Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Evangelicals Are Right - We Are Saved By Grace Alone

In theory, our church teaches that it is by faith alone in the grace of Christ that justifies a man (See Epheisians 2:8 and 2nd Nephi 25:23).  We particularly teach that it is by grace we are saved after all we can do (2nd Nephi 25:23 again).  I think there is much confusion over the meaning of this and the practical application of grace.

I always had a nebulous idea of grace, faith, works, and being saved, and their interrelationship with one another.  This lack of understanding is due mostly to my own lack of diligence in pursuing the things of God, but our church does not do a good job of teaching just what it means to be saved.  There is this idea that the term “saved” is for wacky Evangelicals who don’t think they have to do anything to have the grace of Jesus but confess Him with their lips. 

I think LDS church members misunderstand Evangelicals because they don’t take the time to look critically at their own faith and theology, nor do they take the time and effort to understand the perspective of Evangelicals.  I have to be clear here and state that I do not have a firm grasp of any particular Christian sect.  This post is confined strictly to my understanding of what it means to be saved.  My personal understanding may be different than that advocated by particular Christian sects or individuals.

With the disclaimers out of the way, let’s take a look at what it means to be saved.  I am going to start out by saying that I LOVE how Evangelicals love their Savior.  They praise Him in song, prayer, and speech.  They rejoice in their redeemer.  Perhaps this is something that we as LDS ought to do.  Our church meetings are pretty much devoid of joy and exultation.  They have succumbed to a Catholic-like tradition, with the powers that be in each meeting house dictating every aspect, leaving little room for the workings of the Spirit to be manifest.  I have attended services at some non-denominational Christian churches.  Those services were JOYFUL!!  Sorry Mormons, but you do NOT have a monopoly on the Spirit of the Lord.

Let us pull out our trusty Book of Mormon.  A man can get closer to God by following its precepts above any other book, after all.  Turn to Alma, chapter 11.  (Yes, I did do a post on this great, meaty chapter while ago.)

Alma 11
37 And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.

40 And he shall come into the world to redeem his people; and he shall take upon him the transgressions of those who believe on his name; and these are they that shall have eternal life, and salvation cometh to none else.

We learn from verse 37 that we cannot be saved in our sins, and that those who are saved inherit the kingdom of heaven.  Further, in verse 40, we learn that those whose transgressions are borne by the Lord (i.e. those who are saved) shall inherit eternal life, and this is salvation.

To be saved is to have salvation.  To be saved is to be forgiven of all of our sins.  To be saved is to have eternal life.  So for you Mormons, when your Evangelical friend says that he is saved, then he is in effect stating that he has been forgiven of all of his sins and will inherit eternal life. 

Maybe I can offer up my services as a Mormon/Evangelical translator??  Just kidding.

Now that we have established the vocabulary, let’s take a look at some Book of Mormon examples of those who have been saved. 

First, we have Enos.  I won’t cite the reference, I figure that you as a reader of this blog are smart enough to find it for yourself.  Enos went into the forest, spent all day, all night, and the whole next day crying to the Lord for a remission of his sins.  After his mighty prayer, his request is granted.  He is saved!  Logically, if he has been granted a remission of his sins, and such a condition merits eternal life (see Alma 11 again), then Enos has been saved. 

Did you see any works here?  Did Enos go to the temple and “take out his endowments”?  Did he get sealed to his wife?  Did he have to have a ritual washing and anointing first?  If such things were so important, I expect that Enos would have made mention of them.  Instead, he makes mention of going out to be alone, acting without hypocrisy before God, acknowledging his fallen nature, and asking a forgiving and loving God to have mercy on him.  And he did!  Because Enos had faith and because Christ has grace to spare.

Now let us look at Alma the Younger (Mosiah 27).  Alma was a wicked man, trying to lead people out of the church and rebelling against his father.  An angel appears to him after his father (Alma Sr.) asks God in faith to bring his son to the truth.  Alma Jr. is struck dumb and has a vision, in which he is acutely aware of all of his sins.  In desperation, he cries out to Jesus to save him, and He does!  No works, no one year of bishop’s probation, no refraining from praying in church or not taking the sacrament.  No excommunication.  No bishops chats.  Just Alma and Christ, and the Lord forgave him, with no works to his credit. 

Then we have Lamoni (Alma 17-19).  Lamoni is an oppressive king, who unjustly executes his servants if they don’t keep watch over his sheep.  He doesn’t know who Christ is.  He thinks everything he does is okay.  Then Ammon comes along and teaches him, and suddenly Lamoni zones out, and has a vision where he sees Christ and talks with Him.  Lamoni is forgiven by Christ.  Again, no works, no 5 Rs of repentance, no disciplinary action.  A similar story happens with Lamoni’s father (Alma 22).  He sinks down into a vision after discussing Christ with Aaron.  He sees Christ and receives forgiveness, then has a second vision with his wife (this merits its own post at a later time).

There are other examples.  The point is, Jesus Christ does not require works before He will forgive you.  He only asks for your heart to be turned toward Him, and for you to ask in faith.  Let me say this again – WORKS ARE NOT REQUIRED FOR REPENTANCE!!! 

Once you have repented truly and been forgiven by the grace of Christ, you will have no more disposition to do evil.  You will want to do good and abhor sin.  Works will come naturally, but they merit you nothing.  All your works render you an unprofitable servant (Mosiah 2:21).

Let me add one final thing.  When you are saved, you KNOW it.  When you truly repent and obtain a remission of your sins, the Lord will manifest it to you in a way that is not mistakable.  You will have no doubt about where you stand with God.  If you do not know right now where you stand before God, if He has not made in manifest to you by the Holy Spirit, then you have work to do.  That work is not to earn grace.  It is to seek it, and give to the Lord a heart that is determined to serve Him and do whatever He asks of you.  I promise you that you can obtain a knowledge that you are saved.  I testify of it because I have experienced such a miracle in my own life.  Godspeed to you in your quest to know our Lord and Savior.


  1. Jake,
    Beautiful post. Thank you. have haf a BFHG, I assume from your witness...have you also receive the Lord as in the SC?

    1. Kathy,

      Thanks for your comment. I have not received that blessing yet. It is something I have been seeking since I learned of it a few years ago. I'm grateful for what the Lord has given me. It is all by His grace and mercy.

    Why was the Ethiopian eunuch so concerned about being baptized in water?
    1. Did the eunuch want to be baptized so he could join the the 1st Church of Philip?
    2. Did the eunuch want to be baptized as a testimony of his faith?
    3. Did he want be baptized because Jesus commanded it and he wanted to be obedient?
    4. Was he in a hurry to be baptized because he realized that water baptism had nothing to do with the forgiveness of his sins?
    5. Did the eunuch want to be baptized because his sins were already forgiven?
    6. Did he want be baptized to demonstrate that he was saved before he was baptized?

    The answer is NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, and NO.

    The Ethiopian was in a hurry to be baptized because:
    1. He wanted his sins forgiven. (Acts 2:38)
    2. He wanted his transgressions forgiven. (Colossians 2:13)
    3. He wanted to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21)
    4. He wanted to be baptized into Christ. (Romans 6:3)
    5. He wanted to walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)
    6. He wanted his body of sin done away with. (Romans 6.6)
    7. He wanted wanted to live with Christ. ( Romans 6:8)
    8. He wanted to be saved. (Mark 16:16)
    9. He wanted wanted to be clothed with Christ. (Galatians 3:27)
    10. He wanted to have his sins washed away. (Acts 22:16)
    11. He wanted to be saved. (Titus 3:5)
    12. He wanted to enter the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)
    13. He wanted the Lord to add him to His church. (Acts 2 :41,47)
    14. He wanted to be sanctified. (Ephesians 5:26)
    15. He wanted to be blameless and holy. (Ephesians 5:27)
    16. He wanted to be free of spots and wrinkles.(Ephesians 5:27)
    17. He wanted to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)


    Philip preached Jesus to the eunuch.

    The first question the eunuch ask was "What prevents me from being baptized?"

    Philip said Acts 2:37 [... "If you believe with all your heart you may." And he answered and said , I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."]

    When Philip preach Jesus to the eunuch he must have told him what Jesus said in Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.


    NOTE: In the New Testament Scriptures there is not one single account of anyone denying water baptism as being essential for the forgiveness of sins. Not one mention of anyone saying I was saved before I was baptized. Not one person stated they were saved before baptism, but were baptized so they could join the local church. Not one individual said I was baptized as a testimony of my faith, but it had nothing to do with my salvation. WHY DO YOU NOT READ ABOUT THESE THINGS HAPPENING IN THE 1ST CENTURY CHURCH? WHY? BECAUSE THESE ARE ALL MAN-MADE TRADITIONS THAT ORIGINATED MUCH LATER. (SEE MY APRIL 17 POST---"THE PRICE OF TRADITION')

    (All Scripture quotes from: NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)
    You are invited to follow my blog.

    1. Steve, thanks for your comments. The intent of this post was not to discuss baptism but to discuss the LDS perspective that we are saved by grace and works both. There is some merit to the LDS position, but the LDS generally focus on works and not the grace of Jesus Christ.

      I agree completely with you that God has required water baptism as the means by which we are to witness to God of our desire to be cleansed. If a man is taught about baptism and refuses it, then he cannot be cleansed.

      Thanks again for commenting. I will check out your blog.