True Christian Salvation

1860s-frank-julius-joseph-and-mary-with-baby-jesus-o-c-77-x-55-cm
Julius Frank, Joseph and  Mary with baby Jesus

TRUE CHRISTIAN SALVATION
Vern G. Swanson
vswanson@smofa.org

Most Later-day Saints born under the covenant are at a loss to answer the plain Evangelical question “Are you saved?” A simple question, to be sure, easily answered with a yes or no response, but most Mormons get a puzzled look on their face and shrug, saying “Well I, I hope so, I’m trying to live the best life I can.”

The ‘Saved’ Christian will invariably say that “It is not what you “do,” your works; but what Christ “did” that saves us. What he has already done on the Cross and with His Blood.  Once you faithfully accept Christ as your personal Savior and Lord of your Life, you are instantly saved. It’s a free gift through faith and it’s forever.”  We usually come back and say, “But don’t you have to live a righteous life?”  Then they often say, “Well, yes, but it’s not our righteousness, rather it’s the righteousness of Jesus Christ that we assume. He takes our liabilities and we take his assets. He is mighty to save and forgive.  It is really quite simple and easy when you think about it.”

The truth is, knowing Latter-day Saints believe that through Christ’s death on the Cross ALL mankind are saved who will bow the head, bend the knee and confess with your lips in submission to our Lord and Savior. And the scriptures say that all will do so eventually (Philippians 2:9-11, Romans 14:11). Well if the Bible is correct then it will happen, for some even if it was in the spirit world after they have died. We believe that all will be saved except the very few Sons of Perdition who will follow the fallen angels into the Lake of Fire there to be consumed forever and ever.  I have never met a Mormon who said they were or were afraid in the slightest that they might be a— Son of Perdition. The correct answer to the above question would be “Yes, Jesus Christ saved you and me from hell and to heaven!”

Official Christianity believes that everyone (accept young children) will have this earth-life only to accept Jesus Christ or go to hell when they die; and suffer excruciatingly forever and ever.  The statistics for all but Universalists, which the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are similar in this matter, is that very few are saved to heaven. In my former Protestant church, Pilgrim Holiness (like Friends, Quaker, or Puritan), it was believed that well over 90% of Heavenly Father’s children were damned to suffer hell in the lake-of-fire for eternity.  The Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ has reversed that number and shown our Father in heaven to be a compassionate God of progression, redemption and of happiness. We are precious in the sight of our Father and His Son and they take no pleasure in the condemnation of their sons and daughters.

Latter-day Saints believe that there are three major levels of heaven, from the highest to the lowest in the Kingdom of God. Official ‘orthodox’ Christianity believes there is either heaven or hell and that’s about it.  Everyone who is saved, they believe, receives the same heaven and golden crown. But they are to cast their crowns before the throne of God  (Rev 4:10) and be all counted as one and the same.  They definitely to not believe some receive a higher degree in heaven or a lower degree in heaven but all are equal with the Lord. This is contradicted by Matthew 5:19 which reads, “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

This added with the fifteenth chapter of 2 Corinthians and the LDS case for a graduated heaven and suddenly the proposition has substance.  The lowest part of the kingdom of heaven is the unjust part which Latter-day Saints consider ‘hell’ in their minds.  It is the part called the Telestial Kingdom that the Lord said was for people who broke the least of the commandments and taught others to do likewise. A better question for LDS is “What part of the kingdom of heaven do you think you are going to?”  To which most would answer, “I hope I’m going to the Celestial Kingdom in heaven.” This is the place where “whoever does and teaches them (the commandments of God), shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”  Then the Terrestrial Kingdom is somewhere between these two polemics.

Sadly, we must report that in the Evangelical community, the keeping of God’s commandments and ordinances are not an absolute requisite for a saved person. (see 1 John 2:1-29) Once you are saved, you are always saved and no one, except perhaps Joseph Smith Jr. (in their mind), can pluck you out of the hand of God. Not even you can reverse your decision! This is contradicted by Rev 3:11, “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.”[1] If you are not a “crown of glory” you’re not going to heaven! On this we all agree.

Secondly, among Evangelicals, none of the ordinances and covenants of the Lord’s Bible are unconditionally incumbent on the believer either. While Jesus Christ commanded us to be baptized, it is now in the Pentecostal community a “nice thing to do,” but is not in any way essential for salvation.  This is the world of ‘greasy grace’ and is a satanic confection dispensed by apostate churches and their paid-ministers. Fortunately, not all Protestant ministers are so deceived, as John Hagee proves:

The “greasy grace” preached from pulpits across this land set the stage for our brain-dead morality. People wink at sin and transgress with smiles on their faces. The self-satisfied settle back and smugly salve their consciences with a quick quip: “I’m covered by grace.” Let me tell you something, dear friend—greasy grace only forgives the sin. [sic] God’s grace forgives the sinner.[2]

Hagee is half-right, God’s grace does forgive the sin and the sinner, but “greasy grace” is the devil’s lubricant to slide the sinner down to hell.  It is only through prayerful, heartfelt, long-term and life-changing repentance by the sinner that allows Jesus Christ to successfully plead our case in the highest heaven.  There is no “slipping-by” for those who claim ‘grace,’ but Heaven awaits those who daily improve in God’s graceful mercy. The scriptures say as much, “For verily I say unto you, they [best gifts of God] are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do.” (D&C 46:9)[3] The Lord has made provision for both saint and sinner. For those who plod ever so haltingly on the Lord’s path of eternal progression, “failure is never final and success is never ending.”[4]

Our beloved Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. understood what it takes to be saved to the highest heaven and not to the one just above Perdition’s outer-darkness, “A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.”[5]  What is needed in our day of lax morality and Godlessness is a church established by the very hand of God to help bring us to Christ and His Gospel. That church of Prophets and Apostles is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “the only true and living Church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased.” (D&C 1:30) Now that you’ve been told these words of truth, go forth to contact the Church and learn of it.

[1] I understand that there is a bevy of scriptures which argue the opposite. The best scripture supporting this position is John 10:28-29.  There is a doctrine in the Lord’s Church called “One’s calling and election made sure” which fits verses 28-29 above perfectly.

[2] John Hagee, Final Dawn over Jerusalem (1998), p.175.

[3] And from the Book of Mormon, “Therefore ought ye not to tremble? For salvation cometh to none such; for the Lord hath redeemed none such; yea, neither can the Lord redeem such; for he cannot deny himself; for he cannot deny justice when it has its claim.” (Mosiah 15:27)

[4] The phrase has been around for a long time, but was popularized by Rev. Robert H. Schuller and The Hour of Power.

[5] Joseph Smith Jr., Lectures on Faith (1985) p.69

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