Forgiveness

Do you know whether or not you need forgiveness? Here are some questions to help:

Are you a good person? Yes → If you think you are good please read this.
No → If you answered “No”, then consider a second question…
Does God require you be good? No → If you think God is ok with you being less than perfect or it’s alright as long as you ‘aren’t as bad as the other guy’ please read this.
Yes → If you answered “Yes”, then you are faced with a predicament: God requires you be perfect but you aren’t. How will you ever meet his requirement?! Consider this question…
Can you work hard enough and long enough to become good enough to meet God’s requirement? Yes → If you think you can (given adequate time, resources, help, etc.) read this.
No → If you answered “No” then you realize you could never come close to meeting God’s requirements by your own strength and through your own labors; you are ready to hear the good news. Take a moment to read this article on the Gospel (“gospel” = “good news”).

The above set of questions shows us 1) God requires perfect righteousness, 2) no one is righteous, and 3) no one can achieve perfect righteousness by their own works. We all are stained by sin and continue to sin. We have a sin problem that we cannot solve.

Three Views of Forgiveness Compared

Christian American Mormon
Humans can’t atone (make amends) for human sin. Only a perfect atonement can do that, which is exactly what Christ provided (Hebrews 10.14).
At the Cross Jesus Christ took our sin upon himself. [Christ him-]self bare our sins in his own body on the tree (1Peter 2.24). Christ died for our sins (1Corinthians 15.3). His sacrifice is the basis for our forgiveness. God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you (Ephesians 4.32).
Having been forgiven by God we then seek forgiveness from man and do what is necessary to restore what was violated. (Exodus 22.1, 3-6, 14; Leviticus 6.2-5; Luke 19.7)
Your offenses are really infringements against your fellow man; so you need to make things right with your neighbor: recognize your actions were hurtful, feel remorse for what you have done, take responsibility for it, make amends, say your are sorry, and move on with resolution to do better next time. ‘Your Heavenly Father has promised forgiveness upon total repentance and meeting all the requirements, but that forgiveness is not granted merely for the asking. There must be works—many works… It depends upon you whether or not you are forgiven, and when. It could be weeks, it could be years, it could be centuries before that happy day when you have the positive assurance that the Lord has forgiven you’ (Miracle of Forgiveness, Kimball, pp. 324-325).
‘This progress toward eternal life is a matter of achieving perfection. Living all the commandments guarantees total forgiveness of sins… (Miracle of Forgiveness, Kimball, pp. 208).
When Christ’s work is the basis for our forgiveness we know we are truly forgiven! This is all well and good on a horizontal level but it completely neglects the fact that our sins are primarily offenses against a just and holy God (Psalm 51.4).Without satisfying divine justice we are no better off than before. The problem remains. The Mormon program is unachievable: you can never be perfect thus you can never be forgiven. Your best works are as rubbish (Isaiah 64.6; Philippians 3.8).

Conclusion

We call on you to turn to the Christ Who Forgives; realize you are a sinner, sin is offense against God, and your works can never make up for your sin. Receive true forgiveness through Christ and have real assurance right now that you have eternal life. Contact us so we can help you along the way.

Further Study:

How Good Are You?

The Bible tells us God knows everything we do and the intents of our hearts: For [The Lord’s] eyes are on the ways of man, and he sees all his goings (Job 34.21; cf Job 28.24). Shall not God search this out? For he knoweth the secrets of the heart (Psalm 44.21). God knows if we are good or not.

What is his evaluation? All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way (Isaiah 53.6). There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (Romans 3.10-12). That puts you and me in a very bad place.

Perhaps you disagree with this dire assessment and think, ”I may have done a few bad things, but I am not that bad.”

To this God says: For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all (James 2.10). Have you offended the law at one point? Take a look at the following scorecard:

  1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me (Exodus 20.3). Do you perfectly love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength (Deuteronomy 6.5; Matthew 22.37)?
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image … [to] down thyself to them, nor serve them (Exodus 20.4). Have you conceived of God as you would like him to be rather than as he is?
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain (Exodus 20.7). Have you used his name in an expletive? How about slang (“gosh”, “jeez”)?
  4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy (Exodus 20.8). Is the Lord’s Day, Sunday, different than the other 6 (“holy” means separate/different)? Do you work, do laundry, clean house, watch TV, or hang out just like it is any other day?
  5. Honour thy father and thy mother (Exodus 20.12). Have you ever disobeyed them?
  6. Thou shalt not murder (Exodus 20.13). Jesus said hate is murder; have you ever been angry at someone?
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery (Exodus 20.14). Jesus said lust and fornication are violations of sexual purity (Matthew 5.28; cf. 1Corinthians 6.9); what do your eyes do?
  8. Thou shalt not steal (Exodus 20.15). Have you ever taken anything that doesn’t belong to you?
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor (Exodus 20.16). Have you ever lied? Exaggerated?
  10. Thou shalt not covet (Exodus 20.17). Do you want things that belong to others? (see 1Corinthians 6.10)

Remember, one “No” to any of these questions means you are guilty of all. Yes, the truth hurts doesn’t it.

Because this is the truth, we see we need forgiveness.

Does God Require Perfection?

God is absolutely holy (Isaiah 6.3) and cannot tolerate unrighteousness (Isaiah 59.1-2). He expects perfect holiness from all men. Adam and Eve transgressed the Law by one action and as a consequence were condemned, cursed, and banished from the garden (Genesis 3.1-24).

The New Testament confirms the same standard. It is written, For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them (Galatians 3.10). Paul here quotes from Deuteronomy 27.26; 28.58 and reasons that since no one can perfectly ‘continue in’ and ‘do’ (i.e. obey) the law all are under the curse. Elsewhere it is written, For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all (James 2.10). One offense renders a man guilty thus one must have no offenses (i.e. perfection) to be not guilty.

We cannot keep the law. The good news of the Gospel is that Christ keeps the law on behalf of his people. Halleljuah! By faith we receive and rest upon him alone!

Can Man Become Good Enough Through His Own Works?

By eating the forbidden fruit Adam and Eve fell from their original righteousness and communion with God and so became dead in sin (Genesis 2.17) and wholly defiled in all the parts and faculties of soul and body (Jeremiah 17.9; Romans 3.10-18).

Being the head of all mankind the guilt of this sin was imputed (Romans 5.12; 1Corinthians 15.12a) and the same penalty & corrupt nature were conveyed to all their posterity (Job 15.14; Psalm 51.5) — that’s us!

Works done by unregenerate men are sinful and cannot please God because these works do not proceed from a heart purified by faith (Genesis 4.5 with Hebrews 11.4; Romans 14.23), are not done in a right manner, i.e. according to the Word (1Corinthians 13.3), nor do they have a right end, i.e. the glory of God (Matthew 6.2-16).

The New Testament succinctly refutes the idea that we may work our way to righteousness when Paul writes, a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. (Galatians 2.16).

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