Monday, October 11, 2010
3 Nephi 12: 20
"Therefore come unto me and be ye saved; for verily I say unto you, that except ye shall keep my commandments, which I have commanded you at this time, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven."
There goes the argument that all you need do to be saved is "confess Jesus." It doesn't work that way. You must keep His commandments. If you don't, then "ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." It is not possible to "come unto [Him]" and "be saved" without also keeping His commandments. It is the only true measure of coming to Him. And "except ye shall keep [His] commandments... ye can in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." Entry is barred unless you follow Him. If He needed baptism to enter, then clearly we do as well. (2 Nephi 31: 5.)
There is no space between faith in Christ and behavior evidencing that faith. There is no dichotomy between "grace" and "works" because it is by our conduct we merit grace. Christ received grace by the things He did. (D&C 93: 11-14.) The manner by which we receive grace is through keeping His commandments. (D&C 93: 19-20.)
Grace, or power to move closer to God, is also an increase of light. Light grows only as you move closer to it. But you have choice, and must elect to move closer to the light. (D&C 93: 27-28; D&C 50: 23-25.) The great proof text for salvation by confession of faith alone is Romans 10: 9: "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." This is offered as if Paul had priority over Christ, if the two conflict. However, Paul does not conflict, for in the same letter he teaches: "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you." (Romans 6: 16-17.) Righteousness comes by obedience. Obedience requires action. Without conforming conduct to the Lord's commandments, it is impossible to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Paul understood this, and lived his life accordingly. Who worked more than Paul to spread the Gospel? If his life was filled with works from the time of his conversion to the time of his martyrdom, then does not his example prove the necessity of obedience to the Lord's commandments? How then are his words twisted to mean confession alone, without obedience, can save? Even if someone were mistaken and in good faith sincerely believed Paul to justify salvation by confession alone, how did Paul become greater than Christ?
The Lord's instructions are clear and obedience to His and the Father's commandments are a threshold requirement for salvation. Without obedience to them you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.
Grace is a gift, but the gift must be received. Only those willing to "receive" it, merit grace. (D&C 88: 32-35.) It is "received" in the way the Lord ordained and in no other way. (D&C 130: 21.)
Only the deceived or the wicked would contradict the Lord's teaching that "except ye keep [His] commandments" then "ye cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven." Yet there are those who both make this claim in the various Protestant denominations, and are trying to advance this position into the LDS faith, as well. We would be better served by forgetting how to make ourselves seem more Protestant, and instead accepting and teaching what Christ established as the sole basis for entering the kingdom of heaven.