Chapter 8: Justification: Forgiveness of Sins by Faith Alone
Christianity is all about the complete forgiveness of sins, which the Bible says is available only through faith alone in the work accomplished by Jesus on the cross. This is a different concept than having to perform certain works/duties for eternal life. A person’s efforts are not enough to pay any portion of sin’s debt. While adherents of other religions ask what must be done for the forgiveness of sins, the Christian asks, “What did God do for me?” And that makes all the difference in the world.
Discussion Questions Chapter 8
1. Someone might argue that The Miracle of Forgiveness is not scripture, so this book should not be considered authoritative. How could this argument be countered? Do you personally think using an LDS book to evangelize Mormons is a good or bad idea? Explain.
To me, this is the best evangelistic tactic I have ever used. Using it helps me get right to the heart of the issue. I think this can be a tactic used on the street as well as with LDS friends and family members. Ask, “Would you be willing to read The Miracle of Forgiveness with me?” It’s written by an LDS president, for Pete’s sake, so it is the perfect lead in. Even though I disagree with Kimball’s conclusions, I do admit that he did a great job of accurately explaining the unique LDS scriptures Doctrine and Covenants and the Book of Mormon. So, Latter-day Saint, are you doing everything that Kimball said you need to do in order to qualify for the celestial kingdom?
For more information on this tactic, visit TheMiracleOfForgiveness.com.
2. Spencer W. Kimball wrote, “We are gods in embryo, and the Lord demands perfection of us.” Does the Bible agree with this assessment?
Actually, he is exactly right. The Lord does demand perfection because he is holy. Since all people are sinners, they fall short of God’s glory. Now, the question is, how does a person reach this perfection? If it requires our own works, we’re doomed. This is why imputation (credit for righteousness only available through the work Jesus has done on the cross) is so crucial to comprehend. It is not our own perfection that is needed; rather, it is His work that provides the opportunity to be in a relationship with Him.
3. Christianity teaches that justification is a gift of God. For some like Marcus, receiving this gift sounds too easy. Why does this concept seem to be so difficult for those outside of Christianity to accept?
As humans, we are very much used to having to earn our way through life. If you don’t study, then you don’t good grades. If you don’t put the effort into your job, you don’t get promoted. If you don’t invest into your marriage, you end up with martial woes. And so on. Thus, most people assume that salvation comes through hard work and becoming better every day. After all, nobody will hand you a million dollars. However, the Bible is very clear that:
- Nobody has done what they are supposed to do
- The result is eternal separation from God
- The only answer is to receive the free gift of God
It is impossible to gain salvation through one’s own efforts. This is why we must be willing to receive this free gift, but it can be ever-so-difficult for some to accept this biblical truth because it sounds too “easy.”
4. What is the “bad news” of the Gospel? Should this bad news ever be introduced into a conversation when presenting the gospel?
The “bad news” is that everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23), and there is no way to right ourselves outside of perfection. Some people think that sin and hell are bad words that should never be used in the presentation of the Gospel, but I heartedly disagree. Unless people realize the awful state they are in, they will be content to live their lives the way they like. Mormons, for instance, think they are “good enough” and can somehow pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. Christianity does not teach in universalism, or the idea that everyone will end up in a happy place no matter their status with God. This is serious business, so definitely the bad news plays an important role in evangelism to Mormons.
5. How is the biblical concept of becoming a child of God different from what is taught in Mormonism? Have you become a child of God? If you have, describe your life with Jesus. If you haven’t made that decision, what holds you back?
The preexistence according to Mormonism says that all spirits who chose Jesus in the Council of Heaven were given the right to become human. In other words, the way we lived in this previous world plays a direct role in where we are born and into which family. It seems to be very much related to Eastern thinking–sort of like a play on the Eastern ideas of reincarnation and karma. However, the Bible teaches that a person becomes a “child of God” only through faith (John 1:12, Rom. 8:14). I hope the reader has a personal relationship with Jesus. If not, it is time to follow Him! There will be no regrets!
What do LDS leaders have to say about salvation?
- 10 reasons why a person ought to consider becoming a Christian
- How can a person get into heaven?
- How can I be sure I am saved?
- Can Christians be assured of their salvation?
- Facts, Feelings, Faith
- Would you be willing to take the Romans Challenge? En Espanol
- The Christian View of Repentance
- Reinterpreting Moroni 10:32
- What is so amazing about the Mormon version of Grace?
- A Gift of Grace?
- Is Jesus’ Grace Sufficient in Mormonism: Responding to Brad Wilcox
- Mercy Cannot Rob Justice
Crash Course Mormonism
The Miracle of Forgiveness (Spencer W. Kimball)
- The Miracle of Forgiveness.com
- The Miracle of Forgiveness is now out of print–why?
- Review of Spencer Kimball’s The Miracle of Forgiveness (Review)
- A Closer Look at Spencer W. Kimball’s The Miracle of Forgiveness (Review)
- Is The Miracle of Forgiveness nothing more than Spencer W. Kimball’s opinion?
- The Family and Being Together Forever
- Can Families Really be Together Forever?
- Are Families Forever?
- How do you believe in a God who would send His children to an eternal hell?
- Why practically nobody–including you, former Mormon–will ever end up in Outer Darkness
- Do you really believe you can become a god?
- Ceaseless praise that has no end
- Will Exalted Mormons Get Their Own Worlds?
- Godhood and Theosis
- Celestial Marriage and Eternal Exaltation
- Who are the Sons of Perdition?
- Heaven and Hell
- Second Chance Theory and Progression Between Kingdoms
- Eternal Progression: Mormonism vs. Christianity
- Does John Newton’s Amazing Grace belong in the LDS Church hymnal? (6:30) If the church is thinking about adding this hymn, then stop right now.
- Credit for Trying (9:17) Eric Johnson responds to Jeffrey R. Holland’s talk at the April 2016 General Conference where he said Mormons get “credit for trying” to keep God’s commandments.
- What’s so amazing about LDS grace? (16:35) Before a June 2014 Mormon Miracle Pageant performance in June 2014, Bill McKeever talks about the issue of grace in Mormonism with a group of LDS teens. Kudos to them for not running away. First aired April 2015.
- Is Forgiveness Likely According to the LDS Standard Works? (3:45) In a less-than-4-minute video, Carissa Johnson shares seven verses a Mormon should consider regarding the issue of forgiveness in Mormonism. First aired April 2015.
- Christianity is Objectively Dancing with Subjectivity (0:43): Bryan Hurlbutt (Lifeline Community) explains how knowledge in Mormonism is achieved through subjectivity.
- God is Not Honored by Blind Faith? (1:33): Bryan Hurlbutt (Lifeline Community) suggests that blind faith is not what God requires for a Christian.
God Loves Mormons short videos
- Our sin problem
- Can we trust our feelings?
- Can we trust our feelings to know what is true?
- What does it mean to be a child of God?
- Why do Christians emphasis the cross so much?
- Does the Bible teach you’re a good person?
- Did Jesus teach exaltation (John 10)?
- Did the Atonement happen in the Garden of Gethsemane?
- Why do Christians love the cross? (2:00) How important is the cross? It means everything!
- Death Without Hearing: What Happens if One Dies Ignorant of the Gospel?
- What is heaven and hell?
- Should we trust spiritual feelings?
- What is justification?
- Why King David’s Sin was Forgiven
- What is the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
- Do Works Matter if we’re saved by faith?
Viewpoint on Mormonism Podcasts
- Are Mormons Damned? August 16, 2019
- We have to be clean Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 May 21-24, 2019
- Can a Mormon be a Mormon and be saved Part 1 Part 2 September 25-26, 2018
- Moralism is not the Gospel Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 February 5-9, 2018
- Thomas S. Monson’s Gift of Repentance Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 January 15-17, 2018
- Being Perfect Eventually (Jeffrey R. Holland’s October 2017 General Conference Talk) Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 October 16-20, 2017
- Keep Covenants with Precision June 2, 2017
- Affection on Unworthy Beings Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 May 22-25, 2017
- James Hamula and Grace Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 February 13-17, 2017 Article
- Seventy J. Devn Cornish “Am I Good Enough” (Oct. 2016 Conference Talk) Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 January 2-6, 2017 (Article)
- Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland’s Credit for Trying (April 2016 Conference Talk) Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 June 20-24, 2016 (Article)
- The Plan of Salvation (Roberts D. Hales article in Ensign) Part 1 Part 2 November 19-20, 2015
- Is Mormonism’s Grace Always Amazing? July 30, 2015
- What’s Saving Faith Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 June 24-26, 2015
- Uchtdorf’s Gift of Grace (General Conference Talk) Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 (Article) April 20-24, 2015
- Becoming Perfect in Christ (July 2014 Ensign article) Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 August 25-29, 2014 Article
- A Man Fell into a Hole (Is there only one way?) Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 April 28-30, 2014
- The Good News of Repentance Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10 March 31-April 11, 2014 (Article)
- Is Salvation free or purchased? Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 April 23-25, 2013 (List of articles)
- Becoming Perfect Before the Lord Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 March 25-28, 2013 (Article)
- Grace is Risky Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 February 25-March 1, 2013
- Brad Wilcox (BYU Professor) Speech “His Grace is Sufficient” Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 August 6-15, 2012 (Article)
- Understanding LDS Covenants Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 July 30-August 3, 2012 (Article)
- The Impossible Gospel (Keith Walker) Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 July 9-13, 2012 (Article)
- Divine Gift of Repentance December 6, 2011 (Article)
- Perils of Perfectionism Part 1 Part 2 October 24-25, 2011 (Article)
- Justification Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 August 22-26, 2011 (Article 1)
- Ephesians 2:8 July 29, 201