Are you forgiven?
This is the most important question anyone can ever ask. The answer to it changes everything both in our relationships with others and most importantly in our relationship with God.
The Bible says that ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). This means we all need forgiveness, the situation gets more serious when we see this in Isaiah 59:2.
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
Our sin has separated us ALL from God, so much so that he does not even hear us, the situation is serious and needs to be resolved, this is an issue that everyone faces, those that commit crime and those that would never dream of doing so, those that give to charity and those that never would, those that are devoutly religious and those that would never set foot in a church building, all equally need forgiveness. James 2:10 says:
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
We are all equally sinful before God no matter what we have done, as if we stumble in one area of the Law, one area of Gods standards we are guilty of breaking it all, its the difference between perfection and sinfulness with no inbetween, we all desperately need forgiveness if we are to be reconciled to our creator. So the big question is.
How do we gain this forgiveness?
12th Mormon Prophet Spencer W Kimball in his book The Miracle of Forgiveness said this:
“There is no royal road to repentance, no privileged path to forgiveness. Every man must follow the same course whether he be rich or poor, educated or untrained, tall or short, prince or pauper, king or commoner. ‘For there is no respect of persons with God.’ (Rom. 2:11.) There is only one way. It is a long road spiked with thorns and briars and pitfalls and problems” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 149. See also Gospel Principles, 1997, p. 123).
With regards to how to recieve this forgiveness he says this:
“This progress toward eternal life is a matter of achieving perfection. Living all the commandments guarantees total forgiveness of sins and assures one of exaltation through that perfection which comes by complying with the formula the Lord gave us.” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, pp. 208-209. See also church manual The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, 1979, p. 386, bold added).
This is very consistent with these verses from LDS Scriptures.
1 Nephi 3:7: And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.
Alma 11:37: And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.
Moroni 10:32: Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
Doctrine and Covenants 25:15: Keep my commandments continually, and a crown of righteousness thou shalt receive. And except thou do this, where I am you cannot come.
Doctrine and Covenants 58:43: By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them.
Doctrine and Covenants 1:31: For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.
Many people have looked at what these verses say and have called this an Impossible Gospel. If you look at the chain of thought here you can see why.
- God gives us no commandments that we cannot keep.
- You cannot be saved while you are still sinning.
- If you deny yourselves of ALL ungodliness, then His grace is sufficient for you.
- Keep ALL of Gods commandments if you want to go where He is.
- If you have truly repented of your sins, you wont do them again.
- God cannot look upon sin with the least amount of allowance.
Does this sound possible to you? Maybe it does and you are trying to do this in order to gain this forgiveness, then the question has to be asked how are you doing with that? Have you truly denied yourself of ALL ungodliness? Many Mormons when asked this question say “I am trying” or “I have to keep repenting”. Spencer W Kimball had something to say about that in his book too.
“Trying Is Not Sufficient – Nor is repentance
complete when one merely tries to abandon sin… [see
Army Officer Story]… To ‘try’ is weak. to ‘do the best
I can’ is not strong, We must always do better than we
can. This is true in every walk of life.” (The Miracle of
Forgiveness, pg. 163-165)
“Repentance is a thing that cannot be trifled with every day. Daily
transgression and daily repentance is not that which is
pleasing in the sight of God.” (Teachings of the Prophet
Joseph Smith, by Joseph Fielding Smith, Deseret, 1977, pg. 148)
This is sadly no miracle of forgiveness, the Bible says The truth will see you FREE (John 8:32) do you feel free?
In the Bible we see how Jesus dealt with sinners, consider this in light of above.
(On video or read Luke 7:36-50)
Wait a minute, what is the Saviour thinking? Does he not know that there is a repentance process? Does he not know that this woman who everyone knows is a sinner, has a long way to go to achieve this Miracle of Forgiveness? Surely she needed to get baptised first at least?
The answer is no, Jesus Christ the Saviour demonstrates here what true Biblical forgiveness is. Its not found in keeping the commandments, its not found in ridding ourself of sin as that is impossible. Forgiveness is found in coming to Christ and Christ alone with a broken heart and confessing to Him that you are worthy of nothing, that even your good deeds up to this point have been filthy rags in His sight (Isaiah 64:6), and that your putting your trust in Him that by His grace you might know freedom from the consequences of your sin and gain an absolute assurance of your salvation.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
So to finish I would just echo the words of Paul by asking you this question.
This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? (Galatians 3:2)