Must you really be perfect?

In the last of my 4 posts on what I see as the fundamental issues that Christians should discuss with Mormons I want to look at what in a lot of ways must be the hardest part of being a Mormon.

For LDS members reading this I want you to know this post in particular is not to trash you or your church as such but in love I just want to show you that you are working so hard to grasp something that Jesus the saviour is offering to you so freely.

So what I am talking about here is the LDS churches take on this verse in the bible.

Matthew 5:48

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Here are some quotes from the LDS church on this.

Spencer W Kimball a previous Mormon President in his book the Miracle of forgiveness said:

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is 
in heaven is perfect.' 
(Matt. 5:48.) We are gods in embryo, and the Lord 
demands perfection of us."

Kimball also said
Being perfect means to triumph over sin. 
This is a mandate from the Lord. He is just and wise and kind. 
He would never require anything from his children which 
was not for their benefit and which was not attainable.  
Perfection therefore is an achievable goal’ 
(Life  and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, Church of Jesus 
Christ of Latter-day Saints).

This is rooted right into every area of Mormonism,

In the third of the 13 key articles of faith for Mormonism it says this

We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

Salvation comes from obedience, it comes from an outward performance that the lds church teaches can lead to becoming a god, many have described the Mormon church even from within as the school of godhood, and one big aspect of godhood is perfection, LDS members strive towards this perfection if they hope to recieve this “exaltation.”

Birgham Young the 2nd Mormon president said this.

“There is not one requirement of the Lord that is non-essential; every requirement that He has made of us is essential to our perfection and sanctification, to prepare us to enjoy celestial glory” (November 6, 1863, Journal of Discourses, 10:284).

For those who are not Mormons and have not heard this before what all of this means is that any member of this church who wants to receive everything they believe God has to offer them they need to obey all of the laws and ordinances of the Mormon church and strive towards perfection. They believe that is this is carried out by working to be obedient to all the laws and ordnances of the Mormon gospel at the best of their possible ability. Then in the next life they can achieve exaltation, meaning they become a god, in the same way that our God earned this place.

Their are lower levels of heaven for less zealous members and for people with various degrees of worthiness outside of the Mormon church, but faithful members want to strive towards the celestial glory.

Looking at this down to earth for the people living in the Mormon church here is what I have found.

This is part of an article of someone who tried seeking the goal of perfection in the Mormon Church.

I found myself changing as my responsibilities increased. My eye for perfection was causing a critical outlook difference. I had learned to be a weakness exterminator. In every venue, in every aspect, I was the great finder of all that was flawed so that it could be eradicated. The flaw had, out of necessity, become the focal point. And the positive aspects were diminished. It was harder and harder for me to stay focused on the positive which was needed for my emotional and spiritual health and still have the capacity and strength to pluck out the obvious imperfections I was finding everywhere.
I didn’t like what I was becoming.

I felt overwhelmed. I felt tired. Very tired. I maintained my task lists. I wondered if it would kill me. I vowed to persevere. I was, after all, on a quest for perfection and this was not a quest for the faint of weak of heart.
Until I had a breakthrough. I remember it as clearly as if it were yesterday. I was 24 years old. I had three young children. Ages 3,2, and 1. My husband was out of town on business as he frequently was during this time of our lives. I had put the children to bed. My perfect children were sleeping in their perfect beds. In their perfect rooms where everything was in order. I sat in my living room reading my scriptures for the day and planning the Sunday school lesson for my young women as I was the Young Women’s president at the time. I was in a state of total exhaustion. I looked around at my perfect life and I felt nothing but drained. Perfection was affording me no sense of satisfaction. The lists were the same, every day, and they had to be redone every day. There was no sense of completion.

The full article can be found here

This is not necessarily the way every Mormon member feels, however this seeking of perfection is something that every Mormon member will be aware of, and those that truly want the greatest eternal glory will be living with this every day.

This striving for perfection in the flesh is let me tell you is simply impossible, we in our own strength can never ever bring ourselves any closer to God, imagine if somehow in our own strength we did 90% perfection, always read the scriptures, always went to church, always paid our tithes, always did so many things but stumbled on one thing, it would be as if we did nothing.

James 2:10 says this

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

If you do so much, but stumble on one thing, you might as well have done nothing.

Romans 3:10


Romans 3:23

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

This is a message to anyone that thinks they have any chance of being acceptable to God, or go to heaven on the basis of their own good deeds, this is impossible. You and me in our human sinful state are unacceptable to God.

Isaiah 59:2

But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God,
And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.

So that’s the bad news, and one could think where is the love of God in all this, well much in every way.

God sent His son to the world to suffer and die, and rise again so that through this simply awesome sacrifice, redemption has come to the world, we as humanity cannot work hard enough to earn our salvation, we would have to be 100% perfect to do this and have never sinned, however if we cannot do this we need someone to take the punishment of sin on our behalf.

The first half of Romans 6:23 says For the wages of sin is death, the bible teaches that as soon as you have sinned before God, you deserve death as you are imperfect and cut off from God.

But at last we have good news, the second half says this: but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Through Christ we can have redemption.
We have to be able to stand righteous before God, and through acceptance of Christ this can be done.
1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Hebrews 8:12

Death has been beaten, through Christ we can stand righteous before God through absolutely no works of our own, this is the key part, this righteousness is a gift that you can do nothing to earn other than accept it.

Romans 4:4-5

Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due.

But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,

If you are a Mormon and reading this I want you to know this message is not to trash on you or your church, as you will see I am simply showing you what the bible says on the subject and I do this for one reason and one reason alone which is to free you from striving towards perfection, to free you from always worrying if you are good enough, and to free you to love Christ worship Christ and serve Christ in good works, however not good works that can earn even 0.00000000000000000000001% percent of your salvation, but works that are the fruit of someone who has been given 100% of their salvation as a gift. I would challenge you to read the book of Romans on its own and you will see something amazing.

This is not to be mistaken with the view that you can be saved and do nothing, and live out the rest of your life secure that you are saved even though you live no differently to before coming to Christ.

As James says faith without works is dead, this does not mean that true faith alone is not what saves you but it does mean that faith alone with no works is not true faith. When you have been truly born again and Christ comes to live in you, you cannot help but want to serve Him. When I became a Christian and my eyes were opened to His love for me you could not keep me away from church, the bible or praying to Him, any work of service felt more like a priveledge than a chore. So this is why when born again Christians are asked can I be saved and do nothing all we can think to say is why would you do that?

John 8:32

And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

Do you feel free? The woman quoted above didn’t and all this outward works she did, still left her feeling incomplete. Christ alone is enough for you, by adding more to what He did you are simply taking away from it.

If you are a bible believing Christian and are reading this please be aware that when you have a Mormon missionary knock on your door or a friend, family member, workmate this is what they are living with, if they are truly living the Mormon gospel then they are in bondage and striving towards something that is impossible. Mormons believe in Jesus dont they? You might ask however the answer is they believe in a Jesus that alone is not sufficent for their salvation, and if you tell them only one thing, let it be that Jesus is enough for them.

Please leave comments and let me know your thoughts.

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8 Responses »

  1. You said – This striving for perfection in the flesh is let me tell you is simply impossible – What about Job, God said he was a perfect man.

    • Hi there thanks for this, have had time to think.

      Romans 3:23 says All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

      So we see that no one has not sinned.

      In the old testament we see occassions of people being righteous in the sight of God another example being Noah.

      Genesis 7:1 – “Then the Lord said to Noah, “Enter the ark, you and all your household; for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this time.”

      As you rightly say with Job it actually uses the word perfect I believe this is simply the word the King James uses on this occasion.

      The NASB (New american standard bible) puts it like this:

      There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.

      The NIV (New internation version) puts it like this

      In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.

      Being blameless before God is a spiritual state that I believe anyone who is born again in New Testament times can achieve by faith in Christ, these people
      were living out the gospel of their time and thus were upright before God.

  2. So it is possible for those who live under the LAW to (with the help of God) be blameless?

    • Hi there Stephen thanks for posting, you are very welcome.

      Obviously you haven’t stated your faith background so I will simply answer this as though anyone asked me it, so this is not some LDS debunking argument, just what I see in the bible.

      Firstly we have all sinned.

      Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

      As well as this the punishment for sin, which os for all who have sinned and have not been made righteous.

      Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death;……….

      And if you want to be saved by keeping the law, you have to keep all of it

      James 2:10
      For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

      As this says if you stumble on one point then you are guilty of all.

      So if you want be saved by keeping the law you must have never sinned otherwise you already have that impending punishment, and you must never, ever sin. So that has to be impossible.

      However also you said with the help of God, I think you would only get the help of God if you are actually doing it His way. Its like if you agreed with me that salvation (or exaltation in LDS terms) is only by faith but you just wanted to do it by works anyway and you prayed. “God I know salvation is a gift but I want to earn it, please help me”.

      I think the sad reality is God would be saying. “No do it My way, I sent my Son so that you didn’t have to struggle and work to be saved so that you could be free to produce good fruit that was not to earn anything but just out of love.”

      And that’s the issue that gets missed here. God offers salvation on the basis of no works whatsoever so that we produce good fruits, or works. Because He knows that when we become born again, serving Him is just a joy and not a work as such.

      Is what I am saying biblical?

      Romans 3:21-22
      But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
      Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

      A righteousness without the law now exists.

      And here is how it all works together.

      Titus 3:5-8
      5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

      6Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

      7That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

      8This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men

      You will see here we are saved not by works of righteousness which we have done, but by His mercy, because of His love for us. this is all about love.
      However in v8 we see be careful to maintain good works.

      as I said this is all about love, if God freely saves us by nothing other than His mercy people who truly accept this and are truly saved by this will just love Him, and will want to serve Him out of love. Jesus said if you love me obey my commandments. And this really works. As James said faith without works is dead, however the other side of that is alive saving faith produces much works.

      However if you are working towards being saved, in a works orientated religion where salvation comes from earning Gods favour then your love for God is going to be very different and your obedience will not just be out of love, it will be out of the fact that you have to, to get to where you want to be,

      As the second half of Romans 6:23 says but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

      So all things considered I would say it’s impossible to be acceptable to God by following the law, but instead your faith must be in Christ and nothing else. What I mean is if you say well my
      faith is in Christ but I must obey the law too for salvation (or exaltation) then you have missed it.

      Again I know you haven’t said your LDS, though I am assuming you are because your here but many LDS object to this by saying “so I can just sit back in my chair do nothing and be saved because I am saved by nothing I can do?”.

      I would say yes but you will not be able to sit still for long. I always love it in the new testament when Jesus heals people but says “Don’t tell anyone” that is honestly like telling a born again Christian “Just stay in your chair” its just not gonna happen.

      Please let me know what you think, thanks again for posting. And I am very sorry for how long this is :)

  3. I am not trying to cause a ruckus, I am trying to make sure I understand, (I am LDS)
    you said earlier
    Being blameless before God is a spiritual state that I believe anyone who is born again in New Testament times can achieve by faith in Christ, these people
    were living out the gospel of their time and thus were upright before God.

    If I understand that, it means they where keeping the whole law, otherwise how could they be blameless? Do you believe Grace was avalible to them?

    • Hi there Stephen the last thing you are causing is a “ruckus: I appreciate your questions.

      From what I see in the bible the reason you would keep the law is to be righteous before God, as through keeping the law you could say “look I have done it, I am clean because of what I have done.” However due to all being in sin and the sacrifices being made by the priests not being sufficient along with the Jews turning their hearts away from God. Jesus came and died for all so that the whole world could follow God.

      This brought with it a new covenant of grace so that by putting your trust in Christ the law is fulfilled for you and by grace you are righteous not by works. And a new heart is put in to those who have this and that is called being born again.

      Romans 7:6
      But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

      The law is the old way, those that are dead in sin are under the law as in their sin it shows them to be separate from God. Those that are in Christ are under grace.

      Romans 5:1-2
      1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

      2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

      I hope that helps, I would really recommend you just read the book of Romans and just allow it to speak for itself. The whole book is mostly just Paul’s explanation of how we are no longer under the law but under grace by faith and this brings our righteousness.

  4. Please consider this, if there is a conflict on what to believe, who should have the finale say Paul or Jesus? If Jesus said we should keep the laws, should we?

    • I think the words of Paul and the words of Jesus are equally scripture, and Paul really only expands on what Jesus said.

      However Jesus is clearly much more significant an individual than Paul.

      I think I have an idea of where you are going with this but please show me how you feel Jesus said we must still keep the law and we will go from there.

      However before you go there, would you accept that Paul teaches that new testament Christians are no longer under the law?

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