(From the Q-A mailbag) I just can't believe I'd be condemned for believing in Christ and trying my hardest to live for God!
I try to live pleasing to God too.. The difference is in WHAT I believe about Christ and WHY I try to live for him. One LDS man just told me he believed that Christ had given him a GAME PLAN for forgiveness. Well.... I don't have the game plan, I HAVE the forgiveness (Col. 1:14, 2:13)! I serve out of love and thankfulness for the salvation I already have.
What is expressed by LDS is actually a DOUBT in the ability of the shed blood to save you (in the Father's kingdom) in and of itself, all by itself, when you trust in it. If you can't accept that as true, you are DOUBTING the atonement, rather than trusting in it. God has said the blood is PROPITIATORY,(Rom 3:24) and that means it is a 100% satisfactory sacrifice.
Think about it. The Old Testament animal sacrifices were done to obtain God's forgiveness of his people BECAUSE THEY HAD SINNED, not because they had qualified for its benefits by having given up all sin. Now wouldn't the blood of Christ be of more value to God than animal blood?
It has all been paid! You are simply to believe it, accept it, by faith claim it, and the forgiveness and justification (qualifying you for God's presence) are YOURS....NOW!
THAT is what it means to "believe" in Christ. THAT is what salvation by grace means.
Trying your hardest to please God is great, once you have settled the basis of your salvation. But even your trying is not going to please God if you are doing it in order to be worthy of or qualified for celestial glory. You must understand that IF the basis for entering His presence is tied to performance, then the performance MUST be perfect... see James 2:10 and Galatians 3:10. (Also recall the command to be perfect). Now we have already ruined that possibility (we all have sinned), so you must abandon law-keeping ("obedience to laws and ordinances") as a means of qualifying to enter His presence. The fact is that offering a less than perfect performance record to God is going to work AGAINST you, not for you. You see, the shed blood is a PERFECT, PRICELESS offering.You can't improve on it!
I serve out of love and thankfulness for what God has promised me, not trying to work my way up some ladder of levels of glory.