I recently observed an Evangelical Calvinist (ignore that contradiction in terms for the moment) state that Latter-day Saints were incapable of works that “come from a heart freely and fully forgiven for all sins” which, the claim was made, were the only works God wants.
The reason for this was as follows:
Because no Mormon I know will admit that he has been “freely and fully forgiven for all sins”, nor does Mormon theology allow for such a person without moral perfection as a prerequisite.
Regarding the definition of faith: Faith is trusting in the person, work, and promises of Christ. It comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17; Galatians 3:2,5).
The response to this is easy. Stated succinctly, every person baptized as a Latter-day Saint believes this.
Latter-day Saints believe that only the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and not any work any individual does, cleanses them from sin. The difference between Latter-day Saints and creedal Christians on this point is that, correctly understanding the Bible, Latter-day Saints believe that a person must choose to accept the cleansing power of the Atonement. The only way to accept the cleansing power of the Atonement, as clearly taught by Jesus and the New Testament Apostles, is through accepting Christ and being baptized for the remission of sins. Once that has been done, the baptized person can trust that he or she is “freely and fully forgiven for all sins”. The difference on this point is that Latter-day Saints believe that, despite being freely and fully forgiven for all sins that have been committed up until the day of baptism, Latter-day Saints, once again correctly understanding the Bible, believe that no one is perfect after baptism and people continue to sin. Christ’s Atonement also covers all sin after baptism as the individual goes through the repentance process, i.e. expresses to God that he or she is aware of their imperfection and is sorry to have fallen short of full compliance with God’s commands and commits to do better. Repentance for sin is entirely Biblical, and no proof-texted verse from Paul can change the fact that God expects the humility required for repentance of His followers.
The term creedal Christian is used here to distinguish between people who define themselves as Christians because they hold to one or more Trinitarian creeds and Latter-day Saints who consider themselves Christians because they believe in the Jesus Christ of the New Testament.