Christianity vs. Mormonism: Salvation
I could write many posts on the differences between Mormonism and Christianity but this will be the last one for now. If you are interested in this topic, I suggest you check out the two previous articles entitled “Christianity vs. Mormonism: Monotheism” and “Christianity vs. Mormonism: Jesus Christ“.
Today, we look at salvation from the Christian perspective and the Mormon perspective. Let’s start with the Christian view of salvation.
Justified in Jesus:
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses,according to the riches of his grace. -Ephesians 1:7, NET
But now apart from the law the righteousness of God (which is attested by the law and the prophets) has been disclosed – namely, the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. -Romans 3:21-24
Adopted in Jesus:
He did this by predestining us to adoption as his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the pleasure of his will – to the praise of the glory of his grace that he has freely bestowed on us in his dearly loved Son. -Ephesians 1:5-6
But when the appropriate time had come, God sent out his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we may be adopted as sons with full rights. -Galatians 4:4-5
‘and I will be a father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,’ says the All-Powerful Lord. -2 Corinthians 6:18
Sanctified in Jesus:
For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be united in the likeness of his resurrection. We know that our old man was crucified with him so that the body of sin would no longer dominate us, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. -Romans 6: 5-6
Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness, for without it no one will see the Lord. -Hebrews 12:14
Glorified in Christ:
And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ) – if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him. -Romans 8:17
He called you to this salvation through our gospel, so that you may possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. -2 Thessalonians 2:14
Christians are justified, adopted, sanctified, and glorified in Christ. This is Christian salvation which all culminates in one passage of Scripture known as the Golden Chain of Redemption found in Romans 8:28-30:
And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified.
Salvation is all of God and not of man. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Now we need to compare the historical and biblical understanding of Christian salvation with Mormonism’s view of salvation.
Salvation through Christ…and some other stuff:
3 We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. – Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 4, pp. 535–541.
4 We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
However powerful the saving grace of Christ, it brings exaltation to no man who does not comply with the works of the Gospel -Spencer W. Kimball (prophet of the Mormon Church), The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 207
If righteous men have power through the gospel and its crowning ordinance of celestial marriage to become kings and priests to rule in exaltation forever, it follows that the women by their side (without whom they cannot attain exaltation) will be queens and priestesses. -Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 613.
‘Yes. Do you realize the implications of this doctrine as far as you are concerned?’
‘I think so. If God became God by obedience to all of the gospel law with the crowning point being the celestial law of marriage, then that’s the only way I can become a god.’
‘Right. And it is the law that assists us in reaching that potential. It tells us what we must do to gain the ultimate freedom. In fact, it is by obedience to law that we have progressed to our present position.’ –Achieving a Celestial Marriage: Student Manual, Copyright 1992 by Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints p. 4.
Did you get all that? For Mormons, achieving salvation and “exaltation” is hardly about Jesus Christ. It mostly relies on you. You need to obey the laws of God to be saved. You need to be baptized by the LDS church to be saved. You need to “comply with the works of the [g]ospel” to be saved. Women, you need to get married, in the LDS church, so that you will obtain exaltation. Men, you will become gods if you keep progressing and reach the goal of a celestial marriage.
This could not be further from biblical Christianity. Salvation only comes from the Lord (Psalm 39:37). If you are a Mormon and you have relied on yourself to earn your salvation I want you to know that God does not need your works. Jesus’ righteousness is what you need. You cannot obtain righteousness because your righteousness, like mine, are filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). Do not look to yourself for salvation but look to Jesus Christ. Acts 4:11-12 says:
This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, that has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved. -NET