The main question I want to look at in this post is; What did Jesus die for?
I’m particularly picking up on the following statements from Snow p186 of this book.
When the Lord called Abraham He made him certain promises concerning the glory that should come upon him and his posterity, and in these promises we find this remarkable saying: that in him and in his seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed [see Genesis 22:15–18;
Abraham 2:9–11]. . . . The design of the Lord was to bless not only him and his posterity, but all the families of the earth. . . When Jesus came, He came as a sacrifice not simply in the interest of Israel, or the posterity of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but in the interest of the whole human family, that in Him all men might be blessed, that in Him all men might be saved; and His mission was to make provision by which the whole human family might receive the benefits of the everlasting Gospel, not, as I say, Israel alone, but the whole human race; and not alone those dwelling upon the earth, but those also in the spirit world. . . .
So what’s wrong with that statement, after all it says in the Bible…
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
There are differing views on exactly what this means. Did Jesus die for the whole world or did he die for those who were his? Whatever your thoughts on this point. Christians agree that the sacrifice Jesus made, the price he paid is only ‘applied to the accounts,’ of those who gratefully accept that sacrifice. I’ve heard the analogy many times of a person receiving a gift, but never opening it. Jesus may have died in our place ( the gift ) but we must receive Him, believe on Him, In order to open the gift.
In LDS Theology Jesus died for all Men, weather they receive Him or not…
Apostle James Talmage said, “The first effect (of the atonement) is to secure to all mankind alike, exemption from the penalty of the fall, thus, providing a plan of General Salvation. The second effect is to open a way for Individual Salvation whereby mankind may secure remission of personal sins. As these sins are the result of individual acts, it is just that forgiveness for them should be conditioned on individual compliance with prescribed requirements — obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” (A. of F., p. 87).
Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith wrote, “Salvation is twofold: General — that which comes to all men irrespective of a belief (in this life) in Christ — and Individual — that which man merits through his own acts through life and by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel” (D. of S., Vol. I, p. 134).
So according to LDS theology, Jesus died for everyone. Irrespective of what they have done they can receive ‘Salvation’ or what most Christians refer to as resurrection.
What does the Bible say About Resurrection?
Daniel 12:2 ESV / 10 helpful votes
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
So everyone will be resurrected but some to shame and everlasting contempt. Not something I’d be too thankful for, not much of a salvation is it! But who is this speaking about, if your LDS you may be thinking, ‘well that’s talking about the apostates and Murderers who will be cast into outer darkness.’ But is it? There are only two options mentioned here, some to eternal life, and some to everlasting shame and contempt. There is no third option listed, no middle ground.
We see this again in Matthew…
Matthew 25:31-34; 41
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
Two options, Eternal life or eternal fire!
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.”
Eternal life or eternal destruction. Eternal life, in Mormonism is very significant…
“Those who gain eternal life (exaltation) also gain eternal lives, meaning that in the resurrection they have eternal ‘increase,’ ‘a con- tinuation of the seeds,’ a ‘continuation of the lives.’ Their spirit progeny will ‘continue as innumerable as the stars; or, if ye were to count the sand upon the seashore ye could not number them.’ (D. & C. 131:1-4; 132:19-25, 30, 55.)” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doc- trine, 1966, p. 238. Italics in original). (Brackets from origional text)
“Eternal life means returning to the Lord’s exalted presence and enjoying the privilege of eternal increase…” (BYU Professor Daniel H. Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Doctrine and Covenants 2:267).
But if this is the case, then what did Paul mean when he wrote..
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ( Romans6:23 )
Or John when he wrote…
35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. ( John 3:35-36 ) (Notice the present tense there.)
Are we born into sin?
In Mainstream Christianity it is taught that we are born into sin. Adam being the ‘Head’ of Mankind, his sin affected all of Humanity. We read in Genesis that the result of this was far more than death, but it affected our relationship with the Father, who no longer walked with him in the garden. A curse was laid upon mankind which made everything harder than it could have been for Mankind.
Putting it simply what the LDS Church is teaching is that Jesus paid for ‘the sin of Adam,’ or the effects of the sin of Adam, namely physical death. But the curse that fell upon Mankind was more than physical death but a spiritual death also. Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden, the close relationship that they had enjoyed with God had been damaged. They were now in sin and that sin would mar their offspring also.
A well known Christian theologian says has this to say on the subject of Inherited sin…
“David says, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. (Psalm 51:5). Some have mistakenly thought that the sin of David’s Mother is in view here, but this is incorrect, for the entire context has nothing to do with David’s Mother. David is confessing his own personal sin throughout this section. He says:
Have mercy on me, O God…blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity…I know my transgressions….Against you…have I sinned.(Ps 51:1-4)
David is so overwhelmed with the consciousness of his own sin that as he looks back on his life he realises that he was sinful from the beginning. As far back as he can think of himself, he realizes that he has had a sinful nature.” (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, p496)
Joseph Fielding Smith…
“It is a false doctrine which prevails in the world that children have to be cleansed from original sin. Those who teach such a doctrine fail to comprehend the nature of the atonement of Jesus Christ. Adam and Eve brought death into the world by partaking of fruit which was forbidden. This act brought death upon them, and their posterity inherited death so that we all have to die some time. To restore mankind to life, the uniting again of the spirit with the body, thus atoning for Adam’s transgression, was the mission of Jesus Christ. He came and paid that debt and through his sacrifice on the cross he has redeemed all from death and has given them the gift of the resurrection. The posterity of Adam in no way what- ever is subject to original sin, and there is no act required of them to cleanse them from such a sin” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions 3:16).
The Bible …
12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men[a] because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
First we see here that “sin came into the world through one man.” Here the verse specifically says sin, not death. Paul then goes on to say, “and death through sin.”
What we received through Adam was a nature of Sin this sin then resulted in death. As it says in Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death.
Continuing in our passage, Paul goes on to say that death spread to all men, because all sinned. How did death spread to all men? They inherited the sinful nature through from Adam. They then sinned themselves, thus deserving the wages of sin, death.
(Remember the physical death comes to all no matter what they do, it was part of the curse pronounced over Adam and Eve in the Garden, “…for out of it you were taken for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”(Genesis 3:19) But the death that is spoken of here is not only physical but spiritual.
Verse 14, although speaking of death, again is in the context of people sinning
. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam,
For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man,
but then what was Gods solution to this death?
an ‘abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness.’
This verse speaks of an ‘abundance of Grace’ that is given and a ‘free gift of righteousness.’ But I ask you If what is being spoken of here is a ‘gift of resurrection,’ then why is it referred to as a free ‘gift of righteousness?’
What is Righteousness?
1. Morally upright; without guilt or sin: a righteous parishioner.
2. In accordance with virtue or morality: a righteous judgment.
3. Morally justifiable: righteous anger. See Synonyms at moral.
I think most people would agree with this definition, the most appropriate being the first. What Jesus died for, the free Gift to us that he paid for was for us to be ‘Morally upright; without guilt or sin. It is a free gift, that is what it says! Read it again!
17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
Jesus did not just pay the price for everyone to be raised from the dead, this is not the gift. This is the Judgement, many will not be particularly thankful for their resurrection on that day. The gift comes to all who would receive it, a free gift of grace and righteousness.
I know as a Christian that I stand righteous before God. I know this not because I am perfect but because I know that Jesus loves me, he died for me, to pay the price of all my guilt and shame. He washed me clean by his blood so that when the Father looks on me he sees not my sin, but the righteousness of Christ covering me.
I welcome your comments or feedback