Wheat & Tares welcomes guest poster Bill Reel once more for a discussion on “Grace and Christ’s Enabling Power”, and a discussion of how a more encouraging view of grace can be taught.
At Mormon Discussion Podcast we discuss this week the topic of Grace. God’s Enabling Power. This view of Grace softens the “After all We Can Do”. It values Grace as taught in the Book of Mormon, and it in my opinion meshes and reconciles all scripture. Most importantly it is a view of Grace that encourages rather than discourages people in their pressing forward with steadfastness.
Someone asked me my views on grace – More then any other topic in Religion, this one has blessed my life. This will be long but if you might take several days to ponder the talks and scriptures here and consider my words you will be enlightened even if you still disagree with me.
1.) – Most Latter Day Saints use either 2nd Nephi 25:23 or the Bible Dictionary to share their understanding that grace comes in after and only after we do all we can do and expend our own best efforts. Nobody ever does their best for a whole day never mind a lifetime. We fall short. Because many think they have to do their best they become depressed, discouraged, and give up. This understanding of 2nd Nephi 25:23 is incorrect. the after has many meanings. It can also be translated as notwithstanding or nevertheless. In other words “inspite of all I do, it is Grace by which I am saved”. The bible Dictionary simply furthers the wrong interpretation. The LDS bible dictionary is not doctrine and is not binding as it says so itself in it’s introduction.
2.) Ether 12:27 – God gave us our weakness or made us a natural Man that makes mistakes and is fallen and has flaws. Why did he do that? So we would be humble. Why? So we would turn to his Son. Why? Because his Son makes Weakness Strengths – 2nd Cor 12:9-10. Stop beating yourself up, Paul didn’t.
3.) Many in the church want to have value placed on works. They will say things that tend to say “My good works have merit in my salvation”
but these scriptures and quotes say otherwise
Helaman 14:13, Alma 24:10, Moroni 6:4, D&C 3:20, 2nd Nephi 31:19 there are many more… a whole slew of them
Now this doesn’t mean “one only need believe, and then thou art saved” like some evangelicals proclaim.
Rather we must get in our heads Keeping commandments, accepting ordinances, doing good works are all required and necessary. But they are in place to push us to grow, progress, and through Christ’s grace receive the mighty change from Alma 5
4.) We place value on outside behavior but god looketh on the heart as the bible says and also Helaman 3:35 says it is our yielding our heart to God that brings sanctification… aka: the mighty change.
5.) To live with God again we must be justified. To do so can be done three ways.
A.) To keep the law perfectly – Only Jesus did, so sorry your out of luck here
B.) To live the gospel always pressing forward with steadfastness and repenting when you don’t: repentance means change
C.) D&C 19:15-18 to suffer for your own sins
6.)This will justify you (make you clean from your sins) but in order to live with God you must be sanctified as well (spiritually changed to be Christlike)<— this doesn’t happen instantaneously for most, it is a journey… one day at a time.
D&C 88:21 only the sanctified will be Celestial. Sanctification comes from yoking with Christ and using his Grace or enabling power to change (Ether 12:27). This change will happen in the eternities for many who would have done so here if the opportunity presented itself. Perfection is an eternal Goal, will not be achieved in this life.
7.)So how do we access this. Grace comes in as soon as we exercise faith and grace added to Grace as we live more and more of the gospel in our heart. Moroni 10:31 – 32 – you must see this scripture as a process and you must not think that you have to reach a certain level of righteousness at any one point in this life. Notice how we become perfected in Christ then later we become perfect in Christ.
8.) To be perfected in Christ is to yoke with him in the baptismal covenant and live that covenant. When we do so we have a relationship with Christ. We borrow his perfection as we keep this covenant. His grace is at work in our life perfecting us.
9.) What is the covenant – Mosiah 18 – be “willing” to mourn with those that mourn, comfort those in need of comfort, stand as a witness of him, remember him always (sacrament), and repent when you mess up. Look at the bread prayer and Water Prayer of the sacrament – Only the bread asks us to keep the commandments but it also says “willing”. The Water prayer says neither. If you had to “keep the commandments” to have his spirit – you would break the covenant within minutes of making it and he would be bound to remove the spirit from you all the time. But if your promise is to be willing to keep the commandments then you can do it. It measures your desires, and attitude, and motives. You still must repent when behavior is sin but that too demonstrates your heart and willingness to be humble and to follow him. To see this view even further, Wouldn’t it be incredible if we found the Savior agreeing that we only need be “willing” to keep the commandments? Well, in 3rd Nephi 18:10 the Savior himself after implementing the Sacrament states “And when the disciples had done this, Jesus said unto them: Blessed are ye for this thing which ye have done, for this is fulfilling my commandments, and this doth witness unto the Father that ye are willing to do that which I have commanded you.”
There is so much more to this but this is a good outline of my feelings on the subject.
I will conclude with this. The church on LDS.ORG has this definition of Grace which is newer and I feel 100% on
Grace is the help or strength given through the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. Through the grace of God, everyone who has lived will be resurrected—our spirits will be reunited with our bodies, never again to be separated. Through His grace, the Lord also enables those who live His gospel to repent and be forgiven.
Grace is a gift from Heavenly Father given through His Son, Jesus Christ. The word grace, as used in the scriptures, refers primarily to enabling power and spiritual healing offered through the mercy and love of Jesus Christ.
Everyone on earth experiences physical death. Through the grace of Jesus Christ, all will be resurrected and will live forever (see 1 Corinthians 15:20–22; 2 Nephi 9:6–13).
Because of personal choices, everyone also experiences the effects of sin (see 1 John 1:8–10; Mosiah 16:4). These effects are called spiritual death. No one can return to the presence of God without divine grace. Through the Atonement, we all can be forgiven of our sins; we can become clean before God. To receive this enabling power, we must obey the gospel of Jesus Christ, which includes having faith in Him, repenting of our sins, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and trying to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ for the rest of our lives (see Ephesians 2:8–9; James 2:17–22; 2 Nephi 25:23; 31:20).
The grace of God helps us every day. It strengthens us to do good works we could not do on our own. The Lord promised that if we humble ourselves before Him and have faith in Him, His grace will help us overcome all our personal weaknesses (see Ether 12:27).
Notice the word Trying (I bolded, italicized, and underlined). Compare this definition with the LDS Bible Dictionary. See the difference?
– How do we interpret 2nd Nephi’s 25:23’s “After all we can do”?
– Do we feel we need to do all within our power before we access Christ’s Grace?
– Must we expend our own best efforts like the Bible Dictionary Says?
– How much of the price of our redemption must we pay?
– Do we covenant to keep the commandments are to be willing to do so?
This episode is found HERE
Brad Wilcox – His Grace is Suffcient
Stephen Robinson – “Believing christ”
Robert Milllet – “Grace after all we can do”
Robert Millet – “Why not speak of the atonement”
Brad and Wendee Wilcox – “faith, an anchor to the soul”
Bruce R McConkie “what think ye of salvation by grace”
Gerald Lund “salvation: by Grace or works”
Scripture I use all the time to reference my views
2nd Nephi all of chapter 31 with special focus to verse 18-21 then going to Ch 32:6
2nd Nephi 2:3
3rd Nephi 27:16-20
Jacob 4:7, 12
2nd Nephi 25: 23-26, 29-30
Alma 24:11 (goes with 2nd Nephi 25:23)
followed up by D&C 88:21
Alma 5:12-15, 26, 28 through the end
2nd Corinthians 12:7-10
Romans 5:1-9 &17-19
Romans 4:3-5, 16, 24-25
Romans 3:7-12, 20 -end of chapter