LDS PROOF-TEXTS FOR WORKS-SALVATION.
Let me again clarify that SALVATION (Biblically) means the promise of entering the presence of GOD. That is what this discussion is about.
Matt. 19:16-24 and Luke 10:25-37 These are parallel passages in which a rich young ruler asks Jesus how to attain eternal life and Jesus responds in Matthew's passage that he is to keep the commandments. Jesus did not lie here -- it is TRUE that one COULD gain eternal life if they could consistently keep all the commandments. What is in question is whether or not it can be done, and what follows in both these passages tells us the answer to that. In Matthew we see the man thought he was obeying, but Jesus showed him he was NOT obeying (the rule to love your neighbor as yourself). Obeying that rule would necessitate his sharing -- so he would need to sell all he had and give it to the poor. The killer here is the word ALL. Truly loving your neighbor as yourself would not allow you to have a dollar more of net worth than your neighbor! Now I ask you.... is this do-able? Possibly....but in reality are the 10 million Mormons doing it? Absolutely not. In my book that makes the VAST VAST majority of them hypocrites. Now the passage in Luke gives us more. The man asks Jesus just who his neighbor is... to whom does this man owe the kind of love that gives away your net worth? And then we find the parable of the good Samaritan. Now you must understand that the Jews and Samaritans were enemies...because Samaritans were half-breeds. So Jesus is saying to truly love your NEIGHBOR is to love even your destitute ENEMY and give to HIM. Do any of us do this? I don't think so. I challenge LDS to find ANY OTHER VERSE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT (for our time period) that says DIRECTLY that we will be saved by obeying God's commandments! In the absence of that, I remind you of what the plan of salvation really is - - FAITH in the shed blood of Christ as that which saves....period.
So why would Jesus give this man an impossible task to do? Because the man was self-righteous. One does not seek salvation unless they know they NEED it. This man had no concept of his lost condition. Jesus KNEW the man inside-out! He KNEW the man was not seeking an answer but a confirmation of his goodness. So He needed to get the man LOST so he would (perhaps later) understand why he needed to be saved. In Romans 3:20 we read that no flesh will be justified by the deeds of the law, and it says that by the law is the knowledge of sin. The law in Galatians 3 is called our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. It shows us the problem which gives us a reason to seek the solution. Thus we also read that we are to be as perfect as our Father in heaven to enter His kingdom. That comment fits perfectly with what Jesus told this man... neither requirement is do-able in terms of our performance or worthiness! But we CAN meet the requirements if we accept the gift of imputed righteousness. We should be careful as well to keep in mind that what Jesus told one self-righteous individual who rejected His words is not going to be the same as what he told the people he knew were ready to receive Him.
John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments." I am continually amazed that when LDS see this verse, what they think it says is this: "If you want eternal life, keep the commandments." This verse isn't about celestial glory... it is about how we show Christ we LOVE Him! Gaining or losing God's presence is NOT mentioned! I DO serve God out of love...and also out of thankfulness for the salvation I already have!
Philippians 2:12 "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" The problem here is LDS quit too soon... it goes on to say, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Philippians 1:5-6, along with this verse, specify that these people were already saved....already had God in them ("He that hath the Son, hath life") So what is the verse saying? Work OUT is not the same as work FOR. They already had CHRIST and spiritual life in them...but they needed a salvation (deliverance) from the problems described in the context... the problems of disunity (2) strife (3), selfishness (4) and murmuring (14).
Heb. 5:9 "And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." It says to obey CHRIST, and does not specify "all the commandments". That means to do what HE says one must do to be saved... Look at John 6:28-29. A man asks how to work the works of God. Jesus says "This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." THAT is the command to obey to gain salvation. See also John 6:47. Note also how Hebrews 5:9 describes salvation.... "Eternal salvation." There is no other kind!
(James 2 - dealt with in FAQ link mentioned in home page)
John 3:5 and Mark 16:16 are given to suggest that baptism saves. Please see (in my index) the complete study on baptism, where these are dealt with. One note here though: LDS don't really believe these verses.... if they did, they would admit that one can claim to be saved (assured of entering celestial glory) as soon as they are baptized! But that is not the LDS plan! You can't have it both ways... if baptism saves.... then obeying all the other commandments is NOT the way.
Hebrews 6:4-6 - there are several POSSIBLE interpretations of this passage....I will not bore you with them all. But one thing is clear.... if this passage teaches that one can lose salvation in SOME manner.... it also teaches you can't get it back....it says in essence, it is IMPOSSIBLE for those enlightened, if they fall away, to be renewed to repentance. Note more about this passage below.
Hebrews 10:26-30 - The historical background of this book written to Jews was in a time when the temple was still standing and some were still doing the animal sacrifices that Christ had come to be the fulfillment of. These Jews were tempted, after having trusted in Christ to be their "sacrifice" to go back (just in case) and keep on with the other sacrifices and other elements of law-keeping to be saved. Hebrews was written to combat that error...its outline presents the superiority of Christ and the new covenant over the old system. Thus the "sin" referred to was the SIN of failing to trust in the shed blood as sufficient. Think about that, please! I see this as the same sin LDS are committing. The writer says that going back to animal sacrifices to save NULLIFIES what Christ did. Now look at verse 39. Those who "drew back" to the old way were lost... those who BELIEVED (in the blood of Christ) were saved.
Have I missed the verse(s) you think prove salvation by works? Over the years I have had LISTS of verses, one I think was around 100 verses long, given me to "prove" the LDS view. I responded to every verse on the list, showing how either the context, or the word meanings, or the historical background, or comparative passages nullified the LDS interpretation. If you wish to present to me 3 of your strongest verses to see if there are answers, feel free to do so... but once they are answered....before I take time to deal with any lengthier list again... I will say "the burden of proof is now on YOUR shoulders to give explanations to my list of 125 verses, as to how each one is misinterpreted." THEN you would have a basis upon which to begin building your viewpoint as being valid. God does NOT doubletalk. No one has given me an answer even to the following short list of verses that promise us salvation/eternal life now. If it is ours NOW....then obviously, it is not based on our (future) obedience! John 3:16-18,36, 5:24, 6:47, 10:28-30, Titus 3:5, Romans 5:1, II Tim. 1:9, I John 5:13. "The ball is in YOUR court."
A related issue is whether one can lose salvation. For detailed study of that, check the index of articles for "If I Could Lose My Salvation"
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