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Jesus made it clear that anyone not accepting the true relationship between the Father and Son has neither the Father nor the Son!:
1 John 5:10: 10 Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
This is one of many Scriptures that make it clear that those who believe in the Son have eternal life. The Greek tense makes it clear that we already possess it! If keeping the commandments 'perfectly', or any good works, played any part in our salvation then, clearly, this could never be written. This kind of assurance has been ripped from the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ by the false teachers of Mormonism and replaced with a weak, vacillating, false, three-tiered heaven, to try and persuade men that they can be good enough under their own efforts to achieve god-hood or, at least, reach the lowest heaven.
There are some who are so sin sick in their evil response to even the miraculous that they bring condemnation upon themselves:
John 12:37: Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: 'Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?' JN 12:39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: JN 12:40 'He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn - and I would heal them.' JN 12:41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him. JN 12:42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved praise from men more than praise from God. JN 12:44 Then Jesus cried out, 'When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
John 14:10 Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.
John 11:25: Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?'
John 20:30: Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Acts 16:31: They replied, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved - you and your household.' 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God - he and his whole family.
Acts 19:4: Paul said, 'John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.' 5 On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
Belief in Christ results in justification and righteousness in the eyes of God, and clearly has nothing to do with keeping the law or being baptized:
Romans 1:16: I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: 'The righteous will live by faith.'
Romans 3:21: But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished - 26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. RO 3:27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. 29 Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law. RO 4:1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about - but not before God. 3 What does the Scripture say? 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.' RO 4:4 Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. 5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.
Romans 10:1: Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. 4 Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes. 5Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: 'The man who does these things will live by them.' 6 But the righteousness that is by faith says: 'Do not say in your heart, `Who will ascend into heaven?' ' (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 'or `Who will descend into the deep?' ' (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? 'The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,' that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 9 That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11 As the Scripture says, 'Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.' 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile - the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'
Those who have rejected the Father and Son in this life are not promised a second chance anywhere in the Bible (or in the Book of Mormon for that matter!), and this is the reason given:
Hebrews 11:6: 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
1 Peter 1:8: 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 John 3:23: 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him. 23 And this is His command: to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded us. 24 Those who obey His commands live in Him, and He in them. And this is how we know that He lives in us: We know it by the Spirit He gave us.
We obey His commands, but the most important command is 'to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ' and we then 'obey His commands' because we 'live in Him, and He in [us]'. We are only empowered to keep His commandments by 'the Spirit He gave us.'
1John 5:1: Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
We are able to keep His commands and overcome if we are born again - of God - and therefore do not find His commands burdensome. Those who do not overcome do not truly believe in Jesus as the true (Biblical) Son of God. Anyone believing in false doctrine, such as the teachings of the Mormon leaders, cannot possibly know the real Biblical Jesus and please God by obeying His will which is found only in the Bible. The extra-Biblical Mormon doctrines, such as polytheism and the temple ceremonies stolen from the Freemasons, insult the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in an unforgivable way.
1 John 5:6: This is the one who came by water and blood - Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. 9 We accept man's testimony, but God's testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. 10 Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him.
On what conditions was the eunuch baptised?:
Acts 8:36: And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. 39And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
The answer is clearly simple belief - and there is no mention of laws and commandments being piled on top of believers baptism.
A Scripture widely quoted by those claiming that we must work for our salvation is Philippians 2:12:
Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Notice - it does not say work for your salvation, but work out your salvation. Undoubtedly, there is work to do in the Christian walk. It takes effort to set time aside to study the Word of God and to spend time in prayer and intercession. It takes discipline to rebuke negative and evil thoughts the devil might throw at us. Every Christian has his own set of problems and difficulties with which he must learn to cope and work out to maintain his testimony. But in spite of what we may face, it is only through faith in the true and living God that these things can be accomplished! We know this because the very next verse (Philippians 2:13) informs us:
13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.
Those who truly believe cannot fail to 'work out [their] salvation' because He is at work in us and for Him 'nothing is impossible' (Luke 1:37; 18:27).
It is a tragic irony that, regardless of the final Mormon view of the doctrine of justification, the entire doctrine is made irrelevant to Mormons when they teach that all sincere/good people will ultimately be 'saved', whatever their faith or lack of it while on earth. The entire Mormon view that our time on earth is a probationary period when we prove our faithfulness, or lack of it, is made to look foolish when the doctrine of 'a second chance' is promulgated.
What is the point of any Mormon arguing about the truth concerning any doctrine when everyone can be saved after death? Apparently, even the sincere atheist, who has not arrived at an explicit knowledge of God, can be saved as long as he lives a good life.
It was in response to such error that the apostle Paul was inspired to write:
Galatians 3:1: You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4 Have you suffered so much for nothing - if it really was for nothing? 5 Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard? 6 Consider Abraham: 'He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.' 7 Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. 8 The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: 'All nations will be blessed through you.' 9 So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. GAL 3:10 All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.' 11 Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, 'The righteous will live by faith.' 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, 'The man who does these things will live by them.' 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.' 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
It is true that those seduced by the 'Once Saved Always Saved' doctrine avoid, or twist, all the Scriptures which clearly point out that you can 'shipwreck your faith' (1 Timothy 4:1), and they even deny that it is possible to tell a Christian by their behaviour (which is the whole point of James 2). One of the most obvious Scriptures which identifies whether we are in the faith that comes through Christ alone is 1 John 2:3-6:
We know that we have come to know him if we obey His commands. 4 The man who says, 'I know Him,' but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But if anyone obeys His word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in Him: 6 Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.
If you check our page ( http://www.thechristianexpositor.org/page56.html ) - where we record the view the founders of the Mormon faith held on all other churches - you will find that the Mormon church has had to severely adjust its teachings since those early days when it taught that there was no salvation outside the Mormon church. The constant contradictions of Mormon leaders is a sure proof that the church and its founder, Joseph Smith, built on a false foundation.
You write: I still believe that water baptism is referred to in John 3:5. I concede that your interpretation is possible. However, mine has equal force. Why then would Christ be baptised in this way? He showed us the way. He is our exemplar. All the other scriptures that talk of water baptism - John the baptist baptizing, Christ himself baptizing, Paul baptizing, all point to them thinking it was important enough to spend their time doing it. Mark 16:16 still says 'He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.' Luke 7:30 says 'But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the cousel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.'
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