Written by Mark Cares
Mormonism places great emphasis on keeping the commandments. It talks about it often, implying that people can keep them perfectly. For example, in the August 2017 issue of the Ensign, there is an article by Elder Neil L. Andersen, one of Mormonism’s 12 apostles. It’s all about honesty. In it he says: “As we become completely honest, our spiritual eyes are opened to increased enlightenment.” Doesn’t it sound like people can become completely honest? In fact, doesn’t it sound as if that is his expectation?
This is just one of many such examples. Here’s another snippet from a different article. “I will put the Lord first in my life, and I will keep His commandments” (Ensign, July, 2017, p. 44). You can’t read much of LDS literature without running into similar thoughts.
Obviously, this emphasis translates into Mormons intently focused on keeping the commandments. Some, like the young man who came to Jesus in Matthew 19, sincerely think they have kept them. Many others, however, know they haven’t. These respond either by trying all the harder or by giving up and becoming inactive.
We can use their emphasis on keeping the commandments to good effect especially with those who realize they haven’t kept them. Imagine the effect you would have if you said you have kept the commandments perfectly. I can’t imagine them responding with a yawn. Disbelief, probably. Curiosity, almost certainly. The vast majority will want to hear more.
This, then, gives you a wonderful opportunity to tell them the great news of how Jesus gave his life twice for you and for all people. Not only did he sacrifice it on the cross to pay for all our sins. He also sacrificed it by being born “under law” (Galatians 4:4) in order to keep the law perfectly in our place. For 33 years, day in and day out, he kept each and every commandment. Not once did he falter. Not one did he overlook. He didn’t do it because he had to earn something for himself – after all, as the Son of God, he was the author of the law. Rather he did it to make us worthy for heaven. With his death, he freed us from the punishment of hell. With his life, he qualified us for heaven. “Through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19).
I can almost guarantee you that this is something Mormons have never heard. Mormonism never talks about it. Few Christians talk to them about it – many don’t even talk about it among themselves. When I mention it in one of my seminars, as I always do, I know a goodly number of people will be taken aback by it and sometimes even push back against it. Sadly, Christ’s perfect life for us is not frequently taught or preached even in Christian churches.
That’s regrettable. This teaching can give wonderful reassurance to Christians who are constantly tempted to think they have to do something to be saved. And it is a wonderful way to share the gospel with Mormons. Not only does it address a topic which bothers them; it also introduces them to a teaching to which they have no canned responses.
So, next time you have the opportunity, tell a Mormon you have kept the law perfectly. Then share with them the wonderful news of the two ways Jesus sacrificed himself for us.