believer
    in Jesus , it will greatly alleviate the affects of Mormonism still in your mind .

    A point to remember : It seems that many Mormons misunderstand Christians to be saying that they ( Christians ) did’nt have to keep the commandments in order to be saved as meaning that
    they did’nt want to keep any commandments , so that means they want to live a life of blatant
    sinfulness . That is a caricature of Christians that many Mormons unfortunately believe .
    Christians don’t have to obey God to be saved because they have already been given eternal
    life . As a result of being saved they are privileged to obey God simply because they are blown
    away at how much He loves them , humbled by His mercy to save a sinner simply by His grace .

    The great blessing that comes with a study of the New Testament is that you get to see and
    learn about the focal point in all of the Bible —- it’s JESUS. God’s remedy for humanity’s
    ultimate need .

  10. Rick B says:

    That was really kind of you to pose for the picture in the topic. Was the trophy from one of your Bike Tours?

    Jesus said that the two greatest Commandment are Love God and Love thy neighbor. Upon these hang all the rest. In our sinful state we will never be perfect, God in the Bible says, if we break even one law we are guilty of breaking them all and therefore we are law breakers.

    One we break the law, we can never go back as if we never broke it and be pure and sinless again, in our human Nature. BUT we can take upon us the Blood of Christ and HIS Righteousness and then we will be perfect in the Sight of God.

  11. falcon says:

    Here’s something to set you off. The Law is irrelevant!
    Why do I say that? It’s because that’s what the NT teaches. I no longer serve God by the letter of the Law but by the Spirit. I walk in the Spirit so that I won’t carry out the desires of the flesh. The Law cannot keep me from sinning but the Spirit can.
    I know churches that are very strict regarding morality. They have all sorts of rules about dress and behavior and woe onto you if you should violate the code. Now what typically happens in these groups is that they lose the young people. The other thing that happens is that people are always trying to figure out how far they can go before violating the rule. Lastly, these are groups that often have a lot of repressed sexual tension and things get really out of wack and kinky. Sorry folks but that’s what happens.
    This is why what needs to be emphasized is a deepening relationship with God which results in emotionally healthy people who lead godly lives based on a change of heart.
    The Law is irrelevant to a person who is born again by the Spirit of God through faith in Jesus Christ.

  12. cattyjane says:

    If the law is irrelevant than by what standards do we live our lives? You just tossed out the first 5 books of the bible. Since its irrelevant, we must also toss out any reference that the new testament makes to the first five. You say we live by the spirit so what does that mean? Are the desires of the spirit different from the desires of the father? I thought they were echad, one. They cant be if their laws are different.

  13. falcon says:

    Who is the Law for? (First Timothy 1:9)

    “We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers,….”

    “For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders.”

    “Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man,…. No man is naturally righteous since Adam, excepting the man Christ Jesus: some that are righteous in their own opinion, and in the esteem of others, are not truly and really so; none are righteous, or can be justified in the sight of God by the works of the law; those only are righteous men, who are made so through the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to them: and such a righteous man is here intended, who believes in Christ with the heart unto righteousness, who lays hold on Christ’s righteousness, and receives it by faith; in consequence of which he lives soberly, righteously, and godly, though not without sin, since there is no such just man upon earth. Now for such a man the law was not made; which must be understood not of its original constitution and make, for it was certainly made for, and given to Adam, who was a righteous man, and was written upon his heart in a state of innocence;…….”

  14. falcon says:

    Is “faith” reflected in “doing our best” or as Mormons would put it “after all you can do”. Is faith something else? When I got saved I didn’t perform a deed of some sort. I believed that Jesus died for my sins. I believed He was God incarnate. That was pretty much the whole deal. According to God’s Word at that moment I was declared righteous by God.
    So then was I required to do my best in order to maintain my salvation? If I didn’t do my best would I then have lost something?
    Mormons believe they have to do their best in order to become a god. The problem is two fold. First of all they aren’t going to become gods. In their system the second problem is that these folks never know if they’ve done their best. They are always under conviction. However there is also the problem with pride with those who think that they have done enough to satisfy the requirements to become a god.

    Mormons have a choice of either following God’s revelation found in His Word or following men who claim they are prophets and in fact teach and promote another gospel.

  15. Ralph says:

    Hmm Falcon,

    I think you’ve hit on something there.

    First Timothy 1:9 – “We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the UNGODLY and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers,….”

    “For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are UNGODLY and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders.”

    What was the scripture used two blogs ago? Romans 4:5 – ““But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the UNGODLY, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

  16. luvinlife says:

    Hang in there. I had the hardest time understanding the Law and how we are justified. Reading all of Romans and Galatians is Crucial to understanding this. In the first two chapters of Romans Paul is laying out the condition of man and in Chapter two when he says its the doers of the law that are justified not the hearers, what he is saying is that if you want to be justified by the law then you better keep all of it. That of course is impossible. He then goes on in Chapter 3 to say that justification cannot come by the law.

    20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

    As believing Christians we are no longer under the law of Moses. We are not even under the Ten commandments. We are under the Law of Liberty. Galatians Ch 5 lays this out beautifully. James Ch 2 speaks of this as well. Of course if you obey the two commandments Jesus gave then you are naturally going to keep the ten commandments by default. The point here is that Jesus wants your heart. It’s not about rule keeping. The pharisees where the most rule keeping people ever, yet Jesus called them white washed tombs. That’s because they were dead on the inside. Rule keeping does nothing for the heart. Especially when you base you salvation on it. Works and obedience are the fruit of our salvation not the root. True saving faith will always put forth fruit of obedience and works. If you truly love Christ then you will strive to live a life that honors him. However at the end of a life full of obedience you are no more saved then you were the day you first believed. As Christians we have a true calling to strive for Holiness. Anyone who isn’t actively involved in sanctifying themselves would have to wonder if the really have faith in Jesus Christ.
    Let me give you another example. Take for instance the Word of Wisdom. Obeying the word of wisdom does nothing for you. Look at all the unhealthy Mormons that still eat and drink things that are bad for them. They simply avoid tea and coffee because they are specifically mentioned. If simply obeying laws could change you then the Mormons who obeyed the word of wisdom would all be striving to live healthy lives and avoid any foods that were bad for you. However they do not. Most simply avoid what is specifically mentioned and consume other things that are equally as bad or worse.
    One more example is the law of tithing. In Christ we are to give as much as we can to where ever the spirit leads us to give. This is part of a personal guiding relationship with Christ. There is no rule about giving 10 percent of your income. Its the freedom we have in Christ. Mormons salvation is tied to the temple. You can’t get into the temple without paying a full tithe to the Church (any money given to other organizations outside of the church doesn’t count). Eternal life is tied to tithing. After understanding the message in Romans, I think you will see how terribly wrong this is.
    Romans Chapter 6 will be another good one for you because it answers the questions that naturally come when we begin to understand that we are saved by Faith alone.

    6 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

    One other suggestion I might make is to read out of the NASB or the NIV. That’s what I did. I could always go back to a verse in the KJV and see it had the same meaning, however I would have missed the meaning most likely if I had read it first in the KJV. Don’t be scared of the modern translations. I have spent months researching them as well, and I assure you they are every bit as accurate if not more so than the KJV. They are so much easier to understand. I usually use all three when I am studying.

  17. luvinlife says:

    Here is one of my favorite quotes from Pastor Chuck Swindoll:
    “In order for anyone to stand securely and be at peace before a holy and just God, that person must be righteous. Hence, our need for justification. Remember the definition of justification? It is the sovereign act of God whereby He declares righteous the believing sinner while still in his sinning state. It doesn’t mean that the believing sinner stops sinning. It doesn’t even mean that the believing sinner is made righteous in the sense of suddenly becoming perpetually perfect. The sinner is declared righteous. God sovereignly bestows the gift of eternal life on the sinner at the moment he believes and thereby declares him righteous while the sinner still lives a life marked by periodic sinfulness. He hasn’t joined a church. He hasn’t started paying tithes. He hasn’t given up all to follow Christ. He hasn’t been baptized. He hasn’t promised to live a sacrificial, spotlessly pure life. He has simply taken the gift of eternal life. He has changed his mind toward Christ (repentance) and accepted the free gift of God apart from works. Period. Transaction completed. By grace, through faith alone, God declares the sinner righteous (justification), and from that moment on the justified sinner begins a process of growth toward maturity (sanctification). Day by day, bit by bit, he learns what it means to live a life that honors Christ. But immediately? No way.
    Please understand, to be justified does not mean “just as if I’d never sinned.” I hear that often and it always troubles me. In fact, it weakens the full impact of justification. Justification really means this: Even though I still sin periodically and have found myself unable to stop sinning on a permanent basis—God declared me righteous when I believed. And because I will continue to sin from time to time, I find all the more reason to be grateful for grace. As a sinner I deserve vengeance. As a sinner I’m afraid of justice. And so, as a sinner, my only hope for survival is grace….”

  18. luvinlife says:

    For reference click on the link below. You can read Galatians Ch 5 in the KJV side by side with the NASB. You can get an idea about how powerful it is to study this way. I hope this helps.;NASB

  19. grindael says:

    Ralph, could you be more obscure in making a point? If you have one, make it.

  20. grindael says:

    How about we quote the entire context of what Paul was writing to Timothy?

    3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. 5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.

    8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

    Why? Why is the law for those people? Because they don’t understand how to live by the Spirit and love each other, and would rather live under taskmasters or “prophets” (as the Mormons do). Those who do so, (live by the Holy Spirit) are not under the Law. That is why Smith’s “restoration of all things” is so bogus. As I have explained extensively in a previous thread, the Law (as used soundly) is to make us conscious of our sins. The works of the flesh are OBVIOUS, and those who live by the Holy Spirit understand this. They don’t need the Law. This is quite simple to understand, except for those who refuse to see the obvious and want to cling to the past, for purposes of power and self aggrandizement.

    How does this dovetail with Romans 4? We must go back to Romans 3:

    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. … 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.

    Why? Because the Law was instituted for the ungodly, etc. Therefore, (Romans 4)

    4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. 5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.

  21. MJP says:

    Catty, if you believe in the Christ of the Bible, you are forgiven.

  22. falcon says:

    Ralph………………..isn’t it interesting how grindael knew what I was talking about? Here’s a guy who was a TBM, a missionary for the LDS church; the whole nine yards in terms of commitment. Now how does grindael know what I’m talking about when he was a devoted, sincere believing Mormon, having bought into Smith’s program?
    It’s very simple. It’s called being born again by the Spirit of God.
    I must admit that it takes former Mormons some time to get their minds right, but being born again is the necessary first step. Jack Garcia, who was a regular poster here some years back, wrote that it took him five years to get all of the Mormonism out of his head. He also said that he had wanted desperately for Mormonism to be true even after he knew it wasn’t.
    The cosmic tumblers may click for you too someday.

    Excellent post and insight into what cattyjane is experiencing. I think sometimes I’m a little too impatient with her. My bad!

  23. grindael says:


    As Paul said, some (like Jo Smith) want to be teachers of the Law, but they don’t know what they are talking about. And I still have Mormon Doctrine running around in my head, even after all this time. I think that many who leave Mormonism, have problems with the Old Testament, because Smith so intermingled Law and Regulations with his “Restoration”. He made a total mess out of the beauty of living simply by the Holy Spirit. But that was all to create a role for himself, as a “spokesman” for God, not understanding that we already have one, and direct access to Him, Jesus, via the Holy Spirit.

    The works of the flesh are obvious to those who live by the Holy Spirit, but Mormon “prophets” have placed a yoke of death around the necks of every Mormon, with their forced regulations. They don’t trust their members to live totally by the Holy Spirit, (though they throw around the verbage enough) and instead make them live by food and drink regulations, money regulations, alligance regulations (to their “authorities”), and a plethora of what Paul called “controversial speculations”, “false doctrines”, “myths” and “genealogies”.

    The bottom line is, Mormon “authorities” don’t trust their members. When something went wrong (like the “Redemption of Zion”), it wasn’t Smith’s fault, it was the MEMBERS. If they couldn’t live the “Law of Consecration” it wasn’t the leadership, it was the MEMBERS. If they don’t go back to Jackson County, it’s the MEMBERS. It’s everyone’s fault but the “inspired” leaders, who prophesied that all this would happen before the turn of the 20th century.

    You would think that they would wise up. But they continue to believe the lame excuses, the imbecile explanations, and place their faith in men rather than in God’s Holy Spirit. The Bible is clear and precise when it comes to the Law and the Prophets. But not to those that would rather live for a Corporation run by men, rather than for Jesus alone.

  24. MJP says:

    Catty– how does the concept that Jesus forgives you fully and completely immediately upon belief in him make you feel?

    I can tell you it still baffles me, but I know it is true, and I know that in some ways it makes me uncomfortable. It makes me uncomfortable because I am one who likes to do things on my own and to have control over my life. I don’t easily give up that control, yet I find a deep peace whenever I succumb to Christ and his control. It scares me sometimes to abandon my control, even knowing the joy and comfort Christ brings when I am in him.

    I’ve been at this a long time, and have never been LDS. As much as possible, I understand the difficulty in accepting Christ’s control over you. Its not easy, and must be especially so coming from a faith that emphasizes your own efforts.

    So, I just ask you to consider, whether you answer here publicly or not, how the idea that Christ forgives you, personally immediately upon belief, makes you feel.

    In Christ,


  25. MJP says:

    If I may, I would assert most struggle to some degree with our past and with the full saving power of Christ. Guilt pervades us all. Sin is all too easy for even the best of us. We’ve all screwed up in the past, and its so easy to look at that woman (or man for the ladies) a second time, or to manipulate facts to our benefit, or to get angry at that driver who just cut us off, or to let certain words fly, or to think ourselves better than that person over there who screwed up, or any number of behaviors. All too often, we do it without thinking. And if you say you haven’t done any of these things, not to mention those not listed, J’accuse!

    How can God be able to forgive us for all of this disobedience and wrong behavior? Why would he do so? I don’t know the answer to that last question. The easy answer is that he loves us. That may be the only answer, but how God can forgive such an obstinate people is beyond me. Most people can’t imagine forgiving all who come to them and simply ask for forgiveness. We tend to hold grudges, but God does not do that. That is beyond my comprehension, but its no less true.

    How God does this is that he sent his only son upon whom all who believe will be saved. That’s it. We just need to believe. Any talk of what we are to do after we believe misses the simple but profound effect belief has upon those who choose to believe. After we believe all sorts of things change, we are new creatures after all, but what happens at that moment of belief is so simple and so beautiful we ought not look beyond that.

    This discussion seems to be about whether believers are required to follow the law to be saved. I say that is irrelevant because we are saved at belief. Its done, it is finished upon belief. There is room for disagreement on what we should do after belief, but there is no room for discussion that salvation occurs the second we believe.

    Belief in what, you ask? Belief in Jesus Christ of the Bible, as foretold in the Old Testament and who came alive in the New. Belief in Jesus as God, Lord, Protector, Savior. Belief that the Son is just as much God as God himself, the two are one in every sense of one. Belief that Jesus acted as a final sacrifice upon the Cross, shed his blood to save our souls. Belief that his death can never be matched or replicated in terms of saving power. Belief that he loved us so much that he died so that nothing else is needed but to believe in Him.

    Its simple, but profound. Its not easy to accept, despite its simplicity. We don’t have to do anything accept believe! Our best could never do it, even if we were to achieve our best in this life. Even in our worst, Jesus is there to be the bridge that we cannot build. Accepting and believing in Christ is the only way to salvation, nothing we can do will add to it.

    The hard part is realizing how powerless we are to overcome sin on our own, and how we destroy the bridge we try to make to our own salvation. Its true, everyone, try it if you have not. Stop forcing your will into God’s plan. He’ll win every time, and your life is all the more difficult when you fight him.

    I’ve become quite good at that, and know quite well how God is in control. I suspect that I am not the only person with that struggle. So, from a broken person to a broken audience, I pray that we look to Christ and submit to his will, not to our own. My best can’t do it, certainly, and though I struggle with submission, I rest comfortably that even when I do fight, he’s there with open arms to welcome me back into his plan. He does not reject me when I mess up.

    For that, I am thankful. For the simplicity of the Gospel and salvation, I am thankful. For a God who loves me enough to give me freedom in this way, I am thankful. For a venue to discuss this message with those who struggle with similar issues, I am thankful.

  26. falcon says:

    I think we may be talking about a transformed life in Christ. We live under the New Testament. That means New Covenant and it was sealed in the blood of Jesus. So, it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. Paul talks about the Galatians who started in grace but then put themselves back under the Law.
    I think it’s probably easier to live under the Law then under grace. Think about someone coming out of Mormonism, becomes a Christian and what do they do? Their whole orientation is to rules and regulations. Suddenly you don’t have anyone checking up on you if you tithe or not, drink coffee or not, have a beer or not, if you’re attending church services or not and if you’re active in some sort of calling. You are free to choose!
    Just think no temple recommend interview!
    People coming out of controlling religious organizations are frequently lost. They thrived under the structure and now it’s gone. The competition to conform is gone. You can grow a beard. Don’t have to wear a white shirt and tie to church. No print dress. Women can wear pants! YIKES!!

  27. MJP says:

    Falcon– precisely. There just HAS to be some kind of rule to follow. All the freedom is untenable. There must be something more to it all. Its just too simple otherwise.

    The transformed life is that we are free from the law, and that happens right at salvation.

    I see an element in this discussion, though, that is making all of this too complicated. Freedom is found upon belief in Christ. Done.

  28. johnnyboy says:

    I accidentally called the mormon church “our church” while talking with my wife. She laughed and replied “what church is that?”

    oops. It’s gonna be a few more years before its all cleaned out of my brain.

  29. falcon says:

    Appearing “complicated”? Yes, it does. Because on the one-hand we are saying “the Law is dead”. But we aren’t advocating licentiousness, which is “license to sin”. We are talking about being declared righteous and that our works are dirty rags. And yet we talk about walking by the Spirit and we won’t carry out the deeds of the flesh.
    Paul does spend the first three chapters of Romans making the case that we’re all hopelessly lost and guilty and condemned. Then he preaches the Good News and talks about God’s grace and in verse one one of chapter eight we get the pivotal verse;
    “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” And then, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. Tor what the Law could not do, weak as it wast through the flesh, God did sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the spirit.”

  30. falcon says:

    Sorry about all of the typos above but my keyboard has been acting stupid lately! It’s on some sort of delay pattern. I just gave it a thorough cleaning, checked the batteries and then beat it with a hammer. That ought to clear up the problem!

    I’ve mentioned that having gone to Catholic school in the era I did, I was very much focused on “Law”, church Law. I’ve got a lot of it stuck in my head even though I haven’t been a practicing Catholic for decades. That’s why reading Romans causes me to rejoice. I must mention, again, that there are all sorts of religious groups that have established their own form of the Law. No thanks!

  31. MJP says:

    Falcon, why am I envisioning the movie Office Space now?

    And just don’t want to forget the simplicity of the Gospel. At its heart, it really is very simple. Sure, the are complicated doctrines behind it, by the we are getting into the weeds of it all that you really don’t need to completely understand to be saved.

    Some people reading this may think salvation must be more complicated than it really is. Mormons ns certainly do. Yet, all we need to do is to believe. That’s it. That’s all. Nothing more.

  32. MJP says:

    Let me add that all our upcoming sins are covered the moment we believe. All of them. We don’t need to worry about written code any more because we are covered.

    This is no license to sin, and that is an important point. But we are also new creations where sin now bothers us like it never did before. We move away from it, by nature, once we believe.

    All of this happens simply through belief. Nothing more is needed.

  33. falcon says:

    For people trapped in a performance based religion, the idea that a person can simply believe and be saved is beyond comprehension.
    In Mormonism you have to earn it. To get into the Celestial Kingdom, a lot has to be done.
    Now this religion, as practiced by the LDS and FLDS sects, has no resemblance to the gospel revealed in the Bible. So I don’t know what doing your best consists of with these two groups. But according to the Bible, we can never do enough.

  34. MJP says:

    Falcon, I have to think doing your best means always doing and giving more, and doing whatever possible to keep appearances. Maybe a former Mormon can speak to that.

    Nonetheless, my purpose in emphasizing the simplicity of salvation and how it trumps our best is simply to say it, to let readers know that it is really easy. Whether they agree is up to them.

    I think sometimes the beauty of the simplicity is forgotten in these discussions. I know I forget quite often. But people will never know of it unless they are told about how simple it really is. I felt led to state that truth here. So, I did.

  35. Clyde6070 says:

    Mike is right about this.
    A point to remember : It seems that many Mormons misunderstand Christians to be saying that they ( Christians ) did’nt have to keep the commandments in order to be saved as meaning that
    they did’nt want to keep any commandments , so that means they want to live a life of blatant
    sinfulness . That is a caricature of Christians that many Mormons unfortunately believe .
    That is a caricature that seems to stay in my thoughts.
    I should realize that you do follow the ten commandments but in a more spiritual way. I may not have said things correctly but it seems to me that is what you are trying to say.
    Aaron says:
    It is arrogant to stand before a holy God and tell him, “I did my best.” No, you didn’t, you cosmic criminal. Stop lying to yourself, and stop lying to God.

    Can’t anybody say that they did do their best but know that they can improve and learn to do things in a better way? I have short comings and I know I fall short of the glory of God. Jesus is there for a reason and God will give to each person according to what he has done.

  36. Mike R says:

    Clyde, I’m glad to see that you found what I said to be helpful in understanding how we feel
    about works . Many Mormons do harbor a false caricature about what we believe about works .

    As far as your question about what Aaron said about standing before God and saying that you
    did your best is concerned I have to say that in reference to receiving salvation ( eternal life)
    it is’nt about you earning it by some kind of passing grade like perhaps being 80% faithful in
    doing the works you were told are necessary . The New Testament teaches that either you don’t
    sin at all in your life , i.e. you’re perfect OR a substitute takes your place paying the penalty
    for your sins you deserve , this substitute is completely holy , without blemish and innocent.
    That substitute was Jesus . His shed blood on the cross completely satisfied God’s justice , it
    provides the legal basis for God to pardon you , a sinner , and give you the gift of eternal life .
    You are reconciled to God because of Jesus’ dying in your place on the cross —- there are no
    religious works necessary in order for you to receive the gift of eternal life , and that gift can
    be yours the moment you bow before God , confess you’re a sinner who deserves God’s wrath
    for your sins , ask Him to forgive you , then thank Jesus for being your substitute . Then the
    Holy Spirit comes to dwell in your heart — you’re born again — and now you begin doing
    good works that Christian get to do to please God their new Father in saving them .

    The most beautiful thing I’ve experienced since being saved is because I’ve complied with the Father’s will by coming to Jesus — Matt 11:28 — I experience sins burden lifted and a desire
    to worship Jesus . He is more than just a example to follow . He’s alive and deserves worship ,
    ( This is what is referred to as a personal relationship with Jesus ) and part of this worship is
    praying to Him each day .
    Well, that’s my testimony in short .
    I hope you’ll ponder what has been said .
    Mormonism is not the answer , God has a better way for you .

  37. falcon says:

    As tedious as it may seem, we need to keep going back to the basics.
    I’m a self-improvement nut. I think I’ve read every self-help motivational book in print countless times. I’ve learned about goal setting and establishing benchmarks on the road to reaching those goals. I’ve had some success in reaching goals that have resulting in considerable self-improvement. I read a chapter of Proverbs corresponding to the day of the month (today it will be chapter 18) for years. I have a moral code that I follow diligently.
    But you know what? I could have done better! I could do more.
    In regards to my salvation in Jesus Christ, all that I’ve done doesn’t have anything to do with my salvation. Should I brag about all that I’ve done. Should I hold it up to God and see if He will add it to what Christ did for me on the cross? What foolishness!

    As a member of the LDS religion, you are doing your best in the hope that the Mormon god of this planetary system will accept it, add to it any short fall in currency you have and declare you a god. You are a slave to a religious system that requires adherence to a strict moral code, devotion to the LDS church and recognition of the prophet status of Joseph Smith and the current holder of that office.
    Mike has outlined a better way. Please consider it!

  38. fifth monarchy man says:

    Hey Clyde,

    Y0u say

    Can’t anybody say that they did do their best but know that they can improve and learn to do things in a better way?

    I say.

    In short NO.

    God’s standard is perfection. If there is anyway for you to improve you did not do your best. It’s that simple

    Clyde says

    I have short comings and I know I fall short of the glory of God.

    I say,

    This is an important please try to understand.

    “Short comings” are just a politically correct way to say SIN.

    You sin and the wages of sin are Death. Lets not sugarcoat it

    You say,

    Jesus is there for a reason

    I say,

    I’m really interested to know what in your view is the reason for Jesus?

    Do you think that he stands next to you when your deeds are weighed and puts his thumb on the scales of justice and adds a little of his righteousness to yours to put you over the top if necessary?

    If that is what you believe you need to understand that you have nothing of your own to bring to the table. ALL your righteous deeds are as filthy rags (menstrual cloths) when viewed by a holy God.

    you say,

    God will give to each person according to what he has done.

    I say.

    You have acknowledged “shortcomings” SIN. The wages of sin are death.

    If God gives you according to what you have done what will he give you??

    Please think man. Eternity is at stake


  39. falcon says:

    Here’s the deal.
    An atheist can be a very moral person and interested in self-improvement. I would venture to guess that there are atheists who are more moral than many on the rolls of the LDS church or any Christian denomination. Self-improvement and moral living are worthy goals and they have their own reward as an outcome. But they play no part in a person’s salvation as far as Christianity is concerned.
    We’ve quoted the apostle Paul here many times over the years where he talks about his religious life as a Jew. In can be found in his letter to the Philippians. After talking about how he surpassed his contemporaries in religious zeal he concludes by saying it was all rubbish compared to knowing Christ.
    You have come to understand that we Christians don’t advocate sinning because we have a free trip to heaven due to our faith in Jesus. Our moral behavior is a response to being born again by the Spirit of God (as a result of that faith).
    I’m all for moral living and self-improvement but unlike you LDS folks, we Christians don’t believe we are earning something. You’re religious system requires you to jump through a lot of hoops in order to become a god. It’s instructive that such a believe can’t be found in Christian Scripture.
    I would suggest you stop following your prophets and start following God’s Word.

  40. Rick B says:

    We had a guest speaker at Church Today, his name is Trevor Rubenstein.
    I never meet this man in my life and never heard of him, But when he spoke today he said he was born and raised a Jew who practised Judisam.

    He later left Judiasm to become an athiest, then later he came to Jesus and is now a born again Christain. Here is a link to the sermon given by him at my church today.

    He spoke on Romans 11, but mentions many passgaes from the OT and other parts of Romans. I think he might mention some things you were asking about here on this thread.

    And the best part about hearing this guy for me was, He said he goes to local Mormon wards and has a ministry to Mormons, so we spoke after wards and I told him about myself and sharing with mormons. So we are going to start working togther and share Jesus with Mormons, He also happens to be good friends with Matt Slick and works with him, for anyone that knows who Matt is. I’m very excited to have had him speak at my church, now I have more people I can work with in Sharing Jesus with Mormons.

  41. grindael says:


    I actually appreciated you comment today. The whole point of Jesus sacrifice and the fulfillment of the law was to live the commandments in a “more spiritual way”. The other point that was made by Jesus and His Apostles was that no one is good and can live up to the Law. But through Jesus our faith MAKES US righteous. There is now no need for forced regulations or the law, since (as Paul says) the acts of the flesh are OBVIOUS, and are incompatible with the Holy Spirit. If one is living by the flesh, you live in opposition to the Spirit. It’s obvious.

    This is why there is no ordained “priesthood”, because we are all authorized by the Holy Spirit to act in Jesus name, once we take upon ourselves the Name of Jesus. This authority is given to each as “gifts”. We can “set apart” (as a body of believers) those for the ministry, presiding elders, missionaries, etc., but we are all tied together by the Holy Spirit. (I am the vine, you are the branches).

    13 For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. 14 For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

    16 Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5)


    10 “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” … 19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. (Romans 3)


    13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. 15 He has abolished the law with its COMMANDMENTS AND ORDINANCES, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, 16 and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. 17 So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; 18 for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, 20 built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21 In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God. (Ephesians 2)

    To make up new regulations is anathema to the New Covenant. The Commandments and Ordinances were abolished in Jesus. We now live by the Holy Spirit, and that is true freedom. But, as Paul says elsewhere, you REAP what you SOW. Don’t let that freedom become an excuse to self-indulgence. If you live by the flesh, you will not inherit the Kingdom of God. All things in moderation and love. There is no “best” because there never can be, In Romans 4, Paul says,

    20 No unbelief made him [Abraham] waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

    It is all about Faith (belief). We grow strong in our faith as we give glory to God, fully convinced that God will do as he promises, raise us from the dead to live with Him because we are now (in Christ) justified by Faith alone.

  42. Rick B says:

    You should listen to the speaker I posted today, He covers a lot of what Grindael said to you about Faith and works and how it is Grace alone that saves, not grace plus anything else.

  43. falcon says:

    I suppose when you’ve had the religion you belong to, harping on you that you have to earn your way to becoming a god, it’s real foreign stuff hearing about being declared righteous by God through faith in Jesus.
    So a decision has to be made. Either stick with the “prophets” who pushed a new gospel based on what they called their “revelation” or believe what the Bible says. Now as to believing the Bible, that means not believing the false scenarios spun by the LDS religion and many of the other sects. That would include the premise that the original gospel was lost and that the Bible is corrupted.
    Once this handy little narrative is no longer accepted, then a Mormon has to begin to understand exactly who God is and what His plan of salvation entails.
    It can’t be easy to over come the conditioning of the LDS leadership. But I believe the Holy Spirit draws folks to the Father and faith in Jesus.

  44. MJP says:

    Clyde, how does the thought that all you to do is believe make you feel? I’m not asking for a theological answer, but rather a gut reaction to the idea that you don’t have to do anything to saved but believe.

    Falcon mentioned getting back to the basics, and that’s what I am trying to do. This is Christianity 101.

    How do you feel when you are told you don’t have to do anything for salvation? Do you feel guilty, like you are cheating something? Do you feel intimidated, like the idea is preposterous? I don’t know how you feel, but am genuinely curious how the idea makes you feel.

  45. cattyjane says:

    Sorry for the late response. I had quite the week.

    Rick B,
    I will watch that video. I know who Matt Slick is. I went into their apologetics chat a couple of times. I didnt get along with most of them on there.

    You asked about my feelings on accepting a pardon for all of my cosmic criminal activities without having any personal responsibility fall on myself. Honestly it feels fake and it feels deceiving. I realize that I cannot “earn” my way to heaven but I think there is more to this. Not lds stuff of course. I cant imagine asking for mercy from the almighty and then lliving a life of selfishness afterward. What about the parable in which the man owed a large dept to the king. The king forgives the debt and sends the man on his way. This man then finds a neighbor who owes a debt to him that was far less than what he owed the king but has this man thrown in prison for not paying him back. What did the king do when he found out about this? Was his debt still forgiven? I cant remember. Maybe someone on here remembers what happened to this guy who didnt pay it forward.

  46. Rick B says:

    it is not a video, it is audio, from your reply to MJP, I think the guest speaker will answer some of your questions.

  47. MJP says:

    Catty, my understanding of that story is that the man was punished for not giving mercy when we was forgiven much more. In other words, when we are given grace, we ought to give that grace to others. It is hypocritical when we receive grace and withhold it. It has nothing to do with working to receive grace, which was already given freely by the king, but everything to do with forgiveness.

    The story begins in Matthew 18 with this: “21 Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone[a] who sins against me? Seven times?”

    22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven![b]”

    It ends with this: “35 That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters[e] from your heart.”

    I do appreciate your answer, and that you feel that you have to do something more. However, the truth is that you don’t have to do more. Its a tough lesson, no doubt, for us as humans who feel like a quid-pro-quo arrangement is necessary.

    But God is not human, and God provided a gift (that word is very important) so that we don’t have to give anything back. All we have to do is accept the gift.

  48. cattyjane says:

    Ok so question for everyone in here. Just looking at the 10 commandments, hpw do you feel when you break one of them? Do you feel guilty, ashamed or question your loyalty to the creator? Or do you wipe the sweat from your brow and say thank goodness im not obligated to keep those and walk on? Im just wondering how the line is drawn here because as much as everyone has said it just isnt clear to me.

    I realize we have peaks and valleys in our obedience and service to the creator. I pray that the Almighty takes my life during a time when I am doing what I should be doing, however we are not guarenteed tomorrow. All I have is a hope that I will be shown mercy. That I trusted his promise in providing a way, and that I tried to walk in obedience as the prophets and apostles told us to do.

    I dont really get this idea of obediance out of love. I may have even said it on here before because thats what we are expected to say right? Just being honest with all of you about my reasons for obediance, love doesnt really fall in there. I try to obey because He is the Creator and King over all. He is the One True God over all and I am nothing. He created me and he can destroy me. If I obey and stay in his will than he is able to direct my paths and I will be under his protection. Disobedience is never a good thing. OT or NT, people payed a price for disobeying God. I obey out of fear of The Living God of Israel.
    When I fall short, as everyone calls it here, I have a fear for my soul inside me. I know immediately when im stepping into my own will. I would be more scared if I stepped into sexual immorality or lied to my boss and didnt fear God. If a person can live in sin, ie living with someone outside of marriage, being a gossip, lying on a time sheet, and continue to belief that they are in service to the God of Israel than they are lying to themselves! There is no way that someone can serve the true God, live in sin and sleep good at night.

    There is at least 3 places in the NT that speaks about those who WILL NOT inherit the kingdom of heaven. This is after the death of Messiah. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and Galations 5:21 and Revelation 21:7. How we live matters. Its very specific. Its not easy and few will make it.

  49. MJP says:

    Well, Catty, I feel pretty icky when I sin, term of art there. I don’t like it. It gnaws at me and pulls me away from God. This includes violation of the 10 commandments. I am sure everyone here will say something similar, though I cannot pretend to speak for them.

    However, Jesus tells us what the greatest commandment is, right? Its not one of the 10 given by Moses, is it? He then tells us what the second commandment is, also not one of the 10. They are, respectively, love the Lord above all else, and love your neighbor. When we follow these two commandments, will we lust? Will we use the Lord’s name in vain? How about murder? What about worshiping another god or an idol? Will we honor our parents? How about taking some rest? Stealing? Lying?

    When we love God with all our being, and put Him first in everything we do, the 10 naturally follow. When we love our neighbors, we act kindly to them, treating them with dignity, respect, and compassion, and will not break the 10 commandments, either.

    Obedience out of love is precisely what God wants, and has always wanted. He does not want mere obedience because He says so: He wants us to love Him, and to give Him our everything.

    Read the Psalms about David’s love for God, and the comfort he finds resting in God.

    Yes, God created us, and can destroy us in a second. Disobedience is never good, never. I agree that someone who constantly sins or manipulates, intentionally, likely does not believe in God, no matter how much they say they do. But we cannot judge hearts, and we ought not to judge them accordingly. Maybe the gossip just can’t help himself, or the person living with someone outside of marriage just can’t help himself, either. Maybe they have real problems we don’t know about. But God knows them, and their hearts. There is a good chance these people really don’t sleep well at night.

    I have no doubt you are on your way to being a powerful follower of Christ, Cattyjane, but I pray you let go of the control you keep in your life. I struggle with it myself. And no, we are not guaranteed a tomorrow, which is why you need to give God your entire being and rest in His saving powers, not your own, which will never be enough to warrant justification before God.

  50. Rick B says:

    I’m not sure why you just cannot believe it is so easy to be forgiven.
    I love the idea of Grace and not having to do any works to be saved. See for me it’s like this, If we had to do works, which the Bible does not teach that, then doing works would be unfair. Why would it be unfair?

    Well what about young Kids who are lets say, 7-8 years old, what could they do? What about people who are really Sick who cannot work? Or people on Death Row? or I could go on about people who could not do works. Then since the Bible does not teach works, what works must we do according to people who claim we must work? Does it require money? What if we don’t have the time or money to do these works?

    Now as far as works go, remember Jesus said, Not everyone who says, Lord, Lord will be let into Heaven, and people replied But Lord, Did We Not Do Miracles in YOUR NAME? Did we not do works in your name, And Jesus looked at them and said, Depart from me your workers of evil.
    Matthew 7:21,22

    These people claimed to do works in Jesus name, and He said that was not good enough.
    Now you also need to remember 1st John 1:9

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

    Notice it says, IF WE CONFESS, Why does it say “IF” It says that because we will sin like it or not, so since we know we will sin, now it comes down to If we Confess.

    Now their is a difference between Living in sin, and walking with the Lord and sinning. LDS seem to believe we can call upon Jesus, be forgiven and just sin away like crazy. Thats not the case. I will walk with Jesus, but I wont be perfect, I will still struggle with sin. I will still get angry with people, or I will watch a movie and see some women with little clothing and have impure thoughts, Or maybe with summer getting here, I simply cannot hide away till winter, so maybe I will see women walking around with almost no clothing, or maybe my kids will fight and I will get mad at them.

    It simply happens that we still are in this body of flesh and we struggle with sin, But thats why we confess as John said.

Leave a Reply