Comments about ‘The atonement perfects our imperfections’

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Published: Monday, June 13 2011 5:30 a.m. MDT

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JM
Lehi, UT

Great aricle. For it is by Grace that we are saved.

sharrona
layton, UT

The Atonement,Christ has taken our place, doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. Our part is simply to respond in repentance, faith, and selfless living.

JM, For it is by Grace that we are saved,(after all we can do). BofM,(2 Nephi 25:23).
For it is by grace(*charis,5485) you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves , it is a gift of God, not by works, so no one can boast. The Bible (Ephesians 2:8,9)
*Grace is a unmerited gift from God

Northern Lights
Louisville, KY

Sharrona:

You are absolutely right that grace one of the most wonderful gifts from God that we have available to us. Still, as James also said, "Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works." (James 2:18) Faith is not a passive thing - not if we expect to achieve the full measure of our potential.

sharrona
layton, UT

Northern Lights: Saved by grace,(Ephesians 2:8-10)the key is Verse 10, For we are Gods workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. God elects Christians to do good works.

Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works." (James 2:18) .Martin Luther comments on James,We are justified by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone.

Fred Vader
Oklahoma City, OK

Sharrona said: Our part is simply to respond in repentance, faith, and selfless living.

Repentance = works done by us;

Faith = works done by us;

Selfless living = works done by us;

If ye love me, keep my commandments The Bible (John 14:15) = works done by us;

Baptism (example shown by Jesus) The Bible = works done by us;

He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also The Bible (John 14:12) = works done by us;

There are many more similar examples.

In the verse you quoted, Christ is telling us that His saving us is a gift, and that it is done by grace, not by our works alone. It is not saying that we dont have to do our part. You said so yourself, respond in repentance, faith, and selfless living. These are all works.

Do you believe that you will be saved without repenting, being baptized, having faith, or helping others through selfless living?

brokenclay
Scottsdale, AZ

As sharrrona pointed out, 2 Nephi 25:23 and Ephesians 2:8-9 are in irreconcilable contradiction with each other. When Joseph Smith penned the BoM, he clearly intended to allude to the Ephesians passage as a polemic against it because of his 19th century milieu. Notice the similarity of the phrases; make no mistake, this was intentional on Smith's part.

There are a host of verses that could be added, like Titus 3:5 and Romans 11:6. Any orthodox Christian will affirm that a believer will do good works by the power of the indwelling Spirit. But we are careful to affirm that only grace through faith is the basis for salvation. Mormons disagree. In doing so, they must show complete disregard for the verses that say salvation is ONLY by grace through faith, with works being explicitly excluded. Ephesians 2:8-9 is the clearest example of this. They will claim James 2, but they don't bother to reconcile it with Ephesians 2:8-9. Orthodox Christians, though, are able to reconcile the passages as we have done here. I've never read a satisfactory explanation of Ephesians 2:8-9 by a Mormon.

Fred Vader
Oklahoma City, OK

Actually brokenclay, you haven't reconciled James 2 with Ephesians 2:8-9. Even if you don't accept the list I've given to Sharrona above as necessary to be saved, the verses in Ephesians and Titus require that you only get grace through having faith, i.e. a "work".

Otherwise everyone would have to be saved whether they had faith in Christ or not, which I am pretty sure you don't agree with.

Do you not see that even at a minimum under your definition we have to do work, i.e. have faith? Sharrona also adds repentence and selfless living, which are also works. So no, you haven't reconciled the verses very well.

brokenclay
Scottsdale, AZ

Fred, I've found what you're saying to be a common misunderstanding of the Scripture by Mormons. Let me quote Ephesians 2:8-9:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Those who take the very words of Scripture seriously will note the following:
1. These verses are not with reference to some "general resurrection," as conceptualized by Mormonism, because it is addressed to believers, not mankind as a whole.
2. Paul defines faith as the antithesis of works; it is a veritable "anti-work;" otherwise, salvation would be by a work, which would mean Paul is contradicting himself within the same verses.
3. Any work is included, not just works of the Mosaic Law.
4. In Greek, the demonstrative "this" is neuter in gender, while "grace" and "faith" are feminine. This suggests that the whole package of salvation, including faith, is a gift from God, not something men work up themselves.

A Mormon is simply unable to reconcile this passage with his theology if he takes the words of Scripture seriously.

brokenclay
Scottsdale, AZ

The bottom line is that Mormonism (and every other works-based religion, i.e., all other religions) is consistently guilty of mixing what is the basis of salvation with the results of salvation. As I said, all orthodox Christians will affirm that good works are necessary RESULTS of having obtained salvation. Thus the verses you quoted cause us no discomfort. But the moment you make works the BASIS of salvation, you have rejected grace:

"But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace." (Romans 11:6)

"So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy." (Romans 9:16)

Mormons do indeed make works the basis of salvation, as evidenced by 2 Nephi 25:23, quoted above. Consequently, according to Paul, they have rejected grace. It's all or nothing when it comes to grace.

With regard to atonement, Fred, you left unanswered 2 Corinthians 5:21, where the sinless Christ was made sin for us. Further, without union with Christ, how is the innocent justly punished in place of the wicked (Proverbs 17:15)? No satisfactory answer from the Mormon.

Pentacone
Batley, W.Yorkshire

"The Atonement Perfects our Imperfections"!

How?

Consider the Word "A.T.O.N.E" - (Eternal Name Of The Almighty? - The Saviour? - "At-One"?)

Jesus Committed Himself to come to the Earth, to bring New Understanding, to Fulfil the Prophecies and Laws of Moses.

He confidently spent Lengths of Time (From 12yrs Old), with the Priests & Teachers of the Day, and had Great Success with them, until He decided to go on His Mission.

Then He was Murdered!!

How can His Death, Save the Human Race?

No, simply, He stood for "Free-Agency", which He Enacted (By coming here), and then He had to let the Hebrews & Romans of the Day, use their own - Even to His Own Destruction!

And what of our Dear Joseph, and the Mobs of His Day?

The Very Act of "Decision-Making" is Eternally Crucial, and we are "Not In the Spirit" (S.I.N) until we decide to "Love GOD, & Love Our Neighbours as Ourselves"! (i.e. Treat Others, as we Wish Them to Treat Us, "With an Eye, Single to the Happiness of GOD"! - And STOP murdering God's Special Friends!!)

With Kindest Regards,
Joseph Peter Sheehan.
"PENTACONE"

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

@everyone
You're all saying the same thing in different ways. Some of you are just explicitly stating works while others have works as sort of a subcategory of faith. It really is no different.

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

"I've never read a satisfactory explanation of Ephesians 2:8-9 by a Mormon. "

Without grace you can't be saved. To get grace you must have faith. Faith is shown through works.

Is that sufficient? (Full disclosure: While I'm not sure if the records are cleared of my name yet, I have left the LDS church so technically I'm not a Mormon, though I really doubt Mormons would really disagree with this simple assessment I gave).

Fred Vader
Oklahoma City, OK

@brokenclay:

So the grace and faith gift spoken of in these verses applies only to believers? Ok, how does one become a believer? Is becoming a believer considered a work or a gift?

If a gift, then what qualifies one for this gift? If it is just God deciding this person gets the gift, but that one doesn't, what is the point of any Christian church? Wouldn't seem necessary to have one if God is just going to decide, "Ok, Sam, you get the gift of believing, faith, and grace", but "not you Fred, because you thought you had to listen to my other words in the Bible, which told you to perform works, i.e. getting baptized, feeding my sheep, loving thy neighbor, etc"? In fact, what is the point of any of His commandments, since He would just randomly be assigning the gift to those He wants? If that is the case, how do you know for sure that you were one of the lucky chosen?

If becoming a believer requires work, you are back to square one of requiring some kind of work before you get the gifts, which is what Mormons and many other Christians believe.

Fred Vader
Oklahoma City, OK

@brokenclay:

Your murder example is answered perfectly by Mormon teachings, because we do not hold that the Atonement applies to murderers, since in repenting, the murderer cannot repay the victim, and thus must answer for the sin and punishment on his/her own head. In Mormon belief, in order to truly repent and receive the benefits of the Atonement, the sinner must repay the victim, or make restitution. Murderers cannot restore/repay the life to the victim. Therefore, Christ does not stand in the place of murderers, and there is no issue as to your moral dilema of the innocent Christ being punished as a murderer, for which murder he did not commit. (See D&C 42:18)

I never said there wasn't a union with Christ. That is the epitome of what Mormon's consider to be the At-one-ment, or At-one-with-Christ. Christ only becomes the sinner because we, in repenting, become one with Him, and He stands in the place for us in order to satisfy Justice for the punishment. I don't believe it means that He has now become the one that actually sinned. We make the restitution as the sinner. Justice is satisfied.

brokenclay
Scottsdale, AZ

That's my whole point, Fred. In Mormonism, you have to qualify for the free gift (but then it isn't technically a free gift). In orthodox Christianity, there's nothing you can do to merit the free gift (Romans 3:23). Salvation is wholly the work of God (John 6:44), because those who are spiritually dead in sin cannot respond (Ephesians 2:1; have you ever seen a corpse do anything?). But it was God who made us alive in Christ, granting us salvation, so that we could serve him (Ephesians 2:4-6, 10). Works are the result of salvation (Ephesians 2:10), not the basis (2 Nephi 25:23).

The illustration doesn't hinge on murder; substitute rape, pedophilia, or torture in if you like (But even so, it's hard to argue that David and Moses haven't been forgiven for the murder they committed). You misunderstand what atonement is -- it IS the payment. Why does the sinner have to pay if Christ already paid it? Why pay it twice? If the sinner can make "restitution," why did Christ have to die? Sadly, you did not explain in what way and how Christ and the believer can be one.

Bill in Nebraska
Maryville, MO

Brokenclay: Lets make this simple.

This is the atonement and thus it should reconcile. You owe someone something but are unable to pay it. Justice states that you will be punished because youfailed to pay. An individual completely innocient of the whole matter comes to you and says, I will pay your debt but you must also meet these requirements. You agree to let him pay your debt but also agree to live by his rules. In the end the individual who you owe comes to collect, your mediator steps in front and says, he has paid me his debt and I take his debt upon me. You are then allowed to enter. That is exactly what has transpired here. We all in the pre-existance excepted the plan. Christ came here and took upon him all of the sins of the world. It is only through him and by him that one can and will be saved. However, he has set the rules that we keep his commandments, that we be baptized by one holding proper authority, that we receive the benefits of the Melchezidek Priesthood and the everlasting convenant of eternal marriage. Then we must endure.

sharrona
layton, UT

Atonement(katallage)S/B reconciliation,(Romans 5:11, 11:15 NIV). See(2 Cor 5:18,19 KJV) reconciliation is more accurate. The English word( KJV)at-one-ment is entirely fanciful. Modern translations are helpful.

Melchisedec(Jesus)Who in the days of his flesh, when he offered up prayers and supplications, strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death and was heard in that he feared(Heb 5:6-7). Gethsemane.

Bill in Nebraska
Maryville, MO

Sharrona: You have it wrong. Melchizedek is not Christ. You will find in scriptures of the Old Testament that Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek. In fact Hebrews is very specific that Christ is a High Priest after the order of Melchezdek. That is the correction. The Melchizedek Priesthood's proper name is the Holy Priesthood after the Order of the Son. This Priesthood was held by Adam, Moses, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The next time this Priesthood was with the Hebrews was when Christ literally walked the earth and conferred this Priesthood on his Disciples/Apostles. Between Moses and Christ this priesthood was not among the Hebrew Nation. This is why the ones holding the keys to this priesthood visited Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery sometime between May 15, 1829 and April 6, 1830 and conferred this priesthood upon them. The reason for this is because they were the last individuals to hold this priesthood. Notice that it mentions John the Beloved as bestowing this priesthood who was to live until the second coming of the Savior. John never tasted death as you or I will or many before us. He was transfigured as Moses and Enoch were.

Pentacone
Batley, W.Yorkshire

Mr. "Bill in Nebraska",

Excellent, Excellent, Excellent!

We have, of course, wandered "Off Topic" slightly, but "How Important Is your Observation"??

Your Lineage is a little Off, at first, but you corrected it by saying that Moses was the Last, until the Days of Jesus. Now Jesus did not need the Priesthood to be Conferred upon Him, since (As you quite rightly say), it was Indeed the "Priesthood of the Order of the Son Of GOD" - His Own!

And, it wasnt until "Pentecost" that the Disciples Received their Stewardship, Off the Holy Ghost, and were then Elected to be "Presiding Elders and Twelve Apostles", having the necessary Special Gifts of Languages, Curing of the Blind & Deaf, The Lame & Maimed - All to Proclaim that the "Locals" had just Murdered The Son of The Lord Almighty, The One sent to Save Us!!

Of course, the Disciples only ended-up getting Themselves killed, in one way or another, But...!

So:- P.R.I.E.S.T - The Spirit Eternal, In Royal Persons. (The Power is The Spirit - ELIAS? - Aaronic/Melchizedek Baptism?)

With Kindest Regards,
Joseph Peter Sheehan.
"PENTACONE"

sharrona
layton, UT

Bill, But because Jesus lives forever he has the permanent (non-transmittable Melchchisedek) priesthood.(Hebrews 7:24 NIV). Do you meet the Qualifications of (Hebrews 7:2,3)

Priesthood authority,[no-keys].In(D&C 110: 1-16) Elias and Elijah appear to JS, but in the Bible they are the same person. The KJV translators of the KJV attempted to transliterate Elijah to Elias because there isnt a Greek character for the English letter J.
To avoid confusion, modern translations: NIV,NJKV,NASB and the Catholic Bible have Elijah instead of Elias in(Mt 11:14,17 : 14:Luke 1:17)
In(D&C 84: 11-13) JS said he saw Esaias S/B Isaiah. Modern translation have Isaiah instead of Esaias see (Romans 9:27,29)
Elijah the prophet was born in Tishbite and lived in the reigns of Kings Ahab and Ahaziah about 1,000 years before Abraham see(D&C 110:12)
Isaiah the son of Amoz lived in the reigns of Hezekiah(Is 1:1)
JS did not have a modern translation.

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