Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence
How would you respond if a Mormon asked you, "How can you approach the throne of God with confidence?"
Recently, a General Authority of the LDS Church attempted to give an answer to this question during the semi-annual General Conference held in Salt Lake City a few weeks ago.
In the attempt to encourage the "imperfect yet striving Saints," Elder Jorg Klebingat of the Seventy encouraged LDS Church members by having them evaluate their status or spiritual confidence before God. He warned against the "adversary" and "evil voices" that are attempting to discourage and dissuade faithful LDS member from no longer "choosing the right".
Elder Klebingat gives six suggestions on how to combat the evil voices and build spiritual confidence in themselves.
1. Take responsibility for your own spiritual well-being. "Stop blaming others or your circumstances, stop justifying, and stop making excuses for why you may not be fully striving to be obedient."
2. Take responsibility for your own physical well-being. "Control your diet and exercise."
3. Embrace voluntary, wholehearted obedience as part of your life. "You cannot love God without also loving His commandments."
4. Become really, really good at repenting thoroughly and quickly. "Establish an attitude of ongoing, happy, joyful repentance by making it your lifestyle of choice."
5. Become really, really good at forgiving. "Forgive everyone, everything, all the time, or at least strive to do so, thus allowing forgiveness into your own life.
6. Accept trials, setbacks, and "surprises" as part of your mortal experience. "You are here to be proved and tested. .. When trials come.. try to force a smile, gaze heavenward, and say, 'I understand, Lord. I know what this is. A time to prove myself, isn't it?'"
(Source: "Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence" by Elder Jorg Klebingat, General Conference, October 2014.)
Did you notice that Elder Klebingat's article did not make any mention of Christ in his six suggestions? The focus is all on the Mormon to receive confidence. A Christian can't help but to be angry and saddened over the misrepresentation of Christ by the LDS Church. Our hearts go out to the thousands of Mormons who heard this message and simply do not know the truth of the gospel.
Christians can receive a wonderful opportunity to share their faith with Mormons by declaring that they will approach the throne of God with 100% confidence on Judgment Day. That confidence does not come from our own ability to be obedient, to forgive others, or to be physically fit, but on what Christ has already done for me on the cross.
Speaking the language of Mormonism Truth in Love Ministry recently completed a Dictionary of Mormonism to help Christians share the truth of God's Word with Mormons. A popular topic is the concept of grace. The following is an excerpt on the definition of grace:
"Mormonism teaches that Christ’s death on the cross (Atonement) is an act of grace. As a result, all people will be saved from physical death and be resurrected. For this reason, a Mormon will say they are saved by grace. The LDS Church extends the concept of grace in two different ways: a divine help and an enabling power.
Through grace, made available by the Savior’s atoning sacrifice, all people will be resurrected and receive immortality. But resurrection alone does not qualify us for eternal life in the presence of God. Our sins make us unclean and unfit to dwell in God’s presence, and we need His grace to purify and perfect us ‘after all we can do’ (2 Nephi 25:23).” (True to the Faith, p. 77) In this well-known passage from the Book of Mormon, grace is the divine help and strength a Mormon can receive through the Atonement to help them remain obedient to fulfill their covenant promises and eternally progress.
The other part of grace involves receiving the “fullness of God’s grace.” This enabling power allows a Mormon to meet God’s standard of perfection. Once a Mormon has done all they can do to follow His commandments, grace fills in the gap of worthy efforts. This will enable a faithful Mormon to qualify to live eternally with Heavenly Father in the celestial kingdom. Receiving grace is entirely dependent upon a Mormon’s obedience and worthiness.
Biblical Christianity teaches:
Grace is the unmerited favor granted towards all people who by nature are sinful and cannot on their own earn forgiveness for their sins. This favor came in the form of Jesus Christ, God made flesh, and provided for humankind’s redemption through His sacrificial death. This love toward the unlovable and undeserving extends to all people (1 John 2:2). (Dictionary of Mormonism, tilm.org)
I continue to dialogue with a Mormon missionary I met in my home a year ago. I shared the LDS and the Biblical concept of grace above and asked for his reaction. He replied, "I read and reviewed your perception of grace, and in reading, I have to say that it sounds like you have a good grasp on what we believe. We are saved by grace, after all we can do, as it says in 2 Nephi. As we listen to and obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and do all that we can, which of course in comparison to all the HE does for us is nothing, then it is by grace we are saved. ...I think that is one thing that makes this church different, is that it does not replace any of the faith that you already have but just builds upon it, it helps it grow into something and it encourages you to grow your own testimony of so many aspects of the Gospel."
Truth in Love Ministry encourages you to read more definitions from the Dictionary of Mormonism. We also encourage you to prayerfully consider sharing God's Word with a Mormon missionary in your area. Learn about our new initiative at pleaseopenthedoor.com. Learn more on how you can respond back about the concept of grace in a way that Mormons can understand. Join dozens of Christians from the U.S. who are actively sharing God's Word with Mormon missionaries by utilizing our approach.