I have been trying not to respond to everything Glenn Beck says with which I disagree, but Beck said something today that I cannot forgive or forget — because it leads to destruction!
During his radio show on March 6, shortly after 9:30 AM, CST, Beck started a discussion about religion. He stated that he hates religion. I have no problem with this: Jesus hated religion, as well. That is because religion is man-made law and focuses on ritual and tradition instead of the Word of God. A careful reader of the four Gospels will notice that Jesus consistently attacks the Pharisees (the religious leaders of Israel) for ignoring God’s Word in favor of their man-made religion. But then Beck did something with which I cannot agree and about which I cannot remain silent: he said the Mormon principle of ‘atonement’ is the same as the Christian principle of being ‘washed in the blood.’ They are not the same — period! And anyone who wishes to follow Christ or the Father must understand why they are not the same.
Before I explain the difference between ‘atonement’ and being ‘washed in the blood,’ I want to make something very clear. What follows is not my ‘opinion.’ It is what Scripture clearly, forcefully and repeatedly declares. Therefore, if you are going to believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, then you cannot disagree or argue with what the Lord says about salvation. All you can do is accept it or reject it, but make no mistake about this: changing the Lord’s Word so that you feel comfortable accepting it is the same as rejecting it. That is because you have not accepted the Lord’s Word, but a belief of your own creation. That path leads to destruction, which is the path Beck is trying to get his listeners to follow.
Now, we must start by understanding what the Mormons claim to believe. This is from their official site:
The explanation contained in this link is wrong on almost every point, but that is because Joseph Smith created his own religion and that religion is on opposition to the Word of God. However, I am not going to discuss every point that is wrong in this link. I only provided it so the reader can go directly to an official Mormon publication and read — first hand — what the Mormons claim to believe. I also provide it so that those who already know the Truth can see just how deceptive the Mormon message can be.
Now, when the Mormons say this:
But Jesus Himself clarifies this teaching in Matthew 7:21: “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Salvation is attained now the same way it was then: we must have faith in Jesus Christ, repent of our sins, be baptized in His name, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and remain steadfast in keeping God’s commandments. In this way, we gain eternal life. As it is written in Hebrews 5:9, Christ is our Redeemer, “the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”
The Mormons are saying that salvation is dependent upon obedience. Obedience is what Christians call a ‘work.’ In other words, it is a deed or action, and it implies that we can make God, the Father, indebted to us by doing specific things. THIS IS NOT HOW SCRIPTURE SAYS WE ARE SAVED!
Scripture is very clear on how we are saved:
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and [h]that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
On the surface, it would appear that the Mormons are correct: we must obey to be saved. But there is a problem with this: it does not take all of Scripture into account! What Joseph Smith did was focus on a few passages without taking any of the passages that contradict his interpretation into account. We cannot do this. Scripture does not contradict itself. If we think it does, then we have not understood whatever passage or subject we’re reading. Smith got around this the same way Muhammad did: he just said that the Bible was perverted by others and that it is only the Word of God when it is interpreted “correctly” (which meant when Smith or Muhammad interpreted it). Well, the Dead Sea scrolls put an end to Smith and Muhammad. We now know the Scriptures were not been perverted prior to Smith and Muhammad, but that they are the ones who have perverted them in their individual religions.
Here is how the apparent contradiction is resolved. Scripture teaches us that only God is good. This means that man is incapable of doing good. That is why Scripture says we and our works are as filthy rags (Paul was quoting Isaiah 64:6). Until we accept Christ as our personal Savior, we cannot resist sin. It is impossible. Therefore, even if we tried, we could not obey all of the Lord’s commands. It is impossible — period!
So, how are we saved? By placing our faith in the Lord and only the Lord! Scripture is very clear on this point: we are justified by faith. When we place our faith in Him, God, the Father, forgives us our sins. We do not have to do anything. It is a free and totally undeserved gift. This is what the Scriptures mean by “Grace.” We cannot earn God’s Grace. No work or deed can place a claim on God which forces Him to grant us Grace. It can only be given, and once it is given, nothing more is required.
When we accept Jesus as our Savior, and are saved by Grace, then His sacrifice atones for our sin — not before! Because the only suitable punishment for sin is death, then death is required of all who sin. This is the whole idea behind sacrifices. One life is substituted for another. The Hebrews sacrificed a lamb to atone for their sins and another to atone for the nation’s sin. But these sacrifices were not perfect, in part because no animal is equal to a human. This is why they had to be constantly offered. There was never a perfect sacrifice that could be offered once and for all — for all people — until Jesus! This is what it means when we call Jesus the Lamb of God: it means Jesus is the sacrificial lamb that God offered to pay for our sins. And since Jesus is God, it mean God was dying in our place. And that is also what it means to be ‘washed in the blood.’ It just means that the blood Jesus spilled symbolizes the fact that He died in our place. He ‘atoned’ for our sins, but this ‘atonement’ is not the same as what the Mormons mean when they use the word!
Again, when the Bible speaks of atonement, it is referring to a form of substitution, not an act or a deed that earns us something in return. In Scripture, the word is meant to mean something more like an act intended to put off God’s judgment, which is itself just a symbol of our acknowledgment that we are sinners and deserving of death. It is never presented as an act we can do to place God in our debt. This is why believers often use a different word — so they do not confuse those who might not properly understand. Instead of atonement, you will often hear the word ‘redeem.’ They have similar meanings, both of which are tied to ancient civilization and law. In ancient times, a person could redeem another (i.e. get them out of jail) by paying their debts. Jesus is our Redeemer because He paid our debts. He had to pay them because we cannot. Remember, we and everything we do are filthy rags. They are not good enough to pay for our debts (sins). Only a perfect redeemer or sacrifice can do that, and only God is perfect. That is exactly Who Jesus is: the perfect sacrifice, the perfect redeemer. God sent Jesus to die for us, and Jesus willingly did so. He paid the price for us. Now, all we need to do to be covered by His blood is have faith in Him and His sacrifice.
The problem for Mormons is, when they add obedience to this part of the equation, they are saying Christ is not enough. They are saying they also have to work to redeem themselves, and that means they do not have faith that Christ is enough. In essence, by adding the need for works to the salvation equation, one is saying that Jesus is not God! And the Apostle, John (whom Jesus loved) clearly, forcefully and emphatically calls this ‘the spirit of antichrist!’ And yes, I am saying this applies to Mormons — equally as much and for the same reason it applies to Muslims. Both have created a different Jesus, and that means they preach a different Gospel. And if you do either, then Paul says:
Do you remember that both Muhammad and Joseph Smith claimed to have gotten their version of the Gospel (and their Jesus) from angels? Well, John knew Jesus personally, and John says that this is the work of the spirit of antichrist. So whom should we believe? John, or those who preach a different Jesus and different Gospel?
The reason the Mormon message is seductive is because Humans tend to think in terms of having to work to make up for things. Therefore, it naturally makes sense to us that we have to obey the commandments if we want to be saved. The problem is, we are human, so we cannot help but sin. So how can one obey when one cannot stop sinning? Better yet, how can one do good when the Bible says that the only one who is good is God, Himself? The answer is simple, but difficult to accept. We are saved by placing our faith in God and Jesus’s sacrifice. Salvation is a free gift. We cannot earn it. However, once we are saved, the Lord’s Spirit comes to live in each of us. Then we can not only fight sin through the help of the Holy Spirit, but we can also do good — though, when we do, it is not really us doing it, but the Holy Spirit dwelling with us. This means that it is impossible for us to obey without first being saved!!! So, if salvation requires good works, but we cannot do good until after we are saved, how could anyone ever be saved? The answer should be clear to all: we couldn’t be. Which then makes it clear that the Mormon ‘atonement’ is not the same as being ‘washed in the blood of Christ.’
Everything I have just said is based on the whole of Scripture. I have not taken one verse here and ignored another there. I have presented the unified concept of salvation as it is presented in God’s Word. For more on this subject, here are two very solid explanations. I strongly encourage anyone who is still unclear on this subject, or who disagrees with my explanation to read them.
[NOTE: I have placed this blog in the Lord’s hands. I am no longer cross-blogging to other sites. I am not pushing this blog in any way. If others are going to find it, and if it is going to grow, it will be up to the Lord to make it happen through you, the reader. If you like this post, or find it to be of any value, then please share it with others. Otherwise, I will simply continue to share the understandings I have been given and, as I said earlier, I will leave the fruit of my effort for the Lord to handle.]