Brothers, Sisters, Family,
Recently I was blessed with the opportunity to speak with two young men, Mormon missionaries. I mean that honestly. I’ve spent several years following a ministry by the name of Adam’s Road, a band who are made up of former Mormons who converted to Christianity, and hearing their testimonies. So, I was delighted to speak with these two men and hear from them what matters most and how they felt on certain things regarding the faith, as well as share my own testimony of how I came to Christ. It was a wonderful time but, as we left the conversation that night and in the days following it, I haven’t been able to escape a few things, one above all.
You see, the Mormon church teaches that we are saved by grace through faith, after all you can do. It’s a works based salvation and there are three separate levels of salvation, only following Mormon doctrines and going through their sacraments and meeting certain stringent requirements gets you to the highest level. I was reminded, this was not my faith. Like Mormons, the Islamic faith, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Orthodox Jewish faith follow these works based plans. In Islam you follow the Quran and the hadith (traditions and sayings of Mohammed) hoping that Allah will at last be merciful to you. For Witnesses you fight for your faith often going door to door hoping you are on of the chosen few and the Jewish faith you follow the Mosaic law striving to bear that burden. Even in Buddhism and Hinduism you have works based concepts related to karma and reincarnation.
The message Jesus brought was something else. The message of the Cross is something else. Jesus paid it all. All I’m asked to do is repent, believe and receive. When Jesus was asked in John 6:28 “What must we do to do the works of God?” Jesus responded “Believe in the one whom He has sent,” meaning himself. When Jesus spoke of the Pharisee and the tax Collector in Luke 18:9-14 He said the tax collector who beat his breast and said “God be merciful to me a sinner” “went down to his house justified,” repenting of his sins and crying out to God for salvation. What did the thief on the cross do in Luke 23:39-43? He confessed he was a sinner (admitting he deserved crucifixion), that Christ was sinless (saying Jesus had done nothing wrong), recognized Jesus was King and Savior (asking to come into His kingdom). What was Jesus response? “Today you will be with Me in paradise” (Luke 23:43)
I believe in a finished work. Jesus paid it all. Yes. “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:17) and “Without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews
12:14) but these are after the New Birth (John 3:3) when the Holy Spirit dwells within us and begins His sanctifying, life-changing work (Ezekiel 36:25-27). There is no work of salvation on our end.
Jesus did it all, having “nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14). In Romans 10:8-13 we read that “the word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.” We
read that “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved.” We read that “anyone who calls on the name of
the Lord shall be saved.”
I was disheartened by the faith that was presented to me that night by those two young men. Gracious as we were toward each other, I would pray that we all find our faith resting in the arms of God and the finished work of the Cross. We are not saved by grace through faith after all we can do but rather “saved by grace through faith, and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not by works lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). I don’t have to hope that Allah will be merciful or that my righteous deeds outweigh my sins, or pray I’ve kept the law well enough to be counted worthy. Jesus indeed paid it all. Praise God! Be encouraged today.